Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

UNDERSTANDING THE CAUSES OF THE UNCIVIL WAR

A Brief Explanation of the Impact of the Morrill Tariff

By Mike Scruggs for the Tribune Papers

Most Americans believe the U. S. “Civil War” was over slavery. They have to an enormous degree been miseducated. The means and timing of handling the slavery issue were at issue, although not in the overly simplified moral sense that lives in postwar and modern propaganda. But had there been no Morrill Tariff there might never have been a war. The conflict that cost of the lives of 650,000 Union and Confederate soldiers and perhaps as many as 50,000 Southern civilians and impoverished many millions for generations might never have been.

A smoldering issue of unjust taxation that enriched Northern manufacturing states and exploited the agricultural South was fanned to a furious blaze in 1860. It was the Morrill Tariff that stirred the smoldering embers of regional mistrust and ignited the fires of Secession in the South. This precipitated a Northern reaction and call to arms that would engulf the nation in the flames of war for four years.

Prior to the U. S. “Civil War” there was no U. S. income tax. Considerably more than 90% of U. S. government revenue was raised by a tariff on imported goods. A tariff is a tax on selected imports, most commonly finished or manufactured products. A high tariff is usually legislated not only to raise revenue, but also to protect domestic industry form foreign competition. By placing such a high, protective tariff on imported goods it makes them more expensive to buy than the same domestic goods. This allows domestic industries to charge higher prices and make more money on sales that might otherwise be lost to foreign competition because of cheaper prices (without the tariff) or better quality. This, of course, causes domestic consumers to pay higher prices and have a lower standard of living. Tariffs on some industrial products also hurt other domestic industries that must pay higher prices for goods they need to make their products. Because the nature and products of regional economies can vary widely, high tariffs are sometimes good for one section of the country, but damaging to another section of the country. High tariffs are particularly hard on exporters since they must cope with higher domestic costs and retaliatory foreign tariffs that put them at a pricing disadvantage. This has a depressing effect on both export volume and profit margins. High tariffs have been a frequent cause of economic disruption, strife and war.

Prior to 1824 the average tariff level in the U. S. had been in the 15 to 20 % range. This was thought sufficient to meet federal revenue needs and not excessively burdensome to any section of the country. The increase of the tariff to a 20% average in 1816 was ostensibly to help pay for the War of 1812. It also represented a 26% net profit increase to Northern manufacturers.

In 1824 Northern manufacturing states and the Whig Party under the leadership of Henry Clay began to push for high, protective tariffs. These were strongly opposed by the South. The Southern economy was largely agricultural and geared to exporting a large portion of its cotton and tobacco crops to Europe. In the 1850’s the South accounted for anywhere from 72 to 82% of U. S. exports. They were largely dependent, however, on Europe or the North for the manufactured goods needed for both agricultural production and consumer needs. Northern states received about 20% of the South’s agricultural production. The vast majority of export volume went to Europe. A protective tariff was then a substantial benefit to Northern manufacturing states, but meant considerable economic hardship for the agricultural South

Northern political dominance enabled Clay and his allies in Congress to pass a tariff averaging 35% late in 1824. This was the cause of economic boom in the North, but economic hardship and political agitation in the South. South Carolina was especially hard hit, the State’s exports falling 25% over the next two years. In 1828 in a demonstration of unabashed partisanship and unashamed greed the Northern dominated Congress raised the average tariff level to 50%. Despite strong Southern agitation for lower tariffs the Tariff of 1832 only nominally reduced the effective tariff rate and brought no relief to the South. These last two tariffs are usually termed in history as the Tariffs of Abomination.

This led to the Nullification Crisis of 1832 when South Carolina called a state convention and “nullified” the 1828 and 1832 tariffs as unjust and unconstitutional. The resulting constitutional crisis came very near provoking armed conflict at that time. Through the efforts of former U. S. Vice President and U. S. Senator from South Carolina, John C. Calhoun, a compromise was effected in 1833 which over a few years reduced the tariff back to a normal level of about 15%. Henry Clay and the Whigs were not happy, however, to have been forced into a compromise by Calhoun and South Carolina’s Nullification threat. The tariff, however, remained at a level near 15% until 1860. A lesson in economics, regional sensitivities, and simple fairness should have been learned from this confrontation, but if it was learned, it was ignored by ambitious political and business factions and personalities that would come on the scene of American history in the late 1850’s.

High protective tariffs were always the policy of the old Whig Party and had become the policy of the new Republican Party that replaced it. A recession beginning around 1857 gave the cause of protectionism an additional political boost in the Northern industrial states.

In May of 1860 the U. S. Congress passed the Morrill Tariff Bill (named for Republican Congressman and steel manufacturer, Justin S. Morrill of Vermont) raising the average tariff from about 15% to 37% with increases to 47% within three years. Although this was remarkably reminiscent of the Tariffs of Abomination which had led in 1832 to a constitutional crisis and threats of secession and armed force, the U. S. House of Representatives passed the Bill 105 to 64. Out of 40 Southern Congressmen only one Tennessee Congressman voted for it.

  1. S. tariff revenues already fell disproportionately on the South, accounting for 87% of the total. While the tariff protected Northern industrial interests, it raised the cost of living and commerce in the South substantially. It also reduced the trade value of their agricultural exports to Europe. These combined to place a severe economic hardship on many Southern states. Even more galling was that 80% or more of these tax revenues were expended on Northern public works and industrial subsidies, thus further enriching the North at the expense of the South.

In the 1860 election, Lincoln, a former Whig and great admirer of Henry Clay, campaigned for the high protective tariff provisions of the Morrill Tariff, which had also been incorporated into the Republican Party Platform. Lincoln further endorsed the Morrill Tariff and its concepts in his first inaugural speech and signed the Act into law a few days after taking office in March of 1861. Southern leaders had seen it coming. Southern protests had been of no avail. Now the South was inflamed with righteous indignation, and Southern leaders began to call for Secession.

At first Northern public opinion as reflected in Northern newspapers of both parties recognized the right of the Southern States to secede and favored peaceful separation. A November 21, 1860, editorial in the Cincinnati Daily Press said this:

“We believe that the right of any member of this Confederacy to dissolve its political relations with the others and assume an independent position is absolute.”

The New York Times on March 21, 1861, reflecting the great majority of editorial opinion in the North summarized in an editorial:

“There is a growing sentiment throughout the North in favor of letting the Gulf States go.”

Northern industrialists became nervous, however, when they realized a tariff dependent North would be competing against a free trade South. They feared not only loss of tax revenue, but considerable loss of trade. Newspaper editorials began to reflect this nervousness. Lincoln had promised in his inaugural speech that he would preserve the Union and the tariff. Three days after manipulating the South into firing on the tariff collection facility of Fort Sumter in volatile South Carolina, on April 15, 1861, Lincoln called for 75,000 volunteers to put down the Southern rebellion. This caused the Border States to secede along with the Gulf States. Lincoln undoubtedly calculated that the mere threat of force backed by more unified Northern public opinion would quickly put down secession. His gambit, however, failed spectacularly and would erupt into a terrible and costly war for four years. The Union Army’s lack of success early in the war, the need to keep anti-slavery England from coming into the war on the side of the South, and Lincoln’s need to appease the radical abolitionists in the North led to increasing promotion of freeing the slaves as a noble cause to justify what was really a dispute over just taxation and States Rights.

Writing in December of 1861 in a London weekly publication, the famous English author, Charles Dickens, who was a strong opponent of slavery, said these things about the war going on in America:

“The Northern onslaught upon slavery is no more than a piece of specious humbug disguised to conceal its desire for economic control of the United States.”

“Union means so many millions a year lost to the South; secession means loss of the same millions to the North. The love of money is the root of this as many, many other evils. The quarrel between the North and South is, as it stands, solely a fiscal quarrel.”

Karl Marx, like most European socialists of the time favored the North. In an 1861 article published in England, he articulated very well what the major British newspapers, the Times, the Economist, and Saturday Review, had been saying:

“The war between the North and South is a tariff war. The war, is further, not for any principle, does not touch the question of slavery, and in fact turns on the Northern lust for power.”

A horrific example of the damage that protective tariffs can exact was also seen in later history. One of the causes of the Great Depression of 1930-1939 was the Hawley-Smoot Act, a high tariff passed in 1930 that Congress mistakenly thought would help the country. While attempting to protect domestic industry from foreign imports, the unanticipated effect was to reduce the nation’s exports and thereby help increase unemployment to the devastating figure of 25%. It is fairly well known by competent and honest economists now that protective tariffs usually do more harm than good, often considerably more harm than good. However, economic ignorance and political expediency often combine to overrule longer-term public good. As the Uncivil War of 1861-5 proves, the human and economic costs for such shortsighted political expediency and partisan greed can be enormous.

