Archive | July 25th, 2017

Political Insanity in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Crisis in Qatar, The Plight of the Camels

NOVANEWS
 

The last straw will break the camel’s back. (Various attributions.)

After his visit to the Kingdom in May, Donald Trump decided to back the Saudi-led blockade of tiny Qatar (2015 population 2.235 million, but just 313,000 citizens) imposed less than a month later. 

The siege was also joined by Bahrain, Doha, the Maldives, the UAE – Abu Dhabi, Ajman, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras al-Khaimah, Sharjah and Umm al-Quwain. It was quickly pointed out that:

“(The) US President has long history of lucrative investment deals with Saudi Arabia but few ties to the small Gulf nation.” (1) 

Trump’s financial bounties from Saudi: “… includes the purchase of tens of millions of dollars in Trump’s real estate properties by wealthy Saudis over the years.” 

Moreover: 

Image result for Prince Alwaleed bin Talal

Prince Alwaleed bin Talal (Source: Kingdom Holding Company)

“In 1995, when Trump was struggling to make payments on one of his most important New York properties, the landmark Plaza Hotel, it was (Saudi) Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who came to his rescue … In 1991, bin Talal also bought a huge (282-foot) yacht, the Trump Princess, from creditors at a time when Trump’s other big venture, the Atlantic City casinos, were under pressure.” 

In fact it was far more than mere “pressure.” In July 1991 the Trump corporation owned Taj-Mahal casino, the world’s largest, filed for bankruptcy. (2) 

So, seemingly keen to back up benefactors and apparently unknowing and uncaring of even major regional complexities, it is unlikely Donald Trump had camels on his mind. 

Ironically the stated reason for the potentially crippling embargo – Qatar imports almost everything – is the accusation of support for extremism, an allegation which has been leveled, with documentation, at both Saudi and the US in orders of magnitude. Another demand is that Qatar ends an independent minded foreign policy. As Newsweek puts it (22nd June 2017): 

“What Saudi and its allies are trying to do is increase the costs on Qatar for its actions, hoping that it will realign its policy with those of the GCC. 

“The conflict between Qatar and its neighbours dates back to the Qatari desire for political relevance in the late 90s and early 2000s. It engaged with Israel, Hezbollah, and Iran, when its neighbors could not, and carved out a niche for itself as an arbiter and link between international powers and … groups that no one else wanted or had the capacity to deal with. 

“Even the United States saw value in this role, asking the Qataris to liaise with the Taliban during the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan.”

Now the US, back stabber in chief, has stabbed again. 

In wars, embargoes and disputes affecting borders, animals too are often victims, if ignored and forgotten ones. Also forgotten are Trump’s repeated campaign commitments that the US would no longer murderously meddle in policies in far away places. Indeed, the Brookings Institute went as far as to call him an “isolationist”, a position they hold, he had adhered to since, nearly thirty years ago, when he spent $95,000 on a full page advertisement in the New York Times expounding on those views. (Brookings.edu, 24th March, 2016.) 

How quickly he changed “beliefs” of decades and avowed commitments. For example a recent headline (3) read: 

“It Took Obama More Than Two Years to Kill This Many Civilians. It Took Trump Less Than Six Months.”

The sub-heading was:

“Civilian deaths in Iraq and Syria from coalition strikes were roughly eighty per month during the Obama White House, compared to roughly three hundred and sixty per month during Trump’s administration.” 

With such disregard for human life, camels, if they have ever even registered as existing in his seemingly gnat like attention span, don’t stand a chance. 

An emaciated camel receives some of the emergency supplies delivered by Doha (Source: The New Arab)

With the imposition of the embargo the Saudi government expelled the Qatari owners of more than fifteen thousand camels and ten thousand sheep, with nine thousand camels reportedly expelled in just thirty-six hours. 

Qatar, just 4,414 sq. miles, had arrangements to use the vast spaces of neighbouring Saudi (830,000 sq. miles) for grazing, explained the Daily Mail (4) further: ‘Camel owner, Hussein Al-Marri, from Abu Samra, said:

“I have returned from Saudi Arabia. I myself saw more than 100 dead camels on the road as well as hundreds of lost camels and sheep.” 

Another farmer recounted:

“I lost fifty heads of sheep and five camels and there are ten missing. I do not know anything about them.” 

Video footage shows animals: “herded into huge pens after restricted border opening hours meant only a few hundred could cross each day, and many died of thirst or untreated injuries. 

“Heartbreaking footage showed animals succumbing to the harsh conditions, including one female camel which died while giving birth.” 

This camel was part-way through giving birth when she succumbed to the harsh conditions (Source: The New Arab)

Local reports recount: “as many as one hundred baby camels died during the arduous journey back to Qatar.” 

Another camel owner described these great, graceful, “ships of the desert” as exhausted and confused, not knowing which way to go in temperatures of 50 degrees C – 122F. 

Farmers recounted that without the intervention of the Qatari government the plight of the animals could have been worse. The Environment Ministry provided emergency shelter on the Qatari side of the border with water tanks and food for more than eight thousand camels. Veterinarians and animal experts were also provided. 

The speed of the expulsion left farmers with huge logistical problems, with camels lost, their owners not knowing whether they were dead or alive. 

Camel owner Ali Magareh spoke for many:

“We just want to live out our days, to go to Saudi Arabia and take care of our camels and go back and take care of our family … We don’t want to be involved in these political things.” 

A spokesperson for international animal charity SPANA told the paper: 

“All too often around the world, working animals and livestock become the forgotten victims of conflict and political disputes. 

“’It’s also important to remember that the communities that depend on working animals worldwide are usually the poorest in society – these animals are often all they have and are absolutely crucial to their livelihoods.”

50,000 Qatari camels remain in Saudi Arabia. The outcome of their fate remains unknown. 

There is a poignant irony at this treatment of the camels by Saudi Arabia, custodian of the two holiest sites in Islam, Mecca and Medina. When the Prophet Muhammad left Mecca for Medina he allowed his camel to roam, deciding that where she stopped to rest would determine where he would make his home. 

He is buried in the city’s great al-Masjid an-Nabawi (“the Prophet’s Mosque.”) 

In the Qur’an the 17th verse of the Chapter Al-Gashiyah asks: “Do they not look at the Camels, how they are made?” It is explained that as the wonder of all creatures, the camel is created with many characteristics and then placed on earth as a sign of the uniqueness of the Creator and Creation. The camel gifted with superior physical features, to survive the harshest of climates and conditions, has been given to the service of mankind. 

Mankind, however, has the responsibility to recognize, respect, all miracles of creation throughout the universe. 

It has to be wondered if the custodians of the holy cities, ruling from Riyadh are as forgetful of the inherited holy tenets as those in Washington are unknowing and uncaring. 

Global Research’s Professor Michel Chossudovsky has just returned from Qatar, where he recorded camels in the barren, vegetation-less desert a short distance from the Saudi border. He comments with bitter irony:

“The Saudis expulsed them [camels whic belonged to Qataris] on the pretext that, even those born in Saudi Arabia, did not have the right of abode, they are non-residents in the KSA (Kingdom of Saudia Arabia.)

“They are stateless and the camels are now applying to the UN for the relevant documents which will enable them to stroll through the Qatari desert where there is absolutely nothing to eat, since they are not allowed to go back to the KSA.”

Source: Global Research, Michel Chossudovsky, Camels in the desert  near the Saudi border, Qatar, July 15, 2017

So far, Washington has not demanded a wall be built.

Notes

1. https://www.theguardian.com/ us-news/2017/jun/23/qatar- diplomatic-crisis-what-are- trumps-financial-links-to-the- region
2. https://www.washingtonpost. com/investigations/trumps-bad- bet-how-too-much-debt-drove- his-biggest-casino-aground/ 2016/01/18/f67cedc2-9ac8-11e5- 8917-653b65c809eb_story.html? utm_term=.710b97c55a8d
3. https://www.commondreams.org/ news/2017/07/17/it-took-obama- more-two-years-kill-many- civilians-it-took-trump-less- six-months
4. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/ news/article-4682076/Qatari- camels-die-kicked-farms-Saudi. html

Posted in Middle East, Saudi ArabiaComments Off on Political Insanity in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Crisis in Qatar, The Plight of the Camels

Afghanistan: A Morally Corrupting War

NOVANEWS

Sixteen years have passed and we are still fighting a war in Afghanistan which is not only the longest in American history (at a cost approaching one trillion and the blood of thousands of brave soldiers), but one which is morally corrupting from which there seems to be no exit with any gratification but shame. It was necessary to invade Afghanistan to destroy al-Qaeda following 9/11, but once it was defeated we should have departed, leaving behind some residual forces to clean up the mess. Instead, we decided to introduce democracy, a totally alien concept to a land historically governed by tribes, and which no foreign power has ever been able to govern or fully conquer for long.

Today, we are still discussing the best course of action to bring this war to some form of a satisfactory conclusion. Before we discuss prospective solutions, however, we should take a hard look at the real cost of the war and its implications that will startle many to their core.

Nearly 2,400 American soldiers have been killed and 20,000 wounded; over 33,000 Afghani civilians have lost their lives. A record number of civilians—1,662—were killed in the first six months of 2017 alone, and over 3,581 civilians were wounded. Overall, Afghani casualties are estimated at 225,000, with 2.6 million Afghani refugees and more than one million internally displaced.

Thus far, the cost of the war to date is approximately $783 billion; the cost for each soldier is $3.9 million per year. If we were to divide the war’s cost among Afghanistan’s 30 million citizens, it would amount to $33,000 per head, from which the ordinary Afghan has derived zero benefit in a country where the average annual per capita income was only $670 in 2014.

While we are spending these sums of money on an unwinnable war, fifteen million US children (21 percent) live in households below the federal poverty threshold. Hundreds of thousands go to sleep hungry, and many are living in squalid conditions, with infrastructure and homes on the verge of collapsing.

To understand the travesty of these expenditures on the war, just think of the cost to America, not only in human lives and money, but our moral standing in the world and the pervasive, corrosive thinking that the war can still be won with military muscle.

It is naïve to think that after 16 years of fighting, dispatching an additional military force of 4,000 soldiers (as recommended by Secretary of Defense Mattis) will change anything, when at its peak over 140,000 soldiers were unable to win and create a sustainable political and security structure that would allow us to leave with dignity.

No one in the Trump administration, including the Pentagon, is suggesting that additional forces would win the war. At best, they can arrest the continuing advances of the Taliban, which is now in control of more than one third of the country—and then what?

After a visit to Afghanistan, Senator John McCain was asked to define winning:

“Winning is getting major areas of the country under control and working toward some kind of ceasefire with the Taliban.”

But as Robert L. Borosage of The Nation points out,

“we’ve had major areas under control before, and the Taliban continued to resist, while corruption and division continued to cripple the Afghan government.”

Beyond this resurgent Taliban threat, al-Qaeda is back in full force and is successfully spreading its wings far beyond the Afghani borders.

If anything, the situation today is even worse both in the political and security spheres, and the prospects of developing sustainable conditions on the ground and a functioning government in Kabul are next to zero. Sadly, Defense Secretary Mattis resembles a gambling addict pouring money into a slot machine, but ends up leaving depressed and frustrated for having lost every dollar, hoping against hope to win a jackpot that never pays out.

One might ask Secretary Mattis, what is our goal now in Afghanistan, and what is our exit strategy? For the past 16 years, no Defense Secretary provided a clear answer, and now we are asked to gamble again with the lives of our soldiers, with no hope of ever winning this debilitating war, which has now become a war of choice.

To be sure, there will not be a military solution to the Afghan war. The sooner we accept this reality, however bitter it may be, the better so we can focus on a practical outcome that can emerge only through negotiations with moderate elements of the Taliban.

Steve Bannon

The second option of conducting the war, which is championed by Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, is to hire private contractors in lieu of American troops to fight a proxy war on our behalf. There is nothing more disdainful than such a proposal. If we were to choose this route—sending mercenaries to foreign lands to do our killing—will there be anything more morally decadent than this breach of our humanity?

The fact that we used mercenaries in the past to act as security guards or manage detention centers was bad enough, in that they abused their mandate and committed egregious crimes while making billions of dollars.

We should never repeat such a practice which is morally reprehensible. This scheme, not surprisingly, comes from the self-serving master manipulator Bannon, whose advice to Trump so far has got the president in more trouble than he cares to handle. A war for which we are not prepared to sacrifice the life of a soldier for a worthy cause must never be fought.

In a series of conversations I had with Ajmal Khan Zazai, tribal leader and Paramount Chief of Paktia province in Afghanistan, he spoke with deep frustration about the American military approach that has never had a chance of succeeding. He said,

“Afghanistan is a tribal country, the tribes are the past, present, and the future. To win this hard fight against the Taliban and their associates [including al-Qaeda and ISIS] without the support and backing of the tribes would be a miracle and I doubt a miracle is happening these days.”

