Category Archives: Media

UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Demolishes Fake Claims Targeting Julian Assange

On the face of it, the task seems almost hopeless. As Tolstoy wrote:

‘The power of the government is maintained by public opinion, and with this power the government, by means of its organs – its officials, law courts, schools, churches, even the press – can always maintain the public opinion which they need.’ (Leo Tolstoy, Writings on Non-Violence and Civil Disobedience, New Society Publishers, 1987, p.111)

Last December, we witnessed the awesome capacity of state-corporate power to manipulate public opinion and undermine a democratic election with a ruthless propaganda campaign smearing Jeremy Corbyn, a passionate anti-racist. The campaign depicted Corbyn, not just as an anti-semite, but as someone who might ‘reopen Auschwitz’. The truth wasn’t just distorted, it was reversed.

Israeli-born academic and author Jamie Stern-Weiner has commented:

‘no mainstream reporter ever investigated whether the allegations against Labour were true.

‘Where journalists did not reflexively endorse the accusations against Labour, they were content to uncritically relay them alongside the party’s response.

‘Accusations by Jewish communal figures or anti-Corbyn MPs were considered inherently significant, whether or not they were accompanied by supporting evidence.’

Careful, credible analysis that made a nonsense of the claims here, here and here was simply ignored.

Vested interests may appear to hold all the cards – they work hard to give that impression – but this is only an appearance. The very fact that they work so relentlessly to shape public opinion indicates the precarious nature of their dominance.

The problem is inherent, structural – a ‘democratic’ society that subordinates the needs of the many to the needs of the few is a society based on lies. Propaganda obfuscating those lies can be disseminated endlessly, day and night, but it will always be vulnerable to individuals and groups with genuine expertise motivated by genuine concern for others. As the Buddhist sage Je Gampopa commented:

‘Even a single virtuous act overcomes many evils… a small good action can overcome a great wrong; it is highly efficient.’ (Gampopa, Gems of Dharma, Jewels of Freedom, Altea, 1994, p.135)

Following in the footsteps of senior UN officials like Denis Halliday, Hans von Sponeck and Scott Ritter – who, between them, demolished many of the deceptions ‘justifying’ the genocidal 1990s US-UK sanctions regime in Iraq and the 2003 war of aggression on Iraq – consider the ‘highly efficient’ comments made to the Swiss magazine, Republik, by Nils Melzer on Julian Assange:

‘Four democratic countries joined forces – the U.S., Ecuador, Sweden and the UK – to leverage their power to portray one man as a monster so that he could later be burned at the stake without any outcry. The case is a huge scandal and represents the failure of Western rule of law. If Julian Assange is convicted, it will be a death sentence for freedom of the press.’

The problem for the propaganda system targeting Assange is that Melzer is not just someone blogging on the internet; he is the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture. In addition, he is a professor of international law at the University of Glasgow and holds the Human Rights Chair at the Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights in Switzerland, where he has been teaching since 2009, including as the Swiss Chair of International Humanitarian Law (2011–2013). Melzer even speaks fluent Swedish. In other words, it is hard to imagine anyone better qualified to comment on the Assange case.

Melzer describes how, on August 20, 2010, a headline appeared on the front page of Expressen, a leading Swedish tabloid, declaring that Julian Assange was suspected of having committed two rapes. Melzer describes his reaction on investigating these claims:

‘I speak fluent Swedish and was thus able to read all of the original documents. I could hardly believe my eyes: According to the testimony of the woman in question, a rape had never even taken place at all. And not only that: The woman’s testimony was later changed by the Stockholm police without her involvement in order to somehow make it sound like a possible rape. I have all the documents in my possession, the emails, the text messages.’

The order of events is extraordinary and outrageous:

‘A woman walks into a police station. She doesn’t want to file a complaint but wants to demand an HIV test. The police then decide that this could be a case of rape and a matter for public prosecutors. The woman refuses to go along with that version of events and then goes home and writes a friend that it wasn’t her intention, but the police want to “get their hands on” Assange. Two hours later, the case is in the newspaper. As we know today, public prosecutors leaked it to the press – and they did so without even inviting Assange to make a statement. And the second woman, who had allegedly been raped according to the Aug. 20 headline, was only questioned on Aug. 21.’

As Melzer says, this behaviour demonstrated the ‘willful malevolence of the authorities’. Melzer leaves no doubt about the real significance of the rape claims:

‘Imagine a dark room. Suddenly, someone shines a light on the elephant in the room – on war criminals, on corruption. Assange is the man with the spotlight. The governments are briefly in shock, but then they turn the spotlight around with accusations of rape. It is a classic maneuver when it comes to manipulating public opinion. The elephant once again disappears into the darkness, behind the spotlight. And Assange becomes the focus of attention instead, and we start talking about whether Assange is skateboarding in the embassy or whether he is feeding his cat correctly.’

The goal:

‘A show trial is to be used to make an example of Julian Assange. The point is to intimidate other journalists. Intimidation, by the way, is one of the primary purposes for the use of torture around the world. The message to all of us is: This is what will happen to you if you emulate the Wikileaks model.’

It is very much to Melzer’s credit that he admits that he was himself initially taken in by the propaganda campaign. He reveals that, in December 2018, he was asked by Assange’s lawyers to intervene. He declined:

‘I was overloaded with other petitions and wasn’t really familiar with the case. My impression, largely influenced by the media, was also colored by the prejudice that Julian Assange was somehow guilty and that he wanted to manipulate me.’

After Assange’s lawyers made a second request in March 2019, Melzer felt that that ‘my professional integrity demanded that I at least take a look at the material’. The result:

‘It quickly became clear to me that something was wrong.’

With unprecedented clarity, Melzer unpacks the meaning of the many bizarre twists and turns in the political persecution of Assange. Was it true, as so many journalists claim, that Assange sought asylum in the Ecuadorian embassy to evade Swedish justice? Melzer comments:

‘The [Assange] lawyers say that during the nearly seven years in which Assange lived in the Ecuadorian Embassy, they made over 30 offers to arrange for Assange to visit Sweden – in exchange for a guarantee that he would not be extradited to the U.S. The Swedes declined to provide such a guarantee by arguing that the U.S. had not made a formal request for extradition.’

Was this standard practice?

‘Such diplomatic assurances are a routine international practice… I say this on the strength of all of my experience behind the scenes of standard international practice: If a country refuses to provide such a diplomatic assurance, then all doubts about the good intentions of the country in question are justified. Why shouldn’t Sweden provide such assurances? From a legal perspective, after all, the U.S. has absolutely nothing to do with Swedish sex offense proceedings.’

Melzer was asked if it was normal, or legally acceptable, for Swedish authorities to travel abroad for such an interrogation:

‘For exactly these kinds of judiciary issues, there is a cooperation treaty between the United Kingdom and Sweden, which foresees that Swedish officials can travel to the UK, or vice versa, to conduct interrogations or that such questioning can take place via video link. During the period of time in question, such questioning between Sweden and England took place in 44 other cases. It was only in Julian Assange’s case that Sweden insisted that it was essential for him to appear in person.’

Melzer’s conclusion:

‘From my perspective, Sweden very clearly acted in bad faith. Had they acted in good faith, there would have been no reason to refuse to answer my questions. The same holds true for the British: Following my visit to Assange in May 2019, they took six months to answer me – in a single-page letter, which was primarily limited to rejecting all accusations of torture and all inconsistencies in the legal proceedings. If you’re going to play games like that, then what’s the point of my mandate? I am the Special Rapporteur on Torture for the United Nations. I have a mandate to ask clear questions and to demand answers.’

He adds:

‘There is only a single explanation for everything – for the refusal to grant diplomatic assurances, for the refusal to question him in London: They wanted to apprehend him so they could extradite him to the U.S. The number of breaches of law that accumulated in Sweden within just a few weeks during the preliminary criminal investigation is simply grotesque.’

The media version was rather different. In 2012, the Guardian’s Laura Barton wrote of Assange and the Ecuadorian embassy:

‘Poor Julian. It can’t be easy to be confined to one building, no matter how prestigious the postcode… And so we decided to assemble a collection of items that Assange might be missing, and deliver them.’

A photograph showed an unsmiling Barton delivering a Guardian hamper to their bete noire at the Ecuadorian embassy:

‘we packed our hamper with a selection of edible items not native to Ecuador – Kellogg’s cornflakes fortified with vitamin D to compensate for the lack of sunlight in Assange’s life, a jar of Vegemite (as an antipodean, Julian was likely to spurn Marmite), a packet of chocolate-chip cookies, and a punnet of clementines.

‘Recalling that Bill Keller, editor of the New York Times, once remarked upon Assange’s questionable hygiene and the fact he wore “filthy white socks” we added three pairs of crisp, white sports socks and a shower gel in the “feelgood fragrance of eucalyptus and citrus oils” that promised to be both “revitalizing” and “refreshing.”’

We have documented many similar examples of this relentless, ferocious and frankly weird corporate media mockery of Assange here and here.

Assange is currently being held in London’s Belmarsh prison prior to a hearing that will determine if he is to be extradited to the US. He has already served a 50-week sentence for skipping bail. Melzer comments on this sentence:

‘It is obvious that what we are dealing with here is political persecution. In Britain, bail violations seldom lead to prison sentences – they are generally subject only to fines. Assange, by contrast, was sentenced in summary proceedings to 50 weeks in a maximum-security prison – clearly a disproportionate penalty that had only a single purpose: Holding Assange long enough for the U.S. to prepare their espionage case against him.’

