Archive | January 24th, 2020

Short of Time: Julian Assange at the Westminster Magistrates Court


Drawing by Nathaniel St. Clair


Another slot of judicial history, another notch to be added to the woeful record of legal proceedings being undertaken against Julian Assange. The ailing WikiLeaks founder was coping as well as he could, showing the resourcefulness of the desperate at his Monday hearing. At the Westminster Magistrates Court, Assange faced a 12-minute process, an ordinary affair in which he was asked to confirm his name, an ongoing ludicrous state of affairs, and seek clarification about an aspect of the proceedings.

Of immediate concern to the lawyers, specifically seasoned human rights advocate Gareth Peirce, was the issue that prison officers at Belmarsh have been obstructing and preventing the legal team from spending sufficient time with their client, despite the availability of empty rooms. “We have pushed Belmarsh in every way – it is a breach of a defendant’s rights.” Three substantial sets of documents and evidence required signing off by Assange before being submitted to the prosecution, a state of affairs distinctly impossible given the time constraints.

A compounding problem was also cited by Peirce: the shift from moving the hearing a day forward resulted in a loss of time. “This slippage in the timetable is extremely worrying.” Whether this shows indifference to protocol or malice on the part of prosecuting authorities is hard to say, but either way, justice is being given a good flaying.

The argument carried sufficient weight with District Judge Vanessa Baraitser to result in an adjournment till 2 pm in the afternoon, but this had more to do with logistics than any broader principle of conviction. As Baraitser reasoned, 47 people were currently in custody at court; a mere eight rooms were available for interviewing, leaving an additional hour to the day. In her view, if Assange was sinned against, so was everybody else, given that others in custody should not be prevented from access to counsel. (This judge has a nose for justice, albeit using it selectively.)

As things stand, Peirce is aiming to finalise the exhibits for submission to the prosecution by January 18. The government deadline for responding to those documents will be February 7. The case proceeding itself was adjourned till January 23, and Assange will have the choice, limited as it is, of having the hearing at the Westminster Magistrates Court or Belmarsh.

Supporters outside the court were also of same mind regarding the paltry amount of time awarded Assange. The rapper M.I.A, showing how support for the publisher can at times be sketchy, managed to have a dig at the state while also acknowledging thanks from it. (An announcement had just been made that she would be receiving an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.) “I think it is important to follow this case. I am off to get a medal at Buckingham Palace tomorrow and I think today is just as important. To give somebody an hour to put their case together is not quite right.” Assange supporters would agree with her view that, for “a case of this scale, having only access to two hours to prepare, is illegal in itself.”

The atmosphere around the proceedings has thickened of late, and the WikiLeaks argument here about CIA interference and surveillance conducted by the Spanish firm Undercover Global S.L. while Assange was in the Ecuadorean embassy in London is biting. Prior to Christmas he gave testimony to Spanish judge Jose de la Mata claiming he was not aware that cameras installed by the company in the Ecuadorean embassy were also capturing audio details.

Leaving aside the broader issues of free speech, an argument has been made that CIA meddling might well be the fly in the ointment that impairs the prosecution’s case. This might be wishful thinking, but this is a line of inquiry worth pursuing. The WikiLeaks legal team is keen to press the matter in February during the extradition hearing.

In the well-considered view of James C. Goodale, former Vice Chairman and General Counsel for The New York Times, “After reading El Pais’s series, you would have to be a dunce not to believe the CIA didn’t monitor Assange’s every move at the Ecuadorean embassy, including trips to the bathroom.”

Goodale cites the Pentagon Papers case as an example that the defence may well draw upon. Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked classified Pentagon reports to The Washington Post and The New York Times, had the office of his psychiatrist broken into by President Richard Nixon’s notorious “plumbers”, led by former CIA agent E. Howard Hunt. The conscience stricken analyst was also facing charges under the Espionage Act of 1917. When it came to the trial judge’s attention that government misconduct, including the FBI’s interception of Ellsberg’s telephone conversations with a government official had characterised the entire effort against the whistleblower, the case was dismissed with prejudice. Ellsberg’s treatment had “offended a sense of justice” and “incurably infected the prosecution”.

As with Assange, the footprint of the CIA in Ellsberg’s case was far from negligible. It assisted in the muddled break-in. It penned a clumsy psychiatric profile of Ellsberg and assembled a full identification ensemble for the plumbers: Social Security cards, disguises, drivers’ licenses, speech alternation devices. As Goodale rhetorically poses, “Can anything be more offensive to a ‘sense of justice’ than an unlimited surveillance, particularly of lawyer-client conversations, livestreamed to the opposing party in a criminal case?” It remains for the British courts to consider whether that degree of offensiveness has been achieved in this case.

Posted in UKComments Off on Short of Time: Julian Assange at the Westminster Magistrates Court

The Media and the Military Mindset


Photograph Source: Beverly & Pack CC BY 2.0

U.S. national media have been lazy in their treatment of our military—pandering to the military itself and using retired general officers with ties to the military-industrial complex as spokesmen.  The United States is largely in an arms race with itself, but the media typically ignore bloated defense spending.  It is past time to reinforce Martin Luther King’s address to the Riverside Church in 1967 that linked chronic domestic poverty and military adventurism.

Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Department of Defense has been playing an outsize role in the implementation of U.S. foreign policy and has too much clout in the production of intelligence analysis.  The administrations of Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump have given the Pentagon an unprecedented position of power and influence, including huge increases in defense spending and a dominant voice in the making of national security  policy.  The media, relying for the most part on retired general officers, have been insufficiently critical of this militarization.

The news on cable television relies on retired general officers to analyze and assess the military actions of the United States.  Nearly all of these retired generals and admirals have high-level positions at various arms manufacturers, but this is rarely noted.  General Jack Keane, one of Donald Trump’s favorite generals, is a frequent analyst on Fox News, but it is never mentioned that the retired general is executive chairman of AM General, a leading defense contractor, best known as the manufacturer of the Humvee and other tactical military vehicles.  Keane obviously has a direct financial interest in the use of force.

NBC News and MSNBC, the so-called liberal voice of cable television, rely on a former student of mine at the National War College, retired Admiral James Stavridis, who is described as the networks’ “chief international security analyst.”  The networks never mention that Stavridis, the former supreme allied commander at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, currently works for the Carlyle Group, advising Carlyle on its multibillion-dollar portfolio of defense companies.

According to a recent article in the Washington Post, CBS’s in-house military expert is retired Admiral James Winnefeld Jr., a former vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but also a member of the board at Raytheon, a major defense manufacturer.  CNN relied on retired General James Marks in the early years of the Iraq War, without mentioning Marks’ role in obtaining military and intelligence contracts for McNeil Technologies.  Marks is back at CNN, but the network never mentions that now he is a venture partner and adviser to a company that invests in military companies.