He was emphatic about the naivete of successive American administrations, saying that government officials in the Departments of State and Defense going back to the Bush era appeared to be “either obsessed with their version of ‘democracy’ and ‘human rights’ or believe only in a US military solution. They don’t believe in homegrown or Afghan local solutions led by the tribes, or even winning hearts and minds.”

It is time for the US to realize that the long-term solution lies, as Zazai said, with the full backing and support of the tribes. He told me that he is prepared to gather the chiefs of all the tribes to seek commitment from top US officials to empower them by providing four to five hundred million dollars a year, over a few years (which is a fraction of what we spend today). The purpose would be to recruit and train their own militia to fight their own battles—not mercenaries for hire, who want to prolong the war only to enrich themselves.

The solution to the Afghanistan debacle lies with the Afghani tribes, who must take the lead in fighting the insurgency. The tribes will be fighting for their country because they want an end to outrageous foreign interventions that did nothing but cause havoc in the name of pursuing an illusionary democracy.

In the end, the solution lies in peace negotiations with moderates in the Taliban, who are Afghani nationals and will not be dislodged from their own land, and no one is better equipped to achieve that than the tribal chiefs. They want to take matters into their hands and end the decades-long suffering, death, and destruction they have and continue to endure.

Posted in USA, AfghanistanComments Off on Afghanistan: A Morally Corrupting War

“Electronic Money” under “The One World Order” (OWO)

NOVANEWS
“Electronic Money” under “The One World Order” (OWO): Are We Becoming Western Money Slaves? Solutions? “Resistance Economy”, “De-dollarization”, “De-globalization”
 

Electronic money, a cashless society, is perhaps the ultimate and most direct means of the New World Order (NWO), also called One World Order (OWO), to control us all via its financial system. A system that the NWO would like to maintain as the world’s financial system, albeit, it has already been reduced to the western world’s financial system.

Why reduced to the Occident? – Because the Orient, China, Russia and the other countries belonging to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and to the Eurasia Economic Union (EEU) have already largely delinked themselves from the western dollar-based system of fraud. They are saved from slavehood.

This reminds of one of the oldest and world’s worst criminal agent against humanity – still alive and kicking – Henry Kissinger:

“Who controls food, controls the people; who controls energy controls entire continents; and who controls money controls the world.”

He is, of course, right on all fronts, and has given us this clue already more than 40 years ago. But nobody has really seriously taken it to heart and acted upon these edicts.

Many, including me, have written about freeing the world from the NWO money control.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/globalization-is-the-demise-of-humanity-towards-an-economy-of-peace-with-an-alternative-monetary-system/5545014.

Deglobalizing would be a first step towards freeing us all from the bloody claws of the Washington implemented, and Dark State directed NWO.

Critics often talk of an overhaul and reform of the system. This monetary system cannot be reformed. It is privately owned and rotten to the core. None of the private owners, the Rothschild, Rockefeller clans et al, would allow interfering with their wealth, usurped of the back of the world’s workers and populace at large. Former attempts (e.g. under JFK)  to bring the FED (Federal Reserve) under national reign, have resulted in failure.

Compare the dollar-based monetary system to the European Union – which cannot be reformed either. Any ‘reform’ is just fiddling at the margins – as is inherent in the term ‘reform’. And that’s not good enough. As we know by now, the EU was not the construct of Europeans, per se, but an idea behind the ‘deep state’, already at the onset of Phase II of the Great Hundred Year War (WWII – September 1939 to September 1945). Phase I (WWI – 1914 – 1918), as well as Phase II were induced to weaken Europe, to make her ready for full domination.

Imagine a ‘Picador’ of a Spanish bullfight, whose job it is to weaken the bull to the point where the torero and matador have a relatively easy task subduing and killing the bull. Well, Europe is the bull. They don’t want to kill Europe altogether, good old Lady Europe, because they need her as a stepping stone for subjugating the rest of the world, for vital trade that helps justifying and generating the unlimited dollar machine – and, as a cushion to the East, where massive military troops and weapons can be stationed in the name of NATO, to eventually launch, what they would like to think, is the final blow on the East, starting with Russia.

For all this the European (non)-Union was created, her Brussels hub, dominated by the non-elected European Commission (EC) which also dictates most of the rules imposed on her 28-member states – and which are all not-so-coincidentally run by neoliberal, some close to neofascist governments. Of course, by adhering to the Brussels dictate, they have become devoid of national sovereignty. That is a must. A sovereign country would not submit to the horrors of police state and militarization that are in the coming. The euro with the Wall Street (Goldman Sachs – GS) run European Central Bank (ECB) is just a logical add-on to the fake EU. By now, many serious scholars have concluded that neither the EU nor the euro are sustainable, but are doomed to collapse sooner or later.

The EU and the euro are a complex construct, largely manipulated and carried forward by the Dark State’s main secret services, CIA, NSA, Mossad, MI6 with close collaboration of Europe’s national secret services. Hence, the creation of a complete political and monetary vassal, the European Union and her currency, equally fraudulent as its master currency, the US-dollar.

***

It is not by chance that today’s western US-dollar based monetary system, with its center, the Federal Reserve (FED), has been created just at the onset of Phase I of the Hundred Year war, i.e. WWI. In 1910, Rhode Island Senator, Nelson Aldrich, with his heart close to the world of bankers, organized a ”hunting trip” for five top Wall Street (WS) bankers to travel in disguise by train to Jekyll Island, off the coast of Georgia, where they concocted in a few days the concept of the modern FED – which was to become the ‘mother’ of the new dollar-based world monetary system, now reduced to the western monetary system. The Federal Reserve Act was signed into law in December 1913 by President Woodrow Wilson.

President Woodrow Wilson (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

On his death bed, in 1924 Wilson apparently declared,

“I am a most unhappy man. I have unwittingly ruined my country. A great industrial nation is controlled by its system of credit. Our system of credit is concentrated. The growth of the nation, therefore, and all our activities are in the hands of a few men. We have come to be one of the worst ruled, one of the most completely controlled and dominated Governments in the civilized world no longer a Government by free opinion, no longer a Government by conviction and the vote of the majority, but a Government by the opinion and duress of a small group of dominant men.”

The FED, the Bank for International Settlements (BIS – also called the central bank of all central banks, manipulating gold prices and currency exchanges), as well as the related dollar-machine are totally privately owned. On top of the owner pyramid are the Rothschild and Rockefeller clans, et al. Henceforth, all international monetary transactions had to transit through a WS bank, be it in New York or London. This is the only reason why the US government, i.e. Washington and its dark handlers, are able to hand out economic and financial ‘sanctions’ as they please, to control those, who do not want to bend to their dictate.

‘Sanctions’ in terms of blocking trade with a Washington-destined country and punishing everyone who does not observe the sanctions, plus, confiscating a country’s foreign assets – are totally illegal before any international court. But there is no international court that is not bought by this sham monetary system. By the same token, this same deceitful banking-monetary scheme induced the last artificial economic ‘crisis’ 2007 / 2008 – and counting, allowing WS to launch a worldwide globalization of banking which de facto, puts worldwide private banking under the oppressive wings of the FED and WS. This, all the more as the World Trade Organization (WTO) a few years earlier made banking deregulation mandatory for any new WTO wannabe member.

How to get out of this slavery before we are totally locked into a system from where to escape may be nearly impossible? The solution sounds simple enough in theory, but of course is much more complex, as it confronts politics, which is controlled by the ‘dark deep state’ of the NWO, or the One World Order which more appropriately describes what we are faced with.

Nations and societies that want to get out of the killer-claws of those who control the NWO, have to start thinking out of the matrix – ‘deglobalizing and de-dollarizing’.

The first step is thinking in a new paradigm. Greece would have had an excellent opportunity to show the world how to become free of those abusive financial vultures, and regain her sovereignty. Hélas, Geece didn’t. She may have not been ‘allowed’ to do so. A huge dark killer sledgehammer was and still is hanging over the country.

“Local production, for local markets, with local money, and local public banking for the promotion of the local economy” is the name of the ‘simple game’.

Beyond this approach, trading between regional friends, culturally similar countries, ‘think-alike’ peoples’ nations, respecting each other’s comparative advantages, would be a normal next step. Trading would become again what the original meaning of the word says: An exchange of goods among equals, where, contrary to the current system, each trading partner is a winner. A good example, still in its infant steps, but progressing, is ALBA (Spanish acronym for Bolivarian Alliance for the People of Our America; “alba” also means appropriately “dawn” in Spanish). This alliance was launched by Venezuela and Cuba and today comprises some 11 Latin American countries, including Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and a number of small Caribbean nations.

The concept of ALBA could be replicated in many parts of the world. ALBA in many ways is a modern barter system which uses a virtual currency, the Sucre. The currency’s value is the weighted average of each member country’s economic output – plus the US-dollar. – Why the US dollar? I was told by one of the member country’s Minister of Finance that keeping the dollar in, would help avoid a massive boycott of the nascent system by Washington. We can only hope he is right. ALBA needs to gain more strength and new members.

Only half a century ago, this type of trading “within neighbors” was common, and it was OK. It was certainly more equal than today’s WTO-led and globalized trading system, where the ‘small’ – i.e. developing countries, always lose out, for the benefit of the domineering west. The US-creation of the expression “win-win situation” is certainly correct for any trade between a western industrialized country and a developing country following the rules of WTO. The “win-winner“ is always the west. And yet, most developing countries are eager to join the ‘club’, lest, they fear, they may become isolated trade-wise. Well, I am not sure. There are alternatives à la ALBA. Unfortunately, many of their ‘leaders’(sic), are buyable.

Stepping forward into the old system, may be unthinkable for today’s generation, as they have not known – and have been brainwashed to think that “Globalization is the best”.

With GREXT, local money and a new public banking system – detached from Wall Street and European BCE-linked banks, Greece would be already on a fast-track to recovery, regaining their strength as a sovereign proud economy, whose philosophers have, after all, offered the world the concept of ‘democracy’ some 2,500 years ago.

Local public banking is key. Just look at the Bank of North Dakota, a state owned public banking institutions which had kept North Dakota out of the 2007 / 2008 crisis. Except for Ellen Brown, President of the American Public Banking Institute, hardly anybody talks about this success story.

Why? – Because it runs counter to what the FED-WS dominated private banking system is doing. This private banking system is NOT working for the people, or for a country’s economy. It is working for private banking profit – and for the wealth of a few – and for eventually dominating the world’s financial system, so as to enslave the population, by totally controlling their financial resources, their livelihood. Case in point is that Germany’s private banks have made a profit of 1.34 billion euros on the Greek misery, just recently admitted by the German Minister of Finance.

That’s the deadlock we have to break. – How? With an ever more propaganda and lie-infested media that ever more controls the populace? – Imagine, the blood-dripping fangs that keep us hostage are not going to loosen their grip, come hell or high water. We, the People, have to break loose, peacefully, non-violently, by thoughtful actions. The deglobalization concept is akin to the concept of “Resistance Economy”.

We have to promote the concept of Resistance Economy by all means we have available; talking and writing about it to as wide an audience as possible; by having alternative media, like RT, Sputnik, TeleSur and others, promoting the idea; and by strongly and firmly always-always thinking that a drastic change is possible, that darkness doesn’t rule the world – that light can and will shine, if we, The People want it – we eventually may make a difference. What We, the People, are still missing is organization and solidarity. Against the dark state’s constant effort to divide to rule, an initiative in solidarity may move mountains, by steering the vessel from the shade into the sun. All is possible. Never give up.

And Light is Peace.

Posted in USAComments Off on “Electronic Money” under “The One World Order” (OWO)

Rex Tillerson Rumoured to be on Verge of Quitting as Secretary of State

NOVANEWS
Those who wish the US to moderate its aggressive foreign policy should be deeply concerned by Rex Tillerson’s despondency with his position as Secretary of State.
 

Rex Tillerson is reportedly deeply unhappy with the operational style of the Trump administration and has allegedly expressed disappointment that his State Department has been neglected by the White House. Furthermore, Tillerson is rumoured to be looking to quit his job as Secretary of State and possibly he is looking to do so quite soon.

While the source of these rumours are unnamed sources who spoke with CNN, not often a fully reliable way of deriving information, in this case there have been public indications from the very beginning of the Trump administration that Rex Tillerson was not altogether happy in his new position.

Before delving into the CNN rumours, here’s what we know for a fact.

1. No room for Rex at the Trump table 

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Rex Tillerson Rumoured to be on Verge of Quitting as Secretary of State

Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job? Intelligence Vets Challenge the Forensic “Evidence”

In a memo to President Trump, a group of former U.S. intelligence officers, including NSA specialists, cite new forensic studies to challenge the claim of the key Jan. 6 “assessment” that Russia “hacked” Democratic emails last year. 

