Archive | April 13th, 2018

We stand in solidarity with Brazilian workers and communities

We stand in solidarity with Brazilian workers and communities

Lula (right), pictured with now-deposed President Dilma Rousseff after her election. Photo: Fabio Rodrigues Pozzebom/Agência Brasil (Agência Brasil) [CC BY 3.0 br (], via Wikimedia Commons

The Party for Socialism and Liberation stands in solidarity with Brazilian workers and larger communities who are taking to the streets in São Bernardo, São Paulo and across the rest of the country in repudiation of the order for the arrest of former President Luís Inácio Lula da Silva and in defense of their democratic rights.

We further denounce the threats of intervention from General Eduardo Dias da Costa Villas Bôas, Commander of the Brazilian Army and other high-ranking commanders of the Brazilian military immediately preceding the ruling from Brazil’s Supreme Federal Tribunal clearing the way for Lula’s arrest. These explicit threats were calculated to ensure the divided court would “decide the right way” and evoke the memory of the brutal military dictatorship that ruled the country from 1964 to 1985 and stripped Brazilians of their most basic rights.

The sharply divided Supreme Federal Tribunal vote of 6-to-5 denying Lula’s constitutional right to appeal his conviction in liberty highlights the political nature of the ruling.

Lula, Brazil’s most popular president ever and the likely winner of the upcoming October presidential elections, has now been ordered by Judge Sérgio Moro to surrender by 5 p.m. today or face arrest. The ultimate aim is to exclude Lula from the elections.

The Brazilian people have received support from several international leaders. Bolivian President Evo Morales denounced the “outrageous decision of the justice system of Brazil, threatened by corrupt oligarchies.” Former Uruguayan President José Mujica denounced the “very corrupt rule of law in Brazil.” Cuba’s Ministry of International Relations denounced the attempt to “deprive the followers of Lula of the right to elect him again as its president,” with Raul Castro adding that Lula, ousted President Dilma Rousseff, and the Brazilian people “will always have Cuba at their side.”

The response among the left has been swift. Workers across Brazil are responding to mobilization calls from Brazil’s trade unions, grassroots organizations and left parties to defend Lula and democracy in Brazil. Thousands have converged at the steelworkers union offices in São Bernardo do Campo to form a human blockade to protect Lula, who is presently inside. As many as 37 major highway blockades have been reported across the country, including in the states of Goiás, Alagoas, Bahia, Rio Grande do Norte, Espírito Santo and Paraíba, where a protester was shot and wounded. Protesters have gathered in the streets of São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other major cities.

The Central Única dos Trabalhadores (Brazil’s largest trade union federation), Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Terra (Landless Workers Movement), Movimento dos Trabalhadores Sem Teto (Movement of the Workers Without Shelter), together with several left parties, are actively calling on their political base to join the mobilizations.

Lula, a former steelworker and union leader, helped organized massive strikes in the late 1970s challenging the military dictatorship that ruled the country. During his two-term presidency from 2003 to 2011, poverty in Brazil was vastly reduced through internationally acclaimed social programs that provided a basic income and subsidized housing for millions, and helped youth of color from impoverished communities gain access to higher education.

Lula’s criminal conviction on unsubstantiated corruption charges is part and parcel of the right-wing campaign to crush the Brazilian left generally and the Workers’ Party specifically. The Brazilian elites ousted president Dilma Rousseff through a political coup in 2016 that they hoped would cement their rule. Less than two years later, coup president Michel Temer polls at around 5 percent approval, and Lula has been the projected winner of the October elections under all scenarios. Lula’s conviction and arrest are aimed squarely at preventing poor and working-class Brazilians from having a voice in the country’s political future.

This is a critical and dangerous time for Brazil, with an ever-growing possibility of military intervention looming. The PSL salutes all Brazilians who are putting their lives on the line to defend their hard-earned political rights, and supports their right to freely choose their next president.

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Confronting the impending war danger against Syria [PSL Statement]


Confronting the impending war danger against Syria [PSL Statement]

The stage is being set for the Trump administration and the Pentagon to launch a new military action against Syria, as evidenced by the open threats against Assad’s government after the unsubstantiated accusation of a chemical attack.

On April 10, Trump canceled his trip to the Summit of the Americas in Peru, and Secretary of Defense Gen. Mattis canceled his trip to San Francisco on April 14, amid government officials’ statements that action will take place within “24 or 48 hours.”

The Russian government is insisting that inspectors from the Organization for the Prevention of Chemical Warfare (OPCW) be allowed to enter the area of East Ghouta to investigate the allegations of the use of chemical weapons. The Syrian government has categorically denied its involvement in any chemical attacks and invited such inspectors.

The only beneficiary from such a chemical weapons attack would be the reactionary, Qaeda-affiliated armed factions that had been routed in area after area in Syria during the past months, and were insisting on increased U.S. intervention to rescue their flailing armed struggle.

The Syrian government did not need chemical weapons. It was highly successful in its military operations without using them. The government had already worked out an evacuation plan to transport armed fighters from East Ghouta to Idlib. It makes absolutely no sense that it would, on the eve of its final victory in East Ghouta, launch a chemical weapons assault against civilians or others. Just a week ago, Trump publicly declared, to the surprise of his national security advisors, that he wanted to pull U.S. military forces out of Syria. That is no longer on the table — quite the opposite.

The facts and obvious logic of the situation notwithstanding, the U.S. capitalist-owned media is replaying over and over again the horrific videos of children and other civilians in a state of intense suffering, attributing their pain to a chemical weapons attack ordered by Assad. Such an intense propaganda campaign cannot have any other impact but to prepare the population for the “justice” of another U.S. imperialist intervention in the Middle East.

It is highly likely that a new U.S. attack will be more sustained than the 2017 cruise missile attack on the Shayrat air base in Syria.

Instead the signs point to the probability of a much wider war to reverse the Syrian government’s gains and impending victory against the imperialist-funded terrorists. Such a war could expand and deepen. The Washington Post is functioning as a principal mouthpiece for those in the political and military establishment who demand that the U.S. dramatically escalate its intervention in Syria to confront the Syrian government and Russia. Their goal is to overthrow the Assad government, just like Libya’s government in 2011 and Iraq’s government in 2003. They say, “President Trump will deal another blow to U.S. global leadership if he does not follow through. But a few cruise missiles won’t change anything in Syria. What’s really needed is a concerted strategy for protecting the vital American interests.”

Making their implications explicit, the Washington Post editorial board continues “as long as the dictator [Trump] called ‘Animal Assad’ remains in place, Syria’s wars will continue, breeding Islamist terrorists and propelling refugees toward Europe. Mr. Trump does have an advantage that Mr. Obama lacked: Thanks to the capture by U.S. and allied forces of a large part of eastern Syria, the United States has the capacity to stabilize at least part of the country and has leverage in demanding an acceptable outcome to the war. The costs could be relatively modest…”

It’s important for every worker to understand what the Washington Post is really saying here: the United States needs to occupy a vast swath of Syrian territory, and hold that territory as a military staging ground, and as political leverage, to orchestrate the overthrow of the sovereign government in Damascus.

Trump and his generals, with the support of the Washington Post and others in the capitalist media, are prepared to play a high-stakes game of chicken with Russia, which is in Syria supporting the integrity of the Syrian state. The Russian government has said that there would be “extremely serious” consequences of a U.S. assault on Syria and have previously warned that “if a threat to our servicemen emerges, the Russian armed forces will take retaliatory measures against both missiles and their carriers.”

Yesterday the FBI raided the home, offices and hotel room of Donald Trump’s lawyer, seizing files and communications. The stated purpose of the raid had to do with the payment of hush money to Stormy Daniels related to an affair with Trump. Donald Trump undoubtedly recognizes that by embracing a larger war in Syria, a war demanded by his critics in the establishment, he will temporarily mute their criticism of him. Just as happened in his 2017 attack on Syria, they will consider him “acting presidential” so long as he dips his hands in the blood of the Syrian people.

Trump and his extreme right-wing National Security advisor John Bolton, are threatening Russia and Iran as well. On April 9, Israel launched missiles against a Syrian airbase near Homs, killing at least 14 people and particularly targeting Iranian allies of the Syrian government. These airstrikes, according to the Washington Post, destroyed a considerable portion of the Syrian air force. It is obvious now that Israel’s April 9 air assault was step one in a coordinated, larger military offensive that was being planned in the Pentagon.

All members of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and all progressive people in the United States need to be on high alert and to organize in your cities for a quick response in the event of U.S. military action.

