Archive | Politics

Analyzing the Emerging World Order: The Future of Globalism

NOVANEWS
 
GLOBAL-ECONOMY

The global community today is clearly in a state of flux. This is not an aberration – we are in the midst of a normal and periodic global reordering. We shall briefly take a “big picture” look at this phenomenon and attempt to glean an understanding as to the direction that we are heading as citizens of a global society. It is my hope that these observations can foster a more in depth discussion between reasonable people; leading to the development of ideas which can then be implemented to improve the human condition.

Current Paradigm:

We live in a world subdivided by societies: nations and their respective subdivisions. As a matter of fact, there are over 200 nations recognized by the United Nations (UN). We are taught that a society must conform to a binary label such as “free” or “unfree”, “democratic” or “non-democratic” and so on. This is done principally for two reasons – to provide a tautological definition, also for easier control of the masses via manipulation.

The current overarching narrative provides that we are divided between the “western” and “eastern” worlds. What does this really mean? We can distill this down to one principal root: economics. What do we mean by economics? We can say that in it’s purest form, it is simply the structured allocation of finite resources.

Today we are observing the transition from a so called unipolar world, one in which a single nation (or group of allied nations) dictates the terms of life for all global citizens, to a more balanced and natural multipolar world.

The current dominating group, the “western” bloc of nations, is led by the United States along with numerous vassal states; this order has persisted since the end of the Second World War. This construct is held together using a combination of supranational organizations (UN,WTO,World Bank, IMF, et cetera), propaganda (mainstream media complex), armed might (MIC,NATO, private mercenary forces) and chiefly economics (central banks, corporations).

The true “rulers” of this bloc are a cabal of very wealthy and powerful oligarchs that work in the background (shadow banking, dark pool finance, shadow governments, think tanks, NGO’s) to subvert the various sovereignties to their advantage. These oligarchs are the principal owners of, not just the industries and corporations that front for them, but the governments that rule over the masses. Most importantly this cabal owns the means by which real wealth extraction is carried out: fiat currency, chiefly the “worlds reserve currency”- the United States dollar and it’s derivatives. These currencies are backed not by equitable assets; such as natural resources, precious metals or productive capacities; instead they are backed by the creation of debt. Debt that represents a claim on real assets that virtually all participants in global commerce must pay.

How did this cabal come into power? This is a complex question that is subject to many possible answers and interpretations. Briefly, we know from historical fact that a global empire is a central part of this construct, today the United States empire holds that role (previously British, French so on…). This provides the controlling force behind such a cabal. The privately owned quasi-governmental western central banks are at the heart of this operation. They form the crucial nexus between sovereign governments and the financial world in which they derive their revenue stream, and by extension, their power. The current seat of this construct (United States) was founded as a Constitutional Republic. Unfortunately, the United States Constitution is quite amorphous. Using many acts of legislative, executive and even judicial fiat, this cabal has been able to effectively take over the reigns of the nation. With that feat accomplished, near world domination was made possible. A complex web of regulations, laws, and rules; coupled with a financial system few fully comprehend has been put into place across the west. This became the mechanism by which this “new world order” has been enforced.

The unsolvable problem here is that this debt based system is really just an elaborate pyramid scheme predicated on ever increasing amounts of debt in a world where sources of real wealth are finite. At present, the growth rate and the total amount of debt issuance, is outpacing the extraction rate and amount of available reserves of resources on the planet.

A Path Forward?…..

A new bloc of nations has been pushed toward an alliance. This bloc of nations consists of principally China, Russia and Iran (“eastern bloc”). These nations are led by various actors who seem to comprehend the likely nature of the end game inherent to the current financial construction. They are out of necessity seeking a path toward a different and more balanced and hopefully sustainable economic and global governance paradigm.

Not individually formidable, these nations collectively are quite powerful. Lets take a look at the derivation of that power. Firstly we examine a crucial metric: energy, it is well documented that these nations collectively possess enough energy resources to adequately power their economies for a long time. They also possess much of the worlds’ known stores of natural commercial use resources (metals, minerals, rare earth elements).

Additionally, owing in part to technological advances and also to long term changes in the earth’s climate, they possess the means to adequately feed their populations. They are also taking advantage of the fact that scientific knowledge and technological innovation (the key to a sustainable and competitive economy) are geographical location independent, as scientific axioms are immutable and provable anywhere on the planet. Lastly, the differences between these nations is paradoxically what makes them a powerful bloc. As example: China has become the world’s workshop and an innovation leader whilst Russia proper contains large deposits of natural resources, carries very low external debt levels and possesses a very technologically advanced war machine.

Initiatives led by China such as the OBOR (One Belt One Road) infrastructure project, the AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank) and the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) are aimed at providing distinct alternatives to western backed organizations such as the World Bank, IMF, UN, et cetera. The key piece of this strategy seems to be the use of the fiat system itself to fund the accumulation of tangible assets (businesses, technologies, resources, PM’s).

These assets can be then be utilized as a hedge against probable future turbulence with the current western based fiat regime. Why are these nations not publicly clamoring for this system to be dismantled sooner rather then later? First of all, this is a dangerous proposition, as they would likely be economically punished (Greece, Brazil) or worse, suffer an armed attack/invasion (Iraq, Libya). One just needs to observe the large amount of vitriol directed toward these nations in the western mainstream press to connect theses dots – these nations surely get the message. Secondly, they are slowly dissolving this system on their own terms (direct bilateral trade agreements via own currencies, accumulation of PM’s as a potential partial backing to their respective currencies). As of now, these nations are taking advantage of the current system to build up their economies and national infrastructures for the long term. As an example, Russia and China have begun co-developing a wide body passenger aircraft using their respective indigenous technologies and knowledge bases. These activities are made possible by their embedment into the current monetary system.

