Category Archives: Interview

Mass Vaccination, Lockdowns and Permanent War, with Denis Rancourt and Dan Cohen

MintPress News‘ Dan Cohen is joined by scientist Denis Rancourt to discuss his latest research paper on mass COVID-vaccination. They will discuss lockdowns, climate and the permanent war state, and how all of these issues are related.

See also “Academic Freedom: Redress for Denis Rancourt.”

The post Mass Vaccination, Lockdowns and Permanent War, with Denis Rancourt and Dan Cohen first appeared on Dissident Voice.

After Roe in Alabama: Counterpacking the Court

Francis Boyle is professor of law at the University of Illinois. His books include Tackling America’s Toughest Questions

He has been advocating that the Democrats embrace expanding the court for years. Boyle told the Guardian in 2018: “I think [Brett] Kavanaugh was put on there [the US Supreme Court] to ensure Roe is overturned. … He has used the Roberts dodge of saying it is settled law. So what? The supreme court can unsettle it tomorrow. He did not say it was decided correctly.”

Boyle said: “The Federalist Society, with its complete distortion of the Constitution and phony concept of ‘Originalism,’ has been packing the courts since the Reagan administration. The Democratic Party should embrace counterpacking the courts.

“But the Democratic Party is only going to be moved by sustained, massive protests.“The Federalist Society is ultimately going to target much of FDR’s New Deal and the Warren Court precedents including even Brown v. Board of Education. Also, freedom of the press — they will seek to overturn New York Times v. Sullivan protecting America’s Fourth Estate.“Contrary to what many claim, FDR’s plan to expand the Supreme Court was a great success. The court got the message and began to uphold his New Deal legislation after previously striking it down, which prompted his scheme in the first place. So he did not have to pack the court. But these Federalist Society members are so hard core, it will be needed now. [Boyle is a longtime critic of the Federalist Society, see “Hijacking Justice” from 1999 in Emerge magazine.]“Eliminating life tenure would require a Constitutional amendment, which is a non-starter to begin with and even a waste of time, efforts and money to try. Counterpacking is the best way to deal with this.”

The post After Roe in Alabama: Counterpacking the Court first appeared on Dissident Voice.

The West Against Russia: The Strategy is being Played Out in Ukraine

GEOFOR:  Greetings!  Since our last conversation, the conflict between Russia and the West has only continued to gain momentum. How far do you think this proxy war in the Ukraine can go? Is there a chance that the situation will improve?

Peter Koenig:  Thank you for having me again for an interview.

This is a million-dollar question.  Especially when we consider that Russia, by far the world’s largest and resource-richest country, was for over hundred years in the crosshairs of the western empire, led by the US and since WWII also by NATO, to be overtaken or to become a “colony” – similar – or worse – than western Europe.  The European Union (EU), has become a colony of Washington’s and NATO’s.

It is worth a distinction, though, between the people of Europe and the  governments of western Europe; i.e., the EU member countries and the European Commission (EC), the latter consisting of unelected members.

The EC currently, headed by the hawkish EC President, Ursula von der Leyen (unelected), former Minister of Defense of Germany, and close ally of Klaus Schwab’s. In fact, she is a Member of the Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum. It is unlikely that Ms. Von der Leyen would deviate from the WEF’s globalist agenda. And it looks like part of this globalist agenda is “regime change” in Russia.

On behalf of Washington, it’s driven by NATO and the EU.

Let me make this clear: the EU and EC are not representative of the 500-plus million people of Europe. The European Parliament that is supposed to represent the interests of the people has practically no voice. Most people, educated people, inquired about Russia, have a positive opinion about Russia. They want peaceful relations. While perhaps not agreeing with the Ukraine war, they understand what may have led up to it.

The people of Europe want sanctions on Russia to stop. The sanctions are foremost hurting Europe, but not Russia. On the basis of these sanctions, the planned One World Order (OWO), currently represented by the World Economic Forum (WEF), is using these sanctions, or rather Russia’s reaction to the sanctions, as a justification for causing massive energy and food shortages throughout the west, and to some extent, also the Global South.

They want to cause suffering and death. This is a gigantic western agenda of mass starvation, possibly mass death – fitting well into the Great Reset’s population reduction program. Having said this, it is difficult to imagine that the west will let go and pursue a Peace Agreement between Russia and Ukraine.

That would, in fact, be easy.

All Ukraine would have to do is to adhere to the Minsk II Agreement (February 2015), which was sponsored by France, President Macron, and Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel; by the very countries which are now coming down strongest, following US sanctions on Russia.

Let’s just for a moment look at NATO’s Madrid Summit 22-point Declaration, released on 29 June 2022. Item two is a statement of utter hypocrisy and point 3 reflects an outright hatred against Russia:

  1. We are united in our commitment to democracy, individual liberty, human rights, and the rule of law.  We adhere to international law and to the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.  We are committed to upholding the rules-based international order.
  2. We condemn Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine in the strongest possible terms.  It gravely undermines international security and stability.  It is a blatant violation of international law.  Russia’s appalling cruelty has caused immense human suffering and massive displacements, disproportionately affecting women and children.  Russia bears full responsibility for this humanitarian catastrophe.  Russia must enable safe, unhindered, and sustained humanitarian access.  Allies are working with relevant stakeholders in the international community to hold accountable all those responsible for war crimes, including conflict-related sexual violence.  Russia has also intentionally exacerbated a food and energy crisis, affecting billions of people around the world, including through its military actions.  Allies are working closely to support international efforts to enable exports of Ukrainian grain and to alleviate the global food crisis.  We will continue to counter Russia’s lies and reject its irresponsible rhetoric.  Russia must immediately stop this war and withdraw from Ukraine.  Belarus must end its complicity in this war.

Then, point 4, starts with a love declaration for Ukraine’s President Zelensky:

  1. We warmly welcome President Zelenskyy’s participation in this Summit.  We stand in full solidarity with the government and the people of Ukraine in the heroic defense of their country……..

That means and justifies for NATO continuing supplying billions worth of weapons to Ukraine – weapons that already now are ending up largely in the hands of dark and criminal weapons dealers. Brussels and Washington know it, but they will not stop it.

Zelenskyy, of course, is not free at all to take any decisions on his own. His decisions are dictated by the west.

These circumstances give a bleak outlook for Peace. But one should never lose hope.

GEOFOR:  Can the statements of a number of Baltic politicians on the need to take Kaliningrad away from Russia lead to a new hotbed of military confrontation already in Lithuania?

PK:  The Kaliningrad Oblast/District, a Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania, has also an important Baltic Sea port for Russia. Who knows what will really happen, but I do not believe that Poland and / or Lithuania will dare intervene in Kaliningrad.

These statements or declarations may be just hot air or a new type of western-style anti-Russia propaganda. From my point of view, not to be taken seriously.

GEOFOR:  The sanctions confrontation has, apparently, finally gone beyond reasonable explanations. Canada, following the UK, introduced them even against Patriarch Kirill… Tell us, is the bottom already reached, or should we expect new surprises?

PK:  Another good question.  Frankly I don’t know. I think rather that the Europeans, as well as Washington, start realizing that they are the ones suffering, I mean them – particularly also the elite, not just the people, about whom they do not care.

Therefore, it just might be that they are quietly trying to make arrangements with Russia for energy deliveries – dropping “sanctions” and accepting Russia’s ruble-billing and more.

It has been clear from the beginning that the Global South, meaning China and associated Asian countries, like the members of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), ASEAN, the BRICS-plus Iran – as well as most of Africa and many of Latin American countries, will not adhere to sanctions.

These are also the countries that Russia keeps supplying with energy resources and food.

The west has clearly overreached with their sanctions, totally illegal sanctions, mind you.  Sanctions, any kind of “sanctions”, from one country to another, impacting another country’s economy and the people’s well being, are illegal under International Law.

That’s also a reason why the east, led by China and Russia, will disassociate from the western currency and payment system (via US banks and SWIFT) and become an autonomous, sovereign politico-economic force. That may happen soon, possibly later this year or in early 2023.  A shock-wave may be expected.

It could well be that the financial-economic decoupling of the east from the west – already ongoing – may be the “surprise”, when it reaches its final stages.

And that in the meantime, the west is quietly back-paddling, as they realize to what extent they have been shooting themselves, unwittingly embarking on committing socioeconomic suicide.

GEOFOR:  Autumn is coming soon, will be followed by winter. Judging by the statements of the Europeans, they will not have time to fill in the gas storage facilities, even despite the fact that many companies have agreed to pay for Russian hydrocarbons “in rubles”, and the United States supplies liquefied natural gas. What will Brussels do in such a situation?

PK: Some of my assessment is already given above.  And, of course, supposedly NATO approves (despite 28 of the 30 NATO members being European, decisions are made in Washington), they may go back to Russia, quietly “lifting” some (or all) sanctions and trying to re-activate Nordstrom I and activate Nordstrom II.

It is clear that the Middle East, the Saudis, for example, will not jump in to supply Europe and the US with gas and oil to replace deliveries from Russia. The results of the recent Joe Biden visit to the Saudis may be an indication.

For the Middle East replacing Russian gas would be like “sanctioning” Russia, when they have clearly indicated that their future trading inclination is more eastwards, Russia, China and SCO and other eastern socioeconomic associations.

The Middle East realizes that the future is in the east. The west has been digging their own grave for decades. But they apparently still cannot admit it. Instead of seeking Peace, they are confronting an impending collapse.

GEOFOR:  And the last question. Against the backdrop of the financial and economic crisis gaining momentum, the ratings of leading Western politicians are beginning to fail. B. Johnson is no longer the leader of the Conservatives. They are increasingly talking about the upcoming political crisis in Germany, and the midterm elections to the US Congress are not far off… What are we to expect from all this?

PK:  Yes, Boris Johnson is out. But his “outing” was most likely a planned outing. In the west, there are no decisions nor elections made by the people or Parliaments. They are all imposed or planned from the beginning with the consent of the leaders in question – by the WEF and its handlers, or commanders; i.e., the interlinked corporate financial oligarchs of this world, the amalgamation of Black Rock, Vanguard and State Street. Plus, there are other important players – like Chase, Bank of America, JPMorgan, City Group et al.

The WEF is the executioner according to the Great Reset and following the script of UN Agenda 2030. Only people themselves, waking up, can stop this drive to total destruction. And, yes, I’m positive that LIGHT will prevail over darkness.