In some cities (such as Chicago and Los Angeles) people are preparing “Day of” or “Day After” anti-war actions. Such actions are important to reach the public with an anti-war message at the same moment that the launch of a new intervention is underway.

There are also dozens of already-scheduled anti-war actions to “Stop the Wars At Home and Abroad” organized for Apr. 14 and 15. (See a full listing of those actions around the country here.)

There is no more critical issue for the U.S. socialist and progressive movement than to be able to respond decisively to U.S. imperialist war.

It is important to note once again that in the advance of all the U.S. wars in the Middle East — Iraq, Libya, and today in Syria — the media resort to the same time-tested tactics. They demonize the leadership of the targeted entity and promote false and distorted materials to convince the public that the U.S. Empire is pursuing noble objectives while utilizing devastating violence.

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How the 1968 uprisings gave us the Civil Rights Act of 1968


How the 1968 uprisings gave us the Civil Rights Act of 1968

Soldier standing guard on the corner of 7th & N Street NW in Washington D.C. with the ruins of buildings that were destroyed during the uprisings that followed the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Date: 8 April 1968 Credit: Warren K. Leffler/Library of Congress.

The 50th anniversary of the assassination of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is, rightfully, the cause of great reflection as well as numerous calls to action. So much of what Dr. King fought for in his later years–an end to war, racism and poverty as well as a re-ordering of societal priorities away from capitalism–remains undone. Dr. King’s assassination was the key marker in the transition of a great era of social change, from one where “inclusion” in the broader capitalist system was the general thrust, to one where the general focus of the Black fight for equality became a broadly defined “self-determination,” rooted in a recognition of the entrenched nature of racism, not simply as a function of attitudes, but as a method of social control.

In retrospect, particularly in the mainstream media, the uprisings that followed King’s death are presented as something of a “death spiral” of the “good sixties” marked by the tactically non-violent Southern Freedom Movement into the “bad sixties” of Black power, Black Panthers, revolution and armed struggle.

Beyond being a deep oversimplification, it also is a total misunderstanding of the moment in time in which King’s life was taken. It was a time when the broader stream of the Black Liberation Movement was starting to grapple with the connection between capitalist inequality and structural racism. The intractability of these problems and the lack of political will to address them at the Federal level meant that King’s death marked something very different: the end of liberal efforts to “resolve” racial issues by simply reaffirming the already existing Constitutional rights of Black Americans  and the concomitant issue of the need to trim property rights if this “resolution” were to take place.

Backlash to the progress of civil rights momentum

1966, in the popular lexicon, became known as the year of “white backlash” to the momentum of the civil rights movement. Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act in 1964 and the Voting Rights Act in 1965, de jure segregation in the Jim Crow South was clearly in eclipse . While voting laws could be improved, the course of “equality” was starting to hit up on more complicated realities.

In 1966 the median income of a Black family was just 58 percent of the income of the average white family. While Vietnam War related work had driven employment up, unemployment among Blacks was still double that of whites. The Black “sub-employment rate,” as it was known then, which measured underemployment, was at 33 percent in the “worst” areas of nine of the top 10 major cities. Between 1960-1966 the rate of non-whites in poverty, 34 percent, had remained totally unchanged. A survey of 12 cities with a special census found that eight were actually more segregated than they had been in 1960.

The need for more action was palpable, but determining what to do was tricky.

1966 Civil Rights Act

It is instructive, in this regard, to look at the Civil Rights Act of 1966 (ultimately the Civil Rights Act of 1968). The new feature of this frustration over progress around racial inequities was shown in two key ways. First and foremost it was shown by the entrance of uprisings as a major feature on the national landscape. Harlem and Watts were the most notable but there were dozens or rebellions that happened around the country–in 1967 alone there were 164.

Further, SCLC’s move North and the accompanying Chicago Freedom Movement revealed the intense racism in the North. White opposition to open housing was dominated by racist and extremely violent mobs that viciously attacked Black demonstrators in scenes as harrowing if not more so than the worst pictures from Birmingham.

If that wasn’t enough, in Grenada, Mississippi there was serious violence when schools opened there for the ‘65-’66 school year–in an integrated fashion. These elements combined give a sense of the scale of work left to be done despite the breaking down of de jure Jim Crow.

Racism as “attitude” vs. social control

Therein lay the crux of the challenges. Racism in America was and is not about “attitudes”–but the Southern Freedom Movement had gained ascendancy essentially on that basis. Rather than racism being a deeply structural issue, it was essentially portrayed as an issue of “Southern attitudes” running amok over the Constitutional rights of Blacks.

In reality–as the opposition to the Chicago Freedom Movement, and the police brutality that sparked the Harlem Uprising reflected–racism is not about attitudes, but social control. As has been irrefutably documented, the modern U.S. conception of anti-Black racism was based on the stabilization of coastal plantation economies around the turn of the 18th century.

The strategy was basically divide and conquer. While there would still be a small minority of white men ruling society over everyone else, a new gradation would be introduced. Just being white meant one became entitled to a number of things from gun ownership to land ownership that Blacks were now banned from or highly restricted in the exercise of. This new pact was sealed in blood as it were, with the almost total ban on interracial marriage.

These policies continued moving forward. The best instrument for social control of Black America was a white buffer strata that, while in a worse position compared to other whites, was in a privileged position vis-a-vis the Black population. The racial basis of the privilege was clear whether it was access to public facilities and accommodations or simply experiencing less mistreatment from the authorities.

The rights of Blacks to live anywhere and go to school anywhere, were major threats to this. While in the South de jure educational segregation became a touchstone, in the North and West school segregation was protected by de facto racism. In the North there were no official “Jim Crow” laws but the redlining practices of private real estate interests resulted in the same segregated housing patterns.

Starting in the 1930s and moving forward, the growing Black urban population was deeply segregated by these policies and forced into “ghettos” with unequal access to just about everything, overlaid by intense police racism.

The problems were easy enough to note and diagnose, but harder to address. Tackling them head on would mean, at least potentially, toppling the system of hierarchical racial privilege that helped undergird the entire stability of the U.S. capitalist system.

Capitalist efforts to resolve an untenable situation

President Lyndon B.Johnson, New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller, the Ford Foundation (headed by former Johnson aide McGeorge Bundy), Gov. George Romney of Michigan and others of both parties recognized this situation was untenable. Whatever the challenges, they believed accommodating Black America, by giving it more of a stake in the system, was the safest course. They wanted to integrate the Blacks the same way America amalgamated the Irish so to speak.

To that end, President Johnson introduced the Civil Rights Act of 1966 which would have protected civil rights workers and democratized juries among other things. Most notably it would outright ban housing discrimination and give the newly created Housing and Urban Development and the Department of Justice the ability to enforce those rights.

The bill was ultimately stripped of the “fair housing” provision, but still could not pass, unable to overcome a filibuster by Southern Senators, aided by Senate Minority leader Everett Dirksen from Illinois.

The progress of the civil rights movement was changing the tenor of the country. Many white Americans were unwilling to give up their limited privilege and many industries like real estate that profited from segregated markets opposed these changes. Uprisings in Black America hardened many white hearts. Gradual progress, mainly confined to the South, was fine, but a real reckoning with racism, that challenged the relatively–and sometimes extremely–privileged position of many, not so much.

Senator Sam Ervin of North Carolina noted gleefully that the moral superiority of many of his Northern colleagues seemed to disappear now that their “ox was being gored.”

Civil Rights Act seen as insufficient

On top of that many younger Black leaders attacked the Civil Rights Act of 1966 as insufficient. Kwame Ture (then Stokely Carmichael) leader of SNCC denounced it as a “fraudulent bunch of words.” SNCC, which had for years raised issues of the inadequacy of the demands to the Southern Freedom Movement to fully address racial inequalities was speaking to the mood of the country.

“Black Power,” the phrase Ture had coined, was beginning to seize the time. Black Americans from a range of political beliefs recognized that benevolent whites in Congress could not, and if they could, probably would not, deliver equality of any sort. They came to the conclusion that Blacks, rather than asking for better treatment, had to try to seize the levers of power, be they political, economic, cultural, or some combination of the three to enforce their equal treatment as human beings on the recalcitrant part of the population.

Republican Congressman Charles Mathias Jr. was a key figure in promoting the Civil Rights Act in 1966 through 1968. In a 1999 article, he noted about this period:

“During the summer of 1967, there had been civil disturbances in more than 100 of our Nation’s cities. These traumatic events galvanized the Nation’s attention and commanded nightly news coverage for all the country to see. Congress was under increasing pressure to do something about the growing rage of Black Americans over the inequities in so many parts of American life that left them out or segregated them.”