A US grand jury has indicted Assange on 18 charges – 17 of which fall under the US Espionage Act – around conspiracy to receive, obtain and disclose classified diplomatic and military documents. Melzer explains why Assange has no chance of receiving justice in the US:

‘He will not receive a trial consistent with the rule of law. That’s another reason why his extradition shouldn’t be allowed. Assange will receive a trial-by-jury in Alexandria, Virginia – the notorious “Espionage Court” where the U.S. tries all national security cases. The choice of location is not by coincidence, because the jury members must be chosen in proportion to the local population, and 85 percent of Alexandria residents work in the national security community – at the CIA, the NSA, the Defense Department and the State Department. When people are tried for harming national security in front of a jury like that, the verdict is clear from the very beginning. The cases are always tried in front of the same judge behind closed doors and on the strength of classified evidence. Nobody has ever been acquitted there in a case like that. The result being that most defendants reach a settlement, in which they admit to partial guilt so as to receive a milder sentence.’

Meanwhile, Assange’s physical condition has continued to deteriorate:

‘I visited Assange in his cell in London in May 2019 together with two experienced, widely respected doctors who are specialized in the forensic and psychological examination of torture victims. The diagnosis arrived at by the two doctors was clear: Julian Assange displays the typical symptoms of psychological torture. If he doesn’t receive protection soon, a rapid deterioration of his health is likely, and death could be one outcome.’

Melzer’s conclusions are utterly damning:

‘We have to stop believing that there was really an interest in leading an investigation into a sexual offense. What Wikileaks did is a threat to the political elite in the U.S., Britain, France and Russia in equal measure. Wikileaks publishes secret state information – they are opposed to classification. And in a world, even in so-called mature democracies, where secrecy has become rampant, that is seen as a fundamental threat.’

He adds:

‘We give countries power and delegate it to governments – but in return, they must be held accountable for how they exercise that power. If we don’t demand that they be held accountable, we will lose our rights sooner or later. Humans are not democratic by their nature. Power corrupts if it is not monitored. Corruption is the result if we do not insist that power be monitored.’

His final thoughts are an urgent warning to us all:

‘I have seen lots of horrors and violence and have seen how quickly peaceful countries like Yugoslavia or Rwanda can transform into infernos. At the roots of such developments are always a lack of transparency and unbridled political or economic power combined with the naivete, indifference and malleability of the population. Suddenly, that which always happened to the other – unpunished torture, rape, expulsion and murder – can just as easily happen to us or our children. And nobody will care. I can promise you that.’

We tweeted the Guardian editor and a number of key Guardian journalists who have commented on Assange:

‘For the first time, the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Nils Melzer, speaks in detail about the explosive findings of his investigation into the case of Julian Assange. Please read and comment @KathViner @MarinaHyde @suzanne_moore @GeorgeMonbiot @HadleyFreeman @OwenJones84’

We also tweeted:

‘As @NilsMelzer says, a failure to respond to his findings indicates a lack of good faith. Please respond @KathViner @MarinaHyde @suzanne_moore @GeorgeMonbiot @HadleyFreeman @OwenJones84’

We also wrote to Ash Sarkar, contributing editor at Novara Media, who described Assange on Twitter as ‘a definite creep, a probable rapist, a conspiracist whackjob’:

‘Hi @AyoCaesar, will you please respond to these comments from @NilsMelzer, UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, on attempts to portray Julian Assange ‘as a monster so that he could later be burned at the stake without any outcry’? @novaramedia @AaronBastani’

We received no answer from any of the journalists contacted (to be fair to Monbiot and Jones, having blocked us on Twitter for sending them polite, rational challenges, they may not have seen our tweet).

Despite the credibility and integrity of the source, and the obvious newsworthiness of the issue, our ProQuest database search finds that Nils Melzer and his comments published in Republik on 31 January have not been mentioned in any US or UK media outlet.

Re-Orientation

In the preface to his last and perhaps most significant work, Andre Gunder-Frank cited what he called “Fairbank’s Rule No. 2”: “Never try to begin at the beginning. Historical research progresses backward not forward… Let the problems take you back.”1 My mother was a forensic photographer. One of her less appetizing assignments was for the record of corpses returned from Jonestown, Guyana, after what has since been billed as a mass suicide by a bizarre religious sect led by an American named Jones.2 My arguments in these pages have implicitly followed that rule and perhaps derive from that inclination to the historical that all forensics involves.

I have already argued in previous essays that the ruling elite in the West — let us call them the owners of NATO for simplicity — by virtue of their education and indoctrination possess a degree of consistency and determination which is not generally shared among the bulk of the far less organised population. Wealth and power permit not only an exercise of the will but a formation of interests which are far more focussed and of longer duration than the desires of ordinary people who are managed by advertising or police. If we continue to assume that the ruling elite has a rationality that is coherent with that of the broad mass, the majority of the population, we deny ourselves the vantage point needed to understand events through the past.

Of course, it is easy to get lost in debate as to the constitution of the ruling elite, to attempt to disaggregate groups and interests to show — as normative political scientists and sociologists do — that concerted behaviour is ultimately short-lived or impossible because of intra-elite competition. This is part of the same theoretical apparatus used to justify the current economics ideology — marginalism. With the nominal end of the Western chattel slavery regime, the ideology of white supremacy upon which it became based was modified. That was the real intellectual accomplishment of what was later called in the US the “Progressive Era”. Progressivism became the dominant Western ideology by the end of World War I and the military-industrial complex became the standard bearer of that ideology. It remains the ideology of what passes for “Left” in the US and has always been the underlying philosophy of liberalism. Hence when all debate transcripts are read and/ or burned it is the progressive consensus that maintains Western empire, led by the Atlantic alliance. Progressivism is embedded in modern mass media and its particular form of communication — one which is ultimately military and not democratic in nature (unless one means the form of democracy tied to the slavery system).

Given the foregoing, the problem that should now take us back is the current panic produced by the incidence of an illness known popularly as the “corona virus”, a kind of influenza detected in central China, in or around the major city of Wuhan. The result of this detection has been a combination of central government measures and a mass media saturation, which together make it impossible to assess with absolute certainty what has happened and the degree of seriousness or urgency; i.e., the risk involved.

The temptation is to look for the origin, the beginning of it all and then to argue the consequences both present and future.

However, it may be more fruitful to look at the essential problem created and work back to the range of issues upon which this problem is based.

The essential problem is not new, but it has become critical for the West. From the end of the Opium Wars in the first half of the 19th century until 1949, China was practically a tribute state of the Western powers. In 1949 the People’s Liberation Army under Mao Tse Tung and the Chinese Communist Party succeeded in expelling the last of the tributary forces led by Chiang Kai-Shek. Chiang had seized control of the Kuomintang, the original nationalist organisation led by Sun Yat-sen and driving out the communists made it into an instrument of European collaboration until the Japanese invasion in 1937. The Kuomintang was driven to the island of Formosa where they remain today.

Until Richard Nixon was elected POTUS in 1968, the People’s Republic of China had been formally isolated from all international fora. Following US diplomatic recognition and its replacement as “the” China in the UN Security Council, successive leaders of the People’s Republic of China have promoted the industrial modernisation and development of the country. This meant expansion of foreign trade — also to obtain resources insufficiently available domestically — and increased exchange to obtain know-how and increase goodwill.

The Western empire, both its North American and European components, saw the opening of China as a vast new opportunity to deindustrialise and further undermine the organisation of their own working class and unemployed — in the interest of higher profits as always. Thus a strange reverse occurred. Whereas in the 19th century the West destroyed Asian industry to promote its own factory system, now the West was using China to destroy its own aging factory system, not for modernisation but for wealth extraction. The intensification of this process only became possible after 1989 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Until 1989 the Soviet Union was the most crucial ideological challenger to the Anglo-American system of piracy and plunder. It was visible, linguistically assessable and although incapable of expansion given NATO forces on all its outer borders, still an inspiration for the newly emerging independent states — the former colonies and protectorates of Euro-American empire.

Once European state socialism had been overthrown, Progressivism could rejuvenate its imperial attributes. Hence Progressives defended, even advocated, the destruction of Yugoslavia and the dismantling of social infrastructure that had been created as bulwarks against local socialist demands (going back to Germany’s “progressive”, Otto von Bismarck, the original author of that country’s social security programs).

The collapse of the Soviet Union and with it the strangling of the anti-imperial struggle in what was once called the Third World left China as the only communist country on the planet.

Contrary to Western expectations the industrial penetration of China was unable to dislodge the Chinese Communist Party or its claims to Chinese sovereignty.

China’s sovereignty has what might be called natural causes. With some 20 per cent of the world’s population in the fifth largest national territory, it is virtually self-contained. However, like all large populations in history, adequate distribution of food, housing and amenities has been a challenge, aggravated by the great size of the country and complexity of logistical tasks to be accomplished. For most of recorded history China has been the centre or the fulcrum of world population and society. One would not know that from any history classes or books and other media in the West. In fact, one only has to look at the standard Mercator projection to see the way in which China has been presented to the West — despite the fact that Europe was an insignificant population of nut and berry eaters on the Eurasian peninsula until about 1600.

