Archive | January 30th, 2018

The “Iron Fisted” Leader of Hamas in Palestine – Where is Mohammed Deif?

NOVANEWS

In the ravaged streets of Gaza and the shrinking hills of the West bank, Palestinians- in desperation- scream his name. On the walls of the twelve Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon his name is spray painted-in hope- beneath yellow flags baring the logo of Hamas. In prayer services across Palestine his name is invoked, begging for his return, the return of Palestine and… salvation from the increasing horrors of occupation.

This man, their champion- who fought for all Palestinians and won- to them, seems now their only hope. But he is missing in action. Barely three years ago, this man was the most dangerous man in Palestine. For he did for Palestine what no other has done. Where then, today, when needed most, is the “Lion of Palestine?” Where is… Mohammed Deif?

“Without an army for the people, there is nothing for the people.” -Mao Tse-tung (“On Guerrilla Warfare”)

During the 2014 invasion of Gaza by Israel – with massive US military support- and thus confronted with two of the most militaristic expansionist global powers, Gazans and a horrified world looked on in hand-wringing anguish. After watching for weeks as Israel destroyed civilian Palestinian property and innocent lives in the thousands, this same world breathed a long overdue sigh of relief when Hamas, as the only military on earth to defend Gaza, commanded these villains of inhumanity to their knees: the negotiating table in Cairo.

The iron-fisted leader of Hamas, Mohammed Deif, was then closer than ever before to a final victory of the autonomy for Gaza and a national victory for the nation of Palestine, and… for the civilized world.

But next, Israeli influence, Arab nations’ hypocrisy, Palestinian Authority (PA) treachery and US coercion f…ed the whole thing up!

Again, this week Israeli warplanes returned to indiscriminately targeting Gaza civilians. At the same time, Israeli soldiers switched from tear gas to live ammo to quell the spirits of Palestinians who do not accept the theft of their rightful capital, Jerusalem. Post-war funds for rebuilding Gaza have been diverted at Israeli request. Water supplies have been cut off repeatedly, as has electricity. Their land is seized regularly and replaced with more and more illegal settlements. All borders are closed. Medical supplies scarce. Disease routine. Poverty endemic. Apartheid rampant. Genocide obvious!

And the leaders of the world do nothing?!

So, where is this champion of Palestine? As his people chant, his name echoing off the remaining grey concrete walls left standing in a razed Gaza, there is a desperation in their cries. Will not someone help them? Will not someone protect them? Where is this military genius?  When needed most…where is  Mohammed Deif!

The Israeli controlled media, having few facts about Mohammed Deif, much less any willingness to expand on the reasons for Israeli’s 2014 direct military defeat, tries to vilify Mohammed Deif with vague general terms like “shadowy,” and “relatively unknown.” A myopic press misses the most important and accurate description of this life-long champion of the Palestinian people; “military scholar,” one whose definition translates as: student of guerrilla warfare- the tactics that once brought Israel to its knees.

Historically this effective military strategy has given freedom and nationalism to many oppressed peoples. Guerrilla warfare has built nations. What would today’s South Africa be without the armed resistance within the African National Congress (ANC)? Would Ireland have gained its autonomy from Britain without the Irish Republican Army (IRA)?

Would Israel be a nation?

With the skill of Mao ridding China of the Japanese from 1937-1945 or Che Guevara’s victorious popular uprisings in Cuba of 1954-59, Mohammed Deif had, in 2014, by similar necessity, made his mentors very proud indeed. Palestine has been under the barbaric oppression of Israeli hypocrisy, an oppression that long ago crossed the lines of inhumanity. Right through Gaza.

Hence, the historical need for Hamas.

Guerrilla warfare, however, is more than guns and bloodshed. Designed to terminally conquer oppression, victory requires a chess game that transcends mere military strategy into political cunning. Mohammed Deif, while presumably hiding in an unknown bunker deep under Gaza, can reflect on losing his wife and daughter to an Israeli tank shell with his name on it. He had once, as predicted by history and the practices of Mao and Guevara, turned the horror of a month-long legend of Israeli blood-lust in Gaza into what was, in the immediate aftermath of the war, a strong political negotiating position for all of Palestine.

But that was too long ago.

Proof of this once bitter-sweet victory was easily shown in the 2014 war’s ultimate cease fire; one  that was finally called for by Israel after the US vetoed two similar UNSC resolutions. This could be seen at that time on any TV appearance by Israeli Prime Minister, BiBi Netanyahu, when this seventy-two hour cease fire finally began. Due to unexpectedly large Israeli troop casualties and, like his nation, drawn, tired, and confused on the facts, BiBi and his arrogant sneer was conspicuously missing. His brash confidence was also missing, then relegated to the bottom of his own desk’s trash can along with the shreds of that week’s sudden and shocking Israeli press revelations:  1600 wounded Israeli soldiers to go with at least sixty-four dead.

Worse, for this man who personally began this month’s long barbarity, that morning’s Israeli public approval poll regarding his most recent series of war crimes had plummeted to 60%- not because of his resultant horrors, but because of his failing to meet Israeli expectations of finally completing their demand for genocide. Even BiBi’s Nobel Peace Prize-winning Washington puppet, then US president Obama, was also dangling wildly on his own puppet strings in the fierce wind of public worldwide outrage.

Oh, the “sorrows of empire!” What more can a war criminal do?

For Israel, these Hamas military and political victories at the time further emboldened worldwide opposition to Zionist expansion. Throughout Palestine and across the world, the consciousness of the world further wakened to the threat of Israel, with the horrific images of Gaza now firmly, and forever, in their mind. The BDS movement skyrocketed accordingly.

Mohammed Deif had shown national leadership in what seemed a  victory for Hamas and for Gaza. And for the nation of Palestine.

For that Mohammed Deif was- too long ago- the most dangerous man in Palestine.

“The guerrilla fighter is the Jesuit of warfare.” – Che Guevara (“Guerrilla Warfare”)

Two of the most successful and renowned revolutionaries of the 20th century also authored the two most read books about guerrilla warfare. In his 1937 manifesto, On Guerrilla Warfare, Mao observed that,

“without the support of the people, the guerrilla is a fish out of water, and it cannot survive.”

In agreement, Guevara states in, Guerrilla Warfare, that, the guerrilla fighter needs full help from the people and, “must have a moral conduct that shows him to be a true priest of the reform to which he aspires.”

Indeed.

Mohammed Deif was born in 1965 into the Khan Younis refugee camp in southern Gaza. Deif’s family was originally from the pre-1948 Palestinian village of Kochva near present-day Ashkelon which was razed to make way for Israel. Due to the wholesale eviction of Palestinians from Palestine to the many long-term refugee camps, Mohammed Deif was born into a prison.

He is the personification of Palestine.

As a teenager, he joined up with the Muslim Brotherhood and was active in student politics at Gaza’s Islamic University. At the outbreak of the first intifada, Deif joined the ranks of Hamas’ militia. He was arrested by Israel in May 1989, and sentenced to sixteen months in prison.

Released in 1991, Deif went straight to the al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, where he met his mentor, Yahya “the engineer” Ayyash, who headed the brigades until his assassination in 1996. Known for his bomb-making skills, Ayyash taught these skills and the necessity of military tactics to Mohammed Deif while the later continued to rise in the command structure of Hamas.

According to Israel’s DebkaFiles.com, in 1994 the Hamas cells under his command kidnapped and killed three Israeli soldiers, Nachshon Wachsman, Aryeh Frankenthal and Shahar Simani.

When the Israelis assassinated Ayyash using an explosive mobile phone, Deif masterminded a series of lethal bomb attacks on Israeli civilians in February and March of 1996, in which fifty-eight Israelis were killed in one week.

Muhammad Deif then went underground. Photos of him since are extremely rare with none seen in the last decade.

Of course, the Israelis tried to kill him. They failed five times, increasing his legend, and earning the nickname, “the cat with nine lives.” The sixth time, they killed his wife and daughter.

On August 22, 2001, Deif and his deputy, Adnan al-Awal escaped a targeted assassination attempt. On September 26, 2002, an IDF Apache helicopter fired two Hellfire missiles at Deif’s car as he returned home from a visit of condolence in the Sheikh Rawan district of Gaza. He survived.

The IDF tried again in August 2003, bombing the top floor of an apartment building where the Hamas military leadership, including al-Awal, Haniyeh, Deif and the movements spiritual leader Ahmad Yassin were meeting. The men were on the building’s bottom floor and escaped with light injuries.

The Israeli assassination attempts have reportedly left him in need of continued medical care. When he travelled, Mohammed Deif went with a heavy escort of two separate teams of security agents whom he personally selects and trusts. Apparently, he is also a master of disguise and has reportedly moved about Gaza on his own without detection. Since there are no recent pictures of him, this may work well for him and shows the kind of brass he brought to his leadership of Hamas.

Only two top Hamas figures know where he is and only one, former Gaza Prime Minister Haniyeh is thought to have been able to have direct contact with him. Though rarely seen, Deif controls Hamas’ political and military assets with a tight grip. The Hamas military council and general staff wait for his blessing before taking any measures. The same deference is shown by the Hamas external politburo chief Khaled Meshaal; Gaza Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh; and the chief of the al-Qassam Brigades, Marwan Issa.

The true power of Mohammed Deif within the internal political structure of Hamas was clearly shown in the highly secretive 2012-2013 elections for Hamas’ governing body, the Shura Council. Despite the attempt by Hamas political chief Khaled Meshaal to secure seats for his own loyalists, Deif prevailed, gaining further support and new seats for his hand-picked supporters instead.

So, where is Mohammed Deif now?

“In order to get rid of the gun, it is necessary to take up the gun.” -Mao.

Guerrilla Warfare is a method of war that can be traced back as far as the 3rd century B.C. when Fabius Maximus successfully utilized this form of warfare against Hannibal’s much larger forces during the Second Punic War. Ever since then, the tactics of guerra de guerrillas, or Guerrilla Warfare, have been used, again and again, often proving victorious, throughout history.

Mao Tse-Tung’s use and theory of Guerrilla Warfare was used and adapted by Vietnamese General Vo Nguyen Giap who led the victories over two great countries with nothing more than an ill-equipped insurgent army and the will to fight and resist. And tunnels. Miles and miles of tunnels. Why? For their country.

In Mexico, sub-commander, “Marcos,” led his Guerrillas out of the hills of Chiapas, in the 1994 “Zapatista uprising” to deliver blow after blow against an oppressive Mexican army. He too brought the oppressors to the negotiating table… and peace to Chiapas. For his people.

Reportedly Marcos carried with him at all times these two most important bibles of military craft that had already served history- and nations-so well.

Hamas was created in 1992 under the direction of Yahya Ayyash becoming the only Palestinian socio-political organization to offer the many missing social services needed by Gazans; while maintaining the dedication to regaining the nation of Palestine. A classified US Congressional report grudgingly admits that, “its [Hamas] social services wing have been very popular and important among Palestinians.”

The primary task of Hamas, beyond popular support, is to build a coherent military organization to support and enforce the political goals of Hamas in Palestine. Hamas military defence forces in Gaza are the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades named after an influential Sunni Islamic preacher in the times of the British Mandate of Palestine, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam. In 1930 al-Qassam organized and established the Black Hand, an anti-Zionist and anti-British militant organization. Prior to his death in 1935, he had recruited, enlisted and provided military training to upwards of eight hundred men. The Black Hand was the precursor to Hamas.

Under the training and tactics chosen by Mohammed Deif, Hamas has become a formidable army in the mould of Hezbollah, which thrashed their own Israeli opposition into a cease-fire in Lebanon in 2006. Likewise, Hamas’ strength is in its ability to carry out quickly complex lethal mobile attacks.

As required by the texts of Mao and Guevara, the brigades can count on a huge pool of individuals seeking to join their ranks. Hamas reportedly receives some aid from Iran (10% of its budget by some estimates) but apparently derives most of its financing from Palestinian expatriates around the world, private sympathizers in Arab states, and legitimate businesses in Palestinian controlled areas. Foreign sympathizers supply the militants with weapons smuggled in using tunnels. Hamas engineers provide the fighters with effective homemade weapons such as the al-Bana, the Batar, the Yasin and the Qassam rocket.

In July 2006, the Al-Qassam Brigades staged the operation which led to the capture of Israeli soldier,Gilad Shalit. This turned out to be a perfectly executed plan by Hamas as the negotiations for Shalit’s safe release equalled the release of 1027 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails.

“War is the continuation of politics by other means.” -Carl von Clausewitz

Mao declares that Guerrilla war strategies are pursued, to achieve purely political goals. He continues to emphasize that, “the simple-minded militarists must be made to realize the relationship that exists between politics and military affairs.”

Indeed. Such as the fraudulent Cairo peace talks. Signalling defeat, militarily, Israel asked for an extension of the war’s initial seventy-two hour cease fire. Mohammed Deif’s military victory was the necessary precursor to the ultimate goal of political victory; freedom for Gaza. However, this short-term victory was turned into defeat by others who next turned victory into defeat…politically!

Hamas had inflicted severe damage to the overwhelming might of the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) and the Israeli economy. Then Israeli people were shocked to reality at the news of the 1600 plus severely injured IDF soldiers.(Reports indicate that the official Israeli death toll, which was stated to be sixty-four, was a low-ball fabrication). Hence, it was no wonder that IDF Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz went so far as to declare, “now [the IDF] move into a period of rehabilitation.”

Israel’s war, Operation Protective Edge, in Gaza cost the Israeli economy some $1.44 billion, its central bank governor Karnit Flug said. His assessment was that it would reach up to around 0.5 percent of GDP, which is up to 5 billion shekels, he told Israel Channel Ten television at the time.

Worse, after all that, the IDF admitted, “Hamas is still standing and left with most of its military infrastructure unscathed, provides it [volunteers]with the core of a regular Palestinian army, which the Islamists did not have before the launch of Operation Defensive Edge on July 7.”

Predictably, the ranks of Hamas and the Al-Qassam Brigades are swelling.

Indeed. Your new-born child, or your mother, or your brother, or your sister, grandmother, brother, aunt, uncle, or just your entire family has been blown to bits by an unapologetic demon that celebrates, very publicly its genocide. What does a man do who has lost everything?

Reluctantly, faced with no remaining choice other than surrender and therefore nothing to lose, that man, he  picks up a gun.

Press TV, in interviews with Gazans during the weeks after the war, reported that despite the destruction of the Gaza Strip by Israeli horrors, Palestinians remain loyal to the resistance movement, and to Hamas.

The toll on Gazans shocked the consciousness of a world that has also witnessed too much of the Israeli regime’s war crimes, before and after. The total 2014 war carnage alone: over 2100 Palestinians dead, more than four-hundred-thirty of them children.

Hence, worldwide condemnation of Israel continues to grow.

The post-war, August 9, 2014, worldwide day of protest in favour of Gaza, Palestine, and a return to humanity saw millions join mass protests in cities in virtually every nation on earth. Outrage against Israel is global and growing with each new atrocity. The pictures don’t lie.

In London, Lindsey German, convenor of Stop the War Coalition, an umbrella group of NGOs, said: “The level of anger [against Israel]  is unprecedented.”

While it was trendy, former British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said that the UK government should suspend its arms exports to Israel if the Tel Aviv regime resumes its military attacks on Gaza. Francoise Holland also temporarily broke ranks and called for a stop to the genocide. Bolivia’s president Evo Morales called Israel a “Terrorist State”. Then, every day more world leaders were forced by popular opinion to make statements condemning Israel despite their master’s hidden purse strings.

It did not take long for these same world leaders to return to ignoring the many new war crimes of Israel. Three long years later, all but Evo Morales have ceased any new words of protest. And Palestine is worse than ever before. And, thanks to America, without a capital… nor country!

Now that it factually appears that Israel completely controls US foreign policy as applied to Palestine, desperation of its people and its need for a new champion is understandable. Consider: US president Trump has functionally abandoned any potential two state solution- anathema to the Likudists who hold power- and has denoted Jerusalem as the capital of Israel while simultaneously cutting off US aid to Palestine and to the UN’s UNRWA while accusing the Palestinians of disrespect for not going to their slaughter willingly. His actions, of course, have further emboldened the Israelis who rang in the New Year, on Dec 31, 2017 by voting in the Likud Central Committee to seize the remainder of the west bank not already stolen, despite multiple UN resolutions, and then returning to shooting and jailing children as young as 13 years old who also peacefully demand freedom instead of life in this deteriorating national prison.

Reportedly, Mohammed Deif is now in failing health due to the summation of his many injuries. It is not likely that he is dead, however, since the Israeli press would certainly trumpet this news. Nor is it likely that his influence or his passion for his Palestinian homeland is ignored in the underground meetings about what to do. Al-Monitor news service reports that two familiar figures have taken over direct command of Hamas — Deif’s long-time deputy, Marwan Issa, and Gaza’s new Hamas political leader, Yahya Sinwar who was released as part of the 2011 prisoner swap. Given the new title, “liaison between the military and political wing,” the real meaning is that of the de facto head of the military wing. Deif still holds the title of commander in name, by virtue of his past glory so, if nothing else, he remains the soul of Palestinian resistance.

