Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Ugly Canadian face now belongs to Trudeau

By Yves Engler · October 14, 2017

The “Ugly Canadian” is on the march, but now with a much prettier face at the helm. Across the planet, Canadian mining companies are in conflict with local communities and usually have the Trudeau government’s support.

A slew of disputes have arisen at Canadian run mines in recent weeks:

Last week in northern central Mexico, community members blockaded the main access road to Goldcorp Inc.’s Penasquito mine. They are protesting against the Vancouver-based company for using and contaminating their water without providing alternative sources.

In Northern Ireland two weeks ago, police forced activists out of a Cookstown hotel after they tried to confront representatives from Dalradian Resources. Community groups worry the Toronto firm’s proposed gold and silver mine will damage the Owenkillew River Special Area of Conservation.

Last weekend, an Argentinian senator denounced Blue Sky Uranium’s exploration in the Patagonia region. Magdalena Odarda said residents living near the planned mine fear the Vancouver company’s operations will harm their health.

On Wednesday more than 40 US congresspeople, as well as the Alaska’s Governor, criticized the removal of restrictions on mining in Alaska’s Bristol Bay region, home to half the world’s sockeye salmon production. In May, Northern Dynasty CEO Thomas Collier met the new head of the US Environmental Protection Agency to ask for the lifting of restrictions on its Pebble Mine, which is expected to destroy the region’s salmon fishery. In a bid to gain government permission to move forward on the project, the Vancouver firm appointed a former chief of staff at the US Department of the Interior as its new CEO.

At the end of September, hundreds of families were displaced by the Filipino Army to make way for a mine jointly run by Australian and Canadian firms MRL Gold and Egerton Gold. The community in the Batangas Province was blocking a project expected to harm marine biodiversity.

In eastern Madagascar, farmers are in a dispute with DNI Metals over compensation for lands damaged by the Toronto firm.

In August, another person was allegedly killed by Acacia (Barrick Gold) security at its North Mara mine in Tanzania.

Last week, Barrick Gold agreed to pay $20-million to a Chilean a group after a year-long arbitration. The Toronto company had reneged on a $60-million 20-year agreement to compensate communities affected by its Pascua Lama gold, silver and copper project.

In mid-September, Eldorado Gold threatened to suspend its operations in Halkidiki, Greece, if the central government didn’t immediately approve permits for its operations. With the local Mayor and most of the community opposed to the mine, the social-democratic Syriza government was investigating whether a flawed technical study by the Vancouver company was a breach of its contract.

And in Guatemala, Indigenous protestors continue to blockade Tahoe Resources’ Escobal silver mine despite a mid-September court decision in the company’s favour. Fearing for their water, health and land, eight municipalities in the area have voted against the Vancouver firm’s project.

The Liberals have largely maintained Stephen Harper’s aggressive support for Canada’s massive international mining industry. Last month Canada’s Trade Minister François-Philippe Champagne backed El Dorado, denouncing the Greek government’s “troublesome” permit delays. Canada’s Ambassador to Madagascar, Sandra McCadell, appears to have backed DNI Metals during a meeting with that country’s mining minister.

As I detailed previously, the Trudeau government recently threw diplomatic weight behind Canada’s most controversial mining company in the country where it has committed its worst abuses. Amidst dozens of deaths at Barrick Gold’s North Mara mine in Tanzania and an escalating battle over the company’s unpaid royalties/tax, Canada’s High Commissioner Ian Myles organised a meeting between Barrick Executive Chairman John Thornton and President John Magufuli. After the meeting Myles applauded Barrick’s commitment to “the highest standards, fairness and respect for laws and corporate social responsibility.”

Two years into their mandate the Trudeau regime has yet to follow through on their repeated promises to rein in Canada’s controversial international mining sector. Despite this commitment, they have adopted no measures to restrict public support for Canadian mining companies responsible for significant abuses abroad.

The ‘Ugly Canadian’ is running roughshod across the globe and pretty boy Justin is its new face.

October 14, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Nuclear Power, Progressive Hypocrite, Solidarity and Activism | , , | 1 Comment

UK Condemns Boris Johnson’s Joke But Refuses to Admit It Helped Destroy Libya

Sputnik – 06.10.2017

Alexander Mercouris, editor-in-chief of The Duran, told Radio Sputnik that he found UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson’s joke about “clearing away dead bodies” in Libya “outrageous,” given that the UK played a large role in destroying the North African state.

Speaking about Libya’s tourism potential at a Conservative Party conference fringe meeting, the UK’s chief diplomat said that the war-torn city of Sirte could become the new Dubai, adding that “the only thing they have to do is clear the dead bodies away.”

The members of Libya’s House of Representatives based in Tobruk on Thursday demanded Johnson’s apology for the remark.

Mercouris told Sputnik in an interview that he expected the people of Libya to be shocked and infuriated by Johnson’s “extremely crude” comments, given that he made a joke about a city that the British destroyed in a country the British played a large role in smashing.

​”If we take Sirte, the city which he was referring to, it was incredibly heavily bombed by the [Royal] Air Force amongst others during the Libyan intervention that took place in 2011, which Britain played a very large role in instigating,” he said. “It was Muammar Qaddafi’s hometown, and he was murdered in the most appalling fashion not far from there.”

Mercouris added that although Johnson is under fire for his remarks in his home country as well — with some British politicians calling for him to be sacked — most critics fail to note the UK’s role in destroying Libya in the first place.

In a similar fashion, he noted, members of Johnson’s party always talk about the threat of terrorism in Europe without ever bringing up the foreign policy choices that the UK government has made, which created the conditions for terrorist groups to thrive in North Africa and for Libya becoming a major recruiting ground for militant fighters.

“This comes back to Boris Johnson’s comments,” Mercouris said. “He has been strongly criticized within Britain for making them, but always that criticism stops at the point of admitting any British responsibility for the disaster that is Libya today. And of course that responsibility is enormous.”

Libya has been in a state of turmoil since 2011 when a civil war began in the country and its longtime leader Gaddafi was overthrown. In December 2015, Libya’s rival governments — the Council of Deputies based in Tobruk and the Tripoli-based General National Congress — agreed to create the Government of National Accord, to form the Presidency Council and to end the political impasse.

October 6, 2017 Posted by | Progressive Hypocrite, War Crimes | , | 2 Comments

Podesta emails showed Facebook colluded with Clinton, Assange reminds

RT | September 29, 2017

As US lawmakers demand social media companies show how their platforms were allegedly used by Russia to meddle in the 2016 election, WikiLeaks co-founder tweeted emails that show Facebook executives in direct communication with one candidate’s team.

Beginning on October 7 last year, WikiLeaks published hundreds of emails from the private account of Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta. The daily drops continued for a couple days after the November 8 election.

On Thursday, as US media were speculating about “Russian” meddling on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit, Julian Assange tweeted some of the Podesta emails with a reminder that the social network’s leading lights were Clinton fans.

In an email from early January 2016, Podesta wrote to Facebook’s Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, saying that he was excited to work with her on getting Clinton elected.

“Look forward to working with you to elect the first woman President of the United States,” Podesta wrote. Sandberg replied she was “thrilled” by the progress that Clinton was making.

In February 2015, Podesta was copied on an email from Clinton aide Cheryl Mills, who said she had arranged for Sandberg and her researcher to visit the office and “step through the research on gender and leadership by women.”

That visit took place one hour before a “main meeting” concerning Clinton.

In June 2015, Sandberg wrote an email to Podesta, saying she would “still want HRC to win badly.”

“I am still here to help as I can. She came over and was magical with my kids,” Sandberg wrote.

Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and founder of Facebook, sent a personal email to Podesta in August 2015, saying he enjoyed spending time with him, and that their conversation gave him “a lot to think about.”

Zuckerberg thanked Podesta for sharing his experiences with the Center for American Progress (CAP), a Democratic think tank founded by Podesta.

Included in the thread was an email to Podesta from Elliot Schrage, the vice president of communications at Facebook, who said Zuckerberg was looking for a way to “direct his wealth to have an impact as great as Facebook” adding that Podesta’s ideas had “really moved his thinking.”

Zuckerberg then asked Podesta if he could reach out in the future to hear his ideas and said he was looking forward to continuing their conversation.

“I hope it’s okay if I reach out as my thinking develops to get your ideas and reactions,” Zuckerberg said. “If there are any other folks you think I should talk to, please let me know.”

Some Twitter users were quick to point out the hypocrisy behind Democrats spending so much time and energy investigating all the major social media sites, desperately searching for any possible collusion between President Donald Trump and Russia, even though Facebook colluded with Clinton.

Several users began tweeting under the hashtag #FaceBookLeaks, hoping to bring attention to the story.

September 29, 2017 Posted by | Corruption, Deception, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , | 1 Comment

Bernie Sanders Can’t Shake His Imperial Piggishness

By Glen Ford | Black Agenda Report | September 28, 2017

Donald Trump’s performance last week at the UN General Assembly set the rhetorical bar for U.S. imperial piggery at a 21st century low — although Hillary “We came, we saw, he died” Clinton is surely his equal in moral depravity. At about the same time that Trump was threatening to incinerate a whole nation of people, Bernie Sanders attempted to fill in the vast holes in his own foreign policy profile, in a speech at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri, the same venue where Winston Churchill, the 20th century’s prototypical western imperial pig politician, delivered his Cold War-initiating “Iron Curtain descending on Europe” speech in 1946. This is deep swine territory, and Sanders could not help but wallow in it.

Churchill was an arch racist, an admirer of fascists until they threatened his home island and its global colonial empire, and a great innovator in war crimes against civilian populations — and, therefore, a hero of the Wild White West. Sanders revealed his own swinish predilections in Westminster. The Vermont senator reverently quoted Churchill’s “strategic concept” to provide “nothing less than the safety and welfare, the freedom and progress, of all the homes and families of all the men and women in all the lands.” What these words actually meant in the mouth of an imperialist, is eternal subjugation of the darker races while rich white men bore the “burden” of global governance. But Sanders chose to give the most benign interpretation to Churchill’s colonial pig-talk, claiming the British prime minister’s “challenge” to current society means moving “toward a global community in which people have the decent jobs, food, clean water, education, health care and housing they need.”

Churchill would never dream of providing a welfare state for Britain’s colonial captives, nor is Sanders proposing to do so for the far-flung subjects of the U.S. empire. However, imperialists reserve for themselves and their “exceptional” home countries the right — no, the obligation (or “burden”) — to shape the destinies of the rest of the human species, if only in their imaginations or to garner cheap speechmaking points. President George W. Bush also wanted to bring “freedom and progress” and safety and welfare and all those other good things to Iraq in the wake of Shock and Awe — and doubtless meant it. Donald Trump has a vision of prosperity for the world, too – embossed with his own golden logo. The Japanese empire imposed an Asian “Co-Prosperity Sphere,” under the armed guidance of Tokyo.

Bernie Sanders is an imperialist, and therefore of the same general political species as Churchill, Clinton and Trump. Many of Sanders’ leftish supporters cannot fathom how anyone could describe their hero as “an imperialist pig,” as I did in a June 15 article. They think imperialism is a personal characteristic, a kind of meanness — the same misconception they have about racism — rather than a global system centered in their home country. That’s why, not only is nearly every self-styled “patriot” an imperialist, but so are many, if not most, U.S. “progressives” — especially the white ones. They truly cannot fathom the meaning of other people’s right to self-determination, but see themselves as benevolent vectors of human progress – which is why “liberals” are so prone to crimes of “humanitarian” military intervention, the imperialist hoax-of-choice since Bill Clinton’s presidency.

A disturbing proportion of Black Americans have caught the same disease, after eight years of identification with U.S. power under Obama, whom, I wrote “was among the most aggressive defenders of white supremacy in history,” having waged seven simultaneous wars to preserve the U.S.-based multinational corporate empire. Obama handed off those wars to Trump, who is vigorously pursuing all of them and threatening more aggressions.

Foreign policy was largely an afterthought in Bernie Sanders presidential campaign — which is a kind way of saying that he did not challenge Barack Obama’s foreign policy and was, therefore, in tacit agreement with the First Black President’s global depredations. Certainly, Sanders backed sanctions against Russia (“that means tightening the screws on them”) and supported the near-genocidal Obama-Clinton regime change war “to get rid of this guy [President al Assad]” in Syria. That’s more than enough to qualify the 2016 Sanders as a world class imperialist pig.

The 2017 version is much the same. Like virtually the entire Democratic Party, Sanders eagerly foments anti-Russian hysteria, embracing CIA tales of Russian “efforts to undermine one of our greatest strengths: the integrity of our elections, and our faith in our own democracy.” He vows to “work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia” – code words for continuation of the Obama-Hillary Clinton policy to foster regime change in Moscow. No serious advocate for peace talks like that — and if you do not advocate for peace, you are not a progressive.

Sanders’ anti-Russia rhetoric negates much of the progressive-sounding wordage in Sanders speech. At any rate, his remarks contained very little of substance on the burning issues of the day. Sanders delivered mostly pablum to signify that he is the Not-Trump, and takes strong stands only on long dead issues. “The goal is not for the United States to dominate the world,” he said. “Nor, on the other hand, is our goal to withdraw from the international community and shirk our responsibilities under the banner of ‘America First.’” But even Trump is capable of saying nice things about the UN — and did, last week, even as he displayed complete contempt for and ignorance of international law. And Barack Obama broke every international law and covenant in the book, while grandiloquently playing the globalist.

Sanders said the U.S. should not have overthrown the elected Iranian government of Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, in 1953, and shouldn’t have deposed Chile’s Salvador Allende in 1973. He was against the Vietnam War, and the Iraq War — George Bush’s, not the current Obama-Trump Iraq war, about which he has nothing to say.