.

MEMORANDUM FOR: The President

FROM: Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS)

SUBJECT: Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job?

Executive Summary

Forensic studies of “Russian hacking” into Democratic National Committee computers last year reveal that on July 5, 2016, data was leaked (not hacked) by a person with physical access to DNC computers, and then doctored to incriminate Russia.

After examining metadata from the “Guccifer 2.0” July 5, 2016 intrusion into the DNC server, independent cyber investigators have concluded that an insider copied DNC data onto an external storage device, and that “telltale signs” implicating Russia were then inserted.

Key among the findings of the independent forensic investigations is the conclusion that the DNC data was copied onto a storage device at a speed that far exceeds an Internet capability for a remote hack. Of equal importance, the forensics show that the copying and doctoring were performed on the East coast of the U.S. Thus far, mainstream media have ignored the findings of these independent studies [see here and here].

Director of National Intelligence James Clapper (right) talks with President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, with John Brennan and other national security aides present. (Photo credit: Office of Director of National Intelligence)

Independent analyst Skip Folden, a retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US, who examined the recent forensic findings, is a co-author of this Memorandum. He has drafted a more detailed technical report titled “Cyber-Forensic Investigation of ‘Russian Hack’ and Missing Intelligence Community Disclaimers,” and sent it to the offices of the Special Counsel and the Attorney General. VIPS member William Binney, a former Technical Director at the National Security Agency, and other senior NSA “alumni” in VIPS attest to the professionalism of the independent forensic findings.

The recent forensic studies fill in a critical gap. Why the FBI neglected to perform any independent forensics on the original “Guccifer 2.0” material remains a mystery – as does the lack of any sign that the “hand-picked analysts” from the FBI, CIA, and NSA, who wrote the “Intelligence Community Assessment” dated January 6, 2017, gave any attention to forensics.

NOTE: There has been so much conflation of charges about hacking that we wish to make very clear the primary focus of this Memorandum. We focus specifically on the July 5, 2016 alleged Guccifer 2.0 “hack” of the DNC server. In earlier VIPS memoranda we addressed the lack of any evidence connecting the Guccifer 2.0 alleged hacks and WikiLeaks, and we asked President Obama specifically to disclose any evidence that WikiLeaks received DNC data from the Russians [see here and here].

Addressing this point at his last press conference (January 18), he described “the conclusions of the intelligence community” as “not conclusive,” even though the Intelligence Community Assessment of January 6 expressed “high confidence” that Russian intelligence “relayed material it acquired from the DNC … to WikiLeaks.”

Obama’s admission came as no surprise to us. It has long been clear to us that the reason the U.S. government lacks conclusive evidence of a transfer of a “Russian hack” to WikiLeaks is because there was no such transfer. Based mostly on the cumulatively unique technical experience of our ex-NSA colleagues, we have been saying for almost a year that the DNC data reached WikiLeaks via a copy/leak by a DNC insider (but almost certainly not the same person who copied DNC data on July 5, 2016).

From the information available, we conclude that the same inside-DNC, copy/leak process was used at two different times, by two different entities, for two distinctly different purposes:

-(1) an inside leak to WikiLeaks before Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016, that he had DNC documents and planned to publish them (which he did on July 22) – the presumed objective being to expose strong DNC bias toward the Clinton candidacy; and

-(2) a separate leak on July 5, 2016, to pre-emptively taint anything WikiLeaks might later publish by “showing” it came from a “Russian hack.”

***

Mr. President:

This is our first VIPS Memorandum for you, but we have a history of letting U.S. Presidents know when we think our former intelligence colleagues have gotten something important wrong, and why. For example, our first such memorandum, a same-day commentary for President George W. Bush on Colin Powell’s U.N. speech on February 5, 2003, warned that the “unintended consequences were likely to be catastrophic,” should the U.S. attack Iraq and “justify” the war on intelligence that we retired intelligence officers could readily see as fraudulent and driven by a war agenda.

The January 6 “Intelligence Community Assessment” by “hand-picked” analysts from the FBI, CIA, and NSA seems to fit into the same agenda-driven category. It is largely based on an “assessment,” not supported by any apparent evidence, that a shadowy entity with the moniker “Guccifer 2.0” hacked the DNC on behalf of Russian intelligence and gave DNC emails to WikiLeaks.

Secretary of State Colin Powell addressed the United Nations on Feb. 5. 2003, citing satellite photos which supposedly proved that Iraq had WMD, but the evidence proved bogus. (Source: Consortiumnews)

The recent forensic findings mentioned above have put a huge dent in that assessment and cast serious doubt on the underpinnings of the extraordinarily successful campaign to blame the Russian government for hacking. The pundits and politicians who have led the charge against Russian “meddling” in the U.S. election can be expected to try to cast doubt on the forensic findings, if they ever do bubble up into the mainstream media. But the principles of physics don’t lie; and the technical limitations of today’s Internet are widely understood. We are prepared to answer any substantive challenges on their merits.

You may wish to ask CIA Director Mike Pompeowhat he knows about this. Our own lengthy intelligence community experience suggests that it is possible that neither former CIA Director John Brennan, nor the cyber-warriors who worked for him, have been completely candid with their new director regarding how this all went down.

Copied, Not Hacked

As indicated above, the independent forensic work just completed focused on data copied (not hacked) by a shadowy persona named “Guccifer 2.0.” The forensics reflect what seems to have been a desperate effort to “blame the Russians” for publishing highly embarrassing DNC emails three days before the Democratic convention last July. Since the content of the DNC emails reeked of pro-Clinton bias, her campaign saw an overriding need to divert attention from content to provenance – as in, who “hacked” those DNC emails? The campaign was enthusiastically supported by a compliant “mainstream” media; they are still on a roll.

“The Russians” were the ideal culprit. And, after WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange announced on June 12, 2016, “We have emails related to Hillary Clinton which are pending publication,” her campaign had more than a month before the convention to insert its own “forensic facts” and prime the media pump to put the blame on “Russian meddling.” Mrs. Clinton’s PR chief Jennifer Palmieri has explained how she used golf carts to make the rounds at the convention. She wrote that her “mission was to get the press to focus on something even we found difficult to process: the prospect that Russia had not only hacked and stolen emails from the DNC, but that it had done so to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton.”

Independent cyber-investigators have now completed the kind of forensic work that the intelligence assessment did not do. Oddly, the “hand-picked” intelligence analysts contented themselves with “assessing” this and “assessing” that. In contrast, the investigators dug deep and came up with verifiable evidence from metadata found in the record of the alleged Russian hack.

Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton at the third debate with Republican nominee Donald Trump. (Photo credit: hillaryclinton.com)

They found that the purported “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 was not a hack, by Russia or anyone else. Rather it originated with a copy (onto an external storage device – a thumb drive, for example) by an insider. The data was leaked after being doctored with a cut-and-paste job to implicate Russia. We do not know who or what the murky Guccifer 2.0 is. You may wish to ask the FBI.

The Time Sequence

June 12, 2016: Assange announces WikiLeaks is about to publish “emails related to Hillary Clinton.”

June 15, 2016: DNC contractor Crowdstrike, (with a dubious professional record and multiple conflicts of interest) announces that malware has been found on the DNC server and claims there is evidence it was injected by Russians.

June 15, 2016: On the same day, “Guccifer 2.0” affirms the DNC statement; claims responsibility for the “hack;” claims to be a WikiLeaks source; and posts a document that the forensics show was synthetically tainted with “Russian fingerprints.”

We do not think that the June 12 & 15 timing was pure coincidence. Rather, it suggests the start of a pre-emptive move to associate Russia with anything WikiLeaks might have been about to publish and to “show” that it came from a Russian hack.

The Key Event

July 5, 2016: In the early evening, Eastern Daylight Time, someone working in the EDT time zone with a computer directly connected to the DNC server or DNC Local Area Network, copied 1,976 MegaBytes of data in 87 seconds onto an external storage device. That speed is many times faster than what is physically possible with a hack.

It thus appears that the purported “hack” of the DNC by Guccifer 2.0 (the self-proclaimed WikiLeaks source) was not a hack by Russia or anyone else, but was rather a copy of DNC data onto an external storage device. Moreover, the forensics performed on the metadata reveal there was a subsequent synthetic insertion – a cut-and-paste job using a Russian template, with the clear aim of attributing the data to a “Russian hack.” This was all performed in the East Coast time zone.

“Obfuscation & De-obfuscation”

Mr. President, the disclosure described below may be related. Even if it is not, it is something we think you should be made aware of in this general connection. On March 7, 2017, WikiLeaks began to publish a trove of original CIA documents that WikiLeaks labeled “Vault 7.” WikiLeaks said it got the trove from a current or former CIA contractor and described it as comparable in scale and significance to the information Edward Snowden gave to reporters in 2013.

No one has challenged the authenticity of the original documents of Vault 7, which disclosed a vast array of cyber warfare tools developed, probably with help from NSA, by CIA’s Engineering Development Group. That Group was part of the sprawling CIA Directorate of Digital Innovation – a growth industry established by John Brennan in 2015.

Scarcely imaginable digital tools – that can take control of your car and make it race over 100 mph, for example, or can enable remote spying through a TV – were described and duly reported in the New York Times and other media throughout March. But the Vault 7, part 3 release on March 31 that exposed the “Marble Framework” program apparently was judged too delicate to qualify as “news fit to print” and was kept out of the Times.

The Washington Post’s Ellen Nakashima, it seems, “did not get the memo” in time. Her March 31 article bore the catching (and accurate) headline: “WikiLeaks’ latest release of CIA cyber-tools could blow the cover on agency hacking operations.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange at a media conference in Copenhagen, Denmark. (Photo credit: New Media Days / Peter Erichsen)

The WikiLeaks release indicated that Marble was designed for flexible and easy-to-use “obfuscation,” and that Marble source code includes a “deobfuscator” to reverse CIA text obfuscation.

More important, the CIA reportedly used Marble during 2016. In her Washington Post report, Nakashima left that out, but did include another significant point made by WikiLeaks; namely, that the obfuscation tool could be used to conduct a “forensic attribution double game” or false-flag operation because it included test samples in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi.

The CIA’s reaction was neuralgic. Director Mike Pompeo lashed out two weeks later, calling Assange and his associates “demons,” and insisting, “It’s time to call out WikiLeaks for what it really is, a non-state hostile intelligence service, often abetted by state actors like Russia.”

Mr. President, we do not know if CIA’s Marble Framework, or tools like it, played some kind of role in the campaign to blame Russia for hacking the DNC. Nor do we know how candid the denizens of CIA’s Digital Innovation Directorate have been with you and with Director Pompeo. These are areas that might profit from early White House review.

Putin and the Technology

We also do not know if you have discussed cyber issues in any detail with President Putin. In his interview with NBC’s Megyn Kelly, he seemed quite willing – perhaps even eager – to address issues related to the kind of cyber tools revealed in the Vault 7 disclosures, if only to indicate he has been briefed on them. Putin pointed out that today’s technology enables hacking to be “masked and camouflaged to an extent that no one can understand the origin” [of the hack] … And, vice versa, it is possible to set up any entity or any individual that everyone will think that they are the exact source of that attack.”

“Hackers may be anywhere,” he said. “There may be hackers, by the way, in the United States who very craftily and professionally passed the buck to Russia. Can’t you imagine such a scenario? … I can.”

Full Disclosure: Over recent decades the ethos of our intelligence profession has eroded in the public mind to the point that agenda-free analysis is deemed well nigh impossible. Thus, we add this disclaimer, which applies to everything we in VIPS say and do: We have no political agenda; our sole purpose is to spread truth around and, when necessary, hold to account our former intelligence colleagues.

We speak and write without fear or favor. Consequently, any resemblance between what we say and what presidents, politicians and pundits say is purely coincidental. The fact we find it is necessary to include that reminder speaks volumes about these highly politicized times. This is our 50th VIPS Memorandum since the afternoon of Powell’s speech at the UN. Live links to the 49 past memos can be found here.

FOR THE STEERING GROUP, VETERAN INTELLIGENCE PROFESSIONALS FOR SANITY

William Binney, former NSA Technical Director for World Geopolitical & Military Analysis; Co-founder of NSA’s Signals Intelligence Automation Research Center

Skip Folden, independent analyst, retired IBM Program Manager for Information Technology US (Associate VIPS)

Matthew Hoh, former Capt., USMC, Iraq & Foreign Service Officer, Afghanistan (associate VIPS)

Larry C Johnson, CIA & State Department (ret.)

Michael S. Kearns, Air Force Intelligence Officer (Ret.), Master SERE Resistance to Interrogation Instructor

John Kiriakou, Former CIA Counterterrorism Officer and former Senior Investigator, Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Linda Lewis, WMD preparedness policy analyst, USDA (ret.)

