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Putin, Trump and Manafort

By Margaret Kimberley | Black Agenda Report | November 1, 2017

The American propaganda campaign being waged against the Russian Federation and its president Vladimir Putin has reached a stage of perverse perfection. It is virtually impossible to put forth a dissenting opinion that will be accepted or considered worthy of consideration. The Democrats are leading the charge to silence and censor and they are getting buy-in from people who otherwise consider themselves to be progressive.

This columnist has been interviewed on Radio Sputnik on two occasions. That fact should not be at all noteworthy but in the current atmosphere of Russophobia being pushed by the corporate media and Democratic politicians, it is a risky statement to make. Sputnik International is a Russian government entity, just as the BBC is “state run media” on behalf of the British government and the CBC for Canada. But anyone and anything connected to Russia gets the double standard treatment and is targeted for attack.

Marcus Ferrell was until recently a campaign staffer for Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams. He resigned after the Atlanta Journal Constitution revealed that he had been a guest on the program By Any Means Necessary which is hosted by Sputnik. Ferrell didn’t discuss Russia at all. Confederate monuments were the topic of conversation. But the level of fear is so great that he felt compelled to resign. His boss made no effort to fight against the tide and she didn’t defend him either.

Every day a new shoe drops in this faux scandal. Twitter announced that it would not accept advertisements from Sputnik or RT, formerly known as Russia Today. Sputnik had never even paid for ads on Twitter but why be bothered by facts when ginned up phony outrage is so readily available.

It is Democrats who demanded that Facebook and Twitter stop telling the truth about Eastern European click bait schemes and instead join in that party’s witch hunt. Now we are told that Russian social media posts meant to influence American politics reached 126 million people on Facebook over a two-year period. Of course the last paragraphs of that story reveal that only one out of 23,000 pieces of content actually reached anyone. That fact is too inconvenient and makes for a bad headline.

While social media giants are submitting to marching orders, the state and corporate sponsored Public Broadcasting System (PBS) produced its second anti-Putin documentary in as many years. First “Putin’s Way” in 2015 and now “Putin’s Revenge” feature so-called experts who outdo one another in stoking anti-Russian flames. PBS can never seem to find any expert who can make counter arguments.

While the corporate media compete to see who can dumb down the country the fastest, the legal wheels are turning to get Trump out of office and Russia is the pretext for the action. Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort has been indicted for tax fraud. His indictment is just the beginning of the bipartisan effort to end the Trump presidency. They hope to resume doing the elites’ business without hindrance from the man who is so bad for the neoliberal brand.

Nothing matters to liberals more than getting Trump out of office. Their juvenile political understanding was turned upside down by Hillary Clinton’s defeat and they haven’t been the same since. They are obsessed with the man they hate. They have been fed a steady diet of red meat which explains away their illusions about the failed Democratic Party and the fact that millions of their fellow citizens don’t see the world the way they do.

Paul Manafort was a long time Republican Party operative going back to the days of Ronald Reagan’s presidential campaign. He used his connections to become a lobbyist, a hired gun for governments ranging from Nigeria to the Philippines to Kenya to Romania to Ukraine. Manafort would not be facing serious legal jeopardy if he hadn’t taken on that particular gig.

We are told that Ukraine’s former president Victor Yanukovich was “pro Russian” and that Manafort’s representation proves Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign. Neither statement is true but no one knows outside of the small circle of people who make herculean efforts to educate themselves about world affairs.

As the old saying goes, the fix is in. Manafort is just the first notch on former FBI director Robert Mueller’s gun. He will go after other Trump connected cronies and relatives who have done shady business but that won’t be the reason for the pursuit. There are many sleazy American lobbyists and business people but no one cares until there is a moment when their downfall is politically useful.

Free speech is being undermined, the left are losing their access to media and prosecutors are going after crooks, but not because they want justice to be done. If Putin was trying to destroy America he couldn’t do a better job than the media, crooked politicians and the deluded liberals who all work together.

Margaret Kimberley can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)BlackAgendaReport.com.

November 2, 2017 Posted by | Fake News, Full Spectrum Dominance, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 1 Comment

The Tragic Failure of Ken Burns Vietnam

By Christopher Koch | Medium | September 28, 2017

There is so much to love about this series. The uncompromising scenes of combat, the voices of both Americans and Vietnamese, the historical context, the exposure of the utter incompetence of our military leaders, the terrific music that is frequently exactly where it should be, the slowly revealed powerful still images and Peter Coyote’s wonderful narrative voice. Its tragic failure is its inability to hold anyone responsible for their actions.

Burns and Novick tell us that the war was begun “in good faith by decent people out of fateful misunderstandings, American overconfidence and …” whatever the current threat. That’s probably true of most wars. However, as we used to teach our children, you have to be accountable for your actions. If you kill someone speeding the wrong way down a one way street you’ll get charged with manslaughter even if you’re rushing someone to the hospital.

It’s the lack of accountability, the failure to prosecute those who lied to get us into the war, who encouraged battlefield tactics that resulted in the massacre of women and children, who authorized the indiscriminate bombing of civilian targets, who drenched Vietnam in chemical poisons that will cause birth defects and death for generations.

In order to maintain this central lie, Burns and Novick must establish a false balance between good and evil on both sides. Every time the United States is shown doing something bad, Burns and Novick show us how the Vietnamese also did bad things. In one absurd example, Coyote intones something like, “we called them ‘Dinks,’ ‘Gooks,’ ‘Mamasans;’ they called us ‘invaders’ and ‘imperialists.’” The GI terms are dehumanizing, but the Vietnamese terms are accurate. People who cross 3,000 miles of ocean to attack a country that has done them no harm, are accurately called ‘invaders.’ I suppose you could argue about the ‘imperialist’ charge.

Vietnamese soldiers killed some 58,000 Americans and wounded a couple of hundred thousand more. Burns and Novick put the number of Vietnamese we killed at 3 million, but most experts say it was more like 4 million and Vietnam says its 6 million, with more people continuing to die from unexploded ordinance and Agent Orange. We destroyed 60% of their villages, sprayed 21 million gallons of lethal poisons, imposed free fire zones (a euphemism for genocide) on 75% of South Vietnam. They attacked US military bases in their country and never killed an American on American soil. There are no equivalences here.

Burns and Novick do a good job of explaining that the United States worked with Ho Chi Minh during World War II and that Ho hoped to get our support after the war. They do not mention that having friendly relations with Communist countries was a successful strategy we used with Yugoslavia, because although it was Communist, Yugoslavia was also independent and a thorn in the Soviet Union’s side. Any minimal understanding of Vietnam’s history would have identified Vietnam’s fiercely independent streak. Intelligent leaders (anyone with half a brain) would have adopted the Yugoslav strategy in Vietnam.

This brings us to another central problem of the Burns and Novick series, Leslie Gelb’s smiling recollection (he looks so smug) that nobody knew anything about Vietnam and didn’t for several years. In fact, throughout the series, many people say “we should have known better.” Is ignorance really a good excuse for launching a brutal war and the war crimes that followed? Unmentioned is how easy it was to gather information on Vietnam. French historians and journalists had studied every aspect of the country and its culture during and after their defeat in the French Indo China war. Much of this material had been translated into English. That’s how I figured out in 1965 that we were going to lose the war in Vietnam.

Burns and Novick fail to mention my trip to North Vietnam in 1965 nor any of the other trips to North Vietnam by members of the American peace movement such as Tom Hayden, Staughton Lynd and Herbert Aptheker who went in January 1966 and members of Women’s Strike for Peace who went later. They only show us Jane Fonda’s trip in 1972, when she broadcast to US troops asking them to stop the bombing and was photographed sitting on an anti-aircraft gun. No one else who went to North Vietnam did either of these things.

Our earlier trips to North Vietnam were important, because we were the only Americans to witness the destruction being rained down on North Vietnam. Burns’ documentary shows lots of aerial shots of bombs and napalm going off (Mussolini’s son called them rosebuds blooming in the desert when he attack Ethiopia) but very few shots of the bomb’s effects on the ground in North Vietnam. We hear talk of precision bombing, but those of us who traveled to North Vietnam observed hospitals, schools, churches, markets, and working class neighborhoods utterly destroyed. And this was ten years before the war ended!

The Burns’ documentary doesn’t show us the makeshift hospitals with children and old people without arms and legs or suffering from horrendous burns, all victims of American bombing attacks. The documentary focuses our compassion on the American pilots who dropped the bombs.

In fact, the only heroes in Ken Burns’ Vietnam are American GI’s. Almost everyone else is their enemy: the Vietnamese they fought, the officers whose absurd strategy sent them to their deaths, and the American peace movement that struggled to end the war and bring them home. Burns and Novick portray the peace movement in the worst possible terms. In at least three places, they have moving sound bites about how returning soldiers were spit on or in other ways disrespected. It’s a false memory, at least in any general sense. They couldn’t find any visual support, no signs about baby killers, because it didn’t happen, or happened extremely rarely.

To me, this is the central flaw of Burns and Novick’s film, their failure to deal truthfully and equally with the peace movement. Six million Americans took part in the anti-war effort (only 2.7 million Americans served as soldiers). Everyone I knew in the peace movement honored the veterans and wanted justice for them. They studied books, took part in teach-ins, and watched newsreels. But Burns and Novick, with a couple of notable exceptions, characterize the peace movement as uninformed, chaotic, disrespectful, self absorbed and violent. At one point, they intercut 1969 pictures of kids at Woodstock wallowing in great music with soldiers fighting in Vietnam. What was that supposed to mean?

The kids who refused to go (many out of righteous opposition), who fled into exile in Canada or Sweden, or who, like boxer Muhammad Ali lost his right to fight for three years, or the Fort Hood 3 who went to prison, or the professors and journalists who lost their jobs, the protestors beaten by riled up construction workers, Martin Luther King who went public with his opposition in 1967, the priests who raided draft offices and burned their records, Alice Hertz and two other Americans who burned themselves to death in honor of the Buddhist monks who did the same in South Vietnam protesting our puppet regime — these are not worth profiling, all tinged by the same brush, they are the bad guys who disrespected our troops and went violent. What a wonderful authoritarian message that gives to viewers. Don’t protest an evil war or your country’s war crimes.

The only heroes in Burns and Novick’s Vietnam are American servicemen and I am thrilled to see them finally recognized for what they went through. We have moving back stories of their homes, their motives for joining, their families waiting for them.

None of the six million participants in the American peace movement gets similar treatment. The same is true, incidentally, of the Vietnamese. While the sound bites are great, there are no Vietnamese back stories either.

Without the peace movement, there is no moral center to this series. The lack of accountability is fatal. That an American general can watch from a helicopter the massacre at Mai Lai (as the films tells us) and suffer no consequences is sickening. If military courts had aggressively prosecuted violators of human rights, or even if we only had held detailed and accurate reconciliations where the truth came out, there would have been a chance that our reckless invasions of Iraq with its policy of torture and the invasion of Afghanistan would not have followed so easily. When people are held accountable for their actions, perpetrators of questionable violent acts think twice.