It is said the “financial emperors” control close to 90% of the western corporate industrial and service world with majority shareholdings. Under these circumstances it is not difficult to decide who “presides” over what country – and when they have to go.

Boris Johnson will be replaced by another vassal of the financial emperors, the one which best suits their current agenda.

As to Germany’s Olaf Scholz, he has been put into the German Chancellorship just a bit over six months ago, after a long vetting process with important players like the EC, Washington and not least NATO. He had the right profile for what the west is all about.

If one reads or listens to his history, it is amazing that he is not in jail. See this The Olaf Scholz File – His Words, his Deeds (English spoken – 3 March 2022)

Yes, an economic crisis is coming. Even to Germany. According to many economists, Germany is de-industrializing. I agree. Self-made, by the insane “sanctions”. But even that is part of the plan.

During and after a harsh winter 2022 / 23, there may be lots of bankruptcies, unemployment, poverty to extreme poverty, perhaps even deadly famine for the poorest.

This is not a coincidence. There are no coincidences. This is shifting capital from the bottom and the center to the top – the financial elite, that pretends to rule the world. If they – the WEF-led globalists – have their way, there would be a One World Government. But that will not happen.

The globalist agenda is falling apart. That was already visible at the WEF’s Davos meeting last May. People around the world are waking up to the globalist agenda. The vast majority of them has been suffering under the global everything – and now the attempt of global digitization, meaning total control of every move you make, via the financial system.

Russia and China may lead humanity into a new future, a multipolar world. This is the hope. And the peoples will, to be expressed in solidarity and peace, may prevail.

•  An interview with Peter Koenig on July 18, 2022.  See Russian translation here.

Peter Koenig is a geopolitical analyst and a former Senior Economist at the World Bank and the World Health Organization (WHO), where he worked for over 30 years around the world. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for online journals and is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed; and  co-author of Cynthia McKinney’s book “When China Sneezes: From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Politico-Economic Crisis” (Clarity Press – November 1, 2020).  Peter is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG) and is also a non-resident Senior Fellow of the Chongyang Institute of Renmin University, Beijing.

The post The West Against Russia: The Strategy is being Played Out in Ukraine first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Cindy Sheehan, Mickey Z. and Weird “Activist” Karma (part 1)

Mickey Z.: Recently, Cindy Sheehan and I appeared on each other’s podcasts (Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Newsletter and Post-Woke). While talking off-air, Cindy suggested we collaborate on an article related to our experiences with the Left — particularly since March 2020. To follow is the first part of that conversation.

MZ: About a month or two ago, a subscriber to my Substack described it as a “conservative blog.” She did so while pointing out how “unexpected” it is that someone running a conservative blog also runs a one-man program to help homeless women. Strangely, I didn’t flinch or feel any need to defend or explain myself. Welcome to 2022.

For the record, I am not a conservative. I’m also not a liberal. These days, I doubt I qualify as anything traditionally “left” or “right” and I’m not sure it matters in any ideological sense. But it certainly matters in an interpersonal sense. For the crime of pointing out the lies and contradictions in the Covid narrative, I’ve lost friends and family members. And that sucks. Again, welcome to 2022.

Cindy Sheehan: I have had similar experiences with people for the past two years, as my comrade, Mickey. If I had a nickel for every time someone called me a “Trumper,” or “Proud boy,” or even the ultimate 2020’s slur: Anti-vaxxer, I’d have hundreds of nickels!

As someone who has stood fast on her principles of peace, economic equality, and working-class solidarity, for almost two decades in the public eye, I thought I had earned some caché, or that I had piled up some credits in the Cindy Sheehan Bank of Trust. But as soon as a ¡VIRUS! hit our shores with a bigger P.R. push than George W. Bush’s rush to war in Iraq, my star faded in the eyes of former friends, colleagues, and comrades, while the stars of such criminal exploiters like Trump, Biden, Fauci, and Gates (not an inclusive list) went SUPER-NOVA in their galaxy.

MZ: I hear you, Cindy, and I’ve certainly always seen you that way. Whether or not I agree with you (and I most often do!), I know where you’re coming from and I recognize the hard work you do before reaching conclusions. It’s heartbreaking to witness the divisive power of fear in action. We got more than a little taste of it after 9/11 — when I also lost friends, comrades, and family members. Since March 2020, however, the programming went nuclear and has (so far) proven more potent than decades of reputation-building, friendship, and community.

In the meantime, as you and I have mentioned on our respective podcasts, we’ve made some new allies. So, how do you see yourself building on these new connections and addressing the very urgent issues of the moment (censorship, the Great Reset, etc.) — all while sustaining your commitment to principles of peace, economic equality, and working-class solidarity?

CS: As an illustrative example, Mickey and I had a falling-out in 2016 over the presidential elections. It took Mickey reaching out this year for us to re-establish a connection. When we both realized we had the same ideas about the current situation, I know I was elated to be back in touch, but dismayed at the lost opportunity we had to work together to oppose the neo-fascism we were all experiencing. I tell this story because before the ¡VIRUS! I was very guilty of applying the “purity test” to my activist relationships.

I mean, there are times when there are chasms that cannot be crossed, but when it comes to revolutionary victory over the global ruling class, we all need to grasp the fact that no matter how loony your neighbor may appear to you — right, left, or center — we have more in common with any of them than we do with the ilk of Elon Musk or Jeff Bezos. If we continue obsessing on how anyone voted in 2016, or 2020, and making the profoundly corrupt electoral process our litmus test, we cannot even begin to address anything that is not a wedge issue (guns/abortion) like imperialism and diseased capitalism.

Where do you see we can build a movement across political divides without compromising our values?

MZ: I very much hope I finally and fully learned the purity test lesson, too! But I agree that some chasms are best left alone. Better to use that time and energy to connect with someone with whom there’s some kind of starting point. As for your question, here’s my long attempt at answering it:

Ten years ago, I was still heavily involved with Occupy Wall Street. I was at several protests, events, and demos each week — often, I was the one speaking. I gave talks on a regular basis and even led teach-ins in NYC parks. My old Facebook page was a frenzy of radical activity.

That said, I have no interest in participating in the same old virtue signaling, exhibitionist, futile “activism” now. Even if I was, the vast majority of the people I worked with back then have since rejected me. First, it was my examination of “activist” tactics. Then I dared to question the trans agenda. Finally, pandemic politics became the proverbial last straw.

So, I had to go back 20 years for inspiration. I had a huge global audience thanks to the books I was writing and my non-stop articles on sites like Z Net and Counterpunch. I even jumped on the blog bandwagon to further solidify my standing in that pre-social media world.

What I’m doing today is both similar to this and new. I’m still engaged in 24/7 self-education and relentlessly sharing what I discover. But I’ve lost most of my comrades and now, social media censors me. This led me to create a Substack and jump on the podcast bandwagon. My approach is to talk with a wide spectrum of guests on the podcast while posting about just as wide a spectrum of topics in my written posts. All of this is in the name of exposing my readers and listeners to viewpoints that would be erased on any site governed by an algorithm.

CS: It’s interesting to me, Mickey, that our experiences are essentially the same, moving through separate spaces. Is it because of who we are as humans, or how the “movements” are?

I never imagined before my son Casey was killed in Iraq in April of 2004, that I would become an activist, never mind all of the attention my activism got (Camp Casey in Crawford pre-dated the OWS movement by six years?).

I was such a noob when I decided that I would, with my sister-comrade Dede Miller (RIP), go to Crawford, Texas in August of 2005 to ask George W, Bush “What Noble Cause?” To say I was stunned at the response is an understatement. People poured into poor Crawford by the thousands, and we had many thousands of people around the world in solidarity with us. It was obnoxious how much media scrutiny I came under.

My first mistake in my “career” was thinking that everyone who came to Crawford that summer wanted the post-9/11 wars to end: Afghanistan and Iraq. I had so much support that summer that I felt blessed by the universe and I felt that we were really going to end the wars. All of my energy and positivity would come to a crashing halt though when the Democrats regained a majority in Congress and they did nothing to end the wars. So, I left the party, and more than half of my support left me. Fake-lefty online spaces like The Daily Kos, Huffington Post, Democracy Now, Democrats.com, TruthOut, and CommonDreams left me and dropped me like the proverbial hot potato.

By the time the ¡VIRUS! struck in 2020, I was down to a handful of really strong anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist comrades. I thought if they were still with me after I left the War Party; opposed Obama’s wars, and still held Democrats to the same standard I held the Republicans, then they would be my comrades FOR LIFE — no matter what. However, I think I lost more than half of those people to the shining examples of sacrifice and morality: the previously mentioned criminals. All of a sudden, instead of being a person of integrity and courage, I became a pariah in my own community. Ironically, the same people who castigated me for not hating Trump enough were now castigating me because I was hesitant to inject his Operation Warp Speed juice into my body.  In 2020,  then candidates Sloppy Joe Biden and Kopmala Harris are on the record as saying that they would NEVER inject something in their bodies that was propagated by Trump — until they became the neo-fascists in charge of it, then even the most ardent Trump haters lined up for their jabs. In my humble opinion, no matter how we personally feel about the Covax, it should be no one’s business what medical procedure we decide to take, or not — from vaccines to abortions.

How can we triumph over the paradigm of war and profiteering over people that we have in this country when we always have to play the “Blue No Matter Who” Game? Look where that has led us: to the brink of nuclear annihilation.

MZ: Wow, Cindy, it appears you and I have accumulated a lot of weird “activist” karma. What shadow work do we need to do? Why do we seem to be condemned to so much acceptance-then-rejection? (Personally, I’ve always related to the Cassandra myth.)

I’ve also always flinched at decades of claims that I “never offer a solution.” I even have a stock answer to this charge. Here goes: Way too many people imply that unless a critic expounds a specific strategy for change, their opinion is worthless. This reaction misses the essential role critical analysis plays in a society where problems — and their causes — are so cleverly disguised.

Perhaps it’s time for me to toss that answer into the dustbin of history and try a new approach. Perhaps it’s also time for us to make this a two-part article? Part 2 could be a discussion of possible steps to, as you say above, “build a movement across political divides without compromising our values”? Or do you wanna keep going here?