Sanders claims to oppose the U.S.-backed Saudi Arabian war against Yemen, although last year he was encouraging the Saudis to become more aggressive in the region. (He apparently meant more aggression against Syria — a violation of international law with which Sanders had no quarrel, since President Assad is a “bad guy” and the Russians are trying to subvert “our democracy.”)

“The Global War on Terror has been a disaster for the American people and for American leadership,” said Sanders. “We must rethink the old Washington mindset that judges ‘seriousness’ according to the willingness to use force. One of the key misapprehensions of this mindset is the idea that military force is decisive in a way that diplomacy is not.”

The “new Washington mindset” Sanders fuzzily proposes has no room for the universal principles of self-determination, national sovereignty and international law. It should be understood that Sanders is talking about use of American military force against sovereign nations; “diplomacy” does not apply to al-Qaida and its ISIS offshoot. Sanders fails to once mention the legality of U.S. violations of other nations’ sovereignty — because he is an imperialist who does not respect international law. Sanders says “military force is sometimes necessary, but always — always — as the last resort,” but he does not recognize that only the UN Security Council can legally authorize attacks on sovereign nations. Plus, even Trump will claim that he only unleashes the military as a last resort.

Bernie Sanders supports the Iran nuclear deal. So do lots of Republicans. But, the “deal” is an imperialist instrument, based on lies that even the U.S. intelligence agencies rejected. In 2007, all of the U.S. spy agencies joined in assessing that Iran had dismantled its nuclear program in 2003. This National Intelligence Estimate outraged the Bush regime, and probably prevented them from launching a full-scale military attack on Iran. But the Obama administration ignored the Estimate, despite another intelligence assessment in 2011 that determined Iran was still on a non-weapons nuclear track. The U.S. and Israel nevertheless waged an assassination campaign against Iranian scientists and unleashed the world’s first massive cyber-attack on the country’s installations, finally threatening a full-scale military attack to force through the current “deal” on nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump, the unilateralist imperialist, threatens to break the deal. Sanders says the U.S. should honor it. But the Iran agreement is itself an imperial imposition based on threats of armed aggression. Whoever supports that type of “diplomacy” is as much an imperialist pig as Trump.

Sanders wants the Iran agreement to serve as a model for dealing with North Korea; in other words, bully Pyongyang until it buckles under. The difference between Sanders approach and Trump’s “fire and fury” is that the Democrat would “look for ways to tighten international sanctions” through “the international community working together.” But, it’s the same lawless blackmail. Sanders says nothing about direct talks with North Korea, the North’s key demand, which would amount to actual diplomacy. But that would smack of equality among nations – an anathema to imperial powers, and to would-be imperial presidents, Bernie Sanders included.

In his entire speech on foreign affairs, Sanders did not utter the word “Africa” once, nor did he say the word “Israel.” Yet the U.S. virtually occupies the continent of Africa, through its African Command, while Israel practically occupies U.S. foreign policy. Does that mean Sanders has no policy on Africa or Israel? No, it means he goes along with the general direction of U.S. imperial policy as it exists – because he is an imperialist.

Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com .

September 28, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Myth of Canada’s “Benevolent” Foreign Policy

By Yves Engler | Dissident Voice | September 13, 2017

A house built on an imaginary foundation may be a “dream home” but it can never be lived in. The same holds true in politics.

One need not mythologize Canadian foreign policy history to oppose the Trudeau government’s egregious position on nuclear arms. In fact, ‘benevolent Canada’ dogma weakens the critical consciousness needed to reject the policies of our foreign policy establishment.

In “Canada abandons proud history as ‘nuclear nag’ when most needed” prominent leftist author Linda McQuaig writes:

There have been impressive moments in our history when Canada, under previous Liberal governments, asserted itself as a feisty middle power by supporting, even occasionally leading, the push to get nuclear disarmament onto the global agenda.

Nonsense! If one were to rank the world’s 200 countries in order of their contribution to the nuclear arms race Canada would fall just behind the nine nuclear armed states.

Uranium from Great Bear Lake in the Northwest Territories was used in the only two nuclear bombs ever dropped on a human population. In Northern approaches: Canada and the search for peace James Eayrs notes, “the maiming of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was a byproduct of Canadian uranium.”

Canada spent millions of dollars (tens of millions in today’s money) to help research the bombs’ development. Immediately after successfully developing the technology, the US submitted its proposal to drop the bomb on Japan to the tri-state World War II Combined Policy Committee meeting, which included powerful Canadian minister C.D. Howe and a British official. Though there is no record of his comments at the July 4, 1945 meeting, apparently Howe supported the US proposal. Reflecting the racism in Canadian governing circles, in his (uncensored) diary King wrote:

It is fortunate that the use of the bomb should have been upon the Japanese rather than upon the white races of Europe.

Only a few years after the first one was built Ottawa allowed the US to station nuclear weapons in Canada. According to John Clearwater in Canadian Nuclear Weapons: The Untold Story of Canada’s Cold War Arsenal, the first “nuclear weapons came to Canada as early as September 1950, when the USAF [US Air Force] temporarily stationed eleven ‘Fat Man’- style atomic bombs at Goose Bay Newfoundland.”

Canadian territory has also been used to test US nuclear weapons. Beginning in 1952 Ottawa agreed to let the US Strategic Air Command use Canadian air space for training flights of nuclear-armed aircraft. At the same time, reports Ron Finch in Exporting Danger: a history of the Canadian nuclear energy export programme, the US Atomic Energy Commission conducted military tests in Canada to circumvent oversight by American “watchdog committees.” As part of the agreement Ottawa committed to prevent any investigation into the military aspects of nuclear research in Canada.

Canadian Forces also carried nukes on foreign-stationed aircraft. At the height of Canadian nuclear deployments in the late 1960s the government had between 250 and 450 atomic bombs at its disposal in Europe. Based in Germany, the CF-104 Starfighter, for instance, operated without a gun and carried nothing but a thermal nuclear weapon.

During the past 70 years Canada has often been the world’s largest producer of uranium. According to Finch, by 1959 Canada had sold $1.5 billion worth of uranium to the US bomb program (uranium was then Canada’s fourth biggest export). Ottawa has sold at least 29 nuclear reactors to foreign countries, which have often been financed with aid dollars. In the 1950s, for instance, Atomic Energy Canada Limited received large sums of money through the Colombo Aid Plan to help India set up a nuclear reactor.

Canada provided the reactor (called Cyrus) that India used to develop the bomb. Canada proceeded with its nuclear commitment to India despite signals from New Delhi that it was going to detonate a nuclear device. In The Politics of CANDU Exports Duane Bratt writes, “the Indians chose to use Cyrus for their supply of plutonium and not one of their other reactors, because Cyrus was not governed by any nuclear safeguards.”

On the diplomatic front, Ottawa has long supported its allies’ nuclear weapons. In August 1948 Canada voted against a UN call to ban nuclear weapons and in December 1954 voted to allow NATO forces to accept tactical nuclear weapons through the alliance’s policy called MC 48, The Most Effective Pattern of NATO Military Strength for the Next Few Years. According to Canada and UN Peacekeeping: Cold War by Other Means, 1945-1970, external minister Lester Pearson “was integral to the process by which MC 48 was accepted by NATO.”

In his 2006 book Just Dummies“: Cruise Missile Testing in Canada Clearwater writes, “the record clearly shows that Canada refuses to support any resolution that specifies immediate action on a comprehensive approach to ridding the world of nuclear weapons.” Since then the Harper/Trudeau regimes’ have not changed direction. The Harper government opposed a variety of initiatives to curtail nuclear weapons and, as McQuaig points out, the Trudeau government recently boycotted a UN effort to sign a treaty, supported by two thirds of 192 member states, to rid the world of nuclear weapons and prohibit the creation of new ones.

But, it’s not only nuclear policy. The Trudeau government’s arms sales to Saudi Arabia, attacks on Venezuela’s elected government, support for Rwanda’s brutal dictatorship, empowerment of international investors, indifference to mining companies abuses, military deployment on Russia’s border, support for Israel’s illegal occupation etc. reflect this country’s longstanding corporate-military-Western centric foreign policy. While Harper’s foreign policy was disastrous on many fronts, it was a previous Liberal government that instigated violence in Afghanistan and the most flagrant Canadian crime of this century by planning, executing and consolidating the overthrow of democracy in Haiti.

Leftists need to stop seeking to ingratiate themselves with the liberal end of the foreign policy establishment by exaggerating rare historical moments when Ottawa apparently did right. Power relations — not morality — determine international policy and the ‘benevolent Canada’ myth obscures the corporate and geostrategic interests that overwhelmingly drive policy. Progressive writers should focus on developing the critical consciousness needed to reign in the foreign policy establishment.

Only the truth will set us free to make this country a force for good in the world.


Yves Engler is the author of A Propaganda System: How Canada’s Government, Corporations, Media and Academia Sell War and Canada in Africa: 300 years of aid and exploitation.

September 13, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , | 1 Comment

Cause of USA Meltdown and Collapse of Civil Rights

By Denis Rancourt | Dissident Voice | September 7, 2017

SUMMARY: Societies of social animals, including humans, are dominance hierarchies. Civil rights are codified in law to protect mechanisms of essential counter measures against excessive exploitation of the hierarchy by elite classes, which destabilizes the entire society. Systemic pathology arises when elite classes can change the regulatory codes themselves, including civil rights protections, with impunity. Laws that quash civil rights are pathological in that they impede the system-repair mechanisms that are: free expression, free association, class opposition, and negotiated structural adjustments (otherwise known as democracy). Present anti-speech laws are extreme examples of pathological laws, the application of which is a measure of the degree of totalitarianism in the society. The history of the USA of recent decades is an eminent illustration of the concepts.

*****

The USA meltdown has been decades in the making and is the collateral result of an elite predation that has degraded structural elements needed for a healthy and resilient nation.

The aftermath is “too much regulation at the bottom, not enough at the top”: a pathological legislative and institutional structure in which elite interests have too much freedom to challenge and exploit democratic nation states, whereas middle, working and professional class actors, including small and medium-size private business, are economically, ideologically and politically constrained and suppressed to an excessive degree.

It has been a class war in which the predatory classes have barricaded themselves while inflicting humiliating defeat and loss of power, purpose and identity on the lower-stratum classes, which are incited to fight among themselves within the confines of new rules and the guarded illusion that these rules are an actuation of natural order.

In this way, personal and community motivation and inventiveness are sapped. The very motor of a vibrant modern society is jammed and the entire system becomes a system of debt-ransom extraction and management of globalized exploitation for the benefit of a secluded elite.

In this emergent system of excessive class exploitation, civil rights that protect critics and organizers become a threat against the exploiters rather than needed protections of personal and community emancipation that sustains economic production and innovation.

Allow me to explain, starting from fundamental considerations.

Arguably, the most fundamental statement that a social scientist can make is that humans interact by both violent and non-violent means, both individually and as groups, to establish and maintain societal dominance hierarchies. Call it by any name (tribalism, capitalism, socialism, totalitarianism…) humans always establish, maintain and grow dominance hierarchies, using whatever technology of the day.

The political end-point concept of “anarchy” is the theoretical absence of dominance hierarchy, which has never been ideally achieved and which is evidently unstable against growth of and replacement by dominance hierarchy. The reality of social animals is dominance hierarchy, which spontaneously adapts itself to environmental conditions and to the population size, while integrating accumulated knowledge and technological advances.

Within a dominance hierarchy (within a society), the essential counter against destabilizing excesses of dominance is push-back from individuals and groups — engendered by the individual desire for life, freedom and local influence — which acts in every stratum of the hierarchy.

In historically recent human societies, essential push-back is formalized with written laws that protect the individual against dominance encroachments that would be so severe that they would threaten hierarchical stability by increasing the potential for rebellion. These laws were at times deemed to be God-given and are now referred to as “civil rights”. They include both: (1) protections of the individual and of the nuclear and extended family against arbitrary attacks by the state or by rogue elements, and (2) protections for the individual and groups to seek redress and express grievances.

All laws are evolving codes to organise, stabilize and enforce an ever changing (often growing and complexifying) dominance hierarchy. “Good” laws find a “balance” between the graded benefits of hierarchy and the stratified oppressions against individuals and groups, a balance which stabilizes the whole system against deterioration (“injustice”), complete overhaul (“revolution”), or extinction (“downfall”).

Predictably, the codes themselves are often “hacked” by upper-strata groups that are overly ambitious in seeking additional relative advantages. The hacking upper-strata groups will recklessly change the laws for their own advantage in ways that materially threaten overall stability. This produces “pathological” laws that destabilize the overall hierarchy by driving society towards an intolerable degree of totalitarianism.

A now recognized on-going example is the decades-long elite attack, by taxation and global-finance reforms, against the USA middle class, which has prematurely destabilized the USA-centered global empire and its domestic internal society. The blowback from and defences against the USA’s practice of aggressive global dominance has also contributed, where the latter practice is similarly enabled by hacked foreign-policy and global governance laws.

When law-makers themselves can be bought by selfish elites self-segregated from the broad or domestic society, it is a recipe for disaster. In the USA and Canada law-enactment errors are multiplying, and there are no substantial Senatorial safeguards. Law-makers are formed or trained into compliance by career-enabling elites, rather than informed, principled and concerned about public service. Political parties are systematically controlled and constrained by the highest hierarchical echelons, which control the economy and the media.

