Archive | October 8th, 2018

Trump Admin Follows Corporate Media Playbook for War With Iran


Iranian leaders have repeatedly said they do not want war with the US, but US corporate media, despite frequently characterizing Trump as a “mad king,” continue to play an instrumental role in rationalizing a future war with Iran

Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte (New York Times, 5/10/18) presents Trump and Bolton’s “deal” for Iran.(Patrick Chappatte/New York Times)

Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte (New York Times, 5/10/18) presents Trump and Bolton’s “deal” for Iran.(Patrick Chappatte/New York Times)

Three years ago, as Americans debated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran—popularly known as “the Iran deal”—I highlighted a troubling media trend on (8/20/15): “For nearly all commentators, regardless of their position, war is the only alternative to that position.”

In the months since US President Donald Trump tore up the JCPOA agreement, his administration has been trying to make good on corporate media’s collective prediction. Last week, John Bolton (BBC, 9/26/18), Trump’s national security advisor and chief warmonger, told Iran’s leaders and the world that there would be “hell to pay” if they dare to “cross us.”

That Bolton’s bellicose statements do not send shockwaves of pure horror across a debt-strapped and war-weary United States is thanks in large part to incessant priming for war, facilitated by corporate media across the entire political spectrum, with a particular focus on Iran.

Back in 2015, while current “resistance” stalwarts like the Washington Post (4/2/15) and Politico (8/11/15) warned us that war with Iran was the most likely alternative to the JCPOA, conservative standard-bearers such as Fox News (7/14/15) and the Washington Times (8/10/15) foretold that war with Iran was the agreement’s most likely outcome. Three years hence, this dynamic has not changed.


Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte (New York Times, 5/10/18) presents Trump and Bolton’s “deal” for Iran.

To experience the full menu of US media’s single-mindedness about Iran, one need only buy a subscription to the New York Times. After Trump withdrew from the JCPOA, the Times’ editorial board (5/8/18) wrote that his move would “lay conditions for a possible wider war in the Middle East.” Susan Rice (New York Times5/8/18), President Barack Obama’s national security advisor, agreed: “We could face the choice of going to war or acquiescing to a nuclear-armed Iran,” she warned. Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte (New York Times5/10/18) was characteristically more direct, penning an image of Trump alongside Bolton, holding a fictitious new agreement featuring the singular, ultimate word: “WAR.”

On the other hand, calling Trump’s turn against JCPOA a “courageous decision,” Timescolumnist Bret Stephens (5/8/18) explained that the move was meant to force the Iranian government to make a choice: Either accede to US demands or “pursue their nuclear ambitions at the cost of economic ruin and possible war.” (Hardly courageous, when we all know there is no chance that Trump or Stephens would enlist should war materialize.)

Trump’s latest antics at the United Nations have spurred a wave of similar reaction across corporate media. Describing his threat to “totally destroy North Korea” at the UN General Assembly last year as “pointed and sharp,” Fox News anchor Eric Shawn (9/23/18) asked Bill Richardson, an Obama ally and President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to the UN, whether Trump would take the same approach toward Iran. “That aggressive policy we have with Iran is going to continue,” Richardson reassured the audience, “and I don’t think Iran is helping themselves.” In other words, if the United States starts a war with Iran, it’s totally Iran’s fault.

Politico (9/23/18), meanwhile, reported that Trump “is risking a potential war with Iran unless he engages the Islamist-led country using diplomacy.” In other words, if the United States starts a war with Iran, it’s totally Trump’s fault. Rice (New York Times9/26/18) reiterated her view that Trump’s rhetoric “presages the prospect of war in the Persian Gulf.” Whoever would be the responsible party is up for debate, but that war is in our future is apparently all but certain.

Politico’s article cited a statement signed by such esteemed US experts on war-making as Madeleine Albright, who presided over Clinton’s inhuman sanctions against Iraq in the ’90s, and Ryan Crocker, former ambassador for presidents George W. Bush and Obama to some of America’s favorite killing fields: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syria.  James Clapper, Obama’s National Intelligence Director, who also signed the letter, played an important role in trumping up WMD evidence against Saddam Hussein before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. When it comes to US aggression, they’re the experts.

Vanity Fair (9/26/18) interviewed John Glaser of the Cato Institute, who called Trump’s strategy “pathetic,” and also warned that it forebodes war. In an effort to “one-up Obama,” Glaser explained, Trump’s plan is “to apply extreme economic pressure and explicit threats of war in order to get Iran to capitulate.” Sound familiar? As Glaser implies, this was exactly Obama’s strategy, only then it wasn’t seen as “pathetic,” but rather reasonable, and the sole means for preventing the war that every US pundit and politician saw around the corner (The Hill8/9/15).

When everyone decides that war is the only other possibility, it starts to look like an inevitability. But even when they aren’t overtly stoking war fever against Iran, corporate media prime the militaristic pump in more subtle yet equally disturbing ways.

Benjamin Netanyahu
Benjamin Netanyahu speaks for the Iranian people on CNN (9/29/18).

First among these is the near-complete erasure of Iranian voices from US airwaves (FAIR.org7/24/15). Rather than ask Iranians directly, national outlets like CNN (9/29/18) prefer to invite the prime minister of Israel, serial Iran alarmist and regional pariah Benjamin Netanyahu, to speak for them. During a jovial discussion this weekend over whether regime change and/or economic collapse is Iran’s most likely fate, Netanyahu explained to the audience that, either way, “The ones who will be happiest if that happens are the people of Iran.” No people of Iran were on hand to confirm or deny this assessment.

Bloomberg (9/30/18) similarly wanted to know, “What’s not to like about Trump’s Iran oil sanctions?” Julian Lee gleefully reported that “they are crippling exports from the Islamic Republic, at minimal cost to the US.” One might think the toll sanctions takeon innocent Iranians would be something not to like, but Bloomberg merely worried that, notwithstanding the windfall for US refineries, “oil at $100 a barrel would be bad news for drivers everywhere—including those in the US.”

