If you really want a lesson in how the Western popular press works, this is it.
Without question, Germany is the leading power in Europe. ZDF is its state broadcaster and most popular channel.
Together with sister network ARD; German’s are obliged to pay €17.98 per month to fund it.
This week, during a radio event in Berlin, the retired head of ZDF Bonn, Dr Wolfgang Herles, dropped a bombshell. He admitted the network, and others, takes orders from the government on what, and what not, to report.
Now, you’d expect this kind of story to be splashed across the world’s press, wouldn’t you? A former senior management figure acknowledging that his ex-employers work in tandem with the authorities to control the news agenda in such an important country? If such a revelation was made in a ‘developing’ nation, NATO media would be all over it.
The BBC, a carbon copy of ZDF and ARD in Britain, is busy promoting a documentary about a fake Russian invasion of Latvia. Meanwhile, in Germany itself, RT Deutsch and Munich’s Focus appear to be the only two significant outlets tackling the revelations. This in a country where the Dresden region was once known as the “valley of the stupid” because Western TV signals couldn’t reach much of it during the Cold War.
Many people across Europe suspect that most domestic state TV is under fairly direct control of politicians. The BBC, despite its mendacious cultivation of an image of fairness, is a pretty obvious example. It is governed by a Trust, wholly appointed by the Queen on the advice of government ministers of the day. Russia’s most popular station, the First Channel, although partially privately owned, is also administered by state appointees.
What makes Herles’ outburst so significant is his seniority. Before retiring last year, he was a prominent culture editor and presenter. In the 90’s, he hosted his own chat show, ‘Live’, and prior to these ventures, he’d been head of ZDF Bonn. At that time, Bonn was the West German capital. It’s important to understand that ZDF, while available across Germany, is technically owned by the Bundesländer (states).
Thus, Bonn-based Herles would have had far greater understanding of how German politics worked than most in ZDF’s Mainz headquarters, never mind far flung regions.
Turning a blind eye
Since the Cologne sex attacks on New Year’s Eve, there have been strong allegations that German media downplayed, or even ignored, the story. With migrants, predominately Arabic in origin, pouring into the country since last year, highlighting assaults where the alleged perpetrators were of Arab appearance could help turn public opinion against Angela Merkel’s “open-borders” policy. On the other hand, ignoring infractions by newcomers serves to keep Germans ignorant about how Berlin’s scheme could jeopardize their own safety. A lot of people are, understandably, angry about that.
Wolfgang Herles. © Wikipedia
Herles’ admission was prompted by the assertion that ordinary people have lost faith in Germany’s tightly-controlled media. “We have the problem that – now I’m mainly talking about the public [state] media – we have closeness to the government,” he revealed. “Not only because commentary is mainly in line with the grand coalition (CSU, CDU, and SPD), with the spectrum of opinion, but also because we are completely taken in by the agenda laid down by the political class.”
The retired ZDF chief went on to concede that the station took orders on what to broadcast. “The topics about which are reported are laid down by the government,” he confessed. Ironically, the Guardian, with no actual evidence, has prominently published numerous allegations of the Kremlin engaging in this practice. However, it ignores a similar assertion about Germany, which is actually backed up by a credible figure.
Of course, it’s not just the publicly-owned media; their private counterparts are also far from balanced. Bild Zeitung, Germany’s bestselling newspaper, is bound by the charter of its holding company, Axel Springer SE, “to further the unification of Europe.” Moreover, it must “support the Transatlantic Alliance, and solidarity with the United States of America in the common values of free nations.” Even the fairest editor in the world wouldn’t have much leeway under those conditions.
Pan European myopia
As it happens Germany is not alone. Last year, the Times Ireland exposed how Dublin’s state-controlled RTE routinely furnishes questions to government ministers before they appear on air. Incredibly, RTE News, currently helmed by controversial British executive Kevin Bakhurst, responded by attempting to smear The Times.
Meanwhile, in Sweden, the fervently liberal Expressen newspaper this week labeled The Daily Mail ‘racist.’ The British newspaper’s crime? Daring to report facts on the country’s migrant crisis that are precluded in Sweden. Because the domestic media refuse to cover negative stories involving migrants, many Swedes are now forced to access British and Russian media to read news about their country.
Right now, the pro-EU press is struggling to control the narrative. Dismissing rival viewpoints as “propaganda” can only work for so long. Furthermore, turning a blind eye to stories that question EU policy is a tougher proposition in the age of social media.
Last year, Germany’s Der Spiegel magazine closed online comment threads on all articles about migration. Last week, The Guardian followed suit, blocking all posts related to immigration, Islam and race.
These moves aren’t a huge surprise. In recent years, journalists and commentators who refuse to fall-in-line with the liberal European consensus have been increasingly barred from the mainstream media. This stands in marked contrast to previous decades in which debate was actively encouraged and opposing views cherished. Maybe Mikhail Gorbachev wasn’t far off when he warned:”The most puzzling development in politics during the last decade is the apparent determination of Western European leaders to re-create the Soviet Union in Western Europe.”
Bryan MacDonald is a journalist. He worked in Dublin for many years, for Ireland on Sunday and the Evening Herald.
Citizens of the world are being asked to dig deep for humanitarian aid to Syria. After five years of war and millions displaced there is an urgent need for the world to lend a hand, we are told.
At a so-called “donor conference” in London this week, British prime minister David Cameron appealed to the rest of the world to stump up $8 billion to help war-torn Syria.
Among the 60 nations attending the confab were the US, France, Britain, Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Senior figures from these countries were wringing their hands in anguish over the plight of Syrian refugees.
Washington’s top diplomat John Kerry told delegates: “With people reduced to eating grass and leaves and killing stray animals in order to survive on a day-to-day basis, that is something that should tear at the conscience of all civilized people and we all have a responsibility to respond to it.”
UN chief Ban Ki-Moon adjured nations to “take responsibility to end the crisis in Syria”.
Take responsibility for ending the crisis? How about taking responsibility for beginning it?
Cameron, Kerry and the rest of these charlatans should spare us the emotional blackmail. Most of the governments represented at the London conference are the very instigators and perpetrators of Syria’s destruction.
Why should the rest of the world pay for their crimes?
This is not to suggest that people should simply turn their backs on fellow humans in dire need. But let’s get some straight-thinking here.
Those governments and individual politicians who oversaw regime change in Syria should be paying for their violations, either through massive financial reparations or in jail time. And why not both.
The case is irrefutable. The US-led regime-change plot to subjugate Syria goes back several years, according to numerous sources, such as American diplomatic cables released by the whistleblowing site Wikileaks, former French foreign minister Roland Dumas and ex-NATO supreme commander US General Wesley Clark.
It is only largely due to the dutiful dissembling by the Western news media that such criminality might seem rather outlandish. But it is not outlandish. It is documented and provable. Western governments are culpable in a criminal scheme of regime change in Syria, as they have been in countless other unfortunate countries.
From the outbreak of violence in mid-March 2011, the Arab country has been a charnel house of covert war involving the most vile terrorist mercenaries. Those who take ultimate responsibility for the violence are the authors of the regime-change plot in Syria. Top of the list are Washington, London, Paris, as well as their regional client regimes.
With an estimated 250,000 dead and nearly half of the 23 million population turned into refugees, the total war damage to Syria has been estimated to be at least $100 billion. This is what Washington and its allies owe Syria — and no doubt far, far more — and yet these country-destroying rogue states are trying to wheedle money out of world citizens to pay for their criminal excesses, with the emotional plea of “humanitarian aid”.
Washington and its co-conspirators for covert war in Syria want the rest of the world to pay for their criminal scheming by cajoling the UN, the European Union and anyone else who will listen to fork out “humanitarian aid”. Make no mistake this will eventually translate into ordinary taxpayers, workers and families, paying the bill for their governments’ sanctimonious financial pledges.
In other words, Western powers like the US, Britain and France together with their regional client regimes in Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, unleash mass murder and mayhem on a once peaceful, sovereign country — and instead of being held to account under international law for their criminal aggression, these rogue states are getting the rest of the world to subsidize their evil enterprise.
The “donor conference” in London this week was the fifth in a series going back to 2012. Last year, the fundraiser fell well short of its appeals. This year, British leader David Cameron went out of his way to give the appeal added urgency.
Writing in the Guardian newspaper, Cameron said: “Sufficient funding to guarantee the basics of life that these refugees need must be the bare minimum expected of us.”
The British premier emphasized the need for more aid given to refugee centers in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, where nearly five million Syrians have been displaced and are languishing in squalid camps.
Cameron’s apparent concern belies his real worry. He doesn’t want any more refugees streaming into Europe and towards Britain. That’s why the British leader is now calling for more international donations and for the cash to be thrown at Syria’s immediate neighbors in order to keep refugees there.
Going back to UN chief Ban Ki-Moon, he told the London conference:
“The situation in Syria is as close to hell as we are likely to find on this Earth.”
Syria is indeed a hell on Earth. Made by people like Cameron and Kerry with whom Ban Ki-Moon was rubbing shoulders with in London this week.
Turkey was represented by prime minister Ahmet Davutoglu who tried to blame the humanitarian crisis on the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad and Russia’s military intervention. Davutoglu’s lies are particularly nauseating given Ankara’s role in acting as a conduit for terror brigades infiltrating Syria and his country’s ongoing threats of outright military invasion.
NATO member Turkey’s role in fueling Syria’s refugee crisis through its regime-change machinations is acutely reprehensible. And yet Ankara is to receive $3.4 billion from European Union taxpayers, allegedly to help with stemming the flow of refugees into Europe.
This is just one aspect of the general trend that Washington and its allies are establishing with breath-taking audacity. They have all but destroyed Syria with their covert war using terrorist proxies, and yet they are getting the rest of the world to pay for their crimes.
The cost of war and imperialist crimes was always offloaded on to ordinary people by their rulers. In that regard, nothing much has changed. Except that the scam has become even more brazen.
On Jan. 26, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held an important year-in-review press conference before an audience of about 150 journalists, including the BBC correspondent Steve Rosenberg and many other well-known representatives of mainstream Western media. The purpose of this annual event is to look back at issues faced by his Ministry over the past year and to give his appraisal of results achieved.
Lavrov’s opening remarks were concise, lasting perhaps 15 minutes, and the remaining two hours were turned over to the floor for questions. As the microphone was passed to journalists from many different countries, the discussion covered a great variety of subjects, including the likelihood of a new “re-set” with the United States, the negotiations over re-convening the Syrian peace talks in Geneva, British Prime Minister David Cameron’s comments on the findings of a U.K. public inquest into the Litvinenko murder, the possibilities for reestablishing diplomatic relations with Georgia, and prospects for resolving conflicting claims over the Southern Kurile islands so as to conclude a peace treaty with Japan.