Returning to the problem: ostensibly it is the incidence of an influenza strain in the world’s most populous nation and meanwhile second largest economy (whatever that really means).

Since this incident with a reported toll of deaths and infections, not even approaching the constant annual death toll in the US for ordinary surgical procedures or common influenza, the major corporate and state propaganda instruments of the West —  including especially the BBC which still profits from widely held if misguided trust around the world — has presented China as the source of an outbreak comparable to bubonic plague. Some 200 – 300 deaths have been presented as an impending extinction event. Thus magnifying the already cultivated fear that China’s development will trigger the climate catastrophe St Greta is preaching.

Unlike Western governments that routinely deny the existence or risk of the illnesses and hazards that arise in their territories — unless there is pecuniary advantage in their exaggeration — the Chinese government has taken what measures which would be impossible in the West, even under conditions of World War. At this writing it is impossible to say how long these measures will remain in effect. They are public health measures of a basic nature that amaze and awe simply by the scale in which they have been imposed. Thus we see the degree of social and political organisation which China has developed for protecting 50 million people in Hubei Province where Wuhan (population 11 million) is located. If one takes a country in the West of comparable size, let us say the United Kingdom, one can see how incompetent Western political organisations really are. Or perhaps we should say that organised selfishness for the benefit of whites — the guiding principle of Western “civilisation” — is incompatible with the very notion of public health and welfare.

Nonetheless, the events in China are disturbing. They do not reflect on China but on the West. If one goes from the apparent problem, an influenza incident developed into a public health crisis, to the historical context in which it arose, then it is necessary to see the current conflict honestly.

The Anglo-American Empire and hence its vassals are at war with China. This is not a cold war. It is a very hot one. It is being fought on all continents and with every conceivable weapon. The imperial propaganda apparatus (80% of the world’s mass media, including the unacknowledged control over the Internet — which after all runs on US servers everywhere except in China) — has focused on the narrow issue of “trade war” between the US (reduced to Trump) and China. This is a significant distortion of the facts. With substantial US manufacturing assets in China and China as holder of some 20% of outstanding US government debt, intellectual property and dumping prices — in US markets — are trivial points. Nonetheless these are the kinds of points that fill the pages or broadcast minutes of the media consumed by the “educated classes” in the West.

The climate crusade, the covert wars and coups in Latin America and Africa and the manipulation of stock markets for which Western “banks” (e.g. Goldman Sachs) are notorious are all directed at maintaining the marginal power of the West over China in the face of declining population and shrinking economies.  These measures are intended to deny China access to resources and markets for obtaining those resources that are scarce domestically.

The covert funding and support for border actions in Hong Kong, Tibet and the Muslim-dominated provinces are — following the strategy Brzezinski applied to the Soviet Union — aimed at diverting resources to military operations and creating a “terrorist” threat. Until now — and despite intensification of these actions last year — the Chinese government has refused to fall into the trap that Brzezinski bragged was his special contribution to destroying the Soviet Union.

In other words the two principal weapons of the West, “cold war” and “border terrorism using religious/ political sects” have thus far aggravated China’s external relations but were unable to provoke negative action or induce serious destruction.

However, the most serious threat to the West is not China’s foreign trade. Rather it is the return to sovereign economic self-sufficiency. At a time when the West has destroyed its own internal markets through financialisation and reintroduction of debt peonage, the loss of China as a tributary is something no Western banker, investor or member of the military-industrial-banking complex can view with equanimity.

The resistance to Google and other corporate machines for dominating the commercial internet — nonsense about “net neutrality” notwithstanding — and a body of users big enough to bear the cost of even a hermetically sealed domestic internet system is a genuine threat to Western Empire. An independent Internet in China — perhaps even shared with Russia — would ruin Silicon Valley and the military organisation that really manages it.

So what does this mean in viral terms? The attack on China with biological — mass media weapons—and they must be seen together as a kind of binary weapon (like the types developed in the West for combat) — is an attempt to invade the domestic economy. The incident satisfies the prima facie conditions for any covert action: it is deniable and it is in the interests of the authors. Does this prove that the viral agents were introduced by some folks in trench coats and dark glasses with a pocket full of vials? Quite the contrary, the mythology of covert action has distorted entirely the perspective needed to see this event accurately.

It can be immediately argued that the incidence of the virus in question in other parts of the world, including Europe and North America, shows that it must be a genuine infectious incident with no specific target. This underlines the deniability — whether or not fatalities occur.

The covert action is not primarily the disease incident itself regardless of its putative lethality. It would be misguided to focus on the possible origin of the disease or its introduction to vulnerable persons. Such a disease incident in the West would go relatively unnoticed or neglected — like AIDS or the deliberate nicotine enrichment of cigarettes by American tobacco product manufacturers or innumerable industrial toxins sold and released in the West which still kill, not even counting atomic power.

The covert action lies in the remarkably overt action that everyone seems to take for granted: namely, the intensity of the mass propaganda campaign which, given the sensitivity of the Chinese government to all health issues among its enormous population, had to induce actions of an unparalleled kind. The Chinese government could not be provoked to using the PLA against Hong Kong protesters. Nor has it used its military abroad where it was clearly threatened. However, the West has provoked the Chinese government into taking actions that have impaired its domestic economic and social activity at a critical moment. These actions will incur costs that have to be borne by China alone. They are probably not insurmountable but the combination of a minor virus and a viral Western mass media have exposed the Chinese domestic economy to an enormous threat.

In a sense China finds itself with a reincarnation of the strategy pursued by Britain and its vassals in the Opium Wars. After invading and corrupting the Chinese regime with the opium trade, the British were able to humiliate China and together with France, Germany and the United States force it to pay tribute, to function as a subordinate part of the Western empire.

Seventy years ago that subordination ended. But for the indoctrinated ruling elite of the West no nation enjoys a natural right to its sovereignty and no escaped prisoner is ever forgiven. Recovered slaves were permanently disfigured and if they were free too long they were killed to prevent contamination of those still in chains. This is the deep cultural tradition that shapes Western relations to China (and the rest of Asia).

The effectiveness of China’s response to the disease is only important for its own people. The far more dangerous virus has its epicentre elsewhere beyond China’s shores. China’s sovereignty will rely upon the capability to protect the consciousness of its people from the insidious viruses that infect most of the West — and it would seem incurably. The rest is little more than a common cold.

  1. Andre Gunder-Frank, ReOrient: Global Economy in the Asian Age, University of California Press, July 31, 1998.
  2. Since the Jonestown incident significant indications point to the “sect” actually having been a cover for offshore pharmaceutical experiments, in particular precursors to Prozac. Jones appears to have been a CIA asset connected to the infamous Dan Mitrione. Both came from the same town and apparently had contact while Mitrione was in Brazil. Shortly after this incident CIA director GHW Bush joined the Ely Lilly board. Lilly had also been an LSD supplier. In short, human experiments offshore not only serve putative defense purposes but help the drug industry.

Chinese Resilience and Silent, Simple and Steady Resistance:  a Model for Mankind

In a positive appeal to the Chinese people last Saturday, President Xi Jinping has called on the nation’s courage to defeat the deadly epidemic which has already claimed more than 80 lives and more than 2,000 infected worldwide, the vast majority in China. These figures are changing fast, as the spread of the epidemic is accelerating. President Xi warned that the situation was serious, but not unsurmountable.

“As long as we have steadfast confidence, work together, [rely on] scientific prevention and cures, and precise policies, we will definitely be able to win the battle,” President Xi told a politburo meeting, according to Xinhua.

It is thought that the deadly coronavirus, 2019-nCoV has originated from wild animals, such as bats, but science is still out to confirm the details.

In short, the Government of China deserves high-flying congratulations for the efficient, rapid sanitary measures it has taken to avoid further infection – putting about 50 million people in a state of quarantine, blocking potentially dangerous travel routes and checking travelers for possible symptoms.

The timing of the outbreak has an additional dimension of pain and suffering as it affects and hinders people’s celebration of the New Chinese Lunar Year’s joy of visiting families and of togetherness. On a tertiary plan, it also affects the retail economy.

Chinese doctors and nurses have already healed several dozen cases. Chinese scientists in collaboration with Russian scientists are accelerating their research into developing a vaccine against the virus. Indeed, there is no country in the world that has ever achieved with such ardor, efficiency and love for the people, progress towards isolation of a potentially highly infectable and deadly disease, preventing millions from infection and providing them with protective as well as curative measures, and by setting up a countrywide impenetrable health surveillance mechanism.

There could not be a clearer sign that the Government of China is making every effort for the betterment and the well-being of its population. This is also reflected in the high esteem and credibility the Chinese people entrust in their government, something not heard of in the west – not by far.

Rather to the contrary: in the west disease means foremost business and that (business) model of health care is steadily increasing, treating sick people like a “market”,  and those not yet sick, as a potential market. The medical industry is one of the most ferocious money-making apparatuses, next to the war industry.

It’s more. The big western bought and manipulative media have immediately put the blame on China. They are demonizing and slandering China, for insufficient hygiene, for medical negligence. It is one more accusation of the “yellow peril” causing worldwide danger.  A horror of western attitude and injustice.