Last week on NPR an American general in Afghanistan announced that we are not trying to occupy territory in Afghanistan, we are simply trying to kill terrorists. Here, again, is the same rationale of the body count that led to disaster in Vietnam. We are reliving the Vietnam War because no one was ever really held responsible for its horrors.

The moral center of the Vietnam War was held by those who opposed it. Several people I’ve talked to say the series is depressing. I had the same feeling of despair at the end. Burns and Novick suggest Vietnam’s a tragedy. It’s not. In tragedy a powerful human makes a terrible mistake and suffers the consequences. No one suffered any consequences for Vietnam. Burns and Novick assure us that even if people did wrong, they didn’t mean to. America is still the shining city on the hill and we can do no wrong.

Christopher Koch, in 1965, became the first American reporter to visit North Vietnam.

October 10, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , | 9 Comments

Obfuscating the Truths of Vietnam

By S. Brian Willson | CounterPunch | September 25, 2017

I have hesitated to comment on the instructive discussion on VFP’s Full Disclosure page about the Burns-Novick Vietnam PBS series because I am not watching it. I have enjoyed reading many of the comments, and have communicated with people who have seen advance screenings.

In 2014, I heard Burns’ publicly discuss his pending PBS Vietnam series. He responded to a question about Agent Orange with a “safe” position that damage to human beings from the chemical herbicide was scientifically inconclusive. This was not surprising given that Burns is a popular, established film maker of various aspects of history from jazz, to baseball, to the Civil War. However, any deep threat to the US American basic “good guy” self-image would likely curtail his continued popularity, not likely to lend itself to corporate funding on PBS, whether from Bank of America, the Rockefeller or Koch Brothers.

Any treatment of the US War against the Vietnamese, Cambodians, and Laotians that does not establish the historic foundation of the US criminal invasion, occupation, and destruction of an innocent country, murdering and maiming millions – profound moral issues – flunks authentic history. And, equally, if the presentation ignores the US creation of a fictional puppet government in the South that was so unpopular that the US was forced to deploy 3 million troops and massive airpower to protect it from the Vietnamese people themselves, it will fail miserably to do justice to genuine history.

Despite this history, Viet Nam is still commonly called a “Civil War” of relative “equivalencies”, a preposterous representation suggesting an “enemy” of basically poor people 8-10,000 miles distant on their own ground who for some unknown reason might threaten the wealthy US with bombs or naval and ground invasions, or….. ? And to represent that the war was “begun in good faith by decent people”, ignores the revelations of the Pentagon Papers.

Thus, Burns’s and Novick’s 18-hour “The Vietnam War” series severely obfuscates the most significant great truths of the US war – that “The Vietnam War” was and remains a Great Lie. Provoking national discussion about the war is important, but for it to be acceptable to a national PBS audience, the producers had to assure that in the framing the US remains basically the good guy against evil.

The honest portrayal of a people who wanted authentic autonomy from a stream of colonial intervenors seems outside our capacity to embrace, and certainly we were not able to comprehend the deep Vietnamese commitment to do whatever they believed necessary to rid itself of its latest occupier. Instead, the US created and funded a fictitious government with a corresponding enemy to justify our intervention against the shadowy, deceitful, evil, though tenacious “communists”. This US policy was intended to prevent a successful “Third World” post-WWII revolutionary movement that possessed the potential to spread to other restive peoples.

Without establishing this fundamental immoral foundation to the history of the US intervention, this Burns-Novick documentary history safely avoids provoking the US American people into an overdue, painful self-examination of its cultural “DNA”. Our geltanshauung was cast as a divinely guided “predestination” for goodness in 1630 when Puritan John Winthrop of the Massachusetts Bay Colony declared “that we shall be as a city upon a hill” and “the eyes of all people are upon us”.

We are reminded of such arrogance in “Founding Father” Thomas Jefferson’s hypocritical words penned in the 1776 Declaration of Independence that claimed “all men are created equal”, yet a few words later declared the King of England using the “merciless Indian savages” to attack with “known rule of warfare” the new settlors with “undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions”.

Let’s see…. those words describe well our behavior in Viet Nam, genocidal behavior then, as in Viet Nam, off limits for US to consider.

*The US destroyed more than 60 percent of Viet Nam’s 21,000 inhabited, undefended villages, including use of unprecedented 8 million tons of bombs and 370,000 tons of napalm, murdering 4 to 5 million, leaving a decimated landscape with 26 million bomb craters and as many as 300,000 tons of unexploded ordnance that continue to kill and injure thousands every year;

*USAF manuals instructed the intentional bombings of the “psycho-social structure” of Viet Nam such as pagodas and churches (950 of them), schools (over 3,000) and hospitals and maternity wards (1,850, many with large red crosses painted on their roofs);

*US and South Vietnamese pilots were trained to “cut people down like little cloth dummies” during daytime raids;

*US employed the most intensive use of chemical warfare in human history, spraying 21 million gallons of lethal poison leaving millions deformed, sick and dead, now with third generation birth deformities;

*The US used torture in every southern province to extract confessions;

*The US imposed free fire (genocide) zones over 75 percent of the South, mass murdering villagers on the ground, etc.

In fact, our behavior was unspeakable, but similar to what our forebears did against our Indigenous inhabitants. Viet Nam was no aberration.

Yes, the PBS series will present much important history for the viewers through its artful selection of dramatic war footage and wide-ranging interviews with Vietnamese and US Americans. It will indeed educate and raise questions….as long as the storyline essentially preserves the US as the better of two basically equivalent fighting forces. It admits making terrible mistakes, but not crimes, implying or expressing justification for our intervention against evil – here the convenient Cold War Pavlovian “communist” bogeyman.

This PBS series is being aired as the US deepens its atrocious pattern of perpetual war around the globe since Viet Nam, the chess pieces continually moving from Viet Nam to almost everywhere else under a philosophy of “full spectrum dominance”. This includes use of the ultimate wholesale terror from the sky using missile-laden drones.

The nature of US behavior in Viet Nam, and in the little understood tragic Korean war more than a decade earlier, and in virtually all countries in which it intervenes, covertly or overtly, is virtually ungraspable to the majority of US Americans. In 1967, Martin Luther King, Jr delivered his anti-Vietnam War speech, declaring that “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today is my own government”. Hmm!

Without a willingness to honestly address our long pattern of immoral and criminal military and covert interventions to preserve essentially selfish, narcissistic values, utilizing deceit and grotesque barbaric techniques, when and how might the US people be awakened to discover a political consciousness of mutual respect? The Burns-Novick series will produce healthy debates about the US War in Southeast Asia, but it will tragically steer clear of revealing, while obscuring, the Grand Lie of the war itself, even as the documentary is touted by observers and viewers as monumental history. What a lost opportunity!

So, as people are glued to this intriguing PBS series, they will nonetheless continue to shop, their government will continue to bomb, and the warmakers will continue to get richer. Nothing changes.

S. Brian Willson, USAF Combat Security Police Officer, Viet Nam, 1969.

S. Brian Willson, as a 1st lieutenant, served as commander of a US Air Force combat security police unit in Viet Nam’s Mekong Delta in 1969. He is a trained lawyer who has been an anti-war, peace and justice activist for more than forty years. His psychohistorical memoir, “Blood On The Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson” was published in 2011 by PM Press. A long time member of Veterans For Peace, he currently resides in Portland, Oregon

September 25, 2017 Posted by | Film Review, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular | , , | Leave a comment

Getting the Gulf of Tonkin Wrong

Are Ken Burns and Lynn Novick “Telling Stories” About the Central Events Used to Legitimize the US Attack Against Vietnam?

By James M. Williamson | CounterPunch | September 19, 2017

This past spring I attended an advance screening of excerpts of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s documentary about the US War against Vietnam at Harvard, with these two in attendance, along with some Kennedy School “national security” types, who had evidently been recruited as “consultants.” (I was happy to see Peter Davis, the director of the truly commendable “Hearts and Minds” in the audience, and had a chance to say “hello.” Peter is himself a Harvard grad, is now writing novels and, happily, was acknowledged by Mr. Burns.)

I was astonished to hear the Narrator in one of these excerpts refer to “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin.” I was doubly astonished when I heard Burns use the exact same phrasing — “retaliation for the Gulf of Tonkin” — during a discussion and Q&A which followed the screening (and even in a somewhat different context. [It must have been on his mind.])

What could he possibly mean?

“Retaliation” for Gulf of Tonkin?

Sut Jhally has done remarkable work with the Media Education Foundation (MEF) in Western Mass on the uses of the term “retaliation.” MEF have produced at least one excellent DVD where they analyze how every attack by Israel on Palestinians is invariably framed as “retaliation.” Of course, this is often, in fact, NOT the case. But if you “believe” that some entity (a person; a government; a “nation”; a “people…”) are “retaliating” (for an alleged attack) — rather than initiating attacks — then almost anything the “retaliator” does is justified, no?

Framing the US attack on North Vietnam as “retaliation” in this PBS documentary purporting to tell truths about this horrific war is a fundamental and very serious flaw, one which must raise the question of why, after all these years, and when the truth about the Gulf of Tonkin “incidents” has also been known for years, Ken Burns and Lynn Novick would engage in this kind of (albeit strangely belated) pro-war propaganda?

Burns and Novick are noted for specializing in the delivery of emotion-laden “stories.” Are they to be allowed to turn actually important, fundamental facts about the US war into a “story,” as well? The emotional stories in this PBS series are tied together with a NARRATIVE of the History of the War in Vietnam. It is in this NARRATIVE that we should discern and judge whether Burns and Novick and PBS are actually revealing helpful truths for facing “our” history — and the history of this war —or not.

Three days after the “second” of two supposed “incidents” in the Gulf of Tonkin, the LBJ administration secured an overwhelming rubber stamp in Congress for the infamous “Gulf of Tonkin Resolution,” which would be used forever more as the fig-leaf for justifying continued US military intervention in Vietnam, as supposedly constitutionally and politically “legitimate,” with all the attendant violence, massive destruction, and death.

Isn’t this little bit of “history” rather important? Isn’t it rather important to get this right?

Just three weeks after these alleged “incidents,” I. F. Stone had already reported much of the real story in his famous I. F. Stone’s Weekly, based seemingly entirely on just the well-informed remarks of Senator Wayne Morse on the floor of the U.S. Senate.

Wayne Morse, of Oregon, was one of only two senators to vote against the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution;  the other was, of course, Ernest Gruening, of Alaska.