The Washington Post is guilty of the same kind of enabling of the military.  In the wake of the killing of Qassim Soleimani, Stephen Hadley, President George W. Bush’s national security adviser, endorsed the actions of the Trump administration, arguing that the killing could open the door to diplomacy.  The Post needed to mention that Hadley is a director at Raytheon, which manufactures components of the drone that killed Major General Soleimani.  In other words, it should be noted that Hadley has a vested financial interest in the war.  As a letter writer to the Post noted, drone targeting systems aren’t cheap.

In the field of intelligence reporting, MSNBC relies almost entirely on the views of former CIA director John Brennan and deputy director John McLaughlin.  Brennan is a peculiar choice because he supported the policy of torture and abuse while serving on the executive staff of the Central Intelligence Agency as well as aiding in the cover-up of the CIA’s role in shooting down a missionary plane over Peru in a botched mission to stop drug trafficking.  Brennan was also responsible for the order to CIA lawyers and technicians to hack into the computers of the Senate intelligence committee to remove sensitive documentary evidence of the sordid acts of CIA officers.

McLaughlin is a bizarre choice as an intelligence analyst because he led the effort to craft the spurious speech that Secretary of State Colin Powell gave to the United Nations only six weeks before the U.S. invasion of Iraq.  The speech was designed to convince a domestic and international audience of the (non-existent) weapons of mass destruction in Iraqi inventories.  The speech was particularly successful in fooling the editorial and oped writers of the Washington Post, who claimed they were “convinced” that Iraqi WMD justified Bush’s war.

The U.S. reliance on military force has damaged U.S. national interests at a time when the global community is facing severe economic stress.  The Iraq and Afghan wars have cost trillions of dollars and have not made America more secure.  The war on terror has created more terrorists than it has eliminated, and recent secretaries of state have failed to question the strategic and geopolitical implications of a wider war in Southwest Asia.  The budget of the Department of Defense, exceeding levels reached during the worst days of the Cold War, receives overwhelming bipartisan support.

Even so-called liberal organizations are attracted to these policies.  The Brookings Institution and the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, and their scholars—Michael O’Hanlon and Robert Kagan, respectively—have advocated the use of military force in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Meanwhile, the media largely ignore the loss of civilian life as they do the destruction of civilian economies, including hospitals, schools, and infrastructure.

Nearly sixty years after President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s warning about the military-industrial complex, the United States must come to terms with its elevation of the role of the military; its cult of military spending that has become sacrosanct; and the culture of militarism that has placed U.S. bases all over the globe.  The American public is in danger of knowing only those military policies and actions that the government wants it to know, and the media are insufficiently aggressive in uncovering the nature of U.S. militarism the world over.

Posted in USA, MULTIMEDIA, MediaComments Off on The Media and the Military Mindset

“The Cops & the Klan Go Hand in Hand!”


Photograph of John Brown by African-American photographer Augustus Washington in Springfield, Massachusetts, c. 1846–47

Back in 1979, the American Nazi Party and the KKK gunned down five members of the Communist Workers Party in Greensboro, NC. Present with the fascists were a turncoat Klansman/ COINTELPRO node named Ed Dawson and an FBI mole, Bernard Butkovich. Though these men knew that the Klan were armed and desirous of a gunfight, nobody outside law enforcement and state security was informed. Five lay dead and dying that afternoon, plus one wounded Nazi. Predictably, all the fascists were later acquitted in both state and federal courts (though the city settled in a separate civic trial, with $351,000 going to the plaintiffs). The message was transparent: We’re watching you and We watch out for our own.

Eight days later, the anti-fascists were rightfully armed at the funerals of their Greensboro comrades. For white antifa, the ideal should be John Brown. As Malcolm X had said in 1965:

For one, when a white man comes to me and tells me how liberal he is, the first thing I want to know, is he a nonviolent liberal, or the other kind. I don’t go for any nonviolent white liberals. If you are for me and my problems – when I say me, I mean us, our people – then you have to be willing to do as old John Brown did. And if you’re not of the John Brown school of liberals, we’ll get you later – later.

It does seem a fair question for someone who cannot disappear, to ask how far the other is going to go. It is less a question of opinion or ‘position’ and more an inquiry into what you have to lose.

The John Brown Anti-Klan Committee chanted No War, No KKK, No Fascist USA!. You hear this chant again today and it provides a title for James Tracy and Hilary Moore’s very fine history of the movement, No Fascist USA!, now available from the venerable City Lights. For some on the Left, it may be in part a cautionary tale; for others, perhaps nostalgia and the recognition of a certain contemporary drift. But for those who think, as new-age crooner Nick Cave does, that Antifa and the fascists are comparable – they won’t be reading.

The John Brown Anti-Klan Committee was born from prison, when Frank Abney, of the Black Liberation Army, discovered that the Klan were heavily recruiting among staff at the New York State Prison (his letter and an original press packet can be found here). Like Illinois Black Panther Chairman Fred Hampton, Abney thought that it was up to whites to organize in their own communities, and especially to counter acts such as the Klan’s prison guard drive. Members of Left organizations such as Prairie Fire – and to some degree, the Weather Underground – created the Committee to do just this. Hopefully, and somewhat unrealistically, with the least amount of infighting between ‘tendencies’ as possible. The JBAKC would also support other independence movements at home, in South Africa, Palestine, the Americas, as well as socialist countries such as Cuba. Mississippi was the Congo, as Malcolm X had it.

Many people stood up. Yet when people stand up, other things rise with them. Among such things was the worst aspect of white anti-racism: a classist attitude and the rejection of any dialectical understanding of Race in the States, no matter how Marxist or New Afrikan-influenced the Left might think it is. Like a lecturing neighbor, post-Wobbly leftists always had a strain of hyper-moral outrage much closer to Cotton Mather than John Brown. So it was that one Clark Martel, a jailed fascist calling in to Oprah’s TV show, saying he ‘grew up white and a second-class citizen’, was huffed at by the millionaire host – thus managing to get a point across that should not have been dismissed or ignored (least of all because it was the truth, and very dangerously so). Questions: Why was not this man a socialist? Why did he – a vicious little bastard certainly – go to the American Nazi Party instead? If his own pathetic ruin was in the price paid, the greatest part of this price would be the murder of a person like Mulugeta Seraw, an Ethiopian student in Portland who didn’t foreclose on anyone’s farm and wanted merely to be a student… Secret killers with just enough brains to see that something is wrong in the republic and enough nihilism for incremental terror, until their shocks consume them.

