Category Archives: US Sanctions

Summit of the Americas Flops While Workers Summit Exposes Cracks in the Imperial Façade

Valentín, the man next to us in line as we made our way across the international border, asked what we had been doing in Tijuana. We had been at the Workers Summit of the Americas, organized as an alternative to Biden’s Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles. Our summit was as a place where countries besieged by and barred from the US could participate and was held in cooperation with a kindred counter-summit in Los Angeles.

Valentín, who had been born in Mexico and spent most of his working life in the United States, had seen the border from both perspectives. He commented about Biden’s summit that although the US is rich in resources, industry, and agriculture, “it wants it all,” which pretty much sums up what imperialism is about.

Historical debt to Mexico

That border had not always been at Tijuana. As the immigrant rights movement reminds us, “we did not cross the border, the border crossed us.”

Texas seceded from Mexico and was annexed to the US in 1845. The following year, the Mexican-American War was provoked by the US in a campaign of conquest. Two years later, Mexico was forced to sign the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceding nearly half its national territory. The US gained what would become parts or all of California, Arizona, Nevada, Utah, New Mexico, Wyoming, and Colorado. The Gadsden Purchase of 1853 added southern Arizona and New Mexico to the spoils of war.

In all, 55% of Mexico, over half of her sovereign territory, was taken by the Colossus of the North. Consequently, the US owes Mexico a historical debt for the theft of its sovereign territory. This debt should be included with other major US historical debts such as those incurred by the exploitation of African slave labor and the genocide of its original peoples.

Mexican Revolution

Besides acknowledging the theft of Mexican lands, those of us on the left should also recognize Mexico’s considerable political contributions. The Mexican Revolution stands in the pantheon of great 20th century revolutions. Before the Russian, Chinese, Cuban, Vietnamese, and other revolutions, before the many Third World liberation struggles of the last century, came the Mexican Revolution, which began in 1910.

As the first of the major 20th century revolutions, the Mexican Revolution guaranteed labor rights, nationalized subsoil rights, secularized the state and curbed the power of the Roman Catholic Church, and granted inalienable land rights to indigenous communities. Women’s rights were advanced, and women fought as soldiers and even commanders in General Emilio Zapata’s revolutionary army.

There was no established path for the Mexicans when they made their revolution. That path was made by walking; they led the way.

Cracks in the imperial façade

For the first time since its 1994 launch in Miami, the US was hosting the Summit of the Americas, convened by the Washington-based Organization of American States (OAS). However, as AP News described, Biden’s maneuverings in the lead-up to his summit was a “scramble” to “avoid a flop.”

That was in part because, today, Mexico again led the way challenging imperial hubris. Its president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO), stood up to Biden’s imperial summons to come to the summit. AMLO would only dignify the event with his presence if all the countries of Our Americas were invited. Even after the US dispatched a team to Mexico City to cajole him to attend – but still refusing to invite the heads of Cuba, Nicaragua, and Venezuela – AMLO stood by his original principled stand.

Joe Biden surely found it lonely with the presidents of Bolivia, Honduras, Guatemala, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines similarly boycotting his summit. The presidents of El Salvador and Uruguay also purposely missed the party, albeit for different reasons.

Biden’s summit took place, but the buzz both inside the meeting and outside was the hypocrisy of the US attempt to try to appear to be promoting a “Summit for Democracy” while its actions have proven the opposite. The US-imposed illegal sanctions and blockades – unilateral coercive measures – on countries whose people fail to elect leaders sufficiently obedient to Washington are, in fact, a denial of democracy.

And speaking of unelected leaders, the Trump-anointed and Biden-supported so-called “interim president of Venezuela,” Juan Guaidó, wasn’t on the guest list for the Los Angeles summit either. Even though the US and a handful of sycophantic allies still embarrassingly recognize the puppet as the Venezuelan head of state, he was closeted.

Inside Biden’s summit, Argentinian President Alberto Fernández delivered what the press called a “damning speech” condemning the US president to his face for excluding other states. Belize, Chile, and a number of Caribbean countries also criticized the exclusions, calling for a realignment of regional institutions.

Outside Biden’s summit, the official Cuban government statement commented: “Arrogance, fear of inconvenient truths being voiced, determination to prevent the meeting from discussing the most pressing and complex issues in the hemisphere, and the contradictions of its own feeble and polarized political system are behind the US government’s decision to once again resort to exclusion in order to hold a meeting with no concrete contributions yet beneficial for imperialism’s image.”

As Ajamu Baraka of the Black Alliance for Peace commented: “For the peoples of our region, the failure of Biden’s Summit of the Americas would be a welcome event.”

Even a corporate press report admitted: “President Joe Biden sought to put on a show of hemispheric unity at a Los Angeles summit this week, but boycotts, bluster and lackluster pledges instead exposed the shaky state of US influence in Latin America.”

Workers’ Summit of the Americas

In contrast, the Workers’ Summit of the Americas in Tijuana called for the unity of grassroots working class, peasant, political, and social movements to create a permanent forum for solidarity and linking of progressive struggles.

Organizers from workers, peace, human rights, and solidarity organizations from north of the Rio Grande included Alliance for Global Justice, All-African People’s Revolutionary Party, Fire This Time, Unión del Barrio, Troika Kollective, Black Lives Matter – OKC, the Latino Community Service Organization (CSO), Freedom Road Socialist Organization, and the Task Force on the Americas.

Mexican participation included Movimiento Social Por la Tierra, Sindicato Mexicano Electricista, and Frente Popular Revolucionario. Venezuelans included militants with the Plataforma de la Clase Obrera Antiimperialista (PCOA). Among the other participating organizations were Central de Trabajadores de Cuba, Asociación de Trabajadores del Campo de Nicaragua (ATC), and the Haitian MOLEGHAF.

Host Jesús Ruiz Barraza, rector of CUT-University of Tijuana, opened the encuantro on June 10. US political prisoner Mumia Abu Jamal, via recording, welcomed “the delegates of the excluded” in Tijuana. Former president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, addressed the encuantro, also via recording.

Nelson Herrera of the Venezuelan PCOA, Rosario Rodríguez Remos of the Workers’ Central Union of Cuba, and Fausto Torres Arauz of the ATC of Nicaragua spoke. Revered Venezuelan campesino leader Braulio Alvarez, who had twice survived assassination attempts and is now a deputy in the National Assembly, addressed the meeting along with Venezuelan union leader Jacobo Torres de Leon.

The second day was devoted to movement building and featured workshops on solidarity with the countries excluded from the Biden summit along with workshops on regional integration.

With flags and banners flapping in the sea breeze, the last day convened on the international border. Speakers from both sides of the border and from throughout Our Americas addressed the crowd.

Standing in front of the border wall, Venezuelan-American activist with the FreeAlexSaab campaign William Camacaro called for the immediate release of the Venezuelan diplomat from a Miami prison. That day, June 12, marked the second year of Alex Saab’s imprisonment for the “crime” of engaging in legal international trade to buy needed food, fuel, and medicine for the Venezuelan people, but in contravention of the illegal US sanctions designed to asphyxiate that independent nation.

The final declaration of the Workers Summit called for a robust internationalism to promote solidarity with the sovereign nations and peoples suffering from sanctions imposed by the US and its allies. Latin America and the Caribbean were proclaimed a zone of peace.

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Ending “West’s Neocolonial Oppression”: On the New Language and Superstructures

The Russia-Ukraine war has quickly turned into a global conflict. One of the likely outcomes of this war is the very redefinition of the current world order, which has been in effect, at least since the collapse of the Soviet Union over three decades ago.

Indeed, there is a growing sense that a new global agenda is forthcoming, one that could unite Russia and China and, to a degree, India and others, under the same banner. This is evident, not only by the succession of the earth-shattering events underway, but, equally important, the language employed to describe these events.

The Russian position on Ukraine has morphed throughout the war from merely wanting to “demilitarize” and “denazify” Ukraine to a much bigger regional and global agenda, to eventually, per the words of Russia’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, “put an end to the unabashed expansion” of NATO, and the “unabashed drive towards full domination by the US and its Western subjects on the world stage.”

On April 30, Lavrov went further, stating in an interview with the official Chinese news agency, Xinhua, that Russia’s war “contributes to the process of freeing the world from the West’s neocolonial oppression,” predicated on “racism and an exceptionality.”

But Russia is not the only country that feels this way. China, too, even India, and many others. The meeting between Lavrov and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on March 30, served as a foundation of this truly new global language. Statements made by the two countries’ top diplomats were more concerned about challenging US hegemony than the specifics of the Ukraine war.

Those following the evolution of the Russia-China political discourse, even before the start of the Russia-Ukraine war on February 24, will notice that the language employed supersedes that of a regional conflict, into the desire to bring about the reordering of world affairs altogether. 

But is this new world order possible? If yes, what would it look like? These questions, and others, remain unanswered, at least for now. What we know, however, is that the Russian quest for global transformation exceeds Ukraine by far, and that China, too, is on board.

While Russia and China remain the foundation of this new world order, many other countries, especially in the Global South, are eager to join. This should not come as a surprise as frustration with the unilateral US-led world order has been brewing for many years, and has come at a great cost. Even the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, though timid at times, has warned against this unilaterality, calling instead on the international community to commit itself to  “the values of multilateralism and diplomacy for peace.”

However, the pro-Russian stances in the South – as indicated by the refusal of many governments to join western sanctions on Moscow, and the many displays of popular support through protests, rallies and statements – continue to lack a cohesive narrative. Unlike the Soviet Union of yesteryears, Russia of today does not champion a global ideology, like socialism, and its current attempt at articulating a relatable global discourse remains, for now, limited.