CS: Mickey and I are hoping that this contribution to the current state of activism, or lack thereof, will begin a conversation about how we can “build a movement across political divides without compromising our values.” We need everybody to stop the world’s rapid slide into all-out war and environmental devastation. We are asking for your comments, thoughts, experiences, and solutions to incorporate into Part 2 of this conversation and to begin to build the movement we need to undermine the capitalists, profiteers, and imperialists.

The post Cindy Sheehan, Mickey Z. and Weird “Activist” Karma (part 1) first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Farmers’ Struggle Not Over: Corporate Takeover of Indian Agriculture Still Looms

The following is an unpublished transcript of an interview the author did for a UK-based TV channel that covers issues of interest to the worldwide Sikh diaspora. It concerns three pieces of farm legislation in India that were repealed in late 2021 after a prolonged protest by India’s farmers that gained global support and recognition.

Although the interview took place before the laws were repealed, the issues discussed remain highly relevant. That is because farmers are concerned that the government is dragging its feet on a number of issues more than six months after the legislation was repealed, not least a guaranteed minimum support price for produce procured by the public and private sectors, loan default injustices and other matters that have fuelled and deepened the country’s agrarian crisis.

The government’s apparent reluctance to implement the demands of farmers might indicate that the global corporations and financial institutions behind the legislation remain steadfast in seeking to secure what the laws aimed to bring about – the full-scale neoliberal marketisation of India’s agrifood sector, including the displacement of peasant farmers and independent, indigenous enterprises.    

The interview took place with prominent UK-based campaigner Ranjit Singh Srai.

Ranjit Singh Srai:  There has been much said about PM Modi’s new farm laws in terms of the motivation and the potential effect on farmers as well as the wider population. The government’s narrative has been pushed by its media friends and those taking part in the agitation have had their arguments patronisingly rubbished and simply been targeted as foreign agents, criminals and even terrorists. How do you see the outcome of any implementation of these new laws and the motivation behind them?

Colin Todhunter:  The new farm laws are being narrowly framed by certain commentators and sections of the corporate media. We hear they will be good for farmers and good for consumers. Farmers will have more freedom of choice when it comes to selling their produce and we will see more distribution networks and opportunities emerge.

We also hear that farmers will receive good prices as well. Farmers are concerned about the minimum support price mechanism being done away with. But we also hear that this will not occur and, even if it does, it will not matter so much because farmers will still be receiving good prices as a result of the farm legislation.

So, it is all being portrayed as a great success for farmers, for consumers and for the agribusiness corporations. Once this narrative is established, as it has been, it becomes easy to portray anyone who questions any of it as being somehow politically motivated.

But this depiction of those who protest or raise uncomfortable questions about the farm laws is little more than a diversion. To properly understand the new legislation and the reasons behind it, we must go back 30 years to India’s foreign exchange crisis.

At that time, the IMF and the World Bank granted India the equivalent of £90 billion worth of loans (around double that figure in 2022 given inflation) in return for the government dismantling its state seed supply system and reducing public funding for agriculture. India was also directed to shift towards the growing of cash crops to earn foreign exchange and to move 400 million people from the countryside into the cities.

Although many factors are at play, reducing the public sector’s role and the consequent lack of support for agriculture in general have to a large extent fuelled the ongoing agrarian crisis in the country.

This plan for agriculture has been going on for a long time regardless of which party has been in power. But under the current administration and with the implementation of the three farm laws, this programme is set to be accelerated.

The farm legislation is intended to drastically dilute the role of the public sector in agriculture, reducing it to a mere facilitator of private capital, leading to the entrenchment of industrial agriculture and the replacement of small-scale farms. To put it in simple terms, the legislation is intended to deliver a knockout blow to small holder agriculture and the peasantry.

(It must be added here that this form of agriculture remains vital. Contrary to much mainstream thinking, it can be said that rural India subsidises urban India. It provides a vast but cheap pool of labour to work in more menial positions. Millions migrate between city and village, especially when times get tough. When work dries up – or when the COVID-related lockdown was enforced – they headed back to their villages to survive. Moreover, the money earned in the city can be insufficient to live on and farming activities bring in much-needed revenue.)

The norm will eventually be industrial GMO commodity crop agriculture suited to the needs of the likes of Cargill, Archer Daniel Midlands and India’s giant retail and agribusiness giants as well as global agritech seed and chemical corporations. It could result in hundreds of millions of former rural dwellers without any work given that India is heading towards or is already experiencing jobless growth.

It is unfortunate that prominent journalists and media outlets in India are celebrating the new farm legislation and have attempted to discredit farmers who are protesting as being anti national. As if handing over the sector to foreign corporations is in any way serving the national interest. What prominent figures are actually doing, whether they are aware of it or not, is cheerleading for the destruction of local markets and small-scale enterprises – farmers, hawkers, food processers or mom and pop corner stores.

By implication, they are helping to ensure that India is surrendering control over its agrifood sector to global players. They are doing the bidding of the World Bank, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and global agrifood corporations which want India to eradicate its buffer food stocks and dismantle the public food distribution system.

To understand what is planned for agriculture, we also need to understand what is planned for retail. This, too, could decimate millions of livelihoods in the retail sector. For example, Walmart entered India in 2016 with a multi-2.1billion dollar takeover of the retail start-up Jet.com. In 2018, this was followed by a takeover of India’s largest online retail platform, Flipkart. Today, Walmart and Amazon control almost two thirds of India’s digital retail sector.

In 2020, Facebook and a US based private equity firm committed over 7 billion U.S. dollars to Reliance Jio. It means that customers will soon be able to shop using Facebook’s chat application, WhatsApp.

These are key developments because, by monopolising digital retail platforms, these companies will not only control data about consumption and consumer preferences but will also control data on production, logistics, who needs what, when they need it, who should produce it, who should move it and when it should be moved. The online world and the offline world are not separate; they are intertwined. E-commerce platforms will be able to shape the entire physical economy.

What is concerning is that Amazon and Walmart have sufficient global clout to ensure they become a duopoly, controlling much of Indian agriculture, including the nature of agricultural production itself. Markets will no longer matter; so-called platforms will take over.

At the same time, the aim is to allow financial speculators and global agribusiness to buy up rural land and amalgamate it. The end game is a system of contract farming that serves the interests of big tech, big agribusiness and big retail. Small-holder agriculture and small-scale retail are regarded as impediments to this.

Through what is called ‘data-driven agriculture’, with the data owned and controlled by corporate interests, the farmer will be told how much production is expected, how much rain is anticipated, what type of soil quality there is, what type of genetically engineered seeds and input are required and when the produce needs to be ready.

Traders, manufacturers, and cultivators who remain in the system will become slaves to the platforms and stripped of any independence. It is a clear concern that India will cede control of its entire economy its politics and its culture to these all-powerful modern-day East India companies.

By reducing public sector buffer stocks, side-lining the role of the Food Corporation of India and by introducing corporate-dictated contract farming and full-scale neoliberal marketisation for the sale and procurement of produce, India will be sacrificing its farmers and its own food security for the benefit of a handful of unscrupulous billionaires who run Walmart, Reliance, Amazon, Facebook and the like.

Bayer, Cargill and the big tech giants and the rest of the corporate entourage that will benefit from the new legislation are depicted as the saviours of Indian agriculture and Indian farmers. But we should remind ourselves of how Monsanto sucked around $900 million from Indian farmers courtesy of its genetically modified seeds, while leaving small-scale and marginal farmers in what a pre-eminent US academic called a “corporate noose” of dependency and indebtedness.

Despite what industry-funded lobbyists and academics might say, BT cotton in India has been a failure. Monsanto helped itself, not Indian farmers.

RSS:  PM Modi’s Hindutva, based on majoritarianism and authoritarianism, is working closely with, and is supported by, huge corporations that are taking over many sectors of the economy. To what extent do you see these new agricultural laws in that context?

CT:  Both foreign and home-grown billionaires like Adani and Ambani have pushed for the farm laws and are determining policy in India. We are witnessing a crisis of democracy. The new farm legislation is but a symptom of this crisis.

Neoliberal globalisation is ultimately based on the deregulation of international capital flows, euphemistically called financial liberalisation. The dismantling of Bretton Woods and the deregulation of global capital movements have deepened the level of dependency of nation states on capital markets. In India, we can see the implications.

Global finance is in a position to dictate domestic policy. Successive administrations have made the country dependent on volatile flows of foreign capital and India’s foreign exchange reserves have been built up by borrowing and foreign investments. For policymakers, the fear of capital flight is ever present. Policies are often governed by the drive to attract and retain foreign capital inflows.

The Indian government has chosen to submit to the regime of foreign finance, awaiting signals on how much it can spend and giving up any notion of economic sovereignty. And as the state withdraws from aspects of public policy (under World Bank directives), the space left open becomes occupied by private players. We will see this with the new farm laws because this is what they are designed to  facilitate.

It is clear that the ongoing farmers protest in India is not just about farming. Given that around 60% of the population still rely on agriculture for a living, we are witnessing a struggle for the heart and soul of the country.

There is an intensifying struggle over space between local markets and global markets. The former are the domain of independent small-scale producers, cultivators and enterprises. The latter are dominated by large scale international retailers, commodity traders and the rapidly growing and highly influential e-commerce companies.

It is essential to protect local markets and indigenous, independent small-scale enterprises and farmers. This will ensure that India has more control over its food supply, the ability to determine its own policies and its own economic independence. In other words, the protection of food and national sovereignty and the capacity to pursue genuine democratic development.

But as a result of the farm legislation, we could see India bidding for food with borrowed funds on the open market. Instead of the Food Corporation of India continuing to procure and physically hold food stocks, thereby ensuring a degree of food security, the country will be at the mercy of international traders. This is why Modi places so much stress on the policy of foreign direct investment. Foreign reserves will be needed to procure food stocks. This constitutes a recipe for further dependency. It constitutes a reliance on foreign finance and global corporations.

Mainstream economic thinking passes this subjugation off as liberalisation. How the inability to determine your own economic policies and surrendering food security to outside forces is in any way liberating is perplexing to say the least.

It is interesting to note that various reports from international human rights organisations recently downgraded India from being a free democracy to a partially free democracy. One report says India is now an electoral autocracy. How they ever considered India to be a free democracy in the first place is open to question. But these reports focused on the increase in anti-Muslim sentiment, clampdowns on freedom of expression and the restrictions on civil society since PM Modi took power.