Conclusion:

For the human condition to improve, the following possible actions should be taken under serious consideration.

The western fiat currency regime should be dissolved, most outstanding debts should be extinguished (debt jubilee, massive write offs, large scale revaluations), and national sovereignty must regain prominence across the entire globe.

A balanced financial system based principally on equitable assets must take the place of the current debt based system. Sovereign governments should look to take on the crucial role as their own primary issuer of currency; this of course would require much more honest and transparent governments’ than we currently have in place.

A new system of loose decentralized global governance should be constructed to act as an impartial arbiter in geopolitical and economic affairs. These are but a few of the possible reforms that could be made to affect a more intelligent paradigm of globalism. Whether the alternative system(s) being pursued by the emergent eastern bloc will fulfill these objectives still remains to be seen, as big challenges remain, e.g. environmental degradation.

The best outcome for the world at large is a general reset of sorts. A new paradigm in which malinvestments are discouraged and cleared away, success and effort are rewarded, and opportunity for all is sought as a societal virtue, should be pursued. Worse case is a long term continuation of the current system. This outcome is likely to lead to increasing levels of civil and political unrest, and possible widespread conflict as the planet’s capacity to support the growth rates demanded by a debt based system is diminished by a declining real ROI.

Posted in Politics, World0 Comments

The plain truth about terrorism

NOVANEWS

or why the “oops we accidentally let ISIS get our guns” excuse does not work…

OffGuardian 

We get a few people here saying some variant on “ISIS, al Qaeda etc are all the unlooked-for by-product of the criminal western policy in the Middle East.” It’s one of the would-be middle-of-the-road positions occupied as much through fear of what lies beyond it than for any inherent value it contains. It’s still possible to be considered relatively mainstream and hold this position. Sensible people like Robert Fisk and Noam Chomsky promote it. There’s only one problem with it really, namely that it is not true. Recent leaks/releases of government documents have put it beyond question that the US, its Gulf allies and NATO at very least willingly got behind the creation of extreme jihadist groups and have been funding such groups in their attempts to overthrow the legitimate Syrian government.

So we thought we’d address that claim very quickly with the help of this graphic originally made by professor Tim Anderson. It makes the point more clearly than many paragraphs of text.

the_fall-back_story_9044b

That’s all you need.

Stop making that bogus and unhelpful claim here or anywhere else.

Posted in Media, Politics0 Comments

2016: How Truth was Destroyed So You’d Buy the Government’s Propaganda

NOVANEWS
Image result for Oxford Dictionaries CARTOON
By Claire Bernish 

“We’re an empire now,” Karl Rove nefariously asserted in 2004, “and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality —  judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Rove might have said that 12 years ago, but the words hauntingly describe our situation in 2016 — Oxford Dictionaries, incidentally, named “post-truth” the international word of the year — with facts seemingly relative, truth debatable, and a falsely-premised war on fake news, Orwell must be rolling in his grave.

In fact, given these telling circumstances, perhaps Oxford Dictionaries didn’t go far enough — this year epitomizes a new era of post-coherence. Rove and his ilk — the dynasties Bush and Clinton, reigning powers for nearly 30 years — must chuckle behind closed doors as Americans quarrel savagely over the authenticity of falsehoods and facts, alike.

With ostensibly everything now up in the air, the U.S. power apparatus has inarguably ‘created a new reality’ — one in which doubt has been so instilled as to obstruct and thwart the dissemination of accurate, factual information.

This purposeful manipulation of perception, in other words, does exactly what Rove and the aptly-termed “history’s actors” intend — it keeps the rest of us confused — and bitterly arguing over what’s actually going on.

Online communication facilitated this madness exponentially — it’s doubtful such disorientation would have occurred decades ago, when social media didn’t have critical influence.

Of course, this tumult and turbulence isn’t manufactured without reason — it allows the surreptitious and sometimes flagrant distribution of propaganda favorable to the American political establishment to circulate largely unhindered.

But those aspects of post-coherence unintentionally also gave rise to a furious backlash — the Internet might facilitate confusion and propaganda, but it is, after all, a global library of information — and wary independent and alternative media outlets immediately tear apart false information published by collusive corporate media presstitutes.

With all of this in mind, the following are just a smattering of many outrageous examples of how the Fake News narrative brought us post-truth, intentionally shaping the events of 2016 — and promises to continue the inanity far into the future.

Perhaps the most laughable Fake News came to us courtesy of CNN’s Chris Cuomo, who warned the planet amid ongoing publication by Wikileaks of documents deleterious to the credibility of the Democratic establishment to “remember, it’s illegal to possess these stolen documents. It’s different for the media. So everything you learn about this, you’re learning from us.”

Cuomo’s conspicuous ploy to limit the spread of the actual documents — and win CNN additional reader- and viewership — constituted a reckless foray into censorship of information.

Of course, CNN didn’t proclaim the leaked emails verboten for nothing — the outlet bears the snarky moniker, Clinton News Network, as its parent company, Time Warner, donated over $400,000 to Hillary Clinton’s campaign — and was exposed by alternative media countless times for cutting off reporters who dared criticize its darling candidate or report on revealed corruption.