It is obviously too early to examine any kind of superstructure – language, political institutions, religion, philosophy, etc – resulting from the Russia-NATO global conflict, Russia-Ukraine war and the growing Russia-China affinity.

Though much discussion has been dedicated to the establishing of an alternative monetary system, in the case of Lavrov’s and Yi’s new world order, a fully-fledged substructure is yet to be developed.

New substructures will only start forming once the national currency of countries like Russia and China replace the US dollar, alternative money transfer systems, like CIPS, are put into effect, new trade routes are open, and eventually new modes of production replace the old ones. Only then, superstructures will follow, including new political discourses, historical narratives, everyday language, culture, art and even symbols.

The thousands of US-western sanctions slapped on Russia were largely meant to weaken the country’s ability to navigate outside the current US-dominated global economic system. Without this maneuverability, the West believes, Moscow would not be able to create and sustain an alternative economic model that is centered around Russia.

True, US sanctions on Cuba, North Korea, Iraq, Iran, Venezuela and others have failed to produce the coveted ‘regime change’, but they have succeeded in weakening the substructures of these societies, denying them the chance to be relevant economic actors at a regional and international stage. They were merely allowed to subsist, and barely so.

Russia, on the other hand, is a global power, with a relatively large economy, international networks of allies, trade partners and supporters. That in mind, surely a regime change will not take place in Moscow any time soon. The latter’s challenge, however, is whether it will be able to orchestrate a sustainable paradigm shift under current western pressures and sanctions.

Time will tell. For now, it is certain that some kind of a global transformation is taking place, along with the potential of a ‘new world order’, a term, ironically employed by the US government more than any other.

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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

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US/NATO Wants War With Russia

Here is a speech Vladimir Putin DID NOT make — at least in this specific language — to the Russian people just before initiating the special military operations in Ukraine:

“It is my responsibility as the president to warn our citizens of secret, swift, and extraordinary buildup of US/NATO missiles — in an area well known to have a special and historical relationship to Russia and the nations of our hemisphere, in violation of American assurances, and in defiance of treaties and our own policies — this sudden, clandestine decision to station strategic weapons on our borders — is a deliberately provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country.”

Does this have a familiar feel to it?

Here is the speech which President John F. Kennedy DID MAKE to the American people on October 22, 1962, when he warned of:

… a secret, swift, and extraordinary buildup of Communist missiles — in an area well known to have a special and historical relationship to the United States and the nations of the Western Hemisphere, in violation of Soviet assurances, and in defiance of American and hemispheric policy — this sudden, clandestine decision to station strategic weapons for the first time outside of Soviet soil — is a deliberately provocative and unjustified change in the status quo which cannot be accepted by this country.

The Cuban Missile Crisis which resulted from the discovery of this military escalation by the Soviets, almost resulted in a world war and nuclear annihilation.

The tables have rotated 180º. Now it is the US which is putting the survival of humankind at risk, escalating the conflict in Ukraine by dumping more and more weapons into the conflict zone, demonizing Putin and everything Russian, apparently urging the Ukrainians to avoid a negotiated peace and to fight to the bitter end.

Do not for a moment forget . . .

There were solutions in place to prevent the entire Ukrainian situation from evolving into the terrifying mess we now see. First, there was the Minsk II Agreement of February 12, 2015, signed by Ukraine, guaranteed by France, Germany and Russia. It was ignored by Ukraine, never implemented. There is speculation that it was the US which prompted the stonewalling. Then, December of 2020, Russia itself proposed very concrete steps, as draft treaties, that could be taken to defuse the tensions and guarantee greater security for all of Europe and the world. These were formally submitted to both the US and NATO in writing. They were dismissed. Now with the conflict in full swing, Russia has repeatedly made clear its current position on ending this. What the Russians is demand is no different than what Kennedy demanded of the USSR. This has also been flatly rejected.

From the outset of the crisis, Russia has been maligned, vilified, rejected, canceled, viciously attacked at every opportunity for merely wanting the assurances and concrete reductions to the threat posed by NATO and the US on its borders, just as JFK laid out subsequent to his announcement of Soviet missiles in Cuba.

(As a revealing aside, the comprehensive scale of the vilification and attempted isolation of Russia across the planet, even in spheres completely unrelated to politics — dance, sports, art, music, cultural exchange programs, space exploration, pet shows — could not have been spontaneous. Any multi-layered attack of this scale had to have been in the works for some time. At least, that’s how I see it.)

So . . .

What conclusion can we draw from all of this? What message are we actually hearing from Biden, Blinken, Stoltenberg, Johnson, Scholz, Macron, and the rest of the US puppets around the world?

I can see only one: US/NATO wants war with RussiaWhich frankly, hardly comes as a surprise. From documents, white papers, policy statements, speeches by officials in the State Department and various administrations along the way, all easily accessed by just looking, the dismemberment of Russia and looting its vast and varied natural resources has been on the agenda for at least three decades.

Yes, folks . . .

It’s war. Not liberation. Not freedom and democracy. It’s war.

Please correct me if I’m wrong.

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Russia, Ukraine, and the USA: Trapped in a Cultural Script

Compassion for Ukrainians victimized by Russia’s violence demonstrates that human hearts care. However, beneath the visible current of compassion there’s an alarming, dangerous dynamic at play.

What’s hair-raising about this crisis is not only the violence but the fact that US political leaders and media makers are not recognizing positive and negative motivations on both sides of conflict. Instead, they’re deliberately creating an inaccurate good vs. evil storyline, a storyline that ignites unwarranted, dangerous feelings of self-righteous hatred against Russia.

The US perpetually perceives its role in conflict as that of a heroic rescuer or innocent victim upholding humanity and freedom against evil persecutors. However, 245 years of US history reveal that this perception is fiction, a psychological construct. Psychological analysts Muriel James and Dorothy Jongeward called the persecutor, victim, and rescuer scenario a “cultural script.”

Examination of 245 years of US history reveals that the perception of always being a good guy fighting evil is fiction, a psychological construct. In fact, good and bad, truths and lies invariably exist on both sides of conflict.

Nonetheless, to deceive others and perhaps themselves, US policymakers’ pattern of relentlessly legitimating their violence, deadly sanctions, and foreign coups by denying the validity of enemy grievances, hiding their own greed and aggressive motives, refusing to cooperatively negotiate, concealing enemy negotiation offers, fabricating lies, omitting significant facts, using false pretexts, and overlooking the disastrous results of a pseudo-religious faith in the problem-solving magic of weapons is so predictable that it’s hard to decide whether it’s more enraging, pathetic, boring, or nauseating.

Consider one persecutor-victim-hero drama that began in 1979. President Jimmy Carter, livid over the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, claimed it was “the greatest threat to peace since the Second World War.” Actually, Afghanistan’s Marxist government, which had been trying to reform the extreme, unjust inequalities of wealth and land ownership in Afghanistan, had requested Soviet assistance against insurgents, but the USSR, the “evil persecutor,” didn’t want to send troops. When the Soviets finally complied, they explained it was because of secret US involvement in Afghanistan. The world called the Soviets liars.

Two decades later US National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski admitted that Carter had begun aiding the insurgent mujahideen—the “heroes”—six months prior to the entry of the persecutors, the Soviets. A delighted Brzezinski knew this could provoke the Soviets to invade and get mired in their own “Vietnam.” Convinced of Soviet evil and mujahideen goodness, US policymakers ignored that the mujahideen skinned Soviet POWs alive.

And now we’re to believe that weapon shipments and sanctions are needed for the US to help rescue Ukraine from “evil” Russia.

The first step in convincing the world to believe the script’s good vs. evil dynamics is to depict Russia as the persecutor who’s motivated, not by fear, but by evil. No problem! Simply label Putin as paranoid and discount Russian fears as ludicrous: NATO’s expansion into Slavic lands, NATO—Ukraine military collaboration, US missile bases in eastern Europe, anti-Russian policies and prejudice in Ukraine, neo-Nazi violence in Ukraine, neo-Nazis and ultranationalists in Ukraine’s police, military, and government, the manipulation of Ukraine by Western profit-seekers, and Western economic and political conquest—likely of Russia itself.

The next step is to paint the US as a heroic rescuer motivated purely by integrity and compassion. Simple! Muffle up all greed-related motives for antagonizing Russia: US weapon industry profits, NATO’s agenda for bases on the Black Sea, IMF goals, ExxonMobil’s coveting Black Sea fossil fuel deposits, and Biden’s connections with Ukraine’s largest natural gas corporation. Then, conceal US hopes to dominate the global energy trade, maintain the dollar as the international energy trade currency, displace Russia from Europe’s gas market, shut down Nord Stream 2, and export fracked liquefied natural gas to Europe via Ukraine.

Also ignored are the biases and aims of those social and business circles who are forever dictating US foreign policy according to their pecuniary priorities and uncooperative, control-oriented habits of international relations. President Biden’s administration, for example, includes many members of the Alliance for Securing Democracy—with an advisory board that combines neoconservatives with liberal hawks, Albright Stonebridge Group—with its interest in Russian business acquisitions, and the Center for a New American Security (CNAS).

CNAS, whose donors include multiple weapon corporations, the European Union, US Department of Defense, Finland’s Defense Ministry, Amazon, Google, and ExxonMobil, was formerly led by President Biden’s current Undersecretary of State Victoria Nuland, whose husband, Robert Kagan, co-founded the conquest-seeking neoconservative Project for the New American Century. Yet we’re to assume that donors’ priorities aren’t skewing foreign policy in dysfunctional ways.

With Russia’s fears dismissed and US greed disguised, the good vs. evil script is further strengthened by permitting only shallow public analysis. For example, how do we know that Russia wasn’t deliberately provoked so that the ulterior goals of certain American social circles could be advanced under the guise of nobly responding to Russia’s aggression? The topic isn’t permitted into discussion.