Another prized tactic is to whitewash Saudi Arabia, Iran’s chief geopolitical rival, whose genocidal destruction of Yemen is made possible by the United States, about which corporate media remain overwhelmingly silent (, 7/23/18). Iran’s involvement in Yemen, which both Trump and the New York Times (9/12/18) describe as “malign behavior,” is a principal justification for US support of Saudi Arabia, including the US-supplied bombs that recently ended the brief lives of over 40 Yemeni schoolchildren. Lockheed Martin’s stock is up 34 percent from Trump’s inauguration day.

Corporate media go beyond a simple coverup of Saudi crimes to evangelize their leadership as the liberal antidote to Iran’s “theocracy.” Who can forget Thomas Friedman’s revolting puff piece for the Saudi crown prince Mohammad bin Salman? Extensively quoting Salman (New York Times11/23/17), who refers to Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as “the new Hitler of the Middle East,” Friedman nevertheless remains pessimistic about whether “MBS and his team” can see their stand against Iran through, as “dysfunction and rivalries within the Sunni Arab world generally have prevented forming a unified front.” Oh well, every team needs cheerleaders, and Friedman isn’t just a fair-weather fan.

While Friedman (New York Times5/15/18) believes that Trump has drawn “some needed attention to Iran’s bad behavior,” for him pivotal questions remain unanswered, such as “who is going to take over in Tehran if the current Islamic regime collapses?” One immediate fix he proposed was to censure Iran’s metaphorical “occupation” of Syria, Iraq and Lebanon. Isn’t this ironic coming from an unapologetic propagandist for Washington’s decades-long, non-metaphorical occupation of the two countries to the east and west of Iran (FAIR.org12/9/15)?

In a surprising break from corporate media convention, USA Today (9/26/18) published a column on US/Iran relations written by an actual Iranian. Reflecting on the CIA-orchestrated coup against Iran’s elected government in 1953, Azadeh Shahshahani, who was born four days after the 1979 revolution there, wrote:

I often wonder what would have happened if that coup had not worked, if [Prime Minister] Mosaddeq had been allowed to govern, if democracy had been allowed to flourish.

“It is time for the US government to stop intervening in Iran and let the Iranian people determine their own destiny,” she beseeched readers.

Medea Benjamin confronts

Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin confronts the head of Trump’s “Iran Action Group” (Real News, 9/21/18).

Shahshahani’s call is supported by some who have rejected corporate media’s war propaganda and have gone to extreme lengths to have their perspectives heard. Anti-war activist and Code Pink  founder Medea Benjamin was recently forcibly removed after she upstaged Brian Hook, leader of Trump’s Iran Action Group, on live TV, calling his press conference “the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen” (Real News9/21/18). Benjamin implored the audience: “Let’s talk about Saudi Arabia. Is that who our allies are?”

“How dare you bring up the issue of Yemen,” admonished Benjamin as she was dragged from the room. “It’s the Saudi bombing that is killing most people in Yemen. So let’s get real. No more war! Peace with Iran!” Code Pink is currently petitioning the New York Times and Washington Post to stop propagandizing war.

Sadly, no matter whom you ask in corporate media, be they spokespeople for “Trump’s America” or “the resistance,” peace remains an elusive choice in the US political imagination. And while the public was focused last week on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s perjurious testimony, the Senate finalized a $674 billion “defense” budget. Every single Democrat in the chamber voted in favor of the bill, explicitly naming Iran as persona non grata in the United States’ world-leading arms supply network, which has seen a 25 percent increase in exports since Obama took office in 2009.

The US government’s imperial ambitions are perhaps its only truly bipartisan project—what the New York Times euphemistically refers to as “globalism.” Nowhere was this on fuller display than at the funeral for Republican Sen. John McCain (,9/11/18), where politicians of all stripes were tripping over themselves to produce the best accolades for a man who infamously sang “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran” to the tune of a Beach Boys song.

McCain’s bloodlust was nothing new. Nearly a hundred years ago, after the West’s imperial competition culminated in the most destructive war the world had ever seen, the brilliant American sociologist and anti-colonial author WEB Du Bois wrote, “This is not Europe gone mad; this is not aberration nor insanity; this is Europe.”

Iranian leaders have repeatedly said they do not want war with the US (AP9/27/18), but US corporate media, despite frequently characterizing Trump as a “mad king” (FAIR.org6/13/18), continue to play an instrumental role in rationalizing a future war with Iran. Should such an intentional catastrophe come to pass, we can hardly say that this would be America gone mad; war is not aberration, it is always presented as the next sane choice. This is America.

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In Germany and America, Invisible Walls


Donald Trump would build a wall to squelch immigration but Berlin is a city that knows the horror of what such a barrier’s really like

East German border guards look through a hole in the Berlin wall after demonstrators pulled down one segment of the wall at Brandenburg gate on November 11th, 1989.(Photo: AP/Lionel Cironneau)

East German border guards look through a hole in the Berlin wall after demonstrators pulled down one segment of the wall at Brandenburg gate on November 11th, 1989.(Photo: AP/Lionel Cironneau)

Visiting Berlin for two weeks, and in the evening I go to bed in a small hotel room, tuning the radio to a German-language station. I understand barely a word but it features a strangely compelling, eclectic mix of Bach, Brubeck and Tim Buckley, unfortunately sometimes interrupted by electronic dance music, the dreaded EDM.

The news plays on the hour and from the torrent of words I cannot comprehend I still can pull the occasional bits and pieces: FBI, CNN, Kavanaugh, Trump. The entire Kavanaugh disaster has been much in the news here although it competes with headlines from the rest of the real world: tsunamis, Syria and Yemen.

Here in Germany, only one in ten expresses any confidence in Trump, and according to a new Pew Research Center poll, “It is the country with the highest percentage (80%) saying relations with the U.S. have deteriorated over the past year… [It’s] also where the biggest declines have taken place in recent years regarding the belief that the U.S. respects personal freedom and that Washington listens to other countries in international affairs.”