Despite all this, I do not think Leftism was just a fashion for the Anti-Klan movement. Almost all the members of the Committee have remained political today and still do vital work in prison reform, homeless rights and healthcare. For them, life had become truly what it was; it should also be remembered that several did prison time for Committee actions, so things weren’t easy (I am not familiar with anyone turning states’ evidence or admitting to FBI employ). It is worth comparing their fates as well to other, far flashier New Left figures such as Tom Hayden and Bill Ayers. Though many of the JBAKC were also middle class, none that I know came in from the cold to large law firms or golden ashrams for centrist Presidents.

Time can be pressurized, made to feel taut. To the anti-fascists of the late 1970s, Italy’s Years of Lead must have looked ripe for a US sequel. In waves of bombings, assassinations, kidnappings, false-flag operations, and extortion, Rightist forces concentrated on attacking the Italian Left, while picking up paychecks from conservative political liaisons and American espionage czar William Colby. The cops, Carabinieri, CIA assets, the Masonic lodge called P2, and ‘black’ fascist mercenaries hid in plain sight behind the bombs in the Plaza Fontana and Bologna station. Operating between the paras and the masses was the intelligence strata, who kept low-intensity warfare as status quo, monitoring useful elements in Mafias and fascist circles while managing the strains of finance and violence. All of them used each other to get what they wanted alone. In America, state authorities used similar measures, if only to keep their jobs or test failed theories of counterinsurgency created in Vietnam. But this being the Empire of Scams, it is hard to tell where strategies of tension like COINTELPRO, purged voter registration rolls, and good old Yankee graft begin and end.

So where have all the Klansmen gone? Much has been made of Trump’s courting of racists, but his venom is only an embarrassment for the liberal Consensus establishment. An essentially sentimental ache characterizing the managerial American Right, whether called Southern Strategy, realpolitik, public safety or the War on Drugs, which gives them cover to bomb MOVE or pass 3-time loser laws. Reagan’s Inauguration was a cesspool of the most outrageous Nazis, ranging from gruesome opportunists like Licio Gello to those ancient Eastern vampires, who, unlike Reagan himself, definitely participated in the Second World War. Reading the thumbnail sketches of the old 1970s fascists – Louis Beam, Thom Metzger, David Duke, The Order and Kommander Von Rockwell’s weedy lieutenants – a murky Polaroid image of SS costumes and cartoon bloodlust rises up again from some reactionary Limbo. None of them survived, not in any real sense of the word, to graduate to today’s Bannon-Gorka-Miller strain of immoderate power, which is probably far deadlier and easily more accessible. The Alten Right have outlived what little use-value they once had, showing up now only in bitter chatrooms or boozing themselves to death. But fascism is malleable and can marshal liquid contradictions into a useful siphon or form a robust front line from dated materials. It can create imaginative diversions in temples, and still claim the life of an Amadou Diallo by overreacting.

There is no such thing as a single fascist murder or a solitary racist attack. Up in the real White House, men like Obama and Trump have consolidated their concentration camps and protected their mass deportations with the courts. Being an amateur is unforgivable in any milieu, particularly so in official terror, which must abandon the isolated operative while valorizing his entrepreneurial impulse.

On a personal note, I can vouch for the accuracy of the Chicago portion of James and Moore’s book. And also for the punk youth who stepped up to halt the nazis recruiting at shows, some 35 years ago when that city was mauled by first-wave austerity, klannish campaigns against a Black mayor (“Of course it’s about race!” as Alderman and Democratic Party head Eddie Vrdolyak proudly cried), and more than a little funereal gloss on the old Loop grindhouses. Chicago is still the most segregated of cities, as Laquan McDonald’s murder and Burge’s pension showed, not to mention redlining and TIFF welfare for white power real estate. If 1983 was no 1963 or 1919, it was still full of powerful actors who could say, as one cop did after a particularly bloody clash between John Browners and would-be brownshirts, that “it isn’t the Nazis who are the problem – it’s these people”. That the John Brown Anti Klan Committee was not afraid to be a problem for such men says that something was done right.

Written without sparing the fissures and blind misunderstandings, No Fascist USA! is a must-read for people who know little about this fugitive period and also for those who lived it. As for its lessons for the future – it is hard to tell. The repetition of the past is repeated differently, in unforeseen ways. Several years before these events, working class organizations such as the Young Patriots first followed John Brown. In reaction, the FBI and the Democratic Machine handed down death sentences by blue and white. Black Lives Matter has paid for a wholly predictable liberal backstab with a spate of mysterious – which are not so mysterious – assassinations of its leadership. The model must always be John Brown.

One thing was different back then: No one in the JBAKC would have hesitated to defend William Von Spronsen. We see defenses of Colin Powell, Comey and Mueller, John McCain – even George Bush – from liberals, from those who call themselves ‘left’, yet barely a word for this man who lead a lone attack on a bloody apartheid facility. If it wasn’t Harper’s Ferry, Spronsen also accepted the Ferryman’s rate as the price of becoming a human being. He made his choice and then went through Tacoma’s iron gate.

Posted in USAComments Off on “The Cops & the Klan Go Hand in Hand!”

The Obama Legacy: Reform Versus Revolution


Photograph Source: Robert Hoge – CC BY 2.0

Those factions of the Democratic party which worked so hard in 2016 to sabotage Bernie Sanders’ chances for the nomination have been nervous for some time about the persistent popularity of the progressive agenda. We’ve been witnessing the blowback from this assault. The arrival of the “squad” in 2018 and Warren’s addition to the slate of candidates for the upcoming election are striking symptoms, unthinkable without the Sanders’ “revolution.” Sanders tapped into the desire for change that lay dormant in the party, above all the pressure to represent excluded citizens but also to reform a process that enabled the sabotage. The power of Super Delegates, entrenched insiders whose choices are immune to actual voting, for example, that pre-decided Hillary Clinton’s status. We owe Sanders for the challenge to this archaic practice and the seeding of passion for participatory democracy. Sadly, it took this independent outsider to make this desire manifest.

Nervousness has apparently morphed into dread as establishment insiders now want to expel or repress the influence of anyone associated with this popular progressive legacy that’s found tenuous sanctuary in the Democratic party. They believe these “outsiders” have hijacked it, taken it too far to the left. But this is a false charge since the progressives mostly want to restore the liberal foundation that predated the turn to the right (“Demonizing the Few to Alienate and Sway the Many,” CounterPunch). The real hijackers are the elite that pushed the party ideologically toward the Republican party in the 70s, refusing to acknowledge the popular pressures from a strain of citizenry that will become today’s excluded.