Mathias went on to relate that this pace of events led to compromises being made to try to pass a Civil Rights Act that included fair housing provisions. Ultimately they included the provisions banning it, but gutted the enforcement section. As Mathias summarizes, Everett Dirksen, the previous opponent, was motivated to try to find some compromise for three main reasons:

“The growing racial unrest in U.S. cities and disparities in incomes between Whites and Blacks; the injustice of housing discrimination likely to confront returning Black Vietnam War veterans; and the glacial pace with which States and localities were adopting their own open occupancy laws.”

The bill still faced opposition, then, on April 4, 1968 Martin Luther King was struck down by an assassin’s bullet. The effect on Congress of this event and the uprisings afterward was intense according to Mathias:

“The crisis in race relations in our country forced Congress to come to grips with these tensions…The Rules Committee, jolted by the repeated civil disturbances virtually outside its door, finally ended its hearings on April 8. The next day, it reported to the full House a rule for debate that agreed to the Senate amendments, including the compromise fair housing title, and prohibited any additional amendments. The following day, April 10, the House debated for one hour the Civil Rights Act of 1968 and passed it 250–71. The very next day, President Johnson signed the bill into law.” (Mathias and Morris, 1999)

Civil Rights Act of 1968 too little, too late

The Act was ultimately, too little, too late. It was clear as day that the enforcement of many of these provisions, especially housing, was going to happen rarely if ever, and that plenty was built in to allow racist inequalities to persist in many crucial areas of society.

This is why the lamentations around the uprisings following Dr. King’s death entirely miss the point. Many expressed then and now that this period represented the “death of non-violence.” More exactly put, it represented the death of “inclusion” as a strategy for Black America. The killing of King, whose moral stance had helped shame a nation into taking action it had refused to take for hundreds of years and the inability of the government to deliver anything beyond giving Black people their Constitutional rights on paper signified that new strategies were needed.

Such strategies came from both the right and the left, but what is crucial is that the turn towards “Black power” as opposed to “integration” was not actually primarily about separatism (although that was a theme) but about the necessity of using some lever of power to enforce human rights rather than just express them.

The uprisings in response to King’s death were a sign; they were actually the last string of major uprisings for some time. If nothing else they represented not just a cry of anguish, but the fact that to achieve “power” required offensive action. Rather than looking at them as “wrong” or “destructive,” it’s important to see them as part and parcel of a transformation of the Black Liberation Movement from one demanding equality to one fighting for it, on a nationwide scale and in arenas far beyond access to public facilities.

1966 to 1968 was something of a transitional period, Dr. King along with others were grappling with what it would take for deep-going social change that of necessity would challenge the capitalist foundations of the United States. Uprisings like sit-ins, illuminated the problems. The murder of King suggested that opposition to truly addressing racism was so intractable that its root the system would have to be attacked more directly and more structurally. What that meant was a topic for intense debate, but after King’s death it seemed clear that the liberal integrationism of the Kennedy and early Johnson eras was certainly dead.

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Past a point of no return: “Russiagate” and the reorientation of U.S. imperialism


Past a point of no return: “Russiagate” and the reorientation of U.S. imperialism

In a seismic strategy shift, US now racing to prepare for major power confrontation with Russia and China. Pictured: U.S., UK and Georgian troops in “Noble Partner” war exercises, one of US Army Europe events in 40 countries, May 2016.

The following is an edited version of a talk given by Brian Becker on March 25, 2018. Becker is a member of the Central Committee of the Party for Socialism and Liberation.

What I want to talk about is to identify where we are right now in this political process. It is our belief in the PSL Central Committee that we have now passed a point of no return with respect to the “Russiagate” controversy. It is not going to go away, it is going to expand and deepen, and it has a profound implication for U.S. politics and for global politics.

What we are witnessing is two convergent phenomena coming together, running in parallel but now intersecting. One is a profound, political civil war going on within the summits of the capitalist political establishment, the ruling class centers of power in the intelligence agencies. The second is a qualitative re-orientation of U.S. foreign policy and the gearing up for “major power” conflict with Russia and China as the targets. The goal of this foreign/military re-orientation is to apply severe pressure of all types on Russia and China with four identifiable goals: 1) to encircle Russia, weaken it economically and hem it in on all sides, 2) to compete with China for dominance in Asia, which is now the most dynamic part of the world economy, 3) to weaken or end the alliance that China and Russia have forged in recent years, and 4) to carry out regime change in China and Russia.

Let us start first by examining the first phenomenon: the intra-class class struggle that is going inside the U.S. capitalist establishment

Multiple ruling class centers of political power did not expect Donald Trump to win the presidency and they want his administration to end. This opposition to Trump includes: the intelligence agencies; the foreign policy establishment cadres from both ruling class parties; the core of the State Department professional staff; the Washington think-tank establishment that provides cadres who come in and out of the capitalist government and in many ways constitute the professional enduring government in the country; and the leading capitalist mass media outlets. Their opposition to Trump is not simply or mainly because he is a bigot, not because he is a misogynist. It is not because he is a xenophobe, anti-immigrant and anti-Muslim. It is not because he is an anti-Black racist. Of course, he is all those things, and he is different from other ruling class politicians in that he speaks openly and takes the mask off the bigotry that so permeates the ruling class in America and thus embarrasses the ruling class. This is considered tasteless. The political leaders of the U.S. capitalist state have learned that it is discrediting to the system for such blatant, open displays of reactionary bigotry to take place.

But there is another reason that big sectors of the ruling class and their operatives considered Donald Trump to be unfit and one of the principal reasons why the FBI and the intelligence agencies were targeting Trump even in 2016.

If we think back to what Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote in the Communist Manifesto in 1848, they summarized very succinctly the different features of modern bourgeois society, the bourgeois system and capitalism. They used this formulation right at the beginning of the Communist Manifesto: “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.” I’m going to say it again: “The executive of the modern state is but a committee for managing the common affairs of the whole bourgeoisie.”

Donald Trump is perceived to be unwilling or incapable of representing or managing the common affairs of the entire bourgeoisie. He is in fact a unique figure only in this sense; he suddenly became the CEO of the most powerful executive state apparatus in the world. Trump’s personal background leaves him trained only to be the leader, the dictator if you will, of a mid-sized, semi-bankrupt real estate company and a reality TV show personality to boot, whose “star” actually had been in eclipse for some time. Donald Trump only cares about Trump and does not care at all — as we can see by his conduct in the last year — about the common affairs of the bourgeoisie. He is unfit because he doesn’t fit the mold of what the CEO of the dominant capitalist and imperialist state in the world is required to be. They want to bring him down and the Mueller investigation has become the vessel for those in the ruling class who want to end Trump’s presidency. The Mueller investigation only came into being as the consequence of Trump’s political stupidity, as evidenced by his firing of James Comey as FBI director.

Trump ridiculously believed that since the Democrats hated Comey for his re-opening of the FBI investigation of Hillary Clinton’s personal email use, the Democrats would applaud Trump’s decision to fire him. After all, the FBI investigation was reopened just eleven days before the Nov. 8, 2016 election, casting a shadow on her campaign. Instead, the Democrats and anti-Trump liberals embraced the fallen FBI Director as the champion of “our democracy.”

The “Russiagate” probe has two principal objectives

The Russiagate propaganda and agitation campaign is designed to smear Trump. It is also being used to build a consensus in the U.S. for confrontation with Russia, for a sharp acceleration of militarism and a massive shift of public resources into the coffers of the Pentagon and war contractors.

Russiagate is also being used to smear the Left, to smear the Black liberation movement, to attack independent third political parties, to smear our own Party.

Mueller doesn’t really have evidence of collusion between Trump and the Russians that allowed him to become president in 2016. After all, he lost the popular vote by 3 million votes, and except for the continued existence of the archaic slave-based electoral college system, Hillary Clinton, not Trump, would be President.

The Russians did not, nor did anyone else, expect Trump to become the President of the United States. They did not put their eggs in the Donald Trump basket even if they thought he would be slightly softer on Russia and less bellicose than Hillary Clinton and the neo-conservative establishment that supported her. Clinton and the Neocons were the tip of the spear for a reoriented foreign policy that explicitly targeted Russia as a consequence of the events in Ukraine and Syria.

Nobody, or very few within the ruling class, expected in 2016 that Trump would win the presidency. Nobody counted on it and the ruling class was surprised — shocked would be more accurate — by Trump’s victory.