Without Hamas and the military tactics of Mohammed Deif, the political goals of Gaza autonomy would not have been able to stare the Israeli war criminals squarely right between the eyes at the negotiation table in post-war 2014. Yes, the Israelis and their worldwide minions have, for the moment, flipped over that table. However, history applied to systemic oppression and genocide has always had only one predictable result: An animal- even man- when beaten, cornered, and threatened with guaranteed death for him and his family, has only one possible and remaining reluctant choice…to fight!

Palestine no longer has any other choice. But, now that history and the facts that are Gaza and Palestine become again a hidden reality, where is that man, the man who almost gave his life for Palestine and its people six times. His body may be waning, but his soul remains in the minds of all of Palestine, it people, its soldiers, its refugees, its flagging politicians..and their dreams of eventual freedom. A collective freedom that now demands the question from its own soul…

Where… is  Mohammed Deif?

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The CIA and the Media: 50 Facts the World Needs to Know

NOVANEWS

This article  by Professor James Tracy first published in August 2015 is of particular relevance in relation to the “fake news” campaign directed against the alternative and independent media.

In a bitter irony, the media coverup of  the CIA’s covert support to Al Qaeda and the ISIS is instrumented by the CIA which also oversees the mainstream media.

Since the end of World War Two the Central Intelligence Agency has been a major force in US and foreign news media, exerting considerable influence over what the public sees, hears and reads on a regular basis. CIA publicists and journalists alike will assert they have few, if any, relationships, yet the seldom acknowledged history of their intimate collaboration indicates a far different story–indeed, one that media historians are reluctant to examine.

When seriously practiced, the journalistic profession involves gathering information concerning individuals, locales, events, and issues. In theory such information informs people about their world, thereby strengthening “democracy.” This is exactly the reason why news organizations and individual journalists are tapped as assets by intelligence agencies and, as the experiences of German journalist Udo Ulfkotte (entry 47 below) suggest, this practice is at least as widespread today as it was at the height of the Cold War.

Consider the coverups of election fraud in 2000 and 2004, the events of September 11, 2001, the invasions Afghanistan and Iraq, the destabilization of Syria, and the creation of “ISIS.” These are among the most significant events in recent world history, and yet they are also those much of the American public is wholly ignorant of. In an era where information and communication technologies are ubiquitous, prompting many to harbor the illusion of being well-informed, one must ask why this condition persists.

Further, why do prominent US journalists routinely fail to question other deep events that shape America’s tragic history over the past half century, such as the political assassinations of the 1960s, or the central role played by the CIA major role in international drug trafficking?

Popular and academic commentators have suggested various reasons for the almost universal failure of mainstream journalism in these areas, including newsroom sociology, advertising pressure, monopoly ownership, news organizations’ heavy reliance on “official” sources, and journalists’ simple quest for career advancement. There is also, no doubt, the influence of professional public relations maneuvers. Yet such a broad conspiracy of silence suggests another province of deception examined far too infrequently—specifically the CIA and similar intelligence agencies’ continued involvement in the news media to mold thought and opinion in ways scarcely imagined by the lay public.

The following historical and contemporary facts–by no means exhaustive–provides a glimpse of how the power such entities possess to influence if not determine popular memory and what respectable institutions deem to be the historical record.