Barack Obama’s recent comments are a potent addition to the rhetorical lashing-out at these alleged outsiders, and they’re very curious indeed since he was hailed as a species of outsider himself in the run-up to the 2008 election. He warns the candidates that they should stay focused on improving the system rather than radically transforming it, “tearing it down.” We are not a country that endorses “revolution,” but one committed to reform. This is the authentic American tradition.

A curious read of history! Since virtually every “reform” passed during his tenure is being or has been dismantled by the Trump administration, you’d think he would ally with the candidates who will give the Democrats the best chance to at least retrieve the status quo that he inherited. The ease with which his legacy is being reversed and modified is testimony to the limits of his actions in creating real hope and change. Like Obamacare, his signature retooling of a Republican plan, proposed by the Gingrich Congress early in the Clinton administration in response to its efforts to pass Single Payer, and realized during Romney’s stretch as Massachusetts Governor. He and the Democrats spent nearly two years crafting this “reform,” years when they had control of Congress and could have produced at least some form of public option if not full-blown Medicare for All.

No question that Obamacare tackled pre-existing conditions, mandated coverage for more people, and expanded the Medicaid buffer. But then the private insurance system it props up is flagrantly inadequate, the plans it offers guarantees of indebtedness through exorbitant copays and sub-standard, profit-driven services, leaving thousands to die prematurely every year and a country with the life expectancy of roughly 30th on the global chain. This corporate, overhead-driven system is responsible for the fact that its expanded costs have far outstripped wages (Alex Matthews et al, UC Berkeley Labor Center, 12/3, “Health Care Costs Under Job-based Plans”).

Obama celebrated his win as a victory for democracy, a passionate reach across the partisan divide to negotiate and compromise. Unfortunately, he compromised ahead of the process, admitting that Single Payer would be the best option but that we have a private insurance industry that must be party to any solution. This let these private players off for their successes over time in blocking progress toward the best solution, giving the adversaries a victory without a fight. His mantra of “hope and change” was not about getting the best after all. Why would the Republicans need to compromise in the face of such advance support?

Obama’s “reforms” of the economy were similar. They worked the financial system in place. But this was what he lambasted in his speeches during the summer of 2008 as the economy tanked, the system the neoliberal “revolution” spawned during the Reagan years and solidified under Bush. This had to be reversed, he claimed. And he was positioned to do exactly that, campaigning for the Democratic nomination at the very moment when the flaws in this system were being exposed. It was the historical opening progressives pined for, but Obama blew it, appointing Wall Street interests to reform themselves (His cabinet appointees were mostly from the establishment, some even from the Bush administration).

Instead of implementing enlightened fiscal policies to kickstart this reversal, these figures relied on the same ole monetary tools that had directed policies in the past and which had encouraged the speculative frenzies that destabilized the financial system. Timothy Geithner, Treasury Secretary in the early years, organized efforts to sanction filter-down economics. The Fed, though supposedly independent, was in lockstep. It offered interest free loans to banks which unfortunately didn’t pass their gains onto many borrowers in the form of debt forgiveness, loan modifications, refinancing opportunities, or new mortgages. A filtering-down strained through government censors! The tight borrowing conditions were justified to defend against the return of instability as the profits of the financial sector soared. Dodd-Frank, the legislation passed by the Democratic Congress in 2010, standardized this exclusion, its formula debt-income ratios over-reactive penalties against legit borrowers that usurped the power of small banks to capitalize their communities and revive the sectors lagging behind in the “recovery.”

The skewed nature of this reform was of course already exposed when the administration passed checks to the big banks right out of the gate. This was nominally about the need to replace their reserves and keep the banking system solvent but letting so many bad actors off the hook for inefficiencies raised questions about whose circumstances were being reformed. Getting a pass on the consequences of the free market mechanisms sent a conflicting message. It meant that these entities were granted privileged positions to compete against the rest of the field, free to gobble up smaller banks which they did with alarming efficiency.

The latter, especially community banks, were more sympathetic with the needs of the lower-income borrowers most impacted by the crisis. So why did they have to fail? Why weren’t they part of the “reform?”

Such questions were smoothed over by claiming that the borrowers caused the crisis, that they shouldn’t have taken out loans they couldn’t afford. But the overly expensive, guaranteed-to-fail nature of these loans, ignored by these claimants, couldn’t be excised from the record.

The real tragedy is that we live with this contradiction and its effects now in the form of a significant drop in the percentages of homeowners, as well as in access to capital assets, that have paralleled the exponential increase in the fortunes of the 1%. The widening inequality gap under Obama manufactured a culture of alienated citizens, many who dropped out of the 2016 election, or switched to the Republicans.

However persuasive as an inspirational figure spouting pre-election snippets of economic populism, Obama’s post-election accommodation with power unfortunately embraced the familiar path of “liberal reform.”

The practitioners of this kind of “reform” wield compromise as their ultimate strategy. They’re “problem solvers,” pragmatists who do the right thing and get things done. They position themselves in the center, the space of reason and moderation, where they claim to process the voices from the spectrum surrounding them without bias. This center, however, is far from a neutral battleground. It’s a staging arena where players can mask their sympathies with voting formulas and procedural codes that signal the absorption in credible democratic processes while mostly legitimizing the status quo. This is an attractive notion for moments of extreme polarization when partisan bickering replaces productive cooperation. But claiming this staging space in the center to deliver compromise is not the same as actively seeking common ground through a process that challenges the interests working behind the scenes to set the agenda and position the goalposts, the lobbyists who usurp the democratic process. This search is about exposing the imbalance of power and struggling to correct it, compromising only after sustained commitment to principles, refusing to accept the artificial construct of the political center as a given. The positioning in the center in advance leads to skewed “compromise,” the easy accession to the agenda that forced the need for compromise in the first place. It means abdicating common ground and shifting with the power of the adversary, ignoring the movement of the goalposts.

And no question the conservatives Obama courted through much of his administration pushed the goalposts to the right, having little interest in compromise or neutrality. They ignored his overtures to democratic process. In fact, they were not really interested in reform. Emboldened by Obama’s weakness, they pushed to further strengthen the Republican platform crafted in the early 70s. This constituted a virtual counter-revolution, an all-out effort to roll back the liberal gains of the 60s, the variable reforms of the Great Society. These were entrenched by the end of the decade, nurturing the political soil that sprouted Reaganism. This left changes in place that were more structurally rooted than what the liberal-left activists of the earlier era could offer. The sudden collapse of SDS and large-scale movement pressure on the system left a great deal of unfinished business.