Another topic given quarter-inch deep analysis is Biden’s seemingly fair-minded declaration that each nation has the right to choose alliances. It’s an unusual statement coming from a “you’re with us or against us” nation that has punished or ousted national leaders who refused to sever alliances with the USSR or Cuba.

Nuland’s leaked tapes from 2014 (which mention Biden and National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan) and a US record of instigating coups indicate that Americans were likely involved in promoting the bloody 2014 coup of Ukraine’s pro-Russian President Yanukovich to install anti-Russian leadership agreeable to European Union and NATO ties. So does Biden’s “right to choose alliances” proclamation apply to nations before a US-approved coup or only afterwards?

Another enraging example of shallow analysis is the opinion falsely parroted by US “experts” that Putin’s 2021 essay, “On the Historical Unity of Russia and Ukraine,” lays bare Putin’s imperialist vision for Ukraine and his lack of recognition of Ukraine’s sovereignty and borders. Whether the experts are deliberately lying or lack reading comprehension skills, their claim is false and, given the self-righteous hatred their claim generates, utterly irresponsible.

Nowhere in the essay does Putin speak of conquering Ukraine or refusing to recognize Ukraine’s sovereignty. Putin specifically describes the relationship between the US and Canada as the type of relationship Russia seeks with Ukraine. When he speaks of “unity,” he’s not speaking of dissolving Ukraine’s political sovereignty. He’s speaking of cultural and historical ties between the two nations.

Putin’s description of the Bolsheviks’ creation of borders never suggests that he’s doing away with them. It’s possible he’s implying that Donetsk, Lugansk, and certainly Crimea have large Russian populations and do not necessarily belong in Ukraine, especially if Ukraine’s post-coup government is harboring neo-Nazism and installing language and indigenous people policies of a deliberate anti-Russian nature. Note that Ukraine and the US are the only two nations in the UN to vote against the recent resolution to condemn the glorification of Nazism.

Of course, US policymakers are not uncomfortable with Nazism and, following WWII, employed one thousand Nazis to spy on Russia. And it was US banks and companies such as Ford, General Motors, and du Pont that opportunistically helped fund Hitler’s war arsenal. Even in 1973, the US worked with pro-Nazi collaborators and US corporate funds to plant protests, propaganda, economic sabotage, and violence that climaxed in the CIA’ s horrific 9/11/73 coup of Chile’s Salvador Allende. It’s not surprising that in 2014, Russian news sources claimed that US private military contractors were training right-wing Ukrainian extremists.

In his essay, Putin clearly states his wish to negotiate with Ukraine, but not with Ukrainian leaders who are mere representatives of Western profiteers eager to use Ukraine’s land and resources for their own benefit. But, of course, US commentators either ignore the statement or, forgetting US history, discount Putin’s fears of Western profiteering as conspiracy theory.

Double standards also fortify the script. Russia’s invasions are motivated by belligerence, never legitimate fears, while US invasions are motivated by legitimate fears, never belligerence. Same behavior, different judgment.

Headlines scream of savage Russian war crimes. TV reporters interview sobbing Ukrainians. Yet US, NATO, and Ukrainian war crimes are barely publicized, their victims ignored. Same actions, different judgment. To learn about US war crimes and Afghan and Iraqi suffering, you’ve got to read investigative reporters’ books.

American groupthink, inflated by its self-righteous role in the script, and seeming to borrow from middle-school social dynamics, jeers and smears President Putin’s every word as absurd and staged. But we’re to trust Biden as honest, unstaged, unconcealing. No proof is needed. Just faith in the script.

Putin’s wish to protect Donetsk and Lugansk, self-declared republics since 2014, and end Kiev’s 8-year war that has killed 14,000 is automatically mocked as false pretext for conquest. Yet US wishes to protect Ukraine from Russia are trusted as caring, without ulterior design. The role of private military contractors, NATO, and the US in escalating civil war and provoking Russia by arming Ukraine with billions in weapons since 2014 rather than committing to non-violently resolve Ukraine’s internal conflict remains shamefully unassessed.

The consequences of belief in this drama? The US habitually uses exaggerated fears of evil enemies as false justification for colossal military budgets, NATO expansion, more military bases, troops, weapons, and nukes—all of which pour gasoline on the world tinderbox of tension, drain desperately-needed funding, and fail to resolve conflict.

If evil is equated with enemies, it becomes deceptively simple for “heroes” to champion goodness: bomb enemies into submission, impose deadly sanctions, strangulate funding, send weapons, engineer coups. But none of these methods nurture goodness. The truth is, those convinced they’re fighting evil are frequently blinded to the immorality and injustice of their own actions against people who aren’t so evil after all.

The good vs. evil script is also unjust because it enables the “innocent” to get away with all they’ve done to exacerbate conflict. The script can even enable the “innocent,” including Biden administration neoconservatives and liberal hawks, to slickly seize power, resources, and markets from those deemed evil.

US leaders’ promotion of this good vs. evil storyline appears compassionate, but it isn’t against killing. It isn’t about justice. It’s about pushing a script that provides pretext on the part of those proclaiming their own goodness to inflict injustice and violence against Russia and Putin, already verbally crucified by a mob of liars. It’s about solidifying our allegiance to US policymakers’ decisions about whom we should kill and whom we should cry for. Yet policymakers step beyond Constitutional grounds when they use their power to turn our hearts on and off, to bait us to hate some and love others to serve their greed for Mid-Eastern, Ukrainian, and Russian wealth.

We’ve got to scrap the script and view conflict impartially. We deserve accurate, sophisticated information about conflict, not propaganda that teaches us to hate. We need full truth to help us ground irrational fears of bad guys, cure the sickness of greed, and offer caring and friendship, not just for those falsely deemed innocent and heroic, but for all of us, with 360 of empathy, all the way around the world.

• View all six videos here:  https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuNEw9-1OIk-CwU-5vAElcg

• Read the entire essay at Countercurrents

• This article was first published at TRANSCEND Media Service

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Kamila Valieva and Eileen Gu:  Young Women Athletes as Enemies of Empire

Kamila Valieva

As one who has followed Olympic women’s figure skating, especially since Michelle Kwan (ironically a Chinese-American), I was—as an egalitarian feminist when it comes to sports—excited to learn that there was a 15-year-old Russian woman skater, Kamila Valieva, who could do effortless quad jumps.  Waiting in anticipation of her first Olympic performance, I listened to commentators and former US skaters Tara Lipinsky and Johnny Weir rave about her spectacular talent.  They told the audience that we were about to see “the best skating in the world”…that “a talent like this comes around once in a lifetime.”  They found her first performance in the short skate “incredible… flawless… perfect in every way.”  It was, they said, a rare privilege to watch her perform:  “she will have an amazing legacy.”  Days later they would say nothing watching her perform.

Weir and Lipinski were disgusted.  They said she should not be there.  It was so unfair to the other skaters.  They were too sickened to even watch her.  What happened?  The Empire and its allies, based on a highly questionable positive drug test, declared her a “doper.”  She was booed, harassed.  And she finally (literally) fell.  The Russians should obviously not have the first female Olympic quad jumper.  The Russians were taking far too many gold medals.  This whole spectacle was an intersection of hegemonic American world politics and ruthless patriarchy.  Women athletes had become enemies, and thus victims, of Empire. USA!  USA!

The US has always had a need to be first—to put it mildly.  Any coverage of Olympic or international games I’ve ever watched features US athletes and almost never anyone else.  President Jimmy Carter got the ball rolling with his 1980 boycott of the Olympics in the Soviet Union.  Under Carter the Cold War had worsened because of factors like American criticism of Soviet alleged abuses of human rights and the Afghan crisis—therefore the controversial move to ignore the Olympics’ so-called non-political philosophy.  American views of Russian athletics did not improve:  the alleged Russian Doping Scandals began around 2008 and are still going. In 2008, Russian track and field athletes were suspended from competition because of supposed doping, cheating, cover-ups, even “state-sponsored” doping.

A 2015 New York Times article cited an ex-chief of a so-called Russian anti-doping laboratory, Grigory Rodchenkov, who claimed that samples were doctored so that several Russian gold medal winners in the 2014 winter games in Sochi could be victors.  Members of the Russian Sports Ministry thought it an April Fools’ joke, done for “purely political reasons” and threatened to sue the Times. The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) had asked the accuser, Mr. Rodchenkov, to resign years before, for taking bribes, and since 2012 he had lived in L A.  Because of such allegations, the World Athletics Federation suspended the Russian Athletic Federation in 2015, but let “clean athletes” participate under “neutral status”:  no Russian flags or anthems.  In 2019, 2020 and 2021, more accusations were brought against various Russian sports officials for “falsifying documents” and etc., and thus the suspensions continued.

President Vladimir Putin and the Russian government have strongly denied the allegations, calling them a political weapon of the West.  Any appeals from Russian athletes have been denied.  Some argued all countries cheated, why single out Russia?  Others thought the Russians were being framed to keep their very strong athletes from competitions.  It does seem odd that once your athletes were so scrutinized you would be careful to stop “doping.”  In fact, the stated goal of the Russian Sports Ministry at the end of 2021 was –once again—to have the Russian Athletic Federation and Anti-Doping Agency reinstated.  The “West” has remained hostile toward Russian athletics.  And this most certainly included Russian ice skaters:  a sport where Russia has been at the very top for years.