The Morrill Tariff illustrates very well one of the problems with majoritarian democracy. A majority can easily exploit a regional, economic, ethnic, or religious minority (or any other minority) unmercifully unless they have strong constitutional guarantees that can be enforced, e. g., States Rights, Nullification, etc. The need to limit centralized government power to counter this natural depravity in men was recognized by the founding fathers. They knew well the irresistible tendencies in both monarchy and democracy for both civil magistrates and the electorate to succumb to the temptations of greed, self-interest, and the lust for power. Thus they incorporated into the Constitution such provisions as the separation of powers and very important provisions enumerating and delegating only certain functions and powers to the federal government and retaining others at the state level and lower. Such constitutional provisions including the very specific guaranty of States Rights and limits to the power of the Federal Government in the 10th Amendment are unfortunately now largely ignored by all three branches of the Federal Government, and their constant infringement seldom contested by the States.

The Tariff question and the States Rights question were therefore strongly linked. Both are linked to the broader issues of limited government and a strong Constitution. The Morrill Tariff dealt the South a flagrant political injustice and impending economic hardship and crisis. It therefore made Secession a very compelling alternative to an exploited and unequal union with the North.

How to handle the slavery question was an underlying tension between North and South, but one of many tensions. It cannot be said to be the cause of the war. Fully understanding the slavery question and its relations to those tensions is beyond the scope of this article, but numerous historical facts demolish the propagandistic morality play that a virtuous North invaded the evil South to free the slaves. Five years after the end of the War, prominent Northern abolitionist, attorney and legal scholar, Lysander Spooner, put it this way:

“All these cries of having ‘abolished slavery,’ of having ‘saved the country,’ of having ‘preserved the Union,’ of establishing a ‘government of consent,’ and of ‘maintaining the national honor’ are all gross, shameless, transparent cheats—so transparent that they ought to deceive no one.”

Yet apparently many today are still deceived, are deliberately deceived, and even prefer to be deceived.

Unjust taxation has been the cause of many tensions and much bloodshed throughout history and around the world. The Morrill Tariff was certainly a powerful factor predisposing the South to seek its independence and determine its own destiny. As outrageous and unjust as the Morrill Tariff was, its importance has been largely ignored and even purposely obscured. It does not fit the politically correct images and myths of popular American history. Truth, however, is always the high ground. It will have the inevitable victory.

In addition to the devastating loss of life and leadership during the War, the South suffered considerable damage to property, livestock, and crops. The policies of “Reconstruction” and “carpetbagger” state governments further exploited and robbed the South, considerably retarding economic recovery. Further, high tariffs and discriminatory railroad shipping taxes continued to favor Northern economic interests and impoverish the South for generations after the war. It is only in relatively recent history that the political and economic fortunes of the South have begun to rise.

One last point needs to be made. The war of 1861-65 was not a “civil” war. To call it the “Civil War” is not a historically accurate and honest use of language. It is the propaganda of the victors having attained popular usage. No one in the South was attempting to overthrow the U. S. government. Few Southerners had any interest in overthrowing their own or anyone else’s state governments. The Southern states had seen that continued union with the North would jeopardize their liberties and economic wellbeing. Through the proper constitutional means of state conventions and referendums they sought to withdraw from the Union and establish their independence just as the American Colonies had sought their independence from Great Britain in 1776 and for very similar reasons. The Northern industrialists, however, were not willing to give up their Southern Colonies. A more appropriate name for the uncivil war of 1861-65 would be “The War for Southern Independence.”

But had it not been for the Morrill Tariff there would have been no rush to Secession by Southern states and very probably no war. The Morrill Tariff of 1860, so unabashed and unashamed in its short-sighted, partisan greed, stands as an astonishing monument to the self-centered depravity of man and to its consequences. No wonder most Americans would like to see it forgotten and covered over with a more morally satisfying but largely false version of the causes of the Uncivil War.

Mike Scruggs is an historian who now lives in Hendersonville, NC

 

Principal References and Recommended Reading:

 

Charles Adams; For Good and Evil: The Impact of Taxes in the Course of Civilization, 1993.

 

Charles Adams; When in the Course of Human Events: Argueing the Case for Southern Secession, 2000.

 

Frank Conner; The South Under Siege 1830-2000; A History of the Relations Between North and South, 2002.

 

John G. Van Deusen; Economic Bases of Disunion in South Carolina, 1928. Reprinted by Crown Rights Book Company, 2003.

 

Thomas J. DiLorenzo; The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, 2002.

 

Ludwell H. Johnson; North Against South: The American Iliad 1848-1977, 2002 printing.

 

Mark Thornton; Tariffs, Blockades and Inflation: The Economics of the Civil War, 2004.

 

Principal Reference and Recommended Listening

 

Dr. David Livingston; Rethinking Lincoln: Abe Lincoln and Slavery, Lectures at League of South Conference, 2000. Available on cassette or CD at Apologia Book Shoppe online. A valuable portion of this lecture concerns the Morrill Tariff.

 

Revised 4 June 2005

 

August 16, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , | 3 Comments

‘Africans will be biggest losers after letting foreign military into their continent’

RT | August 9, 2017

Africa has become a staging ground where foreign countries can show off their military capabilities against one another away from their country of origin at the expense of Africans, says African affairs expert Ayo Johnson.

Turkey is gearing to open its largest overseas military base in Somalia.

The United Arab Emirates are building a military base at the port of Berbera, in the self-declared Republic of Somaliland.

Africa is an attraction to foreign militaries: China opened its first overseas military base on August,1 in Djibouti on the Horn of Africa. Djibouti is also currently housing Americans, Japanese and French troops.

RT discussed why Africa has become so popular with the foreign military with Africa affairs expert Ayo Johnson who believes the world powers are turning the continent into the latest theater of military confrontation.

“Back in colonial days, we saw Africa being cut up and carved up by the Western nations. Now we are seeing Africa again being the center ground for the new verge of a proxy war because all these different countries which are founding military bases on the African continent. It is a huge worry,” Ayo Johnson told RT.

In Johnson’s opinion, “it is showing that Africans can’t protect themselves and it is also showing that Africans can’t control their own affairs and ultimately it is finders keepers.”

“We have China who already has a military base of its own, the excuse is that it ultimately wants to protect its own investment which we know it has on the African continent. Also, it says it wants to prevent piracy and to be able to launch against such events,” Johnson said.

“The Americans have similar bases, not to mention the Europeans. So, on the ground itself, ultimately the African continent is becoming the staging ground for the next possibly violent confrontation between the superpowers of the world in their so-called proxy battles,” he continued.

According to Johnson, such interest in the continent might be explained by its strategic location.

“The Horn of Africa is the gateway for many shipping lanes, the protection of that area because of long term standing piracy issues. But others would say it is about land grab, control; it is about influence.”

“The Americans, the British and other Europeans, not to mention the Chinese most recently, all seem to have a huge stake and might show their muscles and their military capabilities against one another. Africa has now become a staging ground from which they can exploit those opportunities away from their own individual countries, a place where they can prowess their military might at the expense of Africans,” Johnson noted.

Despite the increased foreign military presence, the problem of piracy in the region remains unsettled.

“One thing for sure is that piracy still exists and it will continue and is unlikely to stop or to be slowed down.”

“Again in terms of terrorism, Al-Qaeda and ISIS still have strongholds and control, influence in that part of the world and the military bases that are physically positioned there. If they are there to prevent such attacks, I think in the short term or more long term it could create antagonism, create a problem for locals who may want to join those organizations to attack the military powers that are there. So the protection of Africa becomes the reverse, becomes an area where everyone wants to show each other what they are capable of doing and that is the worry, be it terrorist or be it an American, European or even most recently the Turks are also considering having bases there,” he told RT.

Johnson claimed “that comes at the expense of every single African nation – ultimately the biggest losers will be every single individual on the African continent.”

August 10, 2017 Posted by | Militarism | , , , , | Leave a comment

Collateral Damage: U.S. Sanctions Aimed at Russia Strike Western European Allies

By Diana Johnstone | CounterPunch | July 28, 2017

Do they know what they are doing? When the U.S. Congress adopts draconian sanctions aimed mainly at disempowering President Trump and ruling out any move to improve relations with Russia, do they realize that the measures amount to a declaration of economic war against their dear European “friends”?

Whether they know or not, they obviously don’t care. U.S. politicians view the rest of the world as America’s hinterland, to be exploited, abused and ignored with impunity.