And Obama’s enemies across the aisle were naturally more extreme than when the counter-revolution commenced, having a generation of time to convert the effects of this ongoing revolution into our naturalizing center-right order. The Democratic party itself has shifted with these changes.

Obama’s centrist “reform” regime could only ever be anachronistic—lost in the imaginary of some pluralistic model of power—in the face of a counter-revolution in progress this formidable. It mostly served the interests of the entrenched. As Raoul Martinez claims, centrism is the “gateway drug to the far right,” the powerful needing “centrist politics to rationalize and protect their extreme privilege” (“The Centrist Delusion,” Information Clearing House, December 12, 2019).

Obama needed to deliver substantial change during his administration. This didn’t need to be radical, or “revolutionary,” merely something that would stick and be difficult to reverse. A revamped, progressive tax code that could authorize a continuing distribution of wealth to approximate the kind of economic populism he touted in his speeches, for example. He needed to counter the counter-revolution with the right’s brashness. That he’s now ascribing “revolutionary” pretensions to those candidates—particularly Sanders and Warren—who want to institutionalize progressive change does a disservice to the democratic process. His demonizing of outsiders who he claims are revolutionaries is part of the problem. He should’ve fought to restore the progressive liberal tradition while exposing the counter-revolutionary aberration.

There’s no surer way to discredit a position or person than to associate them with the sentiments of “revolution.” The phrase “tearing down,” used to suggest what progressives will do if given power, conjures angry, bereted, gun-toting males transforming the system extra-legally, a sure put-off for the average citizen. It meshes nicely with “revolution.” Obama goes after the “outsiders” in his own party with charges of extremism for actions alleged to eventually occur, yet sanitizes his vocabulary with respect to the counter-revolution, the narrative stretch of actions and the actors attached to them responsible for preventing many of the reforms he once espoused. This continuing revolution, sustained through laws and the political pressures of mercenaries working the system, uproots the structures for securing freedom and prosperity while pitching the opposite. Why can’t Obama, and the string of insider Democrats, properly name this narrative?

Failing to name it, it’s hardly a shock that he also fails to specify how these outsiders are revolutionaries. They’re certainly not advocating anything that would justify a tearing down of the system. And this isn’t even their phrase. As opposed to a tearing down, they advocate a serious retrofit that preserves what’s consistent with the progressive liberal tradition but adds reforms that substantially strengthen it. Crafting a progressive tax code, which once existed in this country, and pushing for a living wage, more access to education, and a more humane immigration policy, hardly qualifies as a tearing down. They’re reforms which catch us up with most of the rest of the advanced industrial world. The advocacy of Medicare for All is similarly a reform that merely builds on an existing structure, the mid-1960s legislation that created Medicare. Critics contend this expansion will mean the elimination of health care plans people want, but the real message tends to get lost. The gist of these health plans will be reconstituted within a comprehensive plan that improves care and minimizes financial burdens.

And attempting to do something about the excessive inequality we’ve inherited, the manufacturing of the 1%, hardly qualifies as a tearing down either. The Founding Fathers certainly didn’t expect America to evolve into another aristocracy. A recent Reuters poll shows that nearly two-thirds of respondents support taxing the rich at higher rates to support programs that would benefit all Americans (Julia Conley, Portside, 1/10/20.). And there are certainly not that many radicals lurking in the shadows of mainstream America.

Pushing reforms legislatively to the edge and putting external pressure on the system that blocks them, will dissolve the center and help re-build this country, not tear it down. The only entities in danger of being torn down at this moment in the election cycle, according to Leland Nally, are insurance companies, corporate profiteers, climate deniers, and immigration reactionaries (“Obama Is Wrong to Push Democratic Party Centrism,” Common Dreams, 11/26/19).

Obama cited Martin Luther King religiously, maligned as an outsider in his day who fought vigorously for full social justice. Unfortunately, Obama slighted his complete narrative, most evident in the few years before he died, that embraced economic populism. King laid the foundation for critical perspectives on diversity, an expanded notion that linked issues of race and class, the formative concept for the Rainbow Coalition that Jesse Jackson marshaled to challenge the Democratic party in the 80s. And these perspectives constitute a remarkable mesh with the current progressive agenda. Had Obama absorbed King’s full social justice into his policy approaches the Congressional Black Caucus would not have slighted him, relatively early in his administration, for virtually ignoring the economic plight of African-Americans. This is the reason why, according to Michael Eric Dyson, the liberal left is having a difficult time reconciling Obama’s legacy with what must be done to move forward and win the election (Meet the Press, 12/24).

Real reformers are invariably outsiders, and if their ideas slip into the mainstream they tend to be sanitized, their complete contributions to the improvement of society repressed. The resulting amnesia allows the insiders to selectively appropriate their significance and repeat the farces of history.

If one of the liberal-reformer Democrats is elected, how will they script the Obama legacy?

Posted in USAComments Off on The Obama Legacy: Reform Versus Revolution

Executive Power: Alan Dershowitz’s Imagination Versus the Constitution


Photograph by Sage Ross – CC BY-SA 2.0

“The Constitution,” Alan Dershowitz claims, “allocates to the president sole authority over foreign policy (short of declaring war or signing a treaty).”

Dershowitz makes that claim by way of defending US president Donald Trump against conviction in the Senate on two articles of impeachment.

More specifically, he disputes the Government Accountability Office’s claim that Trump violated the law when he used pending foreign aid to extort Ukraine’s president into investigating a political opponent.

According to GAO, the Impoundment Control Act “does not permit the president to substitute his own policy priorities for those congress has enacted into law.”

According to Dershowitz, the Act “does not permit Congress to substitute its foreign policy preferences for those of the president.”

Where in the Constitution do we find the “allocation” Dershowitz refers to? He doesn’t say, for good reason: The actual Constitution, unlike the one in Dershowitz’s imagination, agrees with GAO.

The Constitution empowers Congress, not the president, to “regulate commerce with foreign Nations.”

The Constitution empowers Congress, not the president, to “define and punish Piracies and Felonies committed on the high Seas, and Offenses against the Law of Nations.”

The Constitution empowers Congress, not the president, to “declare War, grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal, and make Rules concerning Captures on Land and Water.”

The Constitution empowers Congress, not the president, to  “provide for calling forth the Militia to … repel Invasions.”

The Constitution empowers the president to negotiate treaties — but those treaties require Senate ratification.

The Constitution empowers the president to appoint ambassadors and a Secretary of State — if the Senate approves of his choices.

The Constitution makes the president commander in chief of the armed forces, but only when they’re “called into the actual service of the United States” by Congress.

