Category Archives: US War Crimes

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.

Iraq:  Why Doesn’t the US Move Out Despite the Iraqi Parliament’s Decision?

Why doesn’t the U.S. respect the decision made by the Iraqi Parliament and move out of Iraqi territory? The short answer is, because the US doesn’t respect anybody’s – any country’s – decision or sovereignty, as long as it doesn’t meet their objectives.

Now, the US is steadfast and will not leave the region. Already President Assad has requested that the US leave Syrian territory. They didn’t. The stakes are too immense for the US. It has all to do with their move towards world hegemony by territory and by finance – meaning by the US dollar.

The conflict with Iran is not over by any means. We are just experiencing a respite for regrouping and subsequently continuing and escalating the conflict. US bases in Iraq and military presence, at present more than 5,000 troops, are the most convenient means of force against Iran.

Other than controlling the rich and highly strategic territory of the Middle-East as an important step towards world hegemony, the US continuous presence in the region also has to do with profits for the war industry and with the price and control of hydrocarbons, especially gas.

We have seen, soon after the cowardly murder of General Qassem Suleimani, the share values of the war industry jump up, of course, in anticipation of a hot war and huge weapons sales. The war industry profits insanely from killing. Wars and conflicts are increasingly what drives the western economies. Already in the US the war industry and related industries and services make up for about half of the country’s GDP. The US economy without war is unthinkable. Therefore, the Middle-East is a perfect eternal battle ground – a sine qua non for the west. War is addictive. The western economy is already addicted to it. But most people haven’t realized that – yet. Revolving and renewed conflicts and wars is a must. Imagine, if the US were to leave the Middle-East, PEACE might break out. This is not admissible. Soon, your job may depend on war — if you live in the west.

Then there is the Iranian gas. Daily 20% to 25% of all the energy consumed to drive the world’s economy – including wars – transits through the Golf of Hormuz which is controlled by Iran. Immediately after the heinous murder on General Suleimani, the oil and gas prices spiked by about 4%, later declining again. This, in anticipation of a major conflict which could have Iran reduce her gas production, or block the passage of Hormuz. In either case a collapse of the world economy could not be excluded.

As a parenthesis – it is so absolutely necessary that the world frees itself from this nefarious source of energy – hydrocarbons – and converts to other, cheaper, cleaner and FREER sources of power to drive our industries and activities. Like solar energy of which Mother Earth receives every day more than 10,000 times what it needs for all her industrial and creative activities on every Continent.

The US, with a flailing multi-trillion fracking industry which just failed the European market, due Russian gas via Nord Stream2, and just inaugurated Turkstream, would like to control the price of hydrocarbon, so as to revive the highly indebted fracking industry. What better way than to control Iran, and her enormous reserves of gas, shared with Qatar?

Then there is the close alliance between Iran and China — China being Iran’s largest customer of gas. China is perceived by Washington as a deadly competitor, and barring her from the energy that makes China’s economy thrive, is one of those devilish objectives of the United States. They are unable to compete on an even playing field. Cheating, lying and manipulating has become part of their, and the western, life style. It is deeply ingrained in western history and culture.

Of,course, there are other ways of supplying China with the hydrocarbons she needs. Russia, with the world’s largest gas reserves, could easily increase her supplies.

In brief, the US is unlikely to leave the Middle-East, although some generals – and even some high-ranking Pentagon brass – believe this would be the smartest thing to do. They see the light, and the light is not war, but PEACE.

What could Iraq do to get the US out of Iraq and eventually out of the Region? After all, the Iraqi Parliament has taken a majority decision to regain Iraq’s sovereignty and autonomy, without foreign troops. Most countries with troops stationed in Iraq respect that decision. Denmark, Australia, Poland and Germany are preparing to move their troops out of Iraq. Only the UK with her 800 military men and women decided for now to stay alongside the US.

Iraq may want to strengthened her alliance with Russia and China, hereby increasing the pressure on the US to honor Iraq’s sovereign request for the US to leave. How much that would take to materialize, if at all, is a difficult question to answer. Maybe ‘never’. Except, if the US-dollar hegemony over western economies can be broken. And at the moment, a strong down-turn of the dollar’s role in the world economy is showing, as the western world is increasingly seeking ways to de-dollarize her economy and to associate with the East, led by China and Russia, where de-dollarization is advancing rapidly.

When that happens, chances are that the US of A’s dictates over the nations of the world will be mute, will not be listened to anymore, and that Washington will have to rethink its future, and very likely a US presence in the Middle-East will be history.

Reckless US Actions Fire Up The Antiwar Movement

The reckless and dangerous act of war committed by Donald Trump and the Pentagon in killing Major General Qasem Soleimani of Iran and the Iraqi leader of the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, has brought the conflict in the Middle East (aka West Asia) to a new level. The conflagration of war is growing with the United States making this direct attack on a top Iranian official in violation of Iraqi sovereignty.

As expected, the corporate media and many politicians are spreading lies to justify the murders and further aggression towards Iran. It is important for us to understand the facts so we can respond to this misinformation and avoid being lied into yet another war.

Fortunately, there was a rapid response in the United States with actions in more than 82 cities in 38 states involving tens of thousands of people to protest more war on Iran. [See our message to Iran here.] It is imperative, and the ingredients are in place for it, that the antiwar movement grows exponentially very quickly and becomes a major force in 2020. The combination of opposition to never-ending, always-expanding wars, hatred of Donald Trump, the 2020 election year and pent up frustration over massive military spending can create a movement more dangerous to Trump than the toothless Democratic Party impeachment.

January 4 march in Washington, DC. Shawn Thew/EPA/EFE.

The Assassination of Soleimani was Based on Falsehoods

As expected, corporate media in the US is pushing lies to rationalize the crimes committed by the US. In reality, the justifications used by the US for the assassination were false. The primary claim used to justify the attack is that Soleimani was planning imminent attacks on US forces. In fact, Moon of Alabama reports that Soleimani was not planing any “imminent attacks” on the US or its interests in Iraq. In no way was Soleimani a legitimate target for a US attack.

Moon of Alabama writes:

The Quds force [which Soleimani led] is the external arm of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. Soleimani was responsible for all relations between Iran and political and militant movements outside of Iran…. He was the man responsible for, and successful in, defeating the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. In 2015, Soleimani traveled to Moscow and convinced Russia to intervene in Syria. His support for the Houthi in Yemen enabled them to withstand the Saudi attackers.

In all these instances, Soleimani was standing up against US imperialism. These actions made him a target of the US military establishment and a hero in Iran and allied nations.

There have been vague claims that Soleimani killed a US contractor, but this is in doubt. As Scott Ritter writes:

There are several problems with this narrative, first and foremost being that the bases bombed were reportedly more than 500 kilometers removed from the military base where the civilian contractor had been killed. The Iraqi units housed at the bombed facilities, including Khaitab Hezbollah, were engaged, reportedly, in active combat operations against ISIS remnants operating in both Iraq and Syria. This calls into question whether they would be involved in an attack against an American target. In fact, given the recent resurgence of ISIS, it is entirely possible that ISIS was responsible for the attack on the U.S. base, creating a scenario where the U.S. served as the de facto air force for ISIS by striking Iraqi forces engaged in anti-ISIS combat operations.

Following the alleged killing of this unnamed US contractor, the US military bombed members of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU) killing dozens and wounding about 50 people. In response to this outrageous action – imagine a Chinese contractor being killed in the US and China responds by bombing our domestic military bases – Iraqis stormed the US Embassy in Baghdad. The assassination of Soleimani was apparently in response to the protests at the embassy.

Prior to these events, Iraqis had been protesting their government and were divided over the US and Iran’s involvement in the country. However, now the country is united against the United States and the Parliament voted to expel the US from the country. Before that vote, Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi told the Parliament he was scheduled to meet with Soleimani a day after his arrival to receive a letter from Iran in response to a de-escalation offer Saudi Arabia had made. The US assassinated Soleimani shortly after his arrival at the Baghdad civilian airport and before the letter could be delivered.

Iranians march in the southwestern city of Ahvaz to pay homage to top general Qassem Soleimani (Hossein Mersadi/fars news)

The Fallout

The United States has been waging a war of “maximum pressure” on Iran throughout the past year to no avail. Iran has been measured in its responses to the US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, increased illegal unilateral coercive measures (aka sanctions), threats of attack and false accusations against Iran. This assassination is a new level of criminality and recklessness. General Soleimani was loved and revered in Iran and throughout the region. Since his murder, Iranians and Iraqis have poured into the streets to mourn him and al-Muhandis and to call for action.

Iran has promised, “forceful revenge” but Iran is not seeking a war with the US. Unlike the US’ action, which doesn’t seem to be thought through, Iran will be deliberate to achieve strategic objectives. While rapid escalation is possible, more likely is a long-term careful response by Iran. An asymmetrical response, which is the strategy put in place by Soleimani, is the most likely. Iran’s control of the Strait of Hormuz, where one-third of the world’s oil passes, could choke the world’s oil supply resulting in increased prices that risk a recession in the US and globally. Already, oil prices are rising.

Iran can act diplomatically to further isolate the United States. Scott Ritter writes:

The diplomatic missions Suleimani may have been undertaking at the time of his death centered on gaining regional support for pressuring the United States to withdraw from both Syria and Iraq. Of the two, Iraq was, and is, the highest priority, if for no other reason that there can be no sustained US military presence in Syria without the existence of a major US military presence in Iraq.

The 16,000 people working at the massive US embassy in Baghdad could also be forced out of Iraq. Muqtada al-Sadr has already said in a letter that Iraq should go further and shut down the US embassy. The State Department has ordered all US citizens to leave Iraq.

Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, Iran’s former defense minister and current military adviser to Ayatollah Khamenei, says Iran is not seeking war with the United States and will only target military sites. There are also military targets in the region that could be attacked by Iranian allies including those of the US and its allies such as Israel.  General Gholamali Abuhamzeh, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, said: “Some 35 US targets in the region, as well as Tel Aviv, are within our reach.”

An escalation of the situation could occur no matter what Iran does because of actions by the United States. Yesterday, President Trump was threatening to bomb 52 targets in Iran, including historic sites. Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote in response that “Targeting cultural sites is a WAR CRIME.” Zarif sent letters to both the UN Security Council and the UN to condemn the US’ actions. 

The US announced it is sending 3,500 more troops from the 82nd Airborne Division to Iraq, adding to the 5,000 already there, at the same time that the Iraqi Parliament, Premier, and Prime Minister have called for the US to leave Iraq. The US will either leave voluntarily or it will remain as an illegal occupying force. And Iran just announced that it is leaving the nuclear agreement. Although Iran has not stated an intention of building nuclear weapons, leaving the agreement opens that door.

US Out of Iraq

Iran’s first goal of removing the US from Iraq, Syria and the Middle East was advanced on Sunday when the Iraqi Parliament voted to expel the US military from the country. Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi described the murders as “a political assassination” and urged “for the sake of our national sovereignty” that Iraq establish a timetable for the exit of US troops.

Shia PMU groups have already declared they will do whatever they can to evict the US military from Iraqi soil. The US killed their leaders and comrades so they will take action independent of Iran. Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shia cleric who commands millions of followers in Iraq, has given orders to reactivate his military to force the US out. Millions of people in Iraq joined processions remembering Soleimani and al-Muhandis. These Iraqis will be ready to take action to force the US to leave if the US does not abide by the Iraqi government’s request.

An unfortunate outcome of the US’ actions is that not only have very effective leaders in the fight against ISIS been killed, but the Iraqi PMU is now diverting its efforts away from stopping ISIS to focus on US troops. This is one more reason why the US needs to leave Iraq, and ideally the whole Middle East. US foreign policy over the past decades has brought instability to the region and made the world more insecure. It’s time for people in the United States to increase our calls for the US to get out of Iraq and the whole Middle East.

Anti-war activists march in Washington DC on Jan 4 in reaction to Trump’s assassination of General Soleimani and commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes.

Our Next Steps

The mobilizations across the country yesterday were large and energetic. Many youth and new faces showed up. The messages were clear about opposition to more war on Iran and sanctions, demanding the US get out of the Middle East and calling out the bipartisan war machine. The root causes of capitalism and imperialism were also condemned. In 2020, we can build a people’s peace movement that cannot be ignored.

Congress returns to Washington, DC on Tuesday. We need to send a clear message upon their return that there must not be any more aggression on Iran and that the Authorization for the Use of Military Force must be repealed immediately. Click here to call Congress. You can also call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. We need to pressure all members of Congress and candidates to speak out against the war on Iran.