The Bill H.R. 3364 “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” was adopted on July 25 by all but three members of the House of Representatives. An earlier version was adopted by all but two Senators. Final passage at veto-overturning proportions is a certainty.

This congressional temper tantrum flails in all directions. The main casualties are likely to be America’s dear beloved European allies, notably Germany and France. Who also sometimes happen to be competitors, but such crass considerations don’t matter in the sacred halls of the U.S. Congress, totally devoted to upholding universal morality.

Economic “Soft Power” Hits Hard

Under U.S. sanctions, any EU nation doing business with Russia may find itself in deep trouble. In particular, the latest bill targets companies involved in financing Nord Stream 2, a pipeline designed to provide Germany with much needed natural gas from Russia.

By the way, just to help out, American companies will gladly sell their own fracked natural gas to their German friends, at much higher prices.

That is only one way in which the bill would subject European banks and enterprises to crippling restrictions, lawsuits and gigantic fines.

While the U.S. preaches “free competition”, it constantly takes measures to prevent free competition at the international level.

Following the July 2015 deal ensuring that Iran could not develop nuclear weapons, international sanctions were lifted, but the United States retained its own previous ones. Since then, any foreign bank or enterprise contemplating trade with Iran is apt to receive a letter from a New York group calling itself “United Against Nuclear Iran” which warns that “there remain serious legal, political, financial and reputational risks associated with doing business in Iran, particularly in sectors of the Iranian economy such as oil and gas”. The risks cited include billions of dollars of (U.S.) fines, surveillance by “a myriad of regulatory agencies”, personal danger, deficiency of insurance coverage, cyber insecurity, loss of more lucrative business, harm to corporate reputation and a drop in shareholder value.

The United States gets away with this gangster behavior because over the years it has developed a vast, obscure legalistic maze, able to impose its will on the “free world” economy thanks to the omnipresence of the dollar, unrivaled intelligence gathering and just plain intimidation.

European leaders reacted indignantly to the latest sanctions. The German foreign ministry said it was “unacceptable for the United States to use possible sanctions as an instrument to serve the interest of U.S. industry”. The French foreign ministry denounced the “extraterritoriality” of the U.S. legislation as unlawful, and announced that “To protect ourselves against the extraterritorial effects of US legislation, we will have to work on adjusting our French and European laws”.

In fact, bitter resentment of arrogant U.S. imposition of its own laws on others has been growing in France, and was the object of a serious parliamentary report delivered to the French National Assembly foreign affairs and finance committees last October 5, on the subject of “the extraterritoriality of American legislation”.

Extraterritoriality

The chairman of the commission of enquiry, long-time Paris representative Pierre Lellouche, summed up the situation as follows:

“The facts are very simple. We are confronted with an extremely dense wall of American legislation whose precise intention is to use the law to serve the purposes of the economic and political imperium with the idea of gaining economic and strategic advantages. As always in the United States, that imperium, that normative bulldozer operates in the name of the best intentions in the world since the United States considers itself a ‘benevolent power’, that is a country that can only do good.”

Always in the name of “the fight against corruption” or “the fight against terrorism”, the United States righteously pursues anything legally called a “U.S. person”, which under strange American law can refer to any entity doing business in the land of the free, whether by having an American subsidiary, or being listed on the New York stock exchange, or using a U.S.-based server, or even by simply trading in dollars, which is something that no large international enterprise can avoid.

In 2014, France’s leading bank, BNP-Paribas, agreed to pay a whopping fine of nearly nine billion dollars, basically for having used dollar transfers in deals with countries under U.S. sanctions. The transactions were perfectly legal under French law. But because they dealt in dollars, payments transited by way of the United States, where diligent computer experts could find the needle in the haystack. European banks are faced with the choice between prosecution, which entails all sorts of restrictions and punishments before a verdict is reached, or else, counseled by expensive U.S. corporate lawyers, and entering into the obscure “plea bargain” culture of the U.S. judicial system, unfamiliar to Europeans. Just like the poor wretch accused of robbing a convenience store, the lawyers urge the huge European enterprises to plead guilty in order to escape much worse consequences.

Alstom, a major multinational corporation whose railroad section produces France’s high speed trains, is a jewel of French industry. In 2014, under pressure from U.S. accusations of corruption (probably bribes to officials in a few developing countries), Alstom sold off its electricity branch to General Electric.

The underlying accusation is that such alleged “corruption” by foreign firms causes U.S. firms to lose markets. That is possible, but there is no practical reciprocity here. A whole range of U.S. intelligence agencies, able to spy on everyone’s private communications, are engaged in commercial espionage around the world. As an example, the Office of Foreign Assets Control, devoted to this task, operates with 200 employees on an annual budget of over $30 million. The comparable office in Paris employs five people.

This was the situation as of last October. The latest round of sanctions can only expose European banks and enterprises to even more severe consequences, especially concerning investments in the vital Nord Stream natural gas pipeline.

This bill is just the latest in a series of U.S. legislative measures tending to break down national legal sovereignty and create a globalized jurisdiction in which anyone can sue anyone else for anything, with ultimate investigative capacity and enforcement power held by the United States.

Wrecking the European Economy

Over a dozen European Banks (British, German, French, Dutch, Swiss) have run afoul of U.S. judicial moralizing, compared to only one U.S. bank: JP Morgan Chase.

The U.S. targets the European core countries, while its overwhelming influence in the northern rim – Poland, the Baltic States and Sweden – prevents the European Union from taking any measures (necessarily unanimous) contrary to U.S. interests.

By far the biggest catch in Uncle Sam’s financial fishing expedition is Deutsche Bank. As Pierre Lellouche warned during the final hearing of the extraterritorial hearings last October, U.S. pursuits against Deutsche Bank risk bringing down the whole European banking system. Although it had already paid hundreds of millions of dollars to the State of New York, Deutsche Bank was faced with a “fine of 14 billion dollars whereas it is worth only five and a half. … In other words, if this is carried out, we risk a domino effect, a major financial crisis in Europe.”

In short, U.S. sanctions amount to a sword of Damocles threatening the economies of the country’s main trading partners. This could be a Pyrrhic victory, or more simply, the blow that kills the goose that lays the golden eggs. But hurrah, America would be the winner in a field of ruins.

Former justice minister Elisabeth Guigou called the situation shocking, and noted that France had told the U.S. Embassy that the situation is “insupportable” and insisted that “we must be firm”.

Jacques Myard said that “American law is being used to gain markets and eliminate competitors. We should not be naïve and wake up to what is happening.”

This enquiry marked a step ahead in French awareness and resistance to a new form of “taxation without representation” exercised by the United States against its European satellites. The committee members all agreed that something must be done.

That was last October. In June, France held parliamentary elections. The commission chairman, Pierre Lellouche (Republican), the rapporteur Karine Berger (Socialist), Elisabeth Guigou (a leading Socialist) and Jacques Myard (Republican) all lost their seats to inexperienced newcomers recruited into President Emmanuel Macron’s République en marche party. The newcomers are having a hard time finding their way in parliamentary life and have no political memory, for instance of the Rapport on Extraterritoriality.

As for Macron, as minister of economics, in 2014 he went against earlier government rulings by approving the GE purchase of Alstom. He does not appear eager to do anything to anger the United States.

However, there are some things that are so blatantly unfair that they cannot go on forever.

Diana Johnstone is the author of Fools’ Crusade: Yugoslavia, NATO, and Western Delusions. Her new book is Queen of Chaos: the Misadventures of Hillary Clinton. She can be reached at diana.johnstone@wanadoo.fr

July 29, 2017 Posted by | Economics | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War

Overview of Gerry Docherty & Jim Macgregor’s Book

By Antony C. Black | Global Research | July 19, 2017

Of the many myths that befog the modern political mind, none is so corrupting of the understanding or so incongruent with historical fact as the notion that the wealthy and the powerful do not conspire.

They do.

They conspire continually, habitually, effectively, diabolically and on a scale that beggars the imagination. To deny this conspiracy fact is to deny both overwhelming empirical evidence and elementary reason.

Nevertheless, for the astute observer of the ‘Great Game’ of politics, it is an unending source of wonderment to stumble across ever more astounding examples of the monstrous machinations of which wealthy and powerful elites are capable. Indeed, it is precisely here that authors Docherty and Macgregor enter the fray and threaten to take our breath away entirely.

Thus, the official, canonized history of the origins of the First World War, so they tell us, is one long, unmitigated lie from start to finish. Even more to the conspiratorial point is the authors’ thesis that – and to paraphrase a later Churchill who figures prominently in this earlier story – never were so many murdered, so needlessly, for the ambitions and profit of so few.