The Mueller investigation’s broad, open-ended mandate, as one can see with the recent subpoenas, will be able to get hold of the Trump organization’s financial records. And in them there will be plenty of corruption, of criminality. There will be indictments certainly to come against Trump and unless there’s a sharp change in the political situation, a big part of the ruling class will remain absolutely determined to bring him down.

I want us to hear the words of John Brennan, the former CIA director under Barack Obama. Brennan, by the way, had a hard time getting the top post in 2009 when Obama wanted to bring him into that position. But Brennan’s main problem was his deep connection to George W. Bush’s torture program. Obama had to wait and let him sit it out with a secondary position for a few years until they figured that people (the media) would start to forget what Brennan and Cheney and Gina Haspel and all the other torturers did. Now, ironically, liberals love Brennan.

But to stay with our main point: here’s what Brennan said about the President of the United States. Again, the former CIA director until a year ago, he writes these words:

“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude and political corruption becomes known you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history.”

He goes on to declare that Donald Trump is one of the biggest liars and leakers in Washington. Relegated to the dustbin of history? I mean, this is the language that is normally reserved for Saddam Hussein, or Muammar Qaddafi, or Kim Jong Un or earlier Fidel Castro, but this is the former CIA director talking about the President of the United States. It shows the temper and mood within the ruling class in America and this will be a fight that will continue. Eventually one side or the other will win.

I think that within the state apparatus and media, many are determined to find one way or another to end the Trump presidency, which would then be the presidency of Mike Pence. So it is really foolhardy, ridiculous, bizarre and politically wrong for any wing of the Left, certainly in the working-class, socialist and Marxist movement, to affix itself politically to one wing or another wing of these ruling class factions that are involved in deep struggle.

The sharp splits and divisions within the ruling class are not new phenomena. In fact, it is a feature of what happens to U.S. imperialism within the pinnacle of the political establishment when the U.S. empire seems to be in decline or in crisis.

Let’s start with some recent history: Between 1960 and 1980 there was not one U.S. president who could finish a second term in office. Just think of what actually happened at that time. The United States appeared to be losing the misnamed Cold War. Socialism and national liberation were on the ascension. Cuba was able to fend off a U.S.-led Bay of Pigs invasion in 1961 that was meant to overthrow the revolution.

Liberation fighters in South Vietnam had launched an offensive against the U.S. puppet regime. Kennedy was blamed for not doing enough to overthrow the Cuban government. Kennedy and his brother had been the main restraining voices within the emergency war council during the October 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis. Kennedy was deeply disliked by the Pentagon brass and the CIA. He was perceived by the Dixiecrats as a “race traitor” because he seemed to favor the end of apartheid (segregation) in the South and his Justice Department had some connection to the southern civil rights movement.

One year after the Cuban Missile Crisis, John F. Kennedy was gunned down, assassinated. His replacement was Lyndon Johnson. Johnson couldn’t run for a second term because of the growing opposition in the streets and within the summits of the establishment about the failure of the U.S. to win the war in Vietnam. Johnson would have been replaced by Bobby Kennedy who ran on a platform of ending the Vietnam War. But Bobby Kennedy was shot dead in June 1968 on the night that he won the California primary, thus clinching the Democratic nomination.

Absent Kennedy’s participation you have Richard Nixon able to ascend to the White House. Nixon, too, faced a great struggle within and from the ultra-right in 1972 led by the campaign of George Wallace. That effort came to an end when Wallace was felled by a would-be assassin’s bullet. Nixon won 49 states in the 1972 election. Wall Street and the military-industrial complex were 100 percent opposed to McGovern assuming the presidency.

Nixon was unable to finish the second term of his time in office because of Watergate. But Watergate was really the bringing down of Richard Nixon by the FBI. The so-called “Deep Throat” in the Watergate investigation was none other than Mark Felt, the number-two man after J. Edgar Hoover in the FBI.

After Nixon was brought down, again because of the intra-class struggle within the bourgeoisie, Gerald Ford and Nelson Rockefeller became president and vice president, but without an election; they were appointed. Ford lost to Jimmy Carter in 1976.

And yet, Carter, too, was unable to win re-election in 1980 because of an even more profound, unprecedented schism within the ruling class. The Pentagon became the spearhead of this incredible clash. More than 120 retired generals and admirals created the Committee on the Present Danger. They took out huge full page advertisements blaming Carter and “weak” leaders for undermining the status of the United States as the number one super-power in the world. Their message was one of the most brazen calls for extreme militarism and the ramping up of virulent anti-Sovietism. Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign was the vessel for the Committee on the Present Danger. It was a ruling class coalition of Generals and Big Oil.

The immediate context at that time of the open split in the ruling class was the 1979 Iranian Revolution and the 1978 socialist revolution/coup in Afghanistan. The loss of Iran via a people’s revolution had a staggering impact on ruling class politics in the U.S., for Iran had been, along with Israel, the principal agent for U.S. control over the oil-rich Middle East. The CIA had carried out the coup in 1953 that returned the Iranian monarchy to the throne.

The Iranian Revolution succeeded in taking power in February 1979 and in November 1979, Iranian students took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran. U.S. hostages were seized from the embassy. As we saw later, the Iranians refused to release those hostages until January 20th, on that very day, and just a few minutes after Ronald Reagan became president of the United States. The Reagan campaign had been colluding with the new Iranian government. There was obviously an agreement or arrangement between the Reagan campaign, the Republicans and the Iranian government to not release the U.S. hostages. Failure to win the release of the American hostages and a botched military effort to rescue them made Jimmy Carter appear to be a weak leader lacking the resolve to overcome this so-called Iranian aggression.

Looking back one can see this great instability of 20 years within the ruling class in America.

The schisms, splits, divisions and toxic struggles within the ruling class have to be understood as a consequence of setbacks.

It wasn’t just Iran, of course. The setbacks that the U.S. was suffering were on a global scale. Almost all of Southeast Asia had gone socialist, the African Revolution was on the march, revolutions in Mozambique, Guinea Bissau, Angola. There was the  Ethiopian revolution in 1974 and an even deeper socialist revolution in 1977. The Afghanistan revolution took power in 1978. The Sandinistas took power in Nicaragua through an armed struggle in 1979.

The summits of the U.S. ruling class became toxic with intra-class struggle, not primarily because of the internal class struggle between the working-class and the bourgeoisie at home. It was within the bourgeoisie over how to manage their defeats and setbacks in the global class struggle.

In some respects we are now in a similar situation although for different reasons. It is a toxic, fractured ruling class. Politically, the stakes are very high in terms of the outcome. Trump represents a current within U.S. politics that believes the U.S. is a formerly “great” country that is now in decline. The repeated military interventions in the Middle East provided no new advance for the United States. These interventions have bogged the United States down in the Middle East which allowed China to rise as the new dominant power in Asia. At the same time, Russia got back on its feet and resumed a Russia-China strategic relationship that serves as a buffer against the organic and constant drive for world domination by U.S. imperialism.

The second phenomenon: The re-orientation of U.S. foreign and military policy

The struggle inside the ruling class coincides with another major development, the reorientation of U.S. foreign policy to prepare for a major power confrontation with Russia and with China. That is explicitly stated in the recently released Nuclear Posture Review and the new National Security Strategy that was released in January. It is not about ISIS, it is not about  Al-Qaeda, it is not the war on terror. The Pentagon is now preparing actively, with all of its contingency planning and budgeting, for what is described as major power confrontation with Russia or China.

Just a few days ago the Americans sent destroyers twelve nautical miles from Chinese territory. The Chinese said this was an act of war. This morning, China’s Air Force conducted major exercises, which the Chinese military press-release of a few hours ago said was a “dress rehearsal for war.”

The events in Ukraine and Syria have turned the tide and led to a qualitatively different assessment within the heights of the U.S. foreign policy establishment, and in the Pentagon and the CIA, regarding Russia. In 1991 when the Soviet Union collapsed, the United States promised the new Russian leadership, Boris Yeltsin, that the United States would not take advantage of the new weakness of Russia to move NATO eastward.

But of course, as we all know that is exactly what happened. All the former socialist governments had fallen in Eastern and Central Europe. The socialist governments in former Soviet republics that were not Russia, Ukraine, for instance, Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania also fell. All of them with the exception of Ukraine had been incorporated into NATO by 2014, a U.S. multilateral military alliance targeting Russia. NATO has gone from being located in central or Western Europe right up to Russia’s border.