We will also need to continue educating ourselves and members of our communities to counter the lies being told in the media. All wars are based on lies and we must be able to recognize them when we hear them. Sharing articles on social media, writing letters to the editor and holding teach-ins and public forums in your communities can counter the corporate media claims.

And we will need to continue to protest in the streets. There will be more calls for days of action, but you can also organize your own. Find a highly-trafficked location such as a transit center or a public square and hold regular vigils to show your opposition. Hold a protest at your member of Congress’ office. If you are more ambitious, you can organize disruptive actions. Have a sit-in at your local weapons producer’s office, for example.

These reckless actions by the US military create dangerous and uncertain times, but it is also an opportunity to demand significant changes to US foreign policy. The US is losing imperial power and cannot continue to be a bully that violates international law. It is time to transform from domination to being a cooperative member of the world community. It is time to put in place a peace economy that creates economic security at home and abroad. The US is a young nation that has much to learn from more mature civilizations like Iran if we can only stop misbehaving long enough to listen.

Operation Condor 2.0 Expanded

According to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the US will help “legitimate governments” in Latin America, in order to prevent protests from “morphing into riots”.

From what we are seeing this “legitimization” may be expanded to rest of the world. Because Washington-instigated destabilizing unrest goes on throughout the world. We may as well call it “Operation Condor 2.0 – Expanded”. It promises to become devastating, oppressive and murderous on all Continents. A transformation from whatever ‘freedom’ may have existed to neoliberal dictatorships bending towards neofascism.

The original “Operation Condor” was a campaign by the United States to bring ‘order’ into her backyard; i.e., Latin America. In other words, it was a repressive move that started in 1968 and concluded around the time of the fall of the Berlin Wall. We are talking about more than 20 years of right-wing repression especially, but not exclusively directed, on the Southern Cone of South America.

It included such military dictators like Jorge Rafael Videla in Argentina. He came to power in 1976 by a US supported military coup, deposing Isabel Martinez de Perón. Comandante Videla stayed in power during five years until 1981, a period in which he brutally oppressed Argentinians, especially the opposition. It is reported that during this period more than 30,000 people ‘disappeared’ – never to return. They were tortured and killed. Some of the dissidents were dropped from helicopters into the Rio de Plata.

Another, better known dictator was Augusto Pinochet, who was directly helped by the CIA and then President Nixon’s National Security Adviser, Henry Kissinger – to overturn the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in a bloody coup on 11 September 1973. Pinochet introduced as a first in Latin America neoliberal economics through a group of economists from the Economic School of Chicago, the so-called “Chicago Boys”. The resulting austerity brought extreme poverty and famine to Chileans. The ensuing 17 years were a horror, with over 40,000 people ‘disappeared’ or outright murdered.

Other countries that went through one or several “Operation Condor” cleansings, included Ecuador, Colombia, Brazil, Bolivia, Uruguay, Paraguay, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and possibly others. It was a despicable and deadly period for Latin America. In all, an estimated 80,000 to 100,000 people were killed and some 400,00 taken as political prisoners.

Secretary Pompeo’s words could not be clearer. He added that protests in Bolivia, Chile, Colombia and Ecuador reflect the “character of legitimate democratic governments and democratic expression. We’ll work with legitimate governments to prevent protests from morphing into riots and violence that don’t reflect the democratic will of the people.”

Not to forget any invented villains, he added, the US will “continue to support countries trying to prevent Cuba and Venezuela from hijacking those protests.” He went on and accused Russia of “malign” influence in Latin America and of “propping up” the democratically elected Venezuelan government of Nicolas Maduro.

Such remarks come after the US-led November 10 military coup in Bolivia. Amazing that nobody dares stand up and answer him. Are all afraid?

And this especially in the light of having in Bolivia now an opposition dictator, the self-declared interim President (much like Venezuela’s Juan Guaidó),Jeanine Añez, who acts with impunity following fascists and racist orders from Washington – indiscriminately killing her own country-women and men – who happen to be indigenous people. Although she promised new elections, Añez has not set a date, but rather is undoing almost everything Evo Morales has achieved for the people of Bolivia, by privatizing public assets and services, as well as abolishing social safety nets by decree.

Pompeo concluded by saying there remains an “awful lot of work to do” in the region, meaning Latin America as the US’s “back yard.” He also warned against “predatory Chinese activities” in the region, which he claimed can lead countries to make deals that “seem attractive” but are “bad” for citizens.

The new repression that we see in Latin America is not homogenous. In Chile at the surface it looks like the protests started over a metro-fare hike of the equivalent of 4 cents (US-dollar cents) – and then expanded violently to oppose political and economic injustice in Chile, directed against Chile’s neoliberal President, Sebastian Piñera. In Bolivia protests are against an US-induced military coup; in Ecuador they are directed against an austerity-inflicting IMF loan, in Colombia, they appeared suddenly against the corruption and injustice of the Iván Duque presidency; and in Brazil, against the neofascist austerity reforms by Jair Bolsonaro. Copy cats? What’s good for our neighbors, is good for us? – I don’t think so.

It looks much more like a concerted effort by the US to enhance and bolster protests from whatever side they come, to be able to install fully repressive governments, of course, with the help of the US and her secret services – funded by the usual NED (National Endowment for Democracy) and other NGOs that would help install within the respective governments strong 5th Columns, so as to detect early warning signals and crackdown in time on any opposition.

“Operation Condor 2.0 Expanded” – Expanded refers to similar violent protests going on in other parts of the world – practically simultaneously. Take Lebanon, Iraq, Iran, Ukraine, Afghanistan, and now France.  No matter from which side they come repression and state of siege, if necessary, are of the order – total repression, that is. All with the help of the US – and, not to forget NATO. This is certainly a key justification to keep NATO alive — to avoid opposition to spread and to risk abolishing the faltering US hegemony.

We are, indeed, in the midst of a new “Operation Condor”; or “Operation Condor 2.0 – Expanded”. Full repression worldwide. In preparation of the next planned global recession, planned by the US-led western banking and financial sector, a recession that will likely outdo whatever we have known in the recent past, and make the 2008 /09 downfall look like a walk in the park. The repression now, it is hoped, will prevent people from going on the barricades when they suffer the next cut in salaries, pensions and other social services, already at an unlivable level.  Authoritarianism and tyranny must be efficient and total with a para-military police, enhanced by the armed forces, if necessary. It’s going to be another transfer of assets and social capital from the bottom to the top.

This has been sensed perhaps intuitively by the French – who have been protesting in the form of Yellow Vests against Macron’s regime for more than a year – and now in the form of a CGT- syndicate organized open-ended general strike. Repression is massive – an estimated 1.5 million people in the streets of the major French cities, all public transportation disrupted. There have even been rumors that the police forces may also join the strike, because they realize they are part of the oppressed and abused by Macron’s neoliberal austerity policies. This is reflected by the four times higher suicide rates among police officers, as compared to the average French.

China and Russia beware. The rogue nation and bulldozer won’t stop necessarily in front of your borders. To the contrary, they may seek any entry they can get – as they are already doing in China with Hong Kong, not letting go despite the various concessions already made by HK’s Chief Executive, Carrie Lam, supported by Beijing; and also in the autonomous Region of Xinjiang, with the mostly Muslim Uyghur people, many of whom are being recruited  by the CIA across the border from Afghanistan, trained and funded to cause destabilizing unrest.

In view of all of this, President Putin’s recent overture to Israel, especially to PM Netanyahu, is worrisome. Netanyahu is by all accounts part of the repressive wave engulfing our Mother Earth, and, in addition, with his cruel policies against Palestine, he may be considered a mass-murderer.

Iraqis Rise Up Against 16 Years of ‘Made in the USA’ Corruption

As Americans sat down to Thanksgiving dinner, Iraqis were mourning 40 protesters killed by police and soldiers on Thursday in Baghdad, Najaf and Nasiriyah. Nearly 400 protesters have been killed since hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets at the beginning of October. Human rights groups have described the crisis in Iraq as a “bloodbath,” Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi has announced he will resign, and Sweden has opened an investigation against Iraqi Defense Minister Najah Al-Shammari, who is a Swedish citizen, for crimes against humanity.

According to Al Jazeera, “Protesters are demanding the overthrow of a political class seen as corrupt and serving foreign powers while many Iraqis languish in poverty without jobs, healthcare or education.” Only 36% of the adult population of Iraq have jobs, and despite the gutting of the public sector under U.S. occupation, its tattered remnants still employ more people than the private sector, which fared even worse under the violence and chaos of the U.S.’s militarized shock doctrine.

Western reporting conveniently casts Iran as the dominant foreign player in Iraq today. But while Iran has gained enormous influence and is one of the targets of the protests, most of the people ruling Iraq today are still the former exiles that the U.S. flew in with its occupation forces in 2003, “coming to Iraq with empty pockets to fill” as a taxi-driver in Baghdad told a Western reporter at the time. The real causes of Iraq’s unending political and economic crisis are these former exiles’ betrayal of their country, their endemic corruption and the U.S.’s illegitimate role in destroying Iraq’s government, handing it over to them and maintaining them in power for 16 years.

The corruption of both U.S. and Iraqi officials during the U.S. occupation is well documented. UN Security Council resolution 1483 established a $20 billion Development Fund for Iraq using previously seized Iraqi assets, money left in the UN’s “oil for food” program and new Iraqi oil revenues. An audit by KPMG and a special inspector general found that a huge proportion of that money was stolen or embezzled by U.S. and Iraqi officials.

Lebanese customs officials found $13 million in cash aboard Iraqi-American interim Interior Minister Falah Naqib’s plane. Occupation crime boss Paul Bremer maintained a $600 million slush fund with no paperwork. An Iraqi government ministry with 602 employees collected salaries for 8,206. A U.S. Army officer doubled the price on a contract to rebuild a hospital, and told the hospital’s director the extra cash was his “retirement package.” A U.S. contractor billed $60 million on a $20 million contract to rebuild a cement factory, and told Iraqi officials they should just be grateful the U.S. had saved them from Saddam Hussein. A U.S. pipeline contractor charged $3.4 million for non-existent workers and “other improper charges.” Out of 198 contracts reviewed by the inspector general, only 44 had documentation to confirm the work was done.

U.S. “paying agents” distributing money for projects around Iraq pocketed millions of dollars in cash.The inspector general only investigated one area, around Hillah, but found $96.6 million dollars unaccounted for in that area alone.  One American agent could not account for $25 million, while another could only account for $6.3 million out of $23 million. The “Coalition Provisional Authority” used agents like these all over Iraq and simply “cleared” their accounts when they left the country. One agent who was challenged came back the next day with $1.9 million in missing cash.

The U.S. Congress also budgeted $18.4 billion for reconstruction in Iraq in 2003, but apart from $3.4 billion diverted to “security,” less than $1 billion of it was ever disbursed. Many Americans believe U.S. oil companies have made out like bandits in Iraq, but that’s not true either. The plans that Western oil companies drew up with Vice President Cheney in 2001 had that intent, but a law to grant Western oil companies lucrative “production sharing agreements” (PSAs) worth tens of billions per year was exposed as a smash and grab raid and the Iraqi National Assembly refused to pass it.

Finally, in 2009, Iraq’s leaders and their U.S. puppet-masters gave up on PSAs (for the time being…) and invited foreign oil companies to bid on “technical service agreements” (TSAs) worth $1 to $6 per barrel for increases in production from Iraqi oilfields. Ten years later, production has only increased to 4.6 million barrels per day, of which 3.8 million are exported. From Iraqi oil exports of about $80 billion per year, foreign firms with TSAs earn only $1.4 billion, and the largest contracts are not held by U.S. firms. China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) is earning about $430 million in 2019; BP earns $235 million; Malaysia’s Petronas $120 million; Russia’s Lukoil $105 million; and Italy’s ENI $100 million. The bulk of Iraq’s oil revenues still flow through the Iraq National Oil Company (INOC) to the corrupt U.S.-backed government in Baghdad.

Another legacy of the U.S. occupation is Iraq’s convoluted election system and the undemocratic horse-trading by which the executive branch of the Iraqi government is selected. The 2018 election was contested by 143 parties grouped into 27 coalitions or “lists,” plus 61 other independent parties. Ironically, this is similar to the contrived, multi-layered political system the British created to control Iraq and exclude Shiites from power after the Iraqi revolt of 1920.