And the Constitution allows the president to spend money only “in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.” That is, appropriations made by Congress, which the president may sign or may veto but may not “substitute his own policy priorities” for.

In Federalist 69, Alexander Hamilton — arguing for the Constitution’s adoption — cites most of the items above the president from a British-style monarch:

“The one would have a QUALIFIED negative upon the acts of the legislative body; the other has an ABSOLUTE negative. The one would have a right to command the military and naval forces of the nation; the other, in addition to this right, possesses that of DECLARING war, and of RAISING and REGULATING fleets and armies by his own authority. The one would have a concurrent power with a branch of the legislature in the formation of treaties; the other is the SOLE POSSESSOR of the power of making treaties. The one would have a like concurrent authority in appointing to offices; the other is the sole author of all appointments.”

Dershowitz’s “legal argument” (he’s formally joined Trump’s defense team) is that the Constitution means the opposite of what it says and what its framers said they meant, and that Trump is king, not president, of the United States.

Posted in USAComments Off on Executive Power: Alan Dershowitz’s Imagination Versus the Constitution


A woman screamed “f*** Jews you are all the same” at a Jewish man yesterday.

The incident took place on Thorpe Road in Stamford Hill, and was reported by Stamford Hill Shomrim, the Jewish volunteer neighbourhood watch patrol.

If you have any more information, please contact the police on 101 or Stamford Hill Shomrim on 0300 999 0123, quoting reference number: CAD6490 07/01/2020.

The incident comes after Campaign Against Antisemitism reported on an epidemic of antisemitic crime in Stamford Hill over the Chanukah period.

Campaign Against Antisemitism’s analysis of Home Office statistics shows that an average of over three hate crimes are directed at Jews every single day in England and Wales, with Jews almost four times more likely to be targets of hate crime than any other faith group.


‘Obvious Malicious Intent’: Tulsi Gabbard Hits Clinton with Defamation Suit over ‘Russian Asset’ Smear

By RT News

Democratic presidential hopeful Tulsi Gabbard is suing two-time White House runner-up Hillary Clinton over her claim that Gabbard was a “Russian asset,” alleging that the lie hurt not just her campaign but the entire election.

Clinton “lied about her perceived rival Tulsi Gabbard… publicly, unambiguously, and with obvious malicious intent” when she claimed Gabbard was “the favorite of the Russians,” the campaign alleges in the suit, filed on Wednesday in the federal Southern District of New York. While Clinton isn’t technically running against Gabbard in the 2020 contest, the filing drily notes that the role of president is “a position Clinton has long coveted, but has not been able to attain.”

The filing alleges Clinton harmed not just Gabbard but also “American voters” and “American democracy” by pushing the baseless smear, citing “scientifically conducted opinion surveys” indicating that millions of potential voters believed Clinton’s claims due to her status as a political insider and authority figure with likely access to non-public information. Over 200 articles have been published amplifying the smear since Clinton first uttered it in an October episode of Democratic strategist David Plouffe’s ‘Campaign HQ’ podcast, and the campaign estimates the former secretary of state’s attacks cost Gabbard $50 million in lost donations, lost votes, and reputational damage.

To read article on RT click here

Posted in USAComments Off on ‘Obvious Malicious Intent’: Tulsi Gabbard Hits Clinton with Defamation Suit over ‘Russian Asset’ Smear

An Epic Act of Resistance and Trial of Our Times. “The Venezuela Embassy Protectors Collective”

By Lauren Smith

Global Research,

On February 11th, four American peace activists, known as the Embassy Protectors Collective, will be tried before the U.S. empire for “interfering with certain protective functions” of its Federal government for their occupation of the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C. to prevent it from being handed over to coup leaders sponsored by the Trump administration. Their occupation ended on May 16, 2019, when federal agents broke into the sealed embassy, against international law, and arrested them in a swat style raid. The government’s accusation against them is merely a pretext used for their arrest and prosecution, since they haven’t broken any laws. Matter of fact, their true crime in the minds of the Trump administration is just the opposite – it’s their brilliant defense of international law, and Venezuela’s sovereign right to self-determination against Yankee imperialism.

Although the Trump administration didn’t want President Maduro to win a second term, 67 percent of Venezuelans did. This stands in stark contrast with President Donald Trump’s own experience, since he lost the popular vote in 2017 to Former Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a candidate despised by her own democratic party’s base – who only managed to secure her place as a presidential nominee due to the fraud perpetrated by the party’s elite. Even the Republican party’s use of targeted racist and classist voter suppression and purge techniques could not secure Trump winning numbers at the polls. In the United States of America, as demonstrated by Trump, a loser can win the presidency. Compare this with Former President Jimmy Carter’s 2012 declaration that “the election process in Venezuela is the best in the world.”

Nonetheless, the Trump administration set its heart on Juan Guaido, a man that was not even a candidate in the 2018 election. Yet, with the superpower’s backing, what would be a farce in any other context still remains a threat  – as Guaido, left to his own devise, is merely a self-appointed president as well as being a self-appointed leader of a self-appointed assembly.

What elevates this trial in our collective consciousness is the fact that these brave activists struck a successful blow against imperialist aggression from inside the belly of the beast – literally from within Washington, D.C.  For 37 days, the Trump administration was powerless against the guile & guts of pediatrician, Margaret Flowers; medical anthropologist, Adrienne Pine; attorney, Kevin Zeese; and activist, David Paul as they bravely upheld Article 22 of the 1961 Vienna Convention. The four were aided by a strong coalition of activist groups. In solidarity, 70 members of the various groups, including journalists, took turns staying inside the embassy with them. As conditions worsened, or for personal reasons, they disbursed prior to the raid. However, many remained outside the embassy protesting the siege conditions faced by their comrades inside and delivered food despite facing assault and arrest. Even the aged civil rights defender, the Reverend Jesse Jackson, personally took part in a food delivery to the Embassy Protectors. Fortunately, unlike the 72-year-old president of Veterans for Peace, Gerry Cordon, he was not assaulted by police and arrested in this process.Trump Prosecutors Make Move to Ensure that Embassy Protectors Are Convicted

It is this grassroots collective that protected the Venezuelan embassy from seizure by Trump’s federal agents, local police, and an Astroturf fascist, racist & sexist mob– making their united act of resistance epic and their prosecution a trial of our times.