The US Central Intelligence Agency had been coordinating “covert” attacks against the shoreline of North Vietnam for months (OPLAN 34-A). Finally, in early August of 1964, a mid-level NV naval officer may have been responsible for ordering NV patrol boats to chase the USS Maddox out into international waters, as a result of it’s believed role in supporting these attacks (which was actually the case; the Maddox had an unusual and special NSA surveillance unit on board, and was also engaged in what were labeled “DeSoto Patrols,” moving into and out of territorial waters claimed by the Government of North Vietnam.) Among other things, these US attacks were designed to test and gain information about North Vietnamese radar and air defenses.

Because of the advanced surveillance by the NSA unit aboard the Maddox, they knew the patrol boats were approaching “at high speed” well ahead of time. The three PT boats were almost entirely destroyed, and the Maddox may have sustained “one bullet hole” during the incident. [Extensive National Security Archive materials may be found here.]

Two days later, a “second attack” supposedly occurred, this time including the USS Turner Joy, as well.

However, there was no second “attack.” 

A relatively recent article published by the US Naval Institute reported the following:

Analysis of the Evidence

Historians have long suspected that the second attack in the Gulf of Tonkin never occurred and that the resolution was based on faulty evidence. But no declassified information had suggested that McNamara, Johnson, or anyone else in the decision-making process had intentionally misinterpreted the intelligence concerning the 4 August incident. More than 40 years after the events, that all changed with the release of the nearly 200 documents related to the Gulf of Tonkin incident and transcripts from the Johnson Library.

These new documents and tapes reveal what historians could not prove: There was not a second attack on U.S. Navy ships in the Tonkin Gulf in early August 1964. Furthermore, the evidence suggests a disturbing and deliberate attempt by Secretary of Defense McNamara to distort the evidence and mislead Congress.

[See: https://www.usni.org ]

I.F. Stone was actually onto this story years before some historians were able to use belatedly and reluctantly released classified documents to confirm the lies, deceptions and misrepresentations.  [See: I. F. Stone’s Weekly, following further “testimony” from McNamara in 1968.]

Turbulent water may have been either misinterpreted — or misconstrued — as a North Vienamese PT boat torpedo launch. Among others, James Stockade, later an Admiral and eventually Ross Perot’s running mate for President, was flying missions over the Maddox and reported seeing no evidence of any alleged “attack.” [See an oft-sited NSA study by Robert J. Hanyok.]

Finally, John Prados produced a useful article on the 40th Anniversary of The Gulf of Tonkin “incidents” for the National Security Archive in 2004.

Naturally, if you’re interested in telling “stories,” you may not focus too carefully on the facts of the history and the context in which these “stories” are situated.

But shouldn’t you want to get something as important as what did or didn’t happen in The Gulf of Tonkin right?

September 19, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

PBS’ Anti-Russia Propaganda Series

By Rick Sterling | Consortium News | July 27, 2017

The U.S.-government-supported Public Broadcasting System (PBS) recently ran a five-part series dubbed “Inside Putin’s Russia”. With a different theme each night, it purports to give a realistic look at Russia today. The image conveyed is of a Russia that is undemocratic with widespread state repression, violence and propaganda. Following are significant distortions and falsehoods in the five-part documentary.

Episode 1: “How Putin Redefined what it means to be Russian”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Claims that Russian identity is based on “projection of power.” In reality, “projection of power” characterizes the U.S. much more than Russia. For the past two centuries the United States has expanded across the continent and globe. The last century is documented in the book Overthrow: American’s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq. The U.S. currently has nearly 800 foreign military bases in over 70 countries. In contrast, Russia has military bases in only two countries beyond the former Soviet Union: Syria and Vietnam.

–Ignores crucial information about events in Ukraine. Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine and Crimea are presented as examples of “projection of power.” But basic facts are omitted from the documentary. There is no mention of the violent February 2014 coup in Kiev nor the involvement of neoconservatives such as Sen. John McCain and U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland in supporting and encouraging the overthrow of Ukraine’s elected government. In a December 2013 speech, Nuland outlined her intense involvement in Ukraine including U.S. insistence that Ukraine choose a “European future” since the U.S. had “invested $5 billion to assist.” Days before the coup in February 2014, Nuland was captured on audio planning the composition of the coup leadership.

–Ignores Crimea’s historic connections with Russia and the Ukrainian violence. The documentary says, In 2014 in Crimea, Russia helped install separatist leaders who rushed through a referendum that led to Crimea’s annexation.” This gives the misleading impression the decision was Russian, not Crimean.

Even the New York Times report on March 16, 2014, acknowledged that,The outcome, in a region that shares a language and centuries of history with Russia, was a foregone conclusion even before exit polls showed more than 93 percent of voters favoring secession.”

The documentary fails to mention the fear of violence after Crimean travelers to Kiev were beaten and killed by Ukrainian hyper-nationalists. One of the first decisions of the Kiev coup government was to declare that Russian would no longer be an official language. A good overview including video interviews with Crimeans is in this video, contrasting sharply with the implications of the PBS documentary.

–Trivializes Russian opposition to NATO expansion. The documentary suggests Russians feel “humiliated” by NATO expanding to their borders. This distorts a serious military concern into a subjective, emotional issue. In 2002, the U.S. unilaterally withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and started construction of missile defense systems which could be used in tandem with a nuclear first strike. In recent years, NATO troops and missiles have been installed at Russia’s borders. Imagine the response if Russian troops and missiles were placed at the U.S. border in Canada and Mexico.

–Falsely claims that coup violence in Odessa was “exaggerated.”

The documentary says that Russians who went to help defend civilians in eastern Ukraine were convinced by Russian “propaganda” where “dozens of pro-Russian separatists died in Odessa, Ukraine” but “Russian media exaggerated the attack.” In reality, the Odessa attack killed at least 42 people and injured 100. This video shows the sequence of events with the initial attack on peaceful protesters followed by fire-bomb attacks in the building. Fire trucks were prevented from reaching the building to put out the fire and rescue citizens inside.

Episode 2: “Inside Russia’s Propaganda Machine.”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Suggests Russians are aggressive and threatening. The documentary highlights a Russian TV broadcaster who is translated to say, “Russia is the only country in the world that is realistically capable of turning the United States into radioactive ash.” And later, “If you can persuade a person, you don’t need to kill him … if you aren’t able to persuade, then you will have to kill.” We do not know the context or accuracy of these translated statements. However on the basis of my own travels in Russia and the experience of many other Americans, these statements are strange and uncharacteristic.

At the popular and government level, Russians are typically at pains to call the U.S. a “partner” and to wish for peace and better relations. With 27 million killed in World War 2, most Russians are very conscious of the consequences of war and deeply want peace. Russians vividly recall the Russia-U.S. alliance during WW2 and seek a return to friendly collaboration. The film producers must have heard this message and desire for peace expressed by many Russians many times. But the documentary only presents this uncharacteristic aggressive message.

–Inaccurately suggests that producers of a private TV network received angry public messages because they were exposing corruption. In reality, the angry public response was because the TV station ran a poll asking viewers if the Soviet Union should have surrendered to Nazi Germany to save lives during the siege of Leningrad.

–Falsely suggests that RT (Russia Today TV) typically features Holocaust deniers and neo-Nazis. This is a grotesque distortion Anyone who watches RT will know that American personalities such as Chris Hedges, Larry King and Ed Schultz are regulars on RT. Interviewees on international affairs generally come from the left side of the political spectrum – the opposite of what is suggested.

–Uncritically repeats the conspiracy theory that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and Hillary Clinton emails. The findings have been disputed by the publisher of the emails, Julian Assange of Wikileaks , as well as Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity. A recent forensic examination confirms that this was a leak not a hack (inside job done by local data transfer NOT a hack over the internet) and points toGuccifer 2.0, the presumptive “hacker,” being a hoax intentionally created to implicate Russia.

–Falsely suggests that anti-Clinton social media messaging during 2016 was significantly caused by Russian government trolls. Hillary Clinton was strongly opposed by significant portions of both the left and right. There were probably hundreds of thousands of Americans who shared anti-Clinton social media messages.

–Claims that research showing a Google search engine bias in favor of Hillary Clinton was “quickly debunked.” The documentary ignores the original article describing the potential effect of search-engine bias, which was published in the prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The author is Dr. Robert Epstein, former editor-in-chief of Psychology Today magazine. Contradicting the claim that this research was “debunked,” this academic article estimates the effect of the Google bias and how the bias went away AFTER the election. The response from Google and very shallow Snopes “fact check” are effectively rebutted by the lead author here. In neo-McCarthyist style, the documentary smears the findings and claims they were “laundered” after being published by the Russian “Sputnik” media.

–Suggests the “idea that President Kennedy was killed by the CIA” was “planted” by the Soviet intelligence agency KGB. Many impressive American books have been written supporting this contention, from New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison’s book to David Talbot’s 2015 book Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA and Deep State. Claiming that this accusation is based on KGB “disinformation” is another grotesque distortion. It is not revealing disinformation; this is an example of disinformation.

Episode 3: “Why are so many from this Russian republic fighting for Isis?”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Rationalizes and almost justifies Russian Muslims traveling to join ISIS. The documentary suggests that religious repression and discrimination is a cause of ISIS recruitment and that “Dagestanis who fought for ISIS continue a decades-old legacy here of radicalism and militancy.”

–Ignores the role of the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Pakistan in promoting Islamist fundamentalism in Dagestan. As described by Robert Dreyfus in the book Devil’s Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam: “the Casey-ISI (CIA and Pakistan Secret Service) actions aided the growth of a significant network of right-wing, Islamist extremists who, to this day, plague the governments of the former Soviet republics … In particular, the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, the Islamic Liberation Party, the powerful Islamist groups in Chechnya and Dagestan.”

–Ignores the role of the US and allies in facilitating ISIS. As journalist Patrick Cockburn has written, In the 20 years between 1996 and 2016, the CIA and British security and foreign policy agencies have consistently given priority to maintaining their partnership with powerful Sunni states over the elimination of terrorist organizations such as al-Qaeda and Isis.”

Journalist Nafeez Ahmed exposed the role of Turkey here, “A former senior counter-terrorism official in Turkey has blown the whistle on President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s deliberate sponsorship of the Islamic State (ISIS) as a geopolitical tool to expand Turkey’s regional influence and sideline his political opponents at home.”

Elements of the U.S. military/intelligence suggested the establishment of ISIS to “isolate the Syrian regime.” This was revealed in the classified 2012 report of the Defense Intelligence Agency that THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME”

In short, ISIS recruitment from Muslim communities in Russia and worldwide has been spurred by the policies and actions of the U.S. and allies such as Saudi Arabia and Turkey. This is what Dreyfus calls The Devil’s Game, but is ignored in the documentary.