In demolishing the many shibboleths surrounding the origins of the ‘Great War’ (including ‘German responsibility’, ‘British peace efforts‘, ‘Belgian neutrality’ and the ‘inevitability’ of the war), Docherty and Macgregor point the finger at what they argue is the real source of the conflict: a more or less secret cabal of British imperialists whose entire political existence for a decade and a half was dedicated to the fashioning of a European war in aid of destroying the British Empire’s newly emerging commercial, industrial and military competitor, Germany.

In short, far from “sleepwalking into a global tragedy, the unsuspecting world”, Docherty and Macgregor contend, “was ambushed by a secret cabal of warmongers” originating not in Berlin, but “in London”.

I must confess at this juncture to a certain bias in granting credence to such a striking thesis, this if only on general principle alone. After all, one straight look at present day political reality is to look square into the maw of Orwell’s nightmare. Moreover, three decades of independent journalism have led me to conclude not only that virtually nothing of what is presented as ‘news’ is remotely true, but that the conventional writing and presentation of history itself is as phoney as a three dollar bill. Still, one does demand a credible argument or two. Let’s look at a few of those contained in ‘Hidden History’.

The Players

Cecil Rhodes (Source: Wikipedia)

Before launching pell-mell into the argumentative labyrinth it is apropos that we first sketch the central cast of characters of this grim story.

In the beginning there was Cecil Rhodes, the prime minister of Cape Colony but who, the authors remind us, was “in reality a land-grabbing opportunist” whose fortune had been underwritten in equal parts “by brutal native suppression and the global mining interests of the House of Rothschild”. Rhodes had, apparently, long talked of setting up a secret ‘Jesuit-like society’ in aid of furthering the global ambitions of the British Empire. In February of 1891 he did just that enlisting the services of his close associates, William Stead, a prominent journalist, and Lord Esher, a close advisor to the British Monarchy.

Two others were soon drawn into the inner circle of the clandestine group: Lord Nathaniel (Natty) Rothschild of the famous British and European banking dynasty, and Alfred Milner, a brilliant academic and colonial administrator who would quickly become the organizing genius and iron-willed master of ceremonies of the group.

These central four would later be joined by: Lord Northcliffe, the owner of ‘The Times’, who would complement Stead in propagandizing and softening up the British public for war with Germany; Arthur Balfour and Herbert Asquith, two future British Prime Ministers who would provide the needed parliamentary influence; Lords Salisbury and Rosebery who brought an additional wealth of political connections to the table; and Lord Edward Grey, he to whom, in the final analysis as British Foreign Secretary in 1914, it would fall to hammer the final nail in the coffin of European peace.

Of particular importance was the addition of Prince Edward (soon to be King Edward VII) who, despite his playboy image, was, in fact, an astute political operative whose frequent international social forays provided the perfect cover for helping to forge the, often secret, military and political alliances between Russia, France, Britain, and Belgium.

This core Praetorian Guard then extended its tentacles to all reaches of the British (and eventually, international) power hierarchy by vigorously recruiting its ‘Association of Helpers’, the myriad of lower down bureaucrats, bankers, military officers, academics, journalists, and senior civil servants, many, as it turns out, hailing from Balliol and All Souls Colleges, Oxford.

And, too, the legendary Churchill, liberally inflated with his own bombast and well lubricated with Rothschild money, would rise to take his anointed place amongst the war-hungry secret elect.

Early Adventures

The first foray of this elite cabal played out in South Africa with the deliberate fomentation of the (2nd) Boer War (1899 – 1902). Gold had been discovered in the Transvaal region in 1886 and British imperialists were determined to grab it. After a number of failed machinations by Rhodes himself to topple the Boers, the secret elite was dealt an ace when Alfred Milner was appointed high commissioner for South Africa. Seizing the moment, Milner, without passing Go, proceeded straight to war and, in his infamous scorched earth policies and adamant demands for unconditional surrender, demonstrated the general martial philosophy that would later be deployed against Germany.

A map of the British Empire as it was in 1898, prior to the Second Boer War (1899-1902). (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Following the defeat of the Boers, Milner & Co. (Rhodes had died during the ‘peace negotiations’) quickly penetrated the main organs of British imperial governance including the Foreign, Colonial, and War Offices. Arthur Balfour went one better by establishing, in 1902, the Committee for Imperial Defence (CID). The latter proved especially significant in helping to almost completely bypass the British Cabinet in the years, months and days leading up to August, 1914. Indeed, Balfour would prove to be one of only two permanent members of this all-important imperial institution; the other being Lord Fredrick Roberts, commander-in-chief of the armed forces and close friend of Milner. It was Roberts who would later appoint two tragically incompetent hangers-on, Sir John French and Douglas Haig, to their First World War posts overseeing the mass slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Allied soldiers.

The year 1902 also saw the establishment of the Anglo-Japanese Treaty. Britain had long feared for its Far East empire at the hands of Russia and sought to bolster Japan as a counterweight. The alliance bore fruit in the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese conflict in which Russia was dealt a decisive defeat. Always with the long-term goal in mind, however, i.e. war with Germany, Milner et al adroitly switched bait and immediately began wooing Czar Nicholas II resulting in the Anglo-Russian Convention of 1907. In the same period (1904) Britain – with the crucial assistance of Edward VII –  broke its near thousand-year enmity towards France and signed the Entente Cordial with its former rival.

During this same time frame (1905) a more or less secret agreement was made with King Leopold II allowing Belgium to annex the Congo Free State. This was, for all intents and purposes, an alliance between Britain and Belgium; one which was, over the next decade, to be continually deepened with numerous (mostly secret, meaning withheld from the British Parliament) bilateral military agreements and ‘memorandums of understanding’, and which unequivocally put paid to any notion of Belgium being some sort of ‘neutral’ party in the upcoming conflict with Germany.

The core alliance was now complete, i.e. Britain, Russia, France and Belgium, and all that was needed was to secure the fealty and obeisance of the British colonies. In aid of the latter Milner convoked The Imperial Press Conference of 1909 which brought together some 60 newspaper owners, journalists and writers from across the Empire who hobnobbed with another 600 or so British journalists, politicians and military figures in a grand orgy of war-mongering propaganda. The martial message was then duly delivered to the unwitting colonial multitudes. The success of the Conference could be seen most visibly in Canada where, despite the extreme divisiveness of the issue, the nation would eventually send more than 640,000 of its soldiers to the killing fields of Europe, this all on behalf of a tiny handful of British imperialists.

The Moroccan ‘Crisis’

Docherty and Macgregor duly remind us that renowned historian Barbara Tuchman, in her Pulitzer-Prize winning book, ‘The Guns of August’, “made it very clear that Britain was committed to war by 1911 at the latest.” Indeed, preparations for war had proceeded apace since at least 1906.

Still, 1911 marked a turning point when the secret elite first made bold in attempting to ignite war with Germany. The pretext was Morocco. Now, truth to tell, Britain had no direct colonial interests in Morocco, but France and Germany did. By this time the cabal in London – with Edward Grey as Foreign Minister – had inducted a key French minister, Theophile Declasse, into their confidences and were able to engineer what was essentially a false flag operation in Fez. France then followed this up with an army of occupation. Germany posted a minimalist response by sending a small gunboat to Agadir whence the entire British press – reflecting Britain’s ‘deep state’ interests – went into high hysteria condemning German ‘threats to British sea-lanes’ etc. The fuse to war was only snuffed out in the final hour when France’s (recently elected) socialist Premier, Joseph Caillaux, initiated peace talks with the Kaiser. War with Germany would have to wait.

In the meantime, Britain, under the direction of its secret mandarins – i.e. almost entirely beyond Parliamentary review or approval – continued their preparations for war. To this end, for example, Churchill, who by 1911 had been appointed First Lord of the Admiralty, redeployed the British Atlantic fleet from Gibraltar to the North Sea and the Mediterranean fleet to Gibraltar. Simultaneously, the French fleet was moved from the Atlantic to cover Britain’s absence in the Mediterranean. These maneuvers were all strategically aimed at Germany’ North Sea navy. The pieces on the global chessboard were being positioned.

In France the leftist peacenik Caillaux was, in 1913, replaced as Premier with one of the British elites very own ‘helpers’ in the person of Raymond Poincare, a right-wing, rabid Germanophobe. Poincare quickly acted to remove his anti-war ambassador to Russia, George Louis, and substitute him with the revanchist Declasse. Meanwhile in America the secret cabal, acting largely through the Pilgrims Society and through the Houses of Morgan and Rockefeller, machinated to have an unknown but pliable democrat, Woodrow Wilson, elected over the publicly-controlled central bank advocate, President Taft. It was from this lofty perch that the Anglo-American ‘deep state’ launched the US Federal Reserve System, a private central bank dedicated from the get-go to funding the war against Germany.