To the best of my knowledge, not a single report of the event has yet appeared on major online American, French, British and German newspaper portals or television channels. This was not for lack of substance or newsworthy sound bites, including Lavrov’s headline comment that he agreed with Western leaders who said there would be “no business as usual” between Russia and the West.
As part of his opening comments, Lavrov said, “Our Western colleagues sometimes declare with passion that there can no longer be ‘business as usual with Russia.’ I am convinced that this is so and here we agree: there will be no more ‘business as usual’ when they tried to bind us with agreements which take into account above all the interests of either the European Union or the United States and they wanted to persuade us that this will do no harm to our interests. That history is over and done with. A new stage of history is dawning which can develop only on the basis of equal rights and all other principles of international law.”
Regarding a similar news blackout that followed another major Russian press briefing, the sharp-tongued Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova commented, what are all these accredited Western reporters doing in Moscow if nothing gets published abroad? Do they have some other occupation?
In keeping with custom, the Russian Foreign Ministry posted the entire video recording of Lavrov’s press conference on youtube.com and posted transcripts in Russian and English on the www.mid.ru site. The Russian version takes up 26 tightly spaced printed pages. This is what I have used, since I prefer to go to the source and do my own translations when I have the option. The English version probably takes 40 pages, given the normal expansion from Russian to English in the translation process.
What I noted first in the television broadcast on Russia’s Pervy Kanal and then in the transcript was both how well prepared Lavrov was to deal with a plethora of issues and how he gave detailed answers that went on for many minutes without making reference to any notes.
Secondly, it was obvious he spoke more “freely,” using fewer diplomatic euphemisms than I have ever seen before. I conclude that he was given a nod by his boss, President Vladimir Putin, not to hold back, to speak with perfect clarity. Given his experience as one of the longest-serving foreign ministers among the major powers and his innate intellect, Lavrov delivered what sounds at times like dictation for essays in proper written Russian.
For these reasons, I have decided to divide my treatment of the press conference into two parts. One will be Lavrov in his own words. And the other will be my conclusions about the international environment in the coming year given Russia’s basic positions, particularly the possible lifting of sanctions on Russia by the United States and the European Union and how the next U.S. administration can best prepare for relations with Russia, assuming there is no dramatic change in the thinking of American elites.
Sergey Lavrov in His Own Words
From the press briefing, I have extracted several big chunks of text that characterize the overarching views on international relations of Lavrov and the Kremlin, applying their Realpolitik prism and focused primarily on U.S.-Russian relations. This is essential if we are not to lose sight of the forest for the trees.
In questions and answers dealing with all countries but one, we hear about separate issues in various locations around the world holding interest mainly for discrete national audiences with their private concerns. With respect to one country, the U.S., Russia’s bilateral relations transcend the minister’s in-basket of contingencies.
Indeed, the whole Russian foreign policy really is about relations with the U.S. as expressed in the first two of the three passages in quotation marks below. The third passage, on sanctions, would seem to be more about relations with the E.U. I selected it because the issue of lifting sanctions will surely be a key foreign policy issue facing Russia in the first six months of this year, and behind it all looms the U.S. position on the question.
Question: Is a “re-set” possible in this final year of Barack Obama’s administration?
Lavrov: “The question should not be addressed to us. Our inter-state ties sank very low despite the excellent personal relations between former U.S. President George Bush and Russian President Putin. When U.S. President Barack Obama came to the White House and former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered a ‘re-set,’ this reflected the fact that Americans themselves finally saw the abnormality of the situation wherein Russia and the USA were not cooperating to solve those problems which could not be decided without them…
“We gave a rather constructive response to the ‘re-set.’ We said that we appreciate the decision of the new Administration to correct the errors of its predecessors. We achieved quite a lot: the New START Treaty, the entry of Russia into the WTO, an array of new agreements on various conflict situations. But somehow this quickly began to drop back to zero. Now everyone, including our American colleagues, is telling us: ‘Just fulfill the Minsk accords on Ukraine and immediately everything will return to normal. We will immediately cancel the sanctions and tempting prospects of cooperation will open up between Russia and the United States over much more pleasant issues, not just in the management of crises; right away a constructive partnership program will take shape.’
“We are open for cooperation with everyone on an equal, mutually advantageous basis. We, of course, do not want anyone to build their policy based on the assumption that Russia and not Ukraine must fulfill the Minsk accords. It is written there who must fulfill them. I hope that this is well known to the USA. At least, my latest contacts with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, the contacts of Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland with Assistant to the Russian President Surkov indicate that the USA can sort out the essence of the Minsk accords. Grosso modo, everyone understands everything. …
“I have just mentioned that people have begun to promise a new ‘re-set.’ If we fulfill the Minsk accords, then immediately everything will become fine, with splendid and tempting prospects.
“But the cooling off of relations with the Administration of U.S. President Barack Obama and the end of the period associated with ‘re-set’ began long before the Ukraine. Let’s remember how this occurred. First, when we finally got the consent of our Western partners to terms of our joining the WTO which were acceptable to Russia, the Americans understood that it was not in their interests to keep the Jackson-Vanik amendment. Otherwise they would be deprived of those privileges and advantages which are linked to our participation in the WTO. They began to prepare for the removal of this amendment.
“But Americans would not be Americans if they simply abolished it and said ‘Enough, let’s now cooperate normally.’ They dreamed up the ‘Magnitsky Act,’ although I am certain that what happened to Magnitsky was not set up. I very much hope that the truth will become known to everyone. It is disgusting how a provocation and speculation were built up around the death of a man. Nonetheless, this was done and you know who lobbied for this ‘Magnitsky Act,’ which immediately replaced the Jackson-Vanik amendment.”
[The Magnitsky Act was enacted by the U.S. Congress in 2012 with the goal of punishing Russian officials believed responsible for the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in prison in 2009 amid accusations and counter-accusations of fraud.]
“This all began when there was still no Ukraine [crisis], although they now try to lay the blame on violations of OSCE principles. Everything that is going on between the West and Russia is explained by the fact that Russia did not fulfill its obligations, did not respect the world order which was put together in Europe after the Helsinki Act [of 1975], etc. These are all attempts to justify and find an excuse for continuing the policy of containment. But this policy never ended.
“After the ‘Magnitsky Act’ [in 2012], there was the completely inappropriate, overblown reaction to what happened to Edward Snowden, who found himself in Russia against our wishes [in 2013]. We did not know about this. He did not have a passport – his document was canceled while he was in flight. He could not go anywhere from Russia because of decisions taken in Washington. We could not help but give him the possibility to remain in Russia so as to stay safe, knowing which articles of the law they were threatening him with. The Americans made no secret about this. This was done simply as an elementary protection of a person’s right to life.
“U.S. President Barack Obama then canceled his visit to Russia. They made a huge scandal. Dozens of telephone calls came in from the FBI, from the CIA, the State Department. There were direct contacts with the President. They told us that if we do not give up Snowden, then relations will be broken off. The USA canceled the visit. It did not take place but U.S. President Obama came for the G-20 Summit in St. Petersburg, where we, by the way, did something useful – we reached agreement on the principles of the removal of Syria’s chemical weapons.
“Ukraine was just a pretext. The Ukrainian crisis is linked not so much with justified concern over an alleged violation by Russia of the Helsinki principles (although everything began with Kosovo, with the  bombing of Yugoslavia, etc). This was an expression of irritation that the coup d’etat did not lead to the results that were expected by those who supported it.
“I will tell you honestly that we don’t hold a grudge. We have no such traditions in relations between states. We understand that life is tougher than any ideal, romantic scheme like ‘re-set’ or similar. We also understand that this is a world in which there are harsh clashes of interests that come down to us from the age of the West’s total domination and it is in the midst of a long transition period to a more durable system in which there will not be one or even two dominant poles – there will be several. The transition period is long and painful. Old habits die slowly. We all understand this.
“We understand that the USA is interested in having fewer competitors even with regards to those comparable to it in size, influence, military power, economy. We see this in the relations between the USA and China, in how the USA works with the European Union, trying to create a ring around it via the Transatlantic Partnership, and to the east of Russia, to create a Trans-Pacific Partnership which will not include Russia and China. Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke about this in detail when he analyzed the processes at work in the world economy and politics. We understand all of this.
“Surely every age brings with it new tendencies, frames of mind in one or another of the elites, especially in major countries which see in their own fashion the ways to fight for their interests. It would be very bad and ruinous for all of us if these processes moved outside the framework of generally accepted norms of international law.
“Then, simply put, everything would be topsy-turvy, and we would be drawn into a world of anarchy and chaos – something like what is going on in the Near East, perhaps without bloodshed. Each would act as he reckons necessary and nothing good would come out of this. It is very important to observe some kind of general rules of play.
“To answer your question, I would like for the USA to have a ‘re-set’ with the whole world, so that the ‘re-set’ was general, so that we could gather together and reconfirm our commitment to the UN Charter, to the principles embodied in it, including non-interference in internal affairs, respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity and the right of peoples to self-determination, the right of peoples to choose their own future without interference from outside.”
Question: At the Munich Security Conference in 2007 President Putin said to the West “you need us more than we need you.” Is that still Russia’s position?
Lavrov: “Ideally we both need one another to face the challenges and threats. But, the reality is different. The West comes to us much more often for help than we come to the West.”
(Lavrov said that in response to Western sanctions, Russia was striving to be self-sufficient and promoting import substitution, but not trying to cut itself off from the world and ready for cooperation based on equality.)
“We must do everything to ensure we do not depend on the whim of one or another group of countries, above all from our Western partners” – as happened when the West took offense at Russia for supporting ethnic Russians in Ukraine who did not recognize the 2014 coup d’etat.
“I have cited Dmitry Yarosh [leader of the radical nationalists, the Right Sector] that they wanted to destroy Russian speakers in Ukraine or deprive them of their rights. We want to insure ourselves against such situations. …
“I note that it’s not we who are running to our European colleagues and saying ‘Let’s do something to remove the sanctions.’ Not at all. We are focused on not depending on such zigzags in Western policy, not depending on Europe’s saluting the USA. But in our bilateral contacts our European colleagues, when they come to us or meet us in international forums, say: ‘Let’s think of something. Help us carry out the Minsk accords, otherwise these sanctions will do a lot of damage. We want to turn the page.’
“It turns out that in this situation we are needed more by them than they are needed by us. Including for fulfillment of the Minsk accords. … Yes, we have influence in Donbass [the ethnic Russian section of eastern Ukraine] and we support them. Surely, without our help and humanitarian deliveries Donbass would be in a pitiful state. But one also has to exert influence in Kiev. We need the West to influence the Kiev authorities, but so far this is not happening.