Despite the best efforts of the biased judge who ruled on December 13thagainst their right to critical information needed for their defense, their acts of bravery cannot be silenced – as activists will ensure their story is told.  On January 29th, Judge Beryl Howell will hear pre-trial arguments concerninga recent motion filed by government lawyers that even more severely restricts what can be discussed during their February 11th trial. If Judge Howell grants the government’s motion, it will leave the Embassy Protectors virtually defenseless. The government wants the prosecution to be limited exclusively to three things (1) the four were in the embassy, (2) they were given a notice of eviction by the police, and (3) they refused to leave. Essentially, they want the jury that decides their fate to be blindfolded. This will ensure the Trump administration’s desired outcome – which is to convict the Embassy Protectors and make them a model for how it intends to deal with challenges to its illegal foreign and domestic policies.

The fact that Howell is assigned the case is no accident as she is the chief judge of the U.S. District Court and co-author of the unconstitutional Patriot Act. Under the Patriot Act, protections against unreasonable search & seizure are waived, and incarceration can be indeterminate and without charge. So, it’s no surprise, with her Intelligence Community background, that Judge Howell referred to the embassy protectors as a “gang”, stated facts in a way that supported their guilt, and made it clear that a trial will result in their conviction.

Among the issues the Trump administration is asking to not be discussed in the Embassy Protectors’ trial are the following:

  • That Nicolas Maduro is the democratically elected president of Venezuela. More than 300 election observers for the 2018 election agreed that the election met international standards. Additionally, more than 150 governments around the world recognize him as the President of Venezuela as does the United Nations.
  • That Juan Guaido has no legitimacy to represent the Venezuelan government. Also, he is under investigation for his role in the “humanitarian aid” corruption scandal.
  • That Carlos Vecchio, whose demand that the Embassy Protectors leave the embassy and was the basis of their eviction, is not an ambassador from Venezuela but part of Guaido’s failed coup. Additionally, Vecchio, a former Exxon oil executive, is charged with fraud, embezzlement and money laundering to the tune of US $70 million through CITGO, Venezuela’s US-based subsidiary of the state oil company PDVSA.
  • That they were in the embassy with the permission of the elected government of Venezuela.
  • That they received advice that they were in the embassy legally.
  • That negotiations were ongoing between the US and Venezuela for a mutual protecting power agreement which would have resulted in Switzerland protecting the US embassy in Caracas and Turkey protecting the Venezuelan embassy in DC. And that the Embassy Protectors had stated that they would leave voluntarily when that agreement was reached. Additionally, The day before the four were arrested, Samuel Moncada, the Venezuelan ambassador to the UN, held a press conference where he discussed the negotiation for a protecting power agreement and reconfirmed that the Embassy Protectors were in the embassy with Venezuela’s permission.
  • That they were surrounded by a coup mob that was blocking food from coming into the embassy.
  • That the electricity and water were turned off on them.
  • That the Vienna Convention was violated by federal agents, who had no legitimate right to enter the embassy to arrest them.
  • That the Embassy Protectors were acting within their First Amendment rights.

The Embassy Protectors face federal charges punishable by up to one year in prison, a $100,000 fine each, and restitution to the government for police time & damages, which is considerable given the duration of their occupation and the absurd amount of armed forces used in the embassy raid – as they remain 4 unarmed senior and middle-aged peace activists. Since their charges are unjust and anything can happen in prison, especially to dissidents, people of conscious must ensure all charges are dropped. So, let us stand on the right side of history with the Embassy Protectors and show solidarity by attending their trial in Washington, D.C., which begins on February 11th, donating to their legal fund, and spreading the truth of what’s really happening widely.

Posted in VenezuelaComments Off on An Epic Act of Resistance and Trial of Our Times. “The Venezuela Embassy Protectors Collective”

Russia’s “Dead Hand” Command Missiles, Deterrent In The Event of a Crippling Nuclear Attack

By South Front

Global Research,

The existing system of international relations and arms control treaties is slowly, but steadily crumbling. The Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is dead, with both Washington and Moscow publicly developing previously banned short-to-medium range missiles. The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) is also moving towards its end in 2021, and it is likely that New START will not be renewed. The United States, China and Russia are developing hypersonic weapons, which are not limited by any existing arms control treaties. The major powers are preparing for a possible global conflict. The dismantlement of the system of international treaties is another factor increasing military tensions around the world.

Russia is actively working towards restoring lost Soviet capabilities and developing new strategic deterrence projects. One of them is the Dead Hand, also known as the Perimeter. This Cold War-era automatic nuclear weapons-control system is one of the most protected secrets and most important deterrence tools of the USSR and Russia.

The Dead Hand is the last line of deterrence in the event of a crippling nuclear strike. It entered into service in 1985, shortly after a major escalation in 1983, which had almost led to war between the US and the Soviet Union. It has been likened to a real-life doomsday machine. Upon activation and determination of an ongoing nuclear strike, the system sends out command missiles with special warheads that pass encrypted launch commands to all nuclear weapon carriers of the sea, air and ground components of the Russian Strategic Nuclear Forces.Video Player00:0008:02

In peacetime conditions, the system slumbers, waiting for a turn-on command or an alarm signal from the missile attack early-warning system. It has a human “firewall,” for example, an on-duty officer who would switch it into the fully automated mode. Therefore, there is no risk of an accidental or unauthorized missile launch. Having received a command or signal about missiles being launched from the territory of other countries, this Dead Hand goes into an automated combat mode. Through a wide-scale sensor network, it monitors signs of an incoming nuclear strike.

The decision to launch command missiles is made by an autonomous control and command system – a complex pseudo-artificial intelligence system. The system receives and analyzes a variety of information about seismic activity, radiation, atmospheric pressure, and the intensity of chatter on military radio frequencies. It monitors telemetry from the observation posts of the strategic missile force and data from early warning systems.Strangelove Redux: US Experts Propose Having Artificial Intelligence (AI) Control Nuclear Weapons

Before launching, the system reportedly checks for four conditions:

  1. Once the system is activated it first determines if a nuclear explosion has taken place on Russian territory;
  2. If this is determined, the system will then check the communication link with the General Staff operation center;
  3. If a connection is established the system will After some time – from 15 minutes to 1 hour – passing without any further signs of an attack, it will assume that a number of the officials with the authority to give the order to strike are still alive  and the system will shut down;
  4. If the General Staff operation center does not respond, the system sends a request to Kazbek, the automatic system for command and control of the Strategic Nuclear Forces. If there is no response there either, the system automatically transfers launch authority to the command bunker personnel and launches the retaliatory strike.

All of the channels through which the Dead Hand receives its information are backed up multiple times, to remove the possibility of false information being fed to it.