Episode 4: “The Deadly Risk of Standing up to Putin”

In this episode, the documentary:

–Suggests that critics of Putin and the Russian government face “consequences” including death. These accusations are widespread in the West but largely based on the claims of different U.S.-supported “activists.” One of the most famous cases, and the one on which U.S. congressional sanctions against Russia are based, is that of Sergei Magnitsky. Magnitsky’s death was the subject of a documentary, which has been effectively banned in the U.S. In the course of researching what happened, the filmmaker learned that the truth was very different than has been told in the West and promoted by hedge-fund executive William Browder. Gilbert Doctorow outlines what happens in his review of the film here:

“‘Magnitsky Act: Behind the Scenes’ is an amazing film which takes us through the thought processes, the evidence sorting of the well-known independent film maker Andrei Nekrasov as he approached an assignment that was at the outset meant to be one more public confirmation of the narrative Browder has sold to the US Congress and to the American and European political elites. That story was all about a 36 year old whistle-blower ‘attorney’ (actually a bookkeeper) named Sergei Magnitsky who denounced on Browder’s behalf the theft of Russian taxes to his boss’s companies amounting to $230 million and who was rewarded for his efforts by arrest, torture and murder in detainment by the officials who perpetrated the theft. This shocking tale drove legislation that was a major landmark in the descent of US-Russian relations under President Barack Obama to a level rivaling the worst days of the Cold War.

At the end of the film we understand that this story was concocted by William Browder to cover up his own criminal theft of the money in question, that Magnitsky was not a whistleblower, but on the contrary was likely an assistant and abettor to the fraud and theft that Browder organized, that he was not murdered by corrupt Russian police but died in prison from banal neglect of his medical condition.”

The PBS documentary quotes an opposition leader, Vladimir Kara-Murza, saying “We have no free and fair elections. We have censorship in the media. We have political prisoners, more than 100 political prisoners now in Russia, today.” Kara-Murza now lives in Washington “for his safety” but returns to Russia periodically. He claims to have been poisoned several times.

Opponents of the Russian government are quick to accuse but the evidence is largely hearsay and speculation. Public polls of citizens in Russia repeatedly indicate that Putin and the government have widespread popularity, in contrast with the accusations in this documentary that they rule by intimidation and violence.

Episode 5: “What Russians think about Trump and the U.S.”                                                

Based on the content, the final episode should be titled “What the U.S. establishment and media thinks of Putin and Russia.” In this episode, the documentary:

–Features accusations by CIA Director Mike Pompeo that Russian President Putin, “ is a man for whom veracity doesn’t translate into English.” An objective documentary would take CIA claims about “veracity” with a healthy dose of skepticism. Just a few years ago, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper was confirmed to have lied under oath to Congress. Former CIA chief of counterintelligence James Angleton said in his dying days, “Fundamentally, the founding fathers of U.S. intelligence were liars. The better you lied and the more you betrayed, the more likely you got promoted.” So it is curious to see the PBS documentary uncritically presenting the new CIA director as a judge of veracity.

–Implies that President Trump is out of line to question “the U.S. intelligence community’s unanimous assessment that Russia hacked the 2016 election.” It has been recently exposed that the “unanimous assessment” was, in reality, by “hand-picked” analysts at three agencies, under DNI Clapper’s oversight, not all 17 agencies and that the National Security Agency did NOT have “high confidence” in a key finding. The “assessment,” which the Jan. 6 report acknowledged was NOT an establishment of fact, was based on the forensics of a private company, Crowdstrike, with a checkered record in this field, and the dubious Christopher Steele dossier, a collection of “opposition research” reports against Donald Trump, paid for unidentified allies of Hillary Clinton and compiled by Steele, an ex-British intelligence agent.

In March 2017, Crowdstrike was found to have made false claims in another investigation of an alleged Russian “hack.” Yet, neither the CIA nor FBI examined the Democratic National Committee’s computers. If the issue was as important as it supposedly has now become, the FBI should have issued a subpoena to do its own examination. Why the DNC rejected the FBI request, and why the FBI did not insist, raises serious questions given the enormous publicity and accusations that have followed.

–Uncritically features two US politicians making loose accusations and effectively criminalizing “contacts” with Russians. Sen. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma, says President Trump is “pushing out some messages that are consistent with the Kremlin policies … there’s no question that the Russians were trying to hack into our elections.” Yet, former U.S. intelligence officers with experience in these areas recently presented evidence raising significant questions about this conventional wisdom.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia indicates the Senate investigation reached its conclusion before it began. He said, “The goal of this investigation is not only to reconfirm Russian intervention and explain that to the American public, but to also see if there were any contacts between Trump and the Russians.”

In the current environment, to have “contacts” with Russians has been criminalized. Instead of questioning the validity or wisdom of this position, the documentary presents it with seeming approval.

–Uncritically promotes false statements and reckless threats. Sen. Lankford says We believe strongly that what Russia continues to do to be able to threaten Ukraine, threaten its neighbors, threaten NATO, to continue to pry into not only our elections, but other elections, is destabilizing, and it demands a response. They have yet to have a consequence to what they did in the election time. And they should.”

Lankford’s assertions are presented as facts but are debatable or false. For example, security services in Germany, France and the U.K. all found that – despite the international accusations – there was NO evidence of Russian interference in their recent elections.

–Justifies and promotes “punishment” of Russia. The belligerent approach of Lankford and Warner is continued by PBS host Judy Woodruff and narrator Nick Schifrin. The U.S. is portrayed as a vulnerable victim with a future that is “foreboding”. Russia is portrayed as threatening and needing some punishment soon: “The Russian government doesn’t feel like the United States government really penalized them for what happened last year…. a lot of officials here in Washington agree with that… Russia should have paid for what they did last year.”

This threatening talk is then followed by the following assessment from the narrator: “There are analysts in Moscow who think the only thing we can hope is that we avoid war.”

In 2002-2003, American mainstream media failed to question or challenge the assertions of the CIA and politicians pushing for the invasion of Iraq. At that time, the false pretense was that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction and posed a threat to the U.S.

Much of the media and many of the same politicians are now claiming Russia is an adversary that has “attacked us.” This claim is being widely made without serious question or challenge. “Liberal” media seems to be in alliance with hawkish neoconservatives on this issue. Virtually any accusation against Russia and its leader can be made with impunity and without serious evidence.

The PBS documentary “Inside Putin’s Russia” aims to expose Russian repression, aggression and disinformation. As shown in the many examples above, the five-part documentary is highly biased and inaccurate. While it shows some features of Russia, it also demonstrates American propaganda in the current tumultuous times.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist based in northern California. He can be contacted at rsterling1@gmail.com

July 28, 2017 Posted by | Deception, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Russophobia | , , | 5 Comments

Such a “Surprise” in the UK!

By Thomas S. Harrington | CounterPunch | June 12, 2017

I just can’t believe what happened in the British elections.

I can’t get over the fact that that when a politician with real convictions honed over 40 years of political life—generous and forward-looking convictions rooted in an understanding of how social progress for the many has actually been engineered in previous times—speaks out unencumbered by corporate-minded, fraidy-cat image doctors, people actually respond enthusiastically.

It’s shocking, absolutely shocking.

Why am I so confused?

Well, for thirty years, the brilliant people at the NYT, NPR,  PBS,  the BBC and The Guardian  have told me again and again that candidates from Labor in the UK and the Democratic Party  in the US must always  be oh-so-careful careful to not veer too far left in their policy prescriptions,  to not appear too “populist” and, most of all, to not to go “too far outside the mainstream”.

The question of who defines what is the mainstream, or how lavishly-funded pro-business and pro-war think-tanks might actually be the people establishing its functional parameters by funding armies of think-tank “scholars” and “experts” were, of course, a complex hermeneutical problems that I never had the time  nor the energy to ponder or deconstruct.

If those smart Ivy and Oxbridge-type guys and gals in the prestige media were telling us time and again that our societies were all fundamentally center-right collectives with a deep suspicion of government action (except, that is, when it came to making unceasing war on a world-wide scale) who was I, an obscure analyst of Iberian nationalisms and other sundry issues, to say anything about it?

Can you imagine someone like me actually believing he had the right to question brilliant and connected people like David Brooks, Tom Friedman or Jonathan Freeland or Polly Toynbee?

It would have been the height of hubris on my part to do so. After all, unlike them, I don’t spend my time networking each day with ambitious like-minded people deeply enamored of power, nor do I have the option of knowing exactly what stories and messages will provoke society’s centers of financial and military power to pressure a media conglomerate to trim a pundit’s  paycheck or to convince well-heeled seekers of transcendent insight  to stop paying her fat speaking fees.

Because I lack this essential information, I have always assumed my rightful place as an uncritical consumer of their deeply though-out and always prescient nostrums.

True, today I am feeling a little confused and bereft. But I know that by the time the next news cycle comes around they’ll have it all figured out for me, providing explanations that will in no way contradict or vitiate all the brilliant things they’ve been saying over so many years.

June 12, 2017 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Readings in the Jewish Zionist Control of the United States: Interviews with Francis Boyle, James Petras, and Kim Petersen

Part 1: Introduction

By B. J. Sabri | American Herald Tribune | November 11 ,2016

Israel America aeee7

For the last 30 years, I have witnessed and experienced the severe restraints on any free and balanced discussion of the facts. This reluctance to criticize any policies of the Israeli government is because of the extraordinary lobbying efforts of the American-Israel Political Action Committee and the absence of any significant contrary voices.

— Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter [1]

How the Interviews Came About

The Marxian thesis that the dominant culture and ideology of a society (here referred to as Social Base or just Base) are those of the dominant class (here referred to as System) is a sharp tool to probe how political systems work and how they stay in power. Does this tool work in the U.S. model? Certainly, in the United States, the relation between the System and its Social Base has been regular since the inception of the thirteen colonies. Because of that sustained regularity, System and Base acted in convergent patterns of dependency. In historical perspective, it was not possible for the System to transform those colonies into states, and thereafter expand its conquests to form a continental empire without a solid social base that shared its purpose and visions for expansion. From that time onward, an ideological symbiosis ran between the System and the Base. Not only that, but each time the System modifies direction, philosophy, or ideology, the Base would adapt by modifying its attitudes and perception.

The patterns of ideological association between the U.S. System and its Social Base extended into modern times, and the yardstick to measure them is the presidential elections. If you look at voters’ turnout since 1960, you will notice that a relative-to-large majority of Americans had voted in those elections. My interpretation of the vote in relation to Marx’s thesis is the following. Voting for a system that is known for its aggressive imperialist policies, crimes around the world, overthrowing foreign governments not in line with Washington, and countless military interventions and invasions that left millions of people dead means one thing: Voting for that system while knowing its attributes, policies, and actions amounts to active sharing in its ideology, culture, and violence.