Lisa Ling, TSgt USAF (ret.) (associate VIPS)

Edward Loomis, Jr., former NSA Technical Director for the Office of Signals Processing

David MacMichael, National Intelligence Council (ret.)

Ray McGovern, former U.S. Army Infantry/Intelligence officer and CIA analyst

Elizabeth Murray, former Deputy National Intelligence Officer for Middle East, CIA

Coleen Rowley, FBI Special Agent and former Minneapolis Division Legal Counsel (ret.)

Cian Westmoreland, former USAF Radio Frequency Transmission Systems Technician and Unmanned Aircraft Systems whistleblower (Associate VIPS)

Kirk Wiebe, former Senior Analyst, SIGINT Automation Research Center, NSA

Sarah G. Wilton, Intelligence Officer, DIA (ret.); Commander, US Naval Reserve (ret.)

Ann Wright, U.S. Army Reserve Colonel (ret) and former U.S. Diplomat

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Was the “Russian Hack” an Inside Job? Intelligence Vets Challenge the Forensic “Evidence”

Slaying in Minneapolis, A Horror Story of Law Enforcement

NOVANEWS

Justine Damond, Shooting Cultures and Race

 

Featured image: Justine Damond (Source: Four Gates)

It plays out as a horror story of law enforcement. A distress call to the Minneapolis police about activity taking place behind the house on Washburn Avenue, possibly a sound of intercourse, distress, or both, taking place after 11 during the night of July 15. “Hi, I’m, I can hear someone out back and I, I’m not sure if she’s having sex or being raped.”[1]

The caller, Justine Damond, had been spooked by the commotion. She had called her fiancé in Las Vegas who had, in turn, insisted she call the police. When the officers arrived, an unsuspecting Damond approached the police vehicle, came up to the open window of the driver, Officer Matthew Harrity, and was shot by his partner, Officer Mohamed Noor.

The unfurling story supplied commentators with a different combination from the usual anatomy of an American police shooting. Characters tend to be slotted along defined racial and demographic lines: the indigent black youth butchered in cold blood by a nerve wracked white officer who finds in his gun the most persuasive form of conciliation.

Not so on this occasion. The individual who is said to have pulled the trigger was a black Somali-American, whose hiring by the police department supplied politically correct, multi-culti gold. Similarly, the victim was atypical for the cultural optics, a white Australian woman from Sydney involved in the Lake Harriet Spiritual Community, all-healing, all ashram, all therapeutic.

With the reverse racial splash evident in this incident, comparisons were inevitably drawn. Now, it was time for the Somali-American community to lament. Minneapolis City Council member Abdi Warsame specifically noted remarks made by US Rep. Michele Bachmann that Noor may have had “cultural” reasons for gunning down Damond.

“What we are seeing is a lot of rhetoric in the media where this is a Somali issue, where this person is a Somali officer.”[2]

Bachmann sports her own extensive laundry list of laments, specifically about Minnesota’s shifting demographics.

“Minnesota is a state that now has a reputation for terrorism.”

Politically correct brigades were attempting to muzzle those “afraid of being called ‘racist’, ‘bigots’, ‘Islamaphobe’.” Fearing nothing of the sort, Bachmann described Noor as an “affirmative-action hire by the hijab-wearing mayor of Minneapolis, Betsy Hodges.”[3]

In the US, logistical matters were picked through with a procedural attention that has become common in these casual civilian executions. The officer, it was noted, had failed to turn on his body camera. The same went for his partner. Fire arm procedures were also pondered.

Minneapolis police officer Mohamed Noor (Source: Minnesota Public Radio News)

Both officers had been rather green on the beat. Officer Noor, during his short stint in the force, had already encountered three civilian complaints and a law suit regarding his treatment of a woman during the course of performing a mental health check-up.

In Australia, Damond’s death engendered a feeding frenzy across the tabloid scene, a chance to capitalise on America the violent, America the vicious.Christopher Dore of The Daily Telegraph, with stomach churching enthusiasm, called her killing “the best story for us that day. You know, here’s this Aussie girl who goes over to find love. And because of the complications of American policing and guns, she’s dead.”[4]

Others simply found the idea that such complications could never be replicated in idyllic Australia. An “unhinged gun culture,” asserted David Penberthy of Adelaide’s The Advertiser, “killed Justine Damond.”[5] With soft analysis, Penberthy asserted that she was “the first Australian victim of a gun culture that betrays the promise of America.”

The response from a police force caught off guard has also been rattling in its insensibilities. When a shooting incident takes place, blame the deceased whose guilt is taken to the grave. Noor, through his legal representatives, has suggested just that, claiming essentially two things: first, that Damond was in a drug-induced state when she approached the vehicle; second, that being in such a state somehow warranted his actions.

“It would be nice to know,” claimed Noor’s legal representative on Thursday, “if there was any (prescription sedative) Ambien in her system.” It would also be nice to know what darkened state of mind the officers in question were in answering the distress call put out by Damond.

The suggestion that Damond might have been on medication, let alone any bodily impurity, sparked something of a tussle: the world of clean living against that of the mind altering nightmare. A pure Australian, battling a contaminated culture.

“Justine,” claimed the family spokesman Tom Hyder, “was someone who only ate organic, she watched everything she ever put into her body. She is not someone who would have used drugs.”[6]

Heads have rolled. Police chief Janeé Harteau is, thus far, the most prominent scalp. Her own period had been marked by allegations of inappropriate handling regarding previous police shootings, notably that of Jamar Clark.

Mayor Hodges insisted that Harteau hang up her hat has chief.

“I’ve lost confidence in the Chief’s ability to lead us further… It is clear that she has lost the confidence of the people of Minneapolis as well.”

So, it would seem, have residents in Minneapolis with the whole law enforcement apparatus, having found reform in the police force lethargic at best, superficial at worse. Whether Damond’s death is accounted for in a legal sense will come down to the acceptable use of force by police, one governed by that ever precarious standard of “reasonableness”.[7] (Can a shooter ever be reasonable?)

In the US, the threshold on such reasonableness is so ground touchingly low as to be liberatingly violent.

“People just say, if a person was unarmed,” complained Jim Bueermann, former police chief of Redlands in California, “why would an officer have shot him or her?”

Best, then, never to call, approach or consult an officer on duty.

Notes

[1] http://www.minneapolismn.gov/www/groups/public/@mpd/documents/webcontent/wcmsp-202070.pdf

[2] http://www.startribune.com/warsame-blasts-anti-somali-rhetoric-in-wake-of-damond-shooting/436190813/

[3] http://www.startribune.com/bachmann-praises-trump-blasts-political-correctness/435517653/

[4] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/07/22/us/minneapolis-police-shooting.html

[5] http://www.adelaidenow.com.au/rendezview/david-penberthy-an-unhinged-gun-culture-killed-justine-damond/news-story/891fc77a54f9daebcbcfd6de19dba490

[6] http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/world/justine-damonds-death-police-search-for-more-clues-to-what-led-to-her-shooting-death/news-story/fa309ad74b331e89ab6a9db41d2d3164

[7] https://supreme.justia.com/cases/federal/us/490/386/

Posted in USAComments Off on Slaying in Minneapolis, A Horror Story of Law Enforcement

Why the Theresa May Government Will Screw Up Brexit

NOVANEWS
 

Just at the time we really do need government to perform at its very best for Britain, politician’s have gone on holiday with the sole aim of plotting and planning the next Downing Street coup to replace the injured and limping Theresa May. Just as the predator in waiting is pushed to the front preparing for the kill, wolves are lurking in the shadows. Britain is more vulnerable now than ever and all politicians on both sides of the house can do is fight for personal glory.

It is bewildering the number of small and large sized projects the government (of both tribes) have completely screwed up and done so with spectacular aplomb. When you consider the sheer scale of planning done by professional experts and implementation carried out by highly skilled workers, you would think that disasters would be rare, unfortunately, history demonstrates something quite different.

Take software projects for instance, where the beleaguered and over-burdened taxpayer has been systematically fleeced by failure, whilst enriching private contractors.

The NHS national programme for IT was predicted to cost £6.4 billion. It actually cost more than £10 billion, was 56 percent over budget and then abandoned several years ago – the world’s largest computer system failure was then recorded for posterity.

Richard Bacon, a Conservative member of the Public Accounts Committee, charitably said at the time the project was asystemic failure in the government’s ability to draw up and manage large contracts. “This saga is one of the worst and most expensive contracting fiascos in the history of the public sector.”

The Defence Information Structure plan wasn’t much better. It was budgeted at £4.8bn, cost £7.1bn and at £2.3bn it was over-budget by nearly 48 percent.

Then there was the defence overspend – just on its own kit. The FT reported in February this year that:

A series of enormous British defence projects are at risk after the Ministry of Defence revealed that costs had risen by a fifth and that it has already eaten through the £10.7bn of “headroom” built into its budget last year. The projected spend on new equipment has risen by 20 per cent to £82bn over the next 10 years, while the spend on supporting the new kit has risen even further — up 30 per cent to £23.4bn, according to the latest annual equipment plan. As a result, the UK may have to choose between its new projects for ships, aircraft and tanks.”

Libra – a fairly small project in the grand scheme of things was a new system for magistrates across England and Wales and was costed by the Conservative government at £246 million. It actually cost £389 million, was nearly 60 percent over budget and couldn’t produce basic information for its own accounts system, nor add up fines correctly, which was its primary role. Needles to say that caused chaos. The initial contractor was finally replaced by a Japanese one and now costs £10 million a year to maintain.

The E-Borders system cost £742 million and was abandoned.

The Police Crime & Criminal Intelligence Logging System was abandoned after 4 years of effort at a cost of £15 million.

£56m was spent on a Ministry of Justice back-office project that was cancelled after the department realised the Cabinet Office had a system doing exactly the same thing.  You couldn’t make it up!

The current Universal Credit system has universally failed. Its roll-out is now delayed until 2021. It is also destined for the record books one way or another. Hundreds of £millions have already been written off.

Whilst you wouldn’t expect The Guardian to compliment a Conservative plan to overhaul social security, it was fair of them to describe its performance as: “tens of thousands of appeals, many successful; considerable hardship; administrative chaos; and eventually the collapse of the DWP’s contract with Atos. And the long-term downward trend in the number of people on benefit has now actually reversed. Ministers have yet to explain why, if it is really the case that hundreds of thousands of people were receiving the benefit when they shouldn’t have been, the “reforms” are now actually seeing the numbers going up again.” That was in October 2014 and was then costing the taxpayer an additional £3billion a year. What it will actually cost by delivery date is anyone’s guess. Here’s a guess – lots we don’t have.

In 2014, the Major Projects Authority – a central body set up to monitor large-scale government projects was tracking almost 200 schemes with a total value of almost £400bn. At the time, only 17 of some 150 projects in the spotlight – with a value of less than 4% of the total amount being monitored got a green light as having “the lowest risks to success” by the authority.

What does this tell you other than 96 percent of projects have been incorrectly budgeted and are being so badly managed that millions more needs spending to determine just how badly they are going.

So badly in fact, you might  find it ironic that the the Major Projects Authority itself was scrapped and ended up becoming the Infrastructure and Projects Authority in January last year and almost immediately took its monitoring of those same projects worth £400bn and uprated them to £500bn. Can’ think why. It’s over-riding priority is to “build and develop a group of experienced project leaders, who can move across government to deliver our most important projects.” Hmm!

Brexit – The Challenge

The Tory leadership fight – more important than Brexit negotiations?

To put the challenge into context of the above project failures, the United Kingdom has an annual GDP of nearly £1.9 trillion ($2.5 trillion), taking 3.2 percent of the global share, is ranked fifth with a population of 65.5 million. India is right behind Britain with a GDP of $2.4 trillion with a population of 1.32 billion. Only Germany, Japan, China and the US are ahead of Britain, but Britain lies third in terms of per capita wealth of those up front.

The day after triggering Brexit, the government published details of its “Great Repeal Bill”. Described by Theresa May as an “essential step” on the way to leaving the EU. What it wants to do is “amend, repeal and improve” the laws as necessary.

Here’s the first warning sign things will be difficult for the government. The Repeal Bill has been described as “one of the largest legislative projects ever undertaken in the UK.” BBC correspondents describe it as “Swathes of UK law that will no longer work on exit, for example because they refer to EU institutions.”

Many are already questioning the government on this, not least because it gives the state the power to legislate by proclamation. This is something you do not want to give to extreme neoliberal capitalists or militant socialists.

In the meantime, The government’s own White Paper on the Repeal Bill alone believes there to be 12,000 EU regulations in force, while Parliament has passed some 7,900 statutory instruments implementing EU legislation, and 186 acts which incorporate a degree of EU influence.

The total body of European law, dating back to 1958, is known as the Acquis Communautaire, which covers about 80,000 individual pieces of legislation all told.