Kamila Valieva had to skate under the same restraints that all Russian athletes face.  But because she was so incredibly good, the skating world simply had to acknowledge her.  In looking at her biographical data—there’s not much!  She’s only 15; born in April of 2006 in Kazan, Russia.  And she has a Pomeranian named Lena, a gift from a fan.  Before she was five years old, her mother had her in gymnastics, ballet and skating, but after age five, it was only skating.   In her first season out of junior ranking she had risen far above her opposition.  She is the fourth woman to land a quadruple jump in competition and the first to do it in Olympic competition.  Valieva set world records on her path to Grand Prix titles in Vancouver and Sochi, and the European Championships in Tallinn in January of this year.  In Beijing the expectations for Kamila Valieva were very high.  As one Russian journalist put it, she was so good in her short skate routine in Beijing that “even some western media outlets often so begrudging with their praise of Russian athletes were forced—perhaps through gritted teeth—to lavish praise on Valieva.” And when she competed next, for the Russian team, she did become the first woman to land a quad in Olympic history. But very soon after that, it was rumored there were “doping allegations” against Kamila Valieva.  A test taken in December was only revealed just then—in the midst of the March Olympics.  It seemed the Russians may not fare so well after all.

Of course, the US also insisted on besting the Chinese athletes in Beijing, but added a nasty political narrative about their host.  Sports analysts like Mike Tirico were pressed into service as experts on alleged Chinese abuses vs. Uyghurs (abuses debunked by reporters like Max Blumenthal), their “authoritarian” government, misguided Covid protocols, etc.  American politicians and media had already prepped the US audience to be anti-Asian generally, by these supposed abuses and the potential of China becoming an even greater economic power—and unapologetically socialist as well.  The COVID pandemic was their fault too; President Trump calling it “Kung Flu” or the “Chinese virus.”  It was embarrassing to listen to the vitriolic commentary by US “analysts” with their long recanting of Chinese faults and crimes.  Our ugly history with China started with the US involvement in the Opium War through the dangerous gradual encirclement of present-day China with US warships and bases placed on numerous unwilling Pacific islands, as John Pilger’s brilliant film The Coming War on China illustrates.   And the US had tried to help their bad faith anti-China Olympic campaign with a “diplomatic boycott” (which didn’t really catch on).

Eileen Gu

Another young woman athlete, Chinese-American Eileen Gu, also became a victim of the Empire’s anger.  Gu is 18; she has a Chinese mother and was raised in San Francisco.  A brilliant world class freestyle skier, she has medalled in X Games, the World Championship and the Youth Olympics.  Gu announced in 2019 that she would represent China in the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics.  But she wasn’t called a traitor until the Olympics drew near.

Gu has said that she welcomes the opportunity to draw people to winter sports.  The Chinese cheered her everywhere, but Americans not so much.  She was derided for taking advantage of “premier training” in the US and then abandoning the US for China.  Tucker Carlson said she had betrayed her country and “renounced” her citizenship.  The New York Times portrayed Gu as an “anti-hero of the feminist ideal” since she chose China which supposedly oppresses women.  At the other end of the political spectrum, right-wing social media echoed Carlson’s sentiments in calling for Gu to leave the country for her betrayal.  Gu won three Olympic medals in freestyle skiing, two gold and a silver.  Unfortunately for USA her three medals added to China’s total of 15 (with nine gold), best ever for China in a winter Olympics.

Eileen Gu also faces anti-female prejudice since extreme sports has always been male-dominated, although women do compete alongside the men.  Gu thinks “as a young biracial woman, it is super important to be able to push boundaries. . . those of the sport and those of the record books because that’s what paves the paths for the next generation of girls.”  So why does the country where she lives give her an incredibly hard time?  As professor of sport Simon Chadwick said, “Her success is being weaponized and used for geopolitical purposes.  This is incredibly unfair because she’s an 18-year-old athlete with a dual heritage family who just wants to try her best and make her parents proud, and yet she’s being turned into a geopolitical weapon.”  Journalist Danny Haiphong has argued that Eileen Gu has chosen the “wrong” side by choosing to compete for a non-white, communist country.  She is assaulting “American exceptionalism” –being a traitor to the “empire’s civilizing mission.”  She should not be skiing for the “Chinese devils.”   But Gu insists (on her Instagram) she hopes “to unite people, promote common understanding, create communication, and forge friendship.”  And she has said:  “I am also a teenage girl.  I do my best to make the world a better place, and I’m having fun while doing it.”  Not what the Empire is about.

Vietnamese-American Haiphong also has pointed out that some American athletes were not going for the Empire’s narrative that the Chinese were being bad hosts—inferior food, lodging, unreasonable COVID protocols, and so on.  Snowboarder Tessa Maud refuted American media’s narrative and talked of the warm welcome she’d received by Chinese volunteers and how she loved the local cuisine.   Skier Aaron Blunk went so far as to criticize American media coverage of the games on Twitter as often “completely false.”  He called Beijing one of the better Olympics he’s been in, including the COVID protocols, the hosting:  “It’s been phenomenal.”  So Twitter suspended his account.  As Haiphong put it:  “Humanizing China represents a direct threat to the new Cold War Agenda.”  The US must control the narrative, and that included not allowing China, or Russia, to shine.

The Empire certainly succeeded in taking the shine from the great Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva.  Commentators Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir, who had just called Valieva the “best skater in the world” with a “talent that comes once in a lifetime,” were about to change their minds.  At Beijing, Valieva’s performance in the short skate was “a thing of great beauty.”  Weir and Lipinski thought it “incredible.”  Weir gushed about the interview he had been granted by the young Valieva.  Her second performance was a free skate for the Russian team.  She fell once but the skate was historic because as noted, she became the first woman in history to land a quad at the Olympics.  She finished 30 points ahead of second place Kaori Sakamoto.  Weir and Lipinski could not find enough superlatives.

All awaited what would no doubt be another historic performance by Valieva in the ladies singles event.  But then rumors began that the medal ceremony, with Russia winning gold and the US silver—would be delayed.  And then that “a Russian skater” had a positive doping test.  Then it leaked it was Kamila Valieva, in spite of IOC rules that any accusation against a “minor” must remain secret.  A test taken on December 25, sent to a Swedish lab, showed minute traces of trimetazidine, an “illegal” heart drug which may have some positive effect on athletic performance, although many argue it would not help skaters.  Valieva’s family and coaching team believed she may have been exposed to it through her grandfather, who took the drug.  The Russian team also said she had repeatedly tested negative before and after the positive sample.  They said she was innocent.  The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) panel ruled she would not be suspended from the competition.  A further investigation would happen later, now scheduled to conclude by mid-August.

Kamila Valieva rallied to lead the field in the ladies short program.  This was when stalwart patriots Lipinski and Weir were too disgusted to watch.  I remember these stalwarts as being very nasty in speaking of the Russian skaters both during the Sochi (Russia) Olympics in 2014, and the 2018 PyeongChang  (South Korea)  games (where “cleared” Russians could skate).   Some observers found them “a breath of fresh air,” but others as “mean, obnoxious, distracting.”  At any rate, they were outraged Valieva was allowed to perform.  She was “ruining everything.”  Their only comment after her performance was “she skated.”  Getting their wish for her downfall, the scandal finally impacted her free skate and she finished fourth after stumbles and falls.  Unfortunately for USA! Russian Alexandra Trusova won silver.  Former Russian ice dancer champion Alexander Zhulin has said that international sports authorities will have to live with “ruining” Kamila Valieva’s Olympic dreams.  He had never “seen Kamila so lost.”  The IOC and WADA (World Anti-Doping Agency) “destroyed and removed the biggest star of figure skating.”  The December 25 test was revealed after team Russia’s brilliant performance, capped by Valieva’s skate, won gold.  It does seem like an American Empire kind of move.

Valieva’s coact Eteri Tutberidze, who, along with Kamila’s team, was (incredibly) criticized by the IOC’s Thomas Bach, for being “too cold.”   Tutberidze said Kamila was “our star.”  “Those who smiled yesterday—today left the stands demonstrably ignoring and pouncing like jackals.”  There were reporters, especially the British, who followed her around at practice, yelling “Are you a doper?”  Valieva addressed her Beijing experience in two “emotional instagrams” in late February.  She thanked her coaches for “helping me to be strong.”  And she thanked all who “were with me during this tough period . . who did not let me lose heart. . and who believed in me.”  A few weeks later she was on the ice again.

Kamila participated in the “Channel One Cup”  Russian skating (competitive) exhibition, since Russian skaters were banned from the Worlds.  Valieva skated a “simplified” program, but said the experience of being out on the ice was “exhilarating.”  Anna Shcherbakova won the women’s event.  Valieva has said that the Olympics should not be “idealized” and her “journey is just beginning.” In a recent interview with “People Talk” she said she can be “cocky, obnoxious, stubborn, insecure.”  But also “sociable, cheerful, active, and of course, romantic…”  In skating programs, her coaches see her in “lyrical images,” but she wants to be “different in programs:  a hooligan, daring, bold.”  She is a typical teenager, but also very intelligent, a brilliant athlete and a targeted enemy of Empire.

Sportswriters can be very effective operatives for Empire.  My favorite is probably Christine Brennan.  I had admired Brennan as one of the team of reporters on HBO’s “Real Sports,” although unfortunately now they seem more apt to take a corporate line than do the critical reporting they used to do.  Brennan accused Valieva, and Russia, of turning the Winter Games “into a bizarre and troubling fiasco” because of their “state-sponsored doping.”  She said Valieva “would have been favored to win” the Worlds in Montpelier, but she “crumbled under the scrutiny of her positive drug test.”  When Americans won the pairs skating title at Worlds, their first since 1979, Brennan wrote:  “No Russia?  No China?  No problem.”  And “few will miss them.”  The Beijing medal count had USA with 25 medals, behind Norway, Russia, Germany and Canada, much like their finish at PyeongChang.  The Russians had 32 medals, with six gold; the Chinese had 15, with nine gold; USA! had a paltry 25, with eight gold, well behind Russia.  Totally unacceptable.