Caveat! That does not necessarily mean that all voters share the System’s imperialistic values of violence and destruction of foreign peoples. The pertinent meaning of voting interpreted in relation to the System’s foreign policy objectives versus the objectives of the Base resides in two concepts. Discarding immediately the notion that the Base has been cohabitated by the system, the first concept has it that the Base has given a mandate to the System to carry out its ideology of empire and imperialism based on the undeclared condition to spare the people from the horrors of foreign wars. A dichotomy sets in here. The System has its way of life, and the Base has its own. The second concept has to do with the basic tenets of colonialism. Meaning, if the System could be successful to obtain unspecified benefits through wars, then the base could share in these benefits despite aversion to violence and opposition to the institution of war as a means to resolve problems between nations.

A question: Would abstaining from voting resolve the issue of “active sharing” in the policies of the system? This subject is open for debate . . .

The relation between the American System and its Base was uniform up to a certain point in history (late 1920s). Until that point, the American state was still busy completing its structural transformation into a big power status. That uniformity, however, managed to keep the patterns of the political power unchanged. To be exact, despite persistent immigration that should have altered the relations between the Base and government, as well as the composition of the latter, the dominance of the traditional ruling elites was 1) not open for challenge, and 2) shaped by an exclusive American Anglo-Saxon experience.

But when Franklyn D. Roosevelt showed signs of surrender to the Zionist pressure on the issue of establishing a “Jewish” state in Palestine, he opened a large crack in the System. That was the first time in U.S. history where the powerful American imperialist state yielded to a foreign ideology that was not part of its basic project. With that, a movement with a limited religious social base began penetrating the files and ranks of the U.S. power. The rest is history. As a result, the unrelenting entrenchment inside the political structures of the United States coupled with accumulated changes in the configuration of the U.S. power, the dominant American System itself fell under the domination of one of its social factions—American Jewish Zionists.

When Franklyn D. Roosevelt showed signs of surrender to the Zionist pressure on the issue of establishing a “Jewish” state in Palestine, he opened a large crack in the System.

As a group, American Jewish Zionists have all attributes of an independent establishment. They possess efficient organizational structures, have a monolithic political presence across the American system, and they know how to finance their activities with U.S. tax money. I must note that their alignment with the global agenda of U.S. imperialism is a two-point expedient. The first is focused on being recognized as earnest operators at the service of America’s interests. The second is tactical. To reap, on behalf of Israel, the benefits of alignment with slogans such as “Israel is our only trusted ally in the Middle East”.

The American Jewish Zionist experience is agenda driven. As such, their domestic and foreign agendas have precedence over any other Jewish-related consideration.

On the domestic front, the focus could not be more evident: to consolidate Zionism in the United States and turn it into a means to 1) perpetuate Israel as an American national issue, and 2) make of them the principal factor in defining American politics. You can notice the endeavor clearly during U.S. elections when the Zionist media question whether this or that candidate is good for the Jews, and for Israel. Today, voicing dissent against the policies of American Jewish Zionism or criticizing Israel amounts to crime. Jimmy Carter experienced this firsthand. When he published his book: Palestine: Peace not Apartheid, American Jewish Zionists unleashed the fire of hell upon him.

As for the Jewish Zionist foreign agenda, this is clear-cut and leaves no space for misunderstanding. It aims to induce, control, or lead the United States to 1) adopt hostile policies toward the Arab nations because due to their rejection of the Zionist state, and 2) undertake military actions against any country that appears as posing a potential or direct threat to Israel. Equally important, it demands that the United States keep denying the Palestinians rights for nationhood through American diplomacy. What is the rationale? Recognition of the Palestinian national rights means the invalidation of the Zionist state and its claim on Palestine.

Because the Jewish Zionist control of the U.S. System is real and dominant, how does the American society figure vis-à-vis this dominance? Based on observations of the American society and its multiple cultural and ideological patterns, there can be but one answer: Zionism is not the dominant culture and ideology of the American people. It is, however, the dominant culture and ideology of the U.S. political system.

OBSERVATIONS

First, despite gargantuan Zionist propaganda apparatuses directed to the American people, Jewish Zionists have consistently failed to create interest or sympathy for Zionist issues and for Israel,

Second, due to historically developed indifference to foreign issues, a majority of Americans have only vague ideas on what Zionism is,

Third, to establish roots for their political dominance, Jewish Zionist activists invariably focus not on the American people, but on ways to control the American system from inside by controlling first the institutions that matter: White House and Congress.

Fourth, this control did not happen because of elections. It is preponderantly due to the practice of appointing Jewish Zionists to important positions inside the administrations,

Fifth, among the stratagems employed by Zionists when they run for elective offices, one was particularly effective: Take advantage of the reverence of the population for the idea of election. To do that, Jewish Zionist candidates rarely, if ever, talk about Israel or Zionism. Instead, they only debate matters of interest to the voters. Once elected though, promoting Israel via American legislations becomes the top hidden agenda,

Sixth, and to conclude this particular argument, the fact that one administration after another succumbed to the diktat of Jewish Zionists (thus indirectly to Israel) in matters of foreign policy and wars proves that the culture and praxis of those administrations are those of the dominant ideology and culture—Zionism.

Another point to discuss is the expansion of the Jewish Zionist power. By all accounts, such an expansion is not a phenomenon but an incremental process. In his book, The Arabists: The Romance of an American Elite, Robert D. Kaplan defined the issue that I framed as a process in terms of gradual replacement of traditional diplomatic elites with new ideological elites that had no interest in the ways of the old school of diplomacy. Kaplan was unambiguous. He called these new elites by their names: Irish-Americans and Jewish-Americans.

Kaplan’s viewpoint on this replacement is important to our discussion. He argued that the old elites approached the U.S.-Arab relations with an open mind and readiness for dialog, all while keeping an eye on the U.S. imperialist interests. His argument opens the door for a veritable conclusion. The two groups of post-WWII American society that Kaplan mentioned had in fact changed the dynamics of U.S. foreign policy. (It is public knowledge that both groups are known for their hostility toward Arabs and Muslims—each for his own set of religious, political, and ideological rationales.). As for the successive shares of African-Americans and Hispanics in the making of the national policy of the United States, this is another argument.

As a witness to history, in early 2012, I began drafting a comprehensive analysis on the role of American Jewish Zionists in the making of U.S. policies and wars in the Arab world. In May of that year, as my work became broad in scope, I decided to seek more views on the subject. I came up with the idea to conduct several interviews where I pose the same questions. While some of the prospective interviewees declined, and others accepted but then withdrew, three prominent thinkers acclaimed for their knowledge, scholarship, and outstanding political activism graciously gave me their views.

They are Francis Boyle, a professor of international law, University of Illinois, College of Law; James Petras, a professor emeritus, University of Binghamton, New York; Canadian writer and former co-editor of the online publication of Dissident Voice Kim Petersen. Professors Boyle and Petras answered my questions via phone conversations, and, Petersen via email correspondence.

However, in the weeks following the interviews, my work swelled up to such a length that it became unsuitable for internet publishing. In short, I was unable to honor my commitment to publish the interviews as planned. Today, as I thank Prof. Francis Boyle, Prof. James Petras, and Kim Petersen for sharing their invaluable insight, I apologize to them for the delay in putting the interviews out there to read.

INTRODUCTION 

The turning point in the emergence of Jewish Zionism as a dominant American political force came about when Iraq invaded Kuwait. (Discussing the origins and strategic complications of that invasion goes beyond the scope of this introduction.) The Jewish Zionist establishment seized the occasion, mobilized its omnipresent propaganda operatives, and led colossal media campaigns to promote military actions against Iraq. To bring their war mania to fruition, they unleashed their “experts” in all directions. They talked about Iraq’s “formidable” military capabilities and about Saddam’s one-million-man standing army ready to invade Saudi Arabia and seize its oil. They told stories about Saddam Hussein’s personal life, his bunkers, and his mortal “nuclear threats” to Israel. And they talked about Iraq’s threats to U.S. interests and “allies” in the Middle East. . . . Here is a brief account of those events.

On July 25, 1990, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein met with U.S. ambassador to Iraq, April Glaspie. It is on record that Glaspie gave Hussein an unambiguous but indirect greenlight to resolve Iraq’s problems with Kuwait militarily. On August 2, Iraq invaded Kuwait. On August 3, George H. W. Bush ordered the freezing of Iraqi and Kuwaiti assets and immediately placed Iraq under hermetic embargo. Considering the prompt, extraordinary anti-Iraq measures that the United States took in the first 24 hours of that invasion, one wonders what was pushing the U.S. to move so quickly on Iraq knowing that only two days earlier, this was conducting a U.S. proxy against Iran. The observation that the U.S. did not take similar actions when Iraq invaded Iran in 1980, or when Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982 raises many questions. What were the U.S. rationales in taking such measures? Who conceived them? Did the U.S. entrap Iraq? Why?  . . .

The atmosphere that followed the invasion was surrealistic. Like a lightning bolt, U.S. imperialist and Zionist forces instantly mobilized their media, talking heads, retired generals, and bogus experts on the Middle East. The deafening uproar they made and all lies they told about atrocities committed by Iraq in Kuwait hid a definite scheme: Incite for war. In the period August 2, 1990 – January 14, 1991, Israelis and Jewish Zionists from all fields appeared en mass and in every possible medium available to urge the Bush regime to give up diplomacy in favor of war. On January 15, 1991, a 30-member “coalition” in which the U.S. had the lion share—ninety-seven percent of the total force—attacked Iraq. By every standard and minutia of details, the war on Iraq in 1991 was an American War.

At the end of a war that destroyed one of Israel’s Arab adversaries, George H. W. Bush might have thought of himself as America’s “laureate hero”.  He did not predict though that his temporary freezing of the U.S. loan guaranties to Israel, would have unleashed the Jewish Zionist establishment against him. The fact that he lost to Bill Clinton (who opposed Bush’s freeze, and who stated that Israel was the “only country that paid back its debts”) indicated that American Jewish Zionists had finally reached their objective: To perfect ways to control the U.S. politics from the inside. In retrospect, it can be said that George H. W. Bush was the last non-Zionist American president. From Bill Clinton forward, U.S. presidents and their vice president became pawns in the Jewish Zionist play of power.

Now, as the United States was preparing for war with Iraq to “liberate” Kuwait, thousands of antiwar activists and intellectuals from a wide spectrum of political convictions spoke loudly against it. But no one could have ever beaten Patrick J. Buchanan’s memorable words about how American Jewish Zionists and Israel were pushing for that war. He said, ”There are only two groups that are beating the drums for war in the Middle East – the Israeli Defense Ministry and its amen corner in the United States.” [2] With that, Buchanan hit the proverbial nail on the head. A.M. Rosenthal, a ringleader of U.S. Zionist journalism could not bear what he heard. In a rebuttal, he unleashed an acerbic attack against Buchanan. His weapon of argument, so to speak, was the stale and trite accusation of “antisemitism”.