The Balkan Sting

The simple tale repeated ad nauseam regarding the circumstances surrounding the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand on June 28, 1914, so Docherty and Macgregor tell us, contains as little veracity as, say, the official version of the assassination of JFK two generations later. Indeed, the structural similarities between the two – from the virtual total stand-down of security through to the clear evidence of state complicity (in this case, starting in Serbia, but leading straight to London) – are remarkable. Suffice to say that there was a domino-like chain of events that then ensued – it’s just that the events weren’t driven by base human instincts and ineluctable forces beyond all human control as is commonly proffered, but rather by calculating minds and conspiratorial design.

Thus, immediately following the assassination, there was widespread international support for Austria-Hungary which was widely perceived as the aggrieved party. Nevertheless, the usual suspects, having helped stage the murder in the first place, were able to deftly turn the propaganda tables against both Austria and Germany by means of an ingenious ruse. Having secretly obtained the contents of the ‘Note’, which contained Austria’s (reasonable under the circumstances) demands for Serbian contrition, the secret cabal were able to gain direct input into the crafting of the ‘Serbian Reply’. The ‘reply’, of course, was designed to be unacceptable to Austria. Simultaneously, France’s President, Poincare, decamped to Moscow to assure the Czar and his generals that, should Germany act to uphold its alliance responsibilities towards Austria, France would back Russia in launching a full scale European war. France, naturally, knew that England – or rather its elite imperial clique – was similarly committed to war. It was during this opportune moment, in fact, when Grey and Churchill connived to purchase the Anglo-Persian Oil Company so securing the necessary oil supplies for the British navy.

All the while Kaiser Wilhelm and Chancellor Bethmann were conspicuous in being the only statesmen genuinely seeking peace. Their subsequent vilification by hordes of appropriately housebroken historians thus rings with the same Orwellian tone as the present-day establishment demonization of nations and individuals resisting the American Imperium.

Grey Hits It Home

Having contrived to fan the flames of a local Balkan fire into a general European inferno, British Foreign Minister Grey and Prime Minister Asquith subsequently deployed every dirty trick in the diplomatic playbook to vitiate any possibility of peace and, instead, to guarantee war.

On July 9th, for instance, the German ambassador to London, Prince Lichnowsky, was repeatedly reassured by Grey that Britain had entered no secret negotiations that would play into war. This, of course, was an outright lie. On July 10, Grey then deceived Parliament into believing that Britain had not the slightest concern that events in Sarajevo might lead to a continental war. Meanwhile, the Austrian Prime Minister, Berchtold, was similarly deceived by all three Entente governments that their reaction to the ‘Note’ would not go beyond a diplomatic protest. However, by the 3rd week of July all of these self-same governments did an about-face and declared a complete rejection of Austria’s response.

On July 20, as already noted, the French Prime Minister, Poincare, went to St. Petersburg to reaffirm their two nations’ respective martial agreements. On July 25, Lichnowsky arrived unannounced at the British Foreign office with a desperate plea from the German government imploring Grey to use his influence to halt Russian mobilization. Incredibly, no one was available to receive him. Russia had, in any case, secretly begun mobilization of its armed forces on July 23, while, on July 26, Churchill quietly mobilized the British fleet at Spithead.

None of the foregoing, of course, was subject to democratic oversight. As Docherty and Macgregor put it,

“As far as the [British] public was concerned, nothing untoward was happening. It was just another summer weekend.”

On July 28th, Austria, despite not being in a position to invade for another fortnight, declared war on Serbia. Meanwhile, the British Foreign Office began to circulate rumours that German preparations for war were more advanced than those of France and Russia even though the exact opposite was, in fact, the case. Matters were quickly racing beyond Wilhelm’s control.

On the 29th, Lichnowsky again begged Grey to prevent a Russian mobilization on Germany’s borders. Grey’s response was to write four dispatches to Berlin which post-war analysis proved were, in truth, never sent. The dispatches turned out to be merely part-and-parcel of the elaborate charade to make it look as if Britain (and, specifically, he, Grey) was doing all it could in the effort to avert war. Also on the evening of the 29th did Grey, Asquith, Churchill, and Richard Haldane meet to discuss what Asquith called the ‘coming war’. Docherty & Macgregor once again here emphasize that these four men were virtually the only people in Britain privy to the impending calamity, i.e. not the other Cabinet members, not the members of Parliament, and certainly not the British citizenry. But then, they were its architects.

On the 30th, the Kaiser wired Czar Nicholas a heartfelt appeal to negotiate the prevention of hostilities. Indeed, Nicholas was so moved by Wilhelm’s plea that he decided to send his personal emissary, General Tatishchev, to Berlin to broker a peace. Unfortunately, Tatishchev never made it to Berlin, having been arrested and detained that very night by the Russian Foreign Minister, Sazonov, who, as ‘Hidden History’ cogently evinces, had long been an asset of the secret cabal in London. Under sustained pressure from senior members of his military Nicholas finally relented and on the afternoon of the 30th ordered general mobilization.

The official announcement of Russian mobilization effectively closed all doors to peace. The Germans, realizing that they had been set up, and also realizing that they were about to be attacked on two fronts – from the west by France, and from the east by Russia – finally, on Aug. 1, ordered their own mobilization; tellingly, the last of the continental powers to do so. Here, however, Germany made a crucial tactical error: it elected to follow up its mobilization with a formal, honour-bound declaration of war on France. By doing so it fell deeper into the trap laid by Grey & Co. who had, all along, machinated to do everything possible to guarantee war without, however, being seen to have officially caused the war.

Still, Grey had one last card to play in order to convince both a war-leery Cabinet and House of Commons to abandon their common sense and plunge headlong into a full-scale pan-European war. For just as the myth of ‘weapons of mass destruction’ would, in a later era, serve to advance American imperial aggression, so here did the myth of poor, benighted little ‘neutral Belgium’ carry the banner for British imperialism.

The Speech That Sealed The Fate of Millions

On the 2nd of August, 1914 Prime Minister Asquith convened a special Cabinet meeting to discuss the (manufactured) crisis. Though the Cabinet was in no mood to countenance British involvement in a continental war, they soon found themselves pressured and hedged about by revelations of a ‘web of [military and political] obligations, which they had been assured were not obligations, [and] had been spun around them as they slept’. Moreover, Grey crucially kept from them the fact that the German ambassador, Lichnowsky, had, only the day before (Aug. 1), specifically offered to guarantee Belgian neutrality. Indeed, Grey’s deception might never have come to light but for the fact that Chancellor Bethmann exposed the offer in the Reichstag on Aug. 4th.

With the Cabinet sufficiently brow-beaten, confounded – and deceived, i.e. Asquith, without Cabinet approval or knowledge, had already issued orders for the mobilization of the Army and Navy –  it now only remained to hoodwink Parliament. And so, on Aug. 3rd, Sir Edward Grey took to the pulpit and began what was to be an epic panegyric to the follies of peace and the virtues of war. Here too the audience was not particularly receptive, but the sermon soon gathered force.

Having first set the tone by announcing that peace in Europe ‘cannot be preserved’, Grey then moved on to a stunning series of lies and misrepresentations concerning the intricate and long-formulated military agreements between England, France, Russia and Belgium. According to Grey, they didn’t exist. But what of the dense skein of diplomatic agreements? There were no such agreements, there were no such entanglements. Parliament was ‘free’ to vote its conscience, to exercise its democratic mandate. Just as long, of course, as it didn’t vote for peace.

All of the foregoing was, in any case, mere preamble to the centerpiece ploy of Grey’s speech: Belgian neutrality. That the latter was an out-and-out sham was only surpassed in duplicity by Grey’s concealment, not only from Cabinet but now from Parliament, of Germany’s offer to guarantee exactly the point under contention, i.e. Belgian neutrality. Instead, Grey produced, for dramatic affect, an emotional telegram from the King of Belgium to King George pleading for assistance. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect if it had it been deliberately designed for the occasion. Which, of course, it was. Also pre-planned were the post-sermon affirmations in favour of war by the various opposition party leaders. They had all been vetted and brought onside by Churchill prior to the day’s session. Only Ramsay MacDonald, head of the Labour Party, swam against the well-orchestrated tide of ‘inevitability’ that was the constant and unerring motif of Grey’s martial peroration.