When the backbone structure of the dominance hierarchy is thus degraded, as with the present crisis of the middle class, there is an impulse for both societal groups and lawmakers to become frantic and for the barricaded elite to exploit and ride out the storm rather than participate in repair. Every new manifestation of rebellion is interpreted as a fire to be extinguished rather than as necessary pushback needing to be allowed to play out. Decades of built-up fuel in the underbrush and extended drought are conditions for a devastating inferno but our “representatives” are successfully goaded into superficially addressing every new spark and violently suppressing every outbreak rather than dealing with the fundamentals.

Over decades, a complete restructuring of the relation between the state and the economy has been engineered, which, in its oppressive excesses, has led to the present crisis. The assault was accompanied by massive propaganda campaigns regarding the security benefits of government control and the welfare benefits of corporate rule. For example, predatory corporate take-over “investment” in public-service infrastructure is now presented as a good thing that should be actively sought using public funds.

The restructuring included: rolling back taxation of the wealthy while maintaining taxation of the middle and working classes, reducing or eliminating corporate taxation, increasing capital mobility, allowing investment flight, allowing infiltration of government-oversight and regulatory agencies (especially in the finance sector), gutting corporate regulatory agencies while transferring to self-regulatory models, unprecedented ideological control of professional workers in the public service (teachers, police, scientists, public servants, judges…), unrestrained lobby and think-tank influence, and unprecedented limitations (regulatory burdens) imposed on small and medium-size private businesses.

Top-level elite desires and machinations have become embedded into the very institutional structure of the economy and of the “deep state” more than ever previously. This is the result of decadal erosion of democracy and continuous increase of integration of government itself into the hierarchical power structure. The global-scale project is enabled by owned military, surveillance, communication, transportation and resource-extraction technologies; and surveillance and projection-of-power capabilities are unprecedented in history.

The resulting decadal overhaul of Western nations — in the march towards USA-centered globalism and the neutralization of Western middle and professional classes — has built-in deleterious structural features, as follows.

Mega corporations and financiers and their deep-state partners have not only militarily and covertly occupied the exploitable globe, they have also installed predation against the Western middle classes and Western public infrastructures. They have gutted mass education and maintained only elite schools for their managers and engineers. And they have gutted the Western middle and professional class mind and ethos and replaced these with canned concepts devoid of emancipating political thrust. More importantly, the educational and societal-maintenance institutions themselves have been transformed by removing professional independence and responsibility and replacing them with ideological obedience and observance of dictated think-tank-produced mantras.

The consequential suicidal pathology of the system’s operational code is twofold.

First, the new freedom and power of the USA-centered mega entities are used to eviscerate the very nation state whose structure evolved to optimally stabilize the nation-based dominance hierarchy. Even the world structures of international relations are hijacked and eviscerated to a higher degree.

Second, the middle and professional classes palpably lose many of the benefits accrued from accepting hierarchical domination, including loss of influence, and consequently suffer a crisis of identity, meaning and outlook… driven by real economic threat (loss or degradation of job and home).

Macro-economic data reveal the decadal transformation since 1980 but do not explain its source or describe its cultural, psychological and class impact. The data are generally cast as the result of an accident that can be fixed by more of the same from one of the two front parties.1

In the real circumstances of the worsening middle-class crisis, it is natural that grievances are aired and solutions are sought to recover lost status. But at the same time, advocacy and the potential for an organized response are threats to the top-layer elites and embedded deep-state managers who have intentionally driven the system towards greater hierarchical control and increased upper-stratum gain.

That is why the system reacts by removing civil rights and sabotaging any technology or application venture that would enable communication and free association.

Whereas expression and grass-roots political response would repair the edifice, the needed remedy is aggressively quashed by those at the top who judge that the crisis is not one that can truly threaten them, is one that will dissipate with time or can be fixed synthetically, and that the distributed spontaneous solution is unacceptably risky in its potential to expose them.

There results the paradox that the system delays self-repair, builds up the pressure for repair, and creates worsening societal conditions rather than allow the proven natural remedy: free expression, free association, class opposition (based on the actual grievances rather than surrogates), and negotiated structural adjustments.

The pathology of the system in rejecting self-repair can be understood as follows.

Dominance hierarchies are both stable and evolutionarily advantageous only if effective balancing forces against creeping or runaway totalitarianism are admitted. A dominance hierarchy is doomed when its highest codes allow an elite class to have disproportionate power, including the power to modify the highest codes without restraint. In particular, in a society in which the state — controlled by an elite class — effectively has a technological monopoly on lethal force, the balancing mechanism of free expression, free association, and real influence — otherwise known as “democracy” — must be allowed.

It follows that any code that prevents free expression and free association is itself pathological. If all expression and all association are allowed, then the optimal conditions for self-repair are realized and a stable and resilient hierarchical structure will result. Since it is grounded in free expression and free association, then it will be optimally just. Justice is a thus self-organized and maintained hierarchy, not elite-given “equity” within a totalitarian matrix.

For free expression and free association to be meaningful many necessary conditions are implied: access to information, actual institutional transparency, access to the travel and communication infrastructures, absence of imposed barriers to association, absence of controls over personal choices, real opportunity for decent economic conditions that allow significant democratic participation, and the very novel concept of uniform application of just laws… Any rule that in-effect bars a necessary condition is also itself pathological.

I end this essay with a consideration of the special features that make anti-expression laws pathological, in the above sense of preventing self-repair of the societal dominance hierarchy.

The anti-speech laws, whether cast as “hate speech” criminal code provisions, or civil defamation law, or civility “codes of conduct” on campuses, have been manipulatively introduced by the elite because the elite are those most threatened by free speech and free association.

Speech is the means by which individuals use non-violent persuasion to acquire influence in society. It is the means that enables politics. In the USA, where citizens have a beneficial right even to bear arms for any required overthrow of the government2,3, freedom of expression was meant to be absolute, in that the USA constitution does not have a “balancing” clause as is common in other Western jurisdictions.4

Laws that enforce punishment for individual speech allegedly “causing” negative personal reactions in society at large are antithetical to democracy, and are immeasurably harmful to human emancipation and personal development. The above-mentioned examples are such anti-speech laws, notably including defamation law.5 They enforce punishments against individual speech that is alleged to “cause” an emotional or persuasive effect in others, which is deemed an unacceptable effect that must be targeted for elimination by state intervention against the presumed “cause”.

The said “emotional or persuasive effect” alleged to arise from the spoken words, in different laws, includes:

  • being induced to feel “hate” (anger, hostility, animosity) against a group in society
  • being induced to have a negative overall opinion about a specific person
  • being induced to adopt an ideology or political stance deemed impermissible (“hateful”)
  • being induced to commit suicide
  • being induced to participate in actuating a genocide
  • being induced to commit crimes of physical aggression or property damage

The underlying principle of these laws is that the person speaking words carries a punishable liability for what those words might induce in unspecified others, irrespective whether any actual physical crime occurs and irrespective of whether the words determinatively “cause” an actual physical crime. To be clear, under these laws, a judge arbitrarily (without needing evidence beyond the impugned words themselves and their method of delivery) decides whether the words induce deemed undesirable thoughts, opinions and attitudes in unspecified persons at large. Nothing else is required to establish liability or guilt, and by design it is impossible to disprove the charge, nor is an attempt to disprove admitted in court.

No matter how it may be masked with legalese or scholarly rationalization, this is precisely the nature of the anti-speech codes that are: “hate speech” criminal code provisions, anti-blasphemy laws, anti-historical-revisionism laws, anti-obscenity laws, the common law of civil defamation, and campus codes of conduct. One could add any “norms of expressive conduct” law.

For example, in defamation law, the impugned words are presumed to “cause” a low opinion of the plaintiff in the minds of unspecified others at large. In legalese: “general damage to reputation is presumed”. No causation proof is required of the claimant. Intent to harm is irrelevant (malice is presumed). No actual damage (loss of job, etc.) need be established. The words themselves as perceived by the judge are sufficient evidence. The judge must only opine, not on the intended meaning of the words, but on the meaning of the words in the mind of an imaginary listener. Such is civil defamation law, and there is no legal limit on the quantum of damages or the duration of gag orders that may be ordered under penalty of jail.5

These anti-speech laws, of course, are distinguished from laws that address harassment and intimidation of a specific target person (actual victim) or that address chain-of-command orders to commit crimes. They are also distinguished from the tort (law) of injurious falsehood, which “consists of the malicious publication of a falsehood concerning the plaintiff that leads other persons to act in a manner that causes actual loss, damage, or expense to the plaintiff,” irrespective of any effect on “reputation”.6

Thus, the anti-expression laws are eminently pathological from a systemic perspective. They directly impede repair of the dominance hierarchy, without providing any systemic benefit. They achieve this by suppressing the individual impulse to influence by communication, which is the elemental foundation of democracy.

As such, a study of the development of and pervasive use of anti-speech laws informs us both of the intensity of harmful elite efforts to protect illegitimate advantages and of the degree of totalitarianism in society. The present USA (civil) war on “hate expression” and its condoning by large swaths of society is a measure of a high degree of totalitarianism and a concomitant high degree of manipulation of public sentiment. It is an indicator of fundamental internal instability of the kind that accompanies the collapse of an empire.

  1. Our Broken Economy, in One Simple Chart”, by David Leonhardt, The New York Times, 2017-08-07.
  2. Negroes with Guns”, by Robert F. Williams, 1962 (Martino Publishing, CT, 2013).
  3. How Nonviolence Protects the State”, by Peter Gelderloos, 2007 (South End Press).
  4. Towards a Rational Legal Philosophy of Individual Rights”, by Denis Rancourt, Dissident Voice, 2016-11-15.
  5. Canadian defamation law is noncompliant with international law”, by Denis Rancourt, Ontario Civil Liberties Association, 2016-02-01. (And published in Dissident Voice: Part-1, Part-2).
  6. Injurious Falsehood”, mcconchie law corporation (legal encyclopedia), accessed on 2017-09-06.

Denis G. Rancourt is a former tenured full professor of physics at the University of Ottawa, Canada. He is a researcher for the Ontario Civil Liberties Association. He has published more than 100 articles in leading scientific journals, on physics and environmental science. He is the author of the book Hierarchy and Free Expression in the Fight Against Racism.

September 7, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, Full Spectrum Dominance, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , | 3 Comments

Is “Jewish Supremacy” a Form of Racism? The Zionist Exception

By Rima Najjar | Global Research | September 3, 2017

Today, we hear a lot about White supremacy but very little about Jewish supremacy, as if the former stands for the latter.

It is true there are more similarities than differences between Jewish supremacy and White supremacy. Both are based on ethnic/nationalist bias and racism. They are both

“historically based, institutionally perpetuated system[s] of exploitation and oppression … a web of interlocking, reinforcing institutions: economic, military, legal, educational, religious, and cultural. As a system, racism affects every aspect of life in a country.”

Within Israel and militarily occupied Palestinian lands, Jewish supremacy is sometimes described as White supremacy, as in this headline:

“Israel’s White Supremacy Agenda Targets Other Jews, Arabs, Africans
Palestinians are not the only target for Israel’s animosity and ethno-centric policies.”

This is because, contrary to Zionist myth, Jews don’t all belong to one race. The Jews who created the racist ideology of Zionism and initially colonized Palestine between 1882 and 1903 (at least 25,000 Jews arrived in Palestine, financially backed by European Jewish philanthropists, such as Moses Montefiore and Edmond de Rothschild) are Ashkenazim, Jews of Eastern European origin. (see Palestine and the first Zionist Colony)

Ashkenazi Jews are the elite of Israel and they dominate and discriminate against, not only Palestinian Arabs, but also other Jews and ethnicities in Israel.

The situation in the West Bank settlement of Immanuel exposes the deeply complex ethno-religious relations between European Jews and Middle Eastern Jews in Israel. Middle Eastern Jews have for many decades lived as stigmatized citizens of Israel; their traditional Arabic culture and form of Jewish religiosity frequently objects of scorn and prejudice… In spite of the fact that Sephardim comprise a substantial percentage of the Israeli Jewish population, in socio-cultural terms they find themselves in a subservient position vis-à-vis the Ashkenazim.

However, there are two major differences between the two racist ideologies, White supremacy and Jewish supremacy:

1) In so-called “liberal” circles, White supremacy is uniformly reviled, whereas Jewish supremacy, as it manifests itself in Zionism, is not only accepted but fiercely defended even by those Middle Eastern or Arab Jews mentioned above, who have internalized Zionist racism.

2) Jewish supremacy is wrapped up, not only in a secular Zionist ideology, but in a religious one as well, attracting Jews and evangelical Christians from all kinds of backgrounds and ethnicities.

In the wake of Charlottesville, for example, the ADL — Anti-Defamation League reported that it saw 1,000% spike in donations. The ADL is a Jewish supremacist organization, but it can masquerade in the United States as an anti-racist organization. As If Americans Knew reports, the ADL

“works to maintain the racist status quo in Israel-Palestine, which keeps Palestinians in Israel as third-class citizens and Palestinians in the occupied West Bank & Gaza stateless and without basic civil rights.”

It also keeps Palestinian refugees and exiles from returning to their homes and land, an internationally recognized right.

In 1994, while eulogizing Baruch Goldstein, a Brooklyn born Jew who had emigrated to Israel and killed 29 Palestinian Muslim worshipers at Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron, New York Rabbi Yaacov Perrin said,

“One million Arabs are not worth a Jewish fingernail.”

He was defining the essence of Jewish supremacy that now reigns supreme in all of historic Arab Palestine.