When the government of Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in a February 2014 coup d’état led by Neo-Nazis — and that is not a rhetorical flourish, they were in fact Nazis and neo-Nazis — the U.S. government heralded that as a great “new day” for Ukrainian freedom. The Russian Black Sea Fleet and the largest naval base of the Russian military is located in Crimea. It is an area that has been part of Russia since the 1700s, is majority Russian ethnically and was only transferred administratively from Russia to Ukraine in 1954 when Ukraine and Russia were still one country, when they were both parts of the Soviet Union.

When the U.S.-backed coup seized power in Ukraine in 2014, Putin made it clear Crimea would remain Russian and so the referendum was allowed to take place in Crimea. And of course the people there being mainly Russians voted to be part of Russia rather than be ruled over by an anti-Russian, fascist government in Ukraine, which it was at that time. It has moderated somewhat now but is still very rightwing.

It was at that time that the U.S. said: “This is it, how dare Russia stop the unilateral adoption or embrace of all these former Soviet territories, or former Soviet allies, into an American-led military alliance?” Ukraine had been the second largest Soviet republic and it has a very large military. There was no way Russia was going to allow Ukraine to station a NATO base on its territory. This was precisely where the Nazis came into Russia in 1941. Of course as we know, they were defeated, but 27 million Soviet people died. This is a big part of Russian history, Russian culture, the Russian psyche.

I don’t know what the United States thought they could do in Ukraine, but whatever they thought there was no way Putin or any Russian government would allow that.

At the same time, the United States, having overthrown the government in Iraq and Libya in 2003 and 2011, was certain that it would be able to do the same in Syria. Instead of placating the U.S. government once again, as Russia did in 2011 during the run-up to the Libya bombing — when Russia abstained on Resolution 1973 that authorized the use of military force to “protect civilians” — this time Russia said “No.” At the invitation of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, Putin moved the Russian military decisively into the Syrian conflict to make it clear that the Assad government would not be toppled by U.S. imperialism, or Turkey, or its proxy forces ISIS and Al-Qaeda. And they are their proxies in the case of Syria.

We have moved into a new new stage of history, a new stage in the post Cold War era, where U.S. imperialism is now gearing up for major power confrontations with Russia and China. We have to see the Russiagate phenomenon and this witch-hunt, this new cold war, in the larger context of the change in global politics, and a change in the orientation of U.S. imperialism.

Even if it started it as such, it is not simply a Democratic Party excuse for why they were doing badly, or why the DNC leadership demanded people “shouldn’t read those WikiLeaks emails that came from the Russians.” Whatever its origin, this Russiagate propaganda witch-hunt has intersected with a reorientation of U.S. foreign policy that targets Russia and targets China. As a consequence it must be taken seriously.

If you had asked people in Europe, say, 106 years ago, in 1912, “Is it likely that in two years the entire world will be at war? Is it possible that there could be a world war with a magnitude of violence between major powers and that 18 million people could be killed in less than four years?” That had never happened before in human history. Most people at that time would have thought, “No, that’s inconceivable.” But it did happen and 19 years after the end of World War I, came World War II.

World war happened again because inter-imperialist and inter-capitalist rivalries became unmanageable. They became unrestrained. They had their own life. The propaganda combined with nationalism and populism and economic dislocation created a situation where a whole new political arrangement came into existence. Even though none of the parties may have wanted a war, each one kept taking steps in the direction of war — each and all took steps to climb the escalation ladder. Once on the escalation ladder it required the other side to take countermeasures. It is easy to get on an escalation ladder, it is very hard to get off an escalation ladder.

My final point is that Donald Trump has replaced Rex Tillerson, Gary Cohn and now HR McMaster, who were somewhat “moderating forces” from within the traditional bourgeoisie. Who would have thought they would be the moderates? They have been replaced with people like John Bolton who is absolutely committed to war in Iran and was Dick Cheney’s agent for that in 2005. It is important to remember that the only reason the U.S. did not go to war with Iran in 2005 was that its war machine became bogged down by the unanticipated armed resistance of the Iraqi people following the invasion.

Look at the line-up: John Bolton is the replacement as National Security Advisor. Mike Pompeo will be Trump’s Secretary of State. Pompeo is an extreme right-wing Tea Party Republican. He is not just an Islamophobe, an extreme racist, but he also wants to rip up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the agreement with Iran, in order to set the stage for confrontation with Iran.

We have entered a new, extremely dangerous moment. Trump has created a cabinet that is “his” cabinet. It is a war cabinet. He is now free from previous restraints within the ruling class, those he considered to be somewhat disloyal, not completely partisan in the context of this fierce, venomous struggle within the bourgeoisie. Now that he has loyalists around him it means there will be a sharpening of the intra-class struggle within the bourgeoisie and a sharpening of the U.S. war danger. For the moment, it is General Mattis and the Pentagon that are the voices opposed to ripping up the JCPOA. A war with Iran would quickly lead to a regional war and possibly a global conflagration drawing in major power allies on competing sides. Militarism and repeated wars are an enduring and inherent feature of the imperialist epoch of capitalism. We must not ignore this reality.

Posted in USA, RussiaComments Off on Past a point of no return: “Russiagate” and the reorientation of U.S. imperialism

Palestinians resist brutal Nazi military and complicit US


Palestinians resist brutal Israeli military and complicit US

Palestinians resist brutal Israeli military and complicit US

Palestine solidarity rally in Los Angeles. Liberation Photo: Ben Huff

On April 6, as part of a six-week protest known as “The Great March of Return,” Palestinians in Gaza marched for a second time demanding theright to return to their homes in occupied Palestine. This campaign is slated to culminate on May 15, the 70th anniversary of thePalestinian Nakba or “catastrophe,” when the state of Israel was founded. Thousands have participated in this campaign. They represent the demands of the 2 million Palestinians who live in the Gaza Strip, 1.3 million of whom are refugees. The response by the Israeli military has been the murderous use of live ammunition that has killed over 20 and injured over 1,250. For the second Friday in a row, Israeli snipers killed unarmed protesters and injured hundreds more using live ammunition.

Jason Greenblatt, an assistant to President Trump representing the United States in the Middle East commented on the first round of murders: “We condemn leaders and protesters who call for violence or who send protesters — including children —to the fence, knowing that they may be injured or killed.”

Blaming the victim for the crimes of the victimizers is not a new tactic for U.S. representatives. This same argument was used by racist segregationists in the United States in defending the use of attack dogs and water cannons against the unarmed Black community protesting Jim Crow racism in the U.S. South.

Despite the contemptuous statements by Greenblatt and other U.S. officials, it is not the “leaders” that are sending people to confront the occupation force. It is a people, united in their desire for liberation and a return to their homeland, a people who were behind the first and second Intifadas that is the driving force this latest campaign of resistance.

U.S. officials ignore the consequences of three Israeli military offensives over the past six years and the continuing blockade. The blockade has damaged the “water, sanitation, energy, and medical facilities” and “coupled with slow reconstruction due to the blockade [has] led the UN in September to warn that Gaza could be“uninhabitable by 2020” (

Making Gaza uninhabitable, as the U.N. report states, is not an accident, it is a part of a conscious plan by the Zionist government. The Israeli leaders, despite what they say, do not want peace with the Palestinians. They want all of Israel, including the West Bank and Gaza, rid of Palestinians.

The  UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Liz Throssell condemned the latest murders by the IDF in a statement on April 8 that read, “Given the large number of injuries and deaths, the ominous statements made by Israeli authorities in the days leading up to the protest, as well as indications that the individuals killed or wounded were unarmed or did not pose a serious threat to well-protected security forces – and in some cases were actually running away from the fence – there are strong indications that security forces used excessive force.”

The “ominous statements” Throssell refers to are remarks by Israel’s Minister of Defense Avigdor Lieberman. In response to calls by the U.N.and the E.U. for investigations into the first round of murders, this mass murderer stated, “from the standpoint of the [Israeli Defence Force] soldiers,they did what had to be done. … all of our troops deserve a commendation.”

According to international law, which U.S. officials talk about defending when demonizing independent nations like Venezuela, North Koreaor Syria, the shooting of unarmed protestors in an occupied territory is a war crime and those who carry out or order such acts are war criminals.

The Arab League, the European Union, Cuba, Venezuela, Uruguay, South Africa and others have condemned Israel’s most recent actions. The Unites States has used its veto power twice the past week to block U.N. Security Council resolutions calling for an independent investigation into the use offorce by the Israeli Defense Force. The vetoes make it clear the U.S.government is complicit in the actions being carried out by the Israeli military.