According to openly available data, the Dead Hand is an integral part of the “Zveno” system of air command posts, the development of which was carried out in the Soviet Union. The “Zveno” includes the airborne command and control post on the Il-86VKP aircraft, airborne radio relay on the Il-76RT aircraft, silo-based command missiles ‘Perimeter’ and mobile command missiles ‘Gorn’. In a period of threat, three Il-86VKPs would have the Supreme Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, the Defense Minister and the Chief of the General Staff respectively on board. The Il-86VKP is able to launch an 8 km long antenna, which not even impulses from nuclear explosions can affect. Using this antenna the aircraft can transmit commands to launch all the country’s intercontinental missiles even if all underground command posts are destroyed by the aggressor’s nuclear strike. The radio relay aircraft Il-76RT would transmit commands to launch missiles in distant regions, including those deployed on submarines. In this way, the Dead Hand guarantees a devastating retaliatory strike in the event of communications disruption and the destruction of command posts after the first-strike surprise nuclear attack by the enemy. Its command missiles launch their warheads into space, where no hostile satellite or nuclear explosions can reach them and from there “wake up” nuclear forces to strike the aggressor.

The dissolution of the USSR in 1991 led to a deep social and economic crisis on the territory of the former Soviet republics. The Russian Armed Forces also entered a period of crisis. In 1995, the Dead Hand was removed from combat duty. After the start of the ‘Putin era’ and the restoration of proper funding for the Russian Armed Forces in the 2000s,  national security once again became one of the key priorities of the Russian leadership. In 2011, it was officially confirmed that the Dead Hand had been put on combat duty. The successful test launch of the 15Yu75 missile took place in Plesetsk in 2016. Furthermore, the Dead Hand is also being modernized. In December 2019, the Russian Ministry of Defense announced plans to sign a contract for the new Sirena-M missile complex. The Sirena-M is the most modern variant of the “command missile system” and “command missile” for the Dead Hand. The tests of the Sirena-M missile, which is based on the first version of the Topol intercontinental ballistic missile, began in 1990. All of them were carried out successfully. The Sirena-M system will enter service in the period up to 2025.

Posted in RussiaComments Off on Russia’s “Dead Hand” Command Missiles, Deterrent In The Event of a Crippling Nuclear Attack

The Davos World Economic Forum (2017-2020)

By Global Research

Trump Parties in Davos While Ordinary Americans Struggle to Make Ends Meet

By Stephen Lendman,

The annual Davos billionaire’s ball — aka World Economic Forum — continues until Friday. Countless millions of US households face unacceptable choices between paying rent or servicing mortgages, seeking high-cost medical care when needed, heating homes in winter, feeding family members, and juggling other expenses — a disturbing reality far removed from Trump’s luxury lifestyle. A massive disconnect exists between soaring equity prices and dismal economic conditions for most Americans.

The Davos World Economic Forum (WEF) Is at It Again – Celebrating 50th Anniversary

By Peter Koenig,

This year some 130 high-ranking guests, protected by international law, are expected – whoever they may be – in addition, are also anticipated 5 Royals, 22 Presidents, and 23 Prime Ministers. They will be shielded by Swiss police and military, a total of about 5000. President Trump will get about 300 special Swiss security police, in addition to his own security contingent, plus a private helicopter, brought in by military cargo from the US. His two days in Switzerland will cost the US tax-payer more than US$ 3.4 million, not including security personnel; peanuts compared to the entire Chabang for some 3,000 “high-level” VIPs and celebrities, or simply “wanna-be-seens”, who are eager to rub their elbows sore with the ‘real important’ people. What a farce!

Iraqi President Denounced for Meeting with Trump in Davos

By Stephen Lendman,

On Wednesday, former Iraqi Kurdistan region prime minister/current Iraqi president Barham Salih met with Trump in Davos on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum. He ignored warnings from internal Shia militia groups that he’d be unwelcome back home if met with DJT.

Davos – A Family Reunion of People Who Broke the World

By True Publica,

The global elite descended on Switzerland for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos last week. Western Europe had the highest number of participants by region.

To get a badge for entry requires a membership to the World Economic Forum, which costs somewhere between $60,000 and $600,000, plus an additional fee of more than $27,000 per person to get into the conference itself. There are 3,000 attendees invited, about two-thirds attend the full conference.

Global Economy on the Brink as Davos Crowd Parties On

By Dr. Jack Rasmus,

At Davos, Switzerland every year the global capitalist elite gather to party…and to prepare for the year ahead. This year more than 1500 private jets will reportedly fly in. Thousands more of their underling staff will travel via business class to handle their personal, and corporate, logistics. Shielded from the media and the pubic, the big capitalists share views in back rooms and listen to experts on finance, government policy, technology, and the economy. The experts are especially probed to identify and explain the next ‘black swan’ or ‘gray rhino’ event about to erupt. Wealthy celebrities are invited to entertain them as well after evening dinner and cocktails. But the real networking goes on privately afterwards, in small groups or one on one, among the big capitalists themselves or in private meetings with heads of state, finance ministers, and central bank chairmen.

World Economic Forum Meets in Davos Under Shadow of Crisis and War

By Bill Van Auken,

The well-heeled crowd at Davos, paying $55,000 each to attend, is guarded by a small army of 4,000 Swiss troops and 1,000 police, with a no-fly zone imposed overhead. Protests have been banned in the village—on the pretext that there has been too much snow—but thousands of people demonstrated Tuesday in the Swiss financial capital of Zurich in opposition to the WEF and, in particular, to the attendance this year by US President Donald Trump. Marchers carried placards reading, “Trump – You’re not Welcome,” “You Are a Shit-Hole Person” and “Smash WEF.”

Davos: “Zombie” TPP Trade Deal Threatens Our Fractured World

By Friends of the Earth International,

Friends of the Earth International, the world’s largest grassroots environmental network, has warned that the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal could threaten people and planet if signed and ratified by national parliaments in March this year.

The remarks came as Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Australian Trade Minister and other leaders meeting at the World Economic Forum in Davos (23-26 January) celebrated the conclusion of the deal between 11  countries in Asia-Pacific.

A Spectre Hovers over Davos World Economic Forum: Populism and the Trump Presidency

By Javier Tolcachier,

From January 17th to 21st, the Swiss enclave of Davos-Klosters is the venue of the 47th World Economic Forum. This gathering constitutes one of the exclusive clubs where the principal corporations coordinate orientations and launch strategic alignments. Together with the Bilderberg Club — a less visible and more reduced space of similar characteristics — the Davos Forum aims to become a kind of parallel private global government, placing leadership, entrepreneurial spirit, technological innovation and vertical forms of direction over and above democratic national order and traditional forms of international interrelation such as the United Nations.

Posted in PoliticsComments Off on The Davos World Economic Forum (2017-2020)

Shoah’s pages