“Or look at the question of the Iranian nuclear program. At the decisive stages of these negotiations we were literally bombarded with requests when it was necessary to solve the questions of exporting enriched uranium in exchange for natural uranium, which was the key condition for achieving agreements; when it was necessary to resolve the question about who will convert the enrichment sites at Fordu into research for production of medical isotopes, etc.
“They came with requests to us, requests which carry a significant financial burden, or at least which do not bring any material benefit. But we fulfilled our part of the work. Now everyone is calling us and our Chinese colleagues about the North Korean problem: ‘help us do something to make North Korea observe its obligations.’ Or take the case of Syria….
“I can’t think of any requests we made to our Western colleagues recently. We don’t believe it is proper to make requests. After you sign agreements following negotiations, you now have to execute obligations, not to make requests for favors.”
Question: Will the sanctions end early?
Lavrov: “I’d say that among a large number of our partners there is the awareness that they cannot go on this way any longer, that this is harmful to them. Our justification for speaking about some possible positive changes comes down to the following: our Western partners more and more often begin to understand that they have fallen into a trap of their own making when they said that they will lift the sanctions after Russia fulfills the Minsk accords. They have now understood that, very likely, this was a ‘slip of the tongue.’
“But in Kiev this was heard very often and was interpreted as an indulgence allowing them not to carry out the Minsk accords. Their failure to perform not only means that Kiev does not have to undertake any actions and fulfill its obligations. It also means that the West will have to keep the sanctions in place against Russia. It was necessary to prove all of this to some gentlemen who are in Kiev fanning radical attitudes. …
“The West understands the hopelessness of the present situation, when everyone pretends that Russia must fulfill the Minsk accords but Ukraine can do nothing – not change its constitution, not give a special status to the Donbass, not put through an amnesty, not organize elections in consultation with Donbass. Everyone understands that no one will resolve these things for Ukraine.
“Everyone understands that this is abnormal, something pathological which emerged in turning the Ukrainian crisis, which arose as a result of an absolutely illegal, anti-constitutional coup d’etat, into a measuring stick for all relations between Russia and the West. This is absolutely abnormal, an unhealthy situation, artificially fanned from countries that are far removed from Europe. Europe no longer wants to be held hostage to this situation. For me, this is obvious.”
In presenting these three long excerpts from Lavrov’s Jan. 26 press conference, my intention was to give readers a feel for Lavrov’s method of argumentation and his somber tone in what was delivered without notes and in response to questions from journalists in the audience.
In his prepared opening remarks, Lavrov had already set out some of the key points in the overall approach to international affairs from Russia’s analytical tool of realism and national interest. The number one issue facing Russia and the world from his perspective is to arrive at a new system of managing international affairs. Russia’s relations with the West are part and parcel of this broader challenge.
This wished-for new system would be one built on full equality of relations between states, respect for their interests and non-interference in internal affairs. Lavrov was repeating Vladimir Putin’s call upon nations to re-dedicate themselves to the principles of the United Nations Charter that Putin issued in New York in September 2015 at the 70th anniversary gathering of the General Assembly. The new system of global governance will come about as a result of reforms to the basic international institutions whereby political and economic power is reallocated in ways that reflect changes in relative economic and military power of nations from the days when these institutions were established.
By itself, there is nothing particular new in this vision. It has been in the public domain for years and guided calls for readjusting the voting powers within the International Monetary Fund. The novel element, which will be shocking to many in Washington, was Sergey Lavrov’s clear and repeated identification of the United States as the power frustrating the renewal of world governance by stubbornly defending its hegemonic control of institutions and seeking to consolidate still further its control over its allies in Europe and Asia at the expense of their national interests and in furtherance of its own interests.
Hence, Lavrov’s mention of the TPP and TIPP projects. Hence, his repeated mention of forces from afar, meaning the U.S., that have imposed European sanctions on Russia against the wishes of separate E.U. member states.
At one point, in responding to a journalist from Japan, Lavrov completely abandoned veiled language. He said Russia favored in principle giving a permanent seat on the UN Security Council to Japan, but would do so only when it was clear Japan will contribute its own national views to deliberations, broadening the perspectives on the table, and not merely provide the United States with an additional voting member under its control.
It is interesting that Lavrov explicitly denied that Russia feels “offended,” or as I have written using an alternative translation, “holds a grudge” over how it has been treated by the United States in the downward spiral of relations from the high point of the 2009 “re-set” to today’s nadir.
The context for this remark is the ever-present denunciations in mainstream Western media of Vladimir Putin’s speeches on foreign affairs. Putin’s observations on how things went awry since the end of the Cold War are regularly categorized as “diatribes” and “revisionist,” by which is meant aggressive, threatening and possibly irrational.
Lavrov said Russia acknowledges it is a tough world out there and competition is harsh. That is the true sense of his headline remark that there can be no return to “business as usual” or the idealistic notions underlying the “re-set” even when the current sanctions against Russia are lifted.
Russia is nonetheless open for business on equal and mutually advantageous terms where and when possible. In this regard, Lavrov is in complete agreement with American experts like Angela Stent at Georgetown University who advise the incoming U.S. administration in 2017 against planning some new “re-set.” They come to that common conclusion from diametrically opposed premises over who is responsible for the new reality.
Lavrov speaks of our being in a long and painful transition period from a world dominated by the West, which in turn is dominated by one power, the United States, to a multipolar world with a number of key participants in global governance. But that does not exclude amelioration and he appears to share the view now spreading in Western media, that U.S. and European sanctions will be lifted in the near future.
One recent example of this expectation that generates euphoria in Western business circles appeared in Bloomberg online the day before Lavrov’s news conference: “Russian Entente Nears as Allies Hint at End of Ukraine Sanctions.”
The important message, which Sergey Lavrov delivered on Jan. 26, is that Russia has not and will not mend its ways. He told us Russia did not beg for relief from sanctions and is not trading its support for Bashar al-Assad in Syria in return for relief over Ukraine.
We may be sure that the United States and the European Union will present the lifting of sanctions as a trade-off. But the reality will be a retreat from a policy that is unsustainable because it harms Western interests far more than Russian interests. This was the sense of Lavrov’s insistence that the West needs Russia more than Russia needs the West.
The present, ongoing economic harm to European farmers and other select sectors of the economy from Russia’s tit-for-tat embargo is obvious. The harm to U.S. interests is more subtle.
It was recently highlighted in an article published in Foreign Affairs magazine by a research fellow of the Cato Institute entitled “Not-So Smart Sanctions.” There we read that the Washington establishment is finally worried over the creation by Russia and China of alternative global financial institutions to those based in Washington.
The BRICS Bank, the Asia Infrastructure Development Bank, the introduction of bank clearing centers competing with SWIFT: all are intended to end, once and for all, America’s possibilities for inflicting crippling economic pain on those falling into its latest list of enemies as was done to punish the Kremlin over annexation of Crimea and intervention in Donbass.
Lavrov spoke repeatedly about defending “national interests” as the guiding principle of foreign relations. In this connection, the shadow of Hans Morgenthau, a founder and major theorist of America’s Realist School, may be said to have shared the podium with him. But Lavrov and the Russians have taken to a new level the principles set out in Politics Among Nations, Morgenthau’s famous textbook which generations of American college students once studied in their Government 101 courses.
Lavrov’s Russia is calling upon nations to shed their chains, to stop pushing their national interests to one side while listening to instructions from Washington. Nations should compete and jostle for influence in a free market of ideas and influences, while playing by generally recognized rules.
If the rules are followed, the international environment will not collapse into chaos notwithstanding sharp contradictions between nations.
Gilbert Doctorow is the European Coordinator, American Committee for East West Accord, Ltd. His latest book Does Russia Have a Future? (August 2015) is available in paperback and e-book from Amazon.com and affiliated websites. For donations to support the European activities of ACEWA, write to firstname.lastname@example.org. © Gilbert Doctorow, 2015
Israel’s Diplomatic Wars of Aggression
Israel these days seems to be increasingly at odds with a good portion of the rest of the world. In just the past few months it has quarreled with:
- Spain over arrest warrants issued for Netanyahu and six other Israeli officials for the 2010 attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla;
- Sweden over comments by its foreign minister who has called for an investigation into extrajudicial executions of Palestinians;
- college campus student groups supporting the BDS movement;
- academic associations who have issued calls for academic boycotts of Israeli universities;
- Brazil over its refusal to recognize an Israeli ambassador who hails from the right-wing Israeli settler movement;
- The EU over labeling of products from Israeli settlements.
- The UN over Ban Ki-moon’s recent criticism of the settlements
And really, if truth be known, Israel is probably not too happy just now with Italy either, which recently received Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on a state visit, resulting in a number of agreements between the two countries’ energy sectors as well as cooperation on a future high-speed rail project. Naor Gilon, the Israeli ambassador to Italy, complained that Rouhani was being treated like “the king of the world.”
War with Sweden
All in all, Gilon’s comments would have to be viewed as rather tame, however–at least by comparison. For some of the statements issuing from Israelis now, particularly those aimed at Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, are positively chilling in their level of malice expressed, and frankly it might behoove the Swedish official to consider hiring a bodyguard at this point, if she hasn’t already done so.
As I noted in an article five days ago, Wallström is now regarded in Israel as “public enemy number 1” (the Jerusalem Post’s words, not mine) because of remarks she has made critical of Israel, including a recent call for an investigation into extrajudicial killings of Palestinians.
Now it seems there may be those in Israel hankering for the foreign minister’s blood–literally. If you haven’t read my article, Swedish Media Target Country’s Foreign Minister Following Her Remarks on Israel, I suggest you do so as it will place what follows into greater perspective. One day after posting that article, I became aware of two other articles, one by blogger Richard Silverstein and the other by Jonathan Ofir and posted at Mondoweiss, both of which discuss what appears to have been a scarcely veiled threat on Wallström’s life by a former Israeli official.
The comment was made by Zvi Zameret, a former official in the Israeli Ministry of Education, in an op-ed piece he wrote for an Israeli newspaper owned by Nevada casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. In the article, Zameret waxes lyrical on the 1948 assassination of Swedish diplomat Folke Bernadotte, and then goes on to suggest that Wallström might meet a similar fate. Here is a bit from Silverstein’s commentary on the matter:
Zvi Zameret, the former director for instruction for the Israeli education ministry has written an op-ed in Makor Rishon, Sheldon Adelson’s pro-settler newspaper, praising the 1948 assassination of UN mediator Count Folke Bernadotte by Yitzhak Shamir’s Lehi gang. Zameret accuses Bernadotte of being an anti-Semite and claims that his views originated in a Swedish society that was suffused with this perspective. He claims that ridding the world of the Swedish Count was necessary to protect Israel’s new existence.