Further, CNN’s pernicious claim came as the documents revealed the outlet and others colluding with the Clinton campaign to report news portraying Democrats in a favorable manner — of course, those who took Cuomo’s warning to heart and relied solely on the Clinton News Network would never know that pertinent detail.

Other mainstream media outlets who coordinated with the Clinton camp struggled to accurately report the contents of the Wikileaks documents — when they bothered covering the revelations. Corporate propaganda’s spin machine seemed to be on overdrive for the duration of the election cycle — and has reached the level of absurdity following Donald Trump’s win.

Because, according to corporate media — who ignored the depth of corruption exposed by Wikileaks — the election of Trump was so anomalous, there had to be an explanation beyond the fact the American people didn’t find Hillary qualified for the job.

Enter The Russians.

Taking cues from the era of McCarthyism and leading the new Red Scare with a bullhorn is the once-illustrious Washington Post, who first posited, without any evidence sans statements from unnamed CIA officials, that the Intelligence Community had reached a consensus — Russian hackers had interfered in the election to install Trump.

Famously in lockstep, the New York Times quickly parroted the same assertion as if it were steel truth — neither outlet, however, bothered consulting officials from the 16 other agencies comprising the U.S. Intelligence Community.

In actuality, no such consensus had been reached — not even inside the CIA. Shortly after the Post’s shameful scare piece was published, the FBI came forward to denounce the Russian hacking theory as “fuzzy” and “ambiguous” — showing the lack of cohesion amongst intelligence officials, as well as the rush to shirk blame for the lost election.

Wikileaks, itself — the one organization with insider information — has vociferously and repeatedly denied their source hacked anything, is not Russian, and that the documents were leaked by an insider.

Nonetheless, news of the report went viral and furthered current administration’s agenda to both paint Russia as a villain and Trump as having somehow stolen the election.

Indeed, the utterly unproven Russian Hackers theory provided the impetus for President Obama to an embarrassing diplomatic meltdown this week, announcing the expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, sanctions, and the shuttering of two compounds owned by Russia.

While that move could have easily brought the two superpower nations yet closer to military conflict, Russian President Vladimir Putin allowed cooler heads to prevail, went against the fury of other officials, and announced there would be no diplomatic tit-for-tat — no United States diplomats would be expelled from Russia.

Incidentally, the mainstream press jumped the gun again, publishing the statements of Russian officials claiming the country would be mirroring moves by the U.S. — before Putin announced Russia would not be stooping to such diplomatic pettiness. … continue

Posted in Politics0 Comments

Economic, Geopolitical, Military and Diplomatic Trends in 2016. What Prospects for 2017

NOVANEWS
 
Brexit R-U

2016 marked by important of diplomatic, political and military developments around the world.

Britain voted to leave the European Union by 52% to 48% in a national referendum. The outcome of the Brexit referendum has caused strong reaction at home and worldwide. Brexit was supported by the popular majority of Britain and a significant portion of the UK national elite. Even the use of lobbying clout by Cameron’s cabinet did not allow EU supporters to attain victory.

Indeed, leaving the EU would allow the UK to control immigration more efficiently, save billions of pounds in membership fees and advocate its own trade deals while leaving all trade conditions between the UK and the EU relatively unchanged – all while getting rid of restrictive EU regulations, bloated Brussels bureaucracy and run down Eastern and South European economies. In fact, the UK has simply jilted continental Europe. After all, it was Britain that was an active supporter of many decisions that have had a negative impact on the current situation of refugees in the EU and the economic issues of the Member States.

As to the trade cooperation and conditions, the EU could hardly proceed without British industry, technologies and investments. At the same time Britain acquires the first chance to jump in the US-backed Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership freely without intra-European debates.

However, EU lobbyists now have moved beyond just the information campaign and diplomatic pressure. They have started to use bureaucratic technologies and well-known “color revolutions” technologies, previously field-tested in Eastern Europe and the Arab countries, to attempt to rip the referendum results to shreds. As a result, the process of the UK exit from the EU was de-facto frozen, ignoring the people’s choice. However, the BREXIT became an important step in the ongoing confrontation between EU citizens and the European bureaucracy.

Following the Brexit, Donald J. Trump won the US presidential elections. While on the campaign trail, President-Elect Donald J. Trump made a range of statements suggesting a shift away from a policy of interventionism, combined with a focus on safeguarding US borders and jobs at the expense of the dominant ideology of globalism. Can and will he deliver on these promises? There are many reasons to believe he will genuinely push US foreign policy in this direction, but at the same time he will face obstacles on his path.

One of the factors clearly helping him is the increasingly indisputable fact that globalism as an ideology has been discredited, except, ironically, among the liberal “creative classes” and among the financial elites. The rest of the society and of the elite is increasingly skeptical of such policies if not downright opposed to them, which means they are willing to experiment with economic nationalism and even isolationism.

At a minimum, the “global elites” will attempt to find as much compromising information concerning Trump, his family, and close associates as possible, in order to make him an “offer he can’t refuse” backed up by a sizable financial “consolation prize”.