Accepting the concept of Jewish supremacy in Palestine, As Sari Nusseibeh wrote,

would be [among other things] to privilege Judaism above the religions of Christianity and Islam, whose adherents together comprise 55 per cent of the world’s population. Regrettably this is a narrative propagated even by renowned Jewish author and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel, who, on April 15, 2010, took out full page ads in The New York Times and The Washington Post and claimed that Jerusalem “is mentioned more than six hundred times in Scripture — and not a single time in the Qur’an”. Now we do not propose to speak for native Palestinian Arab Christians — except to say that Jerusalem is quite obviously the city of Jesus Christ the Messiah — but as Muslims, we believe that Jerusalem is not the “third holiest city of Islam” as is sometimes claimed, but simply one of Islam’s three holy cities. And, of course, despite what Mr Wiesel seems to believe, Jerusalem is indeed clearly referred to in the Holy Qur’an in Surat al-Isra’ (17:1) …

Zionist Jews in and out of Israel must confront the reality that Jewish supremacy in Israel, as David Lloyd wrote about Americans and White supremacy in the U.S., “is an intrinsic if shameful element in their history and institutions whose consequences have yet to be overcome.”

The question then arises why so many Jewish liberal Zionists are blind to their own racism against Palestinian Arabs while condemning racism by other groups.

In addressing this conundrum related to the Palestine exception (or Zionist exception) — an exception that involves not only censorship of pro-Palestine speech but also bald-faced, legitimized racism against Palestinian Arabs that extends to Muslims generally – Philip Weiss writes:

I make it a point to hear Rabbi Yehuda Kurtzer speak at J Street and other Jewish spaces. He is a very smart guy and very positive. While he’s too Jewish-communitarian for my taste (the touchstones of his political judgments are Jewish values rather than universalist ones), he’s an idealist who addresses Israel’s crisis. So, I was disturbed to discover on his Facebook page from June a promotion of a visit to rightwing “hilltop” settlements in the Occupied West Bank to get to know those folks better, sponsored by the Shalom Hartman Institute, of which Kurtzer is an executive.

Weiss is justifiably disturbed to hear this from Rabbi Yehuda Kurtzer on three grounds. One is because “those settlements are illegal under international law”. The second is because they are “segregationist” communities, and the third is because of the schizophrenia involved in “condemning and exposing” White nationalism on the one hand, and seeking to understand “the settler movement” (meaning the spread of Jewish Zionist colonization of Palestine to the remaining territory that was partitioned in 1948) on the other.

To me, there is no mystery in the conundrum with which Weiss is concerned.

These liberal American Jews (both religious and secular) don’t know any better because they are committed to Israel as a Jewish state, just as Jews on the right of the political spectrum are.

They see no shame or contradiction in that position because they have swallowed whole the Zionist narrative that defines their identity as Jews, including the inability to see Palestinian Arabs as fellow human beings with fundamental human rights.

So, to me, the problem of Jewish supremacy or nationalism as it manifests itself in Palestine is the fundamental problem of Zionism — its immoral racialist and racist premise.

It makes no difference which brand of Zionism got the upper hand in Palestine, whether it is the nationalism of Theodor Hertzl (i.e., as a response to external pressures that were impossible to avoid — meant for Jews “who do not wish or are unable to assimilate”) or the nationalism of Ahad Ha-Am, to whom the possibility of total assimilation of Jews into their host societies was unacceptable, because the Jewish people were morally superior to all other people.

Today we have a situation in which millions of Jews, whether “assimilated” into their countries of origin or not, believe that Israel has a “right” to exist as a Jewish state and that Palestine belongs to Jews worldwide and not to its indigenous inhabitants regardless of religion or ethnicity.

That, to me, is the disturbing element of all Zionists, including the liberal Zionists Weiss addresses. They want Israel to “exist” as a Jewish state on land forcefully usurped and stolen from under the feet of its true owner, the Palestinian people, who continue to suffer as refugees and in exile as well as in Palestine under military occupation and under Apartheid.

Israel’s existence as a Jewish state is disturbing. Jewish supremacy whether rearing its ugly head in West Bank settlements or embodying the very existence of Israel is the nightmare.

A recent survey has found that nearly half of Israeli Jews believe in ethnic cleansing. Israeli President Reuven Rivlin reportedly called the findings a ‘wake-up call for Israeli society’. But what is it that these people should wake up to? The Jewish state was founded on ethnic cleansing of Palestinian Arabs and defends its “existence” by continuing to ethnicly cleanse Palestinians. That’s what they should wake up to — the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

The Jewish supremacist state of Israel must come to an end as such. The goal of exposing Israel’s crimes and the immorality of its supporters is to seek transformative justice in Palestine – to de-Zionize.

Rima Najjar is a Palestinian whose father’s side of the family comes from the forcibly depopulated village of Lifta on the western outskirts of Jerusalem. She is an activist, researcher and retired professor of English literature, Al-Quds University, occupied West Bank.

September 7, 2017 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , | 6 Comments

ATTN’s videos may exceed 1.5 billion monthly views – Progressive except for Palestine?

ATTN’s videos may exceed 1.5 billion monthly views – Progressive except for Palestine?

ATTN: co-founder Jarrett Moreno
By Alison Weir | If Americans Knew | August 8, 2017

Look for an array of of short, snappy, professionally made social media videos to expose injustice, racism, and numerous other issues in the coming months.

But don’t expect them to expose Israel’s oppression of Palestinians, or the role of the Israel lobby in pushing for war.

In fact, if past actions are any indication, the videos may instead extoll the virtues of Israel, despite the country’s ongoing record of human rights abuses, systemic discrimination, and violent militarism.

A new digital media company known as ATTN: is forming partnerships with traditional media companies and others to produce “social issues” videos with a potential reach of well over 1.5 billion video views per month.

ATTN: stands for “attention.” The colon is part of the official name. The company was founded in 2014 with $4 million seed money that quickly grew to $22 million. By 2016 it was reportedly already getting over 400 million monthly video views and receiving more than 2 billion monthly impressions.

The media partnerships are with ABC News and the Tribune Media Company, which are eager to reach younger, Internet-focused audiences, and are expected to increase ATTN:’s already extensive reach.

The videos will be disseminated on social media sites such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and will especially target younger audiences who rarely watch TV news programs. ATTN: sees its main audience as what it calls “mature millenials” – people in the 25-34 year-old range. While the segments will be designed for social media, they may also appear on ABC News’ TV broadcasts.

This is part of a larger strategy in which ATTN: is working with clients such as HBO, Bloomberg, and REI to produce videos that will drive consumers to their companies.

‘Issues-driven to make a social impact’

ATTN: calls itself “an issues-driven media company. Reuters reports that ATTN: “produces video and news pieces focused on a variety of political and social issues such as abortion and anti-Semitism.” Its commercial angle, as an Ad Week article put it, is to produce “socially-minded branded content.”

The New York Times reports that the company is “targeting progressive-leaning young people,” and its work is reliably leftish. Its website announces: “At our core, ATTN: believes in informing people to make a social impact.” The Los Angeles Business Journal calls it a “politically liberal news and advocacy site,” and its collection of videos largely bear this out.

There is one subject area, however, in which its progressive stance seems to be missing: Israel’s treatment of Palestinians. Past actions suggest that the company and its founders may be what are known as “PEPs – Progressive Except Palestine.”

PEPs typically oppose racism and oppression and support indigenous peoples, equal rights, justice, freedom, and the rights of prisoners – except when it comes to Palestinians.*

On that topic, they support Israel’s “right to exist,” (i.e. its right to ethnically cleanse the indigenous population and discriminate against Muslims and Christians) and tend to overlook, minimize, or even justify its periodic slaughters in Gaza; its vast imprisonment of men, women, and children, often without even a semblance of judicial process; its confiscation of farmers’ land; demolition of family homes; its seemingly never-ending military occupation; and its systemic discrimination against Palestinians and other non-Jews.

Invisible Palestinians

ATTN:, despite its record of covering almost every current social justice issue, sometimes multiple times, seems to have ignored Israel’s oppression of Palestinians. In fact, what articles and videos ATTN: has produced on the subject praise Israel and ignore the Palestinians entirely.

An ATTN: video praising Israel describes “an idyllic secluded greenhouse nestled in the mountains of Galilee.” The ‘social issues’ video, which has received over 5.3 million views on Facebook, fails to mention the plight of Palestinians in Galilee.

One example is “The Major Way Israel Is Putting America to Shame on Marijuana,” which states: “The Israeli government’s stance on medical marijuana research and the country’s cultural landscape make it far friendlier to marijuana than the puritanical policies of the U.S. government.” The piece, quite likely, is helpful to Israeli companies marketing marijuana to the U.S.

The article discusses “an idyllic secluded greenhouse nestled in the mountains of Galilee,” but does not mention that the Galilee is notorious for the Israeli governmental policies that discriminate against the Christian population and that are increasingly squeezing Palestinians out.

Salah Sawaid stands on the last area of arable land available to the village of Ramya in the Galilee. An Israeli court ruled that the Palestinian village must be bulldozed. (Photo Jonathan Cook)

The article quotes an Israeli who says: “The Jewish people also feel a responsibility to perform ‘tikkun olam,’ repairing the world and improving the human condition.” The Israeli links Israel’s policies on medical marijuana to “its social and culture valuation of life, as characterized in the Talmud.”

While Israel’s marijuana policies may be as enlightened as the article says, the claim about Israeli culture’s “valuation of life” seems more questionable, given Israeli policies and practices.

In fact, Israel’s numerous aggressive wars and invasions of the Palestinian Territories and surrounding countries, its consistent killing of large numbers of civilians, the fact that Israelis who have killed Palestinians in cold blood are rarely or minimally punished, and the sometimes very explicit statements by some Israeli personages suggest that Israel’s “valuation of life” often only applies to Israeli life.

ATTN:’s mention of the Talmud ignores the uncomfortable fact that like probably all religious texts, the Talmud’s messages are mixed. Among the Talmud’s many benevolent passages are some that are deeply problematic, and these are particularly relevant to extremist portions of the Israeli public and leadership.

Israeli author Israel Shahak, who was endorsed by progressive icons Noam Chomsky and Edward Said, translates some of these passages in his books, and reports that some religious teachings have very different meanings than are commonly portrayed:

“In numerous cases general terms such as “thy fellow,” “stranger,” or even “man” are taken to have an exclusivist chauvinistic meaning. The famous verse “thou shalt love thy fellow as thyself” (Leviticus, 19:18) is understood by classical (and present-day Orthodox) Judaism as an injunction to love one’s fellow Jew, not any fellow human. Similarly, the verse “neither shalt thou stand against the blood of thy fellow” (ibid., 16) is supposed to mean that one must not stand idly by when the life (“blood”) of a fellow Jew is in danger; but, as will be seen in Chapter 5, a Jew is in general forbidden to save the life of a Gentile, because “he is not thy fellow.” (Shahak’s book, Jewish History, Jewish Religion,, can be downloaded or read online here.)

Israel’s alleged “valuation of life” is hard to square with the statement by Israel’s former chief rabbi, Mordechai Elyahu, who called for the Israeli army to mass-murder Palestinians: “If they don’t stop after we kill 100, then we must kill 1000. And if they don’t stop after 1000, then we must kill 10,000. If they still don’t stop we must kill 100,000. Even a million.”

Some booklets distributed by the Israel Defense Forces rabbinate called for the killing of civilians. The chief rabbi taught that soldiers who “show mercy” toward the enemy in wartime will be “damned.” A book by two Israeli rabbis, The King’s Torah, teaches that killing infants is permissible.

Writer Stephen Lendman reports that some Israeli rabbis teach that “the ten commandments don’t apply to non-Jews. So killing them in defending the homeland is acceptable, and according to the chairman of the Jewish Rabbinic Council: ‘There is no such thing as enemy civilians in war time. The law of our Torah is to have mercy on our soldiers and to save them…. A thousand non-Jewish lives are not worth a Jew’s fingernail.’”

Similar statements by Israeli officials are reported frequently in the Israeli media, even on the filtered English language websites. They are also sometimes taught in the United States. Chabad Rabbi Manis Friedman, “world-renowned author, lecturer and philosopher; and co-founder of Bais Chana Institute of Jewish Studies,” wrote:

“I don’t believe in western morality, i.e. don’t kill civilians or children, don’t destroy holy sites, don’t fight during holiday seasons, don’t bomb cemeteries, don’t shoot until they shoot first because it is immoral.

“The only way to fight a moral war is the Jewish way: Destroy their holy sites. Kill men, women and children (and cattle).

Friedman wrote that “living by Torah values will make us a light unto the nations.”

Again, ATTN: misses the situation for Palestinians

Another ATTN: article and video is How One Country Nailed the Solution to Its Drought, about Israel’s desalinization projects.

The video, which got over 30 million views on Facebook, tells how Israel’s desalinization work is superior to the U.S., while leaving out the fact that the U.S. gives Israel $10 million per day. According to the video Israel now has “a surplus of water.”

The laudatory video repeats some of the founding myths of Israel, while omitting the fact that Israel gets much of its water by taking it from the Palestinian Occupied Territories and its neighbors. Reporter Charlotte Silver writes in her investigative article “Israel’s water miracle that wasn’t“:

Israel credits its use of desalination plants and drip-irrigation with enabling the desert to bloom – the iconic image reinforcing the still-lingering notion that the land of historic Palestine was a dry one, while further impressing Israel’s world audience with the young country’s wizardry with water.

Less attention is given to the Knesset report commissioned in 2002, nearly four decades after Israel’s national water carrier began diverting the Jordan river to Israeli citrus orchards in the Negev region. The report concluded that the region’s ongoing water crisis – a desiccated Jordan river and shrinking Dead Sea – was “primarily man-made”.

In 2014 Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu met with California Governor Jerry Brown and bragged that, unlike California, “Israel doesn’t have a water problem.”

Silver writes: “The visit – and the message it carried – are just the latest in the PR ploys aptly called ‘bluewashing’. Israel doesn’t have a ‘water problem’ because it steals water from Palestinians.”