Of course, by the World Championships, more than Valieva and her fellow skaters were ousted from competition.  It was all Russia, all the time—everyone Russian was out because the World Federations of all the sports, influenced and/or bludgeoned into it, had banned them all because of the Russian military action in Ukraine.  This was the Russian response to being encircled with troops and NATO forces, and a Nazi-led government provided by the US in Ukraine in 2014, which had been attacking the Russian-language population of eastern Ukraine since that 2014 coup.  An unprecedented campaign of Western propaganda and lies is in full swing, definitely McCarthyite in its depth and with parallel lasting and dangerous results to come.  In the 1950s Ethel Rosenberg was executed for being a communist wife—a wife who either evilly influenced her husband Julius to reveal atomic secrets to the Russians or did not, as was her duty, stop him from doing so.  Julius Rosenberg, executed with his wife, was reputedly worried that if the US gained too much power without a balance from the Soviets, it would lead to a dangerous situation.  And he was right.  The US government has become an Empire that will tolerate no state competitor, nor even states who will not line up and stay with the American Empire’s plans.  This is very clear in the world of sport—certainly in the supposedly apolitical Olympic world.

To punish Russia, the US/Europe have gone totally insane with their bans and sanctions.  Many sanctions such as Russian energy, will only punish Europe; others involve outright piracy as in US allies helping themselves to Russian yachts.  The list goes on, but in the world of sport—athletes from Russia and its close ally Belarus are banned “until further notice” from international skiing, track and field events, tennis, basketball, aquatic sports, volleyball, curling, hockey, rugby, football (soccer), and of course, skating.  Many of these sports have Russian champions, and they, as Christine Brennan put it, “will not be missed.”  A few officials have objected, and paid for it.  Russian sports officials say they will “temporarily” develop their own competitions, with foreign athletes.  They say the western world is committing “sporting genocide” against its athletes.

So Kamila Valieva and company will skate at home, and Eileen Gu will still be considered a traitor by many Americans.  The hate expressed by Tara Lipinski and Christine Brennan is too easily tapped by the American sports world.  Here is hegemonic politics, and ruthless patriarchy and racism, coming together.  And here are two remarkably strong and level-headed young women athletes who are braving the results of being who they are.  In its overwhelming power, the US Empire has made evil all things Chinese and Russian, and women athletes have not been spared the weaponizing of that hate.

The post Kamila Valieva and Eileen Gu:  Young Women Athletes as Enemies of Empire first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Illegally Imprisoned Venezuelan Diplomat Faces US Court Amid a Shifting Global Context

Alex Saab’s April 6 hearing takes place in the setting of a mercurial world situation, where events in Ukraine may have indirect bearing on his case and on the larger US economic war against Venezuela.

*****

In a world where the US believes it makes the rules and the rest of humanity must follow its orders – what President Biden euphemistically calls the “rules-based order” – Washington has now even appropriated the prerogative to tell other countries who they may appoint as their ambassadors. As a consequence, Venezuelan diplomat Alex Saab is fighting for his freedom before the 11th District Circuit Court in Miami.

US economic war against Venezuela

Alex Saab was appointed a special envoy with diplomatic credentials by the Venezuelan government on April 9, 2018. The businessman had worked on the government’s food assistance (CLAP) and public housing programs. More importantly, he was assisting the government in trying to circumvent sanctions imposed on Venezuela by the US; sanctions intended to punish the people so that they would be motivated to overthrow their democratically elected government.

The sanctions, which started in 2015 under Obama, have been ratcheted up by every successive US president since. Known as “unilateral coercive measures,” this kind of collective punishment is a form of economic warfare and is illegal under international law.

As the US Government Accountability Office (GAO) admits: “The Venezuelan economy’s performance has…fallen steeply since the imposition of a series of US sanctions.” By barring access to basic necessities, such measures are as deadly as bombs. An estimated 100,000 Venezuelans have perished due to the sanctions as of March 2020, according to former UN special rapporteur for human rights Alfred de Zayas.

Violation of diplomatic immunity

On June 12, 2020, with diplomatic passport in hand, Alex Saab was en route from Caracas to Tehran to procure food, medicine, and fuel in legal international trade. His plane was diverted to the island archipelago nation of Cabo Verde off the coast of West Africa for a refueling stop. There, in an egregious example of extra-territorial judicial overreach, the US had him seized without warrant and thrown in prison.

As a Venezuelan special envoy and deputy ambassador to the African Union, Saab was protected by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. Under this treaty, diplomats are supposed to enjoy absolute immunity from arrest, even in the time of war.

Not only is the US a signatory to the Vienna Convention, but the US Diplomatic Relations Act also protects all diplomats. Further, Saab is not a US citizen, and the alleged “crime” did not take place in the US. In short, the US prosecution of Saab is not a legal one, but a purely political act in the economic war against Venezuela.

The regional court of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), which has jurisdiction over Cabo Verde, ruled that not only must Saab be freed, but that he also be awarded monetary damages. Cabo Verde first appealed the verdict. After losing a second time, Cabo Verde simply flaunted the ruling, apparently under instructions from Washington. Similarly, the UN Human Rights Committee’s finding in favor of Saab was ignored.

While incarcerated in squalid conditions, Saab wrote a series of letters about how he was tortured in an unsuccessful attempt to force him to reveal the secrets that facilitated humanitarian supplies reaching Venezuela, bypassing the US blockade.

Second kidnapping of the Venezuelan diplomat

Then on October 16, 2021, the US perpetrated what Venezuelan President Maduro called the “second kidnapping.” Alex Saab was unlawfully abducted – spirited away with no legal papers and no notification to his family or legal team – and flown to Miami, where he has languished in prison. The US does not have an extradition treaty with Cabo Verde and, with its presidential election scheduled to be held the next day, the US feared that the new administration there would free Saab.

Initially, the US charged Saab with eight counts of money laundering. But the changes were reduced to a single one of “conspiracy to money launder,” a notoriously vague legal gimmick that is conveniently difficult to disprove.

Previously, an exhaustive three-year investigation was conducted into allegations that Saab was misusing Swiss banks. Swiss government prosecutors, however, found no evidence of money laundering on the part of the Venezuelan diplomat.

In fact, Saab is a political prisoner in the US empire’s drive to beat an independent Venezuela into submission by weaponizing economics. Even sources hostile to the Venezuelan government admit that the reason Saab is targeted is that he was instrumental in the “vast network [that] allowed Venezuela to evade [illegal] US oil sanctions.”

Venezuelan government/opposition dialogue

The Venezuelan government had been engaged in dialogue with their opposition, including US-backed Juan Guaidó, hoping that the talks in Mexico City would lead to some easing of the crippling US sanctions. Ambassador Saab had been appointed to the Venezuelan government’s delegation. But when he was kidnapped for the second time, Caracas immediately suspended the talks.

Opposition figurehead Juan Guaidó had been “anointed” president of Venezuela by Donald Trump in January 2019 and had been initially recognized by over fifty of the US’s allies. Now, the hapless puppet is recognized by only the Biden administration and a handful of US vassals. As the Wall Street Journal reports: “The political movement the US has backed in Venezuela to challenge the country’s authoritarian [sic] government is on the verge of breaking up…”

Guaidó’s opposition faction had previously boycotted what they considered “illegitimate” Venezuelan elections. But in Venezuela’s November 21 “mega-elections,” all the opposition – including the extreme far right – participated. Not only was this an implied recognition of the government’s legitimacy, but Maduro’s socialist party swept these regional and municipal elections.

Venezuela resists the economic war as the US faces blowback

The catastrophic US economic war against Venezuela, which deliberately and effectively targeted the cash cow of the Venezuelan oil industry, is being countered. The Maduro administration is trying to steer the economy out of its extreme dependency on petro chemicals.

In response to the US economic blockade, Venezuela partly backfilled with Russian and especially Chinese trade. Rebounding from a severe drop in exports, Venezuela led the region in percentage increase this the last year. Russia also provided military assistance as part of a larger global geopolitical shift.

After suffering negative growth, the Venezuelan economy is recovering with modest increases projected in GDP. Hyperinflation and currency freefall have now been overcome with monetary measures and de facto dollarization. The oil industry, after crashing, is again exhibiting vital signs with help from Iran, Russia, and China. The spike in international oil prices associated with the conflict in Ukraine also benefits Venezuela.

However, the sanctions against Russia by the US and its allies are explicitly designed to impact Venezuela. Over 40 countries in addition to Venezuela are sanctioned by the US, some one-third of humanity. Especially with the initiative against Russia, the US may be inadvertently precipitating a global realignment with more and more countries forced to decouple from the US-dominated world economic system.

Changing international climate

Meanwhile, the international scene has been looking more bullish for the Bolivarian Revolution. The right-wing clique of anti-Venezuela counties in the Organization of America States (OAS), known as the Lima Group, has disintegrated with left-leaning presidents elected in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Honduras, Bolivia, and Peru. Coming up are presidential elections with left-leaning front-runners in Brazil and Colombia, two of the most reactionary anti-Venezuela governments in the region.

A sign of a changing political climate is an article in Forbes, which editorializes that US sanctions “have clearly become counterproductive” and calls for rescinding the coercive measures. The news outlet acknowledges that the sanctions “have impoverished the country but left the ruling class mostly untouched.” In other words, the sanctions had achieved their proximal goal of ravishing the Venezuelan economy but not its ultimate goal of regime change.