The day’s session ended without debate; Asquith had not allowed any to occur, though he had been pressured by the Speaker of the House to reconvene later that evening. In between Grey sealed the deal, i.e. war, by firing off an ultimatum to Germany demanding that it not invade Belgium even though he, Grey, knew that such an invasion had already begun. As Docherty and MacGregor phrase it, this was a “masterstroke”. War could not now be avoided. And though the night session witnessed a vigorous and substantive debate which largely demolished Grey’s stance, it was all for nought. At the appointed moment Arthur Balfour, “former Conservative Prime Minister and a member of the Secret Elite’s inner circle, rose menacingly. He had had enough.” Using the full weight of his magisterial authority he condemned, ridiculed and dismissed the naysayers’ anti-war arguments as, the ‘very dregs and lees of the debate’. With the Commons thus emotionally bullied into silence, so ended the last chance for peace in Europe.

Plus Ca Change

What strikes one again and again whilst reading ‘Hidden History’ is the ring of truth that resonates from every page, from every revelation. That such a tiny, elite group of individuals, completely beyond democratic control, could determine the fate – and deaths – of millions should shock us. It should, but it doesn’t really. It doesn’t because we see the same phenomenon occurring now, repeatedly, before our very eyes. Indeed, the current state of ‘permanent war’ is, more or less, the unconscious condition of modernity itself.

Docherty & Macgregor have made a fine contribution here. They have gone beyond what David Irving so aptly labelled as the ‘court historians’, i.e. those historians essentially prostituted to elite / establishment consensus, and given us a glimpse of what it really means to write history. And if there is any lesson – or rather counter lesson – we can take from it, it is that we are doomed to repeat history only so long as we listen to those dedicated to obscuring and inverting it. In short, to those who lie to us.

Title: Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War

Authors: Gerry Docherty and Jim MacGregor

Publisher: Mainstream Publishing; Reprint edition (September 1, 2014)

ISBN-10: 1780576307

ISBN-13: 978-1780576305

Click here to order.

Featured image from Amazon

July 22, 2017 Posted by | Book Review, Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , | 2 Comments

US, UK and France Denounce Nuclear Ban Treaty

By David Krieger | CounterPunch | July 13, 2017

The US, UK and France have never shown enthusiasm for banning and eliminating nuclear weapons. It is not surprising, therefore, that they did not participate in the United Nations negotiations leading to the recent adoption of the nuclear ban treaty, or that they joined together in expressing their outright defiance of the newly-adopted treaty.

In a joint press statement, issued on July 7, 2017, the day the treaty was adopted, the US, UK and France stated, “We do not intend to sign, ratify or ever become party to it.” Seriously? Rather than supporting the countries that came together and hammered out the treaty, the three countries argued: “This initiative clearly disregards the realities of the international security environment.”  Rather than taking a leadership role in the negotiations, they protested the talks and the resulting treaty banning nuclear weapons. They chose hubris over wisdom, might over right.

They based their opposition on their belief that the treaty is “incompatible with the policy of nuclear deterrence, which has been essential to keeping the peace in Europe and North Asia for over 70 years.” Others would take issue with their conclusion, arguing that, in addition to overlooking the Korean War and other smaller wars, the peace in Europe and North Asia has been kept not because of nuclear deterrence but in spite of it.

The occasions on which nuclear deterrence has come close to failure, including during the Cuban missile crisis, are well known. The absolute belief of the US, UK and France in nuclear deterrence seems more theological than practical.

The three countries point out, “This treaty offers no solution to the grave threat posed by North Korea’s nuclear program, nor does it address other security challenges that make nuclear deterrence necessary.” But for the countries that adopted the nuclear ban treaty, North Korea is only one of nine countries that are undermining international security by basing their national security on nuclear weapons. For countries so committed to nuclear weapons and nuclear deterrence, is it not surprising and hypocritical that they view North Korea’s nuclear arsenal not in the light of deterrence, but rather, as an aggressive force?

The three countries reiterate their commitment to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), but do not mention their own obligation under that treaty to pursue negotiations in good faith for an end to the nuclear arms race at an early date and to nuclear disarmament. The negotiations for the new nuclear ban treaty are based on fulfilling those obligations. The three countries chose not to participate in these negotiations, in defiance of their NPT obligations, making their joint statement appear self-serving and based upon magical thinking.

If the US, UK and France were truly interested in promoting “international peace, stability and security” as they claim, they would be seeking all available avenues to eliminate nuclear weapons from the world, rather than planning to modernize and enhance their own nuclear arsenals over the coming decades.

These three nuclear-armed countries, as well as the other six nuclear-armed countries, continue to rely upon the false idol of nuclear weapons, justified by nuclear deterrence. In doing so, they continue to run the risk of destroying civilization, or worse. The 122 nations that adopted the nuclear ban treaty, on the other hand, acted on behalf of every citizen of the world who values the future of humanity and our planet, and should be commended for what they have accomplished.

The new treaty will open for signatures in September 2017, and will enter into force when 50 countries have acceded to it. It provides an alternative vision for the human future, one in which nuclear weapons are seen for the threat they pose to all humanity, one in which nuclear possessors will be stigmatized for the threats they pose to all life. Despite the resistance of the US, UK and France, the nuclear ban treaty marks the beginning of the end of the nuclear age.

David Krieger is President of the Nuclear Age Peace Foundation (www.wagingpeace.org).  He is the author of Zero: The Case for Nuclear Weapons Abolition

July 13, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

Terror in Europe – Why Terrorists Are Allowed to Strike

By Ulson Gunnar – New Eastern Outlook – 09.07.2017

The London Bridge terror attack saw a repeat of a now familiar narrative in which every suspect involved had been long-known to both British security and intelligence agencies.

The London Telegraph in an article titled, “Khuram Butt, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba named: Everything we know about the London Bridge terrorists,” would reveal:

The ringleader of the London Bridge massacre never bothered to hide his violent, extremist views. Khuram Butt was so brazen that he openly posed with the black flag of the so-called Islamic State in Regent’s Park in the centre of London for a Channel 4 documentary, entitled The Jihadis Next Door.

Butt and other extremists linked to the banned terror group al-Muhajiroun were even detained by police for an hour over the stunt in 2015 but were released without being arrested.

The al-Muhajiroun terror group is headed by British-based extremist, Anjem Choudary, who for years helped fill the ranks of militant groups fighting governments the US and UK sought to overthrow in Libya, Syria and beyond. Choudary inexplicably escaped the consequences of his open advocacy and material support for known terrorist organizations for years, with the London Guardian in an article titled, “Anjem Choudary: a hate preacher who spread terror in UK and Europe,” going as far as speculating he did so because he was actually an informant or operative working for the British government.

The article would also admit that Butt was under investigation by British intelligence up to the day of the attack:

MI5 and counter-terrorism officers began an investigation into Butt, which remained ongoing even as the 27-year-old launched his terror attack on London Bridge. Butt, who was wearing an Arsenal shirt and a fake bomb strapped to his chest, was shot dead by police on Saturday night.

A second suspect, Rachid Redouane, was repeatedly brought to the attention of police who ignored warnings he was an extremist and a member of the so-called “Islamic State.”

The Telegraph reports that a third suspect, Youssef Zaghba, was also known to police:

He was reportedly arrested at Bologna airport in March 2016 trying to get to Syria and was also understood to be on an Italian anti-terror watch list.

The fact that these three suspects evaded capture and were able to carry out their attack despite being known and even monitored actively by British security and intelligence agencies lends even further credibility to the notion that they and others like them work for the British government, not against it.

Unable to Reach Syria, West’s Dogs of War Bite Local Population 

Networks like al-Muhajiroun and the extremists they cultivate help fill the ranks of “moderate rebel” groups the US, UK, other European nations including France, as well as regional allies like Turkey, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates and Qatar are arming, funding and providing direct military support for in Libya, Syria, Yemen and beyond.

This fact goes far in explaining why extremists are allowed – for years – to openly advocate violence and recruit members into what is essentially a terrorist organization operating under the nose of British security and intelligence agencies – if not with their collective and eager complicity.

While these terrorists are labeled “moderate rebels” when fighting abroad, they are only labeled as such by the Western media out of necessity in an attempt to differentiate them from the extremists that are in fact fighting the West’s proxy war for it in places like Syria.

Suspects like Youssef Zaghba even attempted to travel to Syria to fight among the ranks of Western-backed militant groups – and failing to do so – participated in armed violence in the UK instead. Had he traveled onward to Syria, it would have been innocent Syrians instead of innocent British civilians terrorized, attacked, maimed and killed.