Camilla Corridin similarly reports in “Israel: Water as a tool to dominate Palestinians:

Since it occupied the West Bank in 1967, Israel has laid hands on Palestinian water resources through discriminatory water-sharing agreements that prevented Palestinians from maintaining or developing their water infrastructure through its illegal planning and permit regime. As a result, thousands of Palestinians are unable to access sufficient water supplies and became water-dependent on Israel.

By building on the myth of a water-scarce region – Ramallah has more rainfall than London – Israel has deliberately denied Palestinians control over their water resources and successfully set the ground for water domination, granting itself a further tool to exercise its hegemony over the occupied population and territory.

ATTN: founders Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno

Entrepreneurs Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno founded ATTN: in 2014. (Photo from the OurTime.org “Generation Now Inaugural Youth Ball,” January 19, 2013. The two also co-founded Our Time.)

At 32 and 31, ATTN: co-founders Matthew Segal and Jarrett Moreno are part of the generation they’re hoping to influence. Both seem to be Israel partisans.

An ATTN: article by Segal (who will now also be an ABC on-air contributor) criticizes the nonviolent movement known as BDS (boycott, divest, sanction), which is attempting to use financial pressure to  push Israel to end its violations of Palestinian human rights and of international law.

In his article Segal claims that BDS is a “catalyst” for antisemitism. He quotes the pro-Israel Simon Wiesenthal Center’s claim that BDS is a “thinly-disguised effort to coordinate and complement the violent strategy of Palestinian, Arab, and Muslim ‘rejectionists’ who have refused to make peace with Israel,” which reverses reality (see also this , this, and this).

Segal quotes Jewish students who oppose BDS, but provides no information from the diverse collection of students who support it, many of whom are also Jewish, and ignores the Israeli violence against and subjugation of Palestinians that elicited the BDS movement.

A featured ATTN: video continues this theme in a video entitled “The Rise of Anti-Semitism in the United States.” Like Segal’s article, the film connects criticism of Israel to anti-Semitism.

The video highlights an unsubstantiated claim by the ADL that anti-Semitic incidents in the United States jumped 86 percent in one year,” superimposing the statement on a photo of Jewish children in Israel.

The video claims that anti-Semitism on the left is due to “anti-Israel sentiment,” and includes a warning by the UK’s Mark Gardner about the alleged prevalence of anti-semitism.

What the scare video doesn’t reveal is that The ADL and Mark Gardner are pro-Israel partisans who conflate criticism of Israel with “anti-Semitism,” and that this conflation is part of an ongoing campaign to change the meaning of the word.

What Jarrett Moreno missed on his visit to Israel

ATTN: co-founder Jarrett Moreno shows a similar pro-Israel bias.

In 2013 he posted a series of Instagram photos during a trip to Israel. As an individual responsible for an organization that claims to be socially concerned and against racism, Moreno shows a surprising lack of awareness about Israel’s past and present oppression of Palestinians.

In one of his posts, Moreno is wearing a hat with an Israeli flag emblem on it and  writes: “An American feeling at home in the ancient city of Tzfat.”

Another name for Tzfat is Sefad or Safad. It’s an ancient, religiously mixed site (some have speculated that it was the location of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, although most today believe this to have been at another nearby location.)

In 1945 Safad’s population of 12,000 was approximately 80 percent Palestinian. In 2003 the Palestinian population was under one percent. Jewish, Muslims and Christians having been forced out by Israel’s founding war and its policies since.

In 2010 an Israeli journalist called it “the most racist city in Israel.” Its 18 senior rabbis had ordered residents not to rent to non-Jews and some Palestinian homes were attacked to chants of “Death to the Arabs.” In 2016 Safed’s chief rabbi posted on Facebook that the Israeli army should stop arresting Palestinians and instead should “execute them and leave no one alive.”

Another Instagram post says: “Iced coffee & goofy smiles in #Israel #KiryatGat”.

Former San Francisco Chronicle journalist Henry Norr gave some background on this city in his 2008 article “The Nakba, Intel, and Kiryat Gat“:

Sixty years ago, there was no Kiryat Gat. The land it now occupies was divided between two Palestinian villages, al-Faluja and ‘Iraq al-Manshiya. While the area is well within the Green Line, Israel’s 1949-67 border, its history is in one way unique: Israeli forces never captured it during the 1948-49 war. Egyptian forces occupied it in late May 1948, and although later Israeli counter-offensives broke up their front and laid siege to the two villages — known at the time as the “Faluja pocket” — the 4,000 Egyptian troops deployed there (including a young officer named Gamal Abdel Nasser, soon to become president of his country) held out until Egypt and Israel agreed to an armistice on 24 February 1949.

That’s when the Nakba befell al-Faluja and ‘Iraq al-Manshiya.*

Stranded and surrounded, the Egyptians were in no position to stay in the area. To their credit, however, they insisted as a condition of their withdrawal that Israel guarantee the safety of the civilians in the area — about 2,000 locals and some 1,100 refugees from other parts of Palestine.

In principle, Israel accepted the Egyptians’ demand. In an exchange of letters that were filed with the United Nations and appended to the main armistice agreement, the two governments agreed that civilians who wished to remain in al-Faluja and ‘Iraq al-Manshiya would be permitted to do so, and that “All of these civilians shall be fully secure in their persons, abodes, property and personal effects.”

Within days, however, it was clear that the agreement wasn’t worth the paper it was written on. Under the direction of Yitzhak Rabin (later Prime Minister of Israel), and probably with the direct approval of founding Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion, according to historian Benny Morris, Israeli troops promptly mounted “a short, sharp, well-orchestrated campaign of low-key violence and psychological warfare designed to intimidate the inhabitants into flight.”

Residents of al-Faluja flee in 1949. (Palestine Remembered) Members of an American Quaker relief mission who were in the area at the time kept a diary of the violence they observed, such as the case of a man brought to them with “two bloody eyes, a torn ear, and a face pounded until it was blue.” And UN observers reported not only beatings and robberies, but also cases of attempted rape and “promiscuous firing” on civilians by Israeli soldiers.

What Morris labels “low-key,” however, probably didn’t seem so to the victims. He himself quotes a survivor’s testimony that the Israeli army “created a situation of terror, entered the houses and beat the people with rifle butts.”

Members of an American Quaker relief mission who were in the area at the time kept a diary detailing the violence they observed, such as the case of a man brought to them with “two bloody eyes, a torn ear, and a face pounded until it was blue.” And UN observers reporting to Ralph Bunche, the distinguished African-American diplomat then serving as chief UN mediator in Palestine, noted not only beatings and robberies, but also cases of attempted rape and “promiscuous firing” on civilians by Israeli soldiers.

Israel supporters, of course, are quick to dismiss even such eyewitness accounts as exaggerations if not outright fabrications. But even the most ardent Zionist can’t easily dismiss one other source who documented what happened in the Faluja pocket: Israel’s own foreign minister at the time, Moshe Sharett. Observing the blatant contradiction between the solemn diplomatic commitment his government had just undertaken and the behavior of its forces on the ground, he worried that it might jeopardize Israel’s campaign to gain UN membership. On 6 March 1949, just ten days after the agreement with the Egyptians, he fired off an angry memo to the Israeli army, charging that its actions in al-Faluja and ‘Iraq al-Manshiya were throwing into question “our sincerity as a party to an international agreement.” Noting that Israel was trying to argue at the UN that it was not responsible for the Palestinian refugee problem, he wrote, “From this perspective, the sincerity of our professions is tested by our behavior in these villages. … Every intentional pressure aimed at uprooting [the local population] is tantamount to a planned act of eviction on our part.”

Sharett objected not only to the overt violence, but also to what he said was a “whispering propaganda campaign” conducted covertly by the Israeli army, threatening the civilians with “attacks and acts of vengeance by the army” if they didn’t leave the area. “This whispering propaganda is not being done of itself,” Sharett continued. “There is no doubt that here there is a calculated action aimed at increasing the number of those going to the Hebron Hills [then controlled by Jordan] as if of their own free will, and, if possible, to bring about the evacuation of the whole civilian population” of the Faluja pocket.

… By mid-March all of al-Faluja’s residents had abandoned their homes; the residents of ‘Iraq al-Manshiya held out longer, but after several shootings by Israeli sentries, the last of them — some 1,160 people — left in Red Cross-organized convoys on 21 and 22 April.

Five days later, Rabin ordered the demolition of both villages.

In sum, they fell victim to the same tactics Israeli forces had perfected during the ethnic cleansing of the rest of their new state over the previous year. The only thing unusual about al-Faluja and ‘Iraq al-Manshiya was that Israel had formally promised not to do what it did, that so many Westerners were on hand to document the process, and that even a top Israeli official provided confirmation of their accounts.

Gaza enters the picture, sort of

Jarrett Moreno (right) with Israeli Guy Amir (posted on Instagram July 27, 2014)

In 2014, the year after Moreno’s trip, Israel invaded Gaza, yet again (its previous major invasion had been 2008-9). Moreno, now back in the U.S., responded with a July 27 Instagram photo of himself with an Israeli friend. He comments:

“Thinking of my friend Guy Amir and many thousands of Israelis who dropped school and work to respond to more than a decade of rocket attacks from Hamas.”

In the “decade of rocket attacks” that Moreno mentions, rockets from Gaza had killed 23 Israelis. Moreno doesn’t mention that during the same period, Israeli forces had killed about 4,000 Gazans and injured tens of thousands.

Moreno’s post goes on to say:

Hoping for safety and peace for my friends through the Middle East, the citizens of Gaza + Israel, and Jews who’ve been victims of violent protest around the world.”

A boy sits amid the rubble of his destroyed house in the Gaza Strip, July 2014. Israeli forces damaged or destroyed thousands of homes, displacing an estimated quarter of a million people.

The Red Cross reported in 2010 that the Israeli blockade had caused a steady rise in chronic malnutrition among the 1.5 million people living in Gaza.

While Moreno’s post suggests that Israelis and Gazans were suffering equally, the reality was far from equal.

Gazans were living in what many have described as an open air concentration camp in which food, medicines, building supplies, and the ability to come and go were severely restricted by Israel. Children were suffering malnutrition and some died from treatable conditions.

During Israel’s “Operation Protective Edge” invasion of Gaza, the period when Moreno posted, Israelis killed more than 2,100 Palestinians (three-quarters were civilians); Palestinians killed 72 Israelis (six were civilians).

The day before Moreno’s post, Israeli forces had killed a two-and-a-half year old, an 18-month-old, a seven-year-old, a five year-old, two one-year olds, an eleven-year-old, and a four-year-old among the at least 494 Palestinian children killed by Israel during the invasion. No Israeli children were killed.

A few months later Moreno posted a grinning selfie:

The bottom line

So far, ATTN:’s marketing strategy has paid off.

Its Facebook page has 4.7 million followers; one video alone got over 60 million views. A spokesperson says the company is “benefiting from a trust halo.”

Matthew Segal’s net worth is now reportedly $2.1 million. (Jarrett Moreno’s is unknown but is likely similar.)

ATTN: proclaims that it covers ‘important issues and calls to action, breaks down complex issues for its viewers, and starts conversations around issues that matter with hundreds of millions of people every month.’

Its promo video has a clip of Joe Biden noting “the power of social media and the power of communicating a view.”

Given ATTN:’s record so far and the views of its founders, this ‘social issues’ powerhouse that plans to ‘make an impact’ does not bode well for Palestinian men, women, and children – or for the Israelis who oppose their government’s actions and have long called for the U.S. to “stop Israel.”

If ATTN: continues its present course, both may continue to lose out – as well as Americans, whose politicians from both parties, give Israel massive amounts of our tax money, year after year.


Alison Weir is executive director of If Americans Knew, president of the Council for the National Interest, and author of Against Our Better Judgment: The Hidden History of How the U.S. Was Used to Create Israel.  


* Conservatives seem to have a similar phenomenon – where for some people ‘America First’ changes to ‘America Second’ when Israel comes into the picture, and fiscal conservatism turns into massive hand-outs when money to Israel is involved. Politicians from both parties who desire donations from Israel partisans and who desire favorable coverage from pro-Israel media – which includes almost everyone, from Elizabeth Warren to Ted Cruz – are a mainstay of both groups.

RELATED: 

MoveOn promotes Ben & Jerry’s despite diverse social justice campaigns against the ice cream maker

International campaign is criminalizing criticism of Israel as ‘antisemitism’

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Unsung Summit of Putin and Trump

From Hiroshima To Hamburg

By John V. Walsh | Dissident Voice | August 8, 2017

This week marks the 72nd anniversary of the criminal US bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.  And as is the case each year, there is much discussion and lamenting over this atrocity, as there well should be. For the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not necessary for victory; Japan had already sued for peace. It was the opening salvo, a brutal one, in the first Cold War in which the world was nearly incinerated during the Cuban missile crisis.

This week is also the one month anniversary of the first in-person meeting of Presidents Trump and Putin at Hamburg on July 7 in the shadow of the G20 meetings. This comes at a time when we find ourselves years into a New Cold War. Given the tensions between Russia and the US, the leading nuclear powers, one would think that there would be rejoicing over the prospect of relieving the tensions between the nuclear superpowers. For that was the agenda of the Trump-Putin summit, as such meetings were called during the first Cold War. Unfortunately, such rejoicing was not to be heard, quite the opposite – with a few rare exceptions

This is lamentable, to say the least, because as tensions grow between the superpowers, the chance for nuclear war increases.  During his lengthy interviews with Vladimir Putin, Oliver Stone showed him the movie “Dr. Strangelove” which Putin had never before seen. Putin commented that the movie captured, among other things, a technical truth with its depiction of the Doomsday Machine. That is, said Putin, nuclear weapons grow increasingly harder to control with every passing day. Given this, the failure to applaud the Trump-Putin on the part of those who were full of praise for the UN vote on denuclearization made me wonder whether there was any thought behind their chatter. Hatred of Trump and Putin seemed to blot out a rational concern for human survival. Are we living in a mad house? Did we not learn our lesson when we narrowly escaped Armageddon in Cold War 1?