  1. The CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD is a long-recognised keystone among researchers pointing to the Agency’s clear interest in and relationship to major US news media. MOCKINGBIRD grew out of the CIA’s forerunner, the Office for Strategic Services (OSS, 1942-47), which during World War Two had established a network of journalists and psychological warfare experts operating primarily in the European theatre.
  2. Many of the relationships forged under OSS auspices were carried over into the postwar era through a State Department-run organization called the Office of Policy Coordination (OPC) overseen by OSS staffer Frank Wisner.
  3. The OPC “became the fastest-growing unit within the nascent CIA,” historian Lisa Pease observes, “rising in personnel from 302 in 1949 to 2,812 in 1952, along with 3,142 overseas contract personnel. In the same period, the budget rose from $4.7 million to $82 million.” Lisa Pease, “The Media and the Assassination,” in James DiEugenio and Lisa Pease, The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X, Port Townsend, WA, 2003, 300.
  4. Like many career CIA officers, eventual CIA Director/Director of Central Intelligence (DCI) Richard Helms was recruited out of the press corps by his own supervisor at the United Press International’s Berlin Bureau to join in the OSS’s fledgling “black propaganda” program. “‘[Y]ou’re a natural,” Helms’ boss remarked. Richard Helms, A Look Over My Shoulder: A Life in the Central Intelligence Agency, New York: Random House, 2003, 30-31.
  5. Wisner tapped Marshall Plan funds to pay for his division’s early exploits, money his branch referred to as “candy.” “We couldn’t spend it all,” CIA agent Gilbert Greenway recalls. “I remember once meeting with Wisner and the comptroller. My God, I said, how can we spend that? There were no limits, and nobody had to account for it. It was amazing.” Frances Stonor Saunders, The Cultural Cold War: The CIA and the World of Arts and Letters, New York: The New Press, 2000, 105.
  6. When the OPC was merged with the Office of Special Operations in 1948 to create the CIA, OPC’s media assets were likewise absorbed.
  7. Wisner maintained the top secret “Propaganda Assets Inventory,” better known as “Wisner’s Wurlitzer”—a virtual rolodex of over 800 news and information entities prepared to play whatever tune Wisner chose. “The network included journalists, columnists, book publishers, editors, entire organizations such as Radio Free Europe, and stringers across multiple news organizations.” Pease, “The Media and the Assassination,” 300.
  8. A few years after Wisner’s operation was up-and-running he “’owned’ respected members of the New York TimesNewsweek, CBS, and other communication vehicles, plus stringers, four to six hundred in all, according to a CIA analyst. Each one was a separate ‘operation,’” investigative journalist Deborah Davis notes, “requiring a code name, a field supervisor, and a field office, at an annual cost of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars—there has never been an accurate accounting.” Deborah Davis, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post, Second Edition, Bethesda MD: National Press Inc, 1987, 139.
  9. Psychological operations in the form of journalism were perceived as necessary to influence and direct mass opinion, as well as elite perspectives. “[T]he President of the United States, the Secretary of State, Congressmen and even the Director of the CIA himself will read, believe, and be impressed by a report from Cy Sulzberger, Arnaud de Borchgrave, or Stewart Alsop when they don’t even bother to read a CIA report on the same subject,” noted CIA agent Miles Copeland. Cited in Pease, “The Media and the Assassination,” 301.
  10. By the mid-to-late 1950s, Darrell Garwood points out, the Agency sought to limit criticism directed against covert activity and bypass congressional oversight or potential judicial interference by “infiltrat[ing] the groves of academia, the missionary corps, the editorial boards of influential journal and book publishers, and any other quarters where public attitudes could be effectively influenced.” Darrell Garwood, Under Cover: Thirty-Five Years of CIA Deception, New York: Grove Press, 1985, 250.
  11. The CIA frequently intercedes in editorial decision-making. For example, when the Agency proceeded to wage an overthrow of the Arbenz regime in Guatemala in 1954, Allen and John Foster Dulles, President Eisenhower’s Secretary of State and CIA Director respectively, called upon New York Times publisher Arthur Hays Sulzberger to reassign reporter Sydney Gruson from Guatemala to Mexico City. Sulzberger thus placed Gruson in Mexico City with the rationale that some repercussions from the revolution might be felt in Mexico. Pease, “The Media and the Assassination,” 302.
  12. Since the early 1950s the CIA “has secretly bankrolled numerous foreign press services, periodicals and newspapers—both English and foreign language—which provided excellent cover for CIA operatives,” Carl Bernstein reported in 1977. “One such publication was the Rome Daily American, forty percent of which was owned by the CIA until the 1970s.” Carl Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media,” Rolling Stone, October 20, 1977.
  13. The CIA exercised informal liaisons with news media executives, in contrast to its relationships with salaried reporters and stringers, “who were much more subject to direction from the Agency” according to Bernstein. “A few executives—Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Timesamong them—signed secrecy agreements. But such formal understandings were rare: relationships between Agency officials and media executives were usually social—’The P and Q Street axis in Georgetown,’ said one source. ‘You don’t tell William Paley to sign a piece of paper saying he won’t fink.’” Director of CBS William Paley’s personal “friendship with CIA Director Dulles is now known to have been one of the most influential and significant in the communications industry,” author Debora Davis explains. “He provided cover for CIA agents, supplied out-takes of news film, permitted the debriefing of reporters, and in many ways set the standard for the cooperation between the CIA and major broadcast companies which lasted until the mid-1970s.” Deborah Davis, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post, Second Edition, Bethesda MD: National Press Inc, 1987, 175.
  14. “The Agency’s relationship with the Times was by far its most valuable among newspapers, according to CIA officials,” Bernstein points out in his key 1977 article. “From 1950 to 1966, about ten CIA employees were provided Times cover under arrangements approved by the newspaper’s late publisher, Arthur Hays Sulzberger. The cover arrangements were part of a general Times policy—set by Sulzberger—to provide assistance to the CIA whenever possible.” In addition, Sulzberger was a close friend of CIA Director Allen Dulles. “’At that level of contact it was the mighty talking to the mighty,’ said a high‑level CIA official who was present at some of the discussions. ‘There was an agreement in principle that, yes indeed, we would help each other. The question of cover came up on several occasions. It was agreed that the actual arrangements would be handled by subordinates…. The mighty didn’t want to know the specifics; they wanted plausible deniability.’” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
  15. CBS’s Paley worked reciprocally with the CIA, allowing the Agency to utilize network resources and personnel. “It was a form of assistance that a number of wealthy persons are now generally known to have rendered the CIA through their private interests,” veteran broadcast journalist Daniel Schorr wrote in 1977. “It suggested to me, however, that a relationship of confidence and trust had existed between him and the agency.” Schorr points to “clues indicating that CBS had been infiltrated.” For example, “A news editor remembered the CIA officer who used to come to the radio control room in New York in the early morning, and, with the permission of persons unknown, listened to CBS correspondents around the world recording their ‘spots’ for the ‘World News Roundup’ and discussing events with the editor on duty. Sam Jaffe claimed that when he applied in 1955 for a job with CBS, a CIA officer told him that he would be hired–which he subsequently was. He was told that he would be sent to Moscow–which he subsequently was; he was assigned in 1960 to cover the trial of U-2 pilot Francis Gary Powers. [Richard] Salant told me,” Schorr continues, “that when he first became president of CBS News in 1961, a CIA case officer called saying he wanted to continue the ‘long standing relationship known to Paley and [CBS president Frank] Stanton, but Salant was told by Stanton there was no obligation that he knew of” (276). Schorr, Daniel. Clearing the Air, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1977, 277, 276.
  16. National Enquirer publisher Gene Pope Jr. worked briefly on the CIA’s Italy desk in the early 1950s and maintained close ties with the Agency thereafter. Pope refrained from publishing dozens of stories with “details of CIA kidnappings and murders, enough stuff for a year’s worth of headlines” in order to “collect chits, IOUs,” Pope’s son writes. “He figured he’d never know when he might need them, and those IOUs would come in handy when he got to 20 million circulation. When that happened, he’d have the voice to be almost his own branch of government and would need the cover.” Paul David Pope, The Deeds of My Fathers: How My Grandfather and Father Built New York and Created the Tabloid World of Today, New York: Phillip Turner/Rowman & Littlefield, 2010, 309, 310.
  17. One explosive story Pope’s National Enquirer‘s refrained from publishing in the late 1970s centered on excerpts from a long-sought after diary of President Kennedy’s lover, Mary Pinchot Meyer, who was murdered on October 12, 1964. “The reporters who wrote the story were even able to place James Jesus Angleton, the CIA’s head of counterintelligence operations, at the scene.” Another potential story drew on “documents proving that [Howard] Hughes and the CIA had been connected for years and that the CIA was giving Hughes money to secretly fund, with campaign donations, twenty-seven congressmen and senators who sat on sub-committees critical to the agency. There are also fifty-three international companies named and sourced as CIA fronts .. and even a list of reporters for mainstream media organizations who were playing ball with the agency.” Pope, The Deeds of My Fathers, 309.
  18. Angleton, who oversaw the Agency counterintelligence branch for 25 years, “ran a completely independent group entirely separate cadre of journalist‑operatives who performed sensitive and frequently dangerous assignments; little is known about this group for the simple reason that Angleton deliberately kept only the vaguest of files.” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
  19. The CIA conducted a “formal training program” during the 1950s for the sole purpose of instructing its agents to function as newsmen. “Intelligence officers were ‘taught to make noises like reporters,’ explained a high CIA official, and were then placed in major news organizations with help from management. These were the guys who went through the ranks and were told ‘You’re going to he a journalist,’” the CIA official said.” The Agency’s preference, however, was to engage journalists who were already established in the industry. Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
  20. Newspaper columnists and broadcast journalists with household names have been known to maintain close ties with the Agency. “There are perhaps a dozen well known columnists and broadcast commentators whose relationships with the CIA go far beyond those normally maintained between reporters and their sources,” Bernstein maintains. “They are referred to at the Agency as ‘known assets’ and can be counted on to perform a variety of undercover tasks; they are considered receptive to the Agency’s point of view on various subjects.” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
  21. Frank Wisner, Allen Dulles, and Washington Post publisher Phillip Graham were close associates, and the Post developed into one of the most influential news organs in the United States due to its ties with the CIA. The Post managers’ “individual relations with intelligence had in fact been the reason the Post Company had grown as fast as it did after the war,” Davis (172) observes. “[T]heir secrets were its corporate secrets, beginning with MOCKINGBIRD. Phillip Graham’s commitment to intelligence had given his friends Frank Wisner an interest in helping to make the Washington Post the dominant news vehicle in Washington, which they had done by assisting with its two most crucial acquisitions, the Times-Herald and WTOP radio and television stations.” Davis, Katharine the Great: Katharine Graham and the Washington Post, 172.
  22. In the wake of World War One the Woodrow Wilson administration placed journalist and author Walter Lippmann in charge of recruiting agents for the Inquiry, a first-of-its-kind ultra-secret civilian intelligence organization whose role involved ascertaining information to prepare Wilson for the peace negotiations, as well as identify foreign natural resources for Wall Street speculators and oil companies. The activities of this organization served as a prototype for the function eventually performed by the CIA, namely “planning, collecting, digesting, and editing the raw data,” notes historian Servando Gonzalez. “This roughly corresponds to the CIA’s intelligence cycle: planning and direction, collection, processing, production and analysis, and dissemination.” Most Inquiry members would later become members of the Council on Foreign Relations. Lippmann would go on to become the Washington Post’s best known columnists. Servando Gonzalez, Psychological Warfare and the New World Order: The Secret War Against the American People, Oakland, CA: Spooks Books, 2010, 50.
  23. The two most prominent US newsweeklies, Time and Newsweek, kept close ties with the CIA. “Agency files contain written agreements with former foreign correspondents and stringers for both the weekly newsmagazines,” according to Carl Bernstein. “Allen Dulles often interceded with his good friend, the late Henry Luce, founder of Time and Life magazines, who readily allowed certain members of his staff to work for the Agency and agreed to provide jobs and credentials for other CIA operatives who lacked journalistic experience.”  Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
  24. In his autobiography former CIA officer E. Howard Hunt quotes Bernstein’s “The CIA and the Media” article at length. “I know nothing to contradict this report,” Hunt declares, suggesting the investigative journalist of Watergate fame didn’t go far enough. “Bernstein further identified some of the country’s top media executives as being valuable assets to the agency … But the list of organizations that cooperated with the agency was a veritable ‘Who’s Who’ of the media industry, including ABC, NBC, the Associated Press, UPI, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps-Howard, Newsweek magazine, and others.” E. Howard Hunt, American Spy: My Secret History in the CIA, Watergate, and Beyond, Hoboken NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2007, 150.
  25. When the first major exposé of the CIA emerged in 1964 with the publication of The Invisible Government by journalists David Wise and Thomas B. Ross, the CIA considered purchasing the entire printing to keep the book from the public, yet in the end judged against it. “To an extent that is only beginning to be perceived, this shadow government is shaping the lives of 190,000,000 Americans” authors Wise and Ross write in the book’s preamble. “Major decisions involving peace and war are taking place out of public view. An informed citizen might come to suspect that the foreign policy of the United States often works publicly in one direction and secretly through the Invisible Government in just the opposite direction.”Lisa Pease, “When the CIA’s Empire Struck Back,” Consortiumnews.com, February 6, 2014.
  26. Agency infiltration of the news media shaped public perception of deep events and undergirded the official explanations of such events. For example, the Warren Commission’s report on President John F. Kennedy’s assassination was met with almost unanimous approval by US media outlets. “I have never seen an official report greeted with such universal praise as that accorded the Warren Commission’s findings when they were made public on September 24, 1964,” recalls investigative reporter Fred Cook. “All the major television networks devoted special programs and analyses to the report; the next day the newspapers ran long columns detailing its findings, accompanied by special news analyses and editorials. The verdict was unanimous. The report answered all questions, left no room for doubt. Lee Harvey Oswald, alone and unaided, had assassinated the president of the United States.” Fred J. Cook, Maverick: Fifty Years of Investigative Reporting, G.P. Putnam’s Sons, 1984, 276.
  27. In late 1966 the New York Times began an inquiry on the numerous questions surrounding President Kennedy’s assassination that were not satisfactorily dealt with by the Warren Commission. “It was never completed,” author Jerry Policoff observes, “nor would the New York Times ever again question the findings of the Warren Commission.” When the story was being developed the lead reporter at the Times‘ Houston bureau “said that he and others came up with ‘a lot of unanswered questions’ that the Times didn’t bother to pursue. ‘I’d be off on a good lead and then somebody’d call me off and send me out to California on another story or something. We never really detached anyone for this. We weren’t really serious.’” Jerry Policoff, “The Media and the Murder of John Kennedy,” in Peter Dale Scott, Paul L. Hoch and Russell Stetler, eds., The Assassinations: Dallas and Beyond, New York: Vintage, 1976, 265.
  28. When New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison embarked on an investigation of the JFK assassination in 1966 centering on Lee Harvey Oswald’s presence in New Orleans in the months leading up to November, 22, 1963, “he was cross-whipped with two hurricane blasts, one from Washington and one from New York,” historian James DiEugenio explains. The first, of course, was from the government, specifically the Central Intelligence Agency, the FBI, and to a lesser extent, the White House. The blast from New York was from the major mainstream media e.g. Time-Life and NBC. Those two communication giants were instrumental in making Garrison into a lightening rod for ridicule and criticism. This orchestrated campaign … was successful in diverting attention from what Garrison was uncovering by creating controversy about the DA himself.”  DiEugenio, Preface, in William Davy, Let Justice Be Done: New Light on the Jim Garrison Investigation, Reston VA: Jordan Publishing, 1999.
  29. The CIA and other US intelligence agencies used the news media to sabotage Garrison’s 1966-69 independent investigation of the Kennedy assassination. Garrison presided over the only law enforcement agency with subpoena power to seriously delve into the intricate details surrounding JFK’s murder. One of Garrison’s key witnesses, Gordon Novel, fled New Orleans to avoid testifying before the Grand Jury assembled by Garrison. According to DiEugenio, CIA Director Allen “Dulles and the Agency would begin to connect the fugitive from New Orleans with over a dozen CIA friendly journalists who—in a blatant attempt to destroy Garrison’s reputation—would proceed to write up the most outrageous stories imaginable about the DA.” James DiEugenio, Destiny Betrayed: JFK, Cuba, and The Garrison Case, Second Edition, New York: SkyHorse Publishing, 2012, 235.
  30. CIA officer Victor Marchetti recounted to author William Davy that in 1967 while attending staff meetings as an assistant to then-CIA Director Richard Helms, “Helms expressed great concerns over [former OSS officer, CIA operative and primary suspect in Jim Garrison’s investigation Clay] Shaw’s predicament, asking his staff, ‘Are we giving them all the help we can down there?’” William Davy, Let Justice Be Done: New Light on the Jim Garrison Investigation, Reston VA: Jordan Publishing, 1999.
  31. The pejorative dimensions of the term “conspiracy theory” were introduced into the Western lexicon by CIA “media assets,” as evidenced in the design laid out by Document 1035-960 Concerning Criticism of the Warren Report, an Agency communiqué issued in early 1967 to Agency bureaus throughout the world at a time when attorney Mark Lane’s Rush to Judgmentwas atop bestseller lists and New Orleans DA Garrison’s investigation of the Kennedy assassination began to gain traction.
  32. Time had close relations with the CIA stemming from the friendship of the magazine’s publisher Henry Luce and Eisenhower CIA chief Allen Dulles. When former newsman Richard Helms was appointed DCI in 1966 he “began to cultivate the press,” prompting journalists toward conclusions that placed the Agency in a positive light. As Time Washington correspondent Hugh Sidney recollects, “‘[w]ith [John] McCone and [Richard] Helms, we had a set-up when the magazine was doing something on the CIA, we went to them and put it before them … We were never misled.’ Similarly, when Newsweek decided in the fall of 1971 to do a cover story on Richard Helms and ‘The New Espionage,’ the magazine, according to a Newsweek staffer, went directly to the agency for much of the information. And the article … generally reflected the line that Helms was trying so hard to sell: that since the latter 1960s … the focus of attention and prestige within CIA’ had switched from the Clandestine Services to the analysis of intelligence, and that ‘the vast majority of recruits are bound for’ the Intelligence Directorate.” Victor Marchetti and John D. Marks, The CIA and the Cult of Intelligence, New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1974, 362-363.
  33. In 1970 Jim Garrison wrote and published the semi-autobiographical A Heritage of Stone, a work that examines how the New Orleans DA “discovered that the CIA operated within the borders of the United States, and how it took the CIA six months to reply to the Warren Commission’s question of whether Oswald and [Jack] Ruby had been with the Agency,” Garrison biographer and Temple University humanities professor Joan Mellen observes. “In response to A Heritage of Stone, the CIA rounded up its media assets” and the book was panned by reviewers writing for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Washington Post, the Chicago Sun Times, and Life magazine. “John Leonard’s New York Times review went through a metamorphosis,” Mellen explains. “The original last paragraph challenged the Warren Report: ‘Something stinks about this whole affair,’ Leonard wrote. ‘Why were Kennedy’s neck organs not examined at Bethesda for evidence of a frontal shot? Why was his body whisked away to Washington before the legally required Texas inquest? Why?’ This paragraph evaporated in later editions of the Times. A third of a column gone, the review then ended: ‘Frankly I prefer to believe that the Warren Commission did a poor job, rather than a dishonest one. I like to think that Garrison invents monsters to explain incompetence.’” Joan Mellen, A Farewell to Justice: Jim Garrison, JFK’s Assassination, and the Case That Should Have Changed History, Washington DC: Potomac Books, 2005, 323, 324.
  34. CIA Deputy Director for Plans Cord Meyer Jr. appealed to Harper & Row president emeritus Cass Canfield Sr. over the book publisher’s pending release of Alfred McCoy’s The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, based on the author’s fieldwork and Yale PhD dissertation wherein he examined the CIA’s explicit role in the opium trade. “Claiming my book was a threat to national security,” McCoy recalls, “the CIA official had asked Harper & Row to suppress it. To his credit, Mr. Canfield had refused. But he had agreed to review the manuscript prior to publication.” Alfred W. McCoy, The Politics of Heroin: CIA Complicity in the Global Drug Trade, Chicago Review Press, 2003, xx.
  35. Publication of The Secret Team, a book by US Air Force Colonel and Pentagon-CIA liaison L. Fletcher Prouty recounting the author’s firsthand knowledge of CIA black operations and espionage, was met with a wide scale censorship campaign in 1972. “The campaign to kill the book was nationwide and world-wide,” Prouty notes. “It was removed from the Library of Congress and from college libraries as letters I received attested all too frequently … I was a writer whose book had been cancelled by a major publisher [Prentice Hall] and a major paperback publisher [Ballantine Books] under the persuasive hand of the CIA.” L. Fletcher Prouty, The Secret Team: The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the United States and the World, New York: SkyHorse Publishing, 2008, xii, xv.
  36. During the Pike Committee hearings in 1975 Congressman Otis Pike asked DCI William Colby, “Do you have any people paid by the CIA who are working for television networks?” Colby responded, “This, I think, gets into the kind of details, Mr. Chairman, that I’d like to get into in executive session.” Once the chamber was cleared Colby admitted that in 1975 specifically “the CIA was using ‘media cover’ for eleven agents, many fewer than in the heyday of the cloak-and-pencil operations, but no amount of questioning would persuade him to talk about the publishers and network chieftains who had cooperated at the top.” Schorr, Clearing the Air, 275.
  37. “There is quite an incredible spread of relationships,” former CIA intelligence officer William Bader informed a US Senate Intelligence Committee investigating the CIA’s infiltration of the nation’s journalistic outlets. “You don’t need to manipulate Time magazine, for example, because there are Agency people at the management level.” Bernstein, “The CIA and the Media.”
  38. In 1985 film historian and professor Joseph McBride came across a November 29, 1963 memorandum from J. Edgar Hoover, titled, “Assassination of President John F. Kennedy,” wherein the FBI director stated that his agency provided two individuals with briefings, one of whom was “Mr. George Bush of the Central Intelligence Agency.” ” When McBride queried the CIA with the memo a “PR man was tersely formal and opaque: ‘I can neither confirm nor deny.’ It was the standard response the agency gave when it dealt with its sources and methods,” journalist Russ Baker notes. When McBride published a story in The Nation, “The Man Who Wasn’t There, ‘George Bush,’ C.I.A. Operative,” the CIA came forward with a statement that the George Bush referenced in the FBI record “apparently” referenced a George William Bush, who filled a perfunctory night shift position at CIA headquarters that “would have been the appropriate place to receive such a report.” McBride tracked down George William Bush to confirm he was only employed briefly as a “probationary civil servant” who had “never received interagency briefings.” Shortly thereafter The Nation ran a second story by McBride wherein “the author provided evidence that the Central Intelligence Agency had foisted a lie on the American people … As with McBride’s previous story, this disclosure was greeted with the equivalent of a collective media yawn.” Since the episode researchers have found documents linking George H. W. Bush to the CIA as early as 1953. Russ Baker, Family of Secrets: The Bush Dynasty, America’s Invisible Government, and the Hidden History of the Last Fifty Years, New York: Bloomsbury Press, 2009, 7-12.
  39. Operation Gladio, the well-documented collaboration between Western spy agencies, including the CIA, and NATO involving coordinated terrorist shootings and bombings of civilian targets throughout Europe from the late 1960s through the 1980s, has been effectively expunged from major mainstream news outlets. A LexisNexis Academic search conducted in 2012 for “Operation Gladio” retrieved 31 articles in English language news media—most appearing in British newspapers. Only four articles discussing Gladio ever appeared in US publications—three in the New York Times and one brief mention in the Tampa Bay Times. With the exception of a 2009 BBC documentary, no network or cable news broadcast has ever referenced the state-sponsored terror operation. Almost all of the articles referencing Gladio appeared in 1990 when Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti publicly admitted Italy’s participation in the process. The New York Timesdownplayed any US involvement, misleadingly designating Gladio “an Italian creation” in a story buried on page A16. In reality, former CIA director William Colby revealed in his memoirs that covert paramilitaries were a significant agency undertaking set up after World War II, including “the smallest possible coterie of the most reliable people, in Washington [and] NATO.” James F. Tracy, “False Flag Terror and Conspiracies of Silence,” Global Research, August 10, 2012.
  40. Days before the April 19, 1995 bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City DCI William Colby confided to his friend, Nebraska State Senator John DeCamp his personal concerns over the Militia and Patriot movement within the United States, then surging in popularity due to the use of the alternative media of that era–books, periodicals, cassette tapes, and radio broadcasts. “I watched as the Anti-War movement rendered it impossible for this country to conduct or win the Vietnam War,” Colby remarked. “I tell you, dear friend, that the Militia and Patriot movement in which, as an attorney, you have become one of the centerpieces, is far more significant and far more dangerous for American than the Anti-War movement ever was, if it is not intelligently dealt with. And I really mean this.” David Hoffman, The Oklahoma City Bombing and the Politics of Terror, Venice CA: Feral House, 1998, 367.
  41. Shortly after the appearance of journalist Gary Webb’s “Dark Alliance” series in the San Jose Mercury News chronicling the Agency’s involvement in drug trafficking, the CIA’s public affairs division embarked on a campaign to counter what it termed “a genuine public relations crisis for the Agency.” Webb was merely reporting to a large audience what had already been well documented by scholars such as Alfred McCoy and Peter Dale Scott, and the 1989 Kerry Committee Report on Iran-Contra—that the CIA had long been involved in the illegal transnational drug trade. Such findings were upheld in 1999 in a study by the CIA inspector general. Nevertheless, beginning shortly after Webb’s series ran, “CIA media spokesmen would remind reporters seeking comment that this series represented no real news,” a CIA internal organ noted, “in that similar charges were made in the 1980s and were investigated by the Congress and were found to be without substance. Reporters were encouraged to read the “Dark Alliance’ series closely and with a critical eye to what allegations could actually be backed with evidence.” http://www.foia.cia.gov/sites/default/files/DOC_0001372115.pdf
  42. On December 10, 2004 investigative journalist Gary Webb died of two .38 caliber gunshot wounds to the head. The coroner ruled the death a suicide. “Gary Webb was MURDERED,” concluded FBI senior special agent Ted Gunderson in 2005. “He (Webb) resisted the first shot [to the head that exited via jaw] so he was shot again with the second shot going into the head [brain].” Gunderson regards the theory that Webb could have managed to shoot himself twice as “impossible!” Charlene Fassa, “Gary Webb: More Pieces in the Suicided Puzzle,” Rense.com, December 11, 2005.
  43. The most revered journalists who receive “exclusive” information and access to the corridors of power are typically the most subservient to officialdom and often have intelligence ties. Those granted such access understand that they must likewise uphold government-sanctioned narratives. For example, the New York Times’ Tom Wicker reported on November 22, 1963 that President John F. Kennedy “was hit by a bullet in the throat, just below the Adam’s apple.” Yet his account went to press before the official story of a single assassin shooting from the rear became established. Wicker was chastised through “lost access, complaints to editors and publishers, social penalties, leaks to competitors, a variety of responses no one wants.” Barrie Zwicker, Towers of Deception: The Media Coverup of 9/11, Gabrioloa Island, BC: New Society Publishers, 2006, 169-170.
  44. The CIA actively promotes a desirable public image of its history and function by advising the production of Hollywood vehicles, such as Argo and Zero Dark Thirty. The Agency retains “entertainment industry liaison officers” on its staff that “plant positive images about itself (in other words, propaganda) through our most popular forms of entertainment,” Tom Hayden explains in the LA Review of Books. “So natural has the CIA–entertainment connection become that few question its legal or moral ramifications. This is a government agency like no other; the truth of its operations is not subject to public examination. When the CIA’s hidden persuaders influence a Hollywood movie, it is using a popular medium to spin as favorable an image of itself as possible, or at least, prevent an unfavorable one from taking hold.” Tom Hayden, “Review of The CIA in Hollywood: How the Agency Shapes Film and Television by Tricia Jenkins,” LA Review of Books, February 24, 2013,
  45. Former CIA case officer Robert David Steele states that CIA manipulation of news media is “worse” in the 2010s than in the late 1970s when Bernstein wrote “The CIA and the Media.” “The sad thing is that the CIA is very able to manipulate [the media] and it has financial arrangements with media, with Congress, with all others. But the other half of that coin is that the media is lazy.” James Tracy interview with Robert David Steele, August 2, 2014,
  46. A well-known fact is that broadcast journalist Anderson Cooper interned for the CIA while attending Yale as an undergraduate in the late 1980s. According to Wikipedia Cooper’s great uncle, William Henry Vanderbilt III, was an Executive Officer of the Special Operations Branch of the OSS under the spy organization’s founder William “Wild Bill” Donovan. While Wikipedia is an often dubious source, Vanderbilt’s OSS involvement would be in keeping with the OSS/CIA reputation of taking on highly affluent personnel for overseas derring-do. William Henry Vanderbilt IIIWikipedia.
  47. Veteran German journalist Udo Ulfkotte, author of the 2014 book Gekaufte Journalisten (Bought Journalists) revealed how under the threat of job termination he was routinely compelled to publish articles written by intelligence agents using his byline. “I ended up publishing articles under my own name written by agents of the CIA and other intelligence services, especially the German secret service,” Ulfkotte explained in a recent interview with Russia Today. “German Journo: European Media Writing Pro-US Stories Under CIA Pressure,” RT, October 18, 2014.
  48. In 1999 the CIA established In-Q-Tel, a venture capital firm seeking to “identify and invest in companies developing cutting-edge information technologies that serve United States national security interests.” The firm has exercised financial relationships with internet platforms Americans use on a routine basis, including Google and Facebook. “If you want to keep up with Silicon Valley, you need to become part of Silicon Valley,” says Jim Rickards, an adviser to the U.S. intelligence community familiar with In-Q-Tel’s activities. “The best way to do that is have a budget because when you have a checkbook, everyone comes to you.” At one point IQT “catered largely to the needs of the CIA.” Today, however, “the firm supports many of the 17 agencies within the U.S. intelligence community, including the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA), the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and the Department of Homeland Security Science and Technology Directorate.” Matt Egan, “In-Q-Tel: A Glimpse Inside the CIA’s Venture Capital Arm,” FoxBusiness.com, June 14, 2013.
  49. At a 2012 conference held by In-Q-Tel CIA Director David Patraeus declared that the rapidly-developing “internet of things” and “smart home” will provide the CIA with the ability to spy on any US citizen should they become a “person of interest’ to the spy community,” Wired magazine reports. “‘Transformational’ is an overused word, but I do believe it properly applies to these technologies,’ Patraeus enthused, ‘particularly to their effect on clandestine tradecraft’ … ‘Items of interest will be located, identified, monitored, and remotely controlled through technologies such as radio-frequency identification, sensor networks, tiny embedded servers, and energy harvesters — all connected to the next-generation internet using abundant, low-cost, and high-power computing,” Patraeus said, “the latter now going to cloud computing, in many areas greater and greater supercomputing, and, ultimately, heading to quantum computing.” Spencer Ackerman, “CIA Chief: We’ll Spy on You Through Your Dishwasher,” Wired, March 15, 2012.
  50. In the summer of 2014 a $600 million computing cloud developed by Amazon Web Services for the CIA began servicing all 17 federal agencies comprising the intelligence community. “If the technology plays out as officials envision,” The Atlantic reports, “it will usher in a new era of cooperation and coordination, allowing agencies to share information and services much more easily and avoid the kind of intelligence gaps that preceded the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.” “The Details About the CIA’s Deal With Amazon,” The Atlantic, July 17, 2014.