A Strategy of Terror and Tension

And despite the reality of the US and UK along with other European and Persian Gulf allies openly fueling terrorism at home and abroad, in the wake of tragic events like in London, Manchester, Paris, or Brussels, the very government organizations clearly responsible for presiding over these terrorists and their networks, sometimes for months and even years before an attack, are granted even more power to address a problem of their own intentional creation.

These organizations are able to do so in plain sight of the public specifically because of another conflict they openly orchestrate, pitting the general public against one another along lines of “anti-Islamic” fervor versus social justice advocates.

What both sides of this manufactured and intentionally perpetuated divide fail to realize is that Muslims are dying by the tens of thousands in places like Syria actively fighting against extremism springing not from Islam or the Qu’ran, but from the Pentagon, Westminster, Paris, Brussels, Riyadh, Ankara and Doha. It is not a clash of civilizations, but a manufactured conflict designed to perpetually fill the ranks of mercenaries abroad while exploiting their violence at home to procure more power and wealth through fear, anger and hysteria.

With wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and beyond adding up to trillions for defense contractors and including weapon systems designed to fight them, with the F-35 joint strike fighter alone topping one trillion US dollars and as the West continues to openly act with impunity when and where it pleases despite violating the very international law it claims it is upholding globally, it is clear that, for now, this strategy is working.

If and when the general public understands the truth of why their lives are put in danger and their nation’s resources are being squandered abroad instead of at home for building their own futures, this strategy will be less successful. Until then, it appears that simplistic propaganda still works in convincing the public that governments like in London are simply incapable of arresting terrorists who appear regularly on TV, in the media and who openly operate in public with apparent and otherwise inexplicable impunity.

July 9, 2017 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism | , , , | Leave a comment

Macron Cracks Down on French Liberty

By Jonathan Marshall | Consortium News | July 7, 2017

French President Emmanuel Macron — the “great hope” of Europe — told French legislators a few days ago that he plans to extend his nation’s draconian and counterproductive state of emergency for a sixth time later this month — to give his government time to prepare a tough new anti-terrorism law to replace it.

In a breathtaking display of doublespeak, Macron claimed that his plan will “re-establish the freedoms of the French people.” But enshrining into law the essence of France’s harsh anti-terrorism decrees will limit the nation’s hard-won liberties while doing nothing to curb police incompetence, which has repeatedly allowed known extremists to carry out their heinous acts.

Civil liberties and human rights groups have denounced Macron’s blueprint for augmenting the central government’s police powers. His draft law would give local representatives of the Interior Ministry the power to declare security zones, define who can enter or leave them, use electronic tags to restrict the movement of people considered a national security threat, close mosques and other centers of worship, and — with only limited judicial oversight — search private property.

“These measures would trample individual and shared liberties and would lead us toward an authoritarian state,” France’s League of Human Rights declared. “Far from relating only to terrorist acts, these measures would be applied to a wide range of offences. Anyone could become a victim of arbitrary decisions.”

Amnesty International recently condemned the government’s abuse of anti-terrorist emergency powers that restrict freedom of movement and rights to peaceful assembly.

“Under the cover of the state of emergency, rights to protest have been stripped away with hundreds of activists, environmentalists, and labor rights campaigners unjustifiably banned from participating in protests,” said Marco Perolini, Amnesty International’s researcher on France.

Repressing Dissent

In the name of preventing “threats to public order,” the government over a period of 18 months issued 155 decrees banning protests, and 574 measures prohibiting specific individuals from taking part in protests against proposed labor law changes.

The latter statistic is particularly notable because Macron plans to issue sweeping decrees to limit the power of unions over working conditions and company firing policies. Such proposals have triggered mass demonstrations and violent clashes with police, in recent months.

The French government imposed its state of emergency — modeled after one instituted in 1955 during the Algerian war — after coordinated terrorist attacks in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, killed 130 people and injured 368 more. Those attacks followed the January 2015 slaughter of 12 people at the Paris office of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, and of four hostages at a kosher supermarket. The attacks were perpetrated by followers of ISIS and of al-Qaeda in Yemen.

French parliamentary investigation last year found little evidence that either the state of emergency or the showy stationing of troops on Parisian streets did much to enhance France’s security. It concluded that the country’s fragmented and competing security agencies had suffered a “global failure” of communication and coordination.

As it happens, police were well aware of all three extremists who carried out the January 2015 massacres and of leaders of the November 2015 attacks, but lacked the manpower to keep them under permanent surveillance. Indeed, they traveled across Europe and to Yemen and North Africa with remarkable ease, despite official knowledge of their dangerous proclivities.

In the Guardian’s words, “Amedy Coulibaly, who killed four people in a siege at a kosher grocery store in January (2015) and shot dead a policewoman, was a known radical and repeat offender. While serving a prison sentence for his part in a plot to free another terrorist from jail, he had been flagged as radicalized. This information was not passed from prison services to intelligence agencies on his release.”

Breakdown of Intelligence

Recent French press revelations suggest an even worse breakdown of intelligence. It turns out that Coulibaly and two fellow Islamist radicals who committed the January 2015 attacks acquired their weapons, through an intermediary, from a right-wing police informant and former mercenary named Claude Hermant. He claims to have worked as an agent under the supervision of intelligence officers in the customs service and gendarmerie, a national military police force under the Ministry of Interior.

Information about Hermant’s role was suppressed in 2015 by the Interior Minister, who invoked a state secrets privilege. Hermant’s lawyer has filed a lawsuit to lift the ban on discussion of his client’s connection to the intelligence services. A French newspaper has also published explosive emails from a gendarme giving Hermant the “green light” to move cases of weapons, one of which apparently ended up in Islamist hands due to police incompetence.

History is replete with examples of police and intelligence services that allow agents to run amok, often because of inadequate supervision, occasionally for more sinister reasons. Serious investigators have asked whether the Boston Marathon bomber, Tamerlan Tsarnaev, might have been a federal informant. And there seems to be no question but that the al-Qaeda terrorist who led the 1998 Nairobi Embassy bombing and trained most of the organization’s top leadership — Ali Mohammed — was protected by the FBI and CIA.

Granting more powers to such agencies and shielding them from judicial review compounds the problem by preventing exposure and correction of their bureaucratic failures. Ordinary citizens and their liberties are best protected when law enforcement is subject to public review and criticism, not protected by official secrets acts and emergency decrees that cover up their incompetence, disorganization, or lack of resources. The people of America and France both should learn from their respective national failures that freedom is not won by repression.

July 8, 2017 Posted by | Civil Liberties, False Flag Terrorism, Timeless or most popular | , , , | 1 Comment

The nuclear bomb is a weapon of crime and mass destruction

Roland Oldham, head of the nuclear test veterans organization Mururoa e tatou, addresses UN conference to negotiate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 21 June.
By Roland Oldham – International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War – July 3, 2017

Moruroa e Tatou, Tahiti – The nuclear bomb is a weapon of crime and mass destruction.

We should all be well aware of the examples of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, where the consequences still today have effects across generations.

Like those in other places, nuclear tests in the Pacific by France, America and Britain were a crime towards indigenous people, and the defenceless people of the Pacific. It is a racist crime—nuclear racism. This destroyed and contaminated their environment, the natural resources that they depend on to live. The damages are irreversible.

Look at Moruroa for example—137 nuclear blasts underneath the coral atoll have severely fractured the atoll which is sinking down into the rising ocean, leaking radioactive gases and plutonium into the sea, risking disastrous damage for marine life. French authorities have assessed that there is a danger of a landslide of 670 million cubic meters of rock at Moruroa, creating a 15-20 meter tsunami.

The responsible governments used the Pacific as a dumping ground for nuclear waste—in the Marshall Islands, Moruroa, Fangataufa, Christmas Island, and elsewhere. Plutonium is in the lagoon of Moruroa and leaking from the 147 underground test explosion holes in Moruroa and Fangataufa. Not to mention the widespread radioactive fallout from atmospheric nuclear explosions.

There are thousands, millions of victims out there around the world—former test and weapons production site workers, military staff, civilians; women and children. They are invisible. They are voiceless. They have cancers: leukemia, thyroid, others…. Women in French Polynesia now have the highest rates of thyroid cancer and myeloid leukemia in the world. Their children through many generations will be affected by genetic mutations and damage.

It is a poisonous heritage that is left to humanity and future generations.

It is a crime against humanity.

I don’t see much of the word “crime” in the ban treaty: crime against our planet, crime against our environment, crime against humanity. The aim of the treaty is to stop all these crimes.

Why is there no word about these crimes.

Is there pressure from somewhere? Is there censorship?

Have we lost our morality?

But as victims we are not begging for favour, we are just standing up for our rights and our dignity.

There exists an obligation for the nuclear-armed states to compensate their victims, and to make reparation for the damage done to the environment.