As was true at the United Nations two weeks ago, in Germany they are enraged by and laughing at our emperor without clothes, the Orange Julius condemning globalism and international cooperation. With his retinue of the shameless – yes, you, Mitch McConnell, Chuck Grassley, Susan Collins and Lindsey Graham, among too many others — he defies public opinion, mocks the women of the United States, suppresses a proper investigation and rams through the nomination of a suspect judge just because he can and because it will hamstring American social progress for decades to come. Look to the White House, look to the Senate, look to our diplomats bereft of knowledge and experience: we are an international embarrassment.

All of which is beyond painful, but just as the clock strikes midnight over the radio in this Berlin hotel room comes an all-string ensemble playing a lovely version of the national anthem, Haydn’s Deutschland uber Alles, followed immediately by Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.

It’s the perfect combination for our current world and this still-conflicted country of Germany, once officially divided into east and west. Each was written by a great German composer; the first a patriotic hymn, the words of which too often have been used to encourage war; the other a song that celebrates peace, now the anthem of the European Union. As a visitor to this country, such are the contradictions and ironies you run into every day.

Not far from this hotel is the DDR Museum, a somewhat bizarre institution dedicated to the days of Communist East Germany. Opened in 2006 by some scholars and entrepreneurs, it presents a slice of what life was like in the dreary years of Soviet-dominated rule. You can sit behind the wheel of a Trabant, a car of infamous notoriety manufactured there during the Cold War, the so-called “sparkplug with a roof” that at one time featured no fuel gauge, turn signals or headlights. There’s a mock-up of what a block apartment in the drab worker’s paradise was like as well as a secret police interrogation room and a jail cell. You can read copies of 39 different newspapers, all of which hewed to the party line, then see how in spite of it all, resistance slowly built and finally overcame the authoritarian regime.

The place was packed, with kids too young to remember and grown-ups who remembered all too well. You’d think they’d be adverse to the museum’s mementos and the kitschy reminders sold in the gift shop, but they were transfixed, some thinking back to what their past lives in the east were like, others thankful they had never experienced the deprivations of the side that had been walled off from them with barbed wire and cement.

Wednesday, October 3, was German Reunification Day, the 28th anniversary of the day (nearly a year after the fall of the Berlin Wall) when East and West Germany officially became one country again.  There were celebrations and fireworks reminiscent of the weeks when the physical barriers first were breached and people were brought back together and everything seemed possible.

But although no longer divided into separate nations, just a few years ago The Guardian reported on a German newspaper survey that found, “Three-quarters of the population think there are ‘different mentalities’ between east and west.” Few from the west had visited the east and vice versa; only two-thirds of West Germans said they would marry someone from the east.

According to the latest report on the status of reunification, put out each year by the German government, the Berlin Wall is gone but an invisible wall remains. Leonid Bershidsky at Bloomberg writes that this year’s analysis shows that both east and west have seen dramatic improvements in their respective economies but the east continues to lag behind.

What’s more, he notes, “the political chasm is widening. The east is swinging to the far right because many of its people still feel like second-class citizens, and the recent arrival of hundreds of thousands of immigrants has only intensified their sense of being abandoned by reunified Germany’s mostly western establishment.”  This despite a chancellor, Angela Merkel, who grew up in the east.

Anna Sauerbrey, an editor and writer at the German daily newspaper Der Tagesspiegel, says, “East and west are drifting apart again.” There are far more right wing extremist crimes in the east – “it is a hotbed of far-right sympathy and outright hatred.” In a recent New York Times op-ed, she observed that “Some also claim that eastern Germans, not having learned what democracy is like, are more easily frustrated with its tedious processes and often less-than-perfect results.”

As in Trump’s America and other European nations, whether it’s the influx of immigrants or a lack of economic opportunity or insufficient representation in the government, the former East Germany increasingly favors a nationalist, populist political movement; in this case, the Alternative for Germany party.

Our American president would build a wall across the border with Mexico to squelch immigration but Berlin is a city that knows the horror of what such a barrier is really like. It lived with its wall for nearly three decades, the heart of a metropolis broken in two, splitting up families and friends and creating a nightmare of bureaucratic redundancy that’s still being sorted. And yet Germany may be sliding back into the same bigotry and nativism that tore it apart less than a century ago, the xenophobia and prejudice that threaten our democracy as well.

This past week, watching events in Washington from an ocean and continent away did not create any sense of distance because this nation of Germany is a constant reminder of how easily a republic can slide into dictatorship. Ever since the end of World War II, both by edict and desire, the people here have struggled — with much success — to make sure it never happens again. But once again events and resentment may be moving it ever so dangerously back toward jingoism and hate.

Meanwhile, our homegrown, would-be Caesar shouts America First and sets a wretched, hurtful example for staunch allies like Germany and the rest of the world.

Turn up the radio, please, and drown out the news with Beethoven. I’m afraid to hear how it all turns out.

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Could Killing of Washington Post Writer by Saudi ‘Murder Team’ Finally Put Crack in US Support of ‘Criminal Regime’?


“If this is true – that the Saudis lured a U.S. resident into their consulate and murdered him – it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” declared Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in response.

Nobel Prize winner Tawakkol Karman holds a poster of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi while speaking to the media during a protest outside the entrance to the Saudi Arabia Consulate on October 5, 2018 in Istanbul, Turkey. Saudi Consulate officials claimed Khashoggi left the building shortly after his arrival, but his wife waiting outside he never came out after going inside. While many initially believed he was being held by the Saudis inside against his will, Turkish officials have now said they believe the writer was tortured and then murdered by a Saudi hit team. Jamal Khashoggi a Saudi writer critical of the Kingdom and a contributor to the Washington Post was living in self -imposed exile in the U.S. (Photo: Chris McGrath/Getty Images)

Spurring fresh outrage among those who criticize the cozy relationship between the U.S. government and the Saudi monarchy—with emphasis on Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS)—political dissident and Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, a Saudi Arabia national living in self-imposed exile abroad, was tortured and killed last week by a Saudi government ‘murder team,’ according to Turkish sources, while inside the Saudi consulate building in Istanbul, Turkey.

"Here's Jeff Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, yukking it up back in March with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose government appears to have just murdered a Washington Post columnist," wrote Jon Schwarz in a tweet.

“Here’s Jeff Bezos, owner of the Washington Post, yukking it up back in March with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose government appears to have just murdered a Washington Post columnist,” wrote Jon Schwarz in a tweet.