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The Dumbing Down of America – By Design

NOVANEWS

The last thing the elite wants is an informed, empowered public mobilizing any grassroots movement to oppose government tyranny.

First published by GR in August 2014

This presentation focuses on the myriad ways in which the powers-that-be in the United States have been systematically dumbing down Americans as a society for a very long time – all by meticulously calculated design. Originally the term dumbing down was used as a slang expression in 1933 by film screenwriters to mean “revising [the script] so as to appeal to those of lower education or intelligence.”
 
The most obvious example of how Americans have been dumbed down is through this nation’s failed public education system. At one time not that long ago America reigned supreme as a leading model for the rest of the world providing the best quality free public K-12 education system on the planet. But over the last many decades while much of the rest of the world has been passing us by, it seems an insidious federal agenda has been implemented to condition and brainwash a population of mindless, robotic citizenry that simply does what it’s told, and of course the brainwashing commences early in America’s schools. 
 
But prior to delving into the many ways we’ve been duped and dumbed down through the years, a cold hard look at the devastating result seems very much in order here. With doom and gloom warnings of impending collapse, the US economy is floundering still mired in recession, emaciated and cut off from life support, as a consequence of waging too many wars around the world (be they the longest running costly defeats in US history or the fast rising dirty little Special Ops wars secretly raging on every corner of the globe or Obama’s personal favorite, state sponsored terrorism from drone-filled skies). As a pawn to the military industrial complex, the US government has chosen permanent war over its own people. This treasonous decision has decimated the middle class and created a college educated indentured class struggling in heavy debt to find any means to stay afloat. With an outsourced, now vanished manufacturing base, upward mobility and the American dream have become tragic casualties of modern life, now a sad, nostalgic bygone reminder of the once greatness of America. 
 
With the US the biggest debtor nation on earth, Americans are drowning in debt as hopelessly trapped collateral damage from a rapidly sinking, overextended Empire desperate to remain the sole global superpower even if it means death to the whole human race. At home the hapless American population has become increasingly the victim of its own government’s tyranny and oppression under the constant roving eyeball of criminal surveillance and a brutal militarized security state, leaving its citizens defenseless without any security, liberty, freedom or place to hide. After centuries of carefully orchestrated design, oligarchs of the banking cabal have finally gotten what they’ve been plotting and scheming, globally enforced austerity and impoverishment reducing life in America and around the world to near Third World status, and absolute control. The oligarchs are counting on a dumbed down population too busy addicted to their video games or watching sports or Kim Kardashian’s latest wardrobe malfunction to even notice that a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway.
 
But this dismal outcome has long been in the making on many fronts. Over numerous decades a grand experiment engaging in social engineering with America’s youth has been steadily working to homogenize a lowest common denominator product of sub par mediocrity, creating generations of young Americans who can neither read nor write, nor think for themselves in any critical manner. According to a study last year by the US Department of Education, 19% of US high school graduates cannot read, 21% of adults read below 5th grade level and that these alarming rates have not changed in the last ten years. 
 
The international test results from the 2012 PISA indicate American students are lagging behind virtually all developed nations even more than in the past. China topped all 65 nations while US teenagers again scored at or below average in math, reading and science. That is because the current educational system is no longer about learning the basic A-B-C’s but simply cranking out a subclass of work force laborers. This tragic fall from grace of America’s once great educational system has education researcher Cynthia Weatherly referring to America’s current education system as “limited learning for lifelong labor.” 
 
But this planned system of a New World Order (NOW) featuring a planned global economy and a planned global education system has been promoted for well over a century. The Carnegie Foundation outlined its explicit roadmap for absolute oligarch control way back in the 1930’s. Department of Education whistleblower Charlotte Iserbyt exposes the conspired downfall of America’s educational system in her well documented chronicle The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America.
 
It turns out that America’s “father of modern education” John Dewey, an unabashed admirer of Stalin and his educational system, proclaimed his NWO agenda in 1947:

“… establishment of a genuine world order, an order in which national sovereignty is subordinate to world authority…”

As the first elected UNESCO Director-General British ProfessorJulian Huxley (brother of Brave New World’s Aldous), in 1949 had the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization pumping out pamphlets expounding the importance that children be educated devoid of any national allegiance, patriotism or family loyalties identified as the biggest barriers to their demonic ambitions:
 
      “As long as the child breathes the poisoned air of nationalism, education in world-mindedness can only produce precarious results.” 
 
Based on my personal experience working with America’s broken child welfare system, several weeks ago I wrotean article on the current child welfare system’s assault on the modern American family. That assault is but part of a wider, across-the-boards assault by the entire US government. The federalist fascists in Washington have been busily mounting an assault on the American family through the state run public education system as well. Like the separation of church and state, the Constitution explicitly calls for specific delineation between the federal government to stay out of the business of education, traditionally leaving it within the sovereignty of the states and local communities to govern. However, just as the US Constitution has been under assault, Washington is now unlawfully dictating mandates to the 1600 US school districts that they must comply with in order to avoid the cutoff of federal dollars. Thus, local school districts throughout this nation are presently under a subversive assault from the long arm of our authoritarian totalitarian government.

Second only to the Department of Defense in its annual budget, more US taxpayer dollars are funneled into the Department of Education than any other public sector. The discretionary budget for Education as of 2015 is $68.6 billion. And these days most of those dollars are being squandered to bankroll the privatization of an already failed educational system. Through privately run charter schools and federally mandated programs like Common Core, control has been snatched away from parents, teachers and elected local school boards. 
 
In the Orwellian double speak deception of “school choice,” public tax funded privatized programs like Common Core have been sold as answering the need for higher educational standards. Should a school district accept even $1 from the federal government, it automatically relinquishes control to the feds, thus providing no choice to the locals. With 43 out of the 50 states already signed up for Common Core, public education run by local communities and states is clearly under siege. The federal agenda is to abolish local run school boards, abandon the letter grade system of A through F’s and seize control over the curriculum. Concealed in the fine print is the not so thinly veiled Trojan Horse promoting that same New World Order that Dewey and Huxley were driving at nearly seven decades earlier. Like it or not, even the nation’s home schoolers, private schools and students in the seven states not adopting Common Core are being impacted as textbook companies have rushed to align their books according to the dogma of the Common Core standards.
 
The embedded Common Core doctrine handed down from Dewey’s Progressive Education is designed to program and prepare children’s impressionable minds toward accepting the notion of collectivism. The group mind is deemed far more important than the individual mind to the extent that a child’s value is only as good as the value the child can bring to the group. As an individual one carries little intrinsic value as a human life without the greater context as the worker bee sacrificing for the maintenance of the group.
 
The heavy focus of public education today is primarily limited to standardized test performance and the proliferation of privatized charter schools complete with private contractors teaching the tests, usurping the authority at all levels from state, to local communities, to individual teacher’s lesson plans, to home schooling parents, largely replaced by instructional software programs.

Little thought or consideration by today’s education top down policymakers is ever given to those students who happen to score low on all these tests. To make matters worse scores are being made public access now which will only traumatize those children and schools scoring far below average. Being branded as less than carries stigmatizing effects of shame and low self-esteem that can both hurt and haunt a person their entire life. Test scores determine placement and too often those scoring lower in the youngest grades again can easily be branded for the remainder of their public education years and beyond for life. Tests always possess limitations on what they mean and measure. Many super intelligent individuals experience test anxiety and perform poorly. Yet with so much riding on test scores today, and the damaging baggage that results from lower scores and lower placements, this current system appears to be doing far more harm than good. But then that is rarely if ever taken into account when the powerful few control the lives of so many. 
 
The New World Order educational system of the twenty-first century has been ushered in by the likes of former President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program as a transparent corporatized privatization takeover. Bush’s younger brother Neil after being banned from the banking industry after his savings and loan scandal in the late 1980’s has been making a killing with his educational software company Ignite that promises higher test scores. Behind the double speak deceit of No Child Left Behind, Washington began blackmailing school districts across America with the threat of cutting off federal funds should their test scores fail to make the cut. 
 
This governmental design for public education to move away from actual academic learning to becoming a mere pipeline for training a docile and obedient future workforce has only accelerated on steroids during the Obama regime. With Obama’s current Secretary of Education and former CEO of Chicago public schools Arne Duncan, and current Chicago Mayor’s Rahm Emmanuel as both Obama and Duncan’s strong-arm enforcer, the scenario being played out in the murderous mean streets of Chicago is igniting the growing national debate. 
 
The federal government busily ramrods its agenda pushing standardized tests and test performance as the packaged panacea in the form of Common Core standards and privatized charter schools under the guise of tax paid public education. Of course school privatization in many districts around this Christian nation also means Creationism is now being taught instead of evolution. Of course this systemic dumbing down of our educational system also permeates a parallel process in the dumbing down of textbooks sold to the schools. The omission of truth and inclusion of false disinformation and propaganda in school textbooks are just another form of indoctrinated mind control. This lopsided war between fascist run propaganda schools brainwashing a Brave New World youth and the local school boards, teachers and parents battling for their lives to maintain what little choice they still have left with their children is yet another pathetic cautionary tale of what the oligarch agenda is doing to destroy America today. 
 
When those who are endowed with optimal energy and often become restless and bored with the dullard tedium of their common denominator factory education, and especially if they freely exercise an individual mind or will of their own in the classroom, they are customarily misdiagnosed and branded with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and given drug lobotomies for control purposes so the school staff can manage the herd more easily, something is diabolically wrong with the system. When teachers are burdened with overcrowding in their classrooms with 30 or more students as is extremely common today, it is a setup for failure to provide an enriching learning environment and typically leads to the above scenario of a false ADHD-drug pushing classroom culture. Yet this is typically what happens to children and young people who are generally sharper in intellect and creativity, and are inadequately engaged, stimulated and challenged in the classroom.

Instead of encouraging the gifted by teaching to their strengths, too often they are responded to punitively by either overly frustrated and/or rigid, authoritarian adults bent on maintaining some semblance of control. As a longtime therapist of children and adolescents, I have repeatedly observed this over-reactivity by adults in our educational system often caused by the fatally flawed system more than the overloaded teacher entrusted to educate and develop the intellectual capacity of our young people. Instead they too frequently squelch, impede and destroy it. The one size fits all cookie cutter system stifles learning, cognitive and intellectual development and creativity, rewarding those who acquiesce and simply do what they are told as good little boys and girls on their way to being good little employees and citizens who are so easily manipulated, controlled and subdued. They become the lifeless, walking dead who merely go through the daily motions on autopilot, too beaten down, numb and/or fearful.
 
A substantive quality education should teach the curious developing mind to be critical and discriminating, willing to ask questions, challenging the status quo of preconceived suppositions and accepted dogma. But then when we have a leader like President Obama telling the graduating seniors last year at Ohio State University to “reject” what they may hear about their government’s tyranny, in effect dictating how they as college educated adults should think, especially when it’s a complete and utter lie, again another disturbing warning sign that there is something extremely wrong with both the educational as well as political system. And again, more overwhelming evidence of the systematic and relentless dumbing down of America. 
 
With an educational system that purposely misinforms and indoctrinates young people to respond as Skinnerian rats to a positive reinforcement schedule of operant conditioning, children as future adults are being shaped and programmed to become little robots easily controlled by their oligarch masters. 
 
It is worth mentioning that the world wide web offers people around the globe much needed access to important information and knowledge. Though there is much on the internet that also is of little value regarding enrichment of website users’ minds and lives, with some effort and discriminative appraisal, people can increase their awareness and understanding by leaps and bounds if tapping the best that the internet can provide. Yet as much as it can be a valuable disseminator of truth and knowledge, the internet can also potentially empower individuals and groups of individuals to greater heights of achievement for the collective good of all humanity with its instantaneous capacity to share and communicate vital, even life saving information. The old expression that “information is power” is true. 
 
Because of this fact that information is power, the last thing the elite wants is an informed, empowered public mobilizing any grassroots movement to oppose government tyranny. Thus, the net neutrality that Obama had promised in his campaign was met with yet more betrayal of the American people when he appointed high powered telecom exec Thomas Wheeler as head of the FCC. And in no time at all as the next predictable move, the internet is now in process of both censoring sites and charging internet consumers additional fees for individual site access.

With so many people struggling financially just to survive, pending changes to the internet would hamper and block access to whatever potential good the internet offers the public. However, in case of an emergency or crisis under martial law conditions, Obama has already stipulated that in the interest of national security, the buzzword deception used ever since 9/11 to justify all constitutional violations of civil liberties and privacy rights, access to theinternet will be cut off. This obviously would instantly sabotage and likely reverse any progress that people, groups and a potential worldwide movement might make through the vital connection network that computers provide. And with the US government planning and preparing long in advance of such an emergency, it will deploy all security apparatus and resources using police and armed forces to quell any political, social and economic unrest or revolt against the government. This power to deny internet access is also the ultimate strategy to ensure that the American public stays deaf and dumbed and powerless.
 
Another primary means of dumbing down America is through mass media. If the public is busily preoccupied with the superficial garbage spoon-fed to the masses every single day via television, movies, music, internet, video games that all act just as effective as the most potent drug dulling the senses and the brain, again an enormous control over the population is achieved and maintained. With so much entertainment as the modern day opiate to the masses to divert people’s attention, these weapons of mass distraction easily render people oblivious to see what is really happening in the world. Compound that with the lowest common denominator appealing to the most prurient interests such as pornography, crass materialism (using mind control techniques to manipulate consumers into spending money on false promises of sex, status and happiness), entertainment that dually serves as propaganda along with the mesmerizing effects captivated by sports that also draw enormous amounts of money, and the oligarchs have us right where they want us – numbed and dumbed.
 
Even the flicker rates of televisions, videos, computers and cinema by design are all programmed to contain hidden properties that physically resonate and alter the human brain’s alpha wave state to induce a hypnotic, mesmerizing, trancelike state of mind. This literally drugs and distorts the cognitive processes of the mass audience being subliminally fed input that modify and shape values, moral and ethical messages and multiple autosuggestions that carry powerful binding effects on people’s unconscious minds and future behavior. This too is another form of calculated brainwashing, mind control as well as behavior control that the media as vehicles of propaganda and disinformation constantly utilize. The constant 24/7 sensory bombardment that media puts on humans is one highly effective means of control over both culture and population. 
 
With the consolidation of mass media in recent years limited now to just a handful of transnational giant media corporations merging with national governments, a monopoly of thought, beliefs, perceptions of reality and core values are instilled into the masses and covertly maintained. Thus, entire populations of countries and regions of the earth are easily influenced and controlled by the elite through powerful mass media outlets. Add the outright lies spewing forth nonstop from the government and mainstream media as state sponsored propaganda and mind control and the oligarchs have absolute control over a deluded, impotent and hopelessly oblivious population. With the homogenizing effects of mass media these days possessing a global outreach that is unprecedented in recorded human history and people on this planet fast become programmed sheeple and unthinking automatons under complete power and control of the oligarchs.

Along with war criminal Henry Kissinger, perhaps the most emboldened globalist associated with a prominent role in a US president’s innermost circle is Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. For years he has regularly come out with very matter-of-fact yet incredibly astute and even prophetic observations about the oligarch agenda. Way back in 1970 in his book Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technotronic Era, Brzezinski envisioned:

“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.”

Welcome to the twenty-first century. Brzezinski goes on to conclude that the American people will become brainwashed in giving up control of their lives to the elite that they will reach a point when they are so dumbed down and confused, they are unable to even think individually for themselves. So they can only repeat that which is downloaded into them by the constant repetition of what is driven into their heads by the mainstream media outlets. In effect, people defer the task of cognitive assessment and analysis of what is most important and real to what is simply communicated and propagated to them by the media. 
 
Mentioned earlier in describing the addictive properties of the enticing media outlets, all drugs whether illicit or legal by their very nature dumb down people’s minds and impair their brain functioning. Yet both prescription and over-the-counter drugs are commonly addictive, always smothering symptoms be they physical, mental or emotional, acting as a quick escape or quick fix for whatever ails you. Currently an incredible near 70% of all Americans are taking at least one prescription drug. Between the multibillion dollar alcohol and tobacco industries and the multibillion dollar Big Pharma industry, these corporate entities wield colossal amounts of power in America, buying off politicians, spending billions on advertising, often times killing people whose addiction overpowers them. To a considerable extent, so called lesser drugs like caffeine and sugar also possess addictive features that also impair and endanger the mind and health if excessively consumed. 
 
And though alcohol consumption around the world does far more damage than any and all of the so called illegal substances combined, obviously all of them create a widespread culture and practice of extremely high rates of addiction in North America and globally that both dumb users down as well as destroy their health and lives. The fact that the oligarchs, banking cabal of the West and US government working hand in hand with the drug cartels virtually control the entire international drug smuggling market, making billions if not trillions of dollars off of drugging and dumbing the masses down to easily ensure that those incapacitated pose little threat to the power elite. Rampant drug addiction in US society becomes yet another very effective means of control over millions of humans who struggle daily with their very real demons. The number of deaths related to drug overdose has jumped 540% since 1980. And whatever collateral damage results from those who die as well as those who engage in criminal activity to support their habit, with both a privatized prison industrial complex and privatized medical system, again the only profiteers feeding off the misfortunes of the afflicted are that same power elite. It’s another win-win for them.
 