The undermining of liberty in all these areas is cause for concern in its own right, but this trend towards divisiveness and authoritarianism serves another purpose. It diverts attention from the corporate takeover of the country, including agriculture. Whether it involves a divide and rule strategy along religious lines, the churning out of nationalistic sentiments, the suppression of free speech, pushing the farm bills through parliament without proper debate or the use of the police and the media to undermine the farmers protest, a major undemocratic heist is underway that will fundamentally adversely impact people’s livelihoods and the cultural and social fabric of the country.

RSS:  You have, in your writings, linked self-determination with economic sovereignty and the need to challenge the authority and machinery of an over-powerful central state. To what extent can we protect the sovereignty of people and their livelihoods when, since 1947, one colonial master was simply replaced by another?

CT:  On one side of this equation, there are the interests of a handful of multi billionaires who own corporations and platforms that seek to control India. On the other side, there are the interests of hundreds of millions of vendors, cultivators and small-scale enterprises who are regarded by these rich individuals as collateral damage to be displaced in their quest for ever-greater profit.

Indian farmers are on the frontline against global capitalism and a colonial style de-industrialisation of the economy. This is where the struggle for democracy and the future of India is taking place.

There is a need for a fundamental reorganisation of the prevailing globalised food system. We require a system that reduces dependency on global conglomerates, external proprietary inputs, long supply chains, distant volatile commodity markets and patented technologies. Practical solutions to the agrarian crisis – it is a global crisis and these solutions universally apply – must be based on placing the farmer at the centre of policies. Policies centred on localisation, self-sufficiency, food sovereignty and agroecological principles.

India, like other countries, must delink from neoliberal globalisation. It must manage foreign trade and expand indigenous markets by protecting and encouraging small-scale enterprises, including smallholder agriculture. It must increase welfare expenditure by the state and commit to a more egalitarian distribution of wealth and income.

Genuine food security, in principle, derives from food sovereignty, which, in a broad sense, is based on the right of people and sovereign states and regions to democratically determine their own agricultural and food policies. Instead of rolling back the public sector and surrendering the food security of the nation to foreign corporations, there is a need for India to further expand official procurement and public distribution.

This would occur by extending government procurement to additional states in India and expanding the range of produce under the public distribution system. It would not only boost rural incomes but also address hunger and malnutrition, which is still a major issue in the country. If policymakers are really serious about boosting the rural economy, they would reject the corporate agenda and a reliance on rigged and unstable markets.

And if the various coronavirus-related lockdowns have shown anything, it is that regional and locally owned food systems are now required more than ever. But a solution that would genuinely address rural distress and malnutrition does not suit the agenda of global corporations.

This is why ordinary people need to push back and assert self-determination and democratic development, involving challenging the dominance of private capital and disputing the authority of central states which work to consolidate state-corporate power above the heads of ordinary people.

The post Farmers’ Struggle Not Over: Corporate Takeover of Indian Agriculture Still Looms first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Iran and Venezuela Energy Cooperation

PressTV Interview with Peter Koenig

Iran and Venezuela are poised to enter a new era to fight US sanctions. Their cooperation in Hydrocarbons – production as well as trade – may help them gradually detach from western sanctions.

An idea brought forward in this interview is their joint exit from the dollar-dominated trade economy, by selling their petrol and gas in one or more other currencies than the US-dollar or even the Euro. Ideally, they may want to join the Russian move of selling gas for rubles instead of US dollars.

This brilliant Russian initiative, of course, has been a major “explosion” in Europe and elsewhere in the world, but most countries eventually accept this new payment mode – one that is totally delinked from the US dollar and its little brother, the Euro.

It is a move away from the SWIFT transfer system which makes countries vulnerable to sanctions because using SWIFT – the western payment mode – all transfers have to transit via US banks, thus increasing vulnerability to western, mostly US, interference or sanctions.

After all, still today 84% of all energy used in the world stems from hydrocarbons, as compared to some 87% in the year 2000. And this despite much talk of shunning petrol and gas, the Paris Climate Agenda, and especially propagating a Green Agenda – empty words, manipulating people’s minds towards a new form of capitalism.

Another strategy which both countries are actively considering, is increasingly delinking their trading from the west and orienting their economies towards the east; i.e., the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the Association of South Asian Nations (ASEAN), uniting 11 Asian countries, plus Russia and China. Earlier this year, Iran has been admitted as a member of the SCO.

These Eastern block economies together make up for about 50% of Mother Earth’s population and at least a third of the world’s GDP. Becoming part of this union is definitely a decisive step away from western domination and sanctions. See full interview (PressTV-PK – video 12 min – 3 May 2022)

ttp://www.urmedium.com/c/presstv/109212

The post Iran and Venezuela Energy Cooperation first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Iran: How to Circumvent Sanctions Now and in the Future

Background

Iran’s President Ebrahim Raeisi says the first priority of his administration during the Persian New Year is boosting employment and creating new jobs.

He made the remarks in his New Year message aired live from the Grand Mosque of the southwestern Iranian port city of Khorramshahr on Sunday evening, March 20.

“My first Nowruz message as the servant of the public is the message of round-the-clock and incessant work to build a powerful and advanced Iran,” he said.

“No nation and no country has achieved anything without intensive work and the maximum use of human and natural resources. The New Year and the new century should be the beginning of a new era of productive, useful, fruitful, and progressive work for all of us,” the president added.

“During the current year, God willing, the issue of employment will be our first and foremost issue,” Iran’s president said, adding that unemployment is the root cause of all economic and social plights. As a result, he noted, supporting domestic production is at the top of his administration’s agenda.

Raeisi noted that during the seven-month lapsed since his administration was inaugurated, it has proven it is determined to do what it says.

“We said that with the help of God and people, we would contain the coronavirus [pandemic], [and] thanks God, it was done,” Iran’s president said.

He added, “We said that the country and the economy would not be left in limbo pending [the conclusion] of the JCPOA [Iran’s deal with world powers]. Everybody saw that while engaging in negotiations [with other parties to the JCPOA] and taking advantage of political and legal means to dealing with the crime of sanctions, we also put our focus on thwarting sanctions.”1

He pointed to the emerging signs of economic growth and stability as well as a significant increase in the volume of foreign trade and non-oil exports under his administration, saying, “We increased trade with our neighbors for the benefit of the people.”

“We said that we will set the production wheel in motion, [and] official statistics, released up to the end of the third quarter even show that economic growth has reached above 5%,” Iran’s chief executive said.

“We said that we will not trade the interests and security of the people with anything, [and] everyone saw that we gave priority to boosting the country’s defense, missile, and space capabilities, because the country’s security is a priority,” he added.

Raeisi also said the balance in the country’s foreign policy has been restored through an active diplomacy pursued under his leadership.

According to the president, the greatest foreign policy achievement of the country in recent years has been the disgraceful failure of the United States’ maximum pressure policy in the face of the Iranian people’s resistance.2

Back in 2018, the administration of the former US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and re-imposed the anti-Iran sanctions that were lifted under the accord while piling on with new ones. He said he was adopting a “maximum pressure” policy to force Tehran to negotiate a new deal.

In spite of his fierce criticisms of the “failed maximum pressure” campaign pursued by his predecessor, Biden has not only kept all the sanctions imposed under Trump but has also added new ones as well.

“We began running the country in the right direction. We do not see the fate of the nation in the hands of foreigners,” Raeisi stressed.

He noted that his administration did away with polarization, which he said undermines the nation’s strength, and instead demonstrated that the power of the [operations in the military] field is in line and parallel to the power of diplomacy.

“We used foreign relations in the service of [the country’s] economy, and that is the meaning of a transform-seeking and justice-oriented administration,” he added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Iranian president wished for the new Iranian year to be the end of the coronavirus pandemic around the world and also an end to wars in every corner of the world.

PressTV Interview with Peter Koenig

PressTV:  What would be possible ways to neutralize sanctions, regardless of the result of negotiations in Vienna [IAEA Nuclear Negotiations – ongoing]?

Peter Koenig:  Thank you.  Please let me begin, if I may, with a quote from President Ebrahim Raeisi, after referring to Iran’s spectacular 5% growth, when he said: that we will not trade the interests and security of the people with anything, [and] everyone saw that we gave priority to boosting the country’s defense, missile, and space capabilities, because the country’s security is a priority.”

This is crucial. Iran’s Security must be a priority. This refers not just to military and geopolitical security, but also to economic security.

To neutralize sanctions current and potential future ones, it is important that Iran fully orient herself towards the east, towards China and Russia; in essence, towards the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, of which Iran is now a full-fledged member, and away from the west.

Remember, I have said this before – the SCO comprises about half of the world population — in other words, a huge market — and controls about 30% or more of the world’s GDP.

There is no need to continue depending on the west, the US and her allies or better, her vassals, the Europeans. They will always do what the Anglo-American empire dictates because they are afraid themselves of sanctions.

The current case – the war between Ukraine and Russia – speaks for itself. The US dictates the sanctions for Russia and the European Union has to follow suit – or else. What is the result?

It’s a kind of economic suicide for the west; more for the Europeans than for the US. But also, the US suffers more from their imposed sanctions than does Russia. Because, Russia has gradually detached herself from the dollar-euro economy, and oriented her trade and geopolitical relations towards the east, China and the SCO.

This is true, despite of the contrary the western Russia phobic media want you to believe.

Of course, unplugging one’s economy from the west, from the dollar-euro hegemony, is a process – it doesn’t happen from one day to the next.

But Iran has already begun. In my opinion, it has to be continued immediately and fervently and carried out persistently. In that sense, in achieving economic independence – Russia may be an example. The current US-EU sanction regime hurt Europa and the US more than they hurt Russia, especially in what energy supply is concerned.

PressTV:  Also, considering the energy crisis in Europe, there may be possibilities for Iran to supply natural gas to Europe.

PK:  Of course, there may be possibilities. But knowing what we know about Europe, the US and sanctions, my recommendation is to abstain from supplying Europe with energy. There will be the day when they are told that now Iran needs to be sanctioned, and all the contracts you, Iran, sign now, would be cancelled, or simply disregarded, invalidated. And, as you know, this is not new for Iran, the cancellation of contracts due to sanctions.

There is no reliance on Europe, nor, of course, as you know, on the US.

A good example is the Russia-Germany Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, which is practically finished. Yet, Germany is being told not to buy Russian gas. However, Germany depends to about 50% of Russian hydrocarbons. Now what will happen – of course, they go begging around the world, to fill the gap, possibly at much higher prices than the gas supply from Russia.