If Trump refuses to succumb to direct and indirect pressure and attempts to pursue even part of what he promised during the campaign, Trump’s opponents will embark on more drastic measures, including a Maidan-like permanent demonstration aimed at tarnishing Trump’s reputation or even an assassination attempt. While the former is highly likely, the latter is somewhat less plausible because it would result in elevate Trump to martyrdom and also set a precedent for future assassinations, which is something the US elite fears greatly.  However, Trump will have to deal with tremendous and constant psychological pressure that will be exerted on him through his close associates, family, and of course the media, in order to disorient him and throw him off course.

Moreover, Trump’s political foes will pursue an international approach, using NATO and EU as means of exerting pressure on the new administration, through military provocations if need be. US, being a relatively sparsely, resource-rich country not unlike Russia, can pursue a “Fortress America” strategy. The EU would find it much more difficult to do so without embracing authoritarian governance, as it requires a “Lebensraum”-like sphere of influence that will provide natural resources which the continent lacks. But this Europe has no Grande Armee or Wehrmacht– it has to rely on US military power and subversion. Hence the  hysterical European reaction to the US election, for the adoption of a “Fortress America” strategy by the US renders EU’s own strategy of expansion obsolete.

Deciding what to do about the US relationship to Europe that has become a major net drain on US resources will therefore be a major challenge for the Trump Administration. If it is pulled down the same path as its predecessor, it will ultimately be because of its inability to redefine its relations with an increasingly burdensome and costly set of allies on the other side of the Atlantic, and for this reason the outcome of the upcoming elections in Germany and France is of critical importance.

The development of conflicts in the Middle East was the alternate side of the changes in the EU and the US. While backers of Syrian terrorists were trying to hold the power at their home, the Russian-Syrian-Iranian alliance made significant steps aimed on combating terrorism in Syria.

The provinces of Latakia, Homs, Hama, Aleppo and the Damascus countryside wre the main areas of operations against terrorists. The joint anti-terrorism forces achieved a series of significant victories in these areas, liberating waste areas near the Syrian capital, the important town of Qaryatayn and the key Syrian city of Aleppo. They also temporarily liberated the ancient city of Palmyra from ISIS, but lost it as result of a large-scale ISIS attack in December.

On October 1, 2015, SouthFront predicted that the Russian military operation in Syria will likely lead to the establishment of a permanent Russian air and naval base in eastern Mediterranean. By October 2016, Moscow expanded its military facilities in Syria, launching a program of transforming the Khmeimim Air Base into a full-fledged military base with a permanent contingent of the Russian Aerospace Forces and announced plans to turn its naval facility in Tartus into a fully-fledged permanent naval base.

Summing up the gains of pro-government forces across the country within the past year and the growing military presence of Russia in Syria, it’s easy to conclude that the course of the Syrian war was dramatically changed and the Syrian-Iranian-Russian forces delivered a devastating blow to terrorists and saving the Assad government from the military defeat. Now, the strategic initiative of the war is in the hands of Syrian-Iranian-Russian alliance.

Another key player in the conflict was Turkey that had entered northern Syria to combat ISIS and Kurdish YPG forces in August. Turkey’s aim was to build a buffer zone with pro-Turkey militant groups and to prevent Kurdish forces from creation a semi-autonomous state in Syria. Turkey’s decision to intervene in Syria was made amid the rapprochement with Russia and Iran. This allowed many experts to suggest that Turkey, Iran, Russia and Syria had some unpublicized agreements over the ongoing crisis. The Turkish-Russian-Iranian negotiations that excluded the US-led block of the so-called “friends of Syria” and took place in Moscow in December contributed to this version. The military coup attempt that took place in Turkey in July and was allegedly supported by some part of the US elite became the main reason of Ankara’s decision to increase cooperation with Moscow and Tehran.

The Russian anti-terrorist operation also pushed the US to take more active steps in combating ISIS in Iraq and Syria that led to the start of advance on Raqqah, Fallujah and Mosul. While Fallujah was liberated, Mosul remained a major ISIS stronghold in Iraq despite the US-led attempts to retake the city from terrorists.

It appears that the pre-election project of the Democratic Party of the USA, under the title “Quick Capture of Mosul” has, seemingly, failed together with Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. Now, the tactics of the USA administration have changed. This may mean that Donald Trump gets dragged into a quagmire of a war. That being stated, high-ranking Pentagon officials no longer believe that the Iraqi military is capable of taking Mosul, and have been preparing a plan with greater participation of the US Armed Forces.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) also launched an advance on the ISIS self-proclaimed capital in Syria, Raqqah. However, until now, they have not even reached the city.

Conflicts in Yemen and Libya continued to flare in the Middle East with almost no chances to be solved with diplomatic measures, contributing to instability in the region. The Saudi-led intervention turned Yemen into a zone of instability and set conditions for the growth of local al-Qaeda branch. Even despite this, Saudi-led forces failed to achieve their military goals in the area and to inflict a defeat to the Houthi-Saleh alliance backed by Iran.

The rapidly developing relations between Russia and Egypt have been overshadowed by the more prominent relationships between Russia and Syria, as well as Russia and Iran. Nevertheless, the Russia-Egypt relationship deserves closer scrutiny because, unlike the country’s relations with the other two Middle Eastern powers, it concerns a country that until recently appeared to be firmly in Western orbit. The abrupt shift of its geopolitical vector toward Eurasia therefore represents a far bigger change for the region than Russia’s successful support of the legitimate Syrian government, or the close relationship with the Islamic Republic of Iran, both of which have been on the Western “enemies list” for decades. The reasons for this shift are twofold, and have to do with the way Western powers interact with Middle Eastern powers in the context of a systemic economic crisis, as well as with Russia’s demonstrated attractiveness as an ally.