The same damage and dumbing down effects are only added on when considering the detrimental and often lethal effects that chemically processed foods, chemical and hormone injected meat products, genetically altered organisms (GMO’s) and pesticide-ridden foods that virtually the entire American population consumes on a daily basis. The masses are poisoning themselves to death with built up toxins in their bodies. Yet because they have little choice about what they eat due most often to an inability to afford purchasing higher priced organic food, of course exacerbated by Monsanto willfully, maliciously obstructing their access to information when profit is deemed far more valuable than human life. Thus far, despite Vermont’s passage of law as the first state requiring GMO labeling in 2016, Monsanto has had its way bribing the Food and Drug Administration and court system to maintain its impunity in its monumental damage to the health and well being of humans, a dying bee population and a multitude of life forms on the planet.
 
The same can be said for the known toxin fluoride that is added to America’s drinking water from the tap. One of the most researched side effects is diminished intelligence. The list goes on and on how the power elite continue to endanger and harm the public. Vaccines loaded with mercury and other known toxic metals cause major health problems that also kill people. Chemtrails of more toxic metals raining down everyday for decades on defenseless people from military planes cannot possibly have a positive impact on human health. Manmade as well as the earth’s electromagnetic waves can also have the capacity to alter the electromagnetic activityin the human brain which in turn can alter thoughts, emotions and behavior. For years “black ops” have been experimenting to fine tune and harness this phenomenon as a military weapon. Yet unsurprisingly the powers-that-be continue denying and lying to the public maintaining that no ill effects from any of these controversial sources pose any real danger. Yet many even among the dumbed down US population can discern and suspect that all these actions committed by the powerful do in fact cause harm. Due to the government’s ultra-secrecy, the extent of that harm is still largely unknown. 
 
The totality of destructive damage that transnational corporations have perpetrated against all forms of planetary life has destroyed the eco-systems of thousands upon thousands of animal and plant species. Of the five times that life on earth has become massively extinct in the past, we humans are rapidly causing the sixth great cycle of mass extinction and the first and fastest due to manmade effects in the form of rising global air and water temperatures and over-polluted water, air and soil. The dead zones across the planet are spreading faster rates of extinction amongst plant and animal life than at any prior time in the earth’s known history. Destruction of our living habitat and eco-system carries perhaps the most damning, ultimate dumbing down effect that the oligarchs have caused. But then they no doubt have laid out their own contingency plan utilizing a hidden technology that can save them when the lights go out on mother earth for the rest of us lowly expendables.

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The US’ National Defense Strategy’s Focus on Great Power Competition

NOVANEWS

Epitome of Neo-Realism

Featured image: Defense Secretary James N. Mattis announces the new National Defense Strategy at the Hopkins University, Jan. 19, 2018 (Source: author)

The US’ National Defense Strategy focuses on Great Power competition.

The unclassified summary of the recently released document outlines three prevailing strategic approaches that the Pentagon aims to follow in the coming years, which are to reinforce and expand its alliance system while optimizing military lethality and back-end departmental operations such as logistics and expenditures. The clichéd saying of building a “lean, mean, killing machine” is very apt in this context, but while that’s technically the mission of all militaries, the American one is reconceptualizing its purpose in line with the Neo-Realist paradigm of International Relations and sees its core objective as maintaining a balance of power that can indefinitely sustain its post-Cold War global model.

The US-led world order that America created and ultimately led after 1991 is weakening, and the decentralization trend of multipolarity is chipping away at the centralization status quo of unipolarity. American decision makers believe that their Russian and Chinese rivals who are leading this process have mastered the liberal “rules of the game” and are now adept enough at using international institutions and multilateral trade arrangements to their advantage, thus necessitating the US to reprioritize the Neo-Realist paradigm of power and national interests in response. Washington has always been engaged in Machiavellian machinations of divide and rule, but this time it understands that its chances of success are slim if it’s forced to go head-to-head against the Russian-Chinese Strategic Partnership without any support.

The Libyan War-era policy of “Lead From Behind” has returned to relevancy in response because the US is compelled under these circumstances to rely more on its regional partners who have – or are led to believe that they have – a shared stake in the outcome of the New Cold War. Concurrent with this, however, the Trump Administration seeks to prioritize across-the-board burden-sharing, especially in the operational and financial realms, equalizing the US’ relationship with its allies and forcing them to fairly contribute in all ways if they expect to reap any “rewards” from future joint ventures. In exchange for deepening their full-spectrum military integration with the US, America’s partners can enjoy the economic fruits of the Washington Consensus, though provided that they’re able to successfully preserve it in the face of the Chinese-led Silk World Order and don’t come to believe that Beijing could offer them a better deal.

The transition from unipolarity to multipolarity is clearly being preceded by a period of global chaos made all the more acute by Trump’s “Kraken”-like propensity to shake up the state of international affairs with the intent of creating more strategic opportunities for the US at the expense of its system-challenging Russian and Chinese rivals. Seeing as how the Neo-Realist model is now driving America’s military strategy, it naturally follows that its attendant focus on geopolitics will also be observed by the US as well, thereby explaining why the phrase “Indo-Pacific” is repeated almost a dozen times in the 14-page summarized document. The US obviously wants to use India and a constellation of other allies in this transoceanic space to “contain China” following the same model that it’s been practicing for decades against Russia with NATO, and the end result will likely be that the Pentagon’s “lean, mean, killing machine” engages in more “Lead From Behind” Hybrid Wars against both of their regional interests in the coming years.

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Will China’s Belt and Road (BRI) Trigger an East-West Rupture Within the EU?

NOVANEWS

On 27 November Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, already at odds with the unelected bureaucrats of the European Union over his insistence on the right to decide whether Brussels or national elected governments shall be allowed to become citizens in Europe’s ongoing refugee crisis, waved another red flag, this potentially a future game-changer for the EU as it exists today. Orban hosted the 6th annual meeting of the China- Central and Eastern European Countries (CEEC) “16+1” summit in Budapest with China’s Prime Minister Li Keqiang. The event got barely a mention in western mainstream media despite the fact that it may have set the seeds for a divide within the EU within the coming months between a French-German-dominated federal EU run by Brussels and a more free, nation-based EU on the model of Hungary, Austria, Poland, the Czech republic and other east members of the EU.

In his opening keynote speech, Hungary’s Viktor Orban noted that Europe’s most competitive investment environment has come into being in Central and Eastern Europe. Noting that not too long ago Asia depended on the west for investment in modernization, that today, “the star of the East is now in the ascendant”, and we live in an era marked by the rise of Asia – and within it China. “We are at the beginning of a period in which the further development of Europe will be dependent on the technological and financial involvement of the East.”

Orban stressed the summit was not against the EU. He stressed that the “16+1” format not only serves the best interests of China and the sixteen Central and Eastern European countries, but also the whole of Europe and the European Union. He then announced Hungary would begin public procurement tender for upgrading the Budapest–Belgrade railway line – including funding from China.The cost of the project is 2.4billion Euros, with 85% to be provided by Export-Import Bank of China. The project is the first European project involving an EU member, Hungary, a non-EU member Serbia and China. It will create a major modern freight route to Western Europe through Central Europe. Strangely enough this is not being greeted with joy in Brussels, rather the opposite.

The China-CEEC or 16+1 annual summit was launched in 2012 before formal inauguration of the Belt, Road Initiative by China in late 2013. Until this year it had little to present in terms of results. It served as a vehicle for China and the countries of Central and East Europe, the newest EU member states as well as applicant non-members to exchange information but little concrete. The BRI developments over the past year are beginning to radically change that.

Prime Minister Li Keqiang and Prime Minister Viktor Orban

In his speech to the summit Prime Minister Li Keqiang proposed more rail lines be launched by China Railway Express and more direct flights between China and Europe. He declared that China would like to set up a logistic center in the CEE region, likely in Hungary, a main China investment focus to date. He also announced the establishment of China-CEEC Inter-Bank Association and the second phase of China-CEEC Investment Cooperation Fund. The China Development Bank will provide funds equivalent to 2 billion euros ($2.4 billion) through development-oriented loans to the China-CEEC Inter-Bank Association, which was officially established at the summit, Li said. And he announced that the second phase of the China-Central and Eastern Europe Investment Cooperation Fund, totaling $1 billion, will be mainly spent in the 16 European countries. Li noted the strong growth of agriculture imports from the region to China, rising by 14% this year. Then he called for a feasibility study on extending to Austria a railway line linking the Greek port of Piraeus with Budapest.

Since 2012 China investment in the 16 countries rose by 300% from $3 billion to over 9 billion US dollars.

One-on-one economic diplomacy

The focus on the countries of Eastern and Central Europe by Beijing is a result of the ice-cold response to date of the EU in Brussels and especially by the German and French governments. For them China’s Belt, Road Initiative, sometimes called the New Silk Road, is a threat to their domination of the EU. The recent railroad by the decision of the German Agriculture Minister, to grant a new 5-year approval for the toxic glyphosate against the wishes of the majority of EU states is but an example of the heavy-handed Brussels methods, becoming more rigid as the resistance against heavy-handed Brussels refugee policies and countless other issues grows.

The 16 countries in the China-CEC group after the latest meeting all have formally signed on to participate in the China BRI on a one-be-one basis. The countries include Poland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia and Slovenia, Albania and Bulgaria.

Greece, not formally a member of the 16+1 is already a major infrastructure focus of Chinese state investment in the EU. While Brussels and especially Germany offer Greece only more savage austerity demands since the Greek crisis in 2010, China offers investment. China has invested more than $500 million in the privatized Greek Port of Piraeus using the state shipping group, COSCO, turning it into the busiest Mediterranean port today. China has been operator of the Piraeus Port since 2008 and this April bought 67% ownership for $8 billion to the Greek government including the $500 million for modernization. The China Piraeus Port will serve as the gateway for Chinese seaborne freight into the EU, China’s largest trade partner. Now with the agreement by Hungary to complete the Belgrade-Budapest rail linkthe trade flows could become major for both China and EU countries of the CEE.

Greece took part in the founding meeting in May, 2017 of the Belt, Road Initiative and signed major economic agreements with Beijing.

EU Begins Counter-offensive

Rather that greet the Chinese investment in the ailing economies of Eastern and Central Europe, the Brussels EU Commission, dominated by Germany, is preparing to pass strict new investment rules. In September EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, one who owes his job to Germany’s Angela Merkel, announced a proposal for a new EU rule to centrally control foreign investments into EU member states, another attempt to rob what little remains of member national sovereignty over their national economic development. The Juncker proposal, titled “Investment Screening”, if passed by member states, would require special scrutiny and approval from Brussels when a foreign state-owned enterprise wants to invest in EU ports, energy infrastructure or defense industries. Germany, France and Italy immediately praised the Juncker proposal. Here we see the fault lines that will only become more obvious as EU economic strains grow in coming months.

Austria could play a determining role in such a shift. In October the conservative Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) won a victory making Sebastian Kurz prospective Chancellor in a coalition with the euro-skeptic anti-refugee Freedom Party (FPÖ). Hungary’s Orban has welcomed Kurzas a “close ally.” For the Austrian economy, to orient towards the neighboring countries of Eastern Europe, especially Hungary now that the two are closer on resisting forced refugee policies and other heavy-handed moves of Brussels, could initiate a major tectonic shift in the political weight inside the EU.

For Austria the cooperation with China’s Belt, Road Initiative makes huge sense.  For Austria, engagement with China and the BRI is clear given the country’s strong economic relations with Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. The countries of CEEC have major infrastructure deficits and Austrian industry could play a constructive partner role to the Chinese investment, what the Chinese like to call win-win. Clearly the present direction of the German-French-domination of the EU cannot continue as it has. The fault lines are too great.

The Danish Saxo Bank head of macro-analysis, Christopher Dembikin a recent assessment of these growing fault lines predicts “The divide between old core EU members and the more sceptical and newer members of the bloc will widen to an impassable chasm in 2018 and will shift the center of gravity from the Franco-German axis to Visegrad-and-friends (Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland and Slovakia-w.e.).”

Dembik suggests that the French Macron “EU reform” plans to integrate further and create a joint treasury and a common defense budget, more top-down rule, will push the countries of the CEEC, and likely Austria and also Italy to create a new blocking minority coalition of 13 EU countries to form a blocking minority at the European Council within the EU states that will push the EU to abandon the disruptive German refugee policies and austerity in favor of economic stimulus. That indeed would be a refreshing change for millions of Europeans. An outrageous prediction?Perhaps not so unlikely at present.

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Tillerson’s Promise of More War in Syria Gets Warm Reception from Corporate Media

NOVANEWS
 

In a speech at Stanford this month, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson declared that America intends to keep military troops in Syria indefinitely, in pursuit of the US’s “key end states for Syria,” including “post-Assad leadership,” the marginalization of Iran and the elimination of “weapons of mass destruction” that the US claims Syria has.

Occupying a country without the permission of the host government, as America is doing in Syria, contravenes international law. Nor does the US have a legal right to pursue regime change in Syria. Yet multiple media outlets have praised Tillerson’s remarks.

Newsweek (1/19/18) ran an article from the Atlantic Council’s Frederic Hof that called Tillerson’s speech “a major improvement in the American approach to the crisis in Syria.” The piece concluded that “what Mr. Tillerson has articulated is more than good enough as a starting point for a policy reflecting American values and upholding American interests.”

WaPo: Tillerson Tells the Truth About Syria

Washington Post (1/22/18): Tillerson will break with Obama’s Syria policies by maintaining the occupation of Syria started by Obama.

The Washington Post editorial board (1/22/18) also endorsed American violation of international law, writing that

Tillerson bluntly recognized a truth that both President Trump and President Barack Obama attempted to dodge: that “it is crucial to our national defense to maintain a military and diplomatic presence in Syria, to help bring an end to that conflict, and assist the Syrian people . . . to achieve a new political future.”

The same paper’s Jennifer Rubin (1/23/18) wrote:

Belatedly, Tillerson has recognized (as critics of both Trump and President Barack Obama have long argued) that we do have a national interest in Syria, cannot tolerate the indefinite presence of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and need to recognize that if we mean to check Iranian aggression, we will need to maintain a presence in Syria.

In Rubin’s conception, Iran’s presence in Syria—at the request of the recognized government—is “aggression,” whereas America’s is apparently legitimate.

The Atlantic (1/18/18) published a piece by Kori Schake, a self-identified supporter of “regime change [and] long-term military commitments.” Schake called Tillerson’s speech

both sensible and fanciful. It was sensible in that it gave a history of Syria’s grisly war, stated clearly America’s interest in continued involvement even as ISIS is defeated, and outlined policies consistent with those interests. It was fanciful in that the policies outlined would require a much greater measure of American involvement than has been in evidence by this administration—or were committed in yesterday’s speech—to succeed.

For Schake, the problem isn’t that the goal of America’s Syria policy is to illegally occupy a country and overthrow its government, while ratcheting up already dangerously high levels of hostility towards Iran and Russia. It’s that that the Trump administration isn’t doing enough to achieve this.

Meanwhile, accounts of Tillerson’s speech on CNN (1/18/18) and Buzzfeed (1/18/18) opt not to make any reference to the absence of a legal basis for what he describes. One of the few allusions of any kind to international law was a throwaway line in an AP report (1/24/18): “The Islamic State’s retreat also has forced the US to stretch thinner its legal rationale for operating in Syria.” What that rationale might consist of was not explained.

The Best Way to End War Is More War

Tillerson is proposing a prolongation and escalation of the war in Syria. The Syrian government will not passively allow itself to be removed by the US military, and neither will Syria’s allies from Russia, Iran and Hezbollah. So in practice, Tillerson’s policy means a wider, more dangerous conflict.

Yet the Newsweek piece (1/19/18) accepts that the plan is aimed at creating “conditions suitable for the return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes”—the opposite of what war produces.

Not only are media outlets failing to address the violence implicit in Tillerson’s policy, they are claiming the opposite and treating it as a plan for peace in Syria. These articles do not explain how a US-led regime change war will achieve that, instead of the years of war and slave markets such policies brought to Libya, or the half million to a million civilians killed in Iraq.

These publications take for granted that the US has a right to decide who governs Syria. For example, an Atlantic article by Paul McLeary (1/18/18) characterizes the US plan to maintain an occupying force in Syria and compel the ouster of its government as “nation-building,” though “nation-destroying” is probably more apt.

Atlantic: America Quietly Starts Nation-Building in Parts of Syria

For The Atlantic (1/18/18), attempting to divide a nation is called “nation building.”

The Washington Post (1/22/18), similarly, echoes Tillerson’s claim that if the US were to “abandon” Syria, it would be “repeat[ing] the mistake the United States made in Iraq,” when “a premature departure . . . allowed Al Qaeda in Iraq to survive and eventually morph into ISIS.” The Post missed the possibility that the US’s “mistake” in Iraq was invading in the first place, one consequence of which was the birth of both Al Qaeda in Iraq and ISIS.

The paper also claims:

Critics predictably charge that Mr. Trump is launching another “endless war” in Syria. In fact, the administration has simply recognized reality: The United States cannot prevent a resurgence of Al Qaeda and the Islamic State, prevent Iran from building bases across Syria, or end a civil war that has sent millions of refugees toward Europe without maintaining control over forces and territory inside the country.