Even the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) think tank criticized the sanctions. Leading luminaries at this liberal cheerleader for US imperialism previously complained that Trump was holding back on the very sanctions, which he then imposed and which – in an apparent pang of conscience – WOLA now finds distasteful.

Another telling signal came on March 5, when the chief US government official for Latin America, Juan González, brought a delegation to Caracas and met with President Maduro. The two states do not have diplomatic relations, and this was the first high-level US visit in years. Escalating gasoline prices precipitated by the Ukraine conflict forced Washington’s concessionary move, implicitly recognizing the legitimacy of the Maduro administration. However, the discussions on easing oil sanctions have yet to yield results.

Another member of the US delegation was, significantly for Alex Saab, the US’s presidential special envoy for hostage affairs, Roger Carstens. Amid speculation that a deal might be struck to free the Venezuelan diplomat, Caracas released two imprisoned criminals with US citizenship as a gesture of goodwill.

Despite Washington’s best efforts to quash Venezuela, President Maduro has led a nation standing firm. The tide is flowing in favor of the Bolivarian Revolution and perhaps for Alex Saab. An international campaign has arisen to #FreeAlexSaab.

As his wife Camila Fabri Saab said: “It’s not a crime to fulfill a diplomatic mission. It’s not a crime to evade sanctions that are harming an entire country. It can’t be illegal to help a people.”

The post Illegally Imprisoned Venezuelan Diplomat Faces US Court Amid a Shifting Global Context first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Bombs and Missiles ‘r Us . . . and Further Infantilization of USA/EU/UK

I’m finishing up a “children’s book.” It’s longish. Kati the Coatimundi Finds Lorena. It’s about a precocious (actually, super smart) 12 year old, Lorena, who is in a wheelchair (paraplegic) who ends up finding out the family trip to Playa del Carmen back to San Antonio, Texas, brought with them a stowaway animal — a coati. Yep, the world of the 12 yeare old is full of reading, drawing, smarts. Yep, the girl and the animal can communicate with each other. Yep, lots of struggle with being “the other,” and, well, it’s a story that I hope even keeps grandma on the edge of her seat, or at least wanting to read more and more. She is a mestizo, too. We’ll see how that goes with the woke folk. I think I have a former veterinarian who is retired and now is working on illustrations, art. We shall see where this project heads.

Under this veil of creativity, of course, it’s difficult to just meld into pure art when the world around me is very very pregnant with stupidity, injustice, despotism, and Collective Stockholm Syndrome. Being in Oregon, being in a small rural area, being in the Pacific Northwest, being in USA, now that also bogs down spirits.

It’s really about how stupid and how inane and how blatantly violent this so-called Western Civilization has become. The duh factor never plays in the game, because (a) the digital warriors writing stuff like this very blog are not engaged with centers of power, influence or coalescing. Then (b) so many people are in their minds powerful because with the touch of a keyboard, they can mount an offensive on or against facts . . . or deeply regarded and thought out opinions. So, then (c) everyone has a right to their opinion . . . . that is how the American mind moves through the commercial dungeons their marketing and financial overlords end up putting them.

No pitchforks? How in anybody’s room temperature IQ does this make any sense? Demands for daily procurement of weapons for imbalanced, losing, and Nazified Ukraine?

It is about the food, stupid, okay, Carville?

So, before we move on, this is a communique from the G7 summit of the world’s biggest economies. And, no, EU and USA and Canada, not prepared for the Russian offensive’s affect on global food security. Alas, March 24, the G7 leaders agreed to use “all instruments and funding mechanisms” and involve the “relevant international institutions” to address food security, including support for the “continued Ukrainian production efforts.”

Ukraine has told the US that it urgently needs to be supplied with 500 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 500 Stinger air defense missiles per day, CNN reported on Thursday, citing a document presented to US lawmakers.

Western countries have been sending weapons and military gear to Kiev but President Volodymyr Zelensky says it is not enough to fend off the Russian attack that was launched a month ago.

CNN quoted sources as saying that Ukraine is now asking for “hundreds more” missiles than in previous requests sent to lawmakers. Addressing the leaders of NATO member states via video link on Thursday, Zelensky said he had not received a “clear answer” to the request of “one percent of all your tanks.” (source)

And, again, this is not blasphemy? Imagine, this “leader” and those “leaders,” smiling away during what is the 30 seconds to midnight doomsday clock. Smiling while Ukraine kills humanitarian refugees, while the biolabs sputtering on in deep freeze (we hope), and while the food prices are rising. Gas cards in California, and food coupons in France?

In a normal world, a million pundits would be all over this March 24 group/grope photo. Smiles, while we the people have to watch billions go to ZioLensky and trillions more shunted to these world leaders’ overlords?

As I alluded to in the title — the mighty warring UK, with the highrises in London, with those jet-setters and those Rothschild-loving royal rummies, it has food banks set up for the struggling, working class, and, alas, the gas is so pricey that people can’t boil spuds! Bring back the coal stoves!

These are leaders? The elites? The best of the best?

In an interview with the BBC Radio 4 Today program on Wednesday, Richard Walker said the “cost of living crisis is the single most important domestic issue we are facing as a country.” He cited reports from some food banks that users are “declining products such as potatoes and other root veg because they can’t afford to boil them.” Walker suggested that the UK government could implement measures to take the heat off retailers. He urged that the energy price cap on households could be extended to businesses, which he said would translate into some £100m in savings on consumers. He also called on authorities to postpone the introduction of the planned increase in national insurance, as well as some new environmental taxes. (source)

The operative words are “crumbling,” and, then, “malfescence,” and then, “hubris,” and then, “bilking.”

I just heard some inside stuff from someone working for a high tech company. I can’t get into too much about that, but here, these “engineers” in electronics or in data storage systems, they are, again, the height of Eicchmanns, but with the added twist of me-myself-and-I. Their expectations are $180,000 a year, with six weeks paid vacation, stocks, and, well, the eight-hour day.

I don’t think the average blog reader gets this — we are not talking about celebrities, or the executive team for Amazon or Dell or Raytheon. Yep, those bastards pull in millions a year, like those celebrities, the pro athletes and the thespians of note, or musicians. These are people who are demanding those entry pay rates who have no empathy for the world around them. Sure, they believe they have kids to feed, and they might rah-rah the Ukraine madness (that, of course, means, more diodes, batteries, computer chips, communication systems, et al for the monsters of war), but they laugh at the idea of real people with real poverty issues getting a cheque from Uncle Sam.

These are the everyday folk. I harken to the Scheer Report, tied to this fellow: It’s almost surreal and schizophrenic to valorize this fellow. Here, his bio brief, Ted Postol, a physicist and nuclear weapons specialist as well as MIT professor emeritus, joins Robert Scheer on this week’s edition of “Scheer Intelligence” to explain just how deadly the current brinkmanship between the U.S. and Russia really is. Having taught at Stanford University and Princeton prior to his time at MIT, Postol was also a science and policy adviser to the chief of naval operations and an analyst at the Office of Technology Assessment. His nuclear weapons expertise led him to critique the U.S. government’s claims about missile defenses, for which he won the Garwin Prize from the Federation of American Scientists in 2016. (source)

I’ll go with Mr. Fish, as his illustration, even though it has words, speaks volumes —

It all begs the question, so, now this weapons of war fellow, this US Navy advisor, physcist, he is now having his coming to Allah-Jesus-Moses moment? He gets it so wrong, and, one slice of the Ray-gun play, well, he also misses the point that people brought up in the warring world, and those with elite college backgrounds, or military and elite college backgrounds, and those in think tanks, or on the government deep or shallow state payroll, those in the diplomatic corps, those in the Fortune 5000 companies, the lot of them, and, of course, the genuflect to the multimillionaires and billionaires, they are, quite frankly, in most cases, sociopaths.

But, here, a quote from his interview with Robert Scheer:

And unfortunately, most of what people believe—even people who are quite well educated—is just unchecked. You know, only if you’re a real expert—and these people were not, in spite of the fact they viewed themselves that way—do you understand something about the reality of what these weapons are about. And so basically, to use a term that gets overused a lot, I think the deep state in both Russia and the United States—more the United States than Russia, at least as far as I can see—the deep state in the United States mostly, basically undermined the ideas and objectives of Ronald Reagan. And of course Gorbachev was facing a similar problem in Russia.

So there’s these giant institutions inside both countries. They’re filled with people who, at one level, honestly believe these bad ideas, or think they are right; and because they think they are right, and they convince themselves that it’s in the best interest of the country, what’s really going on, it’s in their best interest as professionals but they mix up their best interest with the interest of the country. They, these people take steps to blunt the directives of the president, and basically the system just moves on without any real modification, independent of this remarkable and actually extraordinarily insightful judgment of these two men. (source)

We know Reagan’s pedigree, and we know the millions who have suffered and died under his watch. And his best and brightest in his crew, oh, they are still around. Imagine, that, Trump 2024. Will another war criminal and his cadre of criminals rise again to national prominence. He will be seeking counsel:

Then, alas, the flags at the post office, half mast, yet again and again and again — Today, that other war criminal:

Go to minute 59:00 here at the Grayzone, and watch this woman (Albright) call Serbs disgusting. Oh well, flags are flapping once again for another war criminal!

Sure, watch the entire two hours and forty-five minutes, and then try and wrap your heads around 1,000 missiles a day on the road to Ukraine, and no-boiling spuds in the UK. And it goes without saying, that any narrative, any deep study of, any recalled history of this entire bullshit affair in the minds of most Yankees and Rebels, they — Pepe Escobar, Scott Ritter, Abby Martin, et al — are the fringe. Get to this one from Escobar, today:

A quick neo-Nazi recap

By now only the brain dead across NATOstan – and there are hordes – are not aware of Maidan in 2014. Yet few know that it was then Ukrainian Minister of Interior Arsen Avakov, a former governor of Kharkov, who gave the green light for a 12,000 paramilitary outfit to materialize out of Sect 82 soccer hooligans who supported Dynamo Kiev. That was the birth of the Azov batallion, in May 2014, led by Andriy Biletsky, a.k.a. the White Fuhrer, and former leader of the neo-nazi gang Patriots of Ukraine.