The Institute for Government think tank has warned that with thousands of pieces of legislation to be considered over the next 18 months, this will inevitably be a major drain on resources and just as inevitably push other government policies, and the management of ongoing ones aside.

There are other problems too. Somewhere between 10 and 15 other bills will be needed as well as the Great Repeal Bill just to help handle its tumultuous journey towards exit. For instance, as economia puts it “There will need to be a substantial financial bill, and ones concerning customs, immigration, farms and fisheries, and many other areas of regulation now prescribed from Brussels. In a normal year, any two or three of these would constitute a full year’s work.”

There are also other wide ranging implications here. Both Houses will have no available time to do anything else, probably until 2020 or so. The consequence is that Ministers are already quietly being told to pursue their own ambitions without the need for legislation.

Will the Conservatives ask Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in any meaningful way to pass their own bills on legislation that affects their own areas, but at the same time ask them to sign “legislative consent,” the motions required giving their approval to UK legislation that affects their powers? It’s complicated. And complicated is something politician’s don’t do well.

Changing minds – YouGov survey July 19th – Q: In hindsight do you think Britain was right to vote to leave the EU?

Given the legacy of non-stop government failures of budgeting, managing and implementing even mall scale projects, one can only come to the conclusion that delays to Brexit will be announced first, a sure first sign that the Brexit project is already in failure mode. And it will come soon. It will be called ‘evolutionary’ or ‘transitional.’

The other small matter to point out is this. The Tories, with unlimited government resources available, managed to dramatically miscalculate the Brexit result, then followed up that calamity with a totally unnecessary election bid that blew up in their faces. Why would anyone give them the job of managing exactly what they just screwed up in the first place? The fifth largest economy in the world now has probably the most complicated post war transformation project to be managed and it’s been placed into the hands of people who failed to outsource a logging system for the police at £15 million. This won’t end well in their hands.

Posted in UKComments Off on Why the Theresa May Government Will Screw Up Brexit

Brexit Counter-Revolution Still in Motion

NOVANEWS

The self-maximizing growth of private-money power over all life and life support systems – life capital in a word – to exploit for non-producer profit is not yet recognized as a master degenerative trend built into the ruling meta program of which Brexit and Trump are the latest Anglo-American expressions. Central to this unseen meta trend is the compulsive dismantling of life-protective law and rights whose masking justification has shifted from ‘globalization’ to ‘nationalism’.

The Left is befuddled. It sees the anti-Labour implications in both the financialized EU and the de-regulating Brexit with no coherent program to overcome both. The Right blindly follows the inner logic of the ruling economic model while Liberals offer  only partial and incompetent market fixes for collective life capital sustainability. All fail to see Brexit’s giant step towards life capital degeneration and eco-genocide at the margins as environmental and civil commons are stripped of their public funding by privatization and de-regulation. The cumulative carcinogenic conversion of organic, social and ecological life organization into ever faster private money-profit sequences multiplying to the unproductive few is the predictable system result.

‘Brexit’ is now a house-hold word for anyone following world affairs. Yet its political, economic and cultural meaning for Britain, the US and globalization itself is tectonic, and no-one on the public stage or even the academy seems to get it– even after the huge upset loss of majority by the Tory party and PM May in the recent June 8 election.

Even after the Tories and May carry on with Brexit exactly as before the election they lost, the literally poisonous dispossession of life-serving civilization and revolution backwards that Brexit still leads are unfathomed by the commentariat.

“Brexit is Brexit”. No policy change is made. PM and the Brexit forces are still in charge. May can be dumped as a brand change, but not a policy one. The “Schedule of Negotiations” to leave the European Union proceeds as if nothing has happened. Even Corbyn Labour risen from the dead are so chuffed up by their spectacular rise they do not comprehend the Brexit coup d’etat still in motion.

Behind the scenes, there is clearly a very powerful separatist power including the press-lord media and allied bank and corporate rich with unbared interests pulling strings – as we see ahead – but no-one talks about it, including Marxists.

Who keeps on forcing a counter-revolution that is itself not yet understood with only a decisive minority ever voting for a policy-less separatist project funded and evidently orchestrated only by the rich with ‘nationalist’ demagoguery out front?

Source: Belfast Telegraph

Bribing the Northern Irish bigot rump, the Democratic Union Party (DUP), with public billions to vote for Tory Brexit in the House of Commons is the only way the Tories can get a majority. DUP is well known in the UK. It was formerly at war with the Catholic majority in Northern Ireland in virulent flag-waving aggression led by the extreme-right demagogue Ian Paislie, and is descended from Oliver Cromwell’s genocidal conquest sustained over centuries – more representative of the Brexit Tories than yet known.

Political and economic ignorance of Brexit meaning

Little or no common life substance, historical bearings, or defined policy grounds analysis of what is happening. Even 30 months after Brexit suddenly dominated  the news cycle as a marketing site for mass discontent and diversion from Britain’s real problems, there is no connection of the dots. Even the progressive net sites have little interest in Brexit, which is exactly what is needed for its dominant and unnamed interests to keep on forcing the rush agenda through.

US sites focus on US news and developments, not yet seeing the historic Brexit-Trump connection. Their connection is, in fact, a de-regulating nationalist-masked juggernaut reversing what good has been accomplished to protect citizens, the environment and the planetary life cycles themselves from cumulative despoliation and ruin. The European Union, despite its shocking neo-liberal financialization, has evolved such binding life-serving norms far ahead of the rest of the world over 70 years. This is not reported in the English-speaking world empire for an obvious reason.

There are so many dots to join, and all of them are compounded by the unseen program of Brexit – ever rising  inequality, publicly bankrupting tax cuts and subsidies to the corporate rich, cumulative dispossession of the poor by Tory “austerity”, runaway disease-causing industrial-chemical  farming  and frankenfoods growing into epidemics of obesity and other ills, London financial enrichment as the public sector shrinks, banks are recapitalized by public money, and – most unseen of all – mounting pollutions by multiplying carbon and waste miles built into vast unneeded commodity transportations across oceans that the Paris Agreement does not touch.

Why Brexit is an historic fraud 

No one seems to know on the public stage that the Brexit referendum ‘victory’ is legally non-binding from the start and has never been supported by the vast majority of British voters, with ever less support since the 37% peak of support in June 2016 referendum.

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A demonstrator holds up a placard saying “Stand together Stop Brexit” at an anti-Brexit protest in Trafalgar Square in central London on June 28, 2016. (Source: Vanguard News)

So it follows that Brexit’s new leader since this poll, to which she was once opposed, PM Theresa  May, tells a big lie when she continually says that Brexit “is the will of the British people”. Her nose, and that of the Tory rich behind Brexit, grows longer when she keeps insisting on this falsehood after a British majority voted against her in the June 8 2017 election which she proclaimed the “defining election about Brexit”.

The multiple fraud is, however, important to keep alive. If the majority of the British people have neverin fact supported Brexit nor the Great Repeal Bill PM May still takes forward to EU negotiation without any defined policy whatever, and she has a lost election that was about Brexit, then the whole house of cards on top of which she is visible queen falls into the bin of history where it now should go.

But who connects across the sudden and secretively funded and orchestrated 30-month movement of Brexit through all the lies it has spun – including the $450 million a day to be saved for the iconic but crumbling National Health Service (one fraudulent claim that has been noted in the corporate media). Who questions the legitimacy of the whole affair at all levels – including the leading liar rewarded as Foreign Minister even as his fellow cabinet members and the independent press show he is unfit to hold high public office.

Who brings up the connected facts that the big losers of Brexit are the 90% of farmers requiring its agricultural subsidy to survive, the young professional classes and students losing their precious passports to EU jobs and travel, the competitive green exporters who meet the strict EU market standards for renewable and non-toxic products which Big-Ag-Food specialize in, and the many millions very much in favour of the independent EU Court of Justice and of Human Rights with 60 years of legal standards and precedents on workers’ and citizens’ rights – – – not to mention the further millions who support EU Organic Agriculture and Endangered Species Directives leading the world against profitably ecocidal practices.

Who connects the widespread feeling that ‘things have gone wrong’ which the Brexit referendum capitalized on by scape-goating  the EU to the real causal factors of the long Great Recession brought on by Wall Street and the and the cruel Tory health, education, public service and social cutbacks to pay for it? Cause-effect thinking has been suspended all around by the Brexit diversion.

Who is behind it all? Boris Johnson’s and Nigel Farage’s London financial pals are front-line candidates but are not named, and the billionaire press tub-thumping for them and Brexit has sustained the great diversion from the UK’s real problems. PM May and Foreign Minister Johnson can even abet mass murder with no press follow-up as they approve billions of dollars of licensed armament sales to Saudi Arabia for its biblical eco-genocide of the poverty-stricken Yemini people.

Yet the unspeakable point about Brexit across domains is to make life-destructive London profit sovereign again against all international laws and regulation.

Cui Bono? The unseen beneficiaries of the Brexit coup

In the official background, Britain’s Electoral Commission has had to investigate Brexit’s voluminous and shady private financing with little luck given a campaign-long time limit on disclosure and other blocks. Transparency International has run into them too. There seems to be nothing on Brexit’s backroom origins before the double-talk lobby group, ‘Britain Great in Europe’, began its slickly promoted media-spectacle campaign with even its master slogan a brazen falsehood.

The mass media conversation is especially empty on the very big private money stakes that are at work in Brexit. After all the media’s major advertising spaces are bought by these very wealthy interests at very high returns. No-one in this company wants people to read that Brexit entails the legal erasure of  EU market rules protecting human rights, the environment and London financial inspections.

Private London financial interests are especially unexposed. Vast “investment banking, cross-border sales of securities, Euro liquidity to clearing houses, non-performing loan recognition, coverage and write-offs” all escape the planned independent EU inspection and supervision on these very defined issues at exactly the same time as Brexit started.

The EU Central Bank’s mandate to investigate and supervise “the business model, risk management, and capital, liquidity and funding” of private-profit bank and financial institutions via a rigorous “Supervisory Review and Evaluation Process” led by elite teams of professional accountants inside must strike terror and rage in the high echelons of the City. All such independent intervention, regulation and accountability is anathema to the unregulated daily trillions in hard currency substitutes that are bet and switched daily in the US-UK global financial matrix which can fabulously enrich London agents and hollow world economies overnight.

The dots are not joined

Few observe that Brexit is based on a nonbinding referendum unsupported by two-thirds of the population, and finished with an eerily timed terrorist attack days before the June 8 2017 election to decide the Brexit go-ahead. Such terror attacks invariably spike polls upwards for governments, and it is revealing of the dark forces at work that PM May spookily blamed a “too tolerant” Opposition and “public sector” as encouraging the terrorists.

Even with almost all former UKIP votes, the Tory PM lost the majority counted to be overwhelming to cement Brexit in. To be exact on the historical figures here, the original 17, 410,742 voters supporting Leave in a rush referendum whose wording itself changed in the spectacle process hardly exceeded a third of the electorate (46,500, 001) as enumerated by the UK Electoral Commission. Moreover, no mainstream media ever featured the 12, 948,018 voters left out, nor the fact that those not voting later voted 2:1 against Brexit once the results were known.

In the June 8 2017 election, the Tories and PM May lost any majority whatever. even with a snap election against the promised 2020 date to exploit a 20+% poll lead, even with illegal financing and non-stop misrepresentations of the facts headlined in the press-baron media, and even with a sudden terrorist attack right before the election reliably known to boost leader polls.

All things considered, it is difficult to avoid concluding that ‘Brexit’ is a major political operation to end the established order of government from within ruling circles – a coup d’etat – which has proceeded by stunning positional switches, policy-empty promises, leadership flip-flops and lies, all outside of Parliamentary control, never supported by even 40% at any stage, and with no binding legitimacy any step of the way.

One is reminded here that such coups within the established political order have been recurrent in recent years against social democratic systems – as the EU is – in Brazil (with times more population and real wealth than the UK), as well as Argentina, Honduras, Paraguay, and Haiti.

The Nationalist Mask of Brexit

In this way, the long-established form of the UK’s EU governance in economic matters is overthrown for secretive and carte blanche rewrite covered up  nationalist slogans stirring imperial ego and pride. Yet who connects this built-in coup agenda to the transnational bank and corporate goliaths who most benefit from holus-bolus privatizing, de-taxing and de-regulating the UK economy?

The best way to divert any public from the hard facts of a coup by the unproductive rich is to attack a familiar enemy or scapegoat, and beat a nationalist tribal drum and bigot prejudices of superiority  to unify the many reliably ignorant dupes of the stratagem. The technique works across continents.