In the face of such madness, let us take the time to offer full-throated, unmistakable praise for the Trump-Putin summit meeting. The parley was a long time coming because of the relentless attack on Trump over Russiagate, a Big Lie blared out relentlessly these many months and only now collapsing for want of so much as a smidgen of evidence. Although Trump had promised to hold this summit with Putin even before he was inaugurated, he could not do so because of the intense Russia-gate related pressure against it – from the Elite of both Parties but with the Democrats far in the lead. But Trump pushed ahead with the meeting anyway; as we learned during the 2016 campaign, this is not a guy who gives up despite the odds.

To begin, the summit was undeniably a success with solid achievements and follow-ups. Stephen F. Cohen, Professor Emeritus of Russian History at Princeton and NYU, and one of the few to offer praise for the meeting, summed up the meeting’s four main accomplishments thus:

… formalizing and symbolizing the new détente partnership* between the American and Russian presidents; agreement to cooperate in Syria against terrorist forces there, not only in the limited ways announced, but in more expansive ways, which meant agreeing with Moscow that Syrian President Assad must remain at least until ISIS is fully defeated; creating a bilateral US-Russian channel for negotiating a settlement of the Ukrainian civil and proxy war, thereby bypassing, or reducing, the role played thus far by Germany and France, which has largely failed; and agreeing to discuss ways to limit the dangers of cyber technology in international affairs. Though Trump was forced to talk back this agenda item, no doubt it remains on the US-Russian agenda, a subject of negotiation, as it should be, considering the ways in which cyber attacks could undermine nuclear security on both sides.

To these I would add the cease-fire in southwest Syria which was arranged in the run-up to the meeting and announced there. This cease-fire is still holding, and Russian FM Lavrov has announced that more ceasefire zones are in the works in Syria. Any time that the guns fall silent, the killing stops and people can return to their homes, there should be jubilation – especially in the outlets devoted to peace. Sadly that has been far from the case in the progressive press or the MSM.

The cooperation on Syria continued with a thunderbolt in the form of a Trumpian tweet on Monday night, July 24:

“The Amazon Washington Post fabricated the facts on my ending massive, dangerous, and wasteful payments to Syrian rebels fighting Assad…..”

A superb assessment of this tweet marking Trump’s order to end the CIA’s regime change op and its de facto support for jihadis in Syria comes from David Stockman here:

Occasionally one of Trump’s tweets slices through Imperial Washington’s sanctimonious cant. Indeed, Monday evening’s 140 characters cut right to the bone. Needless to say, we are referencing not the dig at the empire of Bezos, but the characterization of Washington’s anti-Assad policy as “massive, dangerous and wasteful”.

No stouter blow to the neocon/Deep State “regime change” folly has ever been issued by an elected public official. Yet there it is – the self-composed words of the man in the Oval Office.

Stockman follows with a brief history of the U.S.’s covert war on Syria and Syria’s historical mistreatment at the hands of earlier Western Empires. (It is to the credit of Antiwar.com for publishing Stockman’s piece – in contrast to the far more widely published feverish denunciation by John McCain: “If these reports are true, the administration is playing right into the hands of Vladimir Putin.” Thus, is any initiative for peace greeted from the two wings of the War Party.)

On top of this there is Secretary Tillerson’s statement that cooperation on Syria is continuing and developing, mirroring the statement of FM Lavrov.

I fully expect that this evaluation will bring a storm of condemnation. Some will accuse the author of parroting the “Kremlin line,” or being a Putin puppet, dead giveaways for the old Cold War mindset. But I would offer one word of advice to such naysayers. Support the good in what Trump does and oppose the bad. Very simple. And certainly, the good includes New Détente with Russia since it may well mean the survival of humanity. We might not get another shot at it. No other major national political figure, other than Rand Paul, is calling for it, which means we are in very deep trouble, perhaps mortal trouble.

* The symbolism of the two Presidents meeting, shaking hands and “getting along,” to use a phrase often invoked by Trump in the 2016 campaign, should not be underestimated. It can have a great effect on public opinion and show people that to feel friendly toward Russia and Putin is legit. After all the President feels that way. jw

John V. Walsh can be reached at john.endwar@gmail.com.

August 8, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Progressive Hypocrite, Russophobia | , | Leave a comment

‘No Time For Shallow Diplomacy Christians’ In The Religious War On Churches In The Holy Land

By Stuart Littlewood | American Herald Tribune | August 2, 2017

A month ago, after reading a desperate cry for help from the National Coalition of Christian Organisations in Palestine (NCCOP) addressed to the World Council of Churches, I emailed eight churches in my locality asking whether that heart-rending appeal had trickled down to them at parish level.

If not, I hoped to find out where the break in communications occurred, as this wasn’t the first time churches in the Holy Land had sought support from Western Christendom. Previous appeals were largely ignored and left to civil society for action.

Now, say the Palestinians, the situation is “beyond urgent”. So had the NCCOP’s latest plea actually arrived on the desks of parish priests in my neighbourhood? And if so, how were grass-roots Christians responding?

I included a link to the actual crisis document, which should have made every churchman sit up, and a gentle reminder that their faith and their job of work are rooted in the Holy Land. “So what are the chances, I wonder, of seeing concerted action from Western churches before it’s too late? And what part can local parishes play?

The key point was this: it’s beyond urgent. So are our spiritual leaders, those upstanding ‘men of the cloth’, mobilising their troops?

Only one of the eight replied — the local Catholic vicar-general — who dismissed the subject in two sentences. So there you have it. If this local bunch are representative of the Christian community in the UK, they don’t give a four-X for their brothers and sisters in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. And they are utterly indifferent to the fact that the place where Christianity was born is being stolen from under their noses.

If that’s a wrong interpretation, and Christians in the West do actually wish to help, the issue is straightforward enough. Churches in Palestine are asking churches here to call things as they are: to recognize Israel as an apartheid state in terms of international law and the UN report which says so. They are concerned that States and churches are still dealing with Israel on a business-as-usual basis, as if the situation were normal, and ignoring the criminal reality of military occupation.

Churches came together in opposition to apartheid in South Africa and helped end it. Why haven’t they done the same in Palestine?

They ask us to unequivocally condemn the Balfour Declaration as unjust, and they rightly demand that the UK asks forgiveness and compensates the Palestinian people for their losses. Theresa May’s government, however, plans to celebrate the centenary of the Balfour Declaration “with pride” and has invited Mr Netanyahu to the fun.

Clearly Mrs May, God-fearing churchgoer that she is, needs to feel the heat of His wrath. The woman is so arrogant that her government intends to appeal against the recent decision by the Royal Courts of Justice defending our right to boycott Israel.

End the ‘Ecumenical Deal’, put interfaith dialogue through the wringer

The Palestinians want us to take the strongest possible stand against any theology or group that seeks to justify the occupation. That means of course challenging our religious dialogue partners and withdrawing from those partnerships if they won’t condemn Israel’s brutal occupation.

But I can hear our canting clerics muttering: “Oh dear, no, no, no. We mustn’t upset our interfaith colleagues. That would never do.”

Churches that sell their holdings or otherwise divest from companies that profit from the occupation of Palestinian lands often take years of agonising confab to reach such a commonsense position. But they needn’t think just moving their money is enough. A recent example is the Mennonite Church USA, where it took (they say) a three-person writing team and a 10-member reference group working intensely during the past two years and consulting widely across the church and with Palestinian and Jewish partners, to come up with a modest proposal. And to sugar the divestment pill they declared that “the legacy of Jewish suffering is intertwined with the suffering of Palestinians”. What the Palestinians had to do with Jewish suffering or ever did to deserve having their lands and homes confiscated, isn’t explained. But it is used to provide an excuse to call on Mennonites to strengthen relationships with Jewish communities.

Why? Can they not understand that you have to be consistent in boycotting Israel? It involves boycotting the people who also support and advocate for Israel including those who fail to condemn the Zionist regime’s vile policies that hurt our Palestinian friends. As George Galloway has said, you simply don’t engage with them.

Christians who cannot grasp what is really going on out there, and don’t see what is needed to stop it, might find Robert Cohen’s excellent article Brace Yourselves for Costly Palestinian Solidarity helpful in pointing towards proper, meaningful action.

He explains why the Christian-Jewish dialogue needs re-setting. Central to the problem is the so-called Ecumenical Deal, a reluctance to question Jewish support for Israel for fear of unpicking decades of interfaith reconciliation following the Holocaust.  We appear to have cast ourselves in the self-defeating role of repenting for age-old Christian anti-Jewishness. Breaking out of it and criticising Israel would be seen as a re-emergence of that anti-Jewishness.

I’m not aware of Christian anti-Jewishness although continuing failure on the part of Jewish leaders to condemn the cruel policies of the Israeli regime, aka ‘the Jewish State’, is surely asking for it. Does anyone inside or outside the bubble of the Church seriously buy into this repentence stuff? From outside, among people who would never set foot in a church again but still call themselves Christians because they were brought up according to the Christian code, it looks pathetic.

Christians in Palestine, says Cohen, despair of our Church leaders’ endless hiding behind the cover of political neutrality and their unwillingness to offend their religious dialogue partners. Consequently, he predicts, Jewish-Christian dialogue “is about to go through the wringer”.

Time for some ‘really uncomfortable conversations’

Pressing the re-set button means “refusing to allow your local Jewish communal leadership to set the boundaries of permissible debate on Israel”. It also means “listening to the Christian voice under occupation before the Jewish voice living comfortably, with full equal rights, many thousands of miles from that same occupation”.

Operating the wringer, of course, will be followed by a distinct chill in relationships forcing Church leaders, local ministers and their congregations, as well as the Jewish leaders they have dialogue with, out of their comfort zone. Good. As Rebecca Vilkomerson, Jewish Voice for Peace, recently wrote in Haaretz, after 70 years of dispossessing and expelling Palestinians, 50 years of Israeli military occupation and 10 years of blockading Gaza, it is time for Jewish communities “to have some really uncomfortable conversations”.

Palestinians say no to ‘shallow diplomacy’ but it’s all they’re likely to get

How does the World Council of Churches react to those urgent pleas from Palestine?

They will study and analyse. “As we at the WCC consider our plans for 2018 and beyond, we want churches in Palestine to know that their perspective is heard and it is vitally important,” said the WCC’s general secretary. “We will continue with the same passionate spirit to work on specific objectives, strategies and partners for advocacy to end the occupation and to work for just peace in Palestine and Israel.”

The WCC’s Commission of the Churches on International Affairs has been asked to contribute a thorough analysis of the changing political landscapes and dynamics in the Holy Land with an eye toward developing a more specific advocacy strategy that works through nations and organizations with significant influence.

WCC has also started an online campaign, Seek #JusticeAndPeace in the Holy Land, which features profiles of peacemakers and various cries for justice.

WCC also plans to “explore theological reflections, studies and projects that will bring a perspective on just peace in the Holy Land from all parts of the world”, and strengthen communication about the situation in Palestine so that it can “help churches and other ecumenical partners address their constituencies and governments in a more systematic way”. This includes developing a set of principles and practices of responsible pilgrimages of justice and peace to the Holy Land.

Will the Palestinian churches be impressed? Their cry for help stated specifically: “We stand in front of an impasse and we have reached a deadlock. Despite all the promises, endless summits, UN resolutions, religious and lay leader’s callings, Palestinians are still yearning for their freedom and independence, and seeking justice and equality.”

They stressed that religious extremism is on the rise, with religious minorities paying a heavy price. “We need brave women and men who are willing to stand in the forefront. This is no time for shallow diplomacy Christians.”

When I called the Church of England press office yesterday they didn’t think any response had been made. Such concern, then. And when I ran through the members of the WCC’s Central Committee I noticed the two representatives from the Church Of England were both based in Europe. How helpful is that?

The power of hope

Christianity sometimes has great trouble telling right from wrong and doing something about it. The Holy Land is a case in point. Evil reigns there. Christianity across the world cowers. What would Christ say to that?

I know what Michel Sabbah says. He is a former Catholic Patriarch of Jerusalem, a courageous man of the front line and one of the great heroes of the struggle.

“The current situation is hopeless. In reality, there are no signs of hope at all for the Palestinian people. In spite of that, we hope.

We hope because we are Christians, and God is present.
We hope because we believe in the fundamental goodness of the human being, Israeli and Palestinian. Human goodness will prevail at the end upon the human power of evil.

We hope because Palestinians are persevering in claiming their rights.
It is a source of hope that we never gave up….

We hope because among Israelis, there are people who are trying to work with Palestinians for what is right. And there are an increasing number of movements for peace, strong in will….

If we had no hope we would not live. Hope is life, and history gives us hope. What is right will prevail.”

Michel Sabbah
Catholic Patriarch Emeritus

I fear that if he pins any hopes on the wets of the Western churches he’ll be disappointed. But he already knows that, surely.

August 2, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Progressive Hypocrite | , , , , | Leave a comment

The “Deep State” Then and Now

By Edward Curtin | July 17, 2017

“… since grasping the present from within is the most problematic task the mind can face.” – Frederic Jameson

Have you ever seen a photograph of yourself from the past and laughed or grimaced at the way you were dressed or your hair style? It’s a common experience. But few people draw the obvious conclusion about the present: that our present appearance might be equally laughable. The personal past seems to be “over there,” an object to be understood and dissected for its meaning, while the present seems opaque and shape-shifting – or just taken-for-granted okay.  “That was then,” says the internal voice, “but I am wiser now.” Historical perspective, even about something as superficial as appearance, rarely illuminates the present, perhaps because it makes us feel ignorant and unfree.