Together with NATO stay-behind agent Dmitro Yarosh, Biletsky founded Pravy Sektor, financed by Ukrainian mafia godfather and Jewish billionaire Ihor Kolomoysky (later the benefactor of the meta-conversion of Zelensky from mediocre comedian to mediocre President.)

Pravy Sektor happened to be rabidly anti-EU – tell that to Ursula von der Lugen – and politically obsessed with linking Central Europe and the Baltics in a new, tawdry Intermarium. Crucially, Pravy Sektor and other nazi gangs were duly trained by NATO instructors.

Biletsky and Yarosh are of course disciples of notorious WWII-era Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera, for whom pure Ukrainians are proto-Germanic or Scandinavian, and Slavs are untermenschen.

Azov ended up absorbing nearly all neo-Nazi groups in Ukraine and were dispatched to fight against Donbass – with their acolytes making more money than regular soldiers. Biletsky and another neo-Nazi leader, Oleh Petrenko, were elected to the Rada. The White Führer stood on his own. Petrenko decided to support then President Poroshenko. Soon the Azov battalion was incorporated as the Azov Regiment to the Ukrainian National Guard.

They went on a foreign mercenary recruiting drive – with people coming from Western Europe, Scandinavia and even South America.

That was strictly forbidden by the Minsk Agreements guaranteed by France and Germany (and now de facto defunct). Azov set up training camps for teenagers and soon reached 10,000 members. Erik “Blackwater” Prince, in 2020, struck a deal with the Ukrainian military that would enable his renamed outfit, Academi, to supervise Azov.

It was none other than sinister Maidan cookie distributor Vicky “F**k the EU” Nuland who suggested to Zelensky – both of them, by the way, Ukrainian Jews – to appoint avowed Nazi Yarosh as an adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the Ukrainian Armed Forces, Gen Valerii Zaluzhnyi. The target: organize a blitzkrieg on Donbass and Crimea – the same blitzkrieg that SVR, Russian foreign intel, concluded would be launched on February 22, thus propelling the launch of Operation Z. (Source: “Make Nazism Great Again — The supreme target is regime change in Russia, Ukraine is just a pawn in the game – or worse, mere cannon fodder.”)

In the minds of wimpy Trump and wimpy Biden, or in those minds of all those in the camp of Harris-Jill Biden disharmony, these white UkiNazi hombres above are “our tough hombres.” Send the ZioLensky bombs, bioweapons, bucks, big boys. Because America the Ungreat will be shaking up the world, big time.

So, I slither back to the writing, finishing up my story about a girl, a coati, Mexico, what it means to be disabled, and what it means to be an illegal animal stuck in America, Texas, of all places, where shoot to kill vermin orders are a daily morning conversation with the oatmeal and white toast and jam.

See the source image

If only the world could be run by storytellers, dancers, art makers, dramatists, musicians everywhere. Here, a great little thing from Lila Downs — All about culture, art, dance, language, food, color. Forget the physicists, man. And the electrical and dam engineers.

If you do not understand Spanish, then, maybe hit the YouTube “settings” and get the English subtitles.. In either case, magnificent, purely magnificent!

The post Bombs and Missiles ‘r Us . . . and Further Infantilization of USA/EU/UK first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Propaganda 101: Ukraine 2022 

During 2011, NATO bombed a path to Tripoli to help its proxy forces on the ground oust Gaddafi. Tens of thousands lost their lives and much of Libya’s social fabric and infrastructure lay in ruins.

The 2016 article appearing in Foreign Policy Journal ‘Hillary Emails Reveal True Motive for Libyan Intervention’ exposed why Libya was targeted. Gaddafi was murdered and his plans to assert African independence and undermine Western hegemony on that continent were rendered obsolete.

A March 2013 Daily Telegraph article ‘US and Europe in ‘major airlift of arms to Syrian rebels through Zagreb’’ reported that 3,000 tons of weapons dating back to the former Yugoslavia had been sent in 75 planeloads from Zagreb airport to rebels.

In the same month of that year, The New York Times ran the article ‘Arms Airlift to Syria Rebels Expands with CIA Aid’, stating that Arab governments and Turkey had sharply increased their military aid to Syria’s opposition fighters. This aid included more than 160 military cargo flights.

In his book The Dirty War on Syria, Tim Anderson describes how the West and its allies were instrumental in organising and then fuelling that conflict.

Over the last two decades, politicians and the media have been manipulating popular sentiment to get an increasingly war-fatigued Western public to support ongoing conflicts under the notion of ‘protecting civilians’ or a ‘war on terror’.

A yarn is spun about securing women’s rights or fighting terrorists, removing despots (possessing non-existent WMDs) from power or protecting human life to justify military attacks, resulting in the loss of hundreds of thousands of civilian lives and the displacement of many more.

Emotive language designed to instill fear about terror threats or ‘humanitarian intervention’ is used as a pretext to wage imperialist wars in mineral-rich countries and geo-strategically important regions.

Although it has been referred to in many articles over the years, it is worth mentioning again retired NATO Secretary General Wesley Clark and a memo from the Office of the US Secretary of Defense that he was told about just a few weeks after 9/11. It revealed plans to “attack and destroy the governments in seven countries in five years,” starting with Iraq and moving on to “Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and Iran”. Clark argued this strategy is fundamentally about control of the region’s vast oil and gas resources.

Part of the battle for the public’s hearts and minds is to convince people to regard these wars and conflicts as a disconnected array of events, not the planned machinations of empire. For the last decade, the ongoing narrative about Russian aggression has been part of the strategy.

Anglo-American financial-corporate interests have long been seeking to drive a wedge between Europe and Russia to prevent closer economic alignment. Aside from the expansion of NATO and installation of missile systems in Eastern Europe targeting Russia, there has also been the ever-tightening economic sanctions which the EU has largely been compelled to go along with.

Back in 2014, the proposed (but never implemented) Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) was part of the broader geopolitical game plan to weaken Western Europe by making it even more dependent on the US and to divide the European continent by side-lining Russia. While the TTIP may appear to have had nothing to do with what was happening in Ukraine in 2014 (the coup) or Syria, it was a cog in the machine to cement US hegemony.

Much more can be (and has been) written about US strategies to undermine Russia’s fossil-fuel based economy, but the point is that US actions have for some time been aimed at weakening Russia.

The financial-industrial-military complex is setting this agenda, hammered out behind closed doors in its various forums. Those who sit at the top of this complex fine-tune their plans within powerful think tanks like the Council on Foreign Relations and the Brookings Institute (documented in Brian Berletic’s 2012 article ‘Naming Names: Your Real Government’) as well as at the Trilateral Commission, Bilderberg and NATO, as described in the 2008 book by David Rothkopf, Superclass: The Global Power Elite and the World They Are Making.

It is worthwhile noting the 2019 report ‘Overextending and Unbalancing Russia’ by the influential US policy think tank the Rand Corporation. The document sets out various scenarios for destabilising and weakening Russia, including “imposing deeper trade and financial sanctions” and “providing lethal aid to Ukraine” but without provoking “a much wider conflict in which Russia, by reason of proximity, would have significant advantages”.

The invasion of Ukraine by Russia did not happen out of the blue. It is not the result of the machinations of a power-hungry madman hellbent on taking over Europe, a notion that mainstream commentators have for a number of years tried to embed in the psyche of the Western public.

A recent analysis appearing on the India-based news channel WION, ‘Did NATO push Ukraine into war?’, provides the type of insightful analysis of events absent from the Western media. It succinctly outlines Russia’s valid concerns about NATO’s expansionist thrust into Eastern Europe and how successive US administrations ignored these concerns for many years, including those from top officials in Washington itself.

That such an analysis remains off the Western media agenda is of no surprise. Prominent journalists in key media outlets are essential foot soldiers whose role is to support power. They are groomed for their positions by various means (the British-American Project being a case in point) as they climb the well-paid career ladder.

Notwithstanding the countless civilian casualties and the suffering currently in Ukraine, a country being used as a pawn in a geopolitical war, there are also the effects of disrupted energy supplies and fertilizer and food exports from Ukraine and Russia which will impact possibly hundreds of millions across the world.

For instance, the war could unleash a “hurricane of hunger” and poverty with the World Bank estimating that the average person in Sub-Saharan Africa will be spending about 35% of their income on food in 2023 if the war in Ukraine drags on. It was a little more than 20% in 2017. Elsewhere, in places like South Asia and the Middle East, the increase could be worse.

But this is merely ‘collateral damage’ worth imposing on others in the calculations of those who determine what the ‘price worth paying’ is and who will pay it.

Nevertheless, the public has been encouraged to support a strategy of increasing tension towards Russia, culminating in the situation we now see in Ukraine, by a media which plays its part well. The media serves as a key cheerleader for US-led wars and ensures the civilian wounded and dead of those conflicts are kept out of the headlines and off the screens, unlike the current situation in Ukraine whose victims receive 24/7 coverage across the major media outlets.

But this comes as little surprise. Former CIA boss General Petraeus stated in 2006 that his strategy was to wage a war of perceptions conducted continuously through the news media.

Many readers will be aware of the revelation back in 2015 about the former editor of a major German newspaper who said he planted stories for the CIA. Udo Ulfkotte claimed he accepted news items written and given to him by the agency and published them under his own name in Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung.