The Saudis have already said they would rather sell to China in Yuan. And they have categorically refused President Biden’s request to increase their oil production.

One must add, the Russian gas supply has always been reliable. Whatever the geopolitical differences, so far Russia has always maintained her contractual agreements and obligations.

Under the circumstances, Russia has already successfully diverted the supplies destined for Germany to China.

Another important factor is the currency in which such contracts would be established, either in US dollars or in euros, the little brother of the dollar.

To the extent possible, Iran may want to stay away from these fiat currencies. These are also the currencies with which sanctions are dished out. So, its not a good idea to deal with these currencies. The Chinese Yuan – which will be rolled out still this year as a digital international payment mode, is much-much safer. –

The Yuan is backed by a solid Chinese economy. The US-dollar and the Euro are backed by nothing – literally by nothing – not even by trust.

PressTV:  And finally, the possibilities of developing relations with countries that they themselves are already under US sanctions?

PK:  Like what countries?  If you are thinking of the East bloc, like the members of the SCO, like China and Russia, yes, of course. They soon will have their own international payment system – actually it already functions between some countries; for example, between China and India it’s already established – and that is SANCTION-FREE!!!

So, again, to stay away as much as possible from US sanctions:

  • do not trade in US-dollars or in Euros
  • stay away from dealing with the US and Europe.
  • Also do NOT keep your reserves in western countries – see what happened to Russia?

Half of Russia’s reserves, stored in London and NYC and possibly some other western countries, have been confiscated – in other words: stolen.

Keep you reserves in your own treasury or in an SCO country where they are not accessible to the west – where they are safe from western sanctions.

  1. See:  Washington says its “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran has been an abject failure.”
  2. See:  Nation’s maximum resistance defeated US maximum pressure, Iranian president says.
The post Iran: How to Circumvent Sanctions Now and in the Future first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Personal Interview: Scott Ritter

Events are unfolding at a quickening pace. Facing an alarming escalation in tensions around the world, we are looking to our most respected and renowned thought leaders for an honest assessment of both U.S. foreign and military policy to offer their most current thoughts and insights. We know they have some ideas for improving the prospects for peace.

Scott Ritter served as a former U.S. Marine Corps Intelligence officer (1984-1991), in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General  Norman Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and as a UN weapons inspector in Iraq (1991-1998). He is author of SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump, “Iraq Confidential” (Nation Books, 2005), and “Target Iran” (Nation Books, 2006). His responses below are exactly as he provided.

The questions here are not philosophical or abstract. They focus on the realities of the international power struggle unfolding in real time. They directly address the role of the U.S. in the escalating tensions and its capacity to reduce them. We also probe the role of everyday citizens in affecting the relationship the U.S. now has and will have with the rest of the world community.

Here is what Scott Ritter had to say.

John Rachel:  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has recently put the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds before midnight. Midnight means all out war, probably nuclear holocaust. This is the closest it has every been. Do you agree with this dire assessment?

Scott Ritter:  No. There have been occasions in the past where the confluence of geopolitical posturing and military hubris combined to make the conditions favourable for nuclear conflict greater than those that exist today. We have reduced the amount of forward-deployed nuclear weapons and have altered our military doctrine so that the use of nuclear weapons is not assumed, but rather seen as a separate, deliberate action above and beyond the military mission at hand. This does not mean that the threat of a nuclear conflict isn’t real, or that the world should not be concerned. The point here is that it doesn’t matter where you set the Doomsday Clock; if the decision is made to use nuclear weapons, it means we are at zero, and we failed. So long as nations possess nuclear weapons and have corresponding nuclear postures that postulate scenarios for which the use of nuclear weapons are considered a viable outcome, we will always be one second away from global annihilation. The Doomsday Clock should be set at one second until all nuclear weapons are eliminated—that’s the true state of play. Anything else is simply an exercise in self-deception.

JR:  The U.S. always portrays itself as the greatest force on the planet for peace, justice, human rights, racial equality, etc. Polls tell us that most other nations actually regard the U.S. as the greatest threat to stability. What in your view is the truth here?

SR:  Peace, justice, human rights, racial equality, etc….these are very subjective topics which mean different things to different people at different times. The human condition is not conducive to any utopian notion of universality. There will always be competition between groups of people, whether organized as states, coalitions, alliances, etc. There was a time when the confluence of global conditions positioned the US as the foremost power in defence of nations sharing similar value sets. But we should not pretend that the US is a nation which embraces the very notions is proclaims to defend. No nation lives up to the promise of its own propaganda—none. The nations that oppose the United States are not paragons of virtue themselves. Many of them are actively engaged in a competition for resources and access with the US which colours their outlook. The truth is humanity has not learned how to peacefully coexist with itself. The US has done much to help nations survive and prosper, but only if those nations are useful in the pursuit of American goals and objectives. We don’t support those who are aligned against us…we are not a benevolent nation. No nation is.

JR:  Here’s a chicken-or-egg question: The U.S. accuses both Russia and China of rapidly expanding their military capabilities, claiming its own posturing and increase in weaponry is a response to its hostile adversaries, Russia and China. Both Russia and China claim they are merely responding to intimidation and military threats posed by the U.S. What’s your view? Do Russia and China have imperial ambitions or are they just trying to defend themselves against what they see as an increasingly aggressive U.S. military?

SR:  Where do you start the clock when answering this question? The US, Russia, and China have always been involved in a version of the “great game” that incorporates military power as a means of gaining and maintaining control over objectives deemed to be in the national interest. Picking an arbitrary point in time as your starting point and drawing conclusions based upon the resultant fact set ignores the fact that at one point or another in the past two centuries, Russia, China, and the US (along with France, Germany, the UK, Italy, Japan, and others) have all sought to use military power as a means of gaining a geopolitical advantage over others. Greed loves a vacuum, and humans are perpetually greedy; that’s one way of saying if you don’t maintain sufficient force to defend yourself, someone will take advantage of that. The US didn’t invent wars of aggression.

JR:  The U.S. always denies that it has imperial ambitions. Most unbiased experts say that by any objective standards, the U.S. is an empire — indeed the most powerful, sprawling empire in history. Does the U.S. have to be an empire to be successful in the world and effectively protect and serve its citizenry?

SR:  All one has to do is look at the disparity between the rate of consumption of the American people and what we produce. The reality is that we are dependent upon resources that come from other nations to maintain the lifestyle we enjoy. Empires operate the same way. We are an empire.

JR: The highest ranking commanders of the U.S. military recently sounded the alarm. They have concluded that the U.S. — widely regarded as the most formidable military power in history — can’t defeat either Russia or China in a war. These military commanders are saying we need to dramatically increase our military capabilities. What do you make of this claim and the resulting demand for more DOD spending?

SR:  Russia has built a military that can defeat the US and NATO in a stand-up conventional fight, and yet Russia spends a fraction of whet the US does on defence. The problem with the US defence system isn’t how much we spend (which is too much, by the way) but what we spend it on, and how we spend it. We have a bloated defence acquisition system geared more toward generating profits for the military defence industry than producing capable defence products. The F-35 fighter stands out as a case in point, but it is not unique. If I were Congress, I’d find a way to streamline acquisition at the same time as revising doctrine so that the US could field a lethal military force at half the cost. But then again, Congress is married to the defence industry, which underwrites their political campaigns. Military commanders always want more without ever admitting they could make do with far less.

JR:  In 2009, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton announced a reset with Russia, heralding greater cooperation and understanding. By 2014, Obama had made a sharp reversal. A sweeping regime of sanctions has since been imposed on Russia to cripple its economy. Hillary Clinton and the Democrats now relentlessly demonize Russia and Putin, blaming them for every imaginable ill. Both in the media and from official pronouncements by government officials, Russia has become the favorite whipping boy for both the U.S. and its “special friend”, Great Britain.  Why?  What happened?

SR:  We had a moment in history, between 1988 and 1991, where we could have worked with Mikhail Gorbachev to make his vision of perestroika succeed. Instead, we allowed him to fail, without any real plan on how we would live with what emerged from the ruins of the Soviet Union. Save for a short period of time during the Second World War where we needed the Soviet Union to defeat Germany and Japan, we have been in a continual state of political conflict with the Soviet Union. Even after the Soviet Union collapsed, we viewed the Russian Federation more as a defeated enemy that we needed to keep down, than a friend in need of a helping hand up. Yeltsin’s Russia was useful to the US and NATO only to the extent that we could exploit it economically while controlling its domestic politics in a manner that kept Russia in a perpetual state of weakness. The Obama “reset” was simply a ploy to remove Vladimir Putin, who rejected the vision of Russia projected by the west, and replace him with Dmitri Medvedev, whom Obama believed could be remade in the figure of Yeltsin. The fact that Putin believes in a strong Russia has upset the plans of the US, NATO, and Europe for post-Cold War hegemony, predicated as they were on a weak, compliant Russian state.

JR:  The number of spy missions, nuclear-armed bomber flights, and war games near Russia’s borders have vastly increased over the past year. Same with China. Is all of this just business-as-usual geopolitical posturing? Or does it represent a dangerous escalation and a new ominous direction in U.S. strategic positioning? What is the justification for what Russia and China see as provocations and aggressiveness, if not actual preparation for a war?

SR:  To be honest, the level of intelligence collection today pales in comparison to what we were doing during the Cold War. It’s all a matter of perspective. We are engaged in a global geopolitical competition with both Russia and China that has a military component attached to it. The intelligence collection and military posturing is simply a ramification of this reality. I think the Russians and Chinese are mature enough in their own assessments to distinguish between simple intelligence collection and posturing, and actual preparations for war.

JR:  Between the FONOPS in the South China Sea and the recently expressed enthusiasm for Taiwan’s independence, the risk of military conflict with China keeps increasing. Where is this headed? If People’s Republic of China decides to use military force for full reunification of Taiwan, do you see the U.S. going to war in an attempt to prevent it?

SR:   You can’t have two competing major powers operating in the same space without conflict. The US will either have to retreat from the South China Sea, and stop supporting Taiwan, or there will be a military conflict. I don’t see the US retreating, so the question is what level of conflict will ensue. The US lacks the capacity for meaningful military engagement in either front. China will probably seek some form of low-level conflict that can be contained as a way of compelling a US retreat. But unless the US changes course, there will be a war.