He wends his way through a long historical discourse involving material already well-known related to Bernadotte’s proposals, which were rejected by Arabs and Jews alike. Then he brings us up to the present day by alleging that remarks of the current Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallstrom, demanding that Israel be held accountable for the 160 Palestinians killed over the past two months in the latest Intifada, stem from the same well of Swedish anti-Semitism.
Silverstein says Zameret “hints that Wallström herself should share a similar fate to Bernadotte” and then gives us a direct quote from his article as per its English translation:
“What do the things I have mentioned attest about Bernadotte? [They indicate] covert anti-Semitism, ignorance and arrogance, collaboration with senior elements in Israel [Hebrew University President Judah Magnes] and interests that play a decisive role. Has anything changed in the Swedish DNA in the decades following Bernadotte’s death? Nothing has changed.
The Swedish foreign minister Margot Wallstrom, in the covert anti-Semitism which characterizes her, along with her ignorance and arrogance, and anticipation of the interests of her future Muslim voters–she too is attempting to battle against the basic foundation of the State of Israel. I am certain that her intentions will be defeated, just as were those of the disreputable Count Bernadotte.
Bernadotte was assassinated by Lehi, also known as the Stern Gang, the same Jewish terrorist group that carried out the Deir Yassin massacre. Zameret’s glorification of his murder doesn’t seem entirely lucid or rational–during World War II Bernadotte negotiated the release of 31,000 prisoners from German concentration camps, including a large number of Jews. After the war, he became the UN Security Council’s unanimous choice, in a vote on May 20, 1948, to try and mediate a settlement in the Palestine-Israeli conflict.
His murder took place September 17, 1948, carried out by a four-man team of assassins. The Stern Gang had been around since 1940. Its stated goal was to terminate the British mandate in Palestine and set up a “new totalitarian Hebrew republic,” and one of its members, Yithak Shamir, ended up becoming an Israeli prime minister. It was Shamir, in fact, who ordered Bernadotte’s assassination. The man who actually pulled the trigger, Yehoshau Cohen, later became a close confidante of David Ben Gurion and was never charged in the case.
In October of 2014, shortly after Wallström took over as foreign minister, Sweden became one of the first Western countries to recognize Palestinian statehood. Wallström called it “an important step that confirms the Palestinians’ right to self-determination” and added that “We hope that this will show the way for others.”
In November of last year, shortly after the Paris terror attacks, Wallström suggested that Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians could be helping to fuel terrorism. She followed that up with a comment in December about Israeli “extrajudicial executions,” and this month called for an investigation of Israel.
“Whether Zameret advocates Wallstrom’s demise explicitly or implicitly is hardly important,” comments Silverstein. “Even if you accept the argument that he isn’t explicit, clearly the reason Bernadotte failed in his mission is that Jewish terrorists assassinated him. When you say you wish her intentions to be defeated just as his were, the line between murder and political defeat becomes exceedingly murky.”
Boycott Sweden! say Israeli Mayors
But of course it isn’t just Zameret. Lots of people in Israel despise Wallström and have “vociferously attacked her contentious words,” as an article here puts it. And this apparently applies to a good many Israeli officials. The same article goes on to give us the low-down on a “boycott movement” launched by 15 Israeli mayors and aimed at Sweden. The mayors were planning to attend a conference in the Scandinavian country in March, but recently announced they have cancelled, while former Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman has also called for a boycott of Ikea.
War With Spain
In November of last year, a Spanish judge issued arrest warrants for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and six other officials in connection with Israel’s 2010 raid on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, a violent episode in international waters which resulted in the deaths of 10 people.
The warrants were issued by Judge Jose de la Mata, and in effect meant that should any of the seven officials set foot on Spanish soil they would be subject to arrest.
“Spain is just the latest member of the international community to accuse Israel of war crimes and pursue Israeli officials over the affair,” the Jerusalem Post reported at the time. And that is indeed correct. Both South Africa and Turkey had previously issued similar warrants.
Predictably, the Israeli government expressed hostility and outrage.
“We consider it to be a provocation,” said an Israeli foreign ministry spokesperson. “We are working with the Spanish authorities to get it cancelled. We hope it will be over soon.”
What do you suppose the words “working with Spanish authorities” might imply? Did it include issuing threats? Whatever it was, it took only two months to accomplish. The arrest warrants were in fact cancelled, according to a report published January 13 by the Adelson-owned Israel Hayom newspaper.
War with Brazil
Brazil, on the other hand, seems to be showing a little more resilience. According to a report here, “Israel and Brazil remain at loggerheads five months after Brazil refused to recognize Israel’s appointment of a right-wing settler as its next envoy to the South American country.”
“Settlers are Zionist agents that the world cannot accept, they steal others’ land, they are an insult to Brazil, to the government, and to millions of Brazilians with roots in the Arab world,” said Brazilian parliament member Carlos Maron.
Maron isn’t alone. A group of 40 retired Brazilian diplomats signed a statement against the appointment of Dani Dayan, who lives in the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Shomron, in the Occupied West Bank. Dayan is an advocate of the settler movement and has made no secret of his views, having widely published articles in the mainstream media, including the New York Times.
“We consider it unacceptable that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, has publicly announced the name of the person he intended to appoint as his country’s new Ambassador to Brazil before submitting it, in accordance to the norm, to our Government,” said the diplomats. The announcement of Dayan’s appointment was reportedly posted initially on Twitter rather than being communicated directly to the Brazilian government.
The statement continues:
This rupture with a diplomatic practice seems to have been on purpose, an attempt to establish facts, since the appointed, Dani Dayan, between 2007 and 2013, was the President of the Yesha Council, responsible for the settlements in the West Bank, which are considered illegal by the international community, and has already declared himself contrary to the creation of the Palestinian State, which counts on the support of the Brazilian Government and was already recognized by over 70% of the UN member States.
Reportedly a group of 200 Brazilian academics have also endorsed a boycott of Israel. Netanyahu has refused to withdraw Dayan’s nomination or to appoint someone more acceptable to the Brazilians. If the Brazilian government stands its ground, it will mean a de facto end to diplomatic relations between the two countries.
War with the EU
On January 18, the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council reaffirmed requirements that export products from the Israeli settlements be labeled as such. More or less as with Sweden, Spain, and Brazil, the EU’s action has prompted cries of Israeli outrage. Netanyahu pronounced his unwillingness to “accept the fact that the EU labels the side being attacked by terror,” while ‘Justice’ Minister Ayelet Shaked called the EU measure “anti-Israel and anti-Jewish.”
Likewise, opposition party leader Isaac Herzog (supposedly a liberal) compared it to the “Zionism equals Racism” resolution passed by the UN in 1974, while Yair Lapid, another opposition party member, denounced the EU for “capitulating to the worse elements of jihad.”
War Against the BDS Movement
In summer of 2015, ‘Justice’ minister Shaked announced she was preparing lawsuits against BDS activists. The announcement was reported at the time by the Times of Israel in a story which also mentions that Shaked has expanded one of the departments within her ministry in order to “push ahead with the program as soon as possible.”
Ministry officials believe that legal circumstances present the option of suing activists for damaging Israeli trade, and for discrimination and racism, based upon laws as they currently exist in various countries, the report said.
So far as I’m aware, no lawsuits have been filed against individual activists, however Naftali Bennett, leader of the Jewish Home Party, seems to be generally in support of the idea of striking back in some manner at the BDS movement.
“Let it be clear to any company or organization that’s considering boycotting us: We will hit back. We will attack our attackers. We will boycott our boycotters,” Bennett said.
“The boycott weapon is a double-edged sword,” he added. “If you’re thinking of boycotting Israel, keep in mind that there are tens of millions of Israel supporters around the world — Jews and non-Jews — with considerable buying power and boycott power. Whoever boycotts Israel will be boycotted. Whoever hits Israel, will be hit back. We will no longer remain silent.”
Bennett’s comments about the “tens of millions of Israel supporters around the world” are perhaps salient. Also last summer, Adelson hosted an anti-BDS summit in Las Vegas with the aim of establishing and funding “successful strategies for countering the wave of anti-Israel activity on college campuses.” Held at the billionaire’s Venetian hotel on the Vegas strip, the conference was attended by a number of wealthy Jews, including Haim Saban.
“The key decision reached at the conference was that there would be a concerted effort to curtail BDS,” reported the Jerusalem Post.
Though Netanyahu did not attend, a letter from him was read aloud to the conference participants. “De-legitimization of Israel must be fought, and you are on the front lines. It’s not about this or that Israeli policy. It’s about our right to exist here as a free people,” the letter stated.
Reportedly the Israeli government intends to allocate NIS 100 million, or roughly $25.2 million, to the anti-BDS effort.
War Against Academic Associations
At a business meeting held in November, members of the American Anthropological Association voted overwhelmingly (88.4 percent) in favor of a resolution to boycott Israeli academic institutions. A similar measure was passed that same month by the National Women’s Studies Association Executive Committee. These aren’t the first boycott actions taken by academic organizations in the US. The American Studies Association, The Association for Asian American Studies, and the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association have all passed academic boycott measures against Israel. And this is just in the US.
Measures have also been passed by academic organizations in Brazil, South Africa, Canada, the UK, and, of course, in Palestine, and probably elsewhere. And perhaps most recently a group of 71 British doctors have called upon the World Medical Association to expel the Israeli Medical Association. The physicians have accused Israeli doctors of “medical torture” on Palestinian patients and want to see a ban on joint projects with Israeli universities.
On January 20, the Science and Technology Committee of the Israeli Knesset held a meeting to discuss the issue (H/T Helvena). A press release on the discussion which took place can be found here on the Knessett’s website. One of those who gave input at the meeting was Peretz Lavie, president of Technion, or the Israeli Institute of Technology.
“We have no complaints against the global academic leadership; our problem is the campuses,” Lavie said. “Initially it was insignificant campuses, but it quickly spread to leading campuses in the United States.”
When Lavie says he has “no complaints against the global academic leadership” he is probably referring to the Association of American Universities, which on January 14, in response to the vote by the Anthropological Association, re-issued an earlier statement in opposition to academic boycotts. The AAU is an organization whose leadership consists of the presidents and chancellors of the 60 universities (in both the US and Canada) that are its members. Membership is by invitation only. The group’s statement opposing boycotts was initially released in 2013 in response to the boycott actions taken by the American Studies and Native American and Indigenous Studies associations.
The group’s re-release of that canned statement from more than two years ago was described by the Jerusalem Post as “a blow to the BDS movement.”