The editors go on to write that the Trump administration “has rightly absorbed the lesson that [America’s] way out [of Syria] starts with a serious and sustainable US commitment.”

In other words, the best way for the US to get out of Syria is to stay in Syria, and the best way to end the war in Syria is more war in Syria.

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The War in America’s ‘Democratic’ Party over Whether to Go to War Against Russia

NOVANEWS

On January 23rd, Joe Biden virtually threw his hat into the 2020 U.S. Presidential contest, by producing for the neoconservative-neoliberal Council on Foreign Relations, a speech, and an accompanying article in their influential journal Foreign Affairs, titled, “How to Stand Up to the Kremlin: Defending Democracy Against Its Enemies”. He made clear that no one in American politics is going to stand to Biden’s right on international affairs and the military, when (or “if,” if one still doubts that) he will enter the 2020 U.S. Presidential contest formally. He’s already making the matter clear right now. He says in their journal:

“Given Russia’s aggression in Georgia and Ukraine, NATO must continue to forward-deploy troops and military capabilities to eastern Europe to deter and, if necessary, defeat a Russian attack against one of the alliance’s member states. But the threat of unconventional and nonmilitary coercion now looms larger than ever. More than a decade has passed since Estonia became the first NATO country to see its government institutions and media organizations attacked by hackers based in Russia. In the intervening period, the risk of a far more debilitating attack has increased, but planning for how to defend against it has lagged. One step NATO members can take would be to broaden the responsibility for such planning beyond their militaries and defense ministries. The EU and the private sector need to be part of such efforts, so that Russian strikes on infrastructure can be isolated and backup systems can be put in place.”

He writes and speaks as if Russia and its allies were surrounding NATO, instead of America and its allies surrounding Russia — as if the Soviet Union and its Warsaw Pact had continued beyond 1991, and America and its NATO alliance had broken up and ended in 1991. Of course, that’s the exact opposite of the reality.

Joe Biden

If Russia were massing its troops and weaponry on America’s borders, Americans would have good reason to hate Russians, but instead America and its allies are massing weapons and troops on Russia’s borders, and they not only aren’t apologizing for it, but they even have the gall to call Russia the aggressor. The U.S. would be terrified if Russia did to America what America is doing to Russia. Biden’s article says, “The United States and its allies must improve their ability to deter Russian military aggression.” What?

America’s not already military enough? (True, “Americans Support Military-Industrial Complex Above All Else”; and, “The military” is, itself, respected by Americans above any other institution — including, the government, the press, or any church, or anything else —but hasn’t this militarism on the part of the American people now gotten out of hand? Certainly, the world seems to think so.)

The U.S. spends at least a trillion dollars annually on ‘defense’; and, even if one strips out of that, like SIPRI does in their calculations (which are designed to low-ball America’s military expenditures), the Department of Homeland Security, and the Energy Department (whose spending is 65% for military — nuclear weapons etc.), and NASA, CIA, etc., it’s still — just for the ‘Defense’ Department — $611 billion according to SIPRI, and America’s allies add to that (and SIPRI doesn’t low-ball them), Saudi Arabia’s $64 billion, and France’s $56 billion, and UK’s $48 billion, and Japan’s $46 billion, and Germany’s $41 billion, and South Korea’s $37 billion, and (here going beyond the world’s ten largest) Italy’s $28B, Australia’s $24B, UAE’s $23B, Israel’s $18B, and Canada’s $15B — then the total would still be $1,011 billion, over a trillion dollars, using SIPRI’s numbers, and this would be competing up against China’s $216 billion, and Russia’s $69 billion (both of which also are not low-balled), or $285 billion total, versus the U.S. group’s $1,011 billion (using SIPRI’s low-balled $611B figure for the U.S.). So, the U.S. alone spends already around ten times what Russia alone spends on its military, and the real figure for the U.S. — especially if its allies are included — is far higher, but Joe Biden and the other salespeople for Lockheed Martin etc., say, “The United States and its allies must improve their ability to deter Russian military aggression.” 

That’s why, this year, U.S. federal spending is rising 8% for the military, and going down sharply for everything else (since destroying Russia takes precedence, as displayed in these figures), as follows:

TRUMP 2018 Budget:

-31% EPA

-29% State Dept. 

-21% Ag. Dept.

-21% Labor

-18% HHS

-16% Commerce

-14% Education

-13% HUD

-13% Transportation

-12% Interior

-6% Energy

-5% SBA

-4% Treasury

-4% Justice

-1% NASA

+6% Veterans Affairs

+7% Homeland Security

+9% Defense

TOTAL: $3.76T

Biden wants to top that? Apparently.

Biden describes Russia as “corrupt” 16 times, as using “aggression” 2 times, as “kleptocratic” 2 times, as “weak” 1 time, and as having the goal “to weaken and divide Western democracies internally” 1 time. He says, “Russia’s leaders have built a Potemkin democracy in which democratic form masks authoritarian content.” But he wants the public to believe that he’s no kleptocrat himself. Maybe he wants the public to believe that only his son is, who got a sweetheart Ukrainian board-membership as soon as Obama’s 2014 coup in Ukraine installed fascist Ukrainian leaders who promptly appointed, to be a powerful local governor, a certain billionaire who had hired Biden’s son Hunter Biden not only as a board member to his gas company but with shares that were thought to be potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars. 

Biden (the father) says that 

“After the Cold War, Western democracy became the model of choice for postcommunist countries in central and eastern Europe. Guided by the enlightened hands of NATO and the EU, many of those countries boldly embarked on the transition from dictatorship to democracy.” 

NATO and those other ‘enlightened hands’ also helped Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Ukraine, and so many other countries that they invaded (or else overthrew by coup), and now the EU is getting the spin-off ‘benefit’ of millions of refugees from American (and U.S.-financed, such as in Ukraine) bombing, who help to create lots of competition in the European labor-markets, especially in low-end jobs where the native workers who don’t have the connections that upper-class ones do and which connections enabled upper-class workers to obtain their upper-class jobs, will now have harder times than ever to find work, because these native workers will now be competing against all those newcomers, who don’t even speak the local language, much less have such local connections, and so will will be even more desperate (and thus accept even lower wages and worse working-conditions) than those struggling natives, whose conditions will become even worse than before. 

America drops the bombs (good, American-made bombs, of course, paid for with generous American taxpayers’ dollars — not with American kleptocrats’ profits), and Europe gets the far end of the human debris, with all these newcomers who arrive in Europe penniless because America (sometimes with help from other ‘democratic’ countries) has destroyed their homes, and killed so many of their relatives, and made these millions of people so desperate, that they’ll take any job they can get, after their social-services from European governments run out, which are paid for by European taxpayers, including those low-wage European natives, who are already suffering. 

Of course, Hunter Biden knows the benefits that well-connected people such as he have, and so maybe he’ll be able to be commissioned to advise European governments on how to teach those ‘skills’, to the millions of destitute immigrants that Europe now has. 

Even the neoconservative-neoliberal The Atlantic magazine expressed concern about Hunter’s new-found board seat, when it noted, on 7 June 2014, that,

“Beltway ethicists seem to be mixed about whether this arrangement is kosher or not. What is clear is that relatives of high-level American political figures have benefited from their ties for generations now. It’s practically a tradition at this point.” 

But wasn’t it supposed to be only Russia that’s a ‘kleptocracy’? Should one kleptocracy criticize another (if that’s what Russia is — but I’m an American, and I know that this country is)? 

Joe Biden’s Foreign Affairs article says, 

“By attacking the West, the Kremlin shifts attention away from corruption and economic malaise at home, activates nationalist passions to stifle internal dissent, and keeps Western democracies on the defensive and preoccupied with internal divisions.” 

He asserts that

 “To safeguard its kleptocratic system, the Kremlin has decided to take the fight beyond Russia’s borders to attack what it perceives as the greatest external threat to its survival: Western democracy.”

Biden is militant about protecting such ‘Western democracy.’ He writes:

“To fight back, the United States must lead its democratic allies and partners in increasing their resilience, expanding their capabilities to defend against Russian subversion, and rooting out the Kremlin’s networks of malign influence. The United States has the capacity to counter this assault and emerge stronger, provided that Washington demonstrates the political will to confront the threat. However, since the Trump administration has shown that it does not take the Russian threat seriously, the responsibility for protecting Western democracy will rest more than ever on Congress, the private sector, civil society, and ordinary Americans.”

He continues:

“In contrast to the Soviet Union, however, contemporary Russia offers no clear ideological alternative to Western democracy. Russia’s leaders invoke nationalist, populist, and statist slogans or themes, but the Kremlin’s propaganda machine shies away from directly challenging the core precepts of Western democracy: competitive elections, accountability for those in power, constitutionally guaranteed rights, and the rule of law. Instead, the Kremlin carefully cultivates a democratic façade, paying lip service to those principles even as it subverts them.”

When the Obama Administration brought their ‘Western democracy: competitive elections, accountability for those in power, constitutionally guaranteed rights, and the rule of law’ to Ukraine, which already had a democratically elected President whom Obama then ousted and whom Obama had actually been preparing ever since 2011 to overthrow, all that Ukrainians got, from America’s coup, was soaring misery, and also a civil war in which the far-eastern region (Donbass), which had voted over 90% for the ousted President and refused to accept the U.S.-installed junta, were subjected to a bombing campaign by the U.S.-installed Government in order to eliminate those voters from the rolls so as to be able to stay in power beyond the first post-coup election. 

Joe Biden is a great champion of American ‘democracy’, and he wants to help the entire world, like he and his boss had helped Ukraine.  

In his article’s close, he says:

“What if these recommendations are ignored? The White House seems unlikely to act. Too many times, President Donald Trump has equivocated on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election, even after he received briefings from top intelligence officials on precisely how Moscow did it. After meeting privately with Putin at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vietnam last November, Trump told reporters that Putin “said he absolutely did not meddle in our election. He did not do what they are saying he did.” Pressed about whether he accepted Putin’s denials, Trump replied: “Every time he sees me, he says, ‘I didn’t do that,’ and I really believe that when he tells me that, he means it.” Trump has made a habit of lavishing praise on Putin and even reportedly sought to lift sanctions against Russia shortly after his inauguration. We are not questioning Trump’s motives, but his behavior forces us to question his judgment. 

If this administration cannot or will not stand up to Russia, other democratic institutions, including Congress and civil society organizations, must mobilize. A starting point would be the creation of an independent, nonpartisan commission to examine Russia’s assault on American democracy, establish a common understanding of the scope and complexity of the Russian threat, and identify the tools required to combat it. The 9/11 Commission allowed the United States to come to terms with and address the vulnerabilities that made al Qaeda’s attacks possible. Today, Americans need a thorough, detailed inquest into how Russia’s strike on their democratic institutions was carried out and how another one might be prevented.

In the absence of an independent commission with a broad mandate, the United States will be left with only the relatively narrow investigations led by the special counsel Robert Mueller, the congressional intelligence committees, and the Senate Judiciary Committee. The good news is that Congress has already demonstrated its clear understanding of the Russian threat: in an overwhelmingly bipartisan manner, it passed the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act by a margin of 419 to 3 in the House of Representatives and by 98 to 2 in the Senate.”

Biden has there laid down the gauntlet against the few Democrats in the U.S. Government who were opposed to that bill, including the 3 in the House and 2 in the Senate. (So, it passed 98-2 in the Senate, and 419-3 in the House). One of the few “Nay” votes on it happened to be by America’s most high-favorability-rated politician, Senator Bernie Sanders, from whom the Democratic Party’s 2016 Presidential nomination was stolen — and quite clearly stolen — by the Democratic National Committee, even though Sanders always performed vastly better than Hillary Clinton did in polled matchups against Trump or any other Republican. The dozens of billionaires who control the national Democratic Party thus were far more concerned to avoid having a Democratic President whom they might not be able to control, than they were to avoid having a Republican President (whom Republican billionaires always control) — for billionaires, class means even more than Party does. Democratic Party billionaires overwhelmingly prefer a Republican over any honest Democrat. Recent U.S. history shows it. That’s why Sanders could rely only upon a “movement,” not really upon either existing Party.

However, even Sanders said (perhaps sincerely) that the reason why he had voted against the bill was that it also includes sanctions against Iran, and would therefore ease the way for Trump to renege on the deal that Obama had reached with Iran to suspend Iran’s nuclear program in return for the lifting of U.S. sanctions. Sanders tweeted:

“I am strongly supportive of sanctions on Russia and North Korea. However, I worry very much about President Trump’s approach to Iran. Following Trump’s comments that he won’t re-certify Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement I worry new sanctions could endanger it.” 

So, the high likelihood is that whomever the next U.S. President will be, will be continuing the lie that the overthrow of Yanukovych in Ukraine was a ‘revolution’ instead of a U.S. coup; and, so, the economic sanctions against Russia, and the massing of NATO troops and weapons on and near Russia’s borders — both of which are ‘justified’ by the 20 February 2014 Ukrainian overthrow’s having been a ‘democratic revolution’ instead of “a U.S. coup” — will almost certainly continue, until a hot war against Russia results. The domestic U.S. political divisions exclude any division over the allegations that have been and are leading (since February 2014) to World War III — the U.S. political system is virtually unanimously in favor of those clearly false allegations.

Consequently, within the Democratic Party, the ‘war’, if any, is between the vicious lie, which is blatantly psychopathic, versus the incomprehensible lie, which might simply be shockingly misinformed. But it’s the same lie, in either case. The Democratic Party is virtually united, on that lie. (And, of course, the Republican Party, likewise, is virtually united the same, regarding this same lie.)

America and its allies have been nonstop in a Cold War, supposedly against communism, but which after the end of communism in 1991 has become revealed actually to have been against Russia, even without its communism; and now it’s heading toward a hot war, because of all those ‘historical’ lies, which still are not being faced and ’fessed-to, they’ve simply accumulated as fake ‘history’, and could soon reach critical mass. For example, perhaps the most-highly-honored U.S. ‘journalist’ and ‘historian’ on national-security issues, is Thomas E. Ricks, of the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, Foreign Policy, and other ‘non-partisan’ but actually neoconservative newsmedia; and he’s best known for his book and articles and interviews obsessing that the 2003 invasion of Iraq (to oust the Moscow-friendly Saddam Hussein) was a “Fiasco” because it was done incompetently — not because it was based upon lies, which Ricks and all other prominent ‘journalists’ failed to call to the public’s attention before the invasion on the basis of lies; and so they’re partly responsible for that invasion on the basis of lies — which they hid at the time and some of which lies they still haven’t reported; they still hide. Ricks has even carried his neoconservatism to such a point as to praise in one article General James Mattis, General H.R. McMaster, and Eliot Cohen — three of Washington’s top neoconservatives — and to criticize the neoconservative but more cautiously so, President Barack Obama, for having fired Mattis in 2013. America honors liars and hiders of lies. And what’s at issue now is the mega-lie, which still is being hidden from the American public.

The conclusion seems inescapable, therefore, that unless and until the mega-lie, that the overthrow of Yanukovych was a ‘revolution’ instead of a “coup,” becomes publicy acknowledged by the U.S. Government to be a lie, the march toward World War III will continue forward, on a straight line to nuclear oblivion, because the mega-lie is the foundation for ‘the restoration of the Cold War’, and the only way to stop this ‘restoration’ from metasticizing into the hot war that will end everybody, is to end the mega-lie upon which it’s based, and to do it soon enough. 

The U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003 was clearly based upon lies, but this war won’t be like getting rid of Saddam Hussein was in 2003. It will be unimaginably worse than that horror. And the only way to end the marching toward that great cliff, is to end the mega-lie, upon which it’s based. The U.S. regime must “fess-up,” and apologize to Russia (and to the American people, and to the entire world), for this enormously dangerous fraud.

Biden is heading in exactly the opposite direction — he wants to capitalize on the fraud.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on The War in America’s ‘Democratic’ Party over Whether to Go to War Against Russia

Malaysia Politics and the Obsession with Power

NOVANEWS
 

Power is integral to politics but the obsession with the perpetuation and pursuit of power in Malaysia in the last couple of years has gone beyond reasonable boundaries.

On one side you have a person who is hell-bent on remaining in power in spite of the massive ethical questions surrounding his direct and indirect involvement in a state-owned strategic investment company that was mired in money-laundering, fraudulence and manipulation on a gigantic scale through individuals and entities associated with it. Some of these individuals and entities are being investigated in other countries. A few of them have been convicted in court and imprisoned. And yet in Malaysia there has been no concrete action against the alleged culprits though the Public Accounts Committee of the Malaysian Parliament had proposed in April 2016 that one of the former senior officials of the investment company in question be investigated thoroughly and held answerable. The unwillingness to act against blatant wrongdoing has tarnished the reputation of the person at the apex of the nation. He is obviously not prepared to acknowledge that there is an albatross around his neck.

At the other end of the ring we have a person who is determined to oust the person at the apex of the nation. He is willing to forge marriages of convenience with his former foes in order to achieve this objective — even if it means repudiating his own words and deeds from yesteryear. In the process, he has revealed that it is the attainment of power regardless of the means employed that matters most to him.