This stands in contrast to how quickly, without an investigation, any proof or a U.N. resolution, the United States has blamed Syria for the horrible deaths of people recently killed in Douma in an apparent chemical weapons attack. A similar story and rush to judgement in April 2017 resulted in the launching of 59 tomahawk missiles by the Pentagon on Syrian military targets. Almost a year later, in February 2018, Secretary ofDefense Mattis tells the media the United States never had any evidence the Syrian government used Sarin nerve gas against its people. U.S. hypocrisy is only surpassed by its criminality.

The Palestinian people have been resisting the occupation of their homeland since Al Nakba. For decades, the Zionists and their imperialist backers have schemed to make the Palestinian people disappear. The Zionists tried to falsify the founding of Israel by calling Israel a “land without a people for a people without a land.” They made it a crime to fly the flag of Palestine or be found with a Palestinian flag. While never giving up their flag, in response the Palestinian people dressed in the flag’s colors of black, white, green and red.

The Zionist colonizers have the most sophisticated weapons, resources and technology. They have the economic, political, financial and military backing of U.S. imperialism. They create outdoor prisons like Gaza, they routinely torture prisoners, destroy crops, redirect water, separate families and violate international law each day.

Yet the Palestinian people have not just endured, they continue to resist. They will win.

Long live Palestine! Down with Zionism! Free Palestine!

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human RightsComments Off on Palestinians resist brutal Nazi military and complicit US

9 times US and partners used chemical weapons and WMDs —and got away with it


(This article was first published in 2013 and has been updated in light of recent events.)

There has been no evidence presented that the Syrian government is responsible for the reported chemical attacks. But the U.S., French and British governments (the former colonizers of the Middle East) claim that their allegations alone give them the moral authority to launch military action, in direct violation of international law. What they leave out is the long history of the U.S. government and its partners using chemical weapons and other weapons of mass destruction—and getting away with it. Here are nine examples:

#1: World War I, 1914-1918

Modern chemical weapons were first used on a mass scale during World War I, when the imperialist powers of the world sent their soldiers to kill and die in clouds of mustard gas and phosgene to re-divide the world amongst themselves. Germany was the first to use this deadly new weapon, but all sides of the inter-imperialist war joined in. Gas attacks killed 90,000 soldiers and civilians, while being linked to another 1.2 million casualties. Over 10 percent of all chemists in the United States were involved in the production of chemical weapons during the war, and the government ordered 3,000 tons of its own homegrown type of gas.

#2: Britain in Mesopotamia in 1920

Facing a heroic uprising staged by the people of Iraq, British colonial authorities authorized the use of chemical weapons against civilian populations, arguing in their “Manual of Military Law” that “the rules of International Law… do not apply in wars with uncivilized States and tribes”. Winston Churchill, then the civilian head of the British air force, stated that he was “strongly in favor of using poisoned gas against uncivilized tribes,” which he argued, “would spread a lively terror.”

#3: The nuclear bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945

In one of the most infamous crimes against humanity, the U.S. government dropped atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 even though top military and political leaders knew that the war was effectively over. Approximately 180,000 people were killed immediately by the bombings, and hundreds of thousands died later of radiation poisoning in the first and only use of nuclear weapons in human history.

#4: Agent Orange in Vietnam, 1961-1971

Over the course of the Vietnam War the U.S. military dropped over 20 million gallons of a deadly chemical weapon called Agent Orange. This campaign killed or maimed 400,000 Vietnamese and led to 500,000 babies being born with debilitating birth defects, in addition to devastating the economic life of the Vietnamese countryside by destroying all plant life that the chemical contacted.

#5: Iran-Iraq War

During the 1980-1988 war between Iraq and Iran, the United States supported the Iraqi government led by Saddam Hussein against the post-Shah Iranian government. Secret documents that have recently been declassified show that the CIA was fully aware of Iraq’s brutal and illegal use of chemical weapons but still continued to provide intelligence and other forms of political and military support. Pictured is Hussein with Donald Rumsfeld, who personally managed the chemical weapons sales.

#6: Depleted uranium in Gulf War

In the 1991 and 2003 invasions of Iraq, the U.S. military used depleted uranium—a chemically toxic and radioactive waste product of nuclear energy—in armor-piercing munitions. The use of DU has been linked to higher radioactivity, cancer rates, and congenital malformations among Iraqi civilians and U.S. soldiers. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) estimated that the U.S. fired 1,000 to 2,000 metric tons of depleted uranium in 2003.

#7: White phosphorus in Fallujah, 2005

During the murderous assault on Fallujah in 2004, the U.S. military used white phosphorous chemical weapons as part of its campaign to level the Iraqi city, ultimately forcing 300,000 people to flee their homes. Although the Pentagon still officially denies that it used this brutal weapon, they are contradicted by countless eyewitnesses. One Marine who fought in the battle remembered, “I heard the order to pay attention because they were going to use white phosphorus on Fallujah… Phosphorus burns bodies, in fact it melts the flesh all the way down to the bone… I saw the burned bodies of women and children.”

#8: Israeli use of white phosphorous against people of Gaza, 2008-09

In its 2008-2009 massacre of hundreds of civilians in Gaza, Israel extensively used U.S.-made white phosphorous shells to terrorize densely populated areas – a form of collective punishment for daring to defy colonial aggression. Sabah Abu Halima, a Palestinian victim of an Israeli white phosphorous attack, recalled, “The fire was like lava, my family was burnt and their bodies turned to crisps.” Israel also has repeatedly used thousands of cluster bombs, which wreak enormous civilian damage.

#9 Military testing of radioactive chemicals in St. Louis communities, 1953-1954 and 1963-1965

The United States Military conducted top-secret experiments on the citizens of St. Louis, Missouri, for years, exposing them to radioactive compounds without their knowledge or consent. Approximately 10,000 residents of the Pruitt-Igoe public housing complex, primarily poor and Black, were exposed to the most chemicals. The Army told them they were testing harmless smoke screens, but in fact they were testing the chemical for potential use against the Soviet Union.

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Timeline of “Russiagate” key events

Photo: Seth Anderson. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Photo: Seth Anderson. (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

This timeline  of key events was developed as a resource to accompany Brian Becker’s speech and article: “Past a point of no return: “Russiagate” and the reorientation of U.S. imperialism.” We present these facts, not to defend  the Trump administration but to show the weakness of the evidence underlying accusations of Russian “meddling” in the 2016 elections and to undermine attempts at demonizing Russia. Such demonization of “other” nations and their leaders has been part of the lead up to U.S. imperialist wars in recent history; later, accusations have been shown to be false or at the very least, extremely exaggerated. 

Spring 2016Fusion GPS is hired by the DNC for opposition research on Donald Trump. Previously they had conducted opposition research on Trump on behalf of anti-Trump Republicans. Fusion GPS employs Christopher Steele, former British intelligence agent with previous connections to work in Russia for this task. According to Fusion GPS’s co-owners, Glenn R. Simpson and Peter Fritsch, they only tell Steele that he is  “working for a law firm” and they “gave him no specific marching orders beyond this basic question: ‘Why did Mr. Trump repeatedly seek to do deals in a notoriously corrupt police state that most serious investors shun?’” Steele pays people in Russia, perhaps former Russian intelligence agents, for salacious stories about Trump and eventually writes 16 memos of unvetted, unverified opposition research that would be useful for the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign. This is the “Steele Dossier.”

July 2016Steele begins negotiations with the FBI under the leadership of James  Comey and starts to provide the FBI with “intelligence” that he’s gathering. The FBI opens up an investigation into Trump’s connections to Russia. In early July,  Crowdstrike, a private security firm in charge of digital security for the Clinton campaign that is owned by very wealthy Russians who oppose Putin, say that the DNC was  hacked by Russia.

The FBI requests access to the servers and computers so they can do their own research but the Clinton campaign and Crowdstrike say no, and they’re never subpoenaed. Comey says later in 2017 Congressional testimony it “would have been better” if they could have seen it. But they didn’t demand it and still haven’t seen it to this day.

Wikileaks, which had said they were going to release documents to expose the Clinton Foundation, does so on the eve of the Democratic National Convention. Russia is accused of being behind the hack.

October 2016: On behest of the FBI, Andrew McCabe goes to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Court  — right before the election –and asks for a warrant to surveil Carter Page, an economist who volunteered his services to the Trump campaign for a while.

McCabe is in charge of the investigation of whether HRC had broken the law by using her State Dept email on a private server; in 2015 McCabe’s wife’s election campaign had received half a million dollars from Terry Mcauliffe, who is a close confidant and advisor of Clinton.