From the Russian perspective, Egypt represents yet another bulwark of security against Western encroachment, a symmetric response to NATO expansion, “Eastern Partnership”, and color revolutions. Combined with the military presence in Syria, Cyprus’ general pro-Russian orientation, and the neutralization of Turkey which was also facilitated by an abortive West-promoted coup attempt, the Egyptian-Russian cooperation would impact the balance of power in the Mediterranean.

In 2016, the whole Middle East was affected by the major crisis with Syria, Iraq, Yemen and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and Turkey in its core. Turkey faced a military coup attempt, economic decay and Kurdish insurgency that almost turned into a full-scale civil war.

2016 witnessed a sharp escalation in the militarization of the South China Sea. The cause of the escalation is multifaceted and comes from both regional and international quarters. The militarization has been initiated and exacerbated by both China and the United States, both bearing responsibility for the current level of tension in the region. As land reclamation and building efforts on the part of the Chinese continue at Fiery Cross Reef and Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands with no signs of slowing down in the immediate future, the US increases the size and tempo of future patrols in the area and expands its cooperation with regional powers to counter the Chinese claims.

The Central Asia also remained the point of instability that attracted attention of the key regional players: Russia, the US and China. While Afghanistan remained the main source of instability, neighboring central Asian countries also faced various terror and security threats, strengthened by an instable internal political situation.

Security threats are growing in Europe. The ongoing migration crisis and acute situation with a terrorism threat didn’t force the EU elite to change their failed foreign and internal policy and the union was plunged into shock by the continued series of terror attacks.

If this situation is not to get worse, it would require the adoption of a revised approach, namely a unified, well-funded and comprehensive EU-level migration policy, consisting of combating organized crime among ethnic groups, screening new arrivals, guaranteeing access to social services and labor markets, etc.  Otherwise the EU is risking a massive social explosion provoked by growing inter-ethnic and inter-religious conflict, and the constant perception of a growing terrorist threat. Unless addressed rapidly, these problems could be sufficient to destroy the already fragile EU common security framework.

The general security situation in Europe was further worsened with the smoldering conflict in eastern Ukraine, where the recent escalation took place in December. The situation is worsening due to the economic collapse in Ukraine and the Kiev’s government inability to negotiate and unwillingness to follow the Minsk agreements. Ukraine remained the point that can be used by some powers to instigate destabilization in the whole Europe.

In general, 2016 was a very complicated year in military and diplomatic terms. The reactive processes were observed the international relations at all levels. The number of local conflicts didn’t reduce and even grew involving more and more regional and world powers. The diplomatic, military and security trends formed in the end of 2016 year will shape 2017. It will be the year of continued geopolitical standoff of global powers amid the reducing US influence around the world.

Posted in USA, Politics, World0 Comments

How to remain completely anonymous and hidden online

NOVANEWS

anonymous in mexico
Maintaining online anonymity is no easy task. Today’s ad-driven and heavily surveilled internet ecosystem endeavors to accomplish the exact opposite result. Be it for national security or to sell you a smartphone, governments and companies want to know everything they can about you. To make them lose your trail is not a simple matter.

It is possible to be remain anonymous online, but it’s getting more difficult as time progresses. No measure you take will ever be perfect, but unless you’re a high profile criminal, you can make it more difficult than it’s worth for anyone to expose you.

Being anonymous has its benefits. Certain freedoms come with being unrecognizable and untraceable. It also requires sacrifice. Many of the conveniences of the modern web were built around profiling, tracking, and analyzing user behavior.

Bearing that in mind, these are the steps you can take and the tools you’ll need to stay anonymous and hidden online.

Tor

No anonymity checklist would be complete without Tor. This network of volunteer nodes around the world is synonymous with anonymity. Tor, short for “the onion router”, allows you to encrypt your internet traffic and, each time you connect to a web server, route that traffic through a random array of nodes before heading to the final destination.

There are dozens of ways to use Tor from many different devices. The Tor Browser is the most popular. Simply installing this Firefox-based application on your Mac or PC will allow you to anonymously browse the web. For Android devices, try Orbot. iOS users don’t have any official support from the Tor project, but the Onion Browser seems like a decent option.

tor browser wikileaks url bar

Tor does have a few downsides. For one, it’s slow. Tor isn’t suitable for streaming video or torrenting files. You can browse the web and that’s pretty much it due to the lack of volunteer resources and competing traffic from other users.

Secondly, even though your internet traffic is encrypted and untraceable, an internet service provider can still detect whether or not you are using Tor. This alone might be enough to raise suspicions, as Tor is often used for criminal activity online. Your ISP could choke your bandwidth, send you a cease and desist letter, or report you to the authorities even if you haven’t done anything wrong.

For this reason, we advise Tor users to use an obfuscation tool like Obfsproxy, turn on a VPN when using Tor, or both. Obfsproxy is a Tor project that makes encrypted Tor traffic look like normal un-encrypted traffic so that it doesn’t draw undue attention. More on VPNs further down.

Finally, there’s considerable speculation that the US government successfully used traffic analysis on Tor on at least a few occasions that led to arrests, including that of the infamous Dread Pirate Roberts of the Silk Road illicit goods marketplace. Rumor has it that governments also operate and monitor activity on several Tor exit nodes. None of these allegations come with concrete evidence, so take it with a big grain of salt.