Today, this corrupt system keeps dominant power in the hands of a cabal of corrupt Shiite and Kurdish politicians who spent many years in exile in the West, working with Ahmed Chalabi’s U.S.-based Iraqi National Congress (INC), Ayad Allawi’s U.K.-based Iraqi National Accord (INA) and various factions of the Shiite Islamist Dawa Party. Voter turnout has dwindled from 70% in 2005 to 44.5% in 2018.

Ayad Allawi and the INA were the instrument for the CIA’s hopelessly bungled military coup in Iraq in 1996. The Iraqi government followed every detail of the plot on a closed-circuit radio handed over by one of the conspirators and arrested all the CIA’s agents inside Iraq on the eve of the coup. It executed thirty military officers and jailed a hundred more, leaving the CIA with no human intelligence from inside Iraq.

Ahmed Chalabi and the INC filled that vacuum with a web of lies that warmongering U.S. officials fed into the echo chamber of the U.S. corporate media to justify the invasion of Iraq. On June 26th 2002, the INC sent a letter to the Senate Appropriations Committee to lobby for more U.S. funding. It identified its “Information Collection Program” as the primary source for 108 stories about Iraq’s fictitious “Weapons of Mass Destruction” and links to Al-Qaeda in U.S. and international newspapers and magazines.

After the invasion, Allawi and Chalabi became leading members of the U.S. occupation’s Iraqi Governing Council. Allawi was appointed Prime Minister of Iraq’s interim government in 2004, and Chalabi was appointed Deputy Prime Minister and Oil Minister in the transitional government in 2005. Chalabi failed to win a seat in the 2005 National Assembly election, but was later elected to the assembly and remained a powerful figure until his death in 2015. Allawi and the INA are still involved in the horse-trading for senior positions after every election, despite never getting more than 8% of the votes – and only 6% in 2018.

These are the senior ministers of the new Iraqi government formed after the 2018 election, with some details of their Western backgrounds:

Adil Abdul-Mahdi – Prime Minister (France). Born in Baghdad in 1942. Father was a government minister under the British-backed monarchy. Lived in France from 1969-2003, earning a Ph.D in politics at Poitiers. In France, he became a follower of Ayatollah Khomeini and a founding member of the Iran-based Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI) in 1982. Was SCIRI’s representative in Iraqi Kurdistan for a period in the 1990s. After the invasion, he became Finance Minister in Allawi’s interim government in 2004; Vice President from 2005-11; Oil Minister from 2014-16.

Barham Salih – President (U.K. and U.S.). Born in Sulaymaniyah in 1960. Ph.D. in Engineering (Liverpool – 1987). Joined Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) in 1976. Jailed for 6 weeks in in 1979 and left Iraq for the U.K.  PUK representative in London from 1979-91; head of PUK office in Washington from 1991-2001. President of Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) from 2001-4; Deputy PM in interim Iraqi government in 2004; Planning Minister in transitional government in 2005; Deputy PM from 2006-9; Prime Minister of KRG from 2009-12.

Mohamed Ali Alhakim – Foreign Minister (U.K. and U.S.). Born in Najaf in 1952. M.Sc. (Birmingham), Ph.D. in Telecom Engineering (Southern California), Professor at Northeastern University in Boston 1995-2003. After the invasion, he became Deputy Secretary-General and Planning Coordinator in the Iraqi Governing Council; Communications Minister in interim government in 2004; Planning Director at Foreign Ministry, and Economic Adviser to VP Abdul-Mahdi from 2005-10; and UN Ambassador from 2010-18.

Fuad Hussein – Finance Minister and Deputy PM (Netherlands and France). Born in Khanaqin (majority Kurdish town in Diyala province) in 1946. Joined Kurdish Student Union and Kurdish Democratic Party (KDP) as a student in Baghdad. Lived in Netherlands from 1975-87; incomplete Ph.D. in International Relations; married to Dutch Christian woman. Appointed deputy head of Kurdish Institute in Paris in 1987. Attended Iraqi exile political conferences in Beirut (1991), New York (1999) and London (2002). After the invasion, he became an adviser at the Education Ministry from 2003-5; and Chief of Staff to Masoud Barzani, President of the KRG, from 2005-17.

Thamir Ghadhban – Oil Minister and Deputy PM (U.K.). Born in Karbala in 1945. B.Sc. (UCL) and M.Sc. in Petroleum Engineering (Imperial College, London). Joined Basra Petroleum Co. in 1973. Director General of Engineering and then Planning at Iraqi Oil Ministry from 1989-92. Imprisoned for 3 months and demoted in 1992, but did not leave Iraq, and was reappointed Director General of Planning in 2001. After the invasion, he was promoted to CEO of Oil Ministry; Oil Minister in the interim government in 2004; elected to National Assembly in 2005 and served on 3-man committee that drafted the failed oil law; chaired Prime Minister’s Advisors’ Committee from 2006-16.

Major General (Retd) Najah Al-Shammari – Defense Minister (Sweden). Born in Baghdad in 1967. The only Sunni Arab among senior ministers. Military officer since 1987. Has lived in Sweden and may have been member of Allawi’s INA before 2003. Senior officer in U.S.-backed Iraqi special forces recruited from INC, INA and Kurdish Peshmerga from 2003-7. Deputy commander of “counterterrorism” forces 2007-9. Residency in Sweden 2009-15. Swedish citizen since 2015. Reportedly under investigation for benefits fraud in Sweden, and now for crimes against humanity in killing of over 300 protesters in October-November 2019.

In 2003, the U.S. and its allies unleashed unspeakable, systematic violence against the people of Iraq. Public health experts reliably estimated that the first three years of war and hostile military occupation cost about 650,000 Iraqi lives. But the U.S. did succeed in installing a puppet government of formerly Western-based Shiite and Kurdish politicians in the fortified Green Zone in Baghdad, with control over Iraq’s oil revenues. As we can see, many of the ministers in the U.S.-appointed interim government in 2004 are still ruling Iraq today.

U.S. forces deployed ever-escalating violence against Iraqis who resisted the invasion and hostile military occupation of their country. In 2004, the U.S. began training a large force of Iraqi police commandos for the Interior Ministry, and uunleashed commando units recruited from SCIRI’s Badr Brigade militia as death squads in Baghdad in April 2005. This U.S.-backed reign of terror peaked in the summer of 2006, with the corpses of as many as 1,800 victims brought to the Baghdad morgue each month. An Iraqi human rights group examined 3,498 bodies of summary execution victims and identified 92% of them as people arrested by Interior Ministry forces.

The U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency tracked “enemy-initiated attacks” throughout the occupation and found that over 90% were against U.S. and allied military targets, not “sectarian” attacks on civilians.  But U.S. officials used a narrative of “sectarian violence” to blame the work of U.S.-trained Interior Ministry death squads on independent Shiite militias like Muqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army.

The government Iraqis are protesting against today is still led by the same gang of U.S.-backed Iraqi exiles who wove a web of lies to stage manage the invasion of their own country in 2003, and then hid behind the walls of the Green Zone while U.S. forces and death squads slaughtered their people to make the country “safe” for their corrupt government.

More recently they again acted as cheerleaders as American bombsrockets and artillery reduced most of Mosul, Iraq’s second city, to rubble, after twelve years of occupation, corruption and savage repression drove its people into the arms of the Islamic State. Kurdish intelligence reports revealed that more than 40,000 civilians were killed in the U.S.-led destruction of Mosul. On the pretext of fighting the Islamic State, the U.S. has reestablished a huge military base for over 5,000 U.S. troops at Al-Asad airbase in Anbar province.

The cost of rebuilding Mosul, Fallujah and other cities and towns is conservatively estimated at $88 billion. But despite $80 billion per year in oil exports and a federal budget of over $100 billion, the Iraqi government has allocated no money at all for reconstruction. Foreign, mostly wealthy Arab countries, have pledged $30 billion, including just $3 billion from the U.S., but very little of that has been, or may ever be, delivered.

The history of Iraq since 2003 has been a never-ending disaster for its people. Many of this new generation of Iraqis who have grown up amid the ruins and chaos the U.S. occupation left in its wake believe they have nothing to lose but their blood and their lives, as they take to the streets to reclaim their dignity, their future and their country’s sovereignty.

The bloody hand-prints of U.S. officials and their Iraqi puppets all over this crisis should stand as a dire warning to Americans of the predictably catastrophic results of an illegal foreign policy based on sanctions, coups, threats and the use of military force to try to impose the will of deluded U.S. leaders on people all over the world.

Bolivia:  A Color Revolution or a New Surge for Latin American Independence?

Like Túpac Katari, indigenous Aymara leader more than 200 years ago, confronting the Spaniards, Evo Morales was betrayed and ‘dismembered’ by his own people, recruited and paid by the agents of the most destructive, nefarious and murderous dark elite that governs and has governed for over two hundred years our planet, the United States of America. With their worthless fiat-Ponzi-pyramid money, the made-out-of-thin-air US dollar, they create poverty throughout the globe, then buy off the weak and poor to plot against the very leaders that have worked for years to improve their social conditions.

It’s become a classic. It’s being called a Color Revolution, and it’s been taking place on all Continents. The list of victim-countries includes, but is not exhaustive – Colombia, Honduras, Argentina, Paraguay, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, in some ways also Uruguay (the current left-leaning government is powerless and has to remain so, otherwise it will be “changed”… that’s the name of the game) – and now also Bolivia. Then there are Georgia, Ukraine, Iraq, South Sudan, Libya, Afghanistan, Indonesia; and the lawless rulers of the universe are attempting to “regime change” North Korea, Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua – and on a larger scale China and Russia (I just returned from China where the Government and people are fully aware what Washington’s intentions are behind every move they make).

In Africa, Africom, the US military Africa Command, buys off almost every corrupt African leader put in place by Africa’s former and new European colonialists, so they may continue sucking the riches out of Africa. These African leaders backed by Africom keep the African population in check, so they will not stand up. In case they won’t quite manage, “they” created the fear-squad called, Boko Haram, an off-spring of ISIS / IS,  the Islamic State, created by the same creator, the CIA, Pentagon and NATO. The latter represents the European US-puppet allies; they keep raping Africa and reaping the benefits of her plentiful natural resources, and foremost, make sure that Africans stay subdued and quiet. Those who don’t may easily be “disappeared”. It’s Africa. But, have “they” noticed, Africa is moving, is gradually waking up?

And yes, not to forget, the “developed” and industrialized Europe, where sophisticated “regime change” over the years has subdued a largely well-off population, numbed and made apathetic by endless pro-capitalist propaganda and consumerism – Germany, UK, Netherlands, Denmark, Sweden, France, Italy, Spain – look what they have done to Greece! Greece has become a red-flag warning for every EU nation that may dare to step out of US-dictated lockstep, of what might happen to them.

The list goes on with Eastern European EU countries, mostly former Soviet republics or Soviet satellites. They are EU members thanks to the UK, Washington’s mole in the EU, or as I like to call it – the European non-union – no Constitution, no solidarity, no common vision. They are all fiercely anti-Russia and most are also anti-Europe, but are made to – and love to eat and drink from the bowl of the EU-handouts, compliments of EU taxpayers. That’s about the state of the affairs we are in. There is, of course, much more coercion going on, but you get the picture. US interference is endless, merciless, reckless, without scruples and deadly.

Bolivia is just the latest victim. The process of Color Revolution is always more or less the same – a long preparation period. The coup d’état against Evo has been under preparation for years. It began already before Evo was first elected, when Washington realized that after the Bolivian people’s purging of two of Washington’s imposed “stooges” Presidents, in 2003 and 2005, Bolivia needed a respite. But the empire never gives up. That is a golden rule written in their unofficial Constitution, the PNAC (Plan for a New American Century), the writing of which has begun just after WWII, is regularly adjusted and updated, even name-changed (from Pax Americana to PNAC), but is still very much alive and ticking.

The coup against Evo Morales’ Government is not only because Washington does not tolerate any socialist government, and least in its “backyard”, but also – and maybe foremost – because of Bolivia’s riches in natural resources, gas, oil, a long list of minerals and metals – and lithium, the use of which is expected to triple over the next ten years, as it is used in electric cars and batteries. And as we know from the rapidly growing Green Movement, the future is out of hydrocarbon-driven into electric cars. No matter how the electricity is produced and how much environmental damage is done in producing the new flag, but still individual ‘mobility’. As neoliberal economists would say, “that’s just an externality”.