There must be no more mushroom clouds producing untold numbers of new victims.

Roland Oldham, the head of the nuclear test veterans organization Mururoa e tatou, addressed the UN conference to negotiate the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 21 June. The above piece is based upon his remarks, which he delivered in French on behalf of IPPNW and ICAN Australia.

July 3, 2017 Posted by | Environmentalism, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | Leave a comment

US police arrest anti-nuclear weapons activists at UN

Press TV – June 20, 2017

A number of anti-nuclear weapons activists have been arrested in New York during a protest against Washington’s decision to boycott negotiations on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

The arrests were made after the activists chanting slogans such as “US join the talks, ban the bomb,” blocked the entrances to the US mission to the United Nations.

The protesters sat in front of the doors before the police moved in. police said they warned the demonstrators that they would be arrested if they did not leave the place.

In March, US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley announced that the United States, Britain and France had decided not to join talks on a nuclear weapons ban treaty.

The United Nations is currently holding a second round of negotiations about the issue.

The world body adopted a resolution in December to negotiate a legally binding instrument to prohibit nuclear weapons, leading toward their total elimination and encouraged all member states to participate.

A total of 113 nations voted in favor of the resolution but 35 countries, including the United States, Britain and France, voted against it. Thirteen countries abstained.

According to the US military’s recent declaration, the United States has 806 deployed ICBMs (intercontinental ballistic missile), SLBMs (submarine-launched ballistic missile), and heavy bombers as well as 1,722 deployed nuclear warheads.

The Pentagon is also equipped with a multiple independently targetable reentry vehicle (MIRV), a highly advanced version of the intercontinental nuclear missile carrying several independent warheads.

June 20, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Solidarity and Activism | , , , | 1 Comment

‘WikiLeaks’ Vault 7 cache shows US – not Russia – hacked past French elections’

RT | June 2, 2017

Any establishment-anointed political candidate wants to say they are under attack by the Russians because it gives them credibility, former MI5 intelligence officer Annie Machon told RT. Political analyst Adam Garrie joins the discussion.

Guillaume Poupard, the head of the National Cybersecurity Agency of France (ANSSI), said on Thursday there’s no trace of a Russian hacking group being behind the attack on Emmanuel Macron’s presidential election campaign.

According to him, the hack was “so generic and simple that it could have been practically anyone.”

RT:  Where does this statement by France’s cybersecurity chief leave the claims of Macron’s team on Russian hacking?

Annie Machon: It leaves rather a lot of egg on their faces. It appears that this attack was of such of low technical level it could have been done by a script kiddie from their mom’s basement. So rather than this hysteria about: ‘The Russians must have done it, the Russians must have done it,’ which reminds me to a certain extent of the Monty Python script that ‘you must always expect a Spanish Inquisition.’ It is beyond parody. We have a situation now where he was trying to make political hay. It seems to me that any establishment-anointed political candidate now wants to immediately say they are under attack by the Russians because it gives them credibility. It is just crazy.

Now, the one thing we do know from this is that the one country that actually has hacked the French election was the USA, and that was back in the presidential election of 2012 where they were not only intercepting the electronic communications, they were actually running human agents in the political parties. We know this because of disclosures through the Vault 7 cache that WikiLeaks put out a month or two ago. For everyone to go around blaming the Russians, when in fact the Americans have been doing this for years, is rather rich?

RT:  Why were members of Macron’s team so sure about Russia’s involvement? Do they know something France’s cybersecurity chief doesn’t?

AM: Obviously not. I think they were just jumping on the bandwagon because it was the sort of cool thing to do. After the fake buildup of the ‘Russians hacked the American elections,’ which started by the way with a leak from the DNC [Democratic National Committee] that was given to WikiLeaks, and somehow it moved into ‘Russians hacked the American election.’

Suddenly it has become established fact in the mainstream media in the West that the Russians are going to hack every Western democratic election. That is patently not the case in France, and it is also patently not the case in Germany, where there has also been a similar panic about Russia trying to hack the forthcoming chancellor’s elections in the autumn this year. In fact, the BND [Federal Intelligence Service] and BfV [Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution,] the two major intelligence agencies in Germany, put out a report in February saying there was absolutely no evidence whatsoever the Russians were trying to do this. Merkel didn’t like that result. She told her intelligence agencies to go away and to find more evidence and to find a case to say that they were indeed trying to interfere in the German elections. It is collective hysteria.

‘Low-level hack’

Adam Garrie, political analyst

RT:  Why were members of the Macron team so sure about Russia’s involvement in hacking the campaign? Do they know something France’s cybersecurity chief doesn’t?

AG: I strongly doubt that. They barely seem to know how to beat Marine Le Pen. But with a little help from their friends in the mainstream media, France and elsewhere they managed to just about accomplish that. It is simply the restating of a tired, old narrative; they have very little else to say. Macron as a man, if you can even really call him that in terms of his personality, is more of a viceroy, more of a governor general than he is a president. Putin, at the press conference he had at Versailles with Macron, questioned whether France is able to even independently conduct its foreign policy in Syria, independent of NATO and the US-led coalition. So these people that really don’t have much to offer their own country, let alone their political masters, are just churning out the narrative again and again. You’ve seen it with Hillary Clinton in America, and her supporters, and you see something similar in France. And likewise, the allegations are based – Donald Trump, probably accurately, said it could have been a 400-pound man in his bedroom somewhere. As the French authorities said today, it was probably the work of a lone hacker, and the hack itself wasn’t at the level of sophistication that would have even required state operators to be behind it.

RT:  Do you think all these Russian hacking allegations during the presidential race had much impact on the final choice of the new president?

AG: I agree with President Putin on this. All of these hacks and allegations of hacks have very little impact on the actual electoral results. People are going to look first and foremost in all countries at domestic issues. Unless you’re in the war-zone that’s what the priorities are going to be for voters. They are going to look at tax; they are going to look at healthcare. They are going to look at living standards, wages, employment, etc. – these sorts of things. This idea that somehow magically Russia is pulling the political strings of various candidates in different Western countries is simply absurd. And I personally give the average voter – whether in France or America – more credit than the mainstream media is willing to give him.

June 2, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 1 Comment

Vladimir Putin BLASTS the US deep state

By Adam Garrie | The Duran | May 31, 2017

Russian President Vladimir Putin has given an interview with France’s Le Figaro in which he said that Russia had “no special expectations” about the election of US President Donald Trump.

Putin then described how a US President can often have his ideals totally crushed by what is known as the deep state upon entering the White House. Putin likened Trump’s inability to implement his desire to change US policy towards Russia with Barack Obama’s failure to shut down the still operational Guantanamo Bay prison camp in spite of campaigning on the pledge to shut it down.

Putin stated,

“When a person is elected, they may have some ideas. Then people with briefcases arrive, well dressed, wearing dark suits… These people start explaining how things are done. And instantly, everything changes”.

Putin told the French media outlet that the situation of a President being constrained by the existing deep state power structure is uniquely American stating,

“Can you imagine France or Russia acting this way? This would have been a disaster. But it is possible in the United States and continues to this day”.

Of course, France doesn’t need a domestic deep state to constrain its elected leaders, that’s what NATO and the EU is for, something Putin implied during his press conference with French President Emmanuel Macron.

President Putin did however express continued signs of optimism when it comes to Trump the man, as opposed to Trump the leader compromised by the US deep state. Putin said that he appreciated Trump’s “pragmatic and understandable approach” to NATO and also stated that, “… I am cautiously optimistic, and I think that we can and should be able to reach agreements on key issues”.

Putin then turned to the continued Russiagate fiasco saying

“As President Trump once said, and I think that he was totally right when he said it could have been someone sitting on their bed or somebody intentionally inserted a flash drive with the name of a Russian national, or something like that”.

Putin then turned to Trump’s opponents, echoing Trump’s words that the entire ‘Russian hacking’ allegations stem from the Democrats’ inability to admit that they ran a disastrous campaign,

“They are absolutely reluctant to admit this, and prefer deluding themselves and others into thinking it was not their fault, that their policy was correct, they did all the right things, but someone from the outside thwarted them. But it was not so. They just lost and they have to admit it”.

Putin said the simple fact is that Trump was “closer to the people and better understood what ordinary voters want”, something Putin ought to understand as he has won many more elections than Hillary Clinton ever has done.

Putin lamented the fact that the Russiagate domestic scandal in the US has created a harmful international relations environment but ended on a more circumspect note, saying,

“But it will pass, everything passes and this will pass as well”.

May 31, 2017 Posted by | Militarism, Timeless or most popular | , , , , | 2 Comments