“Students who are exposed to this activity will be the next generation’s senators, and therein lies the great danger in the long term,” Lavie went on in his testimony before the Science and Technology Committee.
“In its report, the American Anthropological Association referred to us as universities of apartheid and decided to conduct a survey on whether the Israeli academia should be boycotted. We have to reach all 12,000 members of the Association. It is a symptom, and if we do not act now, it will spread. There must be one entity that will concentrate all the efforts related to this issue,” he added.
Another person who gave testimony was Ze’ev Feldman of the Israel Medical Association. It was Feldman who informed the committee of the recent statement by the 71 British doctors.
”The sword of the boycott is being raised on the Israeli scientific-medical community,” he said.
Ariel University Chancellor Yigal-Cohen Orgad asserted that Israel has “a real problem with governments, including western governments that encourage boycotts,” while Professor Zvi Ziegler warned, “We are unable to stop anyone with our meager resources.”
Several committee members are also quoted, including Chairman Uri Maklev:
“There is no doubt that the academic boycott phenomenon is expanding and is connected to the financial and consumer boycotts on Israel. Economic and commercial boycotts are associated with politics, but an academic boycott by educated and moderate people has a very strong effect.”
But rather than calling for an end to the settlements, most of the committee members seemed to be of the opinion that the Israeli government needed to devote more resources to fighting the boycott movement. The one exception to this was Arab Knesset member Basel Ghattas:
The world considers the settlements to be illegitimate. You can think differently from the entire world, it is your right, but it is also the world’s right to take measures in order to force you to establish two states.
War with the UN
On October 1, 2015, Netanyahu gave a speech before the United Nations General Assembly that was marked by a 45-second segment during which he paused and projected hostile glares out at those present:
On January 26, 2016, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon broke the UN’s “deafening silence” and, in a rare display of courage, issued a scathing criticism of Israel’s settlement policies.
Progress towards peace requires a freeze of Israel’s settlement enterprise.
Continued settlement activities are an affront to the Palestinian people and to the international community. They rightly raise fundamental questions about Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution.
I am deeply troubled by reports today that the Israeli Government has approved plans for over 150 new homes in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.
This is combined with its announcement last week declaring 370 acres in the West Bank, south of Jericho, as so-called “state land”. These provocative acts are bound to increase the growth of settler populations, further heighten tensions and undermine any prospects for a political road ahead.
The inevitable furious response came quickly, with Netanyahu excoriating the UN chief for helping to “stoke terror.”
“There is no justification for terrorism,” he said. “The Palestinian terrorists don’t want to build a state; they want to destroy a state, and they say that proudly. They want to murder Jews everywhere and they state that proudly. They don’t murder for peace and they don’t murder for human rights.”
He went on to assert that the UN has “lost its neutrality and its moral force, and these statements by the Secretary-General do nothing to improve its situation.”
A Lack of Imagination?
Perhaps most striking in all this is the Israeli lack of imagination–or at least that is one way of looking at it. Nowhere in his hostile comments aimed at his various enemies on the global stage does Netanyahu give the slightest indication of having once thought about halting the settlements and pulling back to Israel’s internationally recognized pre-1967 borders. Ditto with the other Israeli officials quoted above, with the lone exception of the Arab Knessett member. It is almost as if the idea has never even occurred to them.
If that is the case, one could perhaps ascribe all of this to a lack of imagination. Certainly at this point, after 68 years of oppression, it probably does indeed require considerable imagination to conceive of how the two peoples could live at peace. But of course it wasn’t always so. And had Israel, starting in 1967, respected the people of the West Bank, and above all else respected their space rather than crowding them in with settlements and walls and soldiers, a peaceful resolution to the conflict probably could have and would have been achieved by this time.
Yet even now, it isn’t too late. Though it would be politically difficult, Israel could dismantle its settlements (anything is possible when the national will is present) and pull back to the pre-1967 borders–basically the terms of the Arab Peace Initiative proposed back in 2002. If necessary, and it probably would be for a lengthy period of time, UN peacekeeping troops could be deployed along the border.
But Israel’s response to the Arab Peace Initiative was to call it a “non-starter,” and that seems to be its position today as well. And not only is there little prospect of dismantling of presently-existing settlements, but we see even a refusal to halt the construction of new ones. All of which would suggest that Ban Ki-moon is correct and that the settlement enterprise raises “fundamental questions about Israel’s commitment to a two-state solution.”
Or in other words, Israel has no intentions of making peace.
Certainly it’s possible that things could change, and that a new slate of leaders could arise in Israel with the imagination necessary to see the wisdom of complying with international norms of conduct. And that is what its more liberal Jewish supporters in America seem to be hoping for. But failing this, Israel’s wars with the rest of the world are likely to grow in stridency and ferociousness, and at some point could expand from the realms of diplomacy and/or covert operations fully outright into the military arena.
In the “free and democratic system” being pushed upon all other states in the world by the United States and its Western allies, journalists are increasingly unhappy about the repressions they’ve been facing over the last decade, along with constant surveillance and the demand to cooperate with intelligence services. That is why German-speakers have even coined a special term for the Western media – Lügenpresse or “lying press”. It’s no wonder that the credibility of the most famous Western media outlets recently has hit a new low.
Since the days of Richard Nixon no American president was as hostile to the media as Barack Obama – this was stated by the former editor-in-chief of the Washington Post, Leonard Downie in a report that he drafted on the dire situation of the freedom of speech in the United States. According to this report, the Obama Administration has been routinely spying on journalists, while punishing harshly all sorts of whistleblowers. Moreover, the members of the administration feel personally offended when a critical article about its actions appears somewhere in the media. In order to prevent such perceived slights, government officials are being accused of violating the Espionage Act of 1917 that in the first 90 years of its existence was used only three times to convict foreign spies. Yet, in the period from 2009 to 2013 eight US officials went to jail on accusations of providing journalists with the information that could lead to a major scandal. As for US journalists, Leonard Downie notes, they are living in the atmosphere of constant fear, under a sense of being monitored daily.
Despite promises to put an end to the “excessive secrecy” that was imposed by the Bush Administration, Obama has only expanded it further still. It happens so that even the documents that pose no threat to national security whatsoever are being classified today in the West as “Top Secret” to ensure that reporters never get access to them. Since October 2011, civil servants in all US government bodies are being officially encouraged to spy on their colleagues, while employees of federal departments since 2012 are forced to regularly report their contacts with the press, as well as to inform superiors about “suspicious behavior” of their colleagues. The former head of the CIA, Michael Hayden, stated that these measures were adopted to “prevent any contact.” Even the employees of media outlets obedient to Washington, such as the Associated Press and Fox News have been targeted by the Obama Administration.
There’s growing evidence that suggests that Operation Mockingbird, launched by the CIA in the 1950s, has never ceased to exist. The main objective of this operation was to influence both the US and foreign media through agents that were planted among genuine journalists. When the operation was made official, US authorities had more than three thousand permanent and contracted agents of the CIA in hundreds of Western media outlets. And it seems that nothing has changed since those days, since the Western media spreads disinformation, produces propaganda and whitewashes anything that might harm the well-being of Western elites.
But the worst part is that it’s not simply the American media that has been destroyed, since the European media has suffered a similar fate. How else can the bias of the European press be explained?
The Western media is usually tasked with targeting specific individuals who dare oppose Washington. It will suffice to recall the rigid disinformation campaign against Saddam Hussein and the so-called “weapons of mass destruction” that never existed in the first place. Libya’s leader Muammar Gaddafi was subjected to a similar treatment, and now we are hearing revelations made by Hillary Clinton that regime change in Libya was carried out in the best interests of Washington, since Gaddafi had considerable oil and gold reserves at his disposal. A similar propaganda campaign has been launched by the United States against Syria, and especially Russia in light of the Ukrainian crisis. Even the revelations made by the French journalist Laurent Bravard or the speech given by the Director of French Military Intelligence Christophe Gomart in front of the National Assembly of France were ignored by the absolute majority of Western media sources.
The total control of the media by Western intelligence services has become painfully obvious recently. A while ago a German journalist contributing to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Dr Udo Ulfkotte, admitted that all authors are receiving gifts in the form of expensive watches, exotic tours, or stays in luxurious hotels. One can easily live a life of the rich and famous if he’s writing good things about NATO and demonizes Russia. In his book, published under the title Gekaufte Journalisten (Corrupt Journalists), Udo Ulfkotte says that those who write as they were told to, especially those “inspired” by the CIA or other Western intelligence services, are enjoying full protection and regular promotions. The utter and complete control over the Fourth Estate (as the press is usually referred to) exercised by intelligence services and oligarchs has turned the Western press into a political fifth column. As for those people who do not agree with this state of affairs, they simply have no say in the West.
It is impossible to publish facts in the West not simply because of the rigid censorship, but due to the fact that the better part of media outlets are owned by a small group of wealthy individuals. The world’s media, as well as the leading centers of Europe are being dominated by the Wall Street and the City of London, and none of these people, even if they understand the danger of obeying the orders of the few, dare to speak up against the actions of the US. For this reason European media outlets are facing a serious crisis these days.
The extensive amount of pressure that media is forced to live under has become so distinct and apparent that some Western reporters have decided to revolt against the system. A while ago, an American economist and author Paul Craig Roberts noted that we are a witnessing a complete decomposition of Western journalism, while journalists are forced to lie or simply give up their chosen profession.
According to the data published by the Insurge Intelligence project it’s not the media alone that is being used for propaganda purposes, but also search engines like Google as well. While bypassing the democratic norms and laws, Western intelligence agencies are influencing policies and public opinions in the United States and other states, to ensure “information superiority”. It is therefore not surprising that in 2015 the US took 49th place in the World Press Freedom Index, along with El Salvador, Burkina Faso and the Republic of Niger.
Martin Berger is a Czech-based freelance journalist and analyst.
Police in the Netherlands now prefer not to think twice before visiting homes of those who criticize a government policy on migrants, including via social networks, media reports said.
Critiquing the Dutch government’s policy on migrants via social networking websites and elsewhere is now considered a criminal offense in Holland. Dutch police have raided critics’ homes, media outlets reported, citing a recent mass protest in the town of Kaatsheuvel and how some citizens of the town of Sliedrecht had been targeted by the authorities for voicing their criticism of mass migration online.
Earlier this month, hundreds of residents of Kaatsheuvel took to the streets to protest the local authorities’ plans to house at least 1,200 migrants in their town. They carried placards with slogans reading “You do not belong here” and “No to the refugees.”
The government retaliated by sending local police to the addresses of those who had participated in the protest and inspecting their social media accounts.