The first of the two US-imposed Presidents at the turn of the century, was Gonzalo Sánchez de Lozada, also called “Goni”, who privatized Bolivia’s rich hydrocarbon resources to foreign, mostly US, petro-corporations for a pittance. He was “elected” in 2002 against the indigenous, Aymara candidate, Evo Morales. When Goni was disposed of in a bloody people’s coup (about 60 dead) in 2003, he was replaced by his Vice-President, Carlos Mesa, the very key opponent of Evo’s, in the 20 October 2019 elections, who, following the same line of Goni’s privatization policies, was also overthrown by the Bolivian people in 2005. This led to a new election late in 2005 and that’s when Evo finally won by a landslide and started his Presidency in January 2006.

What he has achieved in his almost 14 years of Presidency is just remarkable – more than significant reductions of poverty, unemployment, analphabetism, increase in health indicators, in national reserves, in minimum wages, pension benefits, affordable housing – in general wellbeing, or as Evo calls it, “living well”.

That’s when Washington decided to step back for a while – and regroup, to hit again in an appropriate moment. This moment was the election three weeks ago. Preparation for the coup intensified a few months before, when Bolivia’s Vice-President, Álvaro Marcelo García Linera, told the media that every day there were reports that US Embassy agents were interfering in the country’s internal and local affairs.

The manipulated election in 2002 is recorded in an outstanding film, “Our Brand is Crisis”, a 2005 American documentary by Rachel Boynton on American political campaign marketing tactics in Bolivia by Greenberg Carville Shrum (GCS). James Carville was previously President Clinton’s personal assistant.

Then, like today, the coup was orchestrated by the CIA via the “legitimate” body of the Organization of American States (OAS). The US Ambassador to the OAS openly boasts paying 60% of OAS’ budget – “so, better don’t mess with us”.

Less than a week before the October 20 election, Carlos Mesa was trailing Evo Morales with 22 against 38 points. Under normal circumstances it’s virtually impossible that in a few days a candidate picks up that much of a difference. The election result was Mesa 37% and Morales 47% which would give Morales a first-round win, as the winning candidate needs a margin of ten points. However, already before the final tally was in, the OAS, the US and the usual puppets, the European Union, complained about election ‘irregularities’ – when the only irregularities were manufactured in the first place, namely the drastic increase in Mesa’s percentage from 22 to 37 points.

Evo declared himself the winner on 20 October, followed immediately by violent anti-Evo riots throughout the country, but mostly in the oil-rich Santa Cruz area – home of Bolivia’s oligarchs and elite. The protests lasted for about three weeks during which at least three people died, when last Sunday, November 10, Evo was “suggested” by the military brass, supported by the OAS (US) to step down with his entire entourage, or else. He resigned, because he wanted the riots to stop and his countrymen to continue living in peace. But violence hasn’t stopped, to the contrary, the opposition has become fiercer in their racist attacks on indigenous people, targeting them with live ammunition. The dead toll as of today has reached at least 20.

President Morales asked for, and was granted, political asylum in Mexico. The Vice-President, Alvaro Linera, and most of Morales’ cabinet members followed him to Mexico. The President of the Senate, Ms. Adriana Salvatierra, also of the MAS party, according to the Constitution, would have been the legitimate interim-President. But she was also forced to resign, and so were Victor Borda, the leader of the Chamber, and Rubén Medinaceli, First Vice President of the Senate. They all had to resign. In total some 20 high-ranking officials of Evo’s Government took refuge in the Mexican Embassy in La Paz, before they flew to Mexico.

Evo has since said he wants to return to Bolivia, to be there for the millions of his supporters. Yes, still a sizable majority of Bolivians support Evo and his Movement towards Socialism (MAS). There is a mass of peaceful unarmed Evo supporting demonstrators, growing every day. They are being brutally beaten by US trained and “bought” police and military forces. Indeed, the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces, Williams Kaliman, served in earlier days as a military attaché at the Bolivian Embassy in Washington. During that time he was secretly ‘recruited’ to be trained by what then was called the School of the Americas, and which is now the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation, located at Fort Benning near Columbus, Georgia. Apparently Kaliman was not the only one of high-ranking Bolivian military and police officers having been subjected to this torturer and coup plotter training.

On Tuesday, 12 November, an extraordinary session of both chambers (Deputies and Senate) of the Plurinational Legislative Assembly (Parliament) was convened, to officially accept President Morales’ resignation, but the representatives of the Movement to Socialism (MAS), which are the majority in both chambers, did not attend because they were told by the opposition that their safety and that of their families could not be guaranteed. As a consequence, Parliament had suspended its session due to the lack of quorum.

Nevertheless, Jeanine Añez, an opposition senator, declared herself interim-President, and even though her nomination is illegal and unconstitutional, the Constitutional Court confirmed the legality of the transfer of power. But who could blame the judges of the Constitutional Court? They want to be on the right side of the fence, now that the Americans are soon expected to rule the country. Ms. Añez is from the right-wing Social Democrat Movement (not to confuse with MAS movement towards socialism), and she is known to be fiercely anti-Morales. If her coronation looks and sounds like the one of Juan Guaidó in Venezuela, it is because her self-nomination is like Juan Guido’s, a US-supported farce. Washington has immediately recognized Ms. Jeanine Añez as (interim) President of Bolivia. She, as well as Carlos Mesa, have been groomed to become the next Bolivian leaders, when new elections are held – probably sometime in January 2020. Especially, Carlos Mesa is well known as a US-supporter from his earlier failed stint at the Bolivian Presidency (2003 – 2005).

Earlier, Jeanine Añez, tweeted, “I dream of a Bolivia free of satanic indigenous rites, the city is not for the Indians who should stay in the highlands or the Chaco”. That says it all, where Bolivia is headed, unless – unless another people’s revolution will stop this nefarious course. Ms. Añez apparently has since removed the tweet.

One of the internal drivers of the ‘golpe’ is Luis Fernando Camacho, a far-right multi-millionaire, from the Santa Cruz region, where the US have supported and encouraged separatism. Camacho, a religious bible fanatic, received support from Colombia, Brazil and the Venezuelan opposition – and, of course, he is the US henchman to lead the ‘coup’ internally.

As Max Blumenthal from “The Grayzone” reports:

When Luis Fernando Camacho stormed into Bolivia’s abandoned presidential palace in the hours after President Evo Morales’s sudden November 10 resignation, he revealed to the world a side of the country that stood at stark odds with the plurinational spirit its deposed socialist and Indigenous leader had put forward. – With a Bible in one hand and a national flag in the other, Camacho bowed his head in prayer above the presidential seal, fulfilling his vow to purge his country’s Native heritage from government and “return God to the burned palace.” Camacho added “Pachamama will never return to the palace,” referring to the Andean Mother Earth spirit. “Bolivia belongs to Christ.”

Still, there is hope. Bolivians are known to be sturdy and staunch defenders of their rights. They have proven that best in the overthrow of two foreign-imposed successive Presidents in 2003 and 2005, “Goni” and Carlos Mesa respectively. They brought their Aymaran Evo Morales to power in 2006, by an internationally observed, fully democratic election.

There are other signs in Latin America that things are no longer the way they used to be for decades. Latin Americans are sick and tired of their status of US backyard citizens. There is movement in Brazil, where Lula was just released from Prison, against the will of Brazil’s fascist also foreign; i.e., US-imposed, Jair Bolsonaro. Granted, Lula’s release from prison is temporary, but with the massive people’s support he musters, it will be difficult for Bolsonaro to put him back in prison and preserve his Presidency.

Social upheavals in Chile for justice and equality against a racist Pinochet era Constitution, violently oppressed by President Piñera’s police and military forces, have lasted for weeks and will not stop before a new Constitution is drafted, in which the protesters demands are largely integrated. That too is a sign for an awakening of the people. And the enduring resistance against North America’s aggression by Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua, are all positive vibes for Bolivia – not to be trampled over.

Baby Shark Coup

I also write from time to time, and if any sweet breath fills my soul, it’s the light of memory … Oh the memory in prison! How it gets here and falls upon the heart, which it oils with melancholy already so decomposed …
In short, I don’t know what these people will do. We soon shall see.

— Cesar Vallejo, Letter to his brother from prison, 1921

Somehow in the shadow of the US-backed coup in Bolivia, several cultural threads seem worth examining in western society right now. One is infantilism, and all that comes with that, and another is a new theistic or cultic consensus on climate (the new *emergency*). And finally the return of and rehabilitation of fascism. Here as a side bar intro to infantilism is this

One might do well to watch Norwegian children’s programming for a compare and contrast thought experiment. (Here from Norsk Wiki….” Climbing mice and the other animals in the Hakkebakkeskogen were first dramatized for puppet theater, and were set up at Oslo Nye Teater in 1959 with Egner’s own towels and decorations and in the author’s staging. The play was played with actors in Copenhagen in 1962 and at the National Theater in 1964, with scenography by the author. Gjøvik summer theater has performed the play as an outdoor walking theater at Gjøvik farm since 2006.”) The animated film Hakkebakkeskogen premiered in 2016.

The Bolivian coup is significant for a profound absence of outrage in the West. And in large measure this is the result of all the above mentioned trends. But most importantly, perhaps, is the effectiveness of western propaganda launched against Evo Morales, a campaign that began about four or five years ago, interrupted to some degree by the campaign against Maduro in Venezuela. The return of fascist style and sensibility goes hand in hand with this new infantilism. Make it simple. Baby Shark simple. And the real point of the smearing of Morales was to impugn his green credentials. The theistic consensus reacts with disproportionate indignation at any climate apostate. Evidence and logic defy the Baby Shark formula.

There is another aspect to all this, too.

In ‘United States Penetration of Brazil’, Jan K. Black writes “It is interesting to note that in 1969, the year when U.S. economic assistance was suspended for a few months in “cosmetic” protest against the dramatic tightening of the dictatorial noose signified by the dissolution of the Congress in December 1968 and the promulgation of the Fifth Institutional Act (AI-5), the number of Brazilian policemen brought to the United States for training almost tripled that of the previous year. The number of Brazilian military trainees in the United States also increased that year and was, in fact, higher than at any other time in the post war period. The marked expansion of the training program also coincided with an increase in documented reports of the systematic torture of political prisoners and of the murders of petty criminals, as well as alleged subversives, carried out by the “Death Squads,” reportedly composed of off-duty policemen. (New York) Governor Nelson Rockefeller, as President Nixon’s special envoy in Brazil and other Latin American countries in 1969, was uninformed, unconvinced, or unconcerned about these reports. Rockefeller recommended that “the training program which brings military and police personnel from the other hemispheric nations to the United States and to training centers in Panama be continued and strengthened.”. The training program to which he referred was that of the notorious School of the Americas, which is now both re-branded and re-tooled as WHINSEC. This agency has been central to the re-configuration of Latin American militaries as glorified police forces, equipped for internal rather than hemispheric defence, since the 1960s.
Despite official US rhetoric against the Brazilian dictatorship’s increasingly egregious human rights abuses, Rockefeller’s tour of Latin America signified an intensification of US support for anti-communist dictatorial regimes who were friendly to US economic investment. On his tour, under robust military security, Rockefeller had been met with violent anti-imperialist protests in almost every city he visited, which were often subject to media blackout.

— Daniel Hunt, Brasil Wire, 2019

Nixon and Rockefeller saw Liberation Theology as a serious threat to their control of Latin America. The antidote to the communistic odor of Liberation Theology was to export a weaponized Pentecostolism. This was a tweeked version of what Oral Roberts and others had been selling during the rise of televangelism that took hold in the late 60s.

There is also a link to the eugenics branch of the climate or new green movement. The eugenics side expresses itself first with the overpopulation argument (one so debunked at this point that only a sort of rabid refusal to think allows it any traction at all…but traction it still has). And, secondly, the eugenicists (David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, Bill Gates, et al) are firmly in line with the protection of western capital. At the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio the Rockefeller Foundation created LEAD. And among the leaders for this development scheme was Marina Silva.

Allow me to quote Daniel Hunt again:

The Brazilian branch of LEAD (ABDL) was one of the first, founded in mid-1991 and according to Gazeta Mercantil (06/11/91), “The Rockefeller Foundation intends to invest US $5 million in the next five years in training environmental leaders, with The purpose of preparing opinion makers capable of having a broad view of environmental problems and their economic implications. ” All Binger, LEAD’s international director, said with surprising frankness: “We hope that in ten years many of the fellows will be acting as ministers of environment and development, university rectors and CEOs.”.

The growing Evangelical power base traded support for policy concessions throughout the 1990s and 2000s, supporting Lula and Dilma Governments but it was not until 2010 that they had a potential Presidential candidate of their own – Marina Silva, her platform a marketable synthesis of evangelical christianity, environmental campaigning and Wall Street friendly liberalism. Initially, she accepted the vice presidential candidacy for the Brazilian Socialist Party (PSB), a party that is socialist in name only.