Aside from such lies and false propaganda, let’s look at the context. In the USA alone, the regular influenza causes every year several thousand deaths, and that despite country-wide carpet vaccination, and in some states forced vaccination.  The 2019/20 flu-season has already claimed more than 7000 reported deaths and uncounted cases of serious flu infections; and that only in the United States. We are talking about a country of some 350 million people. The statistics of this flu-epidemic could be expanded to a much larger dimension throughout Europe and the rest of the western world and the order of magnitude would be even more overwhelming.

Yet, China, with a population of some 1.4 billion people, an outbreak, where up to this writing less than 3000 people have been infected with the new 2019-nCoV virus, and the death toll stands at below 100, the country is being badgered non-stop for being at the origin of this new disease.

Let me be clear, China does not need or want to compare herself to the west, nor does she want to measure her degree of efficiency in mastering the disease and dealing with the disease’s consequences against the west.  Not at all. It’s not part of the Chinese philosophy.  However, WHO immediately calls the outbreak a potential pandemic, thereby frightening the public at large with yet another danger coming from the east, from China.

The Chinese Government and the Chinese scientists work for the people, to contain the outbreak to the extent possible. And they will ‘win’; their determination like with most everything China engages in overcomes almost all obstacles. What China has already achieved in stopping the disease from seriously spreading within China and to other countries is simply remarkable. It is what no other country in the world would have achieved in this short period.

China does all this quietly, no bragging. It is simply an endless flow of creation for the well-being of her population and for harmony, and eventually for a peaceful, trustful cohabitation of the people with their government. People willingly participate in this mammoth effort to contain and cure the disease, willingly, despite the suffering of many for not being able to visit their families during that highly revered Chinese New Year, the New Lunar Year celebration which in magnitude and importance would be the western equivalent of Christmas.

Having said this, it should also be noted that this case of 2019-nCoV is curiously similar to other CoronoVirus diseases, like the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome – MERS,  first found in Saudi Arabia (2012) and then it spread to other Middle Eastern and Sub-Saharan African countries; and the Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), first discovered in China in 2002, spread around the world but was quickly contained and caused no known infections after 2004. Both are coronaviruses, suspected having been laboratory-made, with animal trials, and the viruses’ transfer to humans was only possible with human assistance. Then the viruses mutated to make human-to-human infection possible. Both SARS and the new 2019-nCoV virus also have the particularity of affecting primarily people of the Chinese race.

There are some 100-plus CIA / Pentagon sponsored clandestine and semi-known laboratories spread throughout the world – laboratories to fabricate and test agents for biological warfare. A few years ago, one such laboratory was discovered and reported on in Ukraine. They were working on a virus affecting the “Russian Race”. Since there is no homogenous Russian Race – their initial trials supposedly failed. Since the empire never gives up in its evil attempts to dominate the world, we can assume that research on race directed bio-agents continues.

This western, especially American (CIA, Pentagon, NATO) project to develop bio-chemical weapons to kill people by disease rather than bullets and bombs – it is much cheaper and less obvious – does exist. You may draw your own conclusion on whether SARS and the new 2019-nCoV fits that pattern. The timing of the appearance was especially curious. It was first reported on 31 December 2019 in Wuhan (the center of China) – and then expanded rapidly, so that it interfered with China’s most important Holiday, the Lunar New Year. It could, of course, be just coincidence.

One of Washington’s “low-grade” warfare models is destabilizing China (and Russia for that matter) with any means. With the objective of destabilization, China is constantly being harassed and aggressed – see Hong Kong, Taiwan, the Uyghurs in Xinjiang, Tibet, the tariff wars – and why not with a contagious virus, a trial for a potential pandemic?

What can be observed and even the west must notice to their chagrin and frustration is China’s extreme resilience and capacity to adapt and resist, to resist with powerful minds and ingenuity that saves her people. And that without counter-aggression, without even an accusation and never a threat. This is China’s way forward: a steady flow of endless creation, avoiding conflict, no dominance, but seeking harmony by building bridges between people and among countries and cultures, creating understanding and wellbeing towards a multi-polar world. A model for mankind? If only the west would open its eyes and wake up.

• First published by the New Eastern Outlook – NEO

How is Washington “Liberating” Free Countries

There are obviously some serious linguistic issues and disagreements between the West and the rest of the world. Essential terms like “freedom”, “democracy”, “liberation”, even “terrorism”, are all mixed up and confused; they mean something absolutely different in New York, London, Berlin, and in the rest of the world.

Before we begin analyzing, let us recall that countries such as the United Kingdom, France, Germany and the United States, as well as other Western nations, have been spreading colonialist terror to basically all corners of the world. And in the process, they developed effective terminology and propaganda which has been justifying, even glorifying, acts such as looting, torture, rape and genocides. Basically, first Europe, and later North America literally “got away with everything, including mass murder”. The native people of Americas, Africa and Asia have been massacred, their voices silenced. Slaves were imported from Africa. Great Asian nations, such as China, what is now “India” and Indonesia, got occupied, divided and thoroughly plundered.

And all was done in the name of spreading religion, “liberating” people from themselves, as well as “civilizing them”.

Nothing has really changed.

To date, people of great nations with thousands of years of culture, are treated like infants; humiliated, and as if they were still in kindergarten, told how to behave, and how to think.

Sometimes if they “misbehave”, they get slapped. Periodically they get slapped so hard, that it takes them decades, even centuries, to get back to their feet. It took China decades to recover from the period of “humiliation”. India and Indonesia are presently trying to recuperate from the colonial barbarity, and from, in the case of Indonesia, the 1965 U.S.-administered fascist coup.

But if you go back to the archives in London, Brussels or Berlin, all the monstrous acts of colonialism, are justified by lofty terms. Western powers are always “fighting for justice”; they are “enlightening” and “liberating”. No regrets, no shame and no second thoughts. They are always correct!

Like now — precisely as it is these days.

Presently, the West is trying to overthrow governments in several independent countries on different continents. From Bolivia (the country has been already destroyed) to Venezuela, from Iraq to Iran, to China and Russia. The more successful these countries get, the better they serve their people, the more vicious the attacks from abroad are, the tougher the embargos and sanctions imposed on them are. The happier the citizens are, the more grotesque the propaganda disseminated from the West gets.

*****

In Hong Kong, some young people, out of financial interest, or out of ignorance, keep shouting: “President Trump, Please Liberate Us!” Or similar, but equally treasonous slogans. They are waving U.S., U.K. and German flags. They beat up people who try to argue with them, including their own Police Force.

So, let us see, how the United States really “liberates” countries in various pockets of the world.

Let us visit Iran, a country which (you’d never guess it if consuming only Western mass media) is, despite the vicious embargos and sanctions, on the verge of the “highest human development index bracket” (UNDP). How is it possible? Simple. Because Iran is a socialist country (socialism with the Iranian characteristics). It is also an internationalist nation which is fighting against Western imperialism. It helps many occupied and attacked states on our planet, including Venezuela, Cuba, Bolivia (before), Syria, Yemen, Palestine, Lebanon, Afghanistan and Iraq, to name just a few.

So, what is the West doing? It is trying to ruin it, by all means; ruin all good will and progress. It is starving Iran through sanctions, it finances and encourages its “opposition”, as it does in China, Russia and Latin America. It is trying to destroy it.

Then, it just bombs their convoy in neighboring Iraq, killing its brave commander, General Soleimani. And, as if it was not horrid enough, it turns the tables around, and starts threatening Teheran with more sanctions, more attacks, and even with the destruction of its cultural sites.

Iran, under attack, confused, shot down, by mistake, a Ukrainian passenger jet. It immediately apologized, in horror, offering compensation. The U.S. straightway began digging into the wound. It started to provoke (like in Hong Kong) young people. The British ambassador, too, got involved!

As if Iran and the rest of the world should suddenly forget that during its attack on Iraq, more than 3 decades ago, Washington actually shot down an Iranian wide-body passenger plane (Iran Air flight 655, an Airbus-300), on a routine flight from Bandar Abbas to Dubai. In an “accident”, 290 people, among them 66 children, lost their lives. That was considered “war collateral”.

Iranian leaders then did not demand “regime change” in Washington. They were not paying for riots in New York or Chicago.

As China is not doing anything of that nature, now.

The “Liberation” of Iraq (in fact, brutal sanctions, bombing, invasion and occupation) took more than a million Iraqi lives, most of them, those of women and children. Presently, Iraq has been plundered, broken into pieces, and on its knees.

Is this the kind of “liberation” that some of the Hong Kong youngsters really want?

No? But if not, is there any other performed by the West, in modern history?

*****

Washington is getting more and more aggressive in all parts of the world.

It also pays more and more for collaboration.

And it is not shy to inject terrorist tactics into allied troops, organizations and non-governmental organizations. Hong Kong is no exception.

Iran, Iraq, Syria, Russia, China, Venezuela, but also many other countries, should be carefully watching and analyzing each and every move made by the United States. The West is perfecting tactics on how to liquidate all opposition to its dictates.

It is not called a “war”, yet. But it is. People are dying. The lives of millions are being ruined.