The Machiavellian politics of the two principal protagonists has had an adverse impact upon Malaysian public life as a whole. The supporters of each protagonist present their adversary in the vilest terms conceivable. For those opposed to the person at the apex, he has done nothing good though in reality the thrust he has given to the coordinated delivery of public services through Urban Transformation Centres (UTCs), public housing, public transportation and the digital economy has benefitted segments of society. Likewise, opponents of the man trying to oust the person at the apex have deliberately ignored his considerable achievements when he was at the pinnacle for 22 years that would include transforming a commodity based economy to a middle-level manufacturing nation and have instead chosen to focus only on his shortcomings and failures. This skewed approach has also begun to influence perspectives on the economy and ethnic relations.

Some of the opponents of the person at the apex keep repeating that Malaysia is on the verge of bankruptcy — a wild allegation that runs contrary to current evidence such as our strong foreign reserves position. Similarly, opponents of his adversary never tire of highlighting alleged abuses of power in Penang and Selangor, states under PakatanHarapan,  when the  truth is ordinary people have benefitted from some of their welfare-oriented programmes. For PakatanHarapan, UMNO dominates the ruling BarisanNasional and its other component parties have no say at all in decision-making  but this is not quite accurate as demonstrated by the role that a Sarawak BN party played in shaping the coalition’s stand on RUU 355. By the same token, it is wrong of UMNO to argue that the DAP is the dominant force in the Pakatan which given historic, demographic and electoral realities make no sense at all.

If misrepresentations and distortions have become more pervasive in Malaysian politics as a result of the tussle for power of the two antagonists it is partly because the media have performed a negative role. Segments of the established media have been unrelenting in their often vicious attacks upon the opponent of the person at the apex. The decorum and courtesy due to an elder who all said and done had served the nation have been thrown to the winds. Sections of the new media blindly opposed to the person at the apex are equally guilty of coarse, crude criticisms of the man and his family which only reflect their own lack of etiquette.

A more responsible and balanced approach on the part of both the established and new media regardless of who they support or oppose would contribute towards a change in the atmosphere. A changed atmosphere is a prerequisite for the interrogation of power itself which must happen if the nation as a whole is to become less obsessed with power for its own sake. The two coalitions, BN and PK, and any other party that is entering the electoral fray, are even more crucial in bringing about a change in the attitude towards power. The electoral actors themselves, more than anyone else, should realise that an obsession with power could lead to their own destruction because it will only intensify internal friction and factionalism. To put it differently, politics should never be separated from principles, however difficult it may be in certain circumstances. This is where civil society has a vital role to play. If more and more civil society groups demand that politicians adhere to certain principles in politics and refuse to endorse them in an unquestioning  manner especially when they violate the most fundamental norms of decency in public conduct, it is not inconceivable that they will be forced to change.

Posted in South AsiaComments Off on Malaysia Politics and the Obsession with Power

Geopolitical Rivalries and Afghanistan’s Open-Ended War

NOVANEWS

Geopolitical Rivalries and Afghanistan’s Open-Ended War. China Extends its Influence to the Detriment of America

Shifting Geopolitical Reality in Afghanistan: Threat to US Hegemony? Part II

Violent geopolitical rivalries between imperialist and hegemonist powers over Afghanistan’s natural resources, trade and transit routes, and geostrategic location have dramatically intensified. Despite sixteen years of heavy-handed US presence to establish its hegemony in Afghanistan and beyond, influence of regional powers like Russia, China, Iran, Pakistan, and India is growing.      

The Perpetual War

Sixteen years into the longest war in its history, the US is aggressively flexing its muscles to assert and maintain its hegemony in Afghanistan and the region. This new development, however, does not stem from Donald Trump’s so-called Afghan strategy. The aggressive posture on the part of the US is partially a reaction to its humiliating defeat in Syria – and one should add Iraq – at the hands of Russia and Iran (with China in the background). Trump’s strategy generated some hysteria among the chattering class as being qualitatively distinct from its predecessors in that it commits the US to an open-ended war.

The fact of the matter is that ever since its official launch on October 7, 2001, the US war in Afghanistan has been an open-ended war. Its endgame depends on US’s hegemonist goals in the region. In other words, the US is pursuing a strategy of perpetual war in Afghanistan irrespective of which president holds office.

Under the Bilateral Security Agreement (BSA), the US maintains nine military bases at strategic locations across Afghanistan including those bordering Iran, Pakistan and Central Asian Republics. The Afghan airspace is controlled by the US for all practical and strategic purposes. The latter, thus, enjoys a unique geopolitical lead to project power beyond Afghanistan. The infrastructure allows the US to deploy up to 100,000 troops in two to four weeks.

In the grand geopolitical chessboard of Afghanistan, the US is left with the military option only which it pursues, at this stage, through a combination of terrorist proxies, drone attacks and Special Forces operations. It has locked itself in at a geopolitical space surrounded by hostile regional powers like Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan.

More recently, by elevating IS presence in Afghanistan and its level of threat to US enemies such as Russia, China, and Iran, the US is elevating the justification for its own military options intended to go beyond Afghan strategic geography. The US is essentially playing a destabilizing role in the region as it aims at establishing world-tyranny. Its strategy revolves around the so-called Wolfowitz Doctrine which aims at preventing the emergence of a regional or global power that could challenge US’s sole hegemonic status.

However, US’s attempt at establishing its hegemony in Afghanistan and beyond is being challenged by a de facto strategic alliance involving Russia, China, Iran and Pakistan. In other words, the US-NATO coalition is facing a formidable enemy – three of which are nuclear powers – determined to contain US’s hegemonist ambitions in the region. China and Russia are at the forefront of shaping this new geopolitical reality.

The Harmonious Hegemony

China’s ambitious One Belt, One Road (OBOR) initiative that aims to connect Asia, Africa and Europe surpasses trade and economic interests and shifts the geopolitical dynamics on a global scale. Its immediate implications are already felt in South and Central Asia – where its ultimate success depends – with Afghanistan as the geopolitical heartland.

As part of OBOR, the over $50-billion China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) subproject became operational on November 13, 2016 when the first batch of Chinese cargo was transported to Gwadar port in insurgency-ridden southern Baluchistan province for onward maritime shipment to markets in Africa and West Asia. China has built a naval base in Gwadar overseeing the Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean with a second one reportedly in the making exclusively for military purposes. Gwadar runs deep in China’s strategic nerves both in peacetime but especially in wartime which could see blockade of Chinese naval access to the Pacific. Given Pakistan’s overdependence on China, CPEC is believed to cement China’s clout to influence political and military decisions in that country.

China has further consolidated its strategic footprint in the Indian Ocean by taking over the strategic Hambantota port in Sri Lanka on a 99-year lease contract with 70% stake in exchange for reducing $1.1 billion of the country’s overall 8$ billion debt to China. China’s $38 billion worth of investments in Bangladesh may likely result in breaking up the geopolitical stalemate over the construction of a deep seaport in Sonadia island following pressures exerted by the US, India and Japan on Bangladesh forcing it to abandon the project. China was outmaneuvered over Sonadia by Japan’s counterproposal to construct the Matarbari deep seaport 25km from Sonadia. That may now be changing as Sino-Bangladeshi relationship has been elevated to the strategic level.

All this is happening to the dismay of the US and India – and Japan – who see China’s growing influence as a direct threat to their hegemony over shipping corridors in the Indian Ocean. In anti-Chinese jargon, increasing Chinese presence in and around the Indian Ocean is called The String of Pearls which the trio sees as a Chinese containment strategy. China maintains that its naval presence is to protect its sea lines of communication (SLOCs) – critical among them the South China Sea – that connect Chinese mainland to foreign sources of energy in the Middle East and Africa and build a “harmonious ocean”. China, in other words, is all about harmonious hegemony.

It is in Afghanistan that the tectonic geopolitical shift is played out in all its ugly forms and manifestations. China seems to be the main winner in post-US occupation Afghanistan having secured lucrative deals to exploit natural resources.

Mes Aynak overview (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

After allegedly paying a $30 million bribe to the Afghan Minister of Mines, the state-run China Metallurgical Group Corporation (CMGC) secured the contract for Mes Aynak copper mine in Logar province, one of the largest copper reserves in the world and a 5000-year-old archaeological site, in November 2007. The company managed to acquire the 30-year lease contract against competitors from Russia, the United Kingdom, Canada and the United States. China will invest $3 billion in Mes Aynak which is valued at more than $90 billion.

The contract contains two important clauses: (1) construction of a coal-fired power plant for mining purposes (with environmental consequences) and (2) construction of a freight carrying train line connecting West China to Mes Aynak through Tajikistan to be further extended to Quetta in Pakistan.

Image result for Lapis Lazuli Corridor

Source: agenda.ge

At the first trilateral dialogue between China, Afghanistan and Pakistan in Beijing on December 26, 2017, Afghanistan agreed to join CPEC despite prior hesitation at the behest of India which opposes CPEC, among other reasons, as it passes through the strategically located Pakistan-occupied Kashmir region of Gilgit-Baltistan which borders the Wakhan Corridor of Afghanistan to the north, the Xinjiang region of China to the east and northeast, and the Indian-occupied state of Jammu and Kashmir to the southeast. As part of China’s New Silk Road project, Afghanistan also favors construction of a network of roads and railway lines linking it to the Caspian Sea, Mediterranean Sea and eventually to Europe through Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey. The Lapis Lazuli Corridor involving Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Turkey was signed in November 2017 to this effect.

In December 2011, Afghanistan signed its first international oil exploration contract with China National Petroleum Corporation. China, with an investment of $3 billion, won the 25-year contract for the exploration and exploitation of oil in Amu Darya region of northern Afghanistan (Sar-i-Pul and Faryab provinces). It is estimated that the Amu Darya Basin between Tajikistan and Afghanistan contains more than 1.6 billion barrels of crude oil. China’s local partner in the project is “Watan Group” of companies related to Hamid Karzai whose decision to refrain from signing the “Bilateral Security Agreement” with the United States may well be connected to these Chinese investments. It is also estimated that other reserves in Balkh and Jawzjan Northern provinces contain 3.5 billion barrels of crude oil. The contract for the latter reserve was awarded in 2013 to an international consortium including Dragon Oil from the UAE, the Turkish Petroleum Corporation (TPAO) and their local Ghazanfar Group from Afghanistan.

The Sino-Afghan Special Railway Transportation that connects China, through Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, with northern Afghanistan (Hairatan port), a vital segment of the One Belt, One Road initiative, was inaugurated as the first-ever freight train line between the two countries in September 2016. The railway link was a joint project of China’s Qin Geng Industrial Co. Ltd and the local Watan Group. However, the link is yet to become fully operational due to India-leaning Uzbekistan’s refusal to allow direct export of Afghan goods through its territory to China.

In January 2017, China Road and Bridge Corporation (CRBC) signed a $205 million contract to build the 178-kilometer Dare-e-Sof–Yakawlang road project connecting the northern Samangan with central Bamyan province. This is the second phase of the National North-South Corridor. The now completed first phase was Mazar-i-Sharif – Yakawlang road and the third, yet to commence, being the 550km central Bamyan– southern Kandahar road project.

At first glance, it seems that China has made these lucrative deals at the expense of the security cover provided by NATO-US troops. Nothing could be further from the truth. The start of extraction work of the Chinese workers at Mes Aynak copper mine under the security coverage by 2,000 government troops coincided with the popping up of armed groups which specifically targeted Chinese workers forcing a halt to extraction and their return home.

In the meantime, two governors of Logar province namely Abdullah Wardak and Arsala Jamal, both tasked with facilitating extraction at Mes Aynak, were assassinated in September 2008 and October 2013 respectively. Taliban claimed responsibility for the assassination of Wardak but no group claimed responsibility for assassinating Jamal. Ten years on and the project remains in a limbo.

Similarly, the start of extraction of crude oil by the Chinese in Sar-i-Pul and Faryab provinces was met with attacks by armed groups targeting the Chinese and efforts to destabilize these provinces. Six ICRC staff members were killed in Jawzjan province in February 2017 with no claims of responsibility by any group.

In recent months, IS fighters many of them foreigners were moved to the north of Afghanistan where they have established a foothold in Sar-i-Pul, Faryab and Jawzjan provinces.

There are also intensified efforts to destabilize Xinjiang and encourage separatism there through the Afghan northeastern province of Badakhshan, a main route in the ancient Silk Road, which shares borders with Tajikistan to the north and east and China’s Xinjiang and Pakistan to the east through the historical Wakhan Corridor. The separatist East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is believed to be mainly operating in Badakhshan.

Xinjiang is an important region of China as it borders eight countries: Mongolia, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India.

In response, China is taking precautionary measures as it expands its economic, security and political role in Afghanistan through bilateral, trilateral and quadrilateral arrangements.

Image on the right: Former president of Afghanistan Hamid Karzai and former General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Hu Jintao.

Image result for jintao and karzai

On June 16, 2006, China signed the Treaty of Good-Neighborly Friendship and Cooperation with the Karzai government. Article Four of the Treaty is an indicator of China’s strategic forethought when it comes to the US presence in Afghanistan:

“The parties have undertaken not to join coalitions or blocs that violate the sovereignty, security or territorial integrity of the other party, or to resort to such measures, including the conclusion of treaties of this kind with a third country. The parties shall not allow a third country to use their territory to threaten the national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the other party.

The two sides shall prevent the establishment of organizations and institutions that violate the sovereignty, security and territorial integrity of the other party in their territory.”

In August 2016, the Quadrilateral Cooperation and Coordination Mechanism in Counter Terrorism, comprising the militaries of Afghanistan, China, Pakistan, and Tajikistan, was launched, symbolically, in Urumqi, capital of Xinjiang. In one of the most dramatic turn of events, Chinese military was spotted in early 2017 conducting “anti-terrorism” patrols deep inside eastern Afghan territory marking the presence of Chinese military involvement in Afghanistan and signaling China’s readiness for potential military engagement should developments necessitate. As China expands its security stakes in Afghanistan, it has also started supplying military aid to the Afghan army.

At the December 2017 trilateral dialogue in Beijing, China, Pakistan, and Afghanistan agreed to joint cooperation against terrorism tied to Xinjiang specifically against ETIM.

China is also proactively increasing its political influence in Afghanistan in concert with its economic and trade interests. Recently, China stepped up its efforts as a mediator and broker of peace in Afghanistan. In fact, the first round of the trilateral dialogue at the level of foreign ministers of China, Afghanistan and Pakistan in December 2017 is an indication of the shifting geopolitical landscape in the region. These Chinese efforts are in line with that country’s economic projects in Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond.

China is also a party to the Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) involving the US, Afghanistan, and Pakistan which mediates talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

Russia-China-Pakistan triumvirate

Russia, like Iran, was one of the first countries that supported the occupation of Afghanistan following 9/11. NATO-led forces in Afghanistan used Russian territory for their supplies until the Ukrainian war put an end to this cozy relationship.

Russia is, however, opposed to the long-term presence of the US in Afghanistan. Gone are the days when Russia wanted the US to stay in Afghanistan. Russia has expressed its position on several occasions against long-term military presence of the US in Afghanistan including through the Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolaiy Patrushev:

“Despite Washington’s claims that there is no program for the creation of permanent bases in Afghanistan, we know that US forces will remain in this country after 2014 … Continued long-term foreign military presence in Afghanistan as a boardwagon against other countries in the region, it is unacceptable for Russia.”

On 7 December 2016, the Russian Ambassador to Afghanistan Alexander Mantytskiy announced that Russia is in contact with the Taliban to protect the safety of its citizens. Some interpreted this move by Moscow as conferring political legitimacy on the group. On December 18, 2017 Mantytskiy testifiedbefore the Afghan Senate saying both Russia and Taliban have a common interest in fighting IS and highlighted failure of the US-NATO coalition in fighting terrorism in their sixteen years of presence in Afghanistan. IS, he said, aims to expand to Central Asia, Russia, and China.

The fact is that Moscow sees Taliban as a counter-weight to IS as the latter’s presence in Afghanistan is dramatically growing. In the span of two years, IS increased its ranks from a mere hundreds in 2015 to over 10,000 fighters in 2017. US-NATO military bases and “unmarked foreign helicopters” support IS in Afghanistan including bringing foreign fighters from Iraq and Syria. Given that Afghan airspace is controlled by US-NATO for all strategic purposes, the Russian government has repeatedly askedNATO for explanation but to no avail so far.

In April 2017, Russia organized a conference on Afghanistan attended by China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan including Afghanistan. The US refused to participate calling it a “unilateral Russian attempt to assert influence in the region”. In a bold move, Russia offered to mediate peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.

As India has been consolidating its growing reach and influence in post-9/11 Afghanistan, Pakistan, a dominant player in Afghanistan, has been increasingly politically isolated. China was its only political and economic lifeline. It needed to reach out to Russia.

The pace of Russian-Pakistani rapprochement is particularly interesting given the cold war enmity between the two and Pakistan’s strategic engagement with the US.

In June 2014, Russia made a strategic foreign policy decision by lifting a longstanding ban on arms sales to Pakistan also opening a new market for its weapons after India’s gradual but firm resort to western weaponry. In October 2015, the two countries signed a 25-year contract to construct the 1,100 kilometer North-South gas pipeline with an annual capacity of 12.4 billion cubic meters connecting Lahore in the northeast with Karachi in the south. This came in the wake of successful US and Saudi pressures on Pakistan to abandon the Iran-Pakistan gas pipeline. Given Pakistan’s acute energy needs, the pipeline is a strategic investment by Russia giving it access to energy markets in the wider region.