Whining, Rosenthal twisted Buchanan’s clear words and went on to imply that Buchanan was in effect engaging in an “anti-Jewish” tirade. He re-interpreted Buchanan’s words and cast them in a standard Zionistic fashion. He wrote that Buchanan’s intention was ”The Jews are trying to drag us into war. Only Jews want war. Israeli Jews want war to save Israel’s hide. American Jews who talk of military action against Iraq want war because it would suit Israeli interests. They are willing to spill American blood for Israeli interests.” [3]

By inserting the word, “Jew” in his reply, Rosenthal and the New York Times behind him spat on the face of U.S. political reality under the tight grip of Zionism. We need not waste our breath on Rosenthal’s petty tactic. His clear objective was to distract from the central issue, which is, Buchanan’s opposition to the planned war against Iraq was unrelated to the religious denomination of those who were promoting it. Rather he was unmistakably referring to their political identity.

Still, Buchanan was honest. He pointed the finger to Israel and its “Amen corner” because that was the truth. The fact that most Israelis and “Amen corners” happened to be of Jewish faith was nonissue. To conclude, it is evident that Buchanan, a dreamer of an American “republic” not “empire”, could not stand by idle while seeing the United States sheepishly fastened to the yoke of Zionism and gutlessly prostrating before a tiny settler state, Israel.

Buchanan did not stop there. Truthful and resolute, he dared to describe in categorical terms the pitiful condition of the U.S. Congress vis-à-vis Israel and American Jewish Zionists. He dubbed it as “An Israeli-occupied territory” [4].  Buchanan powerfully hit the target in such a way that countless cowardly American politicians would dare not think, let alone say. Notice that Buchanan had placed Israel before its U.S. “amen corner”. I view this as a statement. He clearly implied that Israel is the primary decision maker. Did that also imply that U.S. Zionist groups (amen corner) are puppets moved by Israel? Most likely, if so, which has more power in setting the U.S. world agenda and policies: Israel or American Jewish Zionists? Dialectically, the answer should be Israel by means of its “amen corner’.

Now, in December 1991, Jim Lehrer (a former co-anchor of The Macneil/Lehrer NewsHour, and later sole anchor of The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer) interviewed Pat Buchanan. It is important to mention, that Jim Lehrer has monopolized a significant position funded by federal tax money for over 30 years starting in 1975. Is that an issue? Yes, and to debate it, the following applies. Whenever a specific group of people, be they Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, duopoly party apparatchiks, etc., keeps an important public post for such a long duration, the implication is unescapable: the group controls that post because of its embedded importance. . . . But more important, they have the power to keep it.

Nonetheless, when a specific group continues to hold, throughout time, important positions inside public corporations, agencies, and branches of the U.S. government, a paradigm emerges. Either the group controls said corporations directly—that is why it is able to do what they want. Or, it controls them indirectly by controlling first who appoints the board of trustees and sets corporate policies and appointees. At any rate, considering this type of control, the assumption that such group has power over the government and its public corporations is reasonable.

Additionally, the issue of monopoly of news is critical in another respect. It means that someone within the context of U.S. imperialism has decided that the U.S. public discourse must conform to predetermined patterns. In these patterns, issues such as Israel, Zionism, Palestine, U.S. imperialism in the Middle East, wars, etc., are designed to move only on linear grounds without ever touching the core of the matter.

Before continuing, I must state that Lehrer’s political views are not a subject to discuss vis-à-vis his program. For one, the NewsHour program is not about the personal views of presenters—it is about information prepared for the public from a public corporation. Second, whether Lehrer had sympathies for Israel or Zionism is nonissue because most viewers expect neutral discussions regardless of who delivers them. Nevertheless, a situation such as this has a consequence affecting the special relations between the narrated news/comments, the people who deliver them, and the people who hear them.

Firstly, planning news delivery to attain specific results is a good technique for those in the business of indoctrination. Psychology and perception are the areas of expertise that news planners depend on to disseminate certain news and analyses. To be sure, these planners know that most viewers have no special or personal stakes on events happening in other countries. Still, the immediate consequence that controlled news and commentaries could generate is easy to predict. They also know they can seep to the viewers pre-conceived ideas through pleasant dialogs, affable manners, appearance of neutrality, and clever circumlocutions.

To be fair to Lehrer, he was consistent in making intelligent questions. However, he was also consistent at doing something else. He would calibrate his questions in such a way as not to reveal new truths or solicit critical replies that could go beyond boundaries deliberately conceived so as not to be crossed. It is pragmatic to say that the observance of these boundaries would nicely serve the Zionist and imperialist discourse. In essence, a practice thusly followed is a preemptive mechanism of control cloaked as a professional presentation.

Now, in his interview, Lehrer played dumb when he asked Buchanan about his bold characterization of the Congress. He phrased his question as follows, “You have also said that Congress is an Israeli-occupied territory. Now, what do you mean by that?” [Italics are mine]

COMMENT: Semantically as much as politically, Buchanan’s figure of speech was terse and unequivocal. He plainly meant that the Congress observes Israel’s agenda and acts accordingly. There was no need for Buchanan to say anything further because what he said had (and still has) basis in verifiable facts. With a question such as, “what do you mean by that” Lehrer was not seeking a rational reply from Buchanan. The form and content of the question had the objective of wanting to entrap Buchanan, make him retract, or at least contradict himself to show inconsistency. In essence, Lehrer had simply tried to deny that Israel controls the Congress through its “amen corner” because his “what do you mean” indicated astonishment rather than request for explanation. [5]

To wrap up the issue, without exclusion, any denial of the Jewish Zionist control of the United States is a farce. Take Abraham H. Foxman of the infamous Anti-Defamation League as an example. Foxman authored a master‑deceptive propaganda book that he called, “The Deadliest Lies: The Israeli Lobby and the Myth of Jewish Control. [Italics are mine]. First, Foxman lied. He knew very well that the Jewish [Zionist] control is not a myth but a pervasive reality.  Second, but most important, the problem is not the abstract “Jewish control” but the specific—Jewish Zionist control. This can be explained using a current universal truth: hundreds of thousands of Jews from all nationalities actively oppose Zionism on political, religious, ethical, historical, and ideological grounds.

Foxman’s denial means one of two things. Either he is a parochial charlatan when the subject is the undisputed power of American Jewish Zionism, or he is very ignorant of the history of Zionism in the United States, which is impossible. Either way, Foxman’s business is propaganda, demagogy, and deception. Incidentally, Foxman’s denial looks very similar to what some Arabs do in the Middle East. Villagers—but even some city folks—try to fend off “envy” by following an eon-old superstition. They fix a drawing on a wall in their shops or homes showing the palm of an open hand with an open eye in its center. It appears that Foxman and his associates have their own superstition. By decrying the “deadliest lies” against American Jewish Zionists, they try to fend off the accusation or the “envy” that Jews—specifically, Jewish Zionists—have power and influence.

Of substance, did Foxman not learn or did anyone inform him about what John Foster Dulles told William Knowland (a pro-Zionist senator from California) back in February 1957? In an exchange about the proposed sanctions to get Israel out of Egyptian territory occupied by Israel in the Suez War, Dulles pronounced these prophetic words, “We cannot have all our policies made in Jerusalem . . .” [6]. That was in 1957. Today, all those who deride or deny the charge that Israel has a say on U.S. foreign policy and wars in the Middle East must prove that those who are making this charge are  misinformed or just lying.

Interestingly, years after Buchanan made that statement, the successive events proved his sharp assessment and political perspicacity. Two people vindicated his characterization of Capitol Hills as an Israeli-occupied territory” and both used his words to make the point. The first is a former CIA officer Philip Giraldi, and the second is Philip Weiss, founder of MondoWeiss website. In an article he wrote in 2011, Giraldi pointed to the Congress as, “It’s Still Occupied Territory“. Weiss titled a piece he wrote in 2015 as such: “Capitol Hill — still Israeli-occupied territory“.

At this point, do American Jewish Zionists control the United States? Do they control it as polity or only the political system? Do they have real influence in setting U.S. foreign policy and wars against the Arab and Muslim nations? Or maybe all this talk is no more than baseless allegations?

NEXT
Part 2: Discussion
Part 3: Interview with Francis Boyle
Part 4: Interview with James Petras
Part 5: Interview with Kim Petersen

NOTES

  1. Jimmy carter, Speaking frankly about Israel and Palestine, Los Angeles Times, 8 December 2006
  2. Pat Buchanan, The McLaughlin Group, Aug 26, 1990, quoted in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, What They Said: Israel and Its “Amen Corner”,  February 1992
  3. ON MY MIND; Forgive Them Not, The New York Times, 14 September 1990
  4. Quoted in the Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, Is Congress an Israeli-Occupied Territory?, July 1995
  5. The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, What They Said: Israel and Its “Amen Corner”, Feb. 1992
  6. David Tal, editor, The 1956 War: Collusion and Rivalry in the Middle East, Frank Cass Publishers, 2001, p. 40

November 11, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kaine, Pence and Their VP Debate Fact-Checkers Are All Wrong on Iran

By Nima Shirazi | Wide Asleep In America | October 6, 2016

If anything was made clear during the Vice Presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence it’s that neither man knows much about the Iranian nuclear program. And neither do the fact-checkers tasked with judging the candidates’ own statements about it.

During the course of 90 excruciating minutes, Tim Kaine accused Iran of “racing toward a nuclear weapon” and repeatedly boasted that his running mate Hillary Clinton was responsible for “stopping” that “nuclear weapons program without firing a shot.” Meanwhile, Donald Trump’s veep pick Mike Pence kept insisting that the Iran deal, signed by six world powers and Iran in July 2015, effectively guaranteed that “Iran will someday become a nuclear power because there’s no limitations once the period of time of the treaty comes off.”

None of these claims is even remotely true.

Obviously, claims put forth by both Kaine and Pence rest on a wholly false presumption: that Iran is/was desperately trying to acquire nuclear weapons and has/had an active “nuclear weapons program” to achieve that goal.

As I have written endlessly:

International intelligence assessments have consistently affirmed that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. What Iran does have, however, is a nuclear energy program with uranium enrichment facilities, all of which are under international safeguards, strictly monitored and routinely inspected by the IAEA. No move to divert nuclear material to military or weaponization purposes has ever been detected. This is consistently affirmed by U.S., British, Russian, and even Israeli intelligence, as well as the IAEA. In fact, the IAEA itself has said there is “no concrete proof” Iran’s nuclear program “has ever had” a military component.

Eventually, due to the distinct and consistent lack of evidence for any nuclear weapons program, the United States echo chamber sidelined accusations of an active militarization program in favor of the round-about, jargon-laden claim that Iran was “intending to obtain the capability” to make nukes, rather than actually trying to make nukes. This, conveniently, put Iran in the position of having to prove a negative, despite being under the strictest IAEA inspection regime in history and providing access to its facilities above and beyond what was required by law.