I have formally explained the inner syntax of this fallacy in a logic journal as the ad adversarium fallacy. Anyone can see it once it is exposed. In the Brexit gambit, the popular enemy has been a combination of EU nabobs grinding down poor countries to pay private banks, arrogant bureaucracy and oppressive regulations beyond tolerance, and – after years of catastrophe – globalizing rules hollowing out the true nation and its glory across time. The Trump-Brexit connections are clear.

They make for an explosive cocktail.

Both are recognized as populist nationalisms, but not the very powerful private interests they mask which in Brexit are relatively invisible in the media of record. Least of all is the cover-up itself recognized, never the logical disorder by which the mask is sustained. Almost always only personalities are engaged and yay-boo sides presented, while the actually determining policies and interests at a social-structure level are whited out.

The ad adversarium track-switch of thought drives the whole bandwagon diversion, and a nationalist mask over the real issues of private money interest versus common life interest is what is ultimately repressed and unspoken. Every step of the great lies and catastrophes of our time express some variation of this inner logic with “freedom” versus “dictatorship” the main ad adversarium switch of “globalization” which is now in question (but never defined), with Trump and Brexit the leading the charge of the new mask in place of the old to divert the public from what is really going on, again.

In short, the ‘nationalist’ mask is now adopted to distract the roll of real grass-roots outrage onto a convenient scape-goat kept down by political correctness before, with militant ignorance and – in Hannah Arendt’s lucid phrase – “negative solidarity” – to gain supreme rule for the historical moment.

What Brexit always divert from  

What is diverted from by this master-switch of thought is transiently game-winning for the blaming party, but ruinous in fact to the common life interest of the nation. In the case of Brexit more clearly than even Trump, the system payoff is the dominion of non-productive financial rule, de-regulation, de-taxation and privatization of the nation’s natural and social wealth, and war state methods to sustain and advance the life-blind system of unaccountable money-party rule.

Systemically understood, the UK and US ‘nationalist’ movements abolish life-serving law and regulations to engineer economic circuits to serve private money powers as the nation’s ‘freedom’. There are four degenerate trends:

  1. sweeping income-tax reductions to private corporations and the rich to the lowest level in history of 10-15% (the “incentive” card);
  2. ever more privatization and corporate public ‘partnership’ schemes that cost the public 30 to 50% more in hidden profit-levies, poorer services and upkeep investments (the “eliminate red-tape” card);
  3. rising armed-force spending for pervasive policing at home and war-criminal threats and occupations abroad to enforce the growing life-system depredation (the ‘get tough’ card);
  4. systemic deregulation as the need for more consumer, social and ecological life standards become more urgent (the “freedom” card).

The false justifications of Brexit 

There is certainly a widespread feeling in the UK that the movement of foreign-speaking cultures into everyday poorer Britain for social benefits and low-wage competition with UK workers has inflamed anti-EU passions.

A similar widespread feeling has inflamed anti-foreign passions in Britain in the past – with the xenophobic Enoch Powell who much impressed the City-based leader of  Brexit, Nigel Farage. Yet such ability to raise primal resentments against the foreign Other cannot justify a political counter-revolution against an evolved system leading the world in environmental, labour, and human rights.

Much too has been made of “Brussels” as an oppressive foreign rule choking Britain in “bureaucracy and red tape”. But this is the standard complaint against any public regulations perceived to lower private profits by increasing costs.

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Michael Gove (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Research can find no sustainable example of such bureaucratic oppression. For example, the new EU regulation against massive throwing away of fish catches in falling-stock seas is despised by Brexit-UK Minster of the Environment Michael Gove. But his family business has long profited from this no-cost waste and  ignored the ecological necessity that the EU Common Fisheries policy prescribes.

Fury has been poured on ‘bureaucratic’ regulation against destroying (animal and bird habitat) of hedges and trees, and for  imposing genetically engineered seeds and methods on the countryside that become genetically dominant and contaminate other crops and natural ecocycles – two of the EU most condemned regulations in the EU’s Common Agricultural Policy and Organic Agriculture Regulations.

More sweepingly and eco-blindly, the current Tory Minister of Agriculture, George Eustace, publicly repudiates the precautionary principle itself as the wrong way to go”. He wants to erase this central EU and scientific principle for corporate ‘risk assessment’ and other profit-friendly evasions of environmental responsibility.

As always with Brexit leaders, there is no coherently defined policy to replace the life-protective rule of law of over 45 years in the European Community and Union. All specific meaning disappears into vague PR sound-bites and slogans like “opportunity for innovation”, “lower regulatory burden”, and “less red tape”.

So too the financial suits behind Brexit. They want no regulations or costs for their specialty of trillions-a-day currency speculations (enabled and protected by public infrastructures), not even a small fraction of one percent proposed by the tiny Tobin tax over 40 years with near-unanimous public support.

The big banks and speculators have avoided, even after the 2008 collapse from historically unprecedented private big-finance fraud and predatory greed, any regulation requiring them to actually have the money they spend on derivative and other speculations to pay for their titanic gambles to enrich them alone with their biggest failures paid for by public bailouts.

If the democratic accountability” of private banks and big finance promised by the EU and laboured on since 2008 by European experts (including British citizens) on behalf of the peoples of 26 nations destabilized by the greatest financial fraud in world history is stopped by Brexit, the City’s financial funnels into  the productive economy’s lifeblood will continue as usual

The overdue EU Capital Requirements Regulation and Directives on reporting and  supervising “risk management and capital, liquidity and funding” of each of the City’s big banks is intolerable to their long dominant culture. This upcoming supervision and regulation of London-cum-Wall Street by qualified international public servants not subjugated to City inducements and threats was under attack as soon as it was announced in 2015 with Brexit as the vehicle of overwhelming political pressures. The new $500 million Goldman-Sachs building in central London provides US-global back-up and partnership in the ‘too big to regulate’ scheme of an era of big-bank rule (or ‘financial fascism’, in the words of one EU minister).

Brexit and the Great Repeal Act are the master dodge by ‘the masters of the universe’ inside London against any incorrigibly independent and globally expert regulation in situ and backed by 70 years of international institutional experience.

Diversion to the populist enemy enables reverse of life-serving civilization

No one evidently connects across the dominant financial forces most of all gaining by Brexit clearance of over half a century of democratic civilization and binding life-protective norms at all levels.

Indeed there seems no media or political connection made of Brexit to the Big Banks and Big Agri-Chemical Food. They have overwhelming interests in stopping the evolved rule of EU law from regulating out their US-style methods and predatory profits.

The de-regulated system has cumulatively degenerated from production and reproduction of life means with cumulative gain – life capital – to ever-growing consumption and waste of social and ecological capital as far more profitable for private investment. Even the universal life support systems of breathable air, clean water, living oceans, rivers and aquifers are being degraded and despoiled at once.

Not even the same demagogic method in Trump and Brexit movements for massive de-regulation of an already insufficiently regulated and collapsing global life support base is deconstructed. Instead the ancient method of powering a movement against a vague enemy diverts everywhere– especially the desperate ignorance of dispossessed masses and the self-serving mendacity of the opportunistic well-off. If the divert-to-the-enemy movement is given enough publicity without public analysis of its derangement, it can undo a lot of life-coherent civilization to benefit  top dogs and their packs in unseen ways.

In the US, for example, the accepted enemy of Russia is the only diversion which has worked against Trump’s own spectacular success with this same population-firing psychological operation. The argumentum ad adversarium explained above is a universal, always diverting from a substantive life-and-death issue at stake to the evils or foibles of a well-known enemy of the audience who is being gulled.

If many have been dispossessed and are looking for a scapegoat, the animating diversion works like black magic. It is the master track-switch of history and wars hot and cold. Yet the designated enemy must have some bad karma for this ‘psy-op’ to prevail over time against exposure. For example, the European Central Bank’s post-2008 financial torture of Greece and other poorer EU nations has been so life-blindly vicious on behalf of big private banks that the bemused Left stumbles in its next steps. “Financial fascism”, the term deployed by Italy’s long-serving Economic Minister, Giulio Tremonti, is not easy to disagree with.

At the level of the realpolitik of the only beneficiaries of Brexit, European Union life-protective law and regulations themselves are attacked as the problem. The private money-sequencing mind in control cannot compute that European Community regulations and norms have managed over 70 years and better than any other continent to develop life-coherent regimes of production and products not systemically poisoning and destroying people’s health and environments.

This has long been a secret outside the EU. In America, only a few have the research backgrounds to know it. This is why Brexit run in a US-style attack campaign has almost succeeded in the leading the greatest step backwards in the evolution of homo regulans, the differentiating intelligence of the species.

What is not seen: the European Union’s rule of life-protective law

Unrelated to Brexit in the press are facts such as UK air pollution kills 50-60,000 people annually with the highest pollution content of all 28 EU states in violation of the EU standards with the EU now issuing a “final warning” before stiff fines against mass killing  – revealingly at the same time as Tory PM May is forcing Brexit as the “wide-open eyes” and “will of the British people”.

It is “oppressive EU regulatory burdens” which are alone set to solve the problem. The EU Ambient Air Quality Directive is exactly researched and covers all known emission sources, including all forms of factory and traffic emissions and the specific pollutions and acidifications, a decades-advanced scientific document with  the standard feedback documentation and incremental enforcement that normally characterize EU regulation and norms.

Yet government action on the worst lethal air pollution by the EU over decades is only one of many life-protective regulatory actions that Brexit stops. Less seen are the faster-rising deaths and diseases from junk-food obesity and cumulative ecological ruin by US-style toxic Big Agri-Food processes and products increasingly feeding Britain. They also pervade organic and ecological life organisation with growing chemical inputs, concoctions and wastes.

Yet already Tory demands have been made for UK hygiene standards to be changed from EU to US rules so as to permit chicken meat sanitized only by chlorinated water, to allow beef raised with growth hormones, and to free genetically engineered substitute foods or GMO’s from production and label restrictions. Already Big-Agri-Food US-style is setting up to compete outside the EU – Brexit’s “wider engagement with the world” – by far lower food, animal welfare and environmental standards.

These are the dark side meanings of the  “glorious new market opportunities”, “lack of red tape”, and “regulatory flexibilities” promised by Brexit.

The EU Environment, Public Health and Food Safety Committee is also moving to restrict advertising and sale of  high fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) foods and beverages to children with the UK set to comply just when Brexit is force-moving negotiations to end EU standards in Britain.

Even more pervasive noise pollution is exactly targeted at source by EU regulations, including on auto-vehicles, lawn-mowers and boat motors (compare Brexit-supporter Donald Trump’s Harley-Davidson inaugural salute and full-blasting 6-foot amplifiers in hotels). But where in the ad-filled media have you ever read about this EU standard of civilization?

In renewable energy too, EU Directives lead the UK and the world again by a strict Renewable Energy Directive which requires 20% renewable energy in all 26 states by 2020. This may seem inadequate in our carbonized world where the air and oceans acidify and trillions of carbon miles are built into transcontinental commodity shuttles while only downstream ‘climate change’ is targeted. In deeper fact, destabilized hydrological and weather cycles increasingly destroy the very conditions of life. At least the EU Directives are not more markets in rights to pollute which do not reduce carbon gases.

The Tory UK’s planned exit from the most developed rule of life-protective law is set to spike carbon-miles further by every “wider trading opportunity” it brings  outside of short-miles Europe where the distance between London and Berlin is a very small fraction of the carbon miles to and from Chicago or Toronto. Brexit is yet another crank up of the de-regulating US model where big finance, agri-food and military-industrial drivers rush further out of control at a tipping point of cumulative stress on local and planetary life supports.

For the wider view, EU life standards have evolved over many decades of painstaking regulation of material processes and products to be a social immune system of the most productive and efficiently recycling system in the world – despite their deadly internal conflict with Wall-Street financialization since its 2008 crash which has since hollowed out the public sectors of the developed world by at least $26 trillion in transfer of money demand from the public to private banks and unproductive private financial accounts.

Theresa May © UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor

The argument that REACH is one of the most burdensome EU regulations has been a hot topic of discussion in the run up to the EU referendum, where the UK voted to leave the EU. (Source: Chemical Watch)

Most impressive in ‘social immune’ terms is the EU’s world-leading Organic Agriculture Directives and, more deeply, its REACH regulation of hazardous chemicals (Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemicals). Over 20 years in the making involving lead British scientists, REACH has instituted regulations across domains in licensing processes and commodities in the legal market to stop every man-made chemical life insult now pervading the world in tens of thousands of forms.

Yet in every case of life-serving norm and regulation in which the EU leads the world in pollution reduction – including the near-pervasive commodity toxification and invasion subsidized and normalized elsewhere as ‘the free market’ and ‘growth’ – the EU’s detailed and scientifically validated regulations actually do reduce pollutions and life hazards by exact targeting and enforcement. They step-by-step require life-coherent standards to be applied – as opposed to the regulation-bashing and swashbuckling ignorance of the Brexit-Trump forces as ‘sovereignty’ and ‘freedom’.