“The initial assessment of the Turkish police is that Mr Khashoggi has been killed at the consulate of Saudi Arabia in Istanbul. We believe that the murder was premeditated and the body was subsequently moved out of the consulate,” one of the two Turkish officials toldReuters on Saturday. The writer, the news agency reported, entered the consulate last Tuesday to secure documents for his forthcoming marriage while his fiancee waited outside. He never came back out, she said, and has not been seen or heard from since.

Citing two people with knowledge of Turkey’s probe, the Post‘s reporting says that the 15-member Saudi hit team was sent “specifically for the murder” and that the entire thing was “pre-planned.” According to the Post:

The killing, if confirmed, would mark a startling escalation of Saudi Arabia’s effort to silence dissent. Under direction from the crown prince, Saudi authorities have carried out hundreds of arrests under the banner of national security, rounding up clerics, business executives and even women’s rights advocates.

“If the reports of Jamal’s murder are true, it is a monstrous and unfathomable act,” Fred Hiatt, the director of The Post’s editorial page, said in a statement. “Jamal was — or, as we hope, is — a committed, courageous journalist. He writes out of a sense of love for his country and deep faith in human dignity and freedom. He is respected in his country, in the Middle East and throughout the world. We have been enormously proud to publish his writings.”

Khashoggi may have been considered especially dangerous by the Saudi leadership, analysts said. His criticisms of the royal family and its vast powers were delivered from his self-imposed exile in the United States and could not be dismissed as the complaints of a longtime dissident.

Unbelievable” and “WTF!!!” declared CodePink’s Medea Benjamin, a U.S. peace activist and expert on the Saudi’s human rights record, after reading the news.

“This should be the long-awaited moment for the US to totally recalibrate its relationship with this criminal regime.”
—Medea Benjamin, CodePink

If the murder happened as is being reported, Benjamin told Commons Dreams, it is “beyond belief,” but also quite easy to believe given the country’s record and that of MbS.

“It exposes the horrific nature of the Saudi regime,” she explained, “and it has the fingerprints of the crown prince all over it.  MbS, who was feted as a refreshing young reformist when he visited the United States, bombs children in Yemen with impunity. He jails women human rights activists and then declares himself a liberator of women. He imprisons and shakes down his internal rivals in an ‘anti-corruption’ drive. He kidnaps the Lebanese head of state and creates a Gulf-wide crisis by attacking Qatar. And now he has a journalist who was living in the United States, a journalist who was a mild critic, murdered on Turkish soil?”

MbS, she concluded, “is out of control and this should be the long-awaited moment for the US to totally recalibrate its relationship with this criminal regime.”

Benjamin wasn’t the only one arguing the murder should force a reckoning in terms of U.S.-Saudi relations. “If this is true – that the Saudis lured a U.S. resident into their consulate and murdered him – it should represent a fundamental break in our relationship with Saudi Arabia,” declared Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) in response.

“If true, this would be an abysmal new low,” said Amnesty International’s Middle East Research Director Lynn Maalouf. “Such an assassination within the grounds of the consulate, which is territory under Saudi Arabian jurisdiction, would amount to an extrajudicial execution. This case sends a shockwave among Saudi Arabian human rights defenders and dissidents everywhere, eroding any notion of seeking safe haven abroad.”

And journalist Shane Bauer tweeted:

Shane Bauer


For anyone who wasn’t convinced of MBS’ ruthlessness after the crucifictions and the torture of political opponents and the imprisonment of women’s rights activists and the war in Yemen, here is another gruesome piece of evidence.

Amichai Stein


BREAKING: initial assessment of turkish police is that saudi journalist khashoggi was killed at saudi consulate in istanbul – two turkish sources tell @Reuters

View image on Twitter

“I’m devastated, shocked and enraged at this news that Turkish authorities believe that my colleague Jamal Khashoggi has been killed in the consulate of Saudia Arabia in Istanbul,” declared Jason Rezaian, a writer for the Global Opinions section of the Post. Khashoggi has been a opinion contributor to the Post since 2017 as well as an outspoken critic of the Saudi government and the Royal Family.

Jackson Diehl


Here is some of the powerful commentary Jamal Khashoggi contributed to the Washington Post during the last year. He was calling for greater freedom in Saudi Arabia, including for women. Is that a capital offense? 

Opinion | Read Jamal Khashoggi’s columns for The Washington Post

Jamal Khashoggi, a veteran Saudi journalist who Turkish officials say was killed in Istanbul after walking into the consulate of Saudi Arabia, has been writing a column for The Post since last year.

Days ago, after Khashoggi went into the consulate but never came out, allies in Turkey who believed he was being detained against his will began rallying outside the building to demand his release. In the midst of those demands, MbS told Bloomberg NewsKhashoggi had left the consulate shortly after he arrived, though neither the crown prince nor the Saudi government provided any evidence to substantiate their claims.

Having consolidated his power within the Kingdom in recent years, MbS has not only been the driving force behind the devastating war against neighboring Yemen, he has also moved aggressively to crush dissent in his own country while simultaneously presenting himself to western governments—none more conspicuously than the United States—as a “reformer” of the notoriously corrupt, abusive, and anti-democratic Saudi government.

In March of this year, the prince travelled to the U.S., as Common Dreamsreported at the time, for a whirlwind “whitewash tour” where the “socially acceptable war criminal” met with political and wealthy elites as well as Hollywood celebrities in an overt effort to polish his image and ingratiate himself to the American ruling class.

As Jon Schwarz of The Intercept expressed in a series of tweets overnight, the possible murder of Khashoggi—likely ordered by MbS himself—only highlights the corrupt, violent, and insidious result of the backing and support given to the Saudis by the U.S. government and some of its most powerful people:

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Jon Schwarz@schwarz

Here’s a short, four-part story about how the world actually works:

As Amnesty’s Maalouf stated, “The international community’s deafening silence on Saudi Arabia’s crackdown on freedom of expression must end and it must demand an immediate explanation from Saudi Arabia’s authorities about Jamal Khashoggi’s fate or whereabouts. If the reports are true, they must immediately launch an independent investigation and those responsible, however high their rank or status, must face justice.”