JR:  The U.S. against the clear objections of the government in Syria is occupying valuable land, stealing the country’s oil, and preventing access to the most agriculturally productive region, effectively starving the population. The world sees this for what it is, a cruel game sacrificing innocent people for some perceived geopolitical advantage. Is this the kind of reputation the U.S. wants? Or does it simply no longer care what the rest of the world community thinks?

SR:  The US doesn’t care, and frankly speaking neither does the rest of the world. Arab life has become virtually worthless in terms of generating sympathy when it is lost. The world has come to accept the cheapness of an Arab life. That the US is involved in policies that harm Arabs simply does not shock the global conscious the way it should, if for no other reason than the Arabs themselves behave as if Arab life holds no value. How else to you explain the sectarian violence, the Saudi assault on Yemen, etc.?

JR: In a democracy, at least in theory citizens have a say in all matters of public policy. Yet, in the end none of the recent military campaigns and undeclared wars seem to achieve much popular favor or support. What is and what should be the role of everyday citizens in determining the foreign policy and military priorities of the country? Or are such matters better left to the “experts”?

SR:  We should stop pretending that the US is a functioning democracy; Citizens United proves we are not—when the courts grant citizenship powers to corporations, money and greed become the nation’s lifeblood, not the will of the people. The American people have allowed themselves to be dumbed down to the point that their opinions are easily manipulated by corporate-owned and controlled mainstream media. The inability to function as a viable component of government has resulted in the “people” fracturing into competing ideological and socio-economic fiefdoms. American democracy is little more than feudalistic plutocracy. It’s an unsustainable model doomed to collapse in on itself.

JR:  Related to that, the citizenry and most of Congress are kept in the dark with respect to special missions, proxy funding, CIA operations, and swaths of unknown unknowns constituting psyops, cyber ops, and regime change ops, all done in our name as U.S. citizens. The funds to support this sprawling “dark world” of sabotage and terror being inflicted on the rest of the planet, is also a secret.  Now there’s pervasive spying on U.S. citizens right here at home.  What place does any of this have in “the land of the free”? Does this mean government of the people, by the people, for the people is just a sham?

SR:  While there is a role for secret operations in the conduct of legitimate defence-related activities, every effort should be made to minimize that which is defined as secret, and to ensure that anything deemed secret is eventually revealed so that the American people can be fully informed as to what is being done in their name. Secrecy is the death of democracy. That we live in a police/military state where everything is classified is proof positive of the decline of the United State as a functioning democracy. America cannot cure itself until it reveals all of its secrets to its citizens; otherwise, we are only pretending to live in a democracy. Democracy thrives in sunlight, not shadows.

JR:  Recently we’ve seen some token but precedent-setting direct payments to citizens in the form of Covid relief. There is also the ongoing discussion about reparations to descendants of slaves. If it could be unequivocally established that the government has abused DOD funding, misused and squandered vast sums of money to promote unjustified wars, purchase unneeded equipment, unnecessarily expand U.S. military presence across the globe, and regularly lied to the American public to manufacture consent for these misadventures and fraudulent activities, practical and political considerations aside, do you see any constitutional or other legal barriers to the public identifying, expecting, or even demanding proper compensation? A cash refund or citizen reparations for massive, authenticated abuse of power?

SR:  The House of Representatives controls the purse—it alone can make determinations regarding the allocation of financial resources. The American people have the ability to elect new Congressional representatives every two years. The answer to all of our problems could be solved by electing the right people to represent us. And yet…look at Congress today. It is fundamentally broken, divided along ideological lines, and in the pockets of corporate sponsors and special interests. The answer is no—beyond some token Covid-like bribes, the American people will never see compensation for the mismanagement of their taxpayer dollars so long as they have a Congress configured as it currently is.

*****

John Rachel:  We are grateful to Scott Ritter for his thought-provoking views. The interview was arranged by John Rachel, Director of the Peace Dividend Project. This effort embraces a powerful, unprecedented, end-to-end strategy for challenging the tyranny of neocon warmongers in Washington DC, ending the endless wars, and reversing the self-destructive foreign policy and military paradigm which now poisons U.S. relations with the rest of the world. Scott Ritter has also agreed to be interviewed for the full-length Peace Dividend documentary film, a devastating indictment of the corruption and fraud built into our excessive military budgets and imperial overreach. This movie will inform, unite and empower everyday citizens to have a voice in determining the future they want for themselves and their children.

The post Personal Interview: Scott Ritter first appeared on Dissident Voice.

President JFK’s Murder Is Graphic Proof of Entrenched Cold War Ideology and Why Peace Eludes U.S.-Russia Relations

The Cold War is back with a vengeance. The current impasse between the United States and Russia over the Ukraine crisis is running the risk of an all-out war in Europe, a war that could escalate into nuclear Armageddon. The crisis is wholly manufactured by Washington’s geopolitical power calculations – claims made against Russia about planning to invade Ukraine are baseless if not absurd. The impasse reflects an impoverishment of diplomacy and respect for international law, and a reckless tendency to militarize bilateral relations. This is the manifestation of Cold War thinking, primarily on the U.S. side.

In the following interview, Martin Schotz, a respected Massachusetts-based author on the assassination of President John F Kennedy, explores the systematic basis for Cold War logic. He contends that the United States’ political class is locked in an entrenched Cold War mentality that serves its hyper-militarized economy. Cold War politics necessitates conflict and war in international relations, which is all too clearly demonstrated by the present crisis over Ukraine between the U.S. and Russia.

The depth of this Cold War logic of the accompanying national security state is illustrated by the shocking murder of President John F Kennedy in Dallas on November 22, 1963. His murderers and the institutional coverup that followed were motivated by Kennedy’s growing opposition to the Cold War with the Soviet Union. The fact of JFK’s murder and the systematic denial by media is an indication of how deeply engrained Cold War thinking is in the American political establishment. That embedded logic explains why U.S. relations with Russia continue to be dominated by seemingly irrational hostility. Why do peaceful relations seem so elusive, so relentlessly thwarted? Is it really because of malign Russians?

The inability of the Biden administration, or any U.S. administration for that matter, to conduct normal, peaceful, diplomatic relations with Russia within the bounds of the UN Charter and international law is down to the intransigent Cold War logic of the American imperial state. More than 58 years after the brutal murder of Kennedy, the imperial state persists more than ever as can be seen in the reckless hostility by Washington towards Moscow, as well as towards Beijing, Tehran, Havana, Bogota and others designated as “enemies” of presumed U.S. hegemony.

Martin Schotz co-authored the seminal book History Will Not Absolve Us: Orwellian Control, Public Denial, and the Murder of President Kennedy (1996). It is widely acclaimed as a definitive record of how and why the state murdered Kennedy.

Schotz, MD, retired, previously practiced psychiatry in Boston. He has a BA in Mathematics from Carleton College, and an MD from the University of Pennsylvania. Following training in Adult and Child Psychiatry at Boston University Medical Center, he was a graduate student in the University Professors Program at Boston University. In addition to practicing psychiatry, he is a playwright, essayist, short story writer, and amateur jazz drummer.

He writes for the American Committee for U.S.-Russia Accord, as well as Massachusetts Peace Action. A recent article is entitled “Understanding and Resisting the New Cold War”.

An important theme for Schotz is the political and societal effects on the United States from the mass denial that continues in relation to Kennedy’s murder. From his 1996 book cited above is this profound insight which is as relevant today as it ever was:

As citizens who have turned away for thirty years [now nearly sixty years] from the truth of the murder of our elected head of state, we should not be surprised that today we find our nation in intellectual, political, and moral chaos. Confronting the truth of President Kennedy’s assassination and its coverup is but one small step on a long path out of that chaos and toward healing, a path along which we must confront the true nature of our democracy and the reality of what our nation has become for its own citizens and for people throughout the world. Such a process of healing is not pleasant. It is a difficult and painful path, but it is a necessary one. History will not absolve us.

Interview

Finian Cunningham: You are a long-time observer of Cold War politics between the United States and the former Soviet Union. How would you compare the current deterioration and tensions in relations between the U.S.-led Western states and Russia?

Martin Schotz: I’m afraid, if anything, I would say matters are worse because of the deterioration of conditions in the United States. On the one hand, we have the ever-growing control of the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Intelligence-Media-Think Tank Complex. Both major parties are wedded to the military establishment and espouse Cold War propaganda with little dissent. When you combine this with the weakening influence of the liberal establishment and the growing openly fascist movement that combines the Republican Party and white supremacy there seems to be tremendous potential for instability in this country. The peace movement, such as it is, needs to reach out for support and allies wherever it can. And we need to keep in mind Martin Luther King Junior’s concept of “agape”, that is, faith in the capacity of your enemy to be transformed.

FC:  The Cold War was supposed to have ended nearly 30 years ago with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Why do you think it persists three decades on in the form of fraught and hostile relations between Washington and Moscow?

MS: In my opinion, it is a myth that the Cold War ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. The Cold War from the beginning was always about U.S./Western hegemony. No other system can be permitted to exist that might be an alternative to the capitalist system. When the Soviet Union collapsed, somehow Cuba didn’t. And because Cuba represents another way – another economic and political system, true national sovereignty, etc., – the U.S. continued to demonize Cuba and kept its embargo intact. To me, this is evidence that the Cold War didn’t end. At the time of the collapse of the Soviet Union, it wasn’t so clear what direction China would be moving in. And the Cold Warriors probably thought they might be able to bring China into the U.S.-dominated capitalist system. Of course, they assumed that Russia would be part of the system with Yeltsin and his successors. But when China decided to pursue its own course and Russia re-emerged under Vladimir Putin, the Cold War, which had been up to then somewhat quiet, suddenly flared up again. There is a quote from prominent Cold War diplomat and historian George Kennan from the 1980s in which he deplored the establishment’s negative view of the USSR that could be written today. All you have to do is take the passage and substitute “Russia” for “Soviet Union”. Here is a long quote from Kennan’s book The Nuclear Delusion: Soviet-American Relations in the Atomic Age (1982):

I find the view of the Soviet Union that prevails today in large portions of our governmental and journalistic establishments so extreme, so subjective, so far removed from what any sober scrutiny of external reality would reveal, that it is not only ineffective but dangerous as a guide to political action.