Live OS

A browser is suitable for escaping targeted advertisements and occasional visits to the DarkNet, but those who require complete anonymity will need a more nuclear option. While no one can track your browsing activity on Tor Browser, for instance, chances are you’ve still got multiple applications running in the background. These applications–word processors, video players, update managers–send data to the web. Rumor has it that authorities have used unencrypted error reports from the Windows operating system to find people. Windows 10 includes a litany of tracking software that’s enabled by default.

You could disable all of those settings and uninstall all of your applications, but that’s not very practical. Instead, we recommend a live operating system. Live operating systems can be installed on USB drives or DVDs. By tweaking a few settings in your computer’s bootloader, you can launch an entirely independent operating system from a thumb drive on your everyday laptop.

Tails is the official live OS from the Tor Project. All internet traffic–not just web browsing–goes through the Tor Network. The OS leaves no trace on your computer and all instant messages, emails, and files are encrypted. It’s simple to use and is designed to be idiot proof.

If Tails doesn’t seem suitable for whatever reason, another option is Whonix. Whonix isn’t an independent live OS. Instead, it runs in a virtual machine on your existing operating system. It has all the advantages of Tails (it also uses the Tor Network) plus it is designed so that IP address leaks–which can be used to track users–are impossible. The downsides are that it takes a reasonably powerful computer to run a virtual machine and it’s rather complicated to set up.

Other options are also on the table. Kali, Qubes, and ZeusGuard are all alternatives to Tails and Whonix worth considering. Do your research and figure out what’s best for you.

Logless VPN

A VPN, or virtual private network, encrypts all of a device’s internet traffic and then routes it through an intermediary server in a location of the user’s choosing. The end result is that the device’s IP address is masked and third parties–including ISPs–cannot monitor traffic.

Most VPN providers utilize shared IP addresses on their servers. Multiple users–dozens, hundreds, and even thousands–are assigned a single IP address. This makes it nearly impossible to trace the activity of a single person in the pool.

ipvanishclient_3

VPNs are built for privacy and not anonymity, however, so we caution against using them alone if you want to truly remain hidden. Privacy and anonymity often go hand in hand, but remember this important distinction: anonymity means no one can identify you, but privacy implies no can see what you’re doing.

Using a VPN requires a certain degree of trust in your VPN provider and the entities that host their servers. Very few VPN providers own their own physical server infrastructure. Your traffic is encrypted on your local device and remains encrypted until it arrives at the VPN server. It is then decrypted before being sent onto its destination. For a brief moment, your activity is visible to the VPN provider.

This is why we highly recommend “logless” VPNs. Branded with a “logless”, “no-logs”, or “zero-logs” policy, this means that the VPN provider does not store any information about the content of users traffic. Assuming the VPN provider is telling the truth, that’s a good thing.

But it’s not so simple as that. Some VPN providers claim to be logless but in reality they still store metadata. Depending on how anonymous you want to be, this is a nuance to be wary of. Metadata doesn’t contain any information about the contents of your traffic, but it can include details such as when you used the VPN, for how long, how much data was transferred, and even your original IP address. Always skim through a VPN provider’s privacy policy for devilish details like these.

Even the few true zero-logs VPNs out there require customers to trust them. There’s no way of knowing whether they are being honest and how they will react when faced with a government subpoena. For the highest level of anonymity, then, try combining your VPN with Tor. Avoid VPNs based in the United States and Europe, where data retention laws and government intelligence agencies could put your data at risk.

Simply running Tor Browser while connected to the VPN makes tracing the user twice as difficult. VPNs can also be configured manually in live operating systems like Tails.

Logless DNS

When a URL is entered into a browser, a request is sent to a DNS server to lookup the IP address that matches the URL. Even when using a proxy like a VPN, these DNS requests can be sent outside the encrypted tunnel to the default server. By default, DNS requests usually go to and are recorded by a nearby server operated by the user’s ISP.

If this happens when using a VPN, it’s called a DNS leak. Many VPN providers offer DNS leak protection, which ensures that all internet traffic, including DNS requests, are directed through the VPN. These VPNs typically operate their own DNS servers, which won’t record which websites you visit if they meet the logless criteria outlined above.

Even if a VPN advertises DNS leak protection, that statement often only applies to IPv4 DNS leaks. IPV6 DNS requests can still travel on the default network and be picked up by both web servers and ISPs. It would be great if more VPNs would set up IPv6 DNS servers to handle this situation, but at the moment the best solution is simply to disable IPv6 in the device’s internet settings.

If the VPN you use lacks DNS leak protection, or you aren’t using a VPN at all, try opting for a public no-logs DNS server. You can change your device’s DNS settings so that requests aren’t sent through your ISP. We recommend DNS.WATCH or OpenNIC.

Burner emails

It goes without saying that remaining anonymous online means not logging into any of your existing accounts. But since many apps and websites require users to sign up, you’ll need an email address or two.

Several services offer free fake and burner email accounts. For one-off registrations and messages, we recommend Guerilla Mail. No registration is required and it includes a password manager to help remember the passwords associated with those accounts.

guerrilla mail ss

For a more long-term untraceable email account, the best option is probably ProtonMail. This end-to-end encrypted service is open-source and uses zero-knowledge apps for web and mobile. Unfortunately, new users must apply for an invite due to limited server capacity. ProtonMail is donation-based.

If you don’t want to wait around for an invite, Zmail is another alternative. It allows you to send emails from fake addresses.