Conclusion

Brexit exemplifies the pathogenic pattern which is not seen by the private ad-driven press, the corporatized academy, or the captive state. The life-and-death meaning is blinkered out, the binding power of all EU life standards by the omnibus Great Repeal Act is abolished in equivocal style, all losses of voting support are arrogantly ignored, and life-serving democratic civilization is reversed.

The macro-economic pattern is carcinomic. Masked to surrounding life as “Great Britain’s sovereignty”, unprecedentedly dominant private transnational money sequences grow and multiply in nano-second speculations, unproductive titanic takeovers and debt-powered dispossessions to metastacize unseen into all corners with no defined policy, democratic mandate or committed life function whatever.

Posted in UKComments Off on Brexit Counter-Revolution Still in Motion

Death in the Congo, Why Did the US Want to Kill Patrice Lumumba?

NOVANEWS
Columbia University and the Elimination of Patrice Lumumba Revisited Part I
 

Featured image: Former Prime Minister of the Democratic Republic of the Congo Patrice Lumumba (Source: Bob Feldman 68)

“…I have learned much about William A.M. Burden II from Peggy and I… I was best acquainted with his 20-year tenure… as Chairman of the Board of the Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA] and his contribution to the quality of the output of this “think tank’s serving the Secretary of Defense and the Joint Chiefs of Staff…His government service reached its apogee during his two years, 1959-61, as Ambassador to Belgium…He has been most responsive over these years also to the needs of Columbia University which he has served as a trustee…” – General and former IDA President Maxwell Taylor in foreword to Columbia University Life Trustee William A.M. Burden’s 1982 book, Peggy and I: A Life Too Busy For A Dull Moment

“Before I accepted my ambassadorship in Belgium I had been given in 1957…appointment as ‘a public trustee’ of the Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA]. It became one of the top priorities of my life…I…was elected chairman in May, 1959…One of the unfortunate side-effects of the student protest movement against the Vietnam War was that IDA itself became a target for anti-war protests, and its member universities were subjected to faculty and student pressure to cancel their ties…” – Columbia University Life Trustee William A.M. Burden in his 1982 book, Peggy and I

“Only prudent, therefore to plan on basis that Lumumba Government threatens our vital interests in Congo and Africa generally. A principal objective of our political and diplomatic action must therefore be to destroy Lumumba government as now constituted…” – Columbia University Life Trustee and U.S. Ambassador to Belgium William A.M. Burden in a July 19, 1960 cable to the U.S. State Department

“The Belgians were sort of toying with the idea of seeing to it that Lumumba was assassinated. I went beyond my instructions and said, well, I didn’t think it would be a bad idea either, but I naturally never reported this to Washington—but Lumumba was assassinated. I think it was all to the good…” – Columbia University Life Trustee William A. M. Burden in a 1968 Oral History Interview with Columbia University School of Journalism’s Advanced International Reporting Program Director John Luter

***

When Columbia and Barnard students first occupied Hamilton Hall on Columbia University’s campus on Apr. 23, 1968, one of their six demands was “that the university sever all ties with the Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA] and that [then-Columbia] President Kirk and Trustee Burden resign their positions on the Executive Committee of that institution immediately.”

Image result for Columbia Life Trustee William A.M. Burden

Columbia Life Trustee William A.M. Burden (Source: Find A Grave Memorial)

Coincidentally, besides representing Columbia University—with the (now-deceased) Grayson Kirk—on the Executive Committee of the Pentagon’s IDA weapons research think-tank in 1968, Columbia Life Trustee William A.M. Burden was also the U.S. Ambassador to Belgium who recommended fifty-seven years ago, in July 1960, that “a principal objective” of the Republican administration in Washington, D.C. of former Columbia University President Eisenhower “must therefore be to destroy” the democratically-elected “Lumumba government as now constituted” in Belgium’s former Congo [Zaire] colony. As David Talbot recalled in his 2015 book, The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government:

Dulles, Doug Dillon (then serving as a State Department undersecretary), and William Burden, the U.S. ambassador to Belgium, led the charge within the Eisenhower administration to first demonize and then dispose of [Patrice] Lumumba. All three men had financial interests in the Congo. The Dillon family’s investment bank handled the Congo’s bond issues. Dulles’s old law firm represented the American Metal Climax (later AMAX), a mining giant with holdings in the Congo…Ambassador Burden was a company director…Ambassador Burden was a Vanderbilt heir…

Burden, who had acquired his ambassadorship by contributing heavily to the 1956 Eisenhower campaign, spent his days in Brussels attending diplomatic receptions…It was the ambassador who first raised alarms about the rising Patrice LumumbaBurden began sending agitated cables to Dulles in Washington well before Lumumba’s election…By the…summer [of 1960], Burden was cabling Washington ‘to destroy Lumumba government’ as a threat to ‘our vital interest in Congo.’…”

“…At an NSC [National Security Council] meeting in August 1960, Eisenhower gave [CIA Director Allen] Dulles direct approval to ‘eliminate’ Lumumba. Robert Johnson, the minutes taker at the NSC meeting…said there was nothing ambiguous about Eisenhower’s lethal order. ‘I was surprised that I would ever hear a president say anything like this in my presence or the presence of a group of people’…

“…Lumumba ‘would remain a grave danger,’ Dulles told an NSC meeting on Sept. 21, 1960, ‘as long as he was not yet disposed of.’…”

A Life Trustee of Columbia University since 1956, Burden (who died in 1984) was among the “people in the Eisenhower administration” who “hunted for ways to reduce Lumumba’s influence” and, along with CIA Director Allen Dulles “and the CIA’s man in Leopoldville [Kinshasa],” Larry Devlin, “devised actions,” according to Katholieke Universiteit Leuven Professor of History Emmanuel Gerard and University of Pennsylvania Professor of History Bruce Kuklick’s 2015 book, Death in the Congo: Murdering Patrice Lumumba.

The same book also noted that Devlin, was “a CIA agent from the late 1940s” who “began spying for the CIA in Brussels, where he had a cover position as an attaché’” in 1958 and where he “made contacts with the Congo’s politicians, who came to Belgium for various deliberations.” After his appointment as the CIA’s chief of station in the Congo in “the second part of 1959,” Devlin “went there with Burden” in March 1960, when the Columbia Life Trustee and his wife traveled through the still not-yet independent Belgian Congo. Coincidentally, besides being a Columbia trustee in 1960, Burden was also a trustee of the Farfield Foundation that was utilized by the CIA, during the Cold War Era of the 1950s and 1960s, as a conduit for covertly financing projects and journals, like the American Congress of Cultural Freedom [CCF] and Encounter magazine, which promoted U.S. power elite foreign policy objectives.

Following his March 1960 trip to the Congo with CIA Station Chief Devlin, “Burden told the Department of State that America could not permit the Congo to go left after independence,” according to Death in the Congo. And after the Congo [Zaire] was granted its formal independence on June 30, 1960, the Columbia Life Trustee–who also “maintained during his ambassadorship, a directorship in American Metal Climax, whose Rhodesian copper interests were to make it the leading corporate defender of a conservative order…in Katanga (where Belgian troops began supporting an illegally-established secessionist regime on July 11, 1960), according to Roger Housen’s 2002 paper “Why Did The US Want To Kill Prime Minister Lumumba Of The Congo?”–began pushing for the removal of the democratically-elected anti-imperialist Lumumba as Congolese Prime Minister in July 1960. As Madeline Kalb observed in her 1982 book, The Congo Cables: The Cold War in Africa:

“The U.S. Embassy in Brussels, replying to the U.S. State Department’s query on July 19…took a very strong line regarding Lumumba, recommending openly for the first time that the United States try to remove him from office. The U.S. ambassador,William Burden, said he believed the situation called for ‘urgent measures on various levels.’…Burden concluded by noting that while the U.S. Embassy in Leopoldville [Kinshasa] had the primary responsibility for dealing with the internal political situation in the Congo, the CIA in Brussels would be ‘reporting separately some specific suggestions.’”

The Death in the Congo book also noted:

“…Burden barraged Washington with memos asking greater sympathy for the [Belgian] imperialists…He understood, he told [then-U.S.] Secretary [of State Christian] Herter, why the United States would look at issues from the point of view of the Congo. Nevertheless, America should instead pressure the UN to support Belgium. At the end of July Burden briefed Dulles when returned to Washington for discussions. From Europe, Burden would continue as a mouthpiece for the more rabid anticommunism guiding Dulles’s report to the NSC [National Security Council]…”

Lawrence R. Devlin in the early 1960s when he was station chief in Congo. (Source: The New York Times)

Columbia Trustee Burden also apparently pressured Time magazine’s then-owner, Henry Luce, to not do a Lumumba cover story, with Lumumba’s picture on the front of the magazine, during July 1960 discussions in Paris about the Congolese political situation between Burden and U.S. Ambassador to France Amory Houghton, U.S. Ambassador to the Congo  Clair “Tim” Timberlake and CIA Chief of Station in the Congo Larry Devlin. As Devlin recalled in his 2007 book Chief of Station, Congo: A Memoir of 1960-67:

“We [Devlin and “Tim” Timberlake] moved to Ambassador Houghton’s office where we were joined by Ambassador Burden for more detailed talks concerning the Congo and its problems. We were provided lodging at Ambassador Houghton’s residence and dined there with the two ambassadors. During our discussions, Tim brought up a delicate matter: ‘Time magazine plans to do a cover story on Lumumba with his picture on the front of the magazine.’ He continued, ‘Celebrity coverage at home will make him even more difficult to deal with. He’s a first-class headache as it is.’

“’Then why don’t you get the story killed?’ Burden asked. ‘Or at least modified?’

“’I tried to persuade the Time man in Leopoldville [Kinshasa] until I was blue in the face,’ Tim replied. ‘But he said there was nothing he could do about it because the story had already been sent to New York.’

“’You can’t expect much from a journalist at that level,’ Burden said pulling out his address book and flipping through the pages. He picked up the phone and put a call through to the personal assistant of Henry Luce, Time’s owner.

“Luce soon returned the call. After a brief, friendly exchange that made clear his personal relationship with Luce, Burden bluntly told him that he would have to change the Lumumba cover story. Luce apparently said that the magazine was about to go to press. ‘Oh, come on, Henry,’ Burden said, ‘you must have other cover stories in the can.’ They chatted for a few more minutes before Burden hung up.

“A few days later in the United States we picked up a copy of the magazine with a new and different cover story. Lumumba had been relegated to the international section…”

The Death in the Congo book indicated one reason that Columbia Life Trustee Burden was influential enough in U.S. Establishment circles to be able to stop Time magazine from putting Patrice Lumumba’s picture on the magazine’s front cover in the summer of 1960:

Burden was born into the colossally rich Vanderbilt family. He had a background in aviation and finance…Burden used his great wealth and the contacts that came from it to secure upper-level governmental experience, socializing with moneyed internationally oriented Republicans…”

In 1973, for example, besides still being both a Columbia trustee and the honorary chairman of the board of the Pentagon’s Institute for Defense Analyses [IDA] weapons research think tank, Burden–a former Assistant for Research and Development to the Secretary of the Air Force–also sat on the board of directors of Lockheed, CBS, Manufacturers Hanover Trust and Allied Chemical and was still a director of American Metal Climax [AMAX], according to a Feb.6, 1973 Columbia Daily Spectator article. In addition, the former U.S. ambassador to Belgium also sat on the board of trustees of the Museum of Modern Art in 1973.

By August of 1960, former Columbia University President Eisenhower’s administration in Washington, D.C. “feared that Lumumba’s oratorical talent would make him a thorn in their side even if he were maneuvered out of power” and “decided it made more sense to kill him,” according to Mark Zepezauer’s 1994 book, The CIA’s Greatest Hits. After CIA Chief of Station in the Congo Devlin met with CIA Director Dulles at CIA headquarters and then returned to the Congo in August 1960, Eisenhower called for the elimination of Lumumba at an Aug. 18, 1960 meeting of the National Security Council, and the following happened, according to Death in the Congo:

“Project Wizard had come into being. It grew out of Devlin’s ideas but also out of proposals of the Brussels CIA…The next day the CIA cabled Devlin to move forward with various ramped-up dirty tricks…Ultimate formal approval of the government’s most unpleasant jobs came through a standing four-person subcommittee of the National Security Council, the ‘Special Group.’ In addition to a note-taker, it consisted of a top man of the Department of State and of Defense; Dulles; and [White House National Security Adviser] Gordon Gray, who spoke for the president. On August 25 [1960],  Dulles had his regular meeting with the Special Group. He outlined the mounting anti-Lumumba exercises of Project Wizard…After some discussion, the Special Group agreed not to ‘rule out’ consideration…of ‘any particular kind of activity which might contribute to getting rid of Lumumba.’