This endless series of distortions and oversimplifications; this systematic dehumanization of the leadership of another great country; this routine exaggeration of Moscow’s military capabilities and of the supposed iniquity of Soviet intentions: this monotonous misrepresentation of the nature and the attitudes of another great people – and a long-suffering people at that, sorely tried by the vicissitudes of this past century; this ignoring of their pride, their hopes – yes, even of their illusions (for they have their illusions, just as we have ours, and illusions too, deserve respect); this reckless application of the double standard to the judgment of Soviet conduct and our own, this failure to recognize, finally, the communality of many of their problems and ours as we both move inexorably into the modern technological age: and the corresponding tendency to view all aspects of the relationship in terms of a supposed total and irreconcilable conflict of concerns and of aims; these, I believe, are not the marks of the maturity and discrimination one expects of the diplomacy of a great power; they are the marks of an intellectual primitivism and naivety unpardonable in a great government. I use the word naivety, because there is the naivety of cynicism and suspicion, just as there is the naivety of innocence.

And we shall not be able to turn these things around as they should be turned, on the plane of military and nuclear rivalry, until we learn to correct these childish distortions – until we correct our tendency to see in the Soviet Union only a mirror in which we look for the reflection of our own virtue – until we consent to see there another great people, one of the world’s greatest, in all its complexity and variety, embracing the good with the bad, a people whose life, whose views, whose habits, whose fears and aspirations, whose successes and failures, are the products, just as ours are the products, not of any inherent iniquity but of the relentless discipline of history, tradition, and national experience. If we insist on demonizing these Soviet leaders – on viewing them as total and incorrigible enemies, consumed only with their fear and hatred of us and dedicated to nothing other than our destruction – that, in the end, is the way we shall assuredly have them, if for no other reason than that our view of them allows for nothing else, either for them or for us.

FC: As the author yourself of a ground-breaking book on the assassination of President John F Kennedy, you argue that he was murdered by powerful U.S. state elements precisely because Kennedy was beginning to seriously challenge Cold War policies. Can you elaborate on some of the peace initiatives that he was embarking on with his Soviet counterparts?

MS: Kennedy went through a gradual and ultimately radical transformation over the three years of his presidency. He initially as a senator had made a speech against colonialism that had raised some eyebrows, but during the campaign for the presidency, he seemed to be attacking Nixon from the right. Eisenhower as he was leaving office had warned of the growing influence of the military-industrial complex, and once Kennedy was in office it didn’t take long before he began to tangle with the CIA and the military. His refusal to allow U.S. forces to rescue the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961 was the first example. He tried to fire Allen Dulles, the head of the CIA, over Dulles’ deceit in the incident. But as David Talbot’s book on Dulles, The Devil’s Chessboard, demonstrates in great detail Dulles, in fact, continued to meet with his associates even though Kennedy had officially removed him as director of the agency. Then you had a little-known agreement signed between a representative of Kennedy and a representative of then-Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev known as the McCloy-Zorin Agreement. This outlined a plan for complete worldwide disarmament in stages. It was brought to the UN and unanimously endorsed by the UN General Assembly. At the time, I am not sure how seriously Kennedy took this agreement. But you also have at this time the private correspondence that Kennedy and Khrushchev were conducting, which allowed them to get a better understanding of each other out of public view. Then you have the Cuban Missile Crisis during October 1962. The pressure on Kennedy to launch a war against Cuba and possibly a first strike on the Soviet Union was enormous. But he resisted, showing great independence, and was able to resolve the crisis by negotiating with Khrushchev. That crisis was a real turning point. Kennedy saw how callous his military advisors were to the possibility of millions of deaths in a war. The turning point was quite radical. At this stage, I think the McCloy-Zorin Agreement really started to mean something. Kennedy was reportedly pressing his aides for plans for general disarmament in stages. Then in June 1963, you have the American University speech. This speech was a profound attempt on the part of the president to start educating the American people on the subject of world peace. To me it is perhaps the greatest speech by an American president and the principles articulated in that speech are universal and eternal. Those principles of mutual peace and coexistence, disarmament and an end to militarism, are as relevant today as ever.

FC: You have pointed to the bold declaration of peace by Kennedy in the American University speech in Washington DC on June 10, 1963, as a watershed moment. In that 27-minute address, President Kennedy talked about the pursuit of peace and an end to futile Cold War animosity. Do you think that was the moment he signed his own death warrant in the eyes of U.S. political enemies?

MS: After the speech was delivered, Khrushchev was so impressed by it that he had it reprinted throughout the Soviet Union, so virtually every Soviet citizen knew about it. That is something that needs to happen in the United States today. Amongst other things, Kennedy announced in the speech a moratorium on nuclear testing in the atmosphere and followed it by negotiating a test ban treaty. Though the U.S. public opinion was initially solidly against the treaty, Kennedy’s organizing and speeches won people over and the treaty was approved by the Senate. So you have here a leader, the president of the United States who is really part of the establishment and has someone like John McCloy working on the one hand and he has Norman Cousins working with him on the other hand. McCloy was as establishment as you can get, and Cousins was one of the founders of the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy. Cousins was Kennedy’s personal emissary between himself, Pope John XXIII and Khrushchev. Cousins’ book, The Improbable Triumvirate, is an important record of what was going on in 1963. Cousins was a co-author of the American University speech. Well, you can see what a radical turn was being taken against the Cold War. And the CIA and the Military establishment were not about to have it. You know if Kennedy had been given more time and the American people had really gotten more of a taste for peace, a certain momentum might have developed.

FC: The JFK assassination is a profoundly shocking revelation of U.S. state power; that an elected American president was murdered by agents of the state on the grounds that he wanted to normalize bilateral relations with the Soviet Union and genuinely end the Cold War. Does that shocking, brutal elimination of a U.S. president by his own state explain why bilateral relations have remained dominated and distorted ever since by Cold War dogma?

MS: Well, we not only have the president murdered by his own national security state, but we have the government issue an obviously fraudulent report, the Warren Report. We also have the established institutions of society, the media, the universities, and so on, they all turn away and ignore the fact that this has happened. The President is murdered and the government issues an obviously fraudulent report that is accepted. What does that say about our society? John McCloy, one of the Warren Commission members, was quoted as saying: “The primary purpose of the Warren Commission was to prove that the United States was not a banana republic, where a government could be changed by conspiracy.”

FC: Was there something of an echo of this systematic hostility when former President Donald Trump vowed to pursue more normal relations with Russia? His official encounters with President Putin elicited howls of condemnation across the U.S. media. On the surface, this disapproval of Trump’s outreach was said to be due to “Russiagate” and alleged Russian interference in the U.S. 2016 presidential election, but would you agree that it was more due to a deeper American state intransigence simply towards any kind of normalization of relations between Washington and Moscow?

MS: Nothing that Trump says means anything as far as I am concerned. From my point of view, he can hardly keep an idea in his head for more than a few minutes. So I don’t want to give him any attention. “Russiagate” was a Democratic Party concoction that was aimed at distracting from serious attention to how Hillary Clinton had managed to lose to an imbecile. The real reason for her loss was the abandonment over decades by the Democratic Party of its working-class base. “Russiagate”, as Putin himself said, was really a matter of U.S. domestic politics in which Russia was being used as a scapegoat.

FC: It seems the United States’ modern political formation is inherently and relentlessly driven by Cold War thinking. Russia, China and other foreign states are designated enemies by Washington often without credible justification. There seems to be a permanent ideology of hostility and war in the U.S. as a nation-state. What are the underlying causal reasons for this systematic mindset?

MS: Over the years, the U.S. economy has been increasingly militarized. So there needs to be a narrative that justifies this war economy and that’s what we have. Military spending is everywhere. It is in Hollywood. It is “defense contractors”, aka “merchants of death”, buying congressional representatives. Then the service that the military performs is to make the world safe for unbridled corporate activity. It is a very daunting problem.

FC: Do you ever see the U.S. transcending its fixation on Cold War politics? What needs to change to make that happen?

MS: What needs to happen is the political leadership coming to the conclusion that we cannot dominate the world, that we need the United Nations and we need international law. Can they come to understand that none of the problems that are facing humanity can be solved with military weapons? It is not beyond the realm of possibility that sanity could reign. And it is the task of the peace movement to reach as many people at all levels with this message.

The post President JFK’s Murder Is Graphic Proof of Entrenched Cold War Ideology and Why Peace Eludes U.S.-Russia Relations first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Personal Interview: Cynthia McKinney

Events are unfolding at a quickening pace. Facing an alarming escalation in tensions around the world, we are looking to our most respected and renowned thought leaders for an honest assessment of both U.S. foreign and military policy to offer their most current thoughts and insights. We know they have some ideas for improving the prospects for peace.

Cynthia McKinney is an American politician and assistant professor at North South University, Bangladesh. As a member of the Democratic Party, she served six terms in the United States House of Representatives, as the first African American woman ever elected to represent Georgia. She was also the first Member of Congress to demand an investigation of the events of 9/11 and the first to file articles of impeachment against George W. Bush. She voted against every war-funding bill put before her. In 2008, Cynthia McKinney won the Green Party nomination and ran for U.S. President. Her responses below are exactly as she provided.

The questions here are not philosophical or abstract. They focus on the realities of the international power struggle unfolding in real time. They directly address the role of the U.S. in the escalating tensions and its capacity to reduce them. We also probe the role of everyday citizens in affecting the relationship the U.S. now has and will have with the rest of the world community.

Here is what Cynthia McKinney had to say.

John Rachel:  The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists has recently put the hands of the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds before midnight. Midnight means all out war, probably nuclear holocaust. This is the closest it has ever been. Do you agree with this dire assessment?

Cynthia McKinney:  While I don’t always agree with the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, I have to acknowledge that for many people on the planet, it is already Doomsday; the U.S. is bombing or sanctioning dozens of countries around the world. U.S. bombs and U.S. sanctions have real consequences.  As usual, the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists has a very Eurocentric view of Doomsday: Iraq was pummeled with depleted uranium munitions.  On a trip to that country three years ago, every member of my delegation arrived home sick after having been in Iraq just over one week.  Depleted uranium used there has resulted in incalculable premature deaths, cancers, deformed babies, and untold general illnesses.  Depleted uranium has been used in Somalia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, as well as in Iraq.  I introduced legislation to prohibit the use of these munitions and was visited by the Pentagon; my Congressional office was event infiltrated by a young, hip-looking intern who was later found rifling through my office files and fired on the spot.  I did not, however, hear a peep from Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

JR:  The U.S. always portrays itself as the greatest force on the planet for peace, justice, human rights, racial equality, etc. Polls tell us that most other nations actually regard the U.S. as the greatest threat to stability. What in your view is the truth here?