Never use your own email account when trying to be anonymous. Don’t even read your email or log into the account. If you want to send encrypted email from a burner account, you’ll have to set up new PGP or S/MIME keys.

Cryptocurrencies

If you want to make an anonymous purchase or donation, cryptocurrencies are superior to PayPal and obviously credit cards. That doesn’t mean that you can just open up a Bitcoin wallet with a big exchange like Coinbase and start spending, though.

There’s a big misconception that bitcoin is always anonymous, when in fact the very nature of blockchain technology means every transaction is tracked and verified. This publicly available ledger can be analyzed so that the wallets you use and the transactions you make could be linked to your identity.

By analyzing the activity which is visible to anybody on the public blockchain an observer may well be able to link your personal identity with all of the wallets you use and therefore your entire transaction history. In a way, this makes Bitcoin even less private than a bank account.

To get around this, use wallets that change your bitcoin address after each transaction. This makes you harder to trace. Use a bitcoin mixing service, which pools your bitcoins with other people’s and mixes them up before making a payment to the receiver.

Perhaps the most difficult part is anonymously buying bitcoins in the first place, as doing so requires fiat currency. Private deals and peer-to-peer exchanges like LocalBitcoins are not for the careless, but they are the best means of anonymously getting your hands on coins.

Remember that Bitcoin isn’t the only player in town, although it is the biggest. Litecoin, DarkCoin, and Dogecoin are popular as well.

Search engines

Google keeps track of every search query and link you click on. If you’re using Tor, this doesn’t matter so much, but it’s still a good idea to opt for an alternative.

DuckDuckGo is perhaps the most popular search engine that doesn’t track or profile users. It can be set as the default search engine in your browser.

DuckDuckGo is a fully independent browser, so, let’s be honest, the results won’t be as good as Google’s. Luckily, there’s a way to get Google results without Google.

startpage ss

StartPage removes all your identifying information and submits a search query to Google on your behalf. It doesn’t log or track user activity. All search results are displayed with a proxy link beneath them, allowing you to click through to any site while retaining your privacy through a proxy.

File transfers

The moment might arise when you need to anonymously send a file that’s too big for an email attachment. If you’re a whistleblower who wants to leak a large trove of damning documents to the public, uploading the files to Dropbox just won’t do.

FileDropper is a simple and convenient solution that allows uploads of up to 5GB with no registration required. WeTransfer is another option that allows files up to 2GB without signing up. For these types of services, just upload a file and then send the link to whoever you want to receive it.

Remember to access the site using Tor and share the links using a burner email or some other anonymous method, as the website might well be gathering information on site visitors despite the fact that registration isn’t required.

Choose your browser extensions carefully

The Tor Browser has very little support for extensions, and there’s a good reason for that. Advertising companies are getting smarter about how they track users. One of the most advanced methods is called fingerprinting. By gathering information about your web browser–what extensions are installed, what device you use, what language you read in, etc–ad tech companies can create a “fingerprint” that identifies a user. Fingerprints are superior to IP addresses because they don’t change if a user switches wifi networks or connects to a VPN.

Many extensions can help maintain your privacy–ABP, Disconnect, Privacy Badger, HTTPS Everywhere, etc–but they also contribute to a more well-formed fingerprint. This is one of several reasons it’s so difficult to be anonymous on a popular browser like FireFox or Chrome.

If you want to test how well your browser protects you from tracking, head over to the Panopticlick website. This tool made by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) can show you in excruciating detail how an ad agency can identify your browser using a unique fingerprint.

Besides fingerprinting, browser extensions can communicate with servers in the background without your knowledge, potentially logging metadata that could help identify you and your online activity.

Read more: 75+ free tools to protect your privacy online

Encrypted communications

Besides email, you’ll also want to cover your tracks when sending messages and making calls. Encryption is more focused on privacy than anonymity; even if a message is encrypted, a snoop still knows who the sender and receiver is. But if you’re going through the trouble of being anonymous, you might as well take every precaution.

Signal is the premier app for encrypted voice calls on smartphones. It also includes instant messaging. Users can verify the identities of their contacts by comparing key fingerprints.

cryptocat ss

For encrypted text and media messaging, there’s a wealth of free and private options. TorChat uses peer-to-peer encrypted messaging on the Tor network. It requires no installation and can be run from a USB drive. Other alternatives include Pidgin, and CryptoCat.

Encrypted backup

Even anons need to back up and store large files, and sometimes allow other people to access them. Stay away from Google Drive and Dropbox, as these contain no real privacy protections such as encryption and aren’t anonymous at any rate.

Backups are best done locally to an encrypted external hard drive. Crashplan offers a free version of its software that makes this easy.

backblaze web app

If you want a cloud solution, it will require trusting a provider. Seek out a “zero knowledge” service that allows you to set your own encryption key. SpiderOak, iDrive, BackBlaze, and Crashplan all offer this option, which prevents the provider from decrypting your files.

If you insist on using Google Drive, Dropbox, or some other un-encrypted storage provider, you can always encrypt your files before uploading them to the cloud.

Secure your webcam

It’s been proven that webcams can be remotely activated and used to spy on users. The head of the FBI and Mark Zuckerberg both go so far as to put tape over their webcams for this very reason.

Webcams are usually remotely activated through malware, so a real-time virus scanner and regular system scans can prevent this from happening. If your laptop has an LED light that turns on whenever the webcam is active, make sure it’s enabled. If you don’t want to put tape on your webcam, make sure you close the laptop when not in use.