“The next day Dulles himself wired Devlin about the ‘removal’ of Lumumba as ‘an urgent and prime objective.’ With a State Department nod, Dulles allowed Devlin some freedom of operation and stipulated ‘more aggressive action if it can remain covert.’ The CIA also awarded …an additional $100,000 [equivalent to over $821,000 in 2017 US dollars] to accomplish these goals should a ‘target of opportunity’ present itself and should Devlin not have time to sound out either the embassy in the Congo or the CIA at home…”

As the now-deceased Devlin recalled in his 2007 book Chief of Station, Congo:

“…To the best of my knowledge, no other station chief had ever been given such latitude…If further evidence was required that Washington supported our own conclusion about replacing Lumumba, that was it…We were already monitoring parliament and encouraging and guiding the actions of various parliamentary opposition groups that we had penetrated…We were also using [a Belgian citizen and CIA agent named] Jacque to insert anti-Lumumba articles in the country’s leading newspaper…

“With the full backing of Headquarters, the station began to work on a plan to remove Lumumba from power. One of our early operations, organized by Jacque who provided…financial support, was an anti-Lumumba demonstration when the latter spoke at meeting of African foreign ministers held in Leopldville [Kinshasa] on Aug. 25 [1960]. On his arrival, hostile demonstrators shouted ‘a bas Lumumba’ (‘down with Lumumba’), and when he began to speak to the delegates, the mob drowned him out shouting anti-Lumumba slogans.”

Then, according to Death in the Congo, “on the evening of Sept. 3 [1960], Congolese President Joseph Kasa-Vubusummoned” the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative in Leopoldville [Kinshasha] during the first two weeks of September 1960, Andrew Cordier, for a meeting. Coincidentally, the Columbia University board of trustees (that included by-then former U.S. ambassador to the Congo Burden), would later appoint Cordier to be the Dean of its School of International Affairs [School of International and Public Affairs] between 1962 and 1968, to be the Columbia President who succeeded Grayson Kirk between August 1968 and September 1970 and to again be School of International Affairs Dean between September 1970 and 1972. The same book also observed:

“Cordier and Kasa-Vubu had more meetings over the next two days, Sept. 4 and 5 [1960]…A few minutes before 8 p.m. on Sept. 5, Kasa-Vubu sent his Belgian adviser Jef Van Bilsen to Cordier with a formal written exhortation. Cordier should close the airports and monitor the Leopoldville radio station. Then, at 8:12, Kasa-Vubu appeared at the station…He nervously asserted that he was sacking Lumumba…Cordier immediately implemented Kasa-Vubu’s written solicitations…The firing was invalid…Lumumba made the illegality of Kasavubu’s ploy clear in a letter…delivered to Cordier at 4 a.m. on Sept. 6 [1960]…On Wednesday afternoon, Sept. 7 [1960], in the Congo’s house of representatives Lumumba yet again explained the illegality of Kasa-Vubu’s acts…For 5 days Cordier took instructions from politicians who had no justifiable authority. He had closed the radio station and shut the airports because Kasa-Vubu asked him…When Kasa-Vubu pitched Lumumba out [as Congolese prime minister], the Congo’s [ceremonial] president had the help of Belgian and UN authorities…and also the goodwill of the CIA. At this time the Americans put Joseph Ileo, Kasa-Vubu’s choice for prime minister, on the payroll, although he had already been funded to secure his election as president of the Congo’s senate…”

According to Professor of Political Science George Nzongola-Ntalaja’s 2003 book, The Congo from Leopold to Kabila: A People’s History, however, “both houses of” the Congo’s “parliament, where Lumumba still had a working majority gave him a vote of confidence and rejected Kasa-Vubu’s decision as null and void.” But on Sept. 14, 1960, future Congolese/Zairean dictator Mobutu “pulled off his first military coup with the help of the CIA.” Prior to Mobutu’s Sept. 14, 1960 military coup, CIA Director Dulles had flown to Brussels to brief Burden “on the recent decisions of the National Security Council” and told Burden that “he believed the leader we could depend on in a showdown with Lumumba was young Colonel Joseph Mobutu, second in command of the Congolese army,” according to Burden’s Peggy and I book.

Back in the United States on Sept. 19, 1960, “Dulles and his immediate subordinates launched a top-secret communication channel to Devlin called PROP, which would only discuss assassination” of Lumumba, according to Death in the Congo;” while “in a document signed in October 1960, the then-Belgian minister for African Affairs, Count Harold d’Aspremot Lyden, stated explicitly that Belgian interests “required ‘the final elimination of Lumumba,’ according to The Congo from Leopold to Kabila. And by the end of January 1961, the democratically-elected and illegally ousted Congolese prime minister had been physically “eliminated.”

Coincidentally, in a 1968 oral history interview with former Newsweek editor and Columbia University Journalism School faculty member Joel Luter, less than 8 years later, Columbia Life Trustee and then-IDA Executive Committee member and chairman of the IDA board of trustees Burden made the following comment about the murder of Lumumba and two colleagues, Congolese Senate Vice-President Joseph Okito and Congolese Youth and Sports Minister Maurice Mpolo, on Jan. 17, 1961 in the Katanga area of the Congo[Zaire]:

“The Belgians were sort of toying with the idea of seeing to it that Lumumba was assassinated. I went beyond my instructions and said, well, I didn’t think it would be a bad idea either, but I naturally never reported this to Washington—but Lumumba was assassinated. I think it was all to the good…”

Bur in his 1967 book, Challenge of the CongoKwame Nkrumah (the democratically-elected Ghanaian head of state who was forced out of office in a 1966 CIA-orchestrated military coup) wrote the following about what happened in the Congo during Columbia Life Trustee Burden’s term as U.S. Ambassador to Belgium and during the period when former Columbia University President Cordier was the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative in the Congo:

“Somewhere in Katanga in the Congo…three of our brother freedom fighters have been done to death…They have been killed because the United Nations…denied to the lawful Government of the Congo…means of self-protection…The murder of Patrice Lumumba and of his two colleagues…is unique in that it is the first time in history that the legal ruler of a country has been done to death with the open connivance of a world organization in whom that ruler put his trust…Kasa-Vubu illegally tried to remove Patrice Lumumba from office and to substitute another Government. When Lumumba wished to broadcast to the people, explaining what had happened, the United Nations…prevented him by force from speaking…

“…The United Nations, which could exert its authority to prevent Patrice Lumumba from broadcasting, was, so it pleaded, quite unable to prevent his arrest by mutineers or his transfer, through the use of airfields under United Nations control…The United Nations would not effectively intervene to save the life of the Prime Minister or his colleagues…Our dear brothers Patrice Lumumba, Maurice Mpolo and Joseph Okito are dead…”.

And as Ludo De Witte recalled in his 2001 preface to the English edition of his book The Assassination of Lumumba:

“…Without the steps taken by Washington and the United Nations during the preceding months, the assassination could never have been carried out. In July 1960, after Belgium intervened in the Congo and after the rich copper state of Katanga seceded, the United States went into action…U.S. President Dwight Eisenhower had instructed his aides to liquidate Lumumba and a top secret CIA unit was given the task of eliminating him…Lumumba’s transfer to Katanga, delivering him into the hands of his worst enemies, was done with the full knowledge of Lawrence Devlin, the CIA station chief…UN complicity is demonstrated by the help given to Mobutu’s soldiers in capturing Lumumba…The assassination of Lumumba and tens of thousands of other Congolese nationalists, from 1960 to 1965, was the West’s ultimate attempt to destroy the continent’s authentic independent development…”

Posted in USA, AfricaComments Off on Death in the Congo, Why Did the US Want to Kill Patrice Lumumba?

Will the CIA Obey a Trump Order to Stop Funding Terrorists?

NOVANEWS

An Interview with Rick Sterling

 

Late last week, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump will end covert support of militias attempting to topple Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. I spoke to Rick Sterling, investigative journalist for Consortium News and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, about the report.

Ann Garrison: Rick Sterling, what’s your first reaction to the Washington Post’s claims?

Rick Sterling: If Trump orders the CIA to stop training and equipping extremists in Syria, that will be a good thing. We will have to see if this is implemented because sometimes they say one thing publicly but do other things secretly. For example, starting in late 2011, the CIA was coordinating the shipment of weapons from Libya to the armed opposition in Syria—in secret.

AG: The White House has refused to confirm the Washington Post report. If it is true, why do you think Trump won’t confirm?

RS: This is partly reflective of the power elites’ internal battle over foreign policy and whether Trump will actually move away from the aggressive “regime change” foreign policy. Those who favor escalation in Syria dominate discussion in the Washington Post and on CNN and MSNBC.

AG: And if this is true, won’t Trump be keeping at least one of his campaign promises?

Rick Sterling

RS: Yes, Trump would be taking a step that is in keeping with his campaign promise on Syria. It should be popular in the US because it’s a move away from war, and the CIA has wasted billions of dollars that have effectively ended up supporting Al-Qaeda/Nusra/HTS. Jabhat al-Nusra was the official branch of Al-Qaeda in Syria, but now it calls itself “Hayat Tahrir al-Sham” (HTS).

AG: What’s your response to corporate press and politicians calling this a concession to Russia?

RS: The anti-Russia McCarthyism is so extreme that Trump seems almost afraid to announce the termination of the CIA program. Neoconservatives are framing the decision as a concession or even “appeasement” of Putin because they want to continue the conflict. They want to stop Trump from de-escalating tension with Russia and withdrawing from Syria.

AG: And what about those who are loathe to acknowledge that Trump could ever make a good decision about anything?

RS: Whether it’s Obama or Trump or John McCain, one should evaluate policies and actions and criticize or support them on their specific merits and faults. If Trump is really trying to de-escalate the Syrian conflict, that is a good policy. One can support that and remain critical of his policies and actions in other areas.

AG: The one time that corporate press, Democrats (excepting Tulsi Gabbard), and pro-war Republicans have applauded Trump’s foreign policy was when he launched 59 cruise missiles worth $60+ million dollars at Syria over their unproven use of chemical weapons. Your response?

RS: The attack on Syria was an illegal act of war without any justification. And there is increasing evidence that the Syrian government was NOT responsible for the chemical weapons deaths. The fact that western media congratulated Trump on that illegal action shows what their true goals are: to continue US “regime change” foreign policy and specifically to attack Syria no matter the cost in blood and treasure.

AG: Aren’t the Syria Solidarity Movement—and any of the rest of us who think that the US should stop arming terrorists—certain to be branded “pro-Trump” and “pro-Putin”?

Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (HTS)

RS: Yes, but that should not stop anyone. The aggression against Syria needs to stop—that is in our American interests as well as those of all people in the Middle East. Tulsi Gabbard’s “Stop Arming Terrorists” legislation is common sense and should be supported.

AG: And what can the anti-war community—insofar as it exists—do to encourage Trump in this one policy from outside the power elite argument in Washington D.C.? A bill creating new sanctions against Russia, Syria, and Iran got such overwhelming support in Congress that President Trump doesn’t dare veto it because Congress has the numbers to override a veto. Only Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders voted against it in the Senate, and Sanders said that he voted no only because he supports sanctions on Russia and Syria but not Iran.

RS: Again, it’s not about the person, it’s about the policy. People who are concerned about international politics, peace, and justice should be writing, speaking out, and lobbying for de-escalation, and promoting more discussion and negotiation, including with Russia. When Trump encourages this, it’s a good thing and we should do whatever we can to support it.

AG: It’s often hard to believe that they give a damn about what those of us out here in the cheap seats think, but if they didn’t, they wouldn’t work so hard to control the narrative.

RS: We can all do a little bit, and when more and more people join in, we can make a difference. Just entering the debate changes the discussion.

AG: Last question: If Trump really does want to stop arming and funding Al-Qaeda/Nusra/HTS and other jihadist militias, won’t Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the UAE step into the breach so they can keep fighting Assad—or the Kurds—with weapons that the US sold them?

RS: Yes, all those countries have been funding terrorists in Syria to attack and overthrow the Damascus government. Sometimes they work together; sometimes not. No matter, the Syrian Army and their allies have weathered the worst period and now are on the offensive. The mercenaries are in retreat, and the influx of brainwashed new recruits is drying up.

AG: Anything else you’d like to say?

RS: We are in a critical period where the enemies of Syria, including the CIA, may create a false flag incident to provoke and justify a direct intervention by the US, France, and others. Even if that does not happen, the pro-war elites clearly hope to use Kurdish forces to split off eastern Syria and install a puppet government. However, on the positive side, increasing numbers of Syrians who fled abroad are now returning to Syria. The reconciliation program is expanding. These are positive signs. After six years of bloodshed, it’s way past time for the enemies of Syria to stop supporting terrorism and let the Syrian people determine their own destiny.

Posted in USAComments Off on Will the CIA Obey a Trump Order to Stop Funding Terrorists?


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