CM:  The so-called Spanish Flu actually originated on a military base in Kansas; so, too, the situation with SARS-CoV-2, the so-called China virus, whose bioweapon spike protein originated in the U.S., created with U.S. tax dollars. No one who has lived inside the U.S. would ever seriously declare the U.S. “as the greatest force on the planet for peace, justice, human rights, racial equality, etc.”  Instead, those who know the U.S., know that the words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. still ring true today:  that the U.S. is the greatest purveyor of violence on the planet.  Only Israel and apartheid South Africa could rival the U.S. in modern times.  U.S. allies, the colonizing countries, are also responsible for unspeakable horrors in pre-modern times.  Now, certain elements of the U.S. Deep State have declared war against the people of Russia, China, and the bloodstreams of the current global population.  After all, it was the Project for a New American Century that wrote in Rebuilding America’s Defenses on page 60 the following:  “[A]dvanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.”  Every one of the signatories to this document put him- or herself  in a position to make this statement become official U.S. policy.  Hence, official circumvention of the moratorium on gain-of-function research in order to create the bioweapon spike protein of SARS-CoV-2 and the mRNA concoctions that are being portrayed as “vaccines.”  In fact, the Spanish Flu became a global phenomenon helped along by a mass inoculation project of the Rockefeller Foundation.  Parallels to today are staggering.

JR:  Here’s a chicken-or-egg question: The U.S. accuses both Russia and China of rapidly expanding their military capabilities, claiming its own posturing and increase in weaponry is a response to its hostile adversaries, Russia and China. Both Russia and China claim they are merely responding to intimidation and military threats posed by the U.S. What’s your view? Do Russia and China have imperial ambitions or are they just trying to defend themselves against what they see as an increasingly aggressive U.S. military?

CM:  Interesting. I have visited Malaysia many times; it has a vibrant population of people from India and China.  Yet, I was in the audience when Tun Dr. Mahathir stated that Malaysians had less to fear from the Chinese than they did from the British.  In fact, the U.S. and their cousin English colonizers are responsible for the trafficking of individual Indians and Chinese all over the world.  Add to that, the annihilations by French conquerors and Spanish Conquistadores—and you’re talking about the murders and subjugation of untold millions of individuals.  The U.S. allies were not the victims of the colonial atrocities of Spain, Britain, France, Belgium, Holland. U.S. allies are the perpetrators of incalculable physical and psychological pain in Africa, Asia, and the Americas.  Interestingly, the friends to the colonized peoples were the Soviet Union and Mao’s China, which was divided as a result of U.S. hegemony over Taiwan and Britain’s sovereignty over Hong Kong.  Neither Russia nor China, at their worst, can count the globally pervasive international crimes against humanity that are owned by the so-called West.  Even worse, the U.S. has turned those reprehensible international behaviors onto the people of the U.S.  Even going so far as testing potential bioweapons on the U.S. domestic population.

JR:  The U.S. always denies that it has imperial ambitions. Most unbiased experts say that by any objective standards, the U.S. is an empire — indeed the most powerful, sprawling empire in history. Does the U.S. have to be an empire to be successful in the world and effectively protect and serve its citizenry?

CM:  Well, it depends on how one defines success and what it means to effectively protect and serve U.S. citizens. Clearly, the U.S. empire is successful for some people and it protects and serves some people.  I have learned to always believe the opposite of U.S. government proclamations.  In the words of a former U.S. President, “Trust, But Verify.”

JR:  The highest ranking commanders of the U.S. military recently sounded the alarm. They have concluded that the U.S. — widely regarded as the most formidable military power in history — can’t defeat either Russia or China in a war. These military commanders are saying we need to dramatically increase our military capabilities. What do you make of this claim and the resulting demand for more DOD spending?

CM:  The “Missile Gap” propaganda won’t work a second time, although it’s probably true this time around! And, more than likely, it would be Russia AND China against the U.S. because U.S. policy has driven the two countries into a “Strategic Partnership.”  The Pentagon shouldn’t receive another penny until they pass an independent forensic audit with prosecutions for fraud.  Military contractors should be treated worse than the insatiable welfare queens that they are.  If the military cannot fight either Russia or China, let alone the two of them together, it is the fault of the military and the Members of Congress who have allowed the complete mismanagement and neglect of true U.S. national security.  Members of Congress and the Executive have misdirected true U.S. national security for generations and gotten away with it.  The impunity must end.  And justice must be meted out to those guilty of the treachery.  Unless stern action is taken, and those who have been irresponsible with taxpayers’ dollars and U.S. national security are confronted publicly with their actions, the only thing that will happen is that yet another generation of criminals will move into positions of public trust.

JR:  In 2009, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton announced a reset with Russia, heralding greater cooperation and understanding. By 2014, Obama had made a sharp reversal. A sweeping regime of sanctions has since been imposed on Russia to cripple its economy. Hillary Clinton and the Democrats now relentlessly demonize Russia and Putin, blaming them for every imaginable ill. Both in the media and from official pronouncements by government officials, Russia has become the favorite whipping boy for both the U.S. and its “special friend”, Great Britain.  Why?  What happened?

CM:  I believe the people of the U.S. would choose peace and a multipolar international political structure rooted in truth, justice, and dignity if they were engaged as important partners in an information-laden, transparent national dialogue.

JR:  The number of spy missions, nuclear-armed bomber flights, and war games near Russia’s borders have vastly increased over the past year. Same with China. Is all of this just business-as-usual geopolitical posturing? Or does it represent a dangerous escalation and a new ominous direction in U.S. strategic positioning? What is the justification for what Russia and China see as provocations and aggressiveness, if not actual preparation for a war?

CM:  Yes; Yes; There is none.

JR:  Between the FONOPS in the South China Sea and the recently expressed enthusiasm for Taiwan’s independence, the risk of military conflict with China keeps increasing. Where is this headed? If People’s Republic of China decides to use military force for full reunification of Taiwan, do you see the U.S. going to war in an attempt to prevent it?

CM:  No.

JR:  The U.S., against the clear objections of the government in Syria, is occupying valuable land, stealing the country’s oil, and preventing access to the most agriculturally productive region, effectively starving the population. The world sees this for what it is, a cruel game sacrificing innocent people for some perceived geopolitical advantage. Is this the kind of reputation the U.S. wants? Or does it simply no longer care what the rest of the world community thinks?

CM:  In as much as the controllers of the U.S. Deep State are carrying out these actions, clearly, it means that they are shameless and don’t care what the world thinks of them. This is not new.  This is what the U.S. really is.  Too bad the people of the U.S. haven’t cared enough since the 1960s to stop it, and when they did care enough to resist these policies, the Deep State of the U.S. resorted to deception, neutralization, and murder of its own citizens as policy.  One thorough read of the COINTELPRO Papers and the Senator Frank Church Select Committee Reports discloses the extent to which the U.S. Deep State was willing to go to war against the peace-loving people of the U.S. in order to continue its rapacious plunder of the world outside of Europe.

JR:  In a democracy, at least in theory, citizens have a say in all matters of public policy. Yet, in the end none of the recent military campaigns and undeclared wars seem to achieve much popular favor or support. What is and what should be the role of everyday citizens in determining the foreign policy and military priorities of the country? Or are such matters better left to the “experts”?

CM:  All official papers should be declassified and the current state of media in the U.S. should be completely and totally revamped. The Big Six should be dismantled; the airwaves should be democratized; foundations and corporations should be forced out of the media business.  Big Tech should be dismantled and social media should become a free market of ideas, big conversations, and big decisions. Peer-to-peer technologies and decentralization should become the new organizing principles on a foundation of freedom and responsibility.  Direct Democracy should be the decision-making process for most issues of high state importance with adequate debate on the topics under consideration so that informed votes are cast.

JR:  Related to that, the citizenry and most of Congress are kept in the dark with respect to special missions, proxy funding, CIA operations, and swaths of unknown unknowns constituting psyops, cyber ops, and regime change ops, all done in our name as U.S. citizens. The funds to support this sprawling “dark world” of sabotage and terror being inflicted on the rest of the planet, is also a secret.  Now there’s pervasive spying on U.S. citizens right here at home.  What place does any of this have in “the land of the free”? Does this mean government of the people, by the people, for the people is just a sham?

CM:  None; Yes.

JR:  Recently we’ve seen some token but precedent-setting direct payments to citizens in the form of Covid relief. There is also the ongoing discussion about reparations to descendants of slaves. If it could be unequivocally established that the government has abused DOD funding, misused and squandered vast sums of money to promote unjustified wars, purchase unneeded equipment, unnecessarily expand U.S. military presence across the globe, and regularly lied to the American public to manufacture consent for these misadventures and fraudulent activities, practical and political considerations aside, do you see any constitutional or other legal barriers to the public identifying, expecting, or even demanding proper compensation? A cash refund or citizen reparations for massive, authenticated abuse of power?

CM:  A novel idea; I like it. I also like the idea of seizing the ill-gotten gains of billionaires and redistributing that wealth to U.S. citizens or residents in need.  A rebate to taxpayers for the years of abuse suffered by them at the hands of a compromised and complicit Congress is certainly in order.  Only a sick society would put a banker between a student and her professor and an insurance bureaucrat between a doctor and his patient.  The United States has reached the outer limits of Constitutionalism and is now on the verge of becoming a completely unrecognizable polity.  We the People must stop this slide to tyranny now, or forever be trapped inside its matrix.

*****

John Rachel:  We are grateful to Cynthia McKinney for her thought-provoking views. The interview was arranged by John Rachel, Director of the Peace Dividend Project. This effort embraces a powerful, unprecedented, end-to-end strategy for challenging the tyranny of neocon warmongers in Washington DC, ending the endless wars, and reversing the self-destructive foreign policy and military paradigm which now poisons U.S. relations with the rest of the world. We hope to further interview Cynthia for the full-length Peace Dividend documentary film, a devastating indictment of the corruption and fraud built into our excessive military budgets and imperial overreach. This movie will inform, unite and empower everyday citizens to have a voice in determining the future they want for themselves and their children.

The post Personal Interview: Cynthia McKinney first appeared on Dissident Voice.