Heiress to COA Member Itaú Bank, brother of Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission member Roberto, Neca Setubal, was responsible for 84% of funds to Marina Silva’s institute in 2013. Former president of Citibank Alvaro de Souza ran the fundraising for Silva’s 2010 election campaign. Ex-US Chamber of Commerce, Souza had previously served on the boards of such companies as Gol and AmBev, and was chairman of WWF Brazil. In 2008, the WWF, and its President Emeritus, Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh, awarded Silva with a medal, championing her work on Amazon conservation.

Already the capitalist class recognized the potential of tying together the desire for new theologies to support and enhance the propaganda and indoctrination of western societies. Evangelicals had grown in power in the U.S. too. Today one has a vice president and secretary of state who are evangelical Dominionists. For the Rockefellers the secular theism of a new ecological movement would mirror the Pentecostal revolution in Latin America (and in the U.S. to a lesser degree and in a slightly adjusted form). The ruling class saw even by the start of the 1990s the potential for massive land grabs, various raids on social security and whatever else was left of the security net, the final destruction of unionizing, and all with enthusiastic support from the white bourgeoisie in the West, most acutely in North America.

And here is a quote from Spencer Latu (on social media)…

The fake left Greta Thunberg PR campaign, billionaire foundation-funded environmental NGO controlled opposition, and boomer memes coalesce into a brutal ruling class praxis: liquidate what remains of social programs desperately needed by the working class so that the ruling class can continue the unsustainable and omnicidal militarized industrialized US/Canada/NATO empire that wreaks havoc on people and the planet and call it “green.”

The political theatre put on by fake left actorvists, paid through laundered corporate money in tax-exempt foundations to fund environmental NGO campaigns from such eNGOs as Greenpeace, 350.org, Sierra Club and World Wildlife Foundation, and right wing corporate tool conservatives who claim everything is fine when the biosphere collapses before our eyes as the ruling class loot, plunder and pillages what is left, keeps us the working class divided and distracted. The only way to rise above the insanity is to openly and honestly investigate the facts. As I’ve stated in multiple posts with countless citations, the fake left (Liberals and NDP) have non-solutions to climate change that will further aid in exploiting the working class through greenwashing imperialism.

The coup in Bolivia provides set dressing for all the above. The new openly racist and Pentacostal opposition (and the singularly proudly racist new President by simple announcement Jeanine Anez) have direct ties to the same ruling class millionaires that carried out U.S. policy against Chavez and Maduro. Jorge Camacho, the leader of the Francoist cadre (complete with fascist salutes) ,that have terrorized supporters of Morales, is a millionaire fanatic with ties to those invisible billionaire backers of global right parties (such as Daniel Thiel, who in turn has direct ties to the CIA).

Everything Camacho does has a strong religious bond: he mentions God in all his appearances, took the Bible to the Government Palace and urges his followers to take the virgin to the mobilizations.
Telesur, Nov 2019

Of course, the rise of Hitler-admiring Jair Bolsanaro in Brazil was the benchmark for the U.S. and its new policy decisions and plans for re-taking Latin America. But western media is governed by the Baby Shark formula firstly, and, secondly, is openly tied to those obscured billionaires who can be seen behind the sudden appearance of figures such Camacho, or Bolsonaro, or Leopoldo Lopez or Juan Guaido. And, of course, the complicit western media was in line with the demonizing of Morales and barely ever corrected the egregious lies regarding Bolivia being behind the destruction of the Amazon, or the singularly bad fires this season in Brazil. And for most left or pseudo left publications in the west, there could be no real support for Morales because he had been tainted with the deadly label of green criminal.

Now the infantilism merges with a kind of new age therapy culture (with residue of Sixties kitsch mysticism). It’s worth noting that demonizing and ridiculing the sixties is itself an entire propaganda campaign that has set in motion the new anti Boomer propaganda. Blame it on the old folks, those silly befuddled guys who fought against the Vietnam War. Media forgets the work of artists who protested the war, figures like Robert Bly and Galway Kinnell, Alan Ginsburg and instead looks at head shops and tie dye and granola. But the migration of sixties mysticism to stuff like aromatherapy and EST, also found it way into the therapy culture overall, and most importantly left itself amenable to the rebranded fascism of the 1930s. Just as behaviourism was never completely eradicated, so white supremacism (and eugenics) expressed itself under cover of an identitarian banner. And it is worth remembering the Jungian associations with National Socialism, and the popularity of Jung for undergrads still today.

Well. I use that term ‘cult’ to describe the social organisation that Jung gathered around himself after his break with Freud. He was living at the time in Küsnacht, Zurich, in Switzerland. Essentially, at first, he gathered primarily German-speaking Swiss around him, and a few Germans, then people from Britain and the United States. His biggest catch was the daughter of John D. Rockefeller who, in 1916, poured more than a million dollars (in 1997 US dollars) into his enterprises.
— Richard Noll, Interview with Ivan Tyrrell

It has been argued that the political ideology of the Nazis concerning racial cleansing could only be carried through by appealing to established spiritual belief systems and myths. This theory derives from the many similarities that can “e seen from the old Pagan traditions that experienced a revival with the many oddities and traditions of the Nazi Party. Early in the twentieth century the Ariosophy movement began as the merging of German nationalism with racism based on occult beliefs which are now described as corresponding to the term völkisch.
— Elizabeth Ping, Michigan State, Graduate thesis

Hollywood, of course, has been profoundly influential in this regard with turning Philip K Dick on his head (Man in the High Castle) to allow for massive displays of National Socialist symbolism. And the revanchism of the volkisch style codes so popular with the Nazis returns via Greta, but also with feature films and TV. And, again, things bleed into one another. A quick sampling of the current TV series Treadstone or Jack Ryan give ample evidence of direct CIA influence in the writers’ rooms of Hollywood, and with a growing open anti-communism. And that anti communism often finds side-bar assists from Israeli propaganda in Hollywood (equating Soviets with anti semitism and not Nazis).

The Orientalism at work in Hollywood is glaring and un-apologetic. The endless numbing repetitions of Muslim caricatures and Serbian or Russian gangsters seem bottomless. And I and others have written about this often. It’s just that by virtue of the sheer volume of these cop and spy franchises (or medical shows or lawyer shows) it seems or feels worse. And maybe it is. But I have noticed something else, too. Moral outrage at consensual sex if the characters are minors. A recent episode of Chicago PD saw a suspect in custody nearly beaten for having sex with a 17 year old (he was mid 20s). A 17 year old (!!). The age of consent in Colorado, Illinois, Louisiana, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, and Wyoming is, in fact, 17. In a few others it is 18 and in the rest it is 16! So the new morality fits with a growing secular climate theism. One which is highly sex negative (for the good of the planet). I have actually had a man write on social media (attacking me) about the “psychosis of breeding”. Such is the new eco-Puritan. And I don’t think this is a ‘MeToo’ effect, I think, rather, it is tied to the influence of a this new religiosity. I will return to this below.

The volkisch nostalgia (which is active now, not just a period curiosity) is wed to the therapeutic new age Green moralism (that makes heretics of climate deniers) and the seamless meshing with de facto but resurgent anti-communism. Now I am speaking of the privileged white bourgeoisie here. That thirty some percent who are educated and visible. They are the courtiers to the ruling class. And like ‘the Squad’, they’re reflexively reactionary. They don’t like the poor, but won’t admit it. They don’t like Muslims or Muslim countries, or Indians or Chinese. None of this admitted. They go on vacation to these countries, but they do not like the people. They do not like Evo Morales. In a sense they are far closer in temperament to Jeanine Azez then they are to Maduro or Chavez or Morales. They are certainly closer to a Joe Biden than they are to Subcomandante Marcos. When pundits wonder why Biden still clings to a poll lead, the answer is because Joe is one of them, if not literally (he has wealth, they do not) he is in spirit. And he represents something of an aspirational class dream. And Joe feels as if he stepped out of a TV show, he is a purely TV character, shallow, banal, and completely forgettable.

The liberals in the U.S. are more in tune with a George Will or Joe Biden than they are with any Marxist critique. They are comfortable in the presence of George Will. And this is why Trump angers them so much. Why Ocasio Cortez drools in admiration for William F. Buckley. Trump does not make anyone, save for his son in law maybe, feel comfortable. George Bush Sr and Jr are the WASP wealth dream, their values are actually exactly the values of the liberal bourgeoisie today. And this suggests that the *issues* that separate them, the issues that are made much of in media, issues that launch a thousand op-eds are perhaps not the important issues. Anything today that gets to the Supreme Court has already been decided. Identity issues …gay rights or the various academic scandals and trigger warnings or the so-called culture wars, or even important stuff like abortion rights are somehow trivialized when forced to go through the apparatuses of government. Official state bureaucracy kills stuff. It is the soul killer for people and ideas. Even when you win, you lose.

Now the climate crisis (or emergency etc) is being trivialized, too. If a woman’s right to her body can be ruled on by a John Roberts, then the climate equivalent is listening to David Attenborough or Bill McKibben or Al Gore. The Extinction Rebellion and the Green New Deal and whatever else is in the pipeline are investment projects. They are not charity and nobody is donating money. Not even Bill Gates. These are investments in control, in furthering the goal of creating a world in their own image. In each case that is a whiter world, a world where the transference of wealth to the top 3% of the populace is complete. And it nearly is already. The goal is a world of free trade zones (slave states) surrounded by national parks and environmental research projects where only those vetted, those with good paper, those with good genes, in fact, can enter or use.

It is useful to go back and read or re-read Mike Davis’ the “Homegrown Revolution” chapter in City of Quartz.

Growth control politics in the Bay Area have been incubated in a specific regional tradition of patrician conservationism represented by the Sierra Club, the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, and California Tomorrow. ‘Responsible environmentalism’ constitutes a hegemonic discourse in which all sides, developers and their community opponents, must formulate their arguments. The tap-root of slow growth in the South, however, is an exceptionalistic local history of middle-class interest formation around home ownership. Environmentalism is a congenial discourse to the extent that it is congruent with a vision of eternally rising property values in secure bastions of white privilege. The master discourse here – exemplified by the West Hills secessionists – is homestead exclusivism, whether the immediate issue is apartment construction, commercial encroachment, school busing, crime, taxes or simply community designation.

It is a profoundly prescient chapter, in a brilliant book overall. And maybe because I’m from LA, I especially appreciate it (I am also a footnote in it, I’m proud to say). But the seeds of this new white privileged eco-consciousness can be traced back, at least, to the mid-’80s that Davis describes. In one sense the Bay Area (of Northern California) is ground zero for the Arcadian vision of a de-populated and managed landscape of white post card perfect nature.

If the slow-growth movement, in other words, has been explicitly a protest against the urbanization of suburbia, it is implicitly – in the long tradition of Los Angeles homeowner politics – a reassertion of social privilege.
— Mike Davis  (Ibid.)

Social privilege is embedded in the climate discourse and curiously it is rarely a topic of debate. But then debate is pretty much absent from the climate discussion altogether. And this raises again the strange contradictions of the entire climate discourse. The alarmist end of this (expressed best by The Guardian) predicts endless apocalypses (plural) and yet none of the people I have debated with, those who believe in overpopulation and human extinction in the near future are doing anything about it. Not on a personal level. I mean none that I am aware of are hoarding supplies or water, moving to places with more protection from storms or flooding, nothing. This suggests that either extinction is viewed with some degree of appeal, a fantasy version of Hollywood end of time films, or that actually nobody quite knows what to believe. Or maybe it’s compartmentalized denial. I don’t know. But the sex negative theism — apparent when middle-aged white guys come to the defense of Greta’s honor. In reality, most of the educated white bourgeoisie don’t want anything to interrupt their vaguely pleasing lives…even if miserable, they want nothing to interrupt this endless daydream. The new cult of climate provides a purpose, and meaning for lives lived on auto pilot for decades.

It also bears repeating that such manufactured PR narratives take energy and focus away from the real environmental issues, which begin with militarism, mining, and the idea of progress.

Now, the lack of outrage at the right wing fascist coup in Bolivia suggests with clarity that American racism is as deep and indelible as it has ever been. It means there is a belief that only white westerners deserve to make important decisions. The first call of congratulation that Jeanine Azez received was from Mike Pompeo.

So this is the meeting point, the convergence, of radical extremist Pentecostal fundamentalism and the new green theism. Behind both is military muscle.