The rhetorical bait-and-switch was plain for all to see when Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta admitted in 2012, “Are they trying to develop a nuclear weapon? No.” For good propagandistic measure, however, he added, “But we know that they’re trying to develop a nuclear capability, and that’s what concerns us.”

Around the same time, an unnamed U.S. intelligence official told the Washington Post that no decision had even been made in Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, explaining, “Our belief is that they are reserving judgment on whether to continue with key steps they haven’t taken regarding nuclear weapons.”

Early the following year, Panetta begrudgingly reaffirmed this assessment on Meet The Press. “What I’ve said, and I will say today,” Panetta told Chuck Todd, “is that the intelligence we have is they have not made the decision to proceed with the development of a nuclear weapon. They’re developing and enriching uranium. They continue to do that.” He added, “I think– I think the– it’s a clear indication they say they’re doing it in order to develop their own energy source.” The NPT guarantees signatory states the right to enrich uranium for nuclear energy production. There is nothing illegal or sinister about this and Iran has operated its enrichment program openly and under IAEA safeguards.

Panetta, in response to Todd’s repeated goading, eventually disputed the entire premise so often repeated by politicians and pundits: “I can’t tell you they’re in fact pursuing a weapon because that’s not what intelligence says we– we– we’re– they’re doing right now,” he said.

U.S. intelligence assessments have consistently affirmed this. In 2012, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told a Congressional committee, “We assess Iran is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons, in part by developing various nuclear capabilities that better position it to produce such weapons, should it choose to do so. We do not know, however, if Iran will eventually decide to build nuclear weapons.” This finding has been repeated year in and year out.

Even the final report on outstanding allegations made by the United States and Israeli governments by the IAEA, released last December, was sensationalized to the point of absurdity. At most, the agency found, the “Possible Military Dimensions” of its nuclear energy program or the “Alleged Studies” that Iran had long been accused of conducting turned out to be merely “feasibility and scientific studies”(of nuclear and non-nuclear technology that has proven civilian uses), not active procedures or policies directed at making atomic bombs.

Moreover, and more importantly, this supposed research involved absolutely no diversion of nuclear material for non-peaceful uses, and therefore were not violations of either Iran’s commitments under its safeguards agreement with the IAEA or a breach of the NPT itself.

By actually assessing the facts, it is beyond clear that, despite decades of alarmism, hype and hysteria, Iran never violated the NPT, and there has never been any evidence of the existence of an “Iranian nuclear weapons program.”

Beyond this, Tim Kaine’s claims that Hillary Clinton was the driving force behind diplomacy with Iran are absurd. Quite the contrary, the breakthrough for talks – that is, the Obama administration deciding to drop the “zero enrichment” demand that had soured diplomatic efforts since 2005 – occurred despite Clinton’s insistence that Iran be denied their inalienable nuclear rights. This shift in policy was due primarily to the efforts of John Kerry, both as Senate Foreign Relations Chair during Obama’s first term and then as Secretary of State after Clinton left the office.

But Kaine wasn’t alone in his mistakes. Even fact-checkers didn’t get their facts straight.

For instance, in response to Kaine’s claim that Clinton “worked a tough negotiation with nations around the world to eliminate the Iranian nuclear weapons program without firing a shot,” PBS National Security Correspondent Mary Louise Kelly wrote this:

The deal slowed but does not eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program. Iran agreed to eliminate its stockpile of medium enriched uranium, to dramatically cut its stockpile of low enriched uranium, and to allow international inspectors to visit nuclear facilities — in exchange for relief from sanctions.

Again, Iran didn’t have a nuclear weapons program for anyone to eliminate. Furthermore, there is no such thing as “medium enriched uranium,” according to the International Atomic Energy Agency. There’s only low and high – Iran has never, ever, enriched uranium close to weapons-grade levels. Also misleading is Kelly’s assertion that the deal allowed “international inspectors to visit nuclear facilities,” considering that IAEA inspectors already had access to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure long before the deal was struck.

Other fact-checkers – from ABC to the New York Times – were similarly wrong on the facts, as noted by longtime Iran watcher Ali Gharib:

Hillary Clinton didn’t help to eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program because the talks weren’t about eliminating Iran’s nuclear weapons program because Iran didn’t have a nuclear weapons program at that time to eliminate. Kaine, therefore, did exaggerate Clinton’s role: he credited her with participating in talks that didn’t actually do what he said they did.

Pence’s insistence that the Iran deal failed at its primary mission was also wholly false. “The goal was always that we would only lift the sanctions if Iran permanently renounced their nuclear [ambitions],” said Pence, adding, “They have not renounced their nuclear ambitions. When the deal’s period runs out, there is no limitation on them obtaining weapons.”

Everything about this is wrong. Iran has publicly, repeatedly and consistently renounced any and all interest in acquiring nuclear weapons on legal, strategic and moral grounds for literally decades. Therefore, the phrase “their nuclear ambitions,” which Pence uses as a dog whistle for “pursuit of nuclear weapons,” doesn’t mean what Pence thinks it does.

As Gharib has also pointed out, Iran’s commitment not to obtain nukes goes well beyond the stipulations of the Iran deal. Even after the terms expire (and some of the most important ones never do), “having a nuclear weapons program will still be prohibited not only by Iran’s signature to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty but also by express promises the country made as part of the nuclear deal itself. The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the Iran deal’s formal name) says, ‘Iran reaffirms that under no circumstances will Iran ever seek, develop or acquire any nuclear weapons.’ It’s plain as day, right there in the first paragraph. And there’s no sunset clause on that pledge; it stays in force forever.”

The facts are plain, and are essential when discussing issues like this. But when it comes to Iran and American politics, there is no depth to which the propaganda won’t sink, with fact-checkers being dragged down with it.

October 8, 2016 Posted by | Deception | , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

9/11 Experiments: The Force Behind the Motion

physicsandreason – March 3, 2016

Why can’t the experts demonstrate the force behind the motion?

March 6, 2016 Posted by | Deception, False Flag Terrorism, Science and Pseudo-Science, Timeless or most popular, Video | , , | 1 Comment

PBS Newshour Lies about Single-Payer Health Care

By Ben Schreiner | Dissident Voice | January 25, 2016

The fact that a majority of Americans support a single-payer, or Medicare for all, health care system is not news.  Or at least it ought not to be news, especially to veteran political journalists.

But enter the vaunted PBS Newshour, which bills itself as “one of the most trusted news programs on television.”  (In fairness, that’s a medium not eliciting much in the way of stiff competition.)

On Friday’s broadcast, during the program’s weekly left/right debate segment, featuring New York Times columnist David Brooks on the right and Washington Post columnist Ruth Marcus (seen burnishing her “progressive” credentials here) on the “left,” the topic of discussion turned to the differing health care proposals of Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders.

Sanders supports a Medicare for all system, while Clinton supports maintaining the status quo of the 2010 Affordable Care Act.  But with Sanders now surging in both Iowa and New Hampshire, the health care schism between the Democratic front-runners has taken center stage in the campaign, with Clinton camp surrogates attacking Sanders by going so far as to incredulously assert that Sanders, by seeking to expand health care to all Americans, is really threatening to strip health coverage from millions.

Taking up this debate between the two Democratic candidates, Brooks commented Friday on the Newshour that, “They also had an interesting debate about health care reform. And that was her [Clinton] making an incremental argument, we have got to make our changes gradually, and him [Sanders] making a radical argument. And so it was interesting. That was a substantive, real argument about how you change any system.”

Newshour co-anchor Judy Woodruff then interjected to clarify, “… essentially, the argument is whether you just wipe away… what we have done and you go to a single-payer health care system, which most Americans say they don’t want… [emphasis added]”

Wait, what?  Most Americans say they don’t want a single-payer health care system?  Where did Woodruff pull that one from?

According to a 2014 Program for Consultation study analyzing public polling occurring between 2008 and 2013, majorities in both “red” (Republican-dominated) and “blue” (Democratic-dominated) congressional districts prefer government to play a greater role in health care.

When presented with the statement, “Healthcare is a right, not a privilege,” 62.3% of respondents in red districts agreed, compared to 62.9% of respondents in blue districts.

When presented with the statement, “Government should be responsible for ensuring health care needs of its citizens,” 55.6% of respondents in red districts agreed, compared to 64.1% of respondents in blue districts.

The Program for Consultation study even found 47.8% of respondents from red districts to agree that they, “Favor government paying for all necessary medical care for everyone.”  That compared to 54.9% of respondents in blue districts.

Meanwhile, a 2015 Progressive Change Institute poll found over 50% of Americans support a single-payer health care system like that proposed by Sanders, including 80% of Democrats.

Given all this, a Newshour viewer may have reasonably hoped that at the very least Marcus, the segment’s “left” perspective, would have interjected to correct Woodruff with any of the above.  But, alas, Woodruff’s complete distortion of reality, whether a result of a confounding ignorance or ideological blindness, passed without comment.

It seems that not even a “trusted news program” on an ostensibly public channel is capable of conceding the progressive views of the American public.

Ben Schreiner is the author of A People’s Dictionary to the ‘Exceptional Nation’. He lives in Oregon and may be reached at: bnschreiner@gmail.com.

January 25, 2016 Posted by | Deception, Economics | , , , , | Leave a comment

The Frontline of Hasbara is on PBS

By Andrew Stewart | CounterPunch | January 8, 2016

On January 5, 2015, PBS aired a new Frontline documentary NETANYAHU AT WAR, a profile of the troubled relationship between the Israeli Prime Minister and President Obama. It is now available on the PBS website in some markets and will perhaps be on other platforms such as Netflix, who have previously carried Frontline specials.

The film is typical of what we should now call Hasbara 2.0. No longer are we subjected to the Irving Howe-styled apologias wherein Israel is some great social democratic wonderland besieged by the terrorist Arabs. Now we are given a much more nuanced vision where there are problematic Israelis (here, the antihero of our narrative, Bibi) but where a criminal like the late Prime Minister Yitzak Rabin is a fallen hero and American presidents like Bill Clinton and Obama are the poor Sampsons who are betrayed by Likudnik Delilah. In other words, it is a complete and utter farce that unfortunately deceives many people.

The point to begin with is the interviewees. The talking heads here are not experts on the topic, like Dr. Norman Finkelstein or Dr. Ilan Pappe. Instead, we get Peter Beinart, Avi Shavit, and David Remnick regurgitating Beltway gossip and Tel Aviv talking points like they are great chroniclers of the modern realpolitik. For the Palestinians, we have the voice of Saeb Erekat, the negotiator whose diplomatic skills were summed up best by Dr. Finkelstein:

Abbas and his imbecile sidekick Saeb Erekat are playing good cop/bad cop. Abbas says “yes, this agreement might work,” whereas Erekat whispers to the media—you know, the “senior Palestinian negotiator who doesn’t want to be identified”—that “oh, this agreement is horrible, it’s terrible, it’s awful, they can shove it.” Erekat thinks that’s being clever, it’s putting pressure on the Americans, as if anyone on god’s earth gives a flying fig what Erekat has to say about anything.