• First published by China Daily – Hong Kong

The U.S. Is Recycling Its Big Lie About Iraq To Target Iran

Sixteen years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, most Americans understand that it was an illegal war based on lies about non-existent “weapons of mass destruction.” But our government is now threatening to drag us into a war on Iran with a nearly identical “big lie” about a non-existent nuclear weapons program, based on politicized intelligence from the same CIA teams that wove a web of lies to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In 2002-3, U.S. officials and corporate media pundits repeated again and again that Iraq had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that posed a dire threat to the world. The CIA produced reams of false intelligence to support the march to war, and cherry-picked the most deceptively persuasive narratives for Secretary of State Colin Powell to present to the UN Security Council on February 5th, 2003. In December 2002, Alan Foley, the head of the CIA’s Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation and Arms Control Center (WINPAC), told his staff, “If the president wants to go to war, our job is to find the intelligence to allow him to do so.”

Paul Pillar, a CIA officer who was the National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, helped to prepare a 25-page document that was passed off to members of Congress as a “summary” of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq. But the document was written months before the NIE it claimed to summarize and contained fantastic claims that were nowhere to be found in the NIE, such as that the CIA knew of 550 specific sites in Iraq where chemical and biological weapons were stored. Most members read only this fake summary, not the real NIE, and blindly voted for war.  As Pillar later confessed to PBS’s Frontline, “The purpose was to strengthen the case for going to war with the American public. Is it proper for the intelligence community to publish papers for that purpose? I don’t think so, and I regret having had a role in it.”

WINPAC was set up in 2001 to replace the CIA’s Nonproliferation Center or NPC (1991-2001), where a staff of a hundred CIA analysts collected possible evidence of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons development to support U.S. information warfare, sanctions and ultimately regime change policies against Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya and other U.S. enemies.

WINPAC uses the U.S.’s satellite, electronic surveillance and international spy networks to generate material to feed to UN agencies like UNSCOM, UNMOVIC, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who are charged with overseeing the non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons. The CIA’s material has kept these agencies’ inspectors and analysts busy with an endless stream of documents, satellite imagery and claims by exiles for almost 30 years. But since Iraq destroyed all its banned weapons in 1991, they have found no confirming evidence that either Iraq or Iran has taken steps to acquire nuclear, chemical or biological weapons.

UNMOVIC and the IAEA told the UN Security Council in 2002-3 they could find no evidence to support U.S. allegations of illegal weapons development in Iraq. IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei exposed the CIA’s Niger yellowcake document as a forgery in a matter of hours. ElBaradei’s commitment to the independence and impartiality of his agency won the respect of the world, and he and his agency were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Apart from outright forgeries and deliberately fabricated evidence from exile groups like Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress (INC) and the Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), most of the material the CIA and its allies have provided to UN agencies has involved dual-use technology, which could be used in banned weapons programs but also has alternative legitimate uses. A great deal of the IAEA’s work in Iran has been to verify that each of these items has, in fact, been used for peaceful purposes or conventional weapons development rather than in a nuclear weapons program. But as in Iraq, the accumulation of inconclusive, unsubstantiated evidence of a possible nuclear weapons program has served as a valuable political weapon to convince the media and the public that there must be something solid behind all the smoke and mirrors.

For instance, in 1990, the CIA began intercepting Telex messages from Sharif University in Tehran and Iran’s Physics Research Centre about orders for ring magnets, fluoride and fluoride-handling equipment, a balancing machine, a mass spectrometer and vacuum equipment, all of which can be used in uranium enrichment. For the next 17 years, the CIA’s NPC and WINPAC regarded these Telexes as some of their strongest evidence of a secret nuclear weapons program in Iran, and they were cited as such by senior U.S. officials. It was not until 2007-8 that the Iranian government finally tracked down all these items at Sharif University, and the IAEA inspectors were able to visit the university and confirm that they were being used for academic research and teaching, as Iran had told them.

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the IAEA’s work in Iran continued, but every lead provided by the CIA and its allies proved to be either fabricated, innocent or inconclusive. In 2007, U.S. intelligence agencies published a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran in which they acknowledged that Iran had no active nuclear weapons program. The publication of the 2007 NIE was an important step in averting a U.S. war on Iran. As George W Bush wrote in his memoirs, “…after the NIE, how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?”

But despite the lack of confirming evidence, the CIA refused to alter the “assessment” from its 2001 and 2005 NIEs that Iran probably did have a nuclear weapons program prior to 2003. This left the door open for the continued use of WMD allegations, inspections and sanctions as potent political weapons in the U.S.’s regime change policy toward Iran.

In 2007, UNMOVIC published a Compendium or final report on the lessons learned from the debacle in Iraq. One key lesson was that, “Complete independence is a prerequisite for a UN inspection agency,” so that the inspection process would not be used, “either to support other agendas or to keep the inspected party in a permanent state of weakness.” Another key lesson was that, “Proving the negative is a recipe for enduring difficulties and unending inspections.”

The 2005 Robb-Silberman Commission on the U.S. intelligence failure in Iraq reached very similar conclusions, such as that, “…analysts effectively shifted the burden of proof, requiring proof that Iraq did not have active WMD programs rather than requiring affirmative proof of their existence. While the U.S. policy position was that Iraq bore the responsibility to prove that it did not have banned weapons programs, the Intelligence Community’s burden of proof should have been more objective… By raising the evidentiary burden so high, analysts artificially skewed the analytical process toward confirmation of their original hypothesis – that Iraq had active WMD programs.”

In its work on Iran, the CIA has carried on the flawed analysis and processes identified by the UNMOVIC Compendium and the Robb-Silberman report on Iraq. The pressure to produce politicized intelligence that supports U.S. policy positions persists because that is the corrupt role that U.S. intelligence agencies play in U.S. policy, spying on other governments, staging coupsdestabilizing countries and producing politicized and fabricated intelligence to create pretexts for war.

A legitimate national intelligence agency would provide objective intelligence analysis that policy-makers could use as a basis for rational policy decisions. But, as the UNMOVIC Compendium implied, the U.S. government is unscrupulous in abusing the concept of intelligence and the authority of international institutions like the IAEA to “support other agendas,” notably its desire for regime change in countries around the world.

The U.S.’s “other agenda” on Iran gained a valuable ally when Mohamed ElBaradei retired from the IAEA in 2009, and was replaced by Yukiya Amano from Japan. A State Department cable from July 10th 2009 released by Wikileaks described Mr. Amano as a “strong partner” to the U.S. based on “the very high degree of convergence between his priorities and our own agenda at the IAEA.”  The memo suggested that the U.S. should try to “shape Amano’s thinking before his agenda collides with the IAEA Secretariat bureaucracy.” The  memo’s author was Geoffrey Pyatt, who later achieved international notoriety as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who was exposed on a leaked audio recording plotting the 2014 coup in Ukraine with Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.

The Obama administration spent its first term pursuing a failed “dual-track” approach to Iran, in which its diplomacy was undermined by the greater priority it gave to its parallel track of escalating UN sanctions. When Brazil and Turkey presented Iran with the framework of a nuclear deal that the U.S. had proposed, Iran readily agreed to it. But the U.S. rejected what had begun as a U.S. proposal because, by that point, it would have undercut its efforts to persuade the UN Security Council to impose harsher sanctions on Iran.

As a senior State Department official told author Trita Parsi, the real problem was that the U.S. wouldn’t take “Yes” for an answer. It was only in Obama’s second term, after John Kerry replaced Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, that the U.S. finally did take “Yes” for an answer, leading to the JCPOA between Iran, the U.S. and other major powers in 2015.  So it was not U.S.-backed sanctions that brought Iran to the table, but the failure of sanctions that brought the U.S. to the table.

Also in 2015, the IAEA completed its work on “Outstanding Issues” regarding Iran’s past nuclear-related activities. On each specific case of dual-use research or technology imports, the IAEA found no proof that they were related to nuclear weapons rather than conventional military or civilian uses. Under Amano’s leadership and U.S. pressure, the IAEA still “assessed” that “a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003,” but that ”these activities did not advance beyond feasibility studies and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities.”

The JCPOA has broad support in Washington, but the U.S. political debate over the JCPOA has essentially ignored the actual results of the IAEA’s work in Iran, the CIA’s distorting role in it and the extent to which the CIA has replicated the institutional biases, the reinforcing of preconceptions, the forgeries, the politicization and the corruption by “other agendas” that were supposed to be corrected to prevent any repetition of the WMD fiasco in Iraq.

Politicians who support the JCPOA now claim that it stopped Iran getting nuclear weapons, while those who oppose the JCPOA claim that it would allow Iran to acquire them. They are both wrong because, as the IAEA has concluded and even President Bush acknowledged, Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program. The worst that the IAEA can objectively say is that Iran may have done some basic nuclear weapons-related research some time before 2003 – but then again, maybe it didn’t.

Mohamed ElBaradei wrote in his memoir, The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times, that, if Iran ever conducted even rudimentary nuclear weapons research, he was sure it was only during the Iran-Iraq War, which ended in 1988, when the U.S. and its allies helped Iraq to kill up to 100,000 Iranians with chemical weapons. If ElBaradei’s suspicions were correct, Iran’s dilemma since that time would have been that it could not admit to that work in the 1980s without facing even greater mistrust and hostility from the U.S. and its allies, and risking a similar fate to Iraq.

Regardless of uncertainties regarding Iran’s actions in the 1980s, the U.S.’s campaign against Iran has violated the most critical lessons U.S. and UN officials claimed to have learned from the fiasco over Iraq. The CIA has used its almost entirely baseless suspicions about nuclear weapons in Iran as pretexts to “support other agendas” and “keep the inspected party in a permanent state of weakness,” exactly as the UNMOVIC Compendium warned against ever again doing to another country.