A police spokesperson admitted that visits to the protesters and requests to delete anti-government posts on social networking websites are “unusual” practices, but maintained that police will continue to monitor the protesters’ accounts in order to uncover the further intentions of their authors.
In an interview with RT, one of the protesters said that police had arrived at his door and asked him if he wanted to remove his Facebook post criticizing the authorities’ migrant asylum policy.
“But my message has already disappeared, and I think it was [removed] earlier by police or Facebook itself. A police officer told me that apart from me, he was due to visit five more protesters. They want us to keep mum and refrain from discussing the topic,” he said.
Robin Tilbrook, leader of the English Democrats Party condemned the activity of the Dutch police as illegal.
“Trying to shut people’s mouths is a totally undemocratic and possibly illegal approach. This is nothing but an attempt to bully people who simply expressed concern about the situation [with migrants],” Tilbrook said.
Meanwhile, the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant has reported that in the past few months, more asylum seekers have voluntarily left the Netherlands, in what can be seen as a show of disappointment with the country’s system for granting refugees asylum.According to the newspaper, about 3,000 asylum seekers decided to leave the Netherlands in 2015. The newspaper said that the main reason for their disappointment was that obtaining refugee status had been too time consuming and left them with few guarantees that they would be reunited with their families.
Jack Letts © Amaze with our planet / YouTube
A 20-year-old boy accused of being the first white Briton to join Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) has distanced himself from allegations suggesting he is a terrorist, calling the claims “awkward.”
More than one year ago, Jack Letts – dubbed ‘Jihadi Jack’ – converted to Islam and traveled to Syria. He has since been accused of fighting for IS, but his family has dismissed these reports, insisting he is carrying out “humanitarian work.”
It is also claimed that Letts is now living under the name Abu Mohammed and has a wife and son.
In private Facebook messages seen by the Independent, Letts denied the claims and said: “It’s sort of awkward when the media thinks your ISIS and you’re not.”
“Maybe they got bored worrying about what colour socks certain celebrities wear and took out the frustration on me? [sic]” he wrote on the social media site.
The suspected terrorist then went on to accuse the media of publishing lies about him because of his faith.
“The formula with the media is simple: English guy became Muslim + went to the Middle East + followed Islam = ISIS + eats babies x evil,” he said.
“It doesn’t help, admittedly, that bare [lots of] different people have used my fb account [some of whom are extreme etc.. and only got my password through one guy I stupidly trusted].”
Responding to allegations that he has been in contact with Omar Hussain, the former supermarket worker from High Wycombe who left Britain to fight for Isis in 2014, Letts said: “I just read that I met with some guy called umar in some article. First time I learn this amongst the other lies [sic].”
Mocking tabloid newspaper reports, he added: “One of the funniest articles was the one were the last sentence was ‘Jack Letts and ISIS have been contacted for comment. Like me and ISIS have like a shared office in which we receive requests for comment and were still thinking about whether to reply or not.”
Earlier this week, Letts’ mother Sally dismissed reports suggesting her son is a terrorist, saying they are “absolutely ridiculous.”
“He is not a member of ISIS, he is very probably not the first white convert that has gone out there. He does not have a son and is not known as Abu Mohammed,” she told the Evening Standard.
“We spoke to him yesterday and he said he had never had a weapon in his life. He went out there for humanitarian purposes to help kids in Syrian refugee camps.
“It is not as if he is hiding – he tells us what he has for breakfast. All this is absolutely ridiculous, it is shocking,” his mother continued.
‘Did talk passionately about ISIS’
However, according to the Mail Online, Letts is a frontline fighter for the terrorist group.
One anonymous source, believed to be a friend of Letts, claimed he started to “talk passionately about ISIS” after he befriended a group of Muslim boys at school.
“He started befriending a group of Muslim boys at the school and that exposed him to Islam. I noticed he started becoming very preachy and was using Arabic, which was strange because I only ever saw him as a typical Oxford boy,” the source told the paper.
“He did talk passionately about ISIS, but I always assumed he meant he opposed them, not that he would join them.”
Some 800 British citizens are thought to have traveled to Iraq and Syria and there are growing fears about them returning to the UK to plot terror attacks in Britain.
Earlier this month, Home Secretary Theresa May announced nearly 400 of the 800 Britons who traveled to Syria since the start of the civil war have returned.
“Since the start of the conflict in Syria, more than 800 people from the UK who are of national security concern are thought to have travelled to the region, and we believe that around half of those have returned. Those who have travelled include young women and families,” May told the House of Commons.
‘Great need to strengthen EU’s response to terror’
In a report published on Monday, International police agency Europol warned that IS is preparing to bring mayhem to the streets of Europe, similar to the suicide bombings and shootings which left 130 people dead in Paris in November.
Apart from the jihadist group’s main bases in Syria, it has “smaller-scale training camps in the EU and Balkan [region],” Europol found.
The report says there is “every reason” to expect another IS-led terror attack in the coming months, as the group has a new “combat style capability.”
“There is every reason to expect that IS, IS-inspired terrorists or another religiously inspired terrorist group will undertake a terrorist attack somewhere in Europe again, intended to cause mass casualties amongst the civilian population,” Europol said in the report.
In a statement, Europol stressed that the threat of further terror attacks in Europe remains high, but added that there is a “great need” within the EU to “strengthen our response to terror.”
The publication of Europol’s report comes after the release of IS’ new propaganda video, showing the alleged Paris attackers participating in murders in a desert.
France says the state of emergency put in place in Paris after last November’s deadly terror attacks by Daesh will be extended until the world could totally get rid of the Takfiri terror group.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said in an interview with BBC Europe that France would seek to keep the state of emergency in place until the end of what he called the “global war” against Daesh terrorists.
“As long as the threat is there, we must use all the means,” he said, adding the state of emergency should stay in place “until we can get rid of Daesh.”
The French premier also called for a “total, global and ruthless” war against Daesh, which has swathes of land under control in Iraq and Syria since June 2014.
The state of emergency was imposed assailants struck at least six different venues in and around Paris on November 13, 2015. The terrorist attacks, claimed by Daesh, left 130 people dead and over 350 others wounded.
The exceptional measures adopted under the state of emergency empower the French police to keep people in their homes without trial, searching houses without judicial approval and blocking suspicious websites.
The new measures also include a ban on public demonstrations and allow authorities to dissolve groups inciting any acts that seriously affect public order in France.
UN rights specialists have called on the French government not to extend the state of emergency beyond February 2016 and instead ensure protection against any abuse of power while combating terror.
A number of French nationals are fighting alongside terror groups in Syria.
Refugee crisis in Europe
Valls warned that the European Union faces a grave danger from the ongoing refugee crisis.
He said the EU could not take all refugees fleeing the “terrible wars in Iraq or Syria. otherwise,” he added, “our societies will be totally destabilized.”
Europe has been facing an unprecedented inflow of refugees fleeing wars and violence in Africa and the Middle East, particularly Syria.
According to Valls, Europe needed to take urgent action to control its external borders, emphasizing that “if Europe is not capable of protecting its own borders, it’s the very idea of Europe that will be questioned.”
“We cannot say or accept that all refugees … can be welcomed in Europe, “ Valls noted, criticizing German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who called for her European partners to take on quotas of refugees.
He also said the EU needs to say in the strongest terms “that we will not welcome all the refugees in Europe.”
Last year, more than one million asylum seekers – the most since World War II – arrived in the European continent after making dangerous journeys by land and sea.
Everyday, about 2,000 refugees arrive in the European Union, according to official numbers.
Coercive Engineered Migration: Zionism’s War on Europe (Part 3 of an 11 Part Series)
As German independent TV station K-TV has revealed, the current refugee crisis is most likely the brain child of the afore-mentioned US military grand strategist General Thomas PM Barnett. Barnett was a strategic advisor to former US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and currently works with the Israeli military consultancy firm Wikistrat. Wikistrat are close collaborators with US Africa Command (Africom). Barnett’s books The Pentagon’s New Map and Blueprint for Action have had a major influence on US/Israeli global military geostrategies.
A former student of Vice-Admiral Andrew K. Cebrowski, former director of the Office of Transformations in the US Department of Defense, Barnett’s work focuses on integrating Cebrowski’s concepts of Network Centred Warfare, Colonel Boyd’s OODA loop theory, and Lind’s Fourth Generation Warfare, by ‘simultaneously seeking to relate their yin-and-yang interplay to the larger economic reality of globalization’s emergence as the dominant characteristic of today’s strategic environment’.1
Barnett divides the world into ‘functioning core’, ‘non-integrating gap’ countries and ‘seam states’. The first category of ‘functioning core’ countries includes Europe and North America, Russia, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, Brazil and Chile. These are economies which are actively integrating into the global economy. This category is subdivided into ‘old core’ Europe, the USA and Japan and ‘new core’, Brazil, Russia, China and India.
The second major category is the ‘non-integrated gap’. This is made up of the Caribbean Rim, Andean South America, Africa, parts of the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The third category contains some members of the first two. This category is referred to as the ‘Seam States’, countries which surround the Gap — such as Indonesia, Thailand, Pakistan, Turkey, Greece, Algeria, Morocco, South Africa, Mexico and Brazil.
The former Pentagon general has developed the theory of the ‘Five Flows of Globalisation’ — five flows which must come about if US Zionist imperialism is to dominate the world. These involve the free flow of money, security, food, energy and people. The ‘free flows’ theory means breaking down nation-state structures, thus freeing up resources for pillage by US multinational corporations. The inundation of Europe with immigrants from the Southern Hemisphere is a key feature of Barnett’s geo-strategic thinking. That is why it would be wrong to see the immigrant crisis from Libya and Syria as an unintended consequence of NATO policy as some form of unforeseen blowback.
Europe’s top demographers have known for some time that the Southern Hemisphere countries are experiencing a population boom and what that means for Europe’s relative population decline. German sociologist and demographer Gunnar Heihsohn published a major book on this topic, Söhne und Weltmacht: Terror im Aufstieg und Fall der Nationen (Sons and World Power: The Rise of Terror and the Fall of Nations). In his book Heinsohn argues that population youth bulges were the driving factor behind European colonialism and world conquest. From 1900 to 2000 the population of the Muslim World has grown from 150 million to 1,200 million, an increase of 800 percent. He argues that large families tend to produce ‘superfluous’ sons, who, unable to find work at home, emigrate.
Heinsohn contends that these youth bulges can lead to extreme violence as the young men, needing to carve out a place for themselves in the world, often tend to resort to violence in order to survive. This is one of the many factors driving the Islamic State. The youth bulge means boom time for imperialism’s merchants of death, who are harnessing youthful anger and hatred for the fomentation of proxy wars against geopolitical enemies. Heinsohn predicted that Europe would be overwhelmed with Southern Hemisphere youths by 2015.