Before going further let me link to a piece by Luke Osborne on the relationship between pollution and climate and the military.

And allow me another quote from the invaluable Cory Morningstar…

Many Westerners have bought into the “war propaganda” of this global push for a “green” tech fueled, militarily enforced capitalism. As both the economic and environmental situations deteriorate, perhaps the push for widespread adoption will indeed reach the kind of fevered pitch Bill McKibben advocates. This could very well come at a time when the militaries which avoided substantive critique and were instead elevated as potential allies in the “climate fight” come on full display. In this future where comforting narratives like McKibben’s steer the populace away from the much darker truth, manufactured humanitarian disasters provide the palatable cover for the dirty work of securing access to raw materials needed for battery production and wind turbines by armies whose bases are hardened for sea level rise, yet whose tactical vehicles are still necessarily dependent upon dense fossil fuel power. At this time of great uncertainty, a genuine dissent which had languished under the spell of false promises of “green” technology and ignored the mass violence that underpins modern industrial society, emerges out of necessity from the growing direness of global crop failures and economic breakdown. This growing dissent, which threatens the illegitimate power held by the global elites, is met with heavy repression that draws upon decades of unimpeded surveillance tech implementation, the militarization of global police forces, and the use of private security. { } Climate change at its core is about conflict. It is a conflict between how humans live with each other and with the planet, and this conflict builds on centuries of violence and exploitation that are enmeshed, often unseen by the privileged, within the economic, social, and political systems to this day. We can either face our own discomfort and confront the structures of violence that have brought us to this turning point in human history, or we can soothe ourselves with comfortable narratives and allow the internal conflicts inherent in the system to catapult us far beyond the breaking point.”
— Wrong Kind of Green, Cory Morningstar

By the by, Naomi Klein and Greta both have thrown Morales under the bus. In both cases under cover of green concern (Klein by tweets suggesting it was not really, you know, a *coup*) and Greta by retweeting the now rather notorious Minh Ngo tweet that blamed the Amazonian fires on Bolivia and Morales. Now, yes, Greta is just being used. But I’m not sure that matters at this point. For the reality is that white privilege and their disingenuous feigning of concern is in clear agreement with the US and its clients at the AOS.

Western culture, baby shark culture, contains under its new umbrella the institutionalising of art in general. MFA programs and academia has all but killed completely theatre in the U.S. And what they didn’t destroy the extermination of an alternative media has. Not so long ago the alternative press fought heroically against the Vietnam war, while providing a critical dialogue on art and culture. Those days are long gone. I remember when major newspapers changed their arts section to *Entertainment* and started providing figures for what a new film grossed in its opening weekend (formally the province of the business section). So, infantilism, a trend toward sub-literacy overall and resurgent anti-communism (of course, for the underclass there is a clear uptick in interest about communism, but you will never hear that on mainstream media) — is wed to the giant colossus of corporate media and a propaganda regarding the climate and pollution of the planet, and the new theistic psychological life raft of the climate consensus and the offspring of this infernal union is a screen habituated near comatose man child with compulsions for porn, a jaded but numbed attraction to violence, and a 6th grader’s grasp of spirituality. And near total historical amnesia.

A consensus now brought to you by a billionaire class of vampiric white speculators looking to de-populate the poor and take control of literally the entirety of earth. That’s where we are. Worry about rising sea levels may or may not be rational, but before one discusses that it makes sense to consider the death merchants and fanatics who are destroying entire nations and stealing remaining resources. (See Lithium and Bolivia). And, yes, Bolivia has enormous lithium resources. It does not, however, have reserves of it, as I understand it, and in truth Lithium is not all that rare. Argentina has a huge lithium resource, too. As does Chile. Still, it might be a factor in the timing of this coup, though I somehow doubt it. This coup was to push back the Pink Tide, to discipline Latin America and make clear the continent still belongs to the US ruling elite. Lithium is the resource to be stolen. All colonies are stripped of their resources).

Also, at some point there is a question in all this that has to do with science, or rather scientists…and experts in general. Scientists in the capitalist west are tools of the ruling class, and by extension they are tools of corporate power and they instinctively know how to gravitate toward power. They are instruments for “proving” what governments want them to prove. Even if they often just instinctively know what is expected. The climate debate, or non debate, is inextricably bound up with science. The totality of it is science. And some of the challenge is to separate real science from junk science or compromised science. Is all of bourgeois science compromised? Bought? Yes, though that does not mean it’s not true. It only means often it is not.

The trajectory of this tradition, from positivism to the current variety of postpositivist philosophies of science, has reflected the pressure of a complex reality upon conceptions too restricted to give an adequate account of it.
— Helena Sheehan, Marxism and the Philosophy of Science

Science is part of the ideological super-structure of society.

It is not difficult to follow the historical course of his thought in the works collected in the ‘Holy Family’ and in the ‘German Ideology’. Here Marx already advances and solves quite differently from the philosophers who had preceded him the two chief questions, what is nature-the object of natural science, and what is natural science-the science of nature.

Marx criticises Hegel’s formal, abstract, mystical conception of nature. If real nature is a natural-philosophical form of logical foundation, the reflection of the idea, then it is something lower than the idea, nature is “an imperfect being”. The natural sciences from this point of view are directly bound up with theology and teleology, and can have no real importance, since they study the expression of the real creator of reality-the idea. Marx showed that the basis of this mysticism was the divorcing of nature from the practical activity of man. According to Hegel philosophical thinking must combine the practical attitude to nature with the theoretical. But with Hegel the determining basis remains the course of thought, the idea, and not practical activity, So with Hegel the picture of nature is distorted and fixed in its separation from man.

As distinct from Hegel, Marx looked at nature in its development, in its unity with man. Man is himself a part of nature. Man is historical nature and nature is natural history. It might appear at first glance as though Marx in not yet using the category of man as a totality of social relations, completely shares the outlook of Feuerbach. In reality Marx here also, in the works collected in the Holy Family, had already grasped the specific link, industry, which made the foundation for new views both on nature and on its relationship to man, as well as on the specific environment which man makes for himself in the general limits of nature.
— Y.M. Uranovsky, Marxism and Natural Sciences

There is a profound need for a discussion and dialogue on science, on what it is, what it does, and how it functions under capitalism. This is the Enlightenment discussion again and reminds me just how important is Adorno and Horkheimer’s Dialectic of Enlightenment.

The coup has also stimulated an outpouring of violent racist hatred directed against Bolivia’s Indigenous peoples. Right-wing opponents of Morales celebrated his resignation by burning the Wiphala flag, which is a symbol of resistance of the Indigenous peoples and Bolivia’s second official flag. The pro-coup Bolivian police, meanwhile, have been filmed cutting the indigenous flag off their uniforms. In his televised resignation speech, Morales said “my sin was being indigenous, leftist and anti-imperialist.
— Fiona Edwards, The Canary, November 2019

With the hostile takeover of all mainstream media by private equity investors early in the 21st Century, investigative journalism died in mainstream newsrooms. This void in mass communication has since been supplanted with propaganda created by public relations (PR) firms hired by transnational corporations.
— Jay Taber, Global Netwar, 2019

I leave you with the opening to Lorca’s New York, Office and Attack. A poem from Poet in New York. Translated by Robert Bly.

Beneath all the statistics
there is a drop of duck’s blood.
Beneath all the columns
there is a drop of sailor’s blood.
Beneath all the totals, a river of warm blood;
a river that goes singing
past the bedrooms of the suburbs,
and the river is silver, cement, or wind
in the lying daybreak of New York.

and Bly’s own great anti-war poem, The Teeth Mother Naked At Last.

A New Kind of Tyranny: The Global State’s War on Those Who Speak Truth to Power

What happens to Julian Assange and to Chelsea Manning is meant to intimidate us, to frighten us into silence. By defending Julian Assange, we defend our most sacred rights. Speak up now or wake up one morning to the silence of a new kind of tyranny. The choice is ours.

— John Pilger, investigative journalist

All of us are in danger.

In an age of prosecutions for thought crimes, pre-crime deterrence programs, and government agencies that operate like organized crime syndicates, there is a new kind of tyranny being imposed on those who dare to expose the crimes of the Deep State, whose reach has gone global.

The Deep State has embarked on a ruthless, take-no-prisoners, all-out assault on truth-tellers.

Activists, journalists and whistleblowers alike are being terrorized, traumatized, tortured and subjected to the fear-inducing, mind-altering, soul-destroying, smash-your-face-in tactics employed by the superpowers-that-be.

Take Julian Assange, for example.

Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks—a website that published secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources—was arrested on April 11, 2019, on charges of helping U.S. Army intelligence analyst Chelsea Manning access and leak more than 700,000 classified military documents that portray the U.S. government and its military as reckless, irresponsible and responsible for thousands of civilian deaths.

Included among the leaked Manning material were the Collateral Murder video (April 2010), the Afghanistan war logs (July 2010), the Iraq war logs (October 2010), a quarter of a million diplomatic cables (November 2010), and the Guantánamo files (April 2011).

The Collateral Murder leak included gunsight video footage from two U.S. AH-64 Apache helicopters engaged in a series of air-to-ground attacks while air crew laughed at some of the casualties. Among the casualties were two Reuters correspondents who were gunned down after their cameras were mistaken for weapons and a driver who stopped to help one of the journalists. The driver’s two children, who happened to be in the van at the time it was fired upon by U.S. forces, suffered serious injuries.

This is morally wrong.

It shouldn’t matter which nation is responsible for these atrocities: there is no defense for such evil perpetrated in the name of profit margins and war profiteering.

In true Orwellian fashion, however, the government would have us believe that it is Assange and Manning who are the real criminals for daring to expose the war machine’s seedy underbelly.

Since his April 2019 arrest, Assange has been locked up in a maximum-security British prison—in solitary confinement for up to 23 hours a day—pending extradition to the U.S., where if convicted, he could be sentenced to 175 years in prison.

Whatever is being done to Assange behind those prison walls—psychological torture, forced drugging, prolonged isolation, intimidation, surveillance—it’s wearing him down.

In court appearances, the 48-year-old Assange appears disoriented, haggard and zombie-like.

“In 20 years of work with victims of war, violence and political persecution I have never seen a group of democratic States ganging up to deliberately isolate, demonise and abuse a single individual for such a long time and with so little regard for human dignity and the rule of law,” declared Nils Melzer, the UN special rapporteur on torture.

It’s not just Assange who is being made to suffer, however.

Manning, who was jailed for seven years from 2010 to 2017 for leaking classified documents to Wikileaks, was arrested in March 2019 for refusing to testify before a grand jury about Assange, placed in solitary confinement for almost a month, and then sentenced to remain in jail either until she agrees to testify or until the grand jury’s 18-month term expires.

Federal judge Anthony J. Trenga of the Eastern District of Virginia also fined Manning $500 for every day she remained in custody after 30 days, and $1,000 for every day she remains in custody after 60 days, a chilling—and financially crippling—example of the government’s heavy-handed efforts to weaponize fines and jail terms as a means of forcing dissidents to fall in line.

This is how the police state deals with those who challenge its choke-hold on power.

Make no mistake: the government is waging war on journalists and whistleblowers for disclosing information relating to government misconduct that is within the public’s right to know.

Yet while this targeted campaign—aided, abetted and advanced by the Deep State’s international alliances—is unfolding during President Trump’s watch, it began with the Obama Administration’s decision to revive the antiquated, hundred-year-old Espionage Act, which was intended to punish government spies, and instead use it to prosecute government whistleblowers.

Unfortunately, the Trump Administration has not merely continued the Obama Administration’s attack on whistleblowers. It has injected this war on truth-tellers and truth-seekers with steroids and let it loose on the First Amendment.

In May 2019, Trump’s Justice Department issued a sweeping new “superseding” secret indictment of Assange—hinged on the Espionage Act—that empowers the government to determine what counts as legitimate journalism and criminalize the rest, not to mention giving “the government license to criminally punish journalists it does not like, based on antipathy, vague standards, and subjective judgments.”

Noting that the indictment signaled grave dangers for freedom of the press in general, media lawyer Theodore J. Boutrous, Jr., warned:

The indictment would criminalize the encouragement of leaks of newsworthy classified information, criminalize the acceptance of such information, and criminalize publication of it.