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As Misogynist, Homophobic Bolsonaro Advances to Run-Off in Brazil’s Election, Critics Fear ‘Genuine Fascist’ Takeover


Jair Bolsonaro aims to bring about “the worst abuses of the kinds of dictatorships that summarily executed dissidents, that shut down media outlets, that closed congresses, that we thought was a thing of the past here in Latin America.”

Women across Brazil protested the country’s election results on Sunday, as homophobic, misogynist former military officer Jair Bolsonaro advanced to a run-off election. (Photo: @louistdaylight/Twitter)

Anti-fascist Brazilians expressed horror late Sunday as they watched the misogynist, racist former military officer Jair Bolsonaro advance toward a likely victory in the country’s presidential race, days after hundreds of thousands of women and allies protested his extremist agenda.

Shocking journalists and poll-takers by unexpectedly winning 46 percent of the vote in the general election’s first round, Bolsonaro now heads to a run-off scheduled for October 28. He will face former São Paulo Mayor Fernando Haddad of the Worker’s Party (PT), who garnered just over 29 percent of the vote.

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

Glenn Greenwald


The election results stoked fears that under Bolsonaro’s Social Liberal Party (PSL), Brazilians could soon be living under a military dictatorship like the ones that ruled the country for large portions of the 20th century—and which Bolsonaro has reminisced about during his campaign.

Glenn Greenwald@ggreenwald

Lots of people in Brazil who never thought it would happen to them are going to spend the next 3 weeks as PT/Workers’ Party supporters (petistas). But it’s not about PT. It’s about stopping a genuine fascist from taking over a democracy with no structural or political limits.

The danger of a fascist takeover is especially plausible because the country lacks strong institutions that could keep Bolsonaro’s power in check, as Brazil-based journalist Glenn Greenwald explained on Democracy Now! last week.

“You really don’t have institutions the way you do in the U.S., like a strong Supreme Court or a kind of deep state of the CIA and the FBI or political parties that would constrain him in what he wants to do,” Greenwald said. “And especially given how much popular support there now is behind him, there’s a substantial part of the country that is genuinely terrified about what he intends to do, and intends to do rather quickly, and probably can do—namely, bringing back the worst abuses of the kinds of dictatorships that summarily executed dissidents, that shut down media outlets, that closed congresses, that we thought was a thing of the past here in Latin America but is now on the verge of returning to its most important and largest country.”

In addition to defending torture, endorsing unequal pay for women, and claiming he would rather learn that his son was killed in a car accident than that he was gay, Bolsonaro has advocated for the kind of deadly law enforcement favored by Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte—who has authorized police and the military to indiscriminately kill anyone suspected of dealing drugs. He has also called to loosen gun restrictions in Brazil and vehemently opposes abortion rights.

Women across the country and around the world have protested Bolsonaro’s campaign in recent weeks, with about four million of them joining the Facebook group Women United Against Bolsonaro and hundreds of thousands of people demonstrating on September 28, many carrying banners that read, “Ele Não,” or “Not Him.”

For many, according to an editorial in the Guardian written by Brazilian journalist Elaine Brum, Bolsonaro’s rise to prominence is the result of disenchantment with the PT, which reduced poverty but became mired in corruption in recent years.

“In the cities,” Brum wrote, “he has the support of the leaders of evangelical religious empires, who defend the concept that marriage is possible only between a man and a woman. The far-right candidate also leads among wealthier, more educated men, reflecting the calibre of the Brazilian elites. In addition to his staunch supporters, he attracts a slice of the population that is simply anti-PT.”

Should Bolsonaro win the October 28 run-off, Brazil will become the latest major economic power to fall into the hands of a right-wing, populist strongman leader, following similar victories in Europe, largely thanks to growing anti-immigrant sentiment there.

Financial Times


If Jair Bolsonaro becomes president of Brazil he will join a global club of strongman leaders that includes Vladimir Putin of Russia, Xi Jinping of China — and of course Donald Trump in the US. 

Raquel Willis


While Americans are rallying against disgustingly bigoted and misogynistic political leadership, Brazil is experiencing what we did on Nov. 9, 2016. The Far-Right has been doing damage globally for some time, so we can’t think this is just about us. 


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Forgoing a Celebration of Colonization and Stolen Land, Cities Across the Country Opt to Recognize Indigenous Peoples Day


“The history we’ve been taught is not accurate or complete. And perhaps most important among those truths, Indigenous lands are still being colonized, and our people are still suffering the trauma and impacts of colonization.”

Cities across the U.S. celebrated Indigenous People’s Day on Monday, opting not to observe Columbus Day. (Photo: @MoBetter_B/Twitter)

As cities across the United States aim to honor the millions of people who lived on the North American continent for centuries before they faced the persecution of European explorers who arrived to claim the land as their own, many local governments marked Indigenous People’s Day on Monday.

Indigenous activists applauded the move as they urged Americans to also acknowledge the battles First Nations groups are fighting in the present day.

“Formerly known as Columbus Day, today is Indigenous Peoples Day in more than 80 (and counting) cities, counties, and states,” wrote Jade Begay and Dallas Goldtooth inSierra magazine. “Christopher Columbus was not a hero, he was a murderer. The land we all exist on is stolen. The history we’ve been taught is not accurate or complete. And perhaps most important among those truths, Indigenous lands are still being colonized, and our people are still suffering the trauma and impacts of colonization.”

San Francisco and Cincinnati, Ohio were among the cities that celebrated Indigenous Peoples Day for the first time this year.

“San Francisco has a responsibility to oppose the systematic racism towards indigenous peoples in the United States, which perpetuates high rates of poverty and income inequality, exacerbating health, education, and social crises among Native Americans,” read a measure that passed earlier this year, calling for San Francisco to replace Columbus Day.