This is even truer with political and social history.

In recent years there has been a spate of books and articles detailing the CIA’s past Cold war cultural and political propaganda efforts, from the creation of the Congress for Cultural Freedom (CCF) with its string of magazines, to its collaboration with many famous writers and intellectuals, including Peter Matthiessen, George Plimpton, Richard Wright, Irving Kristol, et al., and its penetration and working relationships with so many publications and media outlets, including The New York Times, the Paris Review, Encounter, etc. These exposés show how vast was the CIA’s propaganda network throughout the media and the world, and how many people participated in the dirty work.

Joel Whitney, in his recently published book, Finks: How the CIA Tricked the World’s Best Writers (the word “tricked” ignores the eager accomplices), tells this scandalous story in illuminating detail. His account informs and nauseates simultaneously, as one learns how the CIA penetrated NGOs, television, universities, magazines, newspapers, book publishing, etc., finding willing collaborationists everywhere – scoundrels eager to spy on and betray even their friends as they deceived the public worldwide; how well-meaning leftist writers such as Ernest Hemingway and Garcia Marquez were tricked into lending their names and work to propaganda publications; how leftists were set against leftists in an elaborate effort to sow paranoia and confusion that could be used to put the Soviet Union in the worst possible light; and how many front organizations were created to secretly funnel money to support these endeavors and make and break careers. The story makes your skin crawl.

But that was then. What about now? Whitney doesn’t say, presumably because he doesn’t know; doesn’t have documentary evidence to name names.  This is not a criticism.  He does say that “we understand vaguely that our media are linked to our government still today, and to government’s stated foreign policy,” and he wonders if the ideology that drove the CIA’s past endeavors “remains with us. (I am reminded of Emerson’s words: “What you do (or don’t) speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.”). Despite his use of tepid language about the present, especially that word “vaguely,” it seems that Whitney thinks similar propaganda activities are going on today, which is why a blurb for Finks at his publisher’s website (OR Books) and at amazon.com by James Risen of the New York Times, who has written two books about the CIA, strikes such an odd note. It reads:

It may be difficult to believe that the American intellectual elite was once deeply embedded with the CIA. But with Finks, Joel Whitney vividly brings to life the early days of the Cold War, when the CIA’s Ivy League ties were strong, and key American literary figures were willing to secretly do the bidding of the nation’s spymasters.

“Difficult to believe.” For whom?

“Once.” When? In the bad old days?

“When the CIA’s Ivy League ties were strong.” Does the CIA now recruit from community colleges?

Are these the good old days? Such language usage makes one wonder: is it just a quickly scribbled blurb or carefully chosen words?

The Future is Now

No doubt the archives and sealed documents will be pried loose through repeated FOIA requests in thirty or forty years and the moans and groans about today’s bad old days will fill the air. How could they have done such things? It’s just outrageous! But that was then, not now. It’s different now; we are older but wiser.

It’s hard to suppress a sardonic laugh, so I won’t. Today we are obviously drowning in CIA propaganda throughout the corporate mainstream media, and in the alternative online media as well. One has only to see “what they do, or don’t.” The documentation is in the doing, and it doesn’t take a genius to grasp how blatant it is. It is in no way “vague.” But it does take good faith, and a passion for truth, which is sorely lacking.  Why this is so is a key issue I will return to.

As in the past, some propaganda is obvious and other subtler and indirect. Yet it is relentless. There may or may not be a comparable Congress for Cultural Freedom today, but with advanced technology and the internet, it may not be needed. Methods may change; intentions remain the same. What was once done surreptitiously is now done blatantly, as I wrote in January: the deep state has gone shallow. Fifty years ago the CIA coined the term “conspiracy theory” as a weapon to be used to dismiss the truths expressed by critics of its murder of President Kennedy, and those of Malcom X, MLK, and RFK. All the media echoed the CIA line. While they still use the term to dismiss and denounce, their control of the MSM is so complete today that every evil government action is immediately seconded, whether it be the lies about the Attacks of September 11, 2001, the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, etc., the coup in Ukraine, the downing of the Malaysian jetliner there, drone murders, the looting of the American people by the elites, alleged sarin gas attacks in Syria, the anti-Russia bashing – everything. The New York Times, the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, etc. – all are stenographers for the deep state.

Denying Existential Freedom

One of the first things an authoritarian governing elite must do is to convince people that they are not free. This has been going on for at least forty years, ever since the Church Committee’s revelations about the CIA in the mid-seventies, including its mind-control programs. Everyone was appalled at the epiphany, so a different tactic was employed. Just have “experts,” social, psychological, and biological “scientists,” repeat ad infinitum that there is no longer any mind control since we now know there is no mind; it is an illusion, and it all comes down to the brain. Biology is destiny, except in culturally diversionary ways in which freedom to choose is extolled – e.g. the latest fashions, gender identity, the best hair style, etc. Create and lavishly fund programs for the study of the brain, while supporting and promoting a vast expansion of pharmaceutical drugs to control people. Do this in the name of helping people with their emotional and behavioral problems that are rooted in their biology and are beyond their control. And create criteria to convince people that they are sick.

We have been told interminably that our lives revolve around our brains (our bodies) and that the answers to our problems lie with more brain research, drugs, genetic testing, etc. It is not coincidental that the U. S. government declared the 1990s the decade of brain research, followed up with 2000-2010 as the decade of the behavior project, and our present decade being devoted to mapping the brain and artificial intelligence, organized by the Office of Science and Technology Project and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency. How convenient! George H. W. Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, Obama, Trump — what a difference! But this is science and the welfare of the world. Science for idiots.

Drip by drip, here and there, articles, books, media reports have reiterated  that people are “determined” by biological, genetic, social, and psychological forces over which they have no control. To assert that people are free in the Satrean sense (en soir, condemned to freedom, or free will) has come to be seen as the belief of a delusional fool living in the past, a bad philosopher, an anti-scientist, a poorly informed religionist, one nostalgic for existential cafes, Gauloises, and black berets, but being totally out of it. One who doesn’t grasp the truth since he doesn’t read the New York Times or watch CBS television.

The conventional propaganda – I almost said wisdom – created through decades-long media and academic (don’t forget the pathetic academy) repetition, is that we are not free. Let me repeat: we are not free.

Investigator reporter John Rappoport has consistently exposed the propaganda involved in the creation and expansion of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) with its pseudo-scientific falsehoods and collusion between psychiatrists and the pharmaceutical industry. As he correctly notes, the CIA’s MKULTRA mind-control program has morphed into modern psychiatry, both with the same objectives of disabling and controlling people by convincing them that they are not free and are in need of a chemical brain bath.

Can anyone with an awareness of this history doubt there is a hidden hand behind this development? Once you have convinced people that they are not free in the most profound sense, the rest is child’s play.  Convinced that they are puppets, they become puppets to be played. Who would want to get people to believe they were not free?

Terrified to See the Current Truth

There are many excellent writers who, because they are truth seekers, have used logical analysis to deconstruct the patent propaganda of deep state forces and their media scribes. They do so through close reading (a skill once taught in schools) and historical knowledge without waiting for documentation, though sometimes it arrives from sources such as Wikileaks, FOIA requests, or government leakers like Edward Snowden or Chelsey Manning.  While not always definitive, many of these analyses clearly raise disturbing questions that give the lie to the presstitutes’ claims of innocent objectivity. Their arguments are laid bare so the CIA’s and deep-state’s handiwork shines through.  Robert Parry, Michel Chossudovsky, Paul Craig Roberts, John Pilger, James Petras, David Ray Griffin, Graeme MacQueen and many others have so demolished the propaganda that the question of why so many liberals and left-leaning people still refuse to accept the obvious echoes in the ears of those familiar with the Congress for Cultural Freedom’s machinations to set leftists and liberals against each other through media manipulation. While left and right-wing disinformation collaborationists are everywhere and the CIA obviously has its people placed throughout the cultural and media landscape, it is clear to me that there is something else involved.

So much of the ongoing propaganda travels under the banner of “the war on terror,” which is, of course, an outgrowth of the attacks of September 11, 2001, appropriately named and constantly reinforced as 9/11 in a wonderful example of linguistic mind-control: a constant emergency to engender anxiety, depression, panic, and confusion, four of the symptoms that lead the DSM “experts” and their followers to diagnose and drug individuals.  The term 9/11 was first used in the New York Times on September 12, 2001 by Bill Keller, the future Times’ editor.

Douglas Valentine, a true expert on the CIA and author of The CIA as Organized Crime and The Phoenix Program, has shown that the CIA’s highly structured assassination program in Vietnam – the Phoenix Program – is the template for “the war on terror.”  In other books he has shown how the CIA’s role in drug trafficking is directly linked to the massive increased usage of heroin and other street drugs, another face of the drugging of the country. Thus the “institutional” structure and consequent practices of one of the most ruthless propaganda and terrorist organizations of the United States’ deep-state (the Phoenix program) continues to this day here and abroad. To think that the Agency’s handiwork once carried on under the banner of the Committee for Cultural Freedom does not continue today would take extreme naïveté, the inability to reason, historical ignorance, plain bad faith, or a combination thereof.

Which brings me back to the issue of why so many “liberal” Democrats – those whose bibles are the New York Times, NPR, The Washington Post, Democracy Now, etc. – can only see propaganda when they can attribute it to Donald Trump or the Russians. Why has this group, together with their Republican and conservative fellow travelers, embraced a new McCarthyism and allied itself with the deep-state forces that they were once allegedly appalled by? It surely isn’t the policies of the Trump administration or his bloviating personality, for these liberals allied themselves with Obama’s anti-Russian rhetoric, his support for the U.S. orchestrated neo-fascist Ukrainian coup, his destruction of Libya, his wars of aggression across the Middle East, his war on terror, his trillion dollar nuclear weapons modernization, his enjoyment of drone killing, his support for the coup in Honduras, his embrace of the CIA and his CIA Director John Brennan, his prosecution of whistle-blowers, etc. The same media that served the CIA so admirably over the decades became the media that became liberals’ paragons of truth. Why?

Let me try to answer by referring to two articles that appeared side-by-side in The New York Times Magazine for May 28, 2017. Their content, style, and juxtaposition suggest an answer to the schizoid subtleties of master manipulators, and how cultural/political propaganda works in oblique ways off the front pages.

The cover story for that issue, “Aleppo After the Fall,” accompanied by the words “Life And Loss Amid The Ruins of Syria’s Fractious And Devastating Civil War” and a photo of a demolished Aleppo district, sets the tone, especially the lie in the words “civil war.” The war was started under President Obama in March 2011 by the United States/NATO/Israel with the arming of Islamist “freedom fighters” in an effort to overthrow President Bashar al Assad. But the Sunday morning Times reader is immediately told otherwise, as they have been for the past six years of carnage. Most probably don’t notice the deception as they flip to the table of contents where they see a photo of cream puffs and coffee.

As they sip their morning coffee and think about cream puffs, let’s imagine our readers turning to the first major story preceding the Aleppo piece by Robert F. Worth, a contributing writer for the magazine. It is an article titled “Empire of Dust” by Molly Young, also a contributing writer. It is a title that suggests further disintegration of a most serious nature (no, not the American Empire), yet it is an article about Amanda Chantal Bacon and the rise of the wellness industry. A photo of this “beatific” 34 year old entrepreneurial guru in a flowing white gown in a half-lotus position, seated on a marble kitchen countertop surrounded by some “magical” rocks, takes up an entire page. The photo, a Barthian signifier if ever there were one, is clearly meant to be deciphered by the Times’ clientele for secrets to the beautiful, luxurious, and peaceful life due to one of means and exquisite taste, one who will spend five dollars on a newspaper and live a balanced, Epicurean life of self-care and sophistication. Bacon’s massive light-filled kitchen with its marble countertops – a sine qua non of today’s “good life” – serves the usual elitist function of drawing in readers with a discerning, moneyed eye.

Alternately fawning and critical, Young begins by telling the reader, “The amount of time I waste finding and consuming alternative-medicine supplements for ‘brain function’ has made me at least 10 percent dumber, and that paradox is not lost on me. It was that impulse that made me pause last year at a fancy store in Brooklyn when I spotted a glass jar labeled ‘Brain Dust’.” From there Young takes us to Los Angeles, where she interviews the lifestyle guru Bacon, and we hear about Spirit Dust, Beauty Dust, Sex Dust, vaginal steaming, spirit truffles, and sunbathing the vagina, and to the Hamptons where she again spots Brain Dust in an expensive store that also sells “boeuf-bourguignon-flavored dog biscuits.” Young, having traversed the golden triangle – Brooklyn, L.A., and the Hamptons – tells us how Bacon captures her imagination even as she “was ashamed of its capture.” She drinks Power Dusted coffee with the Moon Juice founder who tells her, “I was told growing up in NYC that I had learning disabilities and mental illness. That was all the rage in the ‘90s.” (Presumably they are raging no longer.) After offering mild criticisms’ and writing that after visiting Bacon’s house she “wanted to move to California and eat bee pollen,” Young covertly orders bee pollen from her phone and ends by telling us that the Moon Juice bee pollen she has ordered “would arrive in two to four business days.” The reader is left to wonder who is dumber or smarter despite or because of the Brain Dust.

But if one is feeling brain dead, one can move or jump-cut to the next article, a piece of cosmopolitan gravitas meant to clarify who are the good guys and who the bad in the Middle East, specifically Syria.