Boutrous continues:

[I]t doesn’t matter whether you think Assange is a journalist, or whether WikiLeaks is a news organization. The theory that animates the indictment targets the very essence of journalistic activity: the gathering and dissemination of information that the government wants to keep secret. You don’t have to like Assange or endorse what he and WikiLeaks have done over the years to recognize that this indictment sets an ominous precedent and threatens basic First Amendment values…. With only modest tweaking, the very same theory could be invoked to prosecute journalists for the very same crimes being alleged against Assange, simply for doing their jobs of scrutinizing the government and reporting the news to the American people.

We desperately need greater scrutiny and transparency, not less.

Indeed, transparency is one of those things the shadow government fears the most. Why? Because it might arouse the distracted American populace to actually exercise their rights and resist the tyranny that is inexorably asphyxiating their freedoms.

This need to shed light on government actions—to make the obscure, least transparent reaches of government accessible and accountable—was a common theme for Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who famously coined the phrase, “Sunlight is the best disinfectant.”

Writing in January 1884, Brandeis explained:

Light is the only thing that can sweeten our political atmosphere—light thrown upon every detail of administration in the departments; light diffused through every policy; light blazed full upon every feature of legislation; light that can penetrate every recess or corner in which any intrigue might hide; light that will open up to view the innermost chambers of government, drive away all darkness from the treasury vaults; illuminate foreign correspondence; explore national dockyards; search out the obscurities of Indian affairs; display the workings of justice; exhibit the management of the army; play upon the sails of the navy; and follow the distribution of the mails.

Of course, transparency is futile without a populace that is informed, engaged and prepared to hold the government accountable to abiding by the rule of law.

For this reason, it is vital that citizens have the right to criticize the government without fear.

After all, we’re citizens, not subjects. For those who don’t fully understand the distinction between the two and why transparency is so vital to a healthy constitutional government, Manning explains it well:

When freedom of information and transparency are stifled, then bad decisions are often made and heartbreaking tragedies occur – too often on a breathtaking scale that can leave societies wondering: how did this happen? … I believe that when the public lacks even the most fundamental access to what its governments and militaries are doing in their names, then they cease to be involved in the act of citizenship. There is a bright distinction between citizens, who have rights and privileges protected by the state, and subjects, who are under the complete control and authority of the state.

Manning goes on to suggest that the U.S. “needs legislation to protect the public’s right to free speech and a free press, to protect it from the actions of the executive branch and to promote the integrity and transparency of the US government.”

Technically, we’ve already got such legislation on the books: the First Amendment.

The First Amendment gives the citizenry the right to speak freely, protest peacefully, expose government wrongdoing, and criticize the government without fear of arrest, isolation or any of the other punishments that have been meted out to whistleblowers such as Edward Snowden, Assange and Manning.

The challenge is holding the government accountable to obeying the law.

Almost 50 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in United States v. Washington Post Co. to block the Nixon Administration’s attempts to use claims of national security to prevent The Washington Post and The New York Times from publishing secret Pentagon papers on how America went to war in Vietnam.

As Justice William O. Douglas remarked on the ruling:

The press was protected so that it could bare the secrets of government and inform the people. Only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government. And paramount among the responsibilities of a free press is the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the people and sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and foreign shot and shell.

Almost 50 years later, with Assange being cast as the poster boy for treason, we’re witnessing yet another showdown, which pits the people’s right to know about government misconduct against the might of the military industrial complex.

Yet this isn’t merely about whether whistleblowers and journalists are part of a protected class under the Constitution. It’s a debate over how long “we the people” will remain a protected class under the Constitution.

Following the current downward trajectory, it won’t be long before anyone who believes in holding the government accountable is  labeled an “extremist,” is relegated to an underclass that doesn’t fit in, must be watched all the time, and is rounded up when the government deems it necessary.

Eventually, we will all be potential suspects, terrorists and lawbreakers in the eyes of the government.

Partisan politics have no place in this debate: Americans of all stripes would do well to remember that those who question the motives of government provide a necessary counterpoint to those who would blindly follow where politicians choose to lead.

We don’t have to agree with every criticism of the government, but we must defend the rights of all individuals to speak freely without fear of punishment or threat of banishment.

Never forget: what the architects of the police state want are submissive, compliant, cooperative, obedient, meek citizens who don’t talk back, don’t challenge government authority, don’t speak out against government misconduct, and don’t step out of line.

What the First Amendment protects—and a healthy constitutional republic requires—are citizens who routinely exercise their right to speak truth to power.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, the right to speak out against government wrongdoing is the quintessential freedom.

Be warned: this quintessential freedom won’t be much good to anyone if the government makes good on its promise to make an example of Assange as a warning to other journalists intent on helping whistleblowers disclose government corruption.

Once again, we find ourselves reliving George Orwell’s 1984, which portrayed in chilling detail how totalitarian governments employ the power of language to manipulate the masses.

In Orwell’s dystopian vision of the future, Big Brother does away with all undesirable and unnecessary words and meanings, even going so far as to routinely rewrite history and punish “thought crimes.”

Much like today’s social media censors and pre-crime police departments, Orwell’s Thought Police serve as the eyes and ears of Big Brother, while the other government agencies peddle in economic affairs (rationing and starvation), law and order (torture and brainwashing), and news, entertainment, education and art (propaganda).

Orwell’s Big Brother relies on Newspeak to eliminate undesirable words, strip such words as remained of unorthodox meanings and make independent, non-government-approved thought altogether unnecessary.

Where we stand now is at the juncture of OldSpeak (where words have meanings, and ideas can be dangerous) and Newspeak (where only that which is “safe” and “accepted” by the majority is permitted). The power elite has made their intentions clear: they will pursue and prosecute any and all words, thoughts and expressions that challenge their authority.

This is the final link in the police state chain.

Having been reduced to a cowering citizenry—mute in the face of elected officials who refuse to represent us, helpless in the face of police brutality, powerless in the face of militarized tactics and technology that treat us like enemy combatants on a battlefield, and naked in the face of government surveillance that sees and hears all—our backs are to the walls.

From this point on, we have only two options: go down fighting, or capitulate and betray our loved ones, our friends and ourselves by insisting that, as a brainwashed Winston Smith does at the end of Orwell’s 1984, yes, 2+2 does equal 5.

As George Orwell recognized, “In a time of deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.”

Hundreds Stand Tall in Solidarity with the People of Latin America at Havana Conference

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Moros, Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez (Photo by Bill Hackwell)

From November 1-3 more than 1,350 delegates from 86 countries representing 789 organizations, came to Havana to participate in the Anti-imperialist Conference of Solidarity, for Democracy and Against Neoliberalism. Delegates traveled from all continents, particularly from Latin America and the Caribbean.  The conference was organized by the Cuban Institute of Friendship with the Peoples (ICAP), Central Organization of Cuban Trade Unions (CTC), along with the Cuban Chapter of Social Movements and the Continental Conference for Democracy and against Neoliberalism.

This historic conference took place at a decisive moment for all progressive forces that resist neoliberal policies as it becomes increasingly clear on the intention on the part of the United States to reconquer Latin America and take over all its natural resources aided by servile oppressive governments and local oligarchs.

José Ramón Machado Ventura, second secretary of the Communist Party of Cuba and Esteban Lazo Hernández, president of the National Assembly of People’s Power and the Council of State, presided over the opening plenary.

In a moving opening presentation, with songs and verses, the children of Cuba’s National Theater group, “La Colmenita” inaugurated the Conference embracing with love and tenderness all of those in attendance.  Also present at the conference were renowned intellectuals and writers like Ignacio Ramonet, Atilio Boron, Stella Calloni, Abel Prieto, Omar Gonzalez, and Pedro Calzadilla.

Fernando Gonzalez Llort, President of ICAP and one of the Cuban Five, welcomed participants. “We will be able to face the most challenging adversities. Neither with asphyxiation nor with laws will they be able to get a single concession from the Cuban people, who do not surrender and will continue with their principles of solidarity with the world”, he said.

Cuban Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla started his speech by saying: “You can feel in this room the deep expression of our peoples and solidarity with Cuba…There will be no sustainable development without the right to the development of the countries of the South, nor can it be without social justice.” Bruno also referred to how in the present time lies become habitual, intolerance grows and the imposition of supremacist ideas appears. “The intention is to impose a totalitarian model that destroys cultures.”

During the second day of the Conference, a special event about the struggle to free the beloved former President of Brazil, Luis Ignacio Lula da Silva Lula took place with the participation of a large delegation from his homeland, who were presented with boxes of thousands of petitions signed by Cubans demanding Lula’s freedom.

Other constant and heartfelt expressions of support of countries in struggle, including the independence of Puerto Rico, echoed in the convention center along with pronouncements in solidarity with the right to self-determination of the peoples of Palestine and the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic. The second-day delegates participated in 6 different commissions. Solidarity with Cuba and other Just Causes took place at the Latin America School of Medicine (ELAM). Other commissions met at the Palace of the Convention, the site of the conference.

At ELAM arriving buses from the conference were greeted by lines of medical students in their white coats. After a welcoming, plenary delegates divided up by region to develop proposals for action against the blockade. The talents of students were on display at the end of the day with music, dance and poetry.

At the same time at the Palace of the Convention rooms filled with people participating in the commissions including 1) The People in the Face of Free Trade and Transnationals, 2) Decolonization and Cultural Warfare, Strategic Communication and Social Struggle, 3) Youth: Strategies and Continuity in Struggles, 4) Democracy, Sovereignty and Anti-imperialism, and 5) Integration, Identities and Common Struggles.

The Decolonization and Cultural Warfare, Strategic Communication and Social Struggle commission was moderated by Pedro Calzadilla, Historian and General Coordinator of the Network in Defense of Humanity, and Omar González, writer and journalist, and Coordinator of the Cuban chapter of the Network in Defense of Humanity. Among the panelist were Abel Prieto Jiménez, Director of the Martiano Program Office and President of the José Martí Cultural Society and Ignacio Ramonet, Spanish and French, Sociologist, writer and journalist.

The third and last day brought endless emotions as participants heard a declaration of Solidarity with the Cuban Revolution and a final declaration of the Anti-Imperialist Conference including proposals for an action plan that includes establishing a common communication strategy as a weapon of action for the coming months.

Participants were nurtured by three days of positive energy to return to their respective places and continue the struggle for a better world. But the symbolic culmination of the 3 day experience was the presence at the closing ceremony of Army General Raúl Castro Ruz, first secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba, Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez and Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro Moros.

President Maduro spoke first, and brought applauses and loud chanting from delegates when he shouted, “We hear him, we feel him, Fidel is present here!”

He talked with optimism of the future…”with the strong resistance we’ve had, we can say today, towards the end of 2019, that a new geopolitical situation is developing in the region and a new wave is rising to face neoliberalism.”

He talked about the situation in Bolivia saying “Evo Morales is going to resist and triumph over the fascist threat of the Bolivian Right”. The Venezuelan President said that the deadline of the opposition was not set just against Evo but against the Bolivian people.

He also talked about the United States Administration and described them and the regional right as being stupid for blaming him and Raul for the events in Brazil, Chile and Ecuador.  “No! it is only the IMF that is the one to be blamed, together with its neoliberal recipients. The ones they are blaming are searching for alternatives to face those wild neoliberal policies of hunger and misery.”

“If there is anything we learned from Chavez, it was to be brave. I always remember how brave Chavez was when he came to Cuba. He came to Cuba to support Fidel during the worst time of the special period. “More than a few told Chavez; don’t go to Cuba or you will lose credibility! They were in the midst of the special period and Chavez said, “Fidel is the light for the Continent. I’m going!” And here he was 25 years ago. A dose of courage is needed to pave the ways of truth.”

“In Venezuela with courage we united the revolutionary processes that began with Bolivar and Marti. And that was followed by the unity between Fidel and Chavez. It’s necessary to take those paths of courage and dare to debunk myths, blackmail, and lies.”

Maduro finished his talk to a thunderous applause when he said, “Good and better times are rising in Latin America. Let’s have enough spiritual strength to continue pushing in our century and then no one will be able to take it from us.”

Following President Maduro, Cuban President Miguel Diaz Canel spoke. He described the discourse of Trump “as aggressive and dismissive of all those who do not share his approach. The decisions that he makes affect millions on Twitter with the most abhorrent behavior. He talks about socialism without the slightest idea of ​​what it means. And orders the end of any process or political program that intends to overcome prevailing injustice, as if he held the course of history in his hands.”

“He is not the first emperor to try this. And surely he will not be the last to fail. Because history can only be changed by the people. Fidel said many times that the lie was the main adversary to defeat in politics and that telling the truth is the first duty of every revolutionary. This is one of our fundamental missions as practitioners of revolutionary politics. The first enemy to cut down is the lie and even more so, the imperialist lie.”