In Iran as in Iraq, this has led to an illegal regime of brutal sanctions, under which thousands of children are dying from preventable diseases and malnutrition, and to threats of another illegal U.S. war that would engulf the Middle East and the world in even greater chaos than the one the CIA engineered against Iraq.

Anatomy of a Washington Post Editorial

Martin Luther King Jr. Day has morphed into an annual reminder of the truth in Vladimir Lenin’s observation that great revolutionaries, while alive, are hounded by the powerful, and later, after they’ve been terminated, are lauded by their oppressors and transformed into harmless icons to placate the masses. Among the MLK-related articles to appear recently is a reposting of Edward Curtin’s 2017 review of Willam Pepper’s book The Plot to Kill King. Pepper, King’s friend and attorney for the King Family, spent 40 years researching the assassination, and Curtin’s review is a superb encapsulation of that history. King was murdered by elements of the U.S. government, a fact unsurprising for people who read history, because political assassinations have been stock power plays since antiquity. From the point of view of the psychosis that drives empires, King had to go.

There are certain facts governments and their journalistic mercenaries go to any length to suppress, because to reveal them necessarily leads to related facts that expose governmental crime. A key fact can be like a keystone species in a biological ecosystem: snuff it, and things begin to unravel. For example, that World Trade Center Building 7 was most certainly professionally prepared for demolition well before 9/11 cannot be allowed to be publicly discussed. Open acceptance of that would, as if a spring loaded canister had been opened, force the litany of related lies into the light. King’s murder is like that. Accept U.S. government-as-assassin as the truth, and one is forced to deal with associated issues: American soldiers posted to kill King if the first shooter fails; the probability that trusted colleagues were involved; Government hand-in-hand with organized crime.

The 1999 Trial in Memphis, The King Family vs Loyd Jowers et al.  was arguably the most important trial of the 20th Century, involving as it did the foremost civil rights figure of that century and the U.S. government. But “The Media” were nowhere to be seen there. For the American journalistic world it was a nonevent, and although the jury was unanimous in finding that King had been murdered by way of governmental conspiracy, the media, to this day, reinforce the fiction of a lone gunman. Many taped interviews of Pepper after the release of his most recent book have disappeared, but this one, still available on BitChute, is an hour well spent. It is shocking in details. A transcript of the trial is available at the King Center’s Website.

But there was sufficient awareness of the trial that an official comment had to come from a reliable source, such as a “newspaper of record”, and nothing fills that bill more dependably than the Washington Post, what some (e.g., me) consider to be an official mouthpiece for the CIA, such that much of it seems as if written at headquarters in Langley, VA. Following the trial, the Washington Post published an editorial on Sunday, December 12, 1999, “The King Verdict,” that could serve as a classic study of techniques of persuasion for a class on rhetoric. I can no longer find the editorial online, but the paper itself still exists, of course, and one can always get the public library to send for a xerox copy. Here, the full 418-word text of the editorial:

THE KING VERDICT

Normally, a jury verdict — even one that seems uncomfortably at variance with the public record — is due a considerable amount of deference. The decision last week by a jury in Memphis, however, that the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was the result of a vast governmental conspiracy should alter no one’s view of the assassination. It’s not that the jury misbehaved; based on the evidence presented in court, it was an open-and-shut case. Rather, the problem is that nothing approximating the real history of the assassination was ever presented to the jury.

The King family, having publicly embraced the claim of innocence of the real killer, the late James Earl Ray, was represented in the litigation by Mr. Ray’s lawyer, a conspiracy theorist named William Pepper. The supposed defendant, Loyd Jowers, was the peddler of a long since discredited tale about being a part of a conspiracy to kill Dr. King. His defense was not based on historical truth — that there was no government conspiracy — merely that his own involvement in this alleged conspiracy was limited.

In other words, the King family sued for $ 100 in damages a man who did not even contest their false thesis. The litigation in Memphis, therefore, involved no party that would go to bat for history. Meanwhile, the judge admitted a pile of hearsay evidence, even some “testimony” that had been given in a mock trial staged a few years back by HBO. Both judge and jury are reported to have nodded off during the proceedings. The inevitable result of such a sham trial is a jury verdict that — to those who have not studied the peculiar circumstances that gave rise to it — may give to a wild conspiracy theory the imprimatur of a legal finding. It should not be allowed to do so.

The deceit of history, whether it occurs in the context of Holocaust denial or in an effort to rewrite the story of Dr. King’s death, is a dangerous impulse for which those committed to reasoned debate and truth cannot sit still. That it has, in this case, been perpetrated by Dr. King’s nearest family in a court of law makes it, in addition, a mystifying act of self-deception and an abuse of the legal system. That the King family has a movie deal with filmmaker Oliver Stone gives the whole affair, to add insult to injury, a commercial feel. The case, in short, had nothing to do with law, and it had nothing to do with truth. The more quickly and completely this jury’s discredited verdict is forgotten, the better.

Even a quick scan of the editorial reveals liberal use of what communications experts call ‘loaded language’ (i.e., words or phrases employed to invoke a desired assumption or emotional reaction), as with “supposed defendant,” “the peddler of,”  “a pile of heresay,” “a sham trial,” “wild conspiracy theory,” “dangerous impulse,” “abuse of the legal system.” They appeal to emotion rather than to the intellect, always a danger sign for the critical thinker. In addition, the use of quotation marks on an otherwise neutral word, as with “testimony” in the editorial, is a common technique for mocking or trivializing or casting doubt on reliability.

The reader is set up in the first sentence to understand that the subject of the editorial is “uncomfortably at variance with the public record,” which advises the reader that acceptance of the verdict would be to counter the prevailing opinion of society. That the King Family’s attorney, William Pepper, is described as a “conspiracy theorist” reveals much about the editors, as that epithet was a creation of the CIA in the years following the Kennedy assassination as an attempt to delegitimize the groundswell of doubt surrounding the official governmental account of that killing. As was the intent, “conspiracy theorist” soon became — and has remained —  a form of insult and a means of shutting down discourse regarding many controversial issues, particularly those concerning governmental narratives.

The first sentence of the third paragraph begins with “In other words …”, indicating a summation of information from the previous paragraph. But the sentence, although presented forcefully, does not follow logically from preceding material. What the editors claim the King Family’s “thesis” to be (that James Earl Ray was innocent) is not “even” contested by Jowers, for the reason that Jowers knows that Ray is indeed innocent. The odd sentence, which a careful reader could interpret as undermining the larger editorial position, is indicative of writers struggling to make a spurious case knowing they have precious little to work with and depending on assertive style to carry them through.

The linking of the trial to an event as emotive as the Holocaust is in itself surprising, but the linking, expressed in the form of denial of the Holocaust, becomes an attempt to establish a false correspondence in the mind of the reader, as much as to say that “… the denial of the Holocaust is a deceit of history, hence any departure from the official description of King’s death is likewise a deceit of history.” It is ironic that the authors, within the same sentence, claim to associate themselves with “… those committed to reasoned debate” because elements of reason are altogether lacking in the editorial. Indeed, the use of “should,” as in “should alter no one’s view” and “should not be allowed,” rather than employment of reason is simply appeal to the editorial authority of an influential newspaper.

The 3-hour long, 1993 televised mock trial so disparagingly cited by the editors (a copy still available here) was organized for the sole reason that, due to media blackout, it finally became the only way that censored information supporting Ray’s innocence could reach the public. The editors had to have known this. Their claim that Jower’s account was “a long since discredited tale” is absolutely vacuous. Since Jowers made his first claim on an ABC news program (not to be shown again) and repeated it in the 1999 trial, at no time was it ever discredited. The editors apparently relied solely on the reputation of the Washington Post (at that time) for acceptance by readers of their claim. Had the editors been forced to provide solid, defensible evidence countering Jowers, they would have come up empty.

But they never sink lower in the editorial than when they suggest that the King family was motivated not by a search for truth but by the money to be made from a movie deal. By any decent standard, that was offensive and uncalled for. Few families have had to suffer their level of tragedy in full view of the public, and for history. They have always presented themselves as models of decorum in the most difficult of circumstances.

The editors fret that, “to those who have not studied the peculiar circumstances that gave rise to it”, the verdict of the trial may be justifiable. They are claiming that they have studied those circumstances in sufficient detail. They most assuredly have not, while William Pepper obviously has. In fact, the editors are functioning exactly as expected by protecting criminal elements of government through their attempts to cast doubt on the verdict in a civil trial that exposed those criminal elements. That they end their editorial with a terse declaration that the unanimous verdict of an American jury simply be forgotten says more about the Washington Post than many within its ranks would want to admit.

It’s difficult to overlook the facts that the CIA has long involved itself in political assassinations and, at the same time, that the newspaper so strongly linked to the CIA quickly (two days following the trial) attempted to forestall embarrassing questions about the trial with so shameful (shameless?) an editorial. Perhaps there’s something to be learned from it all.