Turning to this article on Aleppo, a juxtaposing of pornographic proportions, one is greeted with a two page photo of totally destroyed buildings in front of which walk a woman pushing a toddler in a stroller and a man pushing another toddler in a makeshift wooden cart covered in plastic sheeting. One flips from “Sex Dust” to disgust and heartbreak in a page turn. The reader is walked step-by-step into a piece of political propaganda, as Robert Worth tells us that “The Syrian tragedy started in a moment of deceptive simplicity, when the peaceful protesters of the 2011 Arab Spring seemed destined to inherit the future.”  This deception is then quickly followed with the claim that Assad used “chemical weapons in the town of Khan Sheikhoun in early April,” an assertion backed by no evidence and clearly refuted by Seymour Hersh, among others. Worth tells us that “the Syrian regime (note the sly use of the word regime, a staple of linguistic mind-control) and its Russian allies repeatedly bombed hospitals and civilian areas,” and that in the United States such actions were “widely deplored as a war crime comparable to the worst massacres of the Bosnian war during the 1990s.” One has to give credit to Worth for a masterful double-deception here, first by accusing the Syrians and Russians but not the United States of repeatedly bombing hospitals and civilian areas, and then segueing to the “Bosnian” war with nary a mention of the U.S./NATO conspiracy to dismantle Yugoslavia through proxies and the subsequent massive bombing of Serbia and Serbian civilians that were clearly war crimes committed by the liberal saint, Bill Clinton. Throughout this piece Worth repeatedly accuses the Assad government of war crimes and atrocities while whitewashing the United States. Immediately following his assertion of Syrian war crimes, he tells the Sunday Times’ readers that “ the State Department released satellite photographs suggesting that the regime is burning the bodies of executed prisoners in a crematory at the Sednaya prison complex, north of Damascus, in an alleged effort to hide evidence.” This claim is based on a totally discredited claim  made in February 2017 by Amnesty International, and Worth, knowing that there is no evidence for this, cagily uses the words “suggesting” and “alleged.” But juxtaposed with the war crimes assertions, only a careful reader searching for truth would notice the trick, surely not a Time Magazine reader already predisposed by the daily Times’s constant flow of government lies. Quoting a speech by Assad in which he claimed there was a “huge conspiracy” to dismantle and destroy Syria, Worth dismissively rejects this obvious truth by quoting an anonymous former regime official (a common tactic) who says he was shocked by the speech. If Assad had given a different speech, Worth notes, “the past six years would have unrolled very differently, and oceans of blood might have been spared.” This is the imperial mindset at its finest, all rolled into an extensive New York Times Magazine article meant to enlighten and inform its alleged sophisticated readers.

What I am suggesting with these magazine examples is that the old trick perfected by the Congress for Cultural Freedom to juxtapose cultural pieces with political ones is alive and well today, even if the CCF or its equivalent doesn’t exist, since it isn’t needed. Illiteracy has become the norm and stupidity the rule as the electronic revolution has destroyed people’s ability to concentrate or stay focused long enough to realize they are being taken for a ride by propagandists and that they are being purposely overloaded with information meant to create a felt need for “Brain Dust.” This has been going on for so long that to admit one is still being taken for a ride is equivalent to admitting to gullibility so profound that it must be denied. It is one thing criticize the politicians you hate – George W. Bush and Donald Trump for liberal Democrats and Bill Clinton and Obama for conservative Republicans – and to call them liars; but to contemplate the fact that the CIA has been lying to you through all these mouthpieces and your vaunted news sources are stenographers for the intelligence agencies is too much reality to bear. “I might have looked funny in that old photograph, but today I am with it and stylish.”

Sure.

Everything has become style today, and no doubt the CIA has learned that the trick is to hide truthful substance behind the style. Evidence is beside the point. Just assert things in a slick style. Assert them repeatedly, even when they have been proven false or fraudulent. Sex Dust and Power Dust may be absurd con jobs, but they sell. They meet a “need,” a need created by the society that has slyly equated power with sex for a population that has been convinced they have neither and need drugs to endow them with both. A piece about Brain Dust may not have the drawing power of a Paris Review interview with Ernest Hemingway or Boris Pasternak, but then there were no “lifestyle gurus” in those days when people read real literature, not today’s New York Times best sellers. Propaganda was more literary in those days; it had to have substance. In a “wellness culture,” it has to have style. Today the only time you hear the word substance, is in “substance abuse,” which is fitting.

The CIA is in the styling business; they’ve gone shallow. Everyone looks great that way, or so they think.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Guardian’s Propaganda on Venezuela

By Ricardo Vaz | Investig’Action | July 25, 2017

With the Constituent Assembly elections due to take place on July 30th, the Guardian published a piece titled “Venezuela elections: all you need to know”. But instead of breaking through the fog of falsehood and misinformation that is typical of the mainstream media’s coverage of Venezuela, the Guardian comes up with another propaganda piece laden with lies, distortions and omissions. In this article we go through the Guardian’s piece, clarifying the falsehoods, adding the conveniently omitted information and questioning the whole narrative that is presented.

*****

What is happening on 30 July?

To be fair to the Guardian, there is one almost-informative paragraph, where the electoral procedure is explained. In a previous article the Guardian stated that

“[…] election rules appear designed to guarantee a majority for the government even though it has minority popular support”,

instead of presenting said electoral rules and letting the reader decide if they are so designed. This time they do present the rules, only omitting to say that everyone not currently holding public office can run for a seat. But then the Guardian brings in the propaganda artillery to ensure the reader’s conclusions do not stray too far off from those of the State Department.

“[…] voter turnout will be exclusively pro-government – and likely very low, given that Maduro’s approval rating hovers around 20%” 1

One assumes the Guardian is citing Datanalisis, their favourite Venezuelan anti-government pollster. Putting aside the fact that other, more reliable polls, demonstrate larger levels of government support, and the massive turnout for last Sunday’s dry-run, there are two obvious questions here. If turnout will be so low, why is the opposition hell-bent on stopping the vote from taking place, barricading streets and killing candidates? And if the opposition has such an overwhelming majority, why did they decide not to participate? This might have been their chance to introduce a Platt Amendment into the Constitution.

“The current constitution was written by an assembly called in 1999 by Maduro’s predecessor and political father, Hugo Chávez. But Chavez made sure he had popular support for the rewrite, by calling a referendum first. This time around, Maduro ordered the constituent assembly by decree.”

Chávez needed to call a referendum because he was working within the legal framework of the 1961 Constitution which did not have anything about such a mechanism. In the 1999 Constitution, article 348 states who can convene a Constituent Assembly.

Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro has repeatedly urged opposition leaders to engage in dialogue and has backed the Constituent Assembly to guarantee peace.

“On 16 July, a symbolic plebiscite against Maduro’s initiative held by the opposition drew more than seven million people – more than those who voted for Maduro in the 2014 election.”

When it comes to the Venezuelan opposition, the Guardian checks all the journalism tools at the door. In a recent Investig’Action article we examined the opposition’s highly doubtful numbers, Venezuelanalysis did the same. At least the Guardian refrained from explicitly saying this vote could have recalled Maduro, something the opposition could not manage even with a lot of number-cooking (see footnote 2).

“Amid mounting pressure, Maduro vowed last month to hold a popular vote at the end of the process to approve or reject the new constitution.”

This was announced almost two months ago, and if it had been due to “mounting pressure” the mainstream media would have done a victory lap. Here another question springs up: why are the Venezuelan opposition and the Guardian so scared of this process? If they represent this huge majority, can they not just vote down the Constituent Assembly proposal?

Why did Maduro call this vote?

The final paragraph of this section contains the mandatory red-baiting and waving of the Cuban bogeyman.

“Venezuela has been rocked by nonstop street protests since the government’s attempt in late March to strip Congress of its right to legislate. Although the move was partially reversed, demonstrations have continued against an increasingly authoritarian government widely blamed for the country’s tanking economy and soaring crime rate.”

Again, there is very little journalism here to be found. It was not the government that overrode the National Assembly, but the Supreme Court. And they did it because the National Assembly is currently in contempt of court. Three legislators from Amazonas state are being investigated for electoral fraud, and despite repeated warnings from judicial authorities, the opposition went ahead and swore in these legislators. One can agree or disagree with the Supreme Court’s initiative, but omitting this fact is pure dishonesty.

This is also a good point to notice how only the “authoritarian” government and the “beleaguered” president have earned adjectives. “Protests” are referred to five times without a single reference to their violent nature, and a few adjectives (“divided”, “US-backed”, “coup-plotting”) also come to mind when describing the opposition.

“[…] violence and state repression have escalated since, with more than 100 people killed and hundreds arrested.”

Sophisticated newspapers like the Guardian are careful not to state directly that everyone was killed by state repression, only heavily implying it. A breakdown of the cases shows that it is the opposition’s political violence that has been responsible for the large majority of casualties.

What does the opposition say?

“The coalition of opposition forces known as the Democratic Unity Roundtable (known by its Spanish initials, MUD) rejected the move from the start. But criticism extends far beyond the political opposition. According to one pollster, eight out of 10 Venezuelans oppose a new constitution and would prefer general elections.”

One would think this would be an opportune moment to remind readers of the opposition’s constant, repeated calls for a Constituent Assembly in the recent past. And according to a different pollster, 79% of Venezuelans agree that the process should take place, 54% think the process will defend social gains of recent years, and 65% agrees with holding elections in 2018.

Opposition leaders Freddy Guevara and Maria Corina Machado had called for a Constituent Assembly in the past. (Tweets by Misión Verdad)

What happens next?

“Pressure is set to rise after the MUD called a two-day national strike for Wednesday and Thursday, and then mass protests dubbed the “taking of Caracas” on Friday.”

To anyone familiar with the recent history of Venezuela these announcements sound eerily like the events leading up to the failed 2002 coup. In fact, this would be the time to mention that many of the opposition leaders, including Henrique Capriles, Julio Borges, Leopoldo López and Maria Corina Machado, were directly involved in the 2002 coup attempt. Why is there never a mention that the opposition leadership is full of protagonists from that US-backed military coup that ultimately failed? Quite simply because it would undermine the entire “democracy vs. dictatorship” propaganda narrative.

“Maduro has been very vague about the scope of the new constitution – prompting fears that this is simply a move to tighten the government’s hold on power rather than to solve the country’s many problems.”

This is again a distortion. Maduro proposed nine issues to be tackled by the ANC, including the economy, national sovereignty, social missions, communes, and more. Granted, there is some ambiguity on what a “post-oil economy” stands for, with radical sectors looking for a deepening of the Revolution and business leaders looking for more incentives to private investment. But is down to the individual candidates to bring forward their proposals during the campaign. If Maduro specifically said what changes he wanted made to the Constitution, would he not fit into the “authoritarian” label that the Guardian loves to use?

“Maduro threatened to jail two high profile opposition leaders for “treason to the motherland”…”

Once more, it would be useful to put the actions of the Venezuelan opposition in context. There is hardly any other place in the world where opposition leaders openly call for a US military invasion or urge foreign agents to create a financial blockade against their own country!

“According to human rights groups…”

Which rights groups? Why not link to the reports and disclose who funds these groups? Because groups like Human Rights Watch have been beyond partisan when it comes to Venezuela, not to mention the revolving door that puts former US officials as human rights “guardians”. UNICEF, for example, has criticised the use of children in the opposition’s violent protests and the opposition’s attack against a maternity hospital.

“The next presidential elections – which Maduro seems likely to lose – are currently scheduled to be held in 2018, but it is unclear whether this would remain the case under a new constitution.”

Maduro has said that, rain or shine, there will be a presidential election in 2018. And he said it after convening the Constituent Assembly. The omission of this statement is again plain dishonest journalism.

Chavistas march on May 1st. The Venezuelan opposition is fearful of a large turnout for the Constituent Assembly elections on July 30th.

What is the international community doing?

“The Organization of American States has tried repeatedly to chastise Venezuela diplomatically, but Caracas has used oil diplomacy to ensure that small Caribbean states reliant on subsidised oil voted against critical resolutions or abstained.”

It is amazing that countries that are part of PetroCaribe are bullied by oil diplomacy, and yet countries that receive billions in US (military) aid and host US military bases are moved by a genuine love for democracy and human rights. Does it not occur to a journalist that, for a small Caribbean country, if a US-dominated organisation such as the OAS is dictating to Venezuela which elections can take place and when, then soon enough the same will happen to them? By rejecting this interference they are actually asserting their own independence.

It is precisely because this kind of bullying that Venezuela left the OAS. On the other hand, regional organisations that have been formed in the last decade precisely to counter US hegemony, like ALBA or CELAC, have come out in support of Venezuela and its sovereignty. International meetings like the People’s Summit or the Foro de São Paulo have also rejected the imperialist aggression against Venezuela.

“Previous US sanctions have targeted Venezuelan officials accused of drug trafficking or involvement in human rights abuses.”

These accusations have always been very big in terms of publicity and very thin in terms of evidence. They are always based on dubious sources mentioning all-powerful, yet unheard-of, drug cartels, Hezbollah training camps in Latin America and the like.

In summary, the Guardian is passing a pure propaganda piece under the guise of clarifying the upcoming Constituent Assembly elections in Venezuela. Quite clearly the next few days will be crucial, as the opposition ramps up its violent regime change efforts and the US blares out its threats, while on the other side chavismo is mobilising for this important step and (true) solidarity movements are standing with the Venezuelan poor and working-class.

As for the Guardian, whenever they ask you to support “quality, independent journalism”, you should look for it someplace else…)

  1. Even if this number were true, that would still make Maduro more popular than the presidents of Colombia, Mexico and Brazil, staunch US allies in the region.

July 26, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite | , , | Leave a comment