He addressed all delegates by saying: “In your beautiful Declaration of Solidarity with the Cuban Revolution, you have written: “The peoples of the world need the example of Cuba”, and he recalled Marti’s statement that maintains its relevance: “Whoever rises today with Cuba rises for all time.” Thanks for saying it and doing it! He continued, “You have called today for unity among political forces and the social and popular movements of the left, to continue to raise consciousness, generate ideas, and organize for the struggle”.

“We see this struggle in the battle for the truth. We must defeat the lies on which wars of all kinds against our peoples are launched: informing, persuading, mobilizing, marching with the poor of the earth, who have grown tired of lies and abuse. Proposing and creating programs that respond to the most pressing demands of workers, students, farmers, intellectuals, and artists.”

“In memory of Fidel and Chávez, two of the greats of Our America, whom we were fortunate to meet, listen to, and follow in the most altruistic practice of solidarity, we look to their work as a guide for the new, challenging times that await us. I believe we all feel that great avenues are opening up, where free men now walk to build a better society. A better world is possible and urgently necessary! Let us fight for it!”

Venezuela and Cuba are at the center of the most vicious attacks and lies by US imperialism and their lackeys, and the significance of having the historic leader of the Cuban Revolution and the current presidents of both countries together on the same stage was not lost on the audience. The powerful speeches of both presidents sent a message of strength to the struggling people of the world and at the same time a message of defiance to the neoliberal policies of the Empire of the North. Despite all the attacks and attempts at economic strangulation that both countries are having to endure, here they were standing strong, without fear, surrounded by cheering allies.

• To view more photos from the conference go here.

The Empire, Trump and Intra-Ruling Class Conflict

Over the past few months President Trump has unilaterally by Tweet and telephone begun to dismantle the U.S. military’s involvement in the Middle East. The irony is amazing, because in a general overarching narrative sense, this is what the marginalized antiwar movement has been trying to do for decades.1

Prof. Harry Targ, in his important piece “United States foreign policy: yesterday, today, and tomorrow,” (MR online, October 23, 2919), reminds us of the factional dispute among U.S. foreign policy elites over how to maintain the U.S. empire. On the one hand are the neoliberal global capitalists who favor military intervention, covert operations, regime change, strengthening NATO, thrusting China into the enemy vacuum and re-igniting the Cold War with Russia. All of this is concealed behind lofty rhetoric about humanitarianism, protecting human rights, promoting democracy, fighting terrorism and American exceptionalism. Their mantra is Madeleine Albright’s description of the United States as the world’s “one indispensable nation.”

On the other hand, as Targ explains, are the Trumpian, “America First” nationalist capitalists. This faction of the ruling class, while also supporting global dominance and a permanent war economy (military-related spending will consume 48 percent of the 2020 federal budget) favors trade restrictions, economic nationalism, building walls and anti-immigrant policies. Although Trump is inconsistent, bumbling and sometimes contradictory, he’s departed from the neocon’s agenda by making overtures to North Korea and Russia, voicing doubts about NATO as an expensive relic from the past that is being dangerously misused outside of Europe, not being afraid to speak bluntly to EU allies, frequently mentioning ending our “endless, ridiculous and costly wars,” asserting that the U.S. is badly overextended and saying “The job of our military is not to police the world.” I would add that Trump is also an “American exceptionalist” but ascribes a very different provincial meaning to the term, something closer to a crabbed provincialism, an insular “Shining City on a Hill,” surrounded by a moat.

This is a high stakes intra-ruling class struggle and neither side cares a fig about what’s best  for the American people or those beyond our borders. At this point it’s impossible to know how it will play out but grasping the underlying dynamics explains much about current U.S. domestic and foreign policy. This understanding may, in turn, point toward how opponents of America’s oligarchic elites can most expeditiously use their time and energy.

Foremost is the fact that Trump’s intra-elite enemies despise him not for being a neo-fascistic demagogue, a despicable human being devoid of a conscience, or for the brouhaha over Ukraine. Their animus is rooted in the conviction that Trump has been a foot dragging imperialist, an equivocal caretaker of empire, unreliable pull-the-trigger Commander-in-chief (e.g.Iran) and transparent truth-teller about the real motives behind U.S. foreign policy. These are his unforgivable sins and if he’s impeached or denied the Oval Office by some other means, they will be real reasons.

One of Trump’s most traitorous acts is that he’s been consistent, at least rhetorically, in being opposed to U.S. troops being killed in “endless wars.” One need not agree with his reasons to find merit in this worthy objective. His motives probably include Nativism, racism, foreign investment stability, the wars causing more refugees to come here, his massive ego, appeals to his voting base, or simply because he believes both he and the “real America” would be better off. For him, the latter two are synonymous.

For this treachery, those arrayed against Trump include at least, the Pentagon-CIA-armaments lobby, MSM editors like those at CNN, The New York Times and The Washington Post, NSA, Zionist neocons, the DNC, establishment Democrats, some hawkish Republican senators, many lifestyle liberals still harboring a  sentimental faith in American goodness and even EU and NATO elites who’ve benefited from being faithful lackeys to Washington’s global imperialism.

In a recent interview, Major Danny Sjursen, retired army officer and West Point instructor with tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, notes that “The last bipartisan issue in American politics today is warfare, forever warfare.” In terms of the military, that means “…even the hint of getting out of the establishment interventionist status quo is terrifying to these generals, terrifying to these former intelligence officers from the Obama administration who seem to live on MSNBC now.” Sjursen adds that many of these generals (like Mattis) have already found lucrative work with the military industrial complex.2

In response to Trump’s announcement about removing some U.S. troops from the region, we find an op-ed in The New York Times by Admiral William McRaven where he states that Trump “should be out of office sooner than later. It’s time for a new person in the Oval Office, Republican, Democrat or Independent. The fate of the nation depends on it.”  The unmistakeable whiff of support for a soft coup is chilling.  If Trump can’t be contained, he must be deposed one way or another.

And this is all entirely consistent with the fact that the national security state  was totally caught off guard by Trump’s victory in 2016. For them, Trump was a loose cannon, erratic and  ultra-confrontational, someone they couldn’t control. Their favored candidate was the ever reliable, Wall Street-friendly, war-mongering Hillary Clinton or even Jeb Bush.  Today, barring a totally chastised Trump, the favorites include a fading Biden, Pence, a reprise of Clinton or someone in her mold but without the baggage.

For Trump’s establishment enemies, another closely related failing is his habit of blurting out inconvenient truths. I’m not the first person to say that Trump is the most honest president in my lifetime. Yes, he lies most of the time but as left analyst Paul Street puts it, “Trump is too clumsily and childishly brazen in laying bare the moral nothingness and selfishness of the real material-historical bourgeois society that lives beneath the veils of ‘Western civilization’ and ‘American democracy.’”3

All his predecessors took pains or were coached to conceal their imperialist actions behind declarations of humanitarian interventionism but Trump has pulled the curtains back to reveal the ugly truths about U.S. foreign policy.  As such, the carefully calibrated propaganda fed to the public in endless reiterations over a lifetime is jeopardized whenever Trump utters a transparent truth. This is intolerable.

Here are a few examples culled from speeches, interviews and press reports:

+ At a May 10, 2017 Oval Office meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislayak, Trump said he was unconcerned about Moscow’s interference in the U.S. election because “We do the same thing in elections in other countries.” [White House officials were so alarmed they tried to limit access to the transcript].

+ When asked about whether Putin is a killer, Trump sarcastically asked whether “our country was so innocent?” and added, “Our country does plenty of killing.”

+ His reaction to Saudi Arabia’s murder of Khashoggi was that “they really messed up.”  [Translation: He/our government didn’t care about what happened except that the Saudis bungled the job. Uttering this inconvenient truth removed the usual fig leaf claim of moral outrage and checked off another box on the Trump-Must-Go list maintained by the globalists].

+ “The Kurds are no angels.” [This dried up all the crocodile tears being shed by both Dems and Republicans].

+  On Libya: Asked about a role for the U.S. in Libya, Trump responded “I do not see a role in Libya. I think the United States has, right now, enough roles. We’re in a role everywhere.” He did say “I would just go in and take the oil,” and repeated this intention regarding Syria. [Once again Trump sabotaged  any pretense of righteous motives behind Washington’s foreign policy in the Middle East. To wit: It’s always been about blood for oil].

+ When firing John Bolton, his former national security advisor, Trump remarked “He made some very big mistakes. When he talked about the Libya model for Kim Jong Un, that was not a good statement to make. You just look at what happened with Gaddafi.”  [Here, Trump’s truth telling undermined the standard U.S. position by saying it makes perfect sense for other countries to obtain nukes if they wish to avoid being destroyed by us.]

+ “We’re in many, many countries. I do know the exact number of countries we have troops in but I’m embarrassed to say it because it’s so foolish. We’re in countries that don’t even like us… some people, whether it’s – – you call it the military-industrial complex or beyond that, they’d like me to stay…the want me to fight forever…That’s what they want to do, fight. A lot of companies want to to fight because they make their weapons based on fighting, not based on peace. And they take up a lot of people. I want to bring our soldiers back home.”

+ During a private military briefing, Trump stunned officials by scowling, “Seriously, who gives a shit about Afghanistan?”  And he continued, “So far we’ve in for $7 trillion, fellas. $7 trillion including Iraq. Worst decision ever…”

+  On Ukraine: “The people of Crimea…would rather be with Russia than where they were.”

+  On Syria, “Let someone else fight over this long blood stained sand.” And more broadly, he said “The same people that I watched and read—give me and the United States advice — were the people I’ve been watching and reading for many years. They are the ones who got us into the Middle East mess but never have the vision or courage to get us out. They just talk.”

+ Responding to South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham’s criticism:  “The people of South Carolina don’t want us to get into another war with Turkey, a NATO member, or with Syria. Let them fight their own wars.”

+ On Middle East wars: “All of those lives lost, the young men and women gravely wounded — so many —the Middle East is less safe, less stable, and less secure than before these conflicts began.”

As noted earlier, the endgame is not in sight. Trump seems without a clear strategy for moving forward and from all reports he can’t depend on his current coterie of White House advisors to produce one. Further, he may lack the necessary political in-fight skills or tenacity to see it through. When some of his Republican “allies” savaged his announcement to withdraw troops from Syria, he backtracked and made some, at least cosmetic concessions. However, the fact that Trump’s  position remains popular with his voter base and especially with veterans of these wars will give pause to Republicans. If some finally join the Democrats in voting for impeachment over Ukraine-gate they may minimize re-election risks by hiding their real motives behind pious claims — as will most Democrats — about “protecting the constitution and the rule of law”.

Now, lest I be misunderstood, nothing I’ve written here should be construed as support for Donald Trump or that I believe he’s antiwar. Trump is aberration only in that his brand of Western imperialism means that the victims remain foreigners while U.S. soldiers remain out of harm’s way.  He knows that boots on the ground can quickly descend into bodies in the ground and unlike his opponents, coffins returning to Dover Air Base are not worth risking his personal ambitions. This is clearly something to build upon. We don’t know if Trump views drones, cyber warfare and proxies as substitutes but his intra-elite opponents remain extremely dubious. In any event, that’s another dimension to expose and challenge.

Finally, we know the ruling class in a capitalist democracy — an oxymoron — expends enormous time and resources to obtain a faux “consent of the governed” through misinformation conveyed via massive, lifelong ideological indoctrination. For them, citizen’s policing themselves is more efficient than coercion and precludes raising questions that might delegitimize the system.  Obviously force and fear are hardly unknown — witness the mass incarceration and police murder of black citizens — but one only has to look around to see how successful this method of control has been.

Nevertheless, as social historian Margaret Jacoby wisely reminds us, “No institution is safe if people simply stop believing the assumptions that justify its existence.”4 Put another way, the system simply can’t accommodate certain “dangerous ideas.”
Today, we see promising political fissures developing, especially within the rising generation, and it’s our responsibility to help deepen and widen these openings through whatever means at our disposal.

  1. John Grant, “Donald Trump and the New, New Order,” This Can’t Be Happening, October 30, 2019.
  2. Interview with Maj. Danny Djursen, “Conflict Between Trump and Military-Diplomatic Establishment Is Full of Hypocrisy,” The Real News Network, October 24, 2019.
  3. Paul Street,”All That is Holy is Profaned: Beyond Ruling Class Impeachment,“ Counterpunch, October 25, 2019.
  4. Margaret Jacoby, The Cultural Meaning of the Scientific Revolution (Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1987).