Begay and Goldtooth and urged those marking the day to support indigenous groups fighting fossil fuel industries, high rates of violence, and other rights violations as they work to protect the land they’ve inhabited for centuries:

Across the country we continue to see the violation of our right and treaties as extractive projects are proposed and constructed. Across the nation, we continue to grieve our missing and murdered Indigenous women, victims of violence brought to their communities by extractive oil and mining projects. We continue bear the brunt of climate change as our food sovereignty is threatened by dying ecosystems and as our animal relatives are becoming extinct due to land loss, warmer seasons, and/or contamination. And now, we are fighting for the very right to resist as anti-protest laws emerge across the country, which aim to criminalize our people for protecting what is most sacred to us.

The authors called on supporters to embrace “three frameworks that move our fight for indigenous rights forward”—intersectionality, indigenous feminism, and efforts to “change the story” about indigenous people.

“We have all been affected by capitalism, colonization and white supremacy. As such, it’s going to take all of us—native and non-native alike—to dismantle these systems of oppression,” wrote Begay and Goldtooth. “However, white allies in particular must be held accountable for their role in the dismantling of white supremacy and extractive economies.”

President Donald Trump’s comments on the holiday contrasted with the attitudes of a growing segment of the American population, as he tweeted about Columbus’s “spirit of determination and adventure,” with no mention in his presidential proclamation of the indigenous people who were enslaved and subjected to genocide by Europeans. His comments were met by condemnation on social media.

Donald J. Trump


Christopher Columbus’s spirit of determination & adventure has provided inspiration to generations of Americans. On , we honor his remarkable accomplishments as a navigator, & celebrate his voyage into the unknown expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Presidential Proclamation on Columbus Day, 2018 | The White House

In 1492, Christopher Columbus and his mighty three-ship fleet, the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria, first spotted the Americas.  His historic achievement ushered in an Age of Discovery that expanded our…

  • Donald J. Trump


    Christopher Columbus’s spirit of determination & adventure has provided inspiration to generations of Americans. On #ColumbusDay, we honor his remarkable accomplishments as a navigator, & celebrate his voyage into the unknown expanse of the Atlantic Ocean. 

Morgan J. Freeman


Happy and sending love to all those who have been tyrannized or abused by The Patriarchy! It started with Columbus and it’s happening again with Trump.

Posted in USAComments Off on Forgoing a Celebration of Colonization and Stolen Land, Cities Across the Country Opt to Recognize Indigenous Peoples Day





9/11 was a shock, but it was the Anthrax attacks that pushed the Congress over the edge and got them behind the Neo-Cop agenda including the invasion of Iraq and the Patriot Act.

Who sent it?

Well, no one knows, but we do know it came from the US defense stockpile.

A most important – and mostly untold – story.

Today is the anniversary of this attack.

Posted in USAComments Off on REMEMBER THE ANTHRAX ATTACKS? ”Video”

Kavanaugh confirmed in spite of mass opposition: The Supreme Court an instrument of capitalist domination and political reaction


Image result for Kavanaugh CARTOON

In spite of the mass opposition in the streets and in communities throughout the United States the U.S. Senate has confirmed arch-reactionary Brett Kavanaugh to be the ninth Justice of the Supreme Court. With rare exception the Supreme Court has over the past 200 years upheld the most reactionary aspects of U.S. capitalism – the enslavement of African people, the maintenance of an apartheid system following the Civil War, the granting of broad immunity for U.S. police departments as they carry out systematic violence against oppressed communities, the denial of women’s right to vote and a myriad of other efforts to suppress workers in the U.S. labor movement. 

Statement by the editorial team of Breaking the Chains: A socialist perspective on women’s liberation.

At stake are not only abortion rights but capital punishment, solitary confinement, the weakening  of anti-discrimination laws, the further rollback of recently won LGBTQ rights, further erosion of affirmative action; further attacks on environmental regulations, civil rights, fair housing, voting rights, disability rights, mass surveillance, torture practices and so on. No one’s interests and rights will be protected except those of the ruling class — comprised largely of ultra-rich white men, who see themselves, like Kavanaugh, as the rightful heirs of power and privilege.

Kavanaugh’s confirmation is outrageous and truly undemocratic–a majority of voters polled now oppose him on the Court since the allegations of sexual assault and misconduct surfaced.

But the problem with the Supreme Court goes deeper than Kavanaugh. While some are suggesting Kavanaugh will “tarnish” or “delegitimize” an otherwise pristine institution, the truth is that the Court is undemocratic and reactionary to its very core.

The Supreme Court is portrayed as an impartial body, detached from society, above everyone, but we know this is not true. It represents a legal system that was created by the wealthy elite to maintain the rule of the dominant class. They created it and it operates against the interests of the vast majority in society. It is stacked, generation after generation, with Harvard and Yale graduates, with deep connections to corporate America and vetted by the political establishments of the two ruling parties.

Before the Civil War, it protected slavery — many of the justices were slaveholders themselves, buying and selling men, women and children in their free time while writing tracts about “justice” and “freedom.” In the industrial revolution, the Court became a vehicle for the railroad companies to bust up unions and the organizations of small farmers. Under Jim Crow, it defended segregation. When the ruling class was on the defensive in the 1960s and 1970s, and the people’s movements were rising, the Court granted some progressive reforms, but its recent history — Citizens United, Janus, the gutting of the Voting Rights Act — have all shown where it really stands.

The Supreme Court and other components of the “checks and balances” governmental system we learn about in school, in fact exists to prevent “too much” democracy. As Stephanie Fisher wrote:

“…the Supreme Court has been used to limit the democratic process in the interests of the ruling class. It ensures, for example, that no democratically elected Congress could ever pass a law that infringes on the right of the rich to own their wealth.” (The Supreme Court: Last Line of Defense for the Ruling Class.)

Regardless of which individual is confirmed as a member of the Supreme Court, the institution as a whole is inherently undemocratic and serves to protect the interests of the capitalist class. As such, it needs to be abolished.

Down with the sexist system!

Even before it became widespread knowledge that Kavanaugh had been credibly accused of attempted rape and other forms of sexual assault, it was no secret that he is a very reactionary judge who opposes abortion and could overturn Roe v. Wade. The bigger question is: why is it even an option to overturn women’s rights?

The system of capitalist “democracy” does not guarantee basic rights for women but uses our rights as a political bargaining chip.