At the FISA Court, McCabe provides the dossier from Christopher Steele, the hired hand of the Clinton campaign. That’s the first basis for the warrant. The second basis is a Yahoo News story saying that the dossier was credible. But it came out later that Steele was the source for that article too, which the FBI already knew.

Christopher Steele at that time told his story in Mother Jones. And when the FBI reads this, they withdraw an offer to pay Steele to help them in their investigation of Trump. Up to that point, they were going to put him under contract.

Nov. 8, 2016: Trump is elected.

Dec. 22, 2016: Jared Kushner calls Michael Flynn and other senior people in the transition team at Mar-A-Lago about a pending resolution at the UN Security Council condemning Israeli settlements in the West Bank. The Israeli government was panicked because for the first time — under the leadership of Obama — the U.S. had decided to abstain rather than use their veto in the Security Council, and they were thus facing UNSC condemnation. Flynn called Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak and asked him to either postpone the vote or not allow it to go forward, or for them to vote not on the resolution.

Dec. 28: President Obama called for severe sanctions against Russia, the expulsion of many Russian diplomats and the seizure of Russian compounds. This was seen as a measure to sour relations between U.S, and Russia by the outgoing administration, to prevent any rapprochement.

Dec. 29:  Michael Flynn, after consulting with senior officials, called Kislyak again to convey the message that the Trump government hopes the Russian government will not overreact and rather reciprocate in a measured way, not greater than the strictures imposed by President Obama. Tit-for-tat, not something greater.

Dec. 30: Putin surprises everyone and says there will be no retaliation at all, and invites the children of American diplomats to come celebrate the New Years with them. The U.S. media condemns this, and says this is proof that they’re working with Trump.

Early January 2017: Comey meets with Trump at Trump Tower alongside senior intelligence officials as the normal transition discussion. Others in the meetings were Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, FBI Director James Comey, CIA Director John Brennan, and NSA Director Admiral Mike Rogers. At the end of the meeting Comey speaks privately to Trump and tells him about the Steele dossier of unverified, salacious details. Although Comey cleared the room to tell Trump about the dossier he didn’t tell Trump at that time that the same dossier was the foundation for the FBI request for the FISA warrant against Carter Page back in October 2016. Trump asks Comey, “but you [the FBI] are not investigating me? And Comey said, “No we’re not.”

That’s what made Trump so angry later, that Comey would not come out and say this in public.

Jan. 20, 2017: Trump is inaugurated.

Flynn becomes National Security Advisor. Shortly afterwards he agrees to an interview with the FBI and they ask him about the Dec. 22 and Dec. 29 calls.

They know exactly what had been said because the NSA monitors all communications with Russian diplomats in the US; and the CIA and FBI are derivative agencies that get all their information from them. (In the first call, Flynn, just to recall, had called on behalf of Israel, and Russia had rejected his appeal. And the second call concerned possible Russian retaliation for the Obama adminstration’s anti-Russia moves.)

Because Flynn did not tell the full truth about those calls, either by omission or commission, Comey knows he has caught Flynn in a lie.

January 2017:  Report issued asserting that 17 intelligence agencies all agreed that Russia had hacked the DNC and tried to hack the elections. But in fact six months later, they announced that it was actually only 4 agencies that were “moderately confident” in this assessment.

March 2017: Comey testifies in Congress, and when asked, said the Russian interference had no impact on the election’s outcome — making the Democrats angry. They were already angry at him because he had announced the reopening of the investigation into Clinton’s email servers just 11 days before the election. And Clinton said that the FBI had cast a cloud over the election and that’s why she lost. At that time the Democrats were at his throat. But Trump wanted to get rid of Comey anyway because he felt he stole the limelight, was not “his guy” and wouldn’t say in public what he had said in private, that the FBI was not investigating Trump personally.

May 2017: Trump fires Comey. Media calls it obstruction of justice, a way to stop the investigation. The next day’s headline in the Washington Post said “Comey had requested additional funds for the investigation” — which turned out to be false and they later retracted –after it made an impact.

May 2017: Robert Mueller is appointed as the Special Investigator because Jeff Sessions had already recused himself from the investigation because he too had been scrutinized for not reporting a meeting he had with a Russian diplomat, even though this was part of routine activity as a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Who is Mueller? As Director of the FBI, he had rounded up thousands of Muslims and Arabs after 9/11.

October 2017: George Papadapalous is  indicted for false statements to the FBI. These are called throwaway charges. If you meet with them, and you leave anything out, or they trip you up, or know what you’ve said already, they then get you on perjury charges.

Paul Manafort is also indicted for tax evasion in October 2017, laundering money, and not registering as a foreign agent related to his activities in the Ukraine and the then president Viktor Yanukovych from 2010 to 2014.

These indictments make it look like the investigation is going somewhere but there’s really very little there.

Oct. 2017: Members of Congress and the media condemn Facebook and Twitter executives for “not doing enough” to stop Russian interference because both companies said there was little to no zero Russian influence on the election. But after they were attacked for asserting that position, they went back and provided Congress and the media with a new storyline that validated it. They said a private Russian company did have an outsized influence. They said as many as 50 million people could have been influenced by duplicitous ads on Facebook. Twitter said they would suspend Sputnik from taking out any ads. Both companies, in other words, climbed on board. Here are some facts that are important:

Facebook and Congress assert that $100,000 in ads were purchased by this Russian company starting in 2015–well before the election. Some 56 percent of the ads were published after the 2016 election. Another 25 percent of the ads were never seen by anyone.

To put this $100,000 in perspective — 56 percent of which came after the election — Clinton and Trump spent $81 million on social media advertising, including Facebook and Twitter. During the campaign, Trump received as much as $5 billion in free media advertising when CNN, CBS, and the other networks focused on everything he did that year.

Finally, according to the Congressional probes, the way the Russian company was interfering was by promoting events and activities that were “controversial” including Black Lives Matter, gun rights, abortion rights, etc.

Even though Twitter announced Sputnik would be  suspended from taking ads, Sputnik has never taken out an ad, and never asked to take out an ad. Twitter had offered RT, at the beginning of 2016, a very large package where they would embed their employees in RT to expand RT’s reach during the 2016 campaign, — which they did with many media outlets during the election cycle — but RT rejected the offer and said it was too expensive.

December 2017: Mueller indicts Flynn for lying in meeting with the FBI.

February 2018: Indictment of the employees of the Russian-based Internet Research Agency. These indictments won’t ever be tested because the individuals won’t be arrested and tried. So the indictments were published really as a political intervention by Mueller — as the most he had been able to dig up over a year — and it is based on the tenuous position, that many in Congress openly say, that “everything that happens in Russia goes through the Kremlin.”

March 4, 2018: Skripal incident in London-Former Russian military intelligence officer and naturalised British spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia were poisoned in Salisbury, England. In the 1990s, Sergei Skripal was an officer for Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate(GRU) and worked as a double agent for the UK’s Secret Intelligence Service from 1995 until his arrest in Moscow in December 2004. He was convicted of high treason and sentenced to 13 years in a penal colony by a Russian court in 2006.

March 14, 2018: British government’s official response–top officials accuse the Russian Federation of attempted murder and announce punitive measures against Russia, including the expulsion of numerous Russian diplomats the British accused of being intelligence agents. The UK receives support from the United States and other allies; Russia denies any involvement in the poisoning. 

The European Union, NATO, and many individual countries also take punitive measures against Russia.

March 26 2018: United States ordered the expulsion of 60 Russian diplomatic officers and the closure of the Russian consulate in Seattle. On the same day, a further 33 Russian diplomats were expelled from another 21 countries in a coordinated diplomatic response.

Posted in RussiaComments Off on Timeline of “Russiagate” key events

Bolton: Another war criminal joins Trump’s gangster regime

John Bolton Photo: Gage Skidmore, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

John Bolton Photo: Gage Skidmore, (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The appointment of the notorious warmonger John Bolton as National Security Advisor is the latest move in reorganizing the Trump inner circle as a war cabinet. The Bolton announcement came just days after the naming of Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State replacing Rex Tillerson, and Pompeo’s replacement at the CIA by Gina Haspel. Both Pompeo and Haspel are advocates of torture, and Haspel personally supervised torture at a CIA secret site in Thailand, later destroying the video tapes documenting waterboarding and other abuse of prisoners kidnapped and brought there.

Bolton is the sworn enemy of all progressive and independent governments and movements in the world. He is especially well-known for his virulent and abiding campaign for launching new wars against Iran and North Korea. Less-known is his contempt for working people, illustrated by his call to dismantle all domestic social programs, “root and branch.”