The German sociologist notes that Islamism is more a tool which enables disaffected ‘superfluous’ sons to justify genocide, rather than an ideology which they necessarily believe in. In other words, once demographic balances have been restored, the Korans will be for sale in second-hand book shops. He gives the example of Spanish and Portuguese conquistadores in the 15th and 16th century who, needing to kill in order to carve out colonies in the New World, made convenient use of the Bible in order to absolve themselves from feelings of guilt.
Heinsohn notes that Europe’s immigration policy contrasts markedly with that of Canada, Australia and New Zealand. In Europe, there are no requirements that immigrants possess the qualifications needed by European economies, whereas in Canada and Australia those with the highest skills are given preference. The result of these policies is that 98 percent of immigrants in Canada have higher qualifications than the native population, whereas in Europe only 10 percent have higher qualifications. At the same time, the percentage of highly qualified Europeans leaving the continent for the Anglophone world is rising steadily every year. In this sense one can understand the logic behind Anglo-Saxon imperialism of flooding Europe with uneducated immigrants, while simultaneously siphoning off the continent’s brains and skills, thus ensuring Anglo-American/Zionist global hegemony. It is the ability to take into account these complex demographic realities which constitutes the importance of Thomas P.M. Barnett’s grand strategy of US globalisation.
In her book Weapons of Mass Migration: Forced Displacement, Coercion and Foreign Policy Kelly M. Greenhill argues that one of the reasons for Europe’s rapprochement with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was the latter’s offer to stem the tide of African emigration to Europe. It would be erroneous, therefore, to suggest that the chaos wrought by the Arab Spring was unintentional. While many European politicians may have wanted to prevent a chaotic overflow of immigration into Europe, the imperial agencies behind the Arab Spring wanted just that.
The mass exodus of migrants/refugees is a central part of the globalisation of class war in accordance with the Pentagon’s long term objectives of global hegemony or “Full Spectrum Dominance”. What we are dealing with here is a well-planned strategy of chaos. To paraphrase Shakespeare, it is madness but there is method in it.
General Barnett’s Wikistrat are heavily involved in the development of ‘crowd sourcing’ and ‘crowd leveraging’ technologies. Investigative journalist Andrey Fomine, using the analyses of the Russian Academy of Sciences, has convincingly shown that most of the twitter entries encouraging refugees/migrants in Turkey to travel to Germany come from the UK, USA and Australia.
What we are witnessing here is a covert war being waged by the Anglo-Saxon Zionist elite against the German Federal Republic. The low-intensity war is using people as weapons to create conditions of social chaos in order to prevent Berlin’s inevitable rapprochement with Moscow. The migrants cannot possibly integrate in German society if the German economy does inot integrate with Eurasia, as Germany will have no viable market for its exports.
Barnett has predicted that Muslim immigrants in Europe will form their own Islamist political parties. In his book Blueprint for Action he quotes approvingly from Oliver Roy’s Globalized Islam, who claims that while in the past working class Muslims would have joined Marxist political movements: “There are now in the West only two movements of radical protest that claim to be ‘internationalist’: the antiglobalization movement and radical Islam. For a rebel, to convert is to find a cause”
Both of these movements, that of ‘human rights’ and ‘jihad’, represent petty bourgeois objections to the global order, but as they do not have a scientific analysis of the capitalist mode of production, they cannot possibly change that order. That is why they are both backed by the forces they supposedly oppose. Hence Barnett welcomes this development:
By channeling their sense of economic and social disconnecteness into political action, Muslims in Europe achieve connectivitiy with governments there that allow for their integration into political life on a peaceful basis while preserving a sense of cultural identity. (p. 292)
In other words, these movements will help increase and further entrench globalization, imperialism and class warfare.
In Europe’s case, this isn’t just the political release valve for both sides but an economic one as well: Europe needs workers to balance its rapidly aging population, while the Middle East needs to be able to siphon off a portion of its huge youth bulge for emigration. (p. 292)
Barnett predicts that the mass migration of people from the Middle East into Europe will lead to a ‘revival of ethnicity’. He argues that their immigration into Europe will generate a paradoxical attitude that will marry Muslim identity politics at home with European human rights evangelism in their countries of origin. He writes:
So when Muslims emigrate from the Middle East and immigrate into Europe, both regions respond to this transaction by becoming, respectively, more Islamic and more European in the near term, until such time passes that new rule sets emerge to define these profound forms of social(family ties), economic( remittances), and ultimately political connectivity. While the movement of Core citizens into the Gap occasionally force Core powers to defend them through military means…. a far more potent form of political connectivity comes in expatriate populations living inside the Core and agitating for their adopted nations to intervene militarily or diplomatically in their countries of origin in response to instability or political repression there. A good example of this, of course, is the role of Iraqi expatriates in the US decision to lead a multinational coalition into that country in 2003 to topple Saddam Hussein’s regime. (p. 294)
This is imperialist grand strategy accounting for demographics, economics, religion and ethnicity. But its core function is similar to the imperialist ideologies of the past: divide and conquer the workers of the world on the basis of religious and ethnic sectarianism, as well as bourgeois values such as human rights, thereby making the world “safe for capitalism” and global imperialist domination.
A recent example of expats mobilising for imperialist intervention in their own country was provided by demonstrations by Eritreans in Germany against President Issias Afwerki in 2012, with the predictable US NGO inspired slogan “Down, down dictator”.
Barnett predicts that Europe and Russia will disintegrate in the 21st Century, leaving only India and China to rival the United States. The US strategist clearly believes that coercive engineered mass migration into Europe, coupled with American occupation of Eastern Europe and the Balkans, will prevent Eurasian integration, whilst securing the US/Israeli control of Europe and the conquest of Africa, thereby establishing US/Israeli global supremacy in the 21st century.
The choreography and mediatisation of the ‘Refugees Welcome’ campaign bears a striking resemblance to the ‘Je Suis Charlie’ campaign launched less than 30 minutes after the first reports of the Paris terrorist attack in January 7th were broadcast.
Many of the migrants are receiving welcome booklets packed with maps and information distributed by an NGO called w2eu,which stands for welcome to the EU.
One is reminded of the non-violent revolution rule book by Zionist ideologue Gene Sharp which was used to train activists in the US/Israeli fomented counter-revolutions in North Africa in 2011.
- Barnett, Thomas PM, 2005, Blueprint for Action: A future worth creating, p.7, New York, Berkley Publishing Group
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM – Mercator, Slovenia’s largest supermarket chain, has removed Israeli products from its shelves – including pomelos, dates and avocados, following pressure from the BDS movement, Ynetnews newspaper reported Wednesday.
The Slovenian ambassador to Israel was summoned this week for a discussion at the Foreign Ministry in Occupied Jerusalem, the same source added.
According to the newspaper, senior Israeli ministry officials explained the seriousness with which the Israeli occupation views the affair.
Israel’s ambassador to Slovenia, Shmuel Meirom, is expected to arrive in the country soon in order to raise the issue with Slovenia’s Foreign Ministry, as well as with Mercator’s management.
In 2014, the chain attempted to boycott Israeli “JAFFA”-branded grapefruits, again following pressure from BDS activists.
The move comes a couple of days after European Union Foreign Ministers pushed for boycotting Israeli products manufactured in illegal settlements, a move dubbed by observers a barefaced condemnation of Israel’s illegitimate settlement policies in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The American and British governments are launching yet another media campaign to demonize Russia, with tall claims that the Kremlin is infiltrating European political parties and news media. The dastardly Russian aim, we are told, is to destroy the European Union.
We’ve already seen versions of this scare tactic with regard to Ukraine and “Putin the new Hitler”. But what this yawn-inducing exercise illustrates is that the old former spell over the Western public held by their rulers no longer works. The opiate of Western propaganda has expired.
Never mind Russia. The EU has no-one else to blame for its present stresses and strains but itself, owing to its craven subservience to Washington’s reckless policies.
Twenty-five years after the end of the Cold War and the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Washington and its trusty sidekick in London are desperately seeking to turn back the clock to the “good old days” when they could control their public through scare stories.
Recall those hoary old bogeyman themes of “Reds under the bed”, the “Red menace”, “Evil Empire”, and so on, when the Western authorities mobilized their populations out of fear and trepidation that “the Russians are coming”.
Looking back now, it seems amazing how this Western brainwashing managed to get away with such scare tactics. And to a large degree it worked back then. It allowed the US and its NATO allies to build up a huge arsenal of nuclear weapons that could annihilate the planet many times over; it permitted the US in particular to militarily interfere in dozens of countries all over the world, subvert their governments and implant brutal dictatorships — all on the pretext of defending the “free world” against “evil Russians.”
Last week, we got a reprise of the Cold War brainwashing formula. Britain’s Daily Telegraph, a notorious purveyor of psychological warfare, ran a report which cast Russia and President Vladimir Putin as a malign specter trying to break up European unity by “funding political parties” and “Moscow-backed destabilization”.
The newspaper, mockingly known as the “Torygraph” because of its deep links with Britain’s rightwing political establishment, quoted anonymous British government officials as saying:
“It really is a new Cold War out there. Right across the EU we are seeing alarming evidence of Russian efforts to unpick the fabric of European unity on a whole range of vital strategic issues.”
It was also reported in the same article that the American Congress has ordered James Clapper, the US National Intelligence Director, to “conduct a major review into Russian clandestine funding of European parties over the last decade.”
European political parties suspected of alleged Russian manipulation include Britain’s Labour party under Jeremy Corbyn, France’s National Front led by Marine Le Pen, as well as others in Netherlands, Hungary, Italy, Austria and Greece, according to the Daily Telegraph.
Not one scrap of evidence was presented to substantiate the story of alleged Russian conspiracy to destabilize European politics. Typical of old Western Cold War propaganda dressed up as “news” the accusations leveled against the Russian government relied on innuendo, prejudice and demonization. Russia and its leader Vladimir Putin are “malign” because, well, er, we say they are “malign”.
What’s really going on here is that the European Union is indeed straining at the seams because massive numbers of ordinary citizens have become so disillusioned with the undemocratic monstrosity. That disaffection with the EU applies to voters of both rightwing and leftwing parties.
Economic policies of unrelenting austerity, rising unemployment and poverty, and draconian cutbacks in public services — while banks, corporate profits and a rich minority keep getting richer and richer — has alienated vast swathes of the EU’s 500 million population.
The EU’s political leadership, whether called Conservative, Liberal, Socialist or whatever, has shown itself to be impotent to create more democratic policies and meet the needs of the public. In the eyes of many Europeans, the established political parties are all the same, all slavishly following a form of capitalist welfare for the already super-rich.