It was a year later when they elevated their relationship to the level of military-to-military engagement. In September 2016, Russia and Pakistan held their first ever joint military exercise dubbed “Friendship 2016” in the eastern Pakistani province of Punjab. This was followed in September 2017 in the southern Russian region of Nizhny Arkhiz. These paved the way for a major concession on the part of Pakistan acceding to Russia’s request to use Gwadar port for its exports in line with Russian interest to join CPEC. It could possibly open the way for a future Russian naval presence in the Indian Ocean.

Ever since these new developments, Russia, China and Pakistan are holding trilateral consultations on Afghanistan. The first official round of the trilateral consultations was held in Moscow on 27 December 2016. A day earlier, the Afghan government (echoing US sentiments) protested for having not been invited to the consultations and questioned its “objectives”; some members of the Afghan Senate questioned its “legitimacy”.

By pressuring Pakistan and asking India to play a colossal role in Afghanistan and Central Asia, the US is effectively pushing the former into an alliance with Russia that includes China and Iran giving momentum and dynamism to this multifaceted alliance. But the US moves against Pakistan are part of a grand strategy to contain China.

As Russia and China’s influence expand in the region aligned with their security and economic interests that of the US is dwindling making it increasingly dependent on India.       

The Indian Factor  

As China and Russia gradually increased their influence in Afghanistan and the region, the US sought to envelop India in its regional strategy – mainly to counter China. In the new US regional strategy, India is meant to become part of the US war machinery to sustain America’s hegemony in the region.

India’s new role, as envisaged by the US, was outlined in a speech entitled “Defining Our Relationship with India for the Next Century” by Rex Tillerson, the US Secretary of State, in October 2017. Envisioning a strategic partnership for the 21st century, Tillerson, quoting US Secretary of Defense James Mattis, said: “the world’s two greatest democracies should have the two greatest militaries”.

And to signal the importance of India’s new place in the US geopolitical psyche, he employed the phrase “Indo-Pacific”, the new official US jargon for Asia-Pacific, which converges with India’s own Look East Policy. In other words, India has become the new and perhaps the only pillar of US’s South Asia strategy. The “Arabian Gulf” construction by Donald Trump was loaded with geopolitical connotations and was not just an ignorant utterance; a containment strategy that began with the hegemonist power of constructions. The new US approach to India is in line with US’s attempts at building an “Indo-pacific” coalition against China. The Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) involving US, Japan, Australia, and India and the Malabar naval exercises are such platforms aimed at Beijing.

India in turn needs to stand on US shoulders if it is to act as a meaningful counterbalance to China’s weight in the region and in the world at large. The Look East Policy is India’s own version of String of Pearls which courts China-wary East Asian countries into an alliance with India backed by the US. Following US-led occupation in 2001, India considerably increased its influence in Afghanistan commensurate with its strategic political, security, economic and trade interests and regional ambitions. India is Afghanistan’s largest regional donor with over $2 billion investment in various projects. As an indication of India’s long-term presence, India built the new building of the Afghan parliament at the cost of $90 million.

India has been engaged in a proxy war with Pakistan in Afghanistan for over three decades. India is also one of China’s main rivals competing for control and exploitation of Afghan natural resources, trade and transit routes. It is important to realize that much of India’s engagement in Afghanistan goes beyond its rivalry with Pakistan, driven as it is by its growing resource-hungry economy, and mostly directed at China as the main target.

To expand its influence, India established its consulates in four of Afghanistan’s strategic provinces (Kandahar, Herat, Nangarhar, and Balkh), to the dismay of Pakistan which sees them as a threat to its security and interests. Repeated attacks on India’s diplomatic representations and on Indian citizens engaged in Indian-funded projects are parts of Pakistan’s proxy war against India.

India’s mega-projects in Afghanistan are part of its “Connect Central Asia Policy” (CCAP) which aims to connect India with Central Asia, bypass Pakistan, and balance China’s growing influence in the region.

In November 2011, a consortium of Indian companies led by the Steel Authority of India (SAIL) was awarded a $10.8 billion contract to extract three out of the five blocks at Hajigak iron ore deposits, one of the biggest untapped resources in Asia, located in central Bamyan province. Another block was awarded to Canada’s Kilo Goldmines Ltd which also mines Gold and Iron ore in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It is estimated that the region has 1.8 billion tons of iron ore. India was awarded the deal only one month after signing the “Strategic Partnership Agreement” (SPA) with the Karzai government on October 4, 2011 which is seen as one of the most significant achievements of India’s Afghan and regional policy over the past decades.

The development of Chahbahar port in Iran is a giant geopolitical leap for India in its efforts to balance China’s growing influence in the region. Chahbahar is located only 76km from Gwadar port and is seen as part of India’s strategic moves to counter China’s growing presence in the Indian Ocean. The project fits well into the 7,200km long International North–South Transport Corridor – India’s gateway to Eurasia – which is a network of ship, rail, and road routes connecting the Indian Ocean with the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran all the way to Russia and Europe. A joint Iranian-Indian railway line is planned to connect Hajigak with Chahbahar after a trilateral MoU was signed in May 2016 between India, Iran and Afghanistan to build an international trade-and-transit corridor through Afghanistan. The investment at Chahbahar has deepened Indo-Iranian strategic ties as their interests converge on building connectivity between Central and South Asia.

The 215km strategic Zaranj-Delaram highway in the southern Afghan province of Nimroz constructed by India in 2009 connects southern Afghanistan to Chahbahar port in Iran. This is a strategic investment by India as the highway connects trade-routes between Central Asia and South Asia with the Middle East – bypassing Pakistan. The project was built at a great human cost as “…one human sacrifice was made for every kilometer and a half constructed”. In October 2017, India’s first wheat shipment reached Afghanistan via Chahbahar. As part of its efforts to bypass Pakistan, India also opened two air corridors in 2017 to transport cargoes between Afghanistan and India.

Linked to Zaranj-Delaram project is the $290 million India-funded Salma Dam in Herat province with the capacity to irrigate 75,000 hectares of land and generate 42MW of electricity. Construction of Salma Dam particularly irritated Iran which expressed its opposition to such projects supporting Afghan claims of Iranian plots to destroy the Dam.

While India may have to team up with the US and Japan to counter growing Chinese influence in the Indian Ocean, it has to maintain cordial relations with Russia to sustain its footprint in Central Asia. On the other hand, US plans to destabilize Iran or to directly militarily confront it in future threaten India’s interests in Iran.   

Reflection of the shifting geopolitical reality on Afghan politics

The changing geopolitical reality in Afghanistan has directly reflected on the domestic political landscape, unsettling the status quo and affecting the political power relations (believed to have been dominated by pro-Russia and pro-Iran groups since 2001). The domestic power shift favors US interests and is aimed at increasing US leverage in Afghan affairs. A significant chain of events – seemingly unrelated – unfolds:

  • January 2014: veteran warlord Abdul Rashid Dostum visits Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan to solicit support in anticipation of a post-US Afghanistan;
  • September 2014: National Unity Government (NUG) is formed after presidential election results are disputed (the resulting NUG composition reflects how US shares power with regional powers);
  • January 2015: IS announces formation of its “Khorasan Province” officially marking its presence in Afghanistan;
  • October 2015: Dostum, now Vice-President in the NUG, visits Moscow and travels to the North Caucuses Chechen Republic to meet Ramzan Kadyrov in Grozny. Dostum seeks Russia’s help in the fight against IS “as in Syria”;
  • May 2016: Dostum is forced into exile to Turkey after allegations of sexual assault and torture by a former rival. The move is backed by the US, EU and Turkey. He has since been refused to return.
  • September 2016: a so-called peace agreement is signed with veteran jihadist warlord Gulbuddin Hekmatyar backed by the US and Saudi Arabia;
  • May 2017: Hekmatyar returns to Kabul and has since made Iranian influence in Afghanistan the focus of his political rhetoric, thus, promoting US’s anti-Iranian agenda.
  • December 2017: Ghani fires the Governor of strategic Balkh province in the north deemed to be a Russian and Iranian protégé, thus, disturbing the domestic balance of power. The Governor has since refused to vacate his post stating he intends to remain “to defeat the Taliban and IS projects” prompting the US to intervene on the side of the Afghan president.
  • In an unprecedented move, Afghan council of religious scholars asks the government to allow Taliban to open a political office in Kabul for intra-Afghan peace talks.

Conclusion

Afghanistan has been the focus of big power geopolitical rivalries ever since the beginning of the nineteenth century. The so-called Great Game, the geopolitical competition between Britain and Tsarist Russia, culminated in three Anglo-Afghan wars (1839-42, 1878-1880, and 1919). Following the October Revolution, the Great Game continued between revolutionary Russia and Britain. It was, however, after the end of WWII that Afghanistan became a hotspot of geopolitical contest between the Soviet Union and the United States.

The Saur Revolution of 1978 – and the Soviet intervention in December 1979 – was a defining historical moment that disturbed the status quo – not only in Afghanistan but potentially in the wider region. Its immediate effect was that it expedited the overthrow of the Shah in Iran. The United States and their allies supported the counter-revolutionary Mujahedeen against revolutionary Afghanistan to prevent a domino effect in the region. Carter Administration’s secret deal with Khomeini was part of this containment strategy.

Afghanistan’s geostrategic location – including its potential as a major trade and transit hub linking South and Central Asia with the Middle East – as well as its vast natural resources has become a “geopolitical curse” and “resource curse” to its people who remain hostage to this predicament.  An indication of Afghanistan’s geopolitical and geoeconomic weight for regional and international players is the number of so-called strategic agreements signed in anticipation of post-2014 Afghanistan. This is not necessarily good news as it is a sign of the entanglement of competing and at times diametrically opposed interests in the rapidly changing Afghan geopolitical scene.  Russian presidential special envoy to Afghanistan, Zamir Kabulov, even spoke of the “disappearance” of Afghanistan in two decades should the current nature and pace of geopolitical games continue. This is a subtle indication of the looming prospect for Afghanistan.

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Effective Propaganda: Big Lies, Half Truths, Omission, Imperceptible Repetition

NOVANEWS
Effective Propaganda: Big Lies, Half Truths, Omission, Imperceptible Repetition. The Role of “Leftists” and Orwell’s “Crimestop”
 

“And thus the U.S. left leadership sits in the left chamber of the hall of mirrors, complaining about conspiracy theories while closing its eyes to actual conspiracies crucial to contemporary imperialism.” – Graeme MacQueen, Beyond Their Wildest Dreams: September 11, 2001 and the American Left

It is well known that effective propaganda works through slow, imperceptible repetition. “The slow building up of reflexes and myths” is the way Jacques Ellul put it in his classic, Propaganda.  This works through commission and omission.

I was reminded of this recently after I published a newspaper editorial on Martin Luther King Day stating the fact that the United States’ government assassinated Dr. King.  To the best of my knowledge, this was the only newspaper op-ed to say that.  I discovered that many newspapers and other publications (with very rare exceptions), despite a plethora of articles and editorials praising King, ignored this “little” fact as if it were inconsequential.  No doubt they wish it were, or that it were not true, just as many hoped that repeating the bromide that James Earl Ray killed Dr. King would reinforce the myth they’ve been selling for fifty years, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary that is available to anyone wishing to investigate the truth.

The general attitude seemed to be: Let’s just appreciate MLK on his birthday and get on with it.  Don’t be a spoil-sport.

That this is the approach of the mainstream corporate media (MSM) should not be surprising, for they are mouthpieces for official government lies.  But when the same position is taken by so many liberal and progressive intellectuals and publications who are otherwise severely critical of the MSM for their propaganda in the service of empire, it gives pause.  Like their counterparts in the MSM, these liberals shower King with praise, even adding that he was more than a civil rights leader, that he opposed war and economic exploitation as well, but as to who killed him, and why, and why it matters today, that is elided.  Amy Goodman at Democracy Now in a recent piece about an upcoming documentary about King is a case in point.  Not once in this long conversation about a film about the last few years of King’s life and his commitment to oppose the Vietnam War and launch the Poor People’s Campaign is the subject of who killed him and why broached.  It is a perfect example of the denial of the truth through omission.

Propaganda, of course comes in many forms: big lies and small; half-truths, whispers, and rumors; slow-drip and headlong; misinformation and disinformation; through commission and omission; intentional and unintentional; cultural and political, etc. Although it is omnipresent today – 24/7 surround sound – when it comes from the mouths of government spokespeople or corporate media the average person, grown somewhat suspicious of official lies, has a slight chance of detecting it.  This is far more difficult, however, when it takes the form of a left-wing critique of U.S. government policies that subtly supports official explanations through sly innuendos and references, or through omission.  Reading an encomium to Dr. King that attacks government positions on race, war, and economics from the left will often get people nodding their heads in agreement while they fail to notice a fatal flaw at the heart of the critique.  The Democracy Now piece is a perfect example of this legerdemain.

I do not know the motivations or intentions of many prominent leftist intellectuals and publications, but I do know that many choose to avoid placing certain key historical events at the center of their analyses.  In fact, they either avoid them like the plague, dismiss them as inconsequential, or use the CIA’s term of choice and call them “conspiracy theories” and their proponents “conspiracy nuts.”  The result is a powerful propaganda victory for the power elites they say they oppose.

Orwell called it “Crimestop: [it] means the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of any dangerous thought.  It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments if they are inimical to Ingsoc, and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction.  Crimestop, in short means protective stupidity.”

There are many fine writers and activists who are very frustrated by their inability, despite a vast and continuous outpouring of excellent critiques of the machinations of the oligarchical rulers of the U.S., to convince people of the ways they have been brainwashed by government/media propaganda.  Most of their anger is directed toward the most obvious sources of this intricate psychological warfare directed at the American people.  They often fail to realize, however – or fail to say – that there are leftists in their ranks who, whether intentionally or not, are far more effective than the recognized enemies in government intelligence agencies and their corporate accomplices in the media in convincing people that the system works and that it is not run by killers who will go to any lengths to achieve their goals.  These leftist critics, while often right on specific issues that one can agree with, couch their critiques within a framework that omits or disparages certain truths without which nothing makes sense.  By truths I do not mean debatable matters, but key historical events that have been studied and researched extensively by reputable scholars and have been shown to be factual, except to those who fail to fairly do their homework, purposely or through laziness.

There is no way to understand today’s world without confronting four key historical events out of which spring today’s conditions of oligarchic rule, constant war, and the growth of an intelligence apparatus that makes Orwell’s 1984 look so anachronistic.

They are: the assassinations of JFK, MLK, and RFK by elements within the U.S. intelligence services, and the insider attacks of September 11, 2011. These are anathema to a group of very prominent left-wing intellectuals and liberal publications.  It is okay for them to attack Bush, Obama, Clinton, Trump, the Democratic Party, Bernie Sanders, liberals in general, creeping fascism, capitalism, the growth of the intelligence state, etc.; but to accept, or even to explore fairly in writing, what I assert as factual above, is verboten.  Why?

When President Kennedy was murdered by the CIA, the United States suffered a coup d’état that resulted in years of savage war waged against Vietnam, resulting in millions of Vietnamese deaths and tens of thousands of American soldiers.  The murder of JFK in plain sight sent a message in clear and unambiguous terms to every President that followed that you toe the line or else. They have toed the line.  The message from the coup planners and executioners was clear: we run the show. They have been running it ever since.

When Martin Luther King declared his opposition to the Vietnam War and joined it to his espousal of a civil rights and an anti-capitalist program, he had to go. So they killed him.

Then, when the last man standing who had a chance to change the direction of the coup – Robert Kennedy – seemed destined to win the presidency, he had to go. So they killed him.

To ignore these foundational state crimes for which the evidence is so overwhelming and their consequences over the decades so obvious – well, what explanation can leftist critics offer for doing so?

And then there are the attacks of September 11, 2001, the fourth foundational event that has brought us to our present abominable condition.  One has to be very ignorant to not see that the official explanation is a fiction conjured up to justify an endless “war on terror” planned as perhaps the prelude to the use of nuclear weapons, those weapons that JFK in the last year of his life worked so hard to eliminate after the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

In refusing to connect the dotsfrom November 22, 1963 through April 4 and June 5 1968and September 11, 2001 until today, prominent leftists continue to do the work of Crimestop.  For the moment I will leave it to readers to identify who they are, and the numerous leftist publications that support their positions.There are two famous left-wing American intellectuals, one dead and one living, who are often intoned to support this work of propaganda by omission:  Noam Chomsky and Howard Zinn, both of whom dismissed the killing of JFK and the attacks of September 11 as inconsequential and not worthy of their attention. They have quite a few protégés whose work you probably read and agree with, despite the void at the heart of their critiques.  Why they avoid accepting the truth and significance of the four events I have mentioned, only they can say.  That they do is easy to show, as are the dire consequences for a united front against the deep-state forces intent on reducing this society and the world to rubble because of their refusal to confront the systemic evil that they render unspeakable by their acquiescence to government propaganda.

In  his groundbreaking book on the assassination of John Kennedy, JFK And The Unspeakable: Why He Died & Why It MattersJames Douglass quotes his guide into the dark underworld of radical evil and our tendency to turn away from its awful truths, the Trappist Monk Thomas Merton, who said of the Unspeakable:  “It is the void that contradicts everything that is spoken even before the words are said; the void that gets into the language of public and official declarations at the very moment when they are pronounced and makes them ring dead with the hollowness of the abyss.”

Can you hear it on your left?

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