How CNN Makes Fake News about Xinjiang

A cemetery in Xayar, NW #China‘s #Xinjiang #Uygur Autonomous Region, has recently become a bone of international contention. #CNN reported that graveyards in the region were being demolished by authorities, highlighting stories such as that of Aziz Isa Elkun, a Uygur poet now residing in London, who had said he couldn’t find his father’s grave on Google Maps. So a crew from CGTN decided to find out if there was any truth to the CNN report. Click the video to find who’s spinning a #lie for the audience.

The World Must End The US’ Illegal Economic War

The United States is relying more heavily on illegal unilateral coercive measures (also known as economic sanctions) in place of war or as part of its build-up to war. In fact, economic sanctions are an act of war that kills tens of thousands of people each year through financial strangulation. An economic blockade places a country under siege.

A recent example is the increase in economic measures being imposed against Iran, which many viewed as more acceptable than a military attack. In response to Iran retaliating for the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani and seven other people, Iran used ballistic missiles to strike two bases in Iraq that house US troops. President Trump responded by saying he would impose more sanctions on Iran. Then he ended his comments by urging peace negotiations with Iran. The United States needs to understand there will be no negotiations with Iran until the US lifts sanctions that seek to destroy the Iranian economy and turn the people against their government.

The sanctions on Iran have been in place since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, which made that country independent of the United States. Iran is not the only country being sanctioned by the United States. Samuel Moncada, the Venezuelan ambassador to the United Nations, speaking to the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement of 120 nations on October 26, 2019, denounced the imposition of sanctions by the US, as “economic terrorism which affects a third of humanity with more than 8,000 measures in 39 countries.”

It is time to end US economic warfare and repeal these unilateral coercive measures, which violate international law.

Take Action: Join the International Days of Action Against  Sanctions
and Economic WarMarch 13 – 15, 2020

 

Sanctions are war (From havaar.org.)

Sanctions Are A Weapon of War

The United States uses sanctions against countries that resist the US’ agenda. US sanctions are designed to kill by destroying an economy through denial of access to finance, causing hyperinflation and shortages and blocking basic necessities such as food and medicine. For example, sanctions are expected to cause the death of tens of thousands of Iranians by creating a severe shortage of critical medicines and medical equipment everywhere in Iran.

Muhammad Sahimi writes that in a “letter published by The Lancet, the prestigious medical journal, three doctors working in Tehran’s MAHAK Pediatric Cancer Treatment and Research Center warned that, ‘Re-establishment of sanctions, scarcity of drugs due to the reluctance of pharmaceutical companies to deal with Iran, and a tremendous increase in oncology drug prices [due to the plummeting value of the Iranian rial by 50–70%], will inevitably lead to a decrease in survival of children with cancer.’”

Diabetes, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and asthma affect over ten million Iranians who will find essential medicines impossible to get or available only at high prices. The US claims that food and medicines are excluded from sanctions but in practice, they are not because pharmaceutical companies fear sanctions being applied to them over some technical violation and Iran cannot pay for essentials when banks can’t do business with it. European nations failed to persuade the Trump administration to ensure that essential medicine and food were available to Iranians.

In Venezuela, due to the sanctions, 180,000 medical operations have been canceled and 823,000 chronically ill patients are awaiting medicines. The Center for Economic and Policy Research found sanctions have deprived Venezuela of “billions of dollars of foreign exchange needed to pay for essential and life-saving imports,” contributing to 40,000 total deaths in 2017 and 2018. More than 300,000 Venezuelans are at risk due to a lack of access to medicine or treatment. Economists warn US sanctions could cause famine in Venezuela. Sanctions also cause shortages of parts and equipment needed for electricity generation, water systems, and transportation as well as preventing participation in the global financial market. Sanctions, which are illegal under the UN, OAS and US law, have caused mass protests in Venezuela against the US.

Sanctions against Iran and Venezuela could be a prelude to military attack; i.e., the US weakening a nation economically before attacking it. This is what happened in Iraq. Under pressure from the United States, on August 2, 1990, the UN Security Council passed sanctions that required countries to stop trading or carrying out financial transactions with Iraq. President George H.W. Bush said the UN sanctions would not be lifted “as long as Saddam Hussein is in power.” The US continued to pressure the increasingly skeptical Security Council members into compliance even though hundreds of thousands of children were dying. In 1996, then-U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright was asked about the death of as many as 500,000 children due to lack of medicine and malnutrition exacerbated by the sanctions, and she brutally replied, “[The] price is worth it.” Sanctions were also used against Libya and Syria before the US attacked them.

This is consistent with the US ‘way of war’ described by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz in “An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States,” which describes frontier counterinsurgency premised on annihilation including the destruction of food, housing, and resources as well as ruthless militarism. The US has waged a long-term economic war against Cuba (sanctions in place since 1960), North Korea (first sanctions in the 1950s, tightened in the 1980s), Zimbabwe (2003) and Iran (1979)

Sanctions hurt civilians, especially the most vulnerable – babies, children, the elderly and chronically ill – not governments. Their intent is to shrink the economy and cause chronic shortages and hyperinflation while ensuring a lack of access to finance to pay for essentials. The US then blames the targeted government claiming that corruption or socialism is the problem in an effort to turn the people against their government. This often backfires as people instead rally around the government, quiet their calls for democracy and work to develop a resistance economy.

Stop Sanctions destroying lives from BrightonAndHoveNews.org.

The Movement to End Sanctions

In recent years, a movement has been building to end the use of illegal economic coercive measures. The movement includes governments coming together in forums like the Non-Aligned Movement, made up of countries that represent 55 percent of the global population, as well as UN member-states calling for international law and the UN Charter to be upheld and social movements organizing to educate about the impact of sanctions and demand an end to their use. This June, the Non-Aligned Movement called for the end of sanctions against Venezuela.

Popular Resistance is working with groups around the world on the Global Appeal for Peace, an initiative to create a worldwide network of people and organizations that will work together to oppose the lawless actions of the United States, and any country that acts similarly. A high priority is opposing the imposition of unilateral coercive economic measures that violate the charter of the United Nations. The UN and its International Court of Justice have been ineffective in holding the US accountable for its actions. No one country or one movement has the power alone to hold the United States accountable, but together we can make a difference. Join this campaign here.

With 39 countries targeted with sanctions, and other countries impacted because they cannot trade with those countries, nations are challenging the US’ dollar domination. Countries are seeking to conduct trade without the dollar and are no longer treating the US dollar as the world’s reserve currency while also avoiding Wall Street. The de-dollarization of the global economy is a boomerang effect that is hastening due to the abuse of sanctions and will seriously weaken the US economy.

Foreign Minister Zarif, who describes sanctions as “economic terrorism,” warned that “the excessive use of economic power by the United States, and the excessive use of the dollar as a weapon in US economic terrorism against other countries, will backfire.”  As the blowback continues to grow, the negative impact on the US economy may force the US to stop using sanctions. The end of dollar domination will add to the demise of the failing US empire.

Take Action: Join the International Days of Action Against  Sanctions
and Economic War
March 13 – 15, 2020

End the Deadly Sanctions banner on the Venezuelan Embassy in Washington, DC. (From the Embassy Defense Collective.)

Time to End the Use of Illegal Economic Sanctions

The combination of countries acting against US sanctions, and people’s movements pressuring the US government has the potential to end the abuse of sanctions. The EU has moved to blunt the impact of the sanctions against Iran by creating an alternative to the US-controlled SWIFT system for trade. This is spurring the end of the dollar as the reserve currency. Some officials in the EU have called for retaliatory sanctions against the US.

Trump left a small opening for potential diplomacy with Iran that could lead to the end of sanctions against that country. Trump bragged about the US being the number one oil and gas producer, taking credit for an Obama climate crime, and therefore no longer needing to spend hundreds of millions a year to have troops in the Middle East. He concluded with a message to the “people and leaders of Iran” that the US was “ready to have peace with all those who seek it.” He said the US wanted Iran to have a “great and prosperous future with other countries of the world.”

That future is only possible if the US moves to end the sanctions against Iran. Iranians have learned the US cannot be trusted. Iran lived up to the requirements of the Iran nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, but Trump did not when he withdrew from it and re-instated draconian sanctions lifted by Obama. Trump added even move sanctions. This also angered European allies who had negotiated the agreement and were put in the position of being subservient to the US or going against it. To regain Iran’s trust, the US needs to make a good-faith gesture of ending punitive economic measures.

North Korea, which has been sanctioned by the US longer than any other country, had a similar experience after they reached an agreement with the United States in 1994 under the Clinton administration.  The George W. Bush administration wanted to put in place a national missile defense system but the agreement with North Korea blocked that. John Bolton and Dick Cheney falsely accused North Korea of violating the agreement, increased sanctions against it and claimed it was part of the Axis of Evil, along with Iran, and Iraq. North Korea, like Iran, learned they cannot trust the United States. Sanctions are causing thousands of deaths in North Korea. Now, China and Russia are allied with North Korea and are urging relief from the US sanctions. Russia and China have also ignored US sanctions against Venezuela and continue to do business with it.

On December 17, the Senate passed a Sanctions Bill that put in place sanctions against corporations working with Russia to develop gas pipelines to Europe. The action is naked US imperialism seeking to prevent Russia from being the main natural gas exporter to the EU market and to replace it with more expensive US-produced gas, a move to save the financially-underwater US fracking industry. Russia, Germany, and others have defiantly told Washington its weaponizing of economic sanctions will not halt the gas pipeline construction.