Ergo, if PBS thinks getting Erekat on the record is a big score, we are in for a travesty.

On the American side, we have the likes of Dennis Ross, Sandy Berger, and Martin Indyk giving high praises to the Oslo years and Clinton’s annexation process. Consider this passage of narration:

Known as the Oslo Accord, it was designed to end years of violence by laying out a peace process, a deal that could give Palestinians their own state and land captured in the ‘67 war.

This is perhaps able to be true in some technical sense, maybe if one stands on their head and squints, but it is totally removed from reality. From the outset, be it Republican or Democrat, the Palestinians have never found a fair negotiator in the United States. Consider what Dr. Chomsky wrote in September 1993:

The US was therefore in a good position to advance its rejectionist program without interference, moving towards the solution outlined by Secretary of State James Baker well before the Gulf [War] crisis: any settlement must be based on the 1989 plan of the government of Israel, which flatly bars Palestinian national rights (Baker Plan, December 1989).

Even when President H.W. Bush was allowing Secretary Baker to infamously goad the Israelis by telling them the White House phone number during his House testimony, the Americans have always been all show and allowed the dispossession to continue.

Consider another line of narration:

Palestinians launched a new round of violence, a sustained uprising, the [Second] Intifada.

This is so preposterous when one remembers the words of Alex Kane:

Neve Gordon… tells us that the 2nd Intifada began as a nonviolent popular uprising, but only turned violent after Israel brutally suppressed the uprising, firing 1.3 million bullets into the West Bank and Gaza Strip after Israeli security forces were directed to “fan the flames”, as Haaretz’s Akiva Eldar reported in 2004.

This is just par for the course here and demonstrates the level of duplicity that PBS is involved in here with your tax dollars.

The film serves two purposes. Besides the aforementioned hasbara effect, it also tries to salvage what it can of the Obama legacy and create a post facto explanation for why this Presidency has been an almost complete disaster. In that regard, it shapes recent history into a bizarre narrative, failing to mention the words “Cast Lead” or “Protective Edge” while trying to float the preposterous idea that Obama tried to be ahead of history and support the Arab Spring. My own view, while perhaps incorrect, is that he instead succeeded in subverting the genuine democratic uprisings across the region to serve his own ends. When things in Egypt became far too complicated by having a Muslim Brotherhood government across the Sinai from besieged Gaza, a coup was initiated and al-Sisi installed.

Of course, this obviates the question of whose voice should be heard here. My own wish would be that of the late Edward Said. Although Dr. Said was not alive for these events, there is a double meaning that makes his presence necessary. First, in his writings he was absolutely open and honest about both Israeli brutality and Palestinian bravery, yet also the failings of leaders like Arafat. But also of a second degree of value is the infamous image of him speaking with a younger Obama at a dinner. Perhaps his voice would continue to speak a truth to Obama’s career that needs to be heard.

Andrew Stewart is a documentary film maker and reporter for Rhode Island’s Future, who lives outside Providence.  His film, AARON BRIGGS AND THE HMS GASPEE, about the historical role of Brown University in the slave trade, is available for purchase on Amazon Instant Video or on DVD.

January 9, 2016 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Progressive Hypocrite, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Voices From The Ghosts of Vietnam Are Being Heard Again: Which Should We Listen To?

By Danny Schechter | teleSUR | December 15, 2014

It’s been nearly 40 years since what the American media called “The Fall of Saigon” and the Vietnamese referred to as the Liberation. I saw it then as the Fall of Washington.

The ghosts of Vietnam are back, thanks to two filmmakers with very different takes. The first is Rory Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy’s youngest daughter. Her one-sided account has already been nominated for an Oscar. The second is Tiana, an American of South Vietnamese origin, who made the film, From Hollywood To Hanoi, years ago to promote reconciliation between our two countries.

Tiana is finishing a movie called The General and Me, on her unlikely conversations (for someone from a virulently anti-communist family) with North Vietnam’s legendary and late General, Vo Nguyen Giap, a.k.a the “Red Napoleon,“ a.k.a the man whose military doctrines defeated the French Army, and later, the Pentagon’s brutal Vietnamization strategy.

Giap created the Vietnamese resistance Army at Ho Chi Minh’s request in 1944, and without training, became a military genius. Tiana has two other self-promoted US “geniuses” in her movie too: pathetic walk-ons by former US General William Westmoreland, and an arrogant ex-Defense Secretary, Robert MacNamara, who could not conceal his contempt for her.

Rory’s highly-hyped and well-funded movie depicts footage we have seen before of the hurried evacuation of US soldiers and some of their Vietnamese conscripts in a long and bloody war that was lost almost from its earliest days.

Rather than look at the reasons for that loss, Rory has, with support from HBO and PBS’s American Experience series, tried to present a heroic picture of Americans in their last days in Saigon, coping with a Mad Ambassador and in some cases rebelling against US policy.

(I have loved some of Rory’s work before, but this had ideological agenda written all over it.)

These two films, all these years later, mirror the cultural and political divides of the times with one film, in effect, rationalizing the war, and portraying the American military as compassionate, and the other, for one of the first times, offering views from the other side that Americans never heard.

Even if her Uncle JFK did escalate the war, despite his back and forth doubts, a member of the Kennedy Family is still treated as a cultural icon in a culture that can’t remember details of what happened yesterday, much less forty year ago. Rory’s work has been acclaimed; Tiana’s has not yet been seen. She labels the forgetting deliberate, what she calls, “Nam-Nesia.”

Gerald Perry writes in Arts Fuse:

“The mushy reviews of Last Days in Vietnam (a 94% Rotten Tomatoes approval rating) are extraordinarily similar. They praise filmmaker Rory Kennedy for documenting a forgotten moment of American history, the chaotic days in 1975 when the US raced to leave Saigon and South Vietnam steps ahead of the advancing North Vietnamese Army. And the critics are pumped up with pride at the stories Kennedy has uncovered of brave and noble American soldiers and a few anti-establishment American diplomats who helped evacuate many South Vietnamese–by boat, plane, and helicopter–who presumably would be enslaved or murdered by the Communist North Vietnamese.

What hardly anyone observed is that Kennedy, daughter of peacenik Robert Kennedy, is offering a flag-waving whitewash of the war in Vietnam. The North Vietnamese are characterized, with no exceptions, as Isis-like warriors murdering all their opposition on the way from Hanoi to Saigon. And, after entering Saigon, annihilating those who oppose them, or sending their enemies to re-education camps. The South Vietnamese? This amazed me: there is not any mention of the much-documented corruption of the various puppet governments, and of the South Vietnamese army as a coercive instrument of torture and killings. Each South Vietnamese ex-soldier who is interviewed is allowed to tell his shiny story, including a high-ranking officer. There’s no blood attached to any of them.”

This did not surprise me. In 1976, the anniversary of the American Revolution, I published a small book featuring the views of Vietnam’s top military strategists including General Vo Nguyen Giap called “How We Won The War.” It was based on articles I wrote in the aftermath of the defeat of the US–backed Saigon military in 1975. Predictably, it got no pickup. There were many post-mortems about what we did wrong but, few if any, about what they did right.

Surely, that story is historically more significant than how we cut tail and ran.

I wrote then:

“The American press was never much help in our efforts to find out more about those remarkable Vietnamese people who have now managed to out-organize, out fight, and defeat a succession of U.S. backed regimes. When the US media did recognize the other side’s existence, they did so with disdain, distortion and denigration… the U.S. never came to terms the fact it was defending a government which had no support and attempting to crush one that did.”

A group of LA-based film critics later wrote to PBS: “Rory Kennedy’s egregiously unbalanced, out-of-context, dubiously propagandistic Last Days in Vietnam is currently in theatrical release, a production of the PBS series, An American Experience. We are appalled by the extraordinarily one-sided nature of Kennedy’s rewrite of history that only shows the U.S. government’s and the Republic of Vietnam’s side of the story, and never offers the points of view of the millions of Americans who opposed the war and of those who fought on the side of the National Liberation Front and North Vietnam.”

So much for “balance!”

The protest was all for naught. Public Television retreated into its archive of knee-jerk form letters and responded to criticisms of one program with a defense that cited all the programs they ran, most decades old, while announcing that a new multi-million dollar series on Vietnam by their always well-funded doc superstar, Ken Burns, is in the works. Typical!

They avoided details like these:

  • Rory focused on the story of efforts to save allied officers and their families in a Saigon (“Arvin”) Army known for its corruption and brutality.
  • It cited atrocities allegedly committed by the Communists like the “Hue Massacre,” an event thoroughly investigated and exposed as false by US Vietnam Scholar Gareth Porter.
  • It cited violations of the Paris Peace agreement by the North without mentioning the many more egregious and concealed violations by the US-backed South Vietnamese forces.
  • It showed the madness and mania of US Ambassador Graham Martin as if he was an exception to a history of earlier US officials who escalated the war with massive casualties. It offered no historical context or background
  • It implied that all the people of Saigon would be butchered or imprisoned; that was not the case.
  • It referenced escaping ships racing to ConSon Island without mentioning that that Island off the coast of Saigon hosted, like Guantanamo does today, brutal prison camps filled with “tiger cages” where Vietnamese opponents of the military regime were kept, killed and tortured.

Perry asks:

“Where in this documentary are the anti-war voices of those who were American soldiers in Vietnam and became disillusioned by the terrible things we did there? Who in this film speaks of our random bombing of North Vietnam? Of the massacre at My Lai? And for the CIA, where is mention of the heinous tortures of South Vietnamese under CIA director William Colby? As for Kissinger, it’s madly frustrating to see his self-serving rhetoric go completely unchallenged. Where are you, Errol Morris, when needed? Instead, the world’s number one war criminal at large (Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Chile, etc.) is a welcome and honored guest to this documentary commissioned by PBS’s American Experience.”

And, on and on!

It’s been 40 years. What have we learned? The Obama Administration, aided by our Secretary of State, a Vietnamese speaker no less, named John Kerry, once the leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War, had turned into an apologist for the American role in the war, and an arms salesman to Vietnam which fears the Chinese today more than the Americans.

Whose voice should we listen to? Rory Kennedy with her slick and costly archive-footage based mockumentary of history, or Tiana who is struggling to bring Vietnamese voices and a deliberately buried history to life?

Why are these Vietnam films always—“AAU—all About Us?”

December 17, 2014 Posted by | Illegal Occupation, Militarism, Timeless or most popular, War Crimes | , , , , , | 1 Comment