As an Assistant Secretary of State under President George W. Bush, Bolton was asked in 2002 what administration policy was toward North Korea. Bolton responded by placing a book titled “The End of North Korea” on a table next to the reporter, saying, “That is our policy.”

Bolton has a long history of advocating the most belligerent policies toward Russia and earlier the Soviet Union.  He has called Russia’s alleged “meddling” in the U.S. election “a casus belli, a true act of war, and one Washington will never tolerate,” a statement that highlights what a menacing character Bolton is. A U.S.-Russia war would be one between the leading nuclear weapons states and would have the potential of destroying life on the planet, a consequence that doesn’t faze Bolton–just the opposite.

“The next step in the bilateral relationship with Russia,” he recently wrote, “is for this administration to abrogate the New START Treaty,” a nuclear arms reduction agreement between Russia and the U.S. in 2010.

A gung-ho supporter of the Iraq War, Bolton advocated that it be followed by similar regime-change wars against Syria and Iran, as well as North Korea. Bolton worked closely with Israeli intelligence to fabricate  a falsified “weapons-of-mass-destruction” justification for an assault on Iran after the occupation of Iraq, which top Bush officials had predicted would be a “cakewalk.” It was anything but, and it was the fierce resistance in Iraq that was the key factor in preventing a new war on Iran at that time.

Bolton, like Trump and Pompeo, wants to overturn the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, signed in 2015 by the five permanent members of the UN  Security Council, Germany and Iran. It called for severe limitations on Iran’s nuclear program for 15 years in exchange for an end to the harsh sanction that were strangling Iran’s economy.  According to the International Atomic Energy Agency which conducts on-going inspections, Iran has met all the requirements of the agreement.

But Bolton calls the JCPOA agreement “the worst act of appeasement in American history,” and said, “The only thing that will stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons is regime change in Tehran.” While the JCPOA negotiations were underway, Bolton authored a New York Times op-ed headlined, “To Stop Iran’s Bomb, Bomb Iran.”

It is expected that Trump will pull the U.S. out of the JCPOA in May 2018, heightening the threat of a new war in the Middle East.

On February 28, when he undoubtedly already knew that Trump was preparing to appoint him, Bolton published a piece in the Wall Street Journal under the headline, “The Legal Case for Striking North Korea First.” The op-ed reads, “It is perfectly legitimate for the United States to respond to the current ‘necessity’ posed by North Korea’s nuclear weapons by striking first.” In fact, of course such an attack would be a war crime of the highest order.

While Trump surprised many by announcing that he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, by May of this year, a recent Bolton interview with a Washington DC radio station raised serious questions about whether the negotiations will actually take place.

“I think this session between the leaders will be a fairly brief session where Trump says, ‘Tell me you have begun total denuclearization, because we’re not going to have protracted negotiations. You can tell me right now or we’ll start thinking of something else.’”

Such a contemptuous approach would not be “negotiations” at all, and would of course be rejected by the North Korean leaders. Clearly, this is what Bolton want to see happen, as underlined by another recent statement: “The only way to resolve the North Korean problem is to change the regime.”

The most extreme Zionists in both Israel and the U.S. are celebrating the Bolton appointment. Bolton has expressed undying support for the apartheid Israeli state and complete disdain for the Palestinian people and their right to self-determination. He has advocated what he calls the “three-state solution,” turning over remnants of the West Bank that Israel doesn’t want to annex to Jordan, and Gaza to Egypt.

The elevation of Bolton, Pompeo and Haspel can only be seen as a turn in the direction of new war and intensification of the seven wars the U.S. is already engaged in. Now is the time to intensify the resistance.

Posted in USAComments Off on Bolton: Another war criminal joins Trump’s gangster regime

US equally responsible for Nazi horrific massacre of protesters in Gaza


US equally responsible for Israel’s horrific massacre of protesters in Gaza

US equally responsible for Israel’s horrific massacre of protesters in Gaza

Liberation photo: Ben Huff

The Party for Socialism and Liberation condemns the cowardly massacre carried out by the Israeli government and occupation forces against heroic unarmed protestors in Gaza on March 30, 2018. We hold the Trump administration, which has given Israeli leaders the green light to carry out such atrocities, equally responsible for the latest horrific attack.

On March 30, Israeli occupation forces murdered at least 15 Palestinians and injured more than 1,400 using live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, and huge quantities of tear gas against tens of thousands of protesters. Tank and air attacks were also carried out against unarmed demonstrators.

The massive protests in cities across Gaza — the world’s largest open-air prison — were held on Land Day, which commemorates a 1976 Palestinian demonstration against the ongoing confiscation of their lands inside the 1948 borders of Israel. Six Palestinians were killed by Israeli troops and many others wounded in the 1976 protest.

The March 30 actions were called under the banner of “The Great March of Return” and the demand that Palestinian refugees be allowed to return to their lands seized in the ethnic cleansing that made way for the creation of the state of Israel. The actions are set to continue for six weeks, culminating on May 15, the 70th anniversary of Al-Nakba (the Catastrophe) which commemorates the dispossession of the Palestinian people.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, 1,416 people were wounded: 758 from live fire, 148 from rubber-tipped bullets, 422 from inhaling tear gas and 88 from other causes. Palestinian officials said that one was killed and 237 wounded in Rafah; four were killed and 345 wounded in southern Gaza; five were killed and 286 wounded in northern Gaza; two were killed and 197 wounded in central Gaza; and three were killed and 351 wounded in Khan Yunis. Many others were wounded in solidarity actions in the West Bank.

Some of the wounded were in critical condition and the Health Ministry issued an emergency appeal for blood donations.

The day before the protest, Israeli’s fascistic “defense” minister, Avigdor Liberman ordered 100 more snipers to the Gaza border. The Israeli occupation forces, while attempting to turn reality upside down by claiming to have been acting in “self-defense,” did not report any soldiers killed or wounded.

The occupation army’s own statement is self-incriminating: “Troops are responding with riot dispersal means and firing towards main instigators.” In other words, as is commonplace in Gaza and the West Bank, Israeli commanders were ordering troops – who were clearly in no danger – to shoot to kill those they labeled as “main instigators.”

Jason Greenblatt, Trump’s designated Middle East “negotiator,”  condemned the march before it started, saying, “Hamas is encouraging a hostile march on the Israel-Gaza border.” This was another unambiguous message from its chief funder, armor and protector that the Israelis could carry out unlimited repression including mass murder and would face no criticism in Washington.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation joins with all justice-minded people worldwide in solidarity with the oppressed people of Palestine. The Palestinian people are continuing their courageous struggle and we will stand with them until they win true self-determination including the right of return.

Long Live Palestine!

Palestine Will Win!

Posted in Palestine Affairs, USA, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human RightsComments Off on US equally responsible for Nazi horrific massacre of protesters in Gaza

Genocide Continues: Two More Killed and 150 Injured by Nazi Forces Today

A Palestinian attacked by Israeli forces is carried by fellow demonstrators during the second week of a mass Palestinian mobilization calling for the right to return, near the border with Israel in the southern Gaza Strip, on April 6, 2018. SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty Images.
Today marks the second Friday of protests along Gaza’s border with Israel. Nearly 35,000 Gazans launched a 6-week protest campaign, the #GreatMarchOfReturn, on March 30, 2018. On that day Israel deployed more than 100 sniperswho killed at least 18 Gazans and wounded another 758.

Gaza’s fearless independent journalists are covering the march, providing evidence that Israel is committing genocide as well as war crimes in Gaza. Fifty years ago, the world said, “never again” and tried to prevent future genocidal acts.

In 1948 United Nation Member States defined the crime of genocide in Article II of the U.N. Genocide Convention Treaty:
Genocide means any of the following acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group, as such:
(a) Killing members of the group;
(b) Causing serious bodily or mental harm to members of the group;
(c) Deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

Israeli snipers and their leaders should also peruse Article IV:
Persons committing genocide…shall be punished, whether they are constitutionally responsible rulers, public officials or private individuals.

149 countries have ratified or acceded to the treaty, including the United States and Israel.

Gazans will continue to protest until May 15, the 70th anniversary of Israel’s founding and Palestinians’ Nakba, or catastrophe, when hundreds of thousands of Palestinians were uprooted in 1948.

A Palestinian man wears a gas mask next to burning tires during a protest in the West Bank city of Ramallah on April 6, 2018. ABBAS MOMANI/AFP/Getty Images

Posted in Palestine Affairs, ZIO-NAZI, Gaza, Human RightsComments Off on Genocide Continues: Two More Killed and 150 Injured by Nazi Forces Today

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