Sexual assault, sexual harassment and other forms of gendered violence have deep roots in patriarchal class society, supported by the ideology of male supremacy. In this context, sexualized and gendered violence including assault and harassment are everyday occurences for women. Women are blamed for being victimized: Why did she go to the party? Why did she wear that dress? Why did she drink beer? Why didn’t she say no? Why didn’t she report the crime?

Women have been socialized to not report, not tell anyone about assault because it is seen as a “personal” problem and because women know that it is we, the ones who have already suffered assault, who will be put on trial–not the person who assaulted us.

That is why #MeToo and #WhyIDidntReport are powerful. Many women are saying we will no longer be silent.There’s a movement of people demanding our rights as part of a greater struggle for justice and equality.  Women and our supporters are rising up with long-suppressed anger to denounce and protest Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

We must resist the pressure to throw our support behind the Democratic Party, also known as “the lesser of two evils.” The argument that the President appoints Supreme Court justices–thus a Democratic president is preferable–is often used as the ultimate argument against voting for a socialist or working-class candidate. This argument contributes to the problem that it aims to address. By channeling people into a political system that is by its very construction anti-democratic, it undermines the effort to build a powerful, militant people’s movement.

The confirmation of a known reactionary and misogynist such as Kavanaugh should not be reason for despair. Our power is not measured in confirmation hearings. The Senate is a millionaires’ club, representing its own interests, not ours.

Our power is measured in the streets, in our schools, workplaces and neighborhoods. Despite its reactionary character, the Court has in its history made a few “progressive” rulings. These rulings, like all such rulings, reflect the balance of forces in the class struggle on a global scale, more than they reflect the exact composition of the court. When the working class movement for people’s liberation is strong, the court will grant a concession, not out of the goodness of their hearts, but because to do otherwise would be to throw fuel on the fire of the people’s anger.

Now is the time to be out in the streets. The system has exposed itself.

Posted in USAComments Off on Kavanaugh confirmed in spite of mass opposition: The Supreme Court an instrument of capitalist domination and political reaction

Busted! VT’s Investigation of US Bio Weapons Lab Goes Mainstream


YouTube Turns off Counter on Viral Video Expose

Screenprint from 3pm EST Oct 5, 2018 showing “0” views

and from VT:


Dozens of Georgians likely Killed by US toxin or Bioweapon disguised as Drug Research – Russian MoD

… from Russia Today, Moscow

[ Editor’s Note: It has taken a while for VT’s reporting about Senator Lugar Laboratory’s illegal bioweapons human testing to get into the mainstream news. Moscow has known about the laboratory for years because it monitors VT, but it chose to keep any response low key.

That seems to have changed now with its statement to consider a military reaction among its options – something rarely said by the Russians; plus the statement comes from a high official.

It also shows the rest of the world that the incidence of 79 people murdered in population testing can be kept quiet due to no international oversight of these labs – something that needs to be fixed, as this kind of covert research is a major security threat to us all.

And by that I mean that independent monitors have to be in all of these labs as permanent staff to verify in real time that the laboratory experiments are in compliance with international law and regulations.

Am I unhappy that VT did not even get a mention here, when Moscow has monitored our Lugar Laboratory reporting for years, primarily due to our Seth Ferris articles from NEO? Well, it’s not totally unexpected; and as Gordon does so love to say, “Welcome to how the world really works” … Jim W. Dean ]

– First published … October 04, 2018 –

A US-funded biomedical laboratory in Georgia may have conducted bioweapons research under the guise of a drug test, which claimed the lives of at least 73 subjects, the Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement.

The question of what really might have taken place at the secretive US-sponsored research facility hosted by Russia’s southern neighbor was raised by the Russian military on Thursday after they studied files published online by a former Georgian minister.

The documents record the deaths of 73 people over a short period of time, indicating a test of “a highly toxic chemical or biological agents with high lethality rate,” said Igor Kirillov, commander of the Russian military branch responsible for defending troops from radiological, chemical and biological weapons.


Deadly experiments: Georgian ex-minister claims US-funded facility may be bioweapons lab — RT World…



The producer of the drug is Gilead Sciences, a California-based biomedical firm that recruited former US defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld as a board member in 1988, in between his two tenures as head of the Pentagon.

“The documents showed many lethal outcomes among the patients. Despite the deaths of 24 people in December 2015 alone, the clinical trials were continued in violation of international standards and the wishes of the patients,” Kirillov claimed. “This led to the deaths of 49 more people.”

The large number of deaths stands in stark contrast to the actual documented use of Sovaldi in Russia, where no deaths have been linked to the drug, the Russian official stressed. Kirillov added that the US has a long record of unethical testing on human subjects in foreign countries.

The Russian official said the new documents “allow us to take a fresh look” at outbreaks of African swine fever in southern Russia in 2007-2018, which “spread from the territory of Georgia into the Russian Federation, European nations and China. The infection strain in the samples collected from animals killed by the disease in those nations was identical to the Georgia-2007 strain.”

The general said the Lugar Center in Georgia is simply part of a large network of Pentagon-controlled laboratories involved in WMD research, which was established in countries neighboring Russia. Part of the research is meant to establish infections that would be particularly resistant to vaccination and treatment, and effectively spread in the environment of the places in which the labs are located, he said.

Russia will take “diplomatic and military action” in response to a perceived threat from US labs, said Vladimir Shamanov, head of Russian parliament’s Defense Committee. He was commenting on accusations by the Defense Ministry. “We cannot simply turn a blind eye to things happening near our southern borders that directly affect our safety,” he told TASS news agency.