While this came as a shock to many, it was noted decades ago by former senior British intelligence officer Peter Wright (author of the 1987 autobiographical book ‘Spycatcher’) that many top journalists in the UK were associated with MI5.

It was another former CIA boss, William Casey, who in the 1980s said:

We’ll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American public believes is false.

Civilian suffering is given full media coverage when it can be used to tug at the emotional heartstrings in order to sway public opinion. Made-for-media outpourings of morality about good and evil are designed to create outrage and support for more ‘interventions’.

The shaping of public opinion is not a haphazard affair. It is now sophisticated and well established.

Take, for instance, the harvesting of Facebook data by Cambridge Analytica to shape the outcomes of the US election a few years back and the Brexit campaign. According to journalist Liam O’Hare writing in 2018, its now defunct parent company Strategic Communications Laboratories (SCL) conducted ‘behavioural change’ programmes in more than 60 countries. Its clients included the British Ministry of Defence, the US State Department and NATO.

According to O’Hare, among SCL’s activities in Europe were campaigns targeting Russia. The company had “sweeping links” with Anglo-American political and military interests. In the UK, the interests of the governing Conservative Party and military-intelligence players were brought together via SCL: board members included “an array of Lords, Tory donors, ex-British army officers and defence contractors”.

For O’Hare, all SCL’s activities were inextricably linked to its Cambridge Analytica arm.

He states:

We finally have the most concrete evidence yet of shadowy actors using dirty tricks in order to rig elections. But these operators aren’t operating from Moscow… they are British, Eton educated, headquartered in the City of London and have close ties to Her Majesty’s government.

Welcome to the world of mass deception à la Edward Bernays and Joseph Goebbels.

With talk of a ‘no-fly zone’ over Ukraine, sanctions on Russia which Putin says are “akin to a declaration of war” and Biden calling Putin a “war criminal”, the world now finds itself in a ‘thinking the unthinkable’ scenario that was totally avoidable.

The day before the invasion of Ukraine, Putin stated on Russian TV:

Whoever tries to get in our way and create further threats to our country and our people must know that Russia’s response will come immediately and will lead to consequences without precedent in history. All the necessary decisions have been taken.

President of the German Council on Foreign Relations Thomas Enders has since responded by calling for a no-fly zone in western Ukraine, which would most likely lead to direct military involvement by NATO:

It is time for the West to expose Putin’s nuclear threats for what they really are – a bluff to deter Western governments from military intervention.

Speaking on TV in 2021, prominent US politician and Iraq war veteran Tulsi Gabbard spelt out the consequences of a war with Russia over Ukraine. With thousands of nuclear weapons that the US and Russia have aimed at each other, she said that a nuclear exchange would “exact a cost on every one of us that would result in excruciating death and suffering beyond comprehension”.

And yet, despite what Gabbard warns of, the arrogance and recklessness of power brokers is displayed each day for all to see.

Although it may be regarded as political posturing – in a centuries-old ‘great game’ played out by the ruling elites that boils down to oil, gas, minerals, power, wealth, ego and strategic and military dominance – talk of direct NATO intervention or Putin’s implied threat about the use of nuclear weapons ultimately amounts to those at the pinnacle of power risking gambling away your life and the lives of every living creature on the planet.

The post Propaganda 101: Ukraine 2022  first appeared on Dissident Voice.

Sick and Sicker, Dumb and Dumber, Rich and Richer

Quote — “The US will likely end up supplying Ukraine with Switchblade loitering munitions. The system poses a real threat. Nevertheless, the Russian military will likely use the tactics we saw in Syria to neutralize this threat.” (Southfront)

And, well, it is tax time, and these beasts of a nation — Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, MSM — they rally around the military offensive murdering complex for, well, billions thrown at the Nazi regime of Ukraine. And I have to pay more taxes on my subpar wages? Give me a few of those drones, please! Billions of dollars thrown at the most corrupt and evil of them all (well, there are many evil ones, so see this as hyperbole). One contract with this outfit, AeroVironment. Looking into that company, I find its current president to be an interesting man:

Wikipedia — Nawabi is an Afghan sub clan mega Barakzai the majority of this clan played an important role during the Barakzai dynasty – such as Ismail Khan Nawabi.

The name Nawabi is borrowed from the Arabic, being the honorific plural of Naib or “deputy”. The name Nawab is mostly used among South Asians. In Bengal it is pronounced Nowab. The English adjective nawabi (from the Urdu word nawwābī) describes anything associated with a nawab.

He says AeroVironment is a great place to work because: “There is no place like AeroVironment where a group of honorable, smart, and hardworking people can make such a big and positive impact on our lives and society. I am excited and honored to lead such a team in order to help all of our 3 stakeholders Proceed with Certainty.”

Wahid Nawabi

Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer

Yes, the face of the military murdering complex is a smile, a wink, and even a diversity statement validation.

As President and Chief Executive Officer at AEROVIRONMENT INC, Wahid Nawabi made $2,524,773 in total compensation. Of this total $632,319 was received as a salary, $535,513 was received as a bonus, $0 was received in stock options, $1,333,024 was awarded as stock and $23,917 came from other types of compensation. This information is according to proxy statements filed for the 2021 fiscal year. President and Chief Executive Officer. AEROVIRONMENT INC

So, the wink and a nod, all those stock options, all of that base pay, all of it, all predicated on, hmm, contracts. Yes, US GI Joe fed contracts. And, well, a contract is a contract, whether Mario Puzo is writing about it, or if one of the slick female heads of the war complex companies is drafting and signing it. This is one company, which I have previously discussed in general and specifically is really not just one in Santa’s Serial Murder workshops, but one represents dozens of companies (contracted) relying on those contracts for these drones with payloads: wires, optics, diodes, motherboards, paint, metal, gears, etc. Kamikaze drones, what a lovely thing to be proud of, and this company is just one of thousands that makes money off of blood.

The officials told the outlet that the White House is currently considering supplying Ukraine with Switchblades, as part of a new package of military aid. However, they noted that no decisions on the matter have been made, yet.

There are two available variants of the loitering munition, the Switchblade 300 and the 600. The 300 was designed to target personnel and unarmored vehicles. It has a range of 10 kilometers and an endurance of 10 minutes. The larger 600 was designed to destroy armored vehicles, like battle tanks. This version has a range of 80 kilometers and an endurance of up to 20 minutes. (source)

Please, kind reader, look at these people — the website of their team: Aerovironment. For me, they are scary people, for sure, in that they are the paper-pushers and state college grads from engineering programs; they are the marketers, the CPAs and the HR folk. These are what I have faced my entire life teaching — people who have no reservation about making money selling drugs that kill (Big Pharma) or booze that kills or anything that kills, both human or environment. Look at their biographies on the “About Us” page above. This is the banality of evil, and I am afraid, that evil is much much deeper engrained than Hannah Arendt could have conjured up because there is no “great war,” no great global war against Nazis and fascists, as in WWII. It’s all transactional, money for blood, weapons ‘r us!

Under conditions of tyranny it is far easier to act than to think.

— Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, 1958

I’m not sure she was thinking of the pure structural/sanctions-led/financial tyranny of capitalism, that soft tyranny of western consumerism, the constant inverted tyranny in a world where most First World folk eat, drink, sleep oil. A world that is run by business men and business women, under the umbrella of the Deep State and government thugs. I do not think she was in the know around how pernicious the marketing of lies and evil doing was under the guidance of a fellow Jew, Edward (Freud) Bernays. But she was onto something, for sure:

In an ever-changing, incomprehensible world the masses had reached the point where they would, at the same time, believe everything and nothing, think that everything was possible and that nothing was true. … Mass propaganda discovered that its audience was ready at all times to believe the worst, no matter how absurd, and did not particularly object to being deceived because it held every statement to be a lie anyhow. The totalitarian mass leaders based their propaganda on the correct psychological assumption that, under such conditions, one could make people believe the most fantastic statements one day, and trust that if the next day they were given irrefutable proof of their falsehood, they would take refuge in cynicism; instead of deserting the leaders who had lied to them, they would protest that they had known all along that the statement was a lie and would admire the leaders for their superior tactical cleverness.”

― Hannah ArendtThe Origins of Totalitarianism, 1951

You see, the totalitarianism is in the marketing of these spoils of war, and the war minders, and the war industry. Look at this company’s founder, Paul MacCready. Check him out on Wikipedia — Paul B. MacCready Jr. (September 25, 1925 – August 28, 2007) was an American aeronautical engineer. He was the founder of AeroVironment and the designer of the human-powered aircraft that won the first Kremer prize. He devoted his life to developing more efficient transportation vehicles that could “do more with less.”

In so many ways, MacCready represents the best and the brightest of his generation, the hope for mankind, the genius of the American System producing tools of war, tools of profit. He represents the undying American work ethic, with only the heavens (err, he said sky, as he was an avowed atheist) as his limit.

That is it, really — the biography of a military industrial complex tool of death, all started in the twinkle of a 15-year-old MacCready’s eye when he was designing planes and gliders in 1940. Now? Every sort of munition and payload delivered in the fuselages of those toys. Heck, why not drone-carrying bugs injected or engineered with viruses?

CNBC 3/16/2022: “Stocks making the biggest moves midday: Alibaba, AeroVironment, Boeing and more”. Again, success at the start of the trading and the end of the day bell on Wall Street! Get US taxpayer contract in the millions, and see you stock rise rise rise like sour dough bread,

Dark Side of Delivery: The Growing Threat of Bioweapon Dissemination by Drones —

The post Sick and Sicker, Dumb and Dumber, Rich and Richer first appeared on Dissident Voice.