A big part of the problem is that the EU has shown no independence from Washington. The European governments under the harness of the American-led NATO military alliance have blindly joined the US in its disastrous, illegal wars for regime change in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria. Those wars have in turn rebounded to bequeath Europe with its worst refugee crisis since the Second World War. Compounding the hardship is the totally unnecessary and futile standoff between Russia and Europe over the Ukraine crisis. European farmers, businesses and workforces are suffering on account of Washington and Brussels’ policy to have destabilized Ukraine in order to isolate Russia for some geopolitical agenda. On this score, the European governments are especially execrable, since it should be clear that Washington wants to isolate Russia for its own self-interest of displacing Russia as a major energy supplier to the continent. Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
Given all these strands of trouble it is no wonder that European citizens are discontent with their so-called political leadership. The popular contempt for Brussels has grown to record levels, and rightly so.
Europe’s pathetically servile deference to Washington’s economic and foreign policies is manifesting in forms of protest and dissent towards the entire EU project. The rise of Poland’s rightwing, nationalist ruling party is another sign of the times.
But rather than facing the music for the widespread discontent across Europe, what Washington and its pro-Atlanticist allies like Britain are trying to do is make Russia the scapegoat.
The irony is that Washington and London are seeking to blame the woes and growing disunity in Europe on Russia. When it is Washington and London who are the main reasons for why Europe appears to be coming apart at the seams.
To that end, the US and Britain are re-launching the old Cold War epithets to demonize Russia as a way to distract from their own malign and destructive influence on the rest of Europe.
Decades ago the anti-Russian vilification may have worked on the public. Especially when Western news organizations and their CIA, MI6-infiltrated “journalists” enjoyed an effective monopoly over public opinion. Those days are over. The Western public are no longer under the sway of scary stories like little children. There are many alternative information sources out there for them to avail of in order to obtain a more accurate picture.And that accurate picture of European problems does not fit with alleged Russian malfeasance. Rather, the malfeasance is plentifully ascribed to Washington and its lackey European governments.
The attempted rewind of the “red scare” by Washington and London can be easily dismissed for sure. But the interesting thing is that it betrays a deep sign of how these two actors have run out of propaganda ideas with which to distract increasingly restless and angry Western populations.
The people want real solutions to mounting social and economic problems, not stupid scare stories that expired decades ago. The more that the Western public is insulted by such nonsense the more contempt they have for their rulers. The Western capitalist powers, bankrupt and impotent, are at a dead-end. Bring it on.
The only way to solve a refugee problem is to stop generating refugees. Since arriving in Germany 3 ½ months ago, I’ve made this point over and over. Most Germans, though, are only focused on the issue of accepting or rejecting refugees, not on the root cause of it, which is America and Israel’s deliberate destabilization of much of the Middle East and parts of North Africa. Wrecking one Muslim country after another, this evil alliance is also sowing chaos in Europe. To save themselves, Europeans must decouple from these two rogue states.
Germany, though, merely does what it’s told by Uncle Sam, and the German left is too busy attacking “fascists”—that is, everyone they disagree with—to even notice that it is the United States that’s thrown their country into turmoil, but then again, being internationalist, most of these leftists don’t even recognize the concept of nationhood. They’re aiming for an uprising of a mythical international brotherhood.
There are thousands of tribes and hundreds of nations, with even people speaking the same language and sharing the same cultural heritage often disagreeing very violently with each other. Nations exist so nominally like-minded people can set up their society the way they see fit. Even an Austrian does not want to live a German, much less an Afghan. When people defend borders, then, they’re fighting for their way of life, and though men everywhere have done this throughout history, progressives think this imperative can somehow be outgrown by everyone on this earth, all but the evil 1%.
“No man is illegal,” chant progressives, and of course this is true, as well as meaningless. A man’s crossing into another nation’s territory without permission is equivalent to breaking into someone’s home. Desperate enough, millions are doing just that, but even those who aren’t will barge in if the doors are flung wide open, with welcome signs and streamers. A radical progressive might say, “I don’t believe in private property either,” but try to reach for his wallet and see if he’s not a hypocrite.
I just got back from three days in Poland, and though $3 plates of pierogi and $1 pints of beer appeal to me mightily, does that mean I can just move there tomorrow? Invaded by Germany and Russia not that long ago, Poles know the pains of having one’s borders violated. Most people around the world do.
Though you’ve no doubt read many commentaries on the sexual crimes on New Year’s Eve in Cologne, I offer you further insights from a German friend in Frankfurt:
“The incidents have had a considerable impact on the German psyche. What happened in Cologne (and several other cities like Hamburg or Bielefeld) on New Year’s Eve had a new character to them.
For the first time, rather huge groups of foreigners were sexually harassing young women and girls. Cologne alone has over 650 incidents—that is much more than usual. Also, the nature of these acts was new, in that women were treated as meat or toys. Not that this could not happen with German men, but—at least to my humble knowledge—this behavior has never been shown by large groups of German men. You could say that there is a normal cultural barrier and Germans would not step over it.
If, on the other hand, you see women as toys or infidel women as sluts, the behavior makes sense.
Yes, it is a big issue, but I suppose it will fade from focus soon. It will stay in the collective mind, however. As I write this, questions like ‘how to buy a gun illegally’ are flourishing on the German net as do the sale of pepper sprays and self-defense courses.
So the reaction of the German public is mostly disgust and anger, though the media and a large minority try to show these incidents as aberrations which should not be attached to the refugees. This, in turn, makes other Germans angry.
A funny side note: The official media and people who usually complain about women’s rights here have a rather hard time avoiding racism by denouncing these crimes. Therefore, really absurd explanations have been floated, as in Cologne was nothing special or that some of the harassed women must have been racists who used these incidents to make false accusations against immigrants.
The head of the police in Cologne had to resign, but the Minister of the Interior for the Federal Region Nordrhein-Westfalen stays—and he is the one who is really responsible.
So the political reactions are twofold—verbally, everybody condemns these acts, while practically nothing is done to stop the influx of refugees coming here.
It has to be added that, as usually in such cases, the Cologne incidents have been used as an excuse by state officials to call for stricter laws and for more surveillance (as if we didn’t have both already).
The official line could be still summed up as something like this: Immigration is good and necessary and criticism on migrants or refugees is a sign of hate and of being a Nazi. This is still the official mantra in the media. The media didn’t report on Cologne for three days, but then they had to bring it up because it was causing such a storm in the alternative media. Nothing much will change—though I am sure, the state will increase its control mechanisms on the population.
A rather intelligent conspiracy theory muses about the possibility that these acts were ‘staged’ (which I do not share as an explanation) and that they will be used together with similar incidents to one day declare a state of emergency and deprive us of our civil rights, so that in the face of financial armageddon (the big financial crisis looming in the background), the state may rob us of all our savings and our rights with as little resistance as possible (because we need to be protected from nasty migrants and terrorists).
Though I find this theory rather interesting, I don’t think these acts were staged. We do live in an age of ‘scripted reality,’ however, so I believe that—just like in France, where they had introduced a state of emergency after the Paris terrorist attacks, and it is still in place—our government already has the plans on what to do to achieve the goal of creating a police state in Germany, where we can be constantly surveilled 24/7 and have our rights taken away without us fighting against it.
Also, the alternative and official media have been awash since the start of the refugee crisis with reports about refugees who misbehaved in the public (squatting or urinating in gardens of Germans, sexually assaulting women in public swimming pools, starting fights in discotheques, rapes, etc.).
These incidents are somewhat expected because the majority of these refugees are young men without wives or women, and they come from backgrounds where the position of women in society is rather different than in ours.
So some of these young men will misbehave, and since they are not punished—for to send them back to their countries would be racist and, in some cases the country is not known, because quite a few refugees threw away their passports before entering Germany—they are encouraged to continue what they do.
I have personal knowledge from a policeman in Gießen (a town in the middle of Hesse), where there is a huge camp for refugees. He told me of frequent rapes in this camp among the refugees, even of children, but they are not prosecuted by the police (on order from above), because it might create fear in the local population. There were reports about these incidents from a German Women’s Protection Group (Landesfrauenrat Hessen) in August last year—they even wrote an official letter to the Hessian parliament to complain about prostitution and organized rapes in the camp—and guess what happened?
The letter (and the issue) just disappeared—because it might have fuelled anti-refugee sentiments and helped Nazis! THIS is the official German policy—it is ideologically driven and full of cowardice. While on a visit in Gießen, I spoke to some female students living in a student hostel near the camp. They told me that they don’t go out alone anymore, because they were always treated in a way which scared them by some of the refugees.
So Cologne was bound to happen sooner or later, and it will be the first of a long list of unpleasant and nasty and fear- and hate-inducing incidents.
I also expect the rift between migrants and Germans, already big, will increase in size, sadly enough.
It is sad, because it is divide and rule at its best. We are allowed to hate each other so that we may not unite against the real enemy—those who created the situation we are in.
I certainly don’t like my country being flooded with foreigners, but they are just tools in an inhuman and vicious plan, and I hope that more people will come to realize this in time.
So all in all, the signs for the near future are rather bleak. I would think that we will soon see further incidents like those in Cologne and then suddenly a backlash in parts of the German population, followed by (one day, after a terrorist attack) a declaration of a state of emergency—and from this it will only get worse.
The good thing—it will take us some years to get to the bottom.
And as we all know, the only way from the bottom is up.”
Yes, it’s getting grimmer by the second, but those who think Germany is spinning out of control underestimate the shrewdness of Angela Merkel. After all, one isn’t named TIME person of the year for being a dummy. Yes, there was another riot last week in Leipzig, with the right doing most of the vandalism this time. Bars and a kebab shop were trashed. Germans seem ready to kill each other, and the street violence promises to spread to other cities.
Her highness, however, has a solution. By diktat, Merkel has just instituted a draft, not of military-age males, but German females from 18 to 22. Those chosen through a weekly, nationally televised lottery will serve just six months as comfort women for war refugees and economic migrants. This will prevent all incidents of public groping or rape. Social harmony will be restored.
Merkel, “Just as the refugees have been maltreated by fate, us Germans will have a taste of that ourselves, though to a much lesser degree. The nation will forever be grateful to each comfort woman for her smallish sacrifice.”
Upon news of this, the German left celebrate by burning down every currywurst stand across Deutschland. Birthed during the American occupation, that yucky mess deserves its turbulent exit. Thanks to the always tactful mainstream media, the right’s response is unknown. TV news anchors calmly predict that a billion newcomers will arrive next year to be comforted. The left further exude by hurling Molotov cocktails at everyone in a uniform, including garbagemen and fast food wage slaves. Class traitors who have enriched multinational corporations, they deserve to be fried.