VT Bioweapon Information Series – 2012 to present

  1. Former Georgian ministers urge Trump to Investigate Experiments at Lugar laboratory
  2. Richard E. Lugar: Body of Evidence suggests new US Biological Warfront Opening
  3. NEO – Georgians as expendable as white rats (Part 3)
  4. NEO – Lugar Bioweapons Laboratory – a time bomb in Georgia and Region?
  5. Is Swine Flu (H1N1) in Georgia a Seasonal Virus or the result of the Lugar Lab Activities?
  6. NEO – Bio lab in Tbilisi top suspect in weaponizing new diseases
  7. Jeffrey Silverman: Infected personnel from Lugar Lab secretly taken to “Aramyantz” Hospital
  8. Finally: MSM Dealing with US bioweapons labs in Europe
  9. Georgians as expendable as white rats (Part 2)
  10. NEO – Global Alliance for Health does Georgia
  11. International Criminal Court now considering weighing investigation into 2008 South Ossetia war
  12. Secret US Attack, Cited by Putin part of Pentagon Biowarfare Plan (Updated)
  13. NEO – Georgia in the Ebola zone
  14. NEO – The Skinny on Ambassadors and American values
  15. Georgians as expendable as white rats
  16. US produced Sarin gas used in Syria
  17. Vanishing bioweapons lab in Republic of Georgia
  18. John Kerry: Liar Liar – Pants on Fire
  19. Secret Bio-War Program Discovered
  20. US Bio-Chem Terror factories and Syria
  21. CIA Bio-Chem Nightmare exposed (interview by Jeffrey Silverman, with introduction by Gordon Duff)
  22. Press TV: US builds Israeli Nuke bunkers and Bio-War labs

Posted in USAComments Off on Busted! VT’s Investigation of US Bio Weapons Lab Goes Mainstream

Russia to ”Israel”: We’ve got our eyes on you in Syria


It seems that Russia is serious about taming Israel and Saudi Arabia in Syria. When Israel took down the Russian plane, we are told that Netanyahu made several phone calls to Vladimir Putin to explain his version of the debacle. But Putin had other important matters to do; he ignored the mad man in Tel Aviv.

The advanced defense and surveillance systems will be able to monitor both Israel and Saudi Arabia in Syria, and that’s not really good for the Israeli regime, which continues to step into Syria’s territory without a permit.

Vladimir Mikheyev, first deputy director of government-owned Concern Radio-Electronic Technologies, said: “We will know not only that someone has entered the airspace in this region, but also that somewhere a plane is only operating on the runway, be it in Israel or Saudi Arabia or even in Europe.”[1]

That obviously should terrify the Israeli regime. But Mikheyev was just warming up. He continued to drag a political dagger in the heart of the Israeli regime by saying: “Systems capable of combating precision weapons-guided bombs and missiles … will be added to the conventional radar protection systems.”[2] This is no joke, for Russia has already sent “the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Syria and warned Western powers of trying to undermine UN-led efforts to end the seven-year conflict.”[3]

It seems that Russia is serious about taming Israel and Saudi Arabia in Syria. When Israel took down the Russian plane, we are told that Netanyahu made several phone calls to Vladimir Putin to explain his version of the debacle. But Putin had other important matters to do; he ignored the mad man in Tel Aviv. This means that Putin was upset about what the Israeli regime did. Netanyahu, he seemed to have said, has crossed the line, and there is no way that he is going to wiggle out of that blatant violation.

One ought to opine that Russia needs to flesh out an ultimatum to the regime in Israel which basically says that any entity which violates the political law in Syria must be prepared to face dire consequences. If Israel can destroy a Russian plane at will, then they ought to be willing to face repercussions. It’s just that simple.

Let us hope that Russia is working on something like that because much of the world is tired of Israel’s perpetual wars, covert activities in Syria and elsewhere, and perpetual violation of the political order. Israel wants to steal, kill, and destroy without ever reconsidering political ramifications. Enough is enough.

  • [1] “Russia will monitor air traffic in Israel, Saudi Arabia, Europe from Syria,” Middle East Monitor, October 1, 2018.
  • [2] Ibid.
  • [3] “Russia begins missile system delivery to Syria, warns West on peace talks,” Middle East Monitor, September 29, 2018.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Russia, SyriaComments Off on Russia to ”Israel”: We’ve got our eyes on you in Syria

Kerry Reveals Egyptian, Saudi Ex-Leaders Pushed US to Attack Iran


Earlier, the former US Secretary of State warned that Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal may undermine his country’s security and isolate the US from its European allies.

In an address to the Council on Foreign Relations on Friday, former US Secretary of State John Kerry specifically expressed alarm over a possible war with Iran following the US’s exit from the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

By pulling out of the deal, US President Donald Trump has “made it more likely that there will be conflict in the region because there are people there who would love to have the United States of America bomb Iran,” Kerry emphasized.

READ MORE: Trump Fails to Understand Importance of Alliances — Ex-US State Secretary Kerry

He also revealed that both Saudi Arabia’s late King Abdullah and Egypt’s ousted president Hosni Mubarak told him that the US should attack Iran.

According to Kerry, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu also urged then-US President Barack Obama to give the go-ahead for bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Last month, Kerry berated Trump for having described the JCPOA as the “worst deal ever”, adding that the US President tries to “make things up” on Iran.

READ MORE: Trump Slams Kerry’s ‘Illegal Shadow Diplomacy’, Ex-DoS Head Strikes Back

He rejected Trump’s allegations that the JCPOA was ostensibly weak and harmful to the US as false, adding that they could disrupt “the possibilities of international nuclear policy.”

“Just saying that doesn’t make it that. This is the toughest agreement in terms of inspection, accountability — no country has had to do what Iran did in order to live up to this. But to just walk away?” Kerry said.

Earlier, he warned that Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA  ” weakens our security, breaks America’s word and isolates us from our European allies.”

READ MORE: US Can’t Pursue New Treaty With Iran After Violating Nuclear Deal – Tehran

On May 8, Trump announced the US’s exit from “the horrible, one-sided [Iran nuclear] deal that should have never, ever been made.” He pledged to reinstate the “hardest” ever sanctions on the Islamic Republic, which are due to enter their second phase in November and are expected to hit Tehran’s oil sector.Ahead of the announcement, Trump lambasted Kerry for reportedly trying to sit down with European leaders and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in an attempt to salvage the JCPOA.

Kerry responded by arguing that he had remained in contact with his former counterparts just like every previous Secretary of State because he believes that the Iran nuclear deal must remain in effect.

Posted in Middle East, USAComments Off on Kerry Reveals Egyptian, Saudi Ex-Leaders Pushed US to Attack Iran

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