The indiscriminate, illegal and immoral use of sanctions is an act of war. Unless they are authorized by the United Nations, unilateral coercive measures are illegal. A critical objective of the peace and justice movement in the United States, working with allies around the world, must be to end this terrorist economic warfare. The US economy currently depends on financial hegemony and war. The slow, steady collapse of the dollarized economy means the 2020s will be the decade US domination comes to an end. The US must learn to be a cooperative member of the global community or risk this isolation and retaliation.

Mass Media Attacks on a Surging Sanders

CNN (1/13/19) has an anonymously sourced hit piece out today on Bernie Sanders, claiming that at a meeting in Elizabeth Warren’s home on December 18, 2018, he told her “a woman can’t win” the presidency.

The article, by CNN correspondent MJ Lee, is so journalistically shoddy that someone reading only the first few paragraphs would end up believing that it is a fact that the current top-polling candidate for the February 3 Iowa Caucus actually said that. Never is Sanders’ “quote” prefaced with the term “allegedly.”

None of the four anonymous staffers/friends making the charge of Sanders sexism were actually witnesses who were apparently in the room that day. Two, according to Lee, spoke to Warren “shortly after” that meeting. The other two “sources” were described only as people who “knew about the meeting.”

CNN: Bernie Sanders told Elizabeth Warren in private 2018 meeting that a woman can't win, sources say

CNN (1/13/19) on Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren: Let’s you and him fight.

Sanders issued a blistering denial to CNN, saying, “It is ludicrous to believe that at the same meeting where Elizabeth Warren told me she was going to run for president, I would tell her that a woman couldn’t win.” He added:

It’s sad that, three weeks before the Iowa caucus and a year after that private conversation, staff who weren’t in the room are lying about what happened. What I did say that night was that Donald Trump is a sexist, a racist and a liar who would weaponize whatever he could. Do I believe a woman can win in 2020? Of course! After all, Hillary Clinton beat Donald Trump by 3 million votes in 2016.

So far, Warren has not commented on the story, either to confirm or deny it.

The timing of this poorly sourced and poorly written story, appearing the day of a crucial candidates’ debate and days before the start of the actual primary season on a network that has been hostile to or dismissive of Sanders for years, is a journalistic outrage.

On its face, the claim allegedly made by Lee’s four anonymous sources makes no sense. Sanders is in fact on the record as far back as 1988, saying, “In my view, a woman could be elected president of the United States.” As Sanders points out in his debunking of CNN’s story, since then a woman has actually won the popular vote for the presidency;  Hillary Clinton, whom Sanders campaigned for, could have won the electoral college as well, if she hadn’t neglected campaigning in key battleground states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

Why were CNN’s sources allowed to makes such an explosive, far-fetched claim anonymously? Anonymity is most justifiably granted to protect sources from retaliation for revealing damaging information about their superiors; would Warren staffers (assuming they were the source) be fired for giving an accurate account of their candidate’s conversation? When corporate media withhold the names of sources to allow them to make attacks against rivals without political consequences, that is an abuse of anonymous sourcing.

Sanders is clearly alarming powerful elements of America’s ruling elite: corporate executives who fear what is now being considered a possible Sanders presidency, and Democratic Party leaders who fear a Sanders presidential nomination will cut the party off from the river of cash it and its favored candidates have been collecting for decades from major industrial sectors, from Wall Street to Hollywood to the arms industry and the healthcare industrial complex. Not to mention the corporate media that are backed by ads from all these sectors.

This hit piece has the feel of the kind of attack that Sanders supporter Norman Solomon (Common Dreams, 12/27/19) warned of once Sanders’ polling began taking off and he could no longer be simply ignored.

  • First published at FAIR.
  • Letter to the Young People of Hong Kong

    Now that your city has been in flames for more than six months, your families divided, and no end to the violence is in sight, I have decided to write this short essay, in the form of an open letter, to the young people of Hong Kong.

    First of all, I want to ask: Why?

    Why all this smoke and fire, wrath and violence? Were your lives, before the so-called “protests”, or “riots”, really so dismal?

    You have been living in one of the richest cities on earth. Even according to Western evaluations, Hong Kong has one of the highest “freedom indexes”, higher than that of most of Western countries.

    Water that comes from your taps is clean, the Internet is extremely fast, public transportation is cheap and one of the best in the world. You can enjoy an exciting cultural life, as well as great public spaces constructed along your impressive coasts.

    Naturally, Hong Kong is not a perfect place, as there are no perfect places on this planet.

    Your housing is some of the most expensive in the world. Job opportunities for college graduates are not really excellent. Some cities on Mainland China are now more exciting places to live, to create and to dream, than ‘good old’ Hong Kong. But still, it is a fascinating, solid city, with its own culture, mindset and complex history. And in many ways, it is a beautiful city; beautiful and unique.

    So, why? What happened? Why suddenly such anger, and such frustration?

    Should we talk? Please let’s.

    *****

    I have worked in around 160 countries and territories on all continents. I have written about and I have filmed many wars and conflicts. I have been covering revolutions and rebellions, but also terrible riots ignited by Western countries. You probably have heard about the so-called “Color Revolutions”, or the “Arab Spring”.

    I have witnessed, first hand, the fate of countries that have been occupied and then thoroughly destroyed by the United States and NATO: Afghanistan and Syria, Iraq and Colombia, to name just a few. I have seen millions of ruined lives in nations where the West overthrew left-wing governments, and then injected fascism: places like Indonesia (1965), and Chile (1973). Now there is nothing left of Indonesia; its nature is thoroughly ruined and the great majority lives in misery. In Chile, people have stood up, and are proudly fighting and dying for socialism which was stolen from them by Western governments and corporations.

    I have lived and worked all over the African continent, the most devastated part of the world, colonized and terrorized first by Europe, and later by the United States, for many centuries.

    lat-love for the US

    In Hong Kong, I see you waving flags of the United States. You want that country to “save you from China” (from your own nation, in essence). I have read a translation of your school curriculum. It smears China, and it glorifies the West. Were you told, ever, that in the name of that flag, consisting of the stars and stripes, tens of millions of people, worldwide, were murdered, democracies were raped, and freedom of expression horrendously oppressed? Or are you only reading what is brought to you by Reuters and other Western press agencies?

    When waving the U.K. flags, nostalgically recalling your British masters and their rule over Hong Kong, do you even think about some of the most monstrous crimes committed in the history of humankind? On all continents of the world, the British Empire murdered, humiliated, violated and plundered; hundreds of millions of people. Human beings were reduced to slaves. Their lives, identities, were reduced to nothing.

    Were you told this? Do you realize it? When you wave these flags, when your leaders are taking bribes from the U.S. and the E.U. establishment, do you ever think what kind of money you are touching? Do you ever consider that this money is soaked in blood?

    I saw several of you demanding “independence from China”. I even witnessed some of you calling China a “terrorist” state.

    Have you ever, seriously, compared the Chinese political system to that, so-called, “democracy” of the West?

    Let me give you a simple quiz: In the last decades, how many countries have been attacked by China, and how many by the West? Just do a simple calculation, please. It is so simple; so clear. How many countries have been bombed to the ground, and thoroughly ruined by China, and how many by the West?

    And democracy? In China, the government listens to its people. In reality, democracy means nothing more than the direct translation from Greek – rule of the people. In PRC, the government is working to improve the lives of its citizens, while building a global infrastructure for all (BRC). Now, look at the West: most of the citizens in North America and Europe hate their system, but cannot get rid of it. Some of you regularly travel to the West: don’t you hear what the people are saying there?

    In the last two decades, China has lifted up hundreds of millions out of poverty. In the West, the governments have buried billions of people in misery in all their colonies. Despite of the terrible plunder of the world, tens of millions are destitute at home, in both North America and Europe.

    Despite of the not too high GDP per capita, China has almost no misery, while tens of millions of the U.S. citizens are living in poverty. There are many more prisoners (per capita) in the U.S. prisons, than in the Chinese ones.

    Many U.S. prisons are now privatized: it is a big business. The more that are held behind bars, the bigger the profit!

    Is this a system in which you’d want to live? Is it, really?

    I know the West very well. And I know China. These days, in Hong Kong, some of you are waving Western flags, while insulting Beijing.

    The West has the most powerful propaganda on earth. It has the ability to twist everything; to call black – white, and vice versa.

    But frankly, it is Beijing, which has the ability and desire to help solve the problems of Hong Kong.

    Do you really think that Washington, London or Berlin are genuinely interested in helping your city? I am convinced that they only want to break China, and to continue ruling over the world.

    To conclude this letter, let me say what has to be said: After speaking to people that are now angrily waving black banners, as well as U.S. and U.K. flags, I realized that they know very little about the state of the world. And, they do not want to listen to different points of view. When confronted intellectually, they become violent.

    That is not a democratic approach; not at all.

    I suggest we talk. Publicly. Let us debate the very definitions of democracy. Let us discuss who has done more harm to the world: China or the West? I am ready, anytime.

    If the leaders of Hong Kong riots, or “protests” are confident that they are correct, let us face each other, in front of microphones and cameras.

    I love your city. I love Hong Kong. I love China. And I strongly believe that China and Hong Kong are one beautiful, inseparable entity.

    I am ready to give my best, proving that point.

    • Photos by Andre Vltchek

    * First published by China Daily/Hong Kong