Learn more about securing your webcam here.

Secure your wifi router

Many of us never bother changing the settings that our wifi routers came with from the factory. Unsecured routers can make users extremely vulnerable to nearby snoops. Routers can be used to intercept, read, and modify internet traffic. If you’re on someone else’s wifi network, be sure to use a VPN.

If you want to remain anonymous, it’s important to change the router’s login credentials, update the firmware, set the strongest level of encryption (usually WPA2), restrict inbound and outbound traffic, turn off WPS, disable unused services, check port 32764, enable and read logs, and log out of your router when finished.

You can learn more about how to take all of these steps and more in our guide on securing wireless routers.

iOS and Android are not optimal for anonymity

If you’re choosing between iOS and Android based on which is more anonymous, go with Android. But don’t get comfortable and think you can be totally anonymous on either.

It is far more difficult to be anonymous on a smartphone than on a computer. Anonymity tools for Tor just haven’t matured to a point where they work well on mobile, yet. Apple and Google are too deeply embedded in these devices. You might be able to browse an onion site with Orbot on Android, but that’s about as far as you’ll get. There are no official Tor browsers for iOS.

There are no live operating systems that can be utilized by smartphones like TAILS for desktops.

Smartphones have IMEI numbers, MAC addresses, and possibly vulnerable firmware that cannot be altered and can be used to identify a specific device when connected to the internet. Because Android is usually modified by manufacturers, it’s difficult to audit and keep up with each device’s potential vulnerabilities. Apple and Google have the power to track almost every iOS and Android phone, respectively.

Apps constantly communicate with servers over the internet, passing data back and forth that could be used to track users. Even something as basic as a keyboard could be used to monitor activity. Cameras and microphones can be hacked into to spy on users. Any time a device receives a signal from a cell tower, their device’s location can be traced. Simply put, there’s just too much that could go wrong on Android and iOS that the user cannot see.

While making smartphones completely anonymous might be a futile effort, they can be made significantly more private. Android devices can be encrypted and iPhones are all encrypted by default. Use VPNs to encrypt internet traffic, and set up a self destruct sequence if the passcode is entered incorrectly too many times.

Finally, companies like Silent Circle make Android-based smartphones with security first in mind. The Blackphone, for instance, is fully encrypted and runs several “virtual phones” to compartmentalize data. Silent Circle also has a subscription service to make iPhones private. Again, the key difference is that this phone is focused on privacy, not anonymity. While the contents of the phone are protected, the same isn’t necessarily true for the identity of the user.

Be wary of the Internet-of-Things

The internet of things presents a whole new wave of opportunity for hackers and snoopers. Security has unfortunately been an afterthought for many IoT manufacturers. A simple log of when your smart air conditioner is activated, for example, can tell a lot about a person’s daily routine. Critics have warned against devices like the Amazon Echo, which are always listening for input even when deactivated.

Depending on your online activity, this can be a threat to a user’s anonymity. Use IoT devices with caution.

Make a checklist

No anonymity tool, even Tor, is perfect. But that doesn’t mean they aren’t effective. While a well-funded corporation or government agency could spend huge amounts of time and money running traffic analysis on the Tor network to eventually find the person they are looking for, it’s much more likely that person will make a mistake and drop a clue somewhere along the way.

So how do you avoid making mistakes? The same way surgeons and other high-risk occupations do: with lists. Every time you want to be anonymous online, start from the beginning of your checklist. Write it down on a piece of paper, but don’t include any login credentials or other identifying information. Here’s what one might look like based on everything discussed:

  • Connected to a logless VPN
  • Connected to the internet through Tor Browser/Tails
  • DNS settings are configured to use a logless DNS
  • Logged out of all online accounts
  • Closed all apps and background services connected to the web
  • All tracking in my browser and OS are turned off and blocked
  • Emails are sent using burner accounts
  • New accounts registered and logged in with burner emails
  • Search with DuckDuckGo or StartPage
  • Bitcoins are properly mixed and using a third-party wallet

With a standard protocol in place, you can drastically reduce the chances of making mistakes. Don’t be overconfident. Anonymity is something you can get right 100 times, but it only takes one misstep for it all to crumble.

Posted in Education, Politics0 Comments

Assange and Wikileaks: “Donald? It’s a Change Anyway”

wikiLeaks-logo-01

When they appeared on the scene for the first time in 2006, few noticed them. And when four years later they hit worldwide media headlines with their publication of over 700,000 secret US government documents, many assumed that Julian Assange and his organisation, WikiLeaks, would be annihilated very shortly.

Since 2010 Assange has lived first under house arrest and then confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he has been granted asylum by Ecuador. The country’s officials judged  his concerns of being extradited to Sweden and then to the US to be put on trial for the WikiLeaks’ revelations well-grounded.

Repubblica met Julian Assange in the embassy, nicely decorated for the Christmas season.

These last ten years have been intense ones for his organisation, but the last two months have been truly hectic: WikiLeaks’ publication of Hillary Clinton’s and US Democrats’ emails hit headlines around the world.

The US government hit back, accusing WikiLeaks of having received these materials from Russian cybercriminals with the political agenda of influencing the US elections, a claim some experts question. In the midst of these publications, Ecuador even cut off Julian Assange’s internet connection. Finally, in November, Swedish prosecutors travelled to London to question the WikiLeaks’ founder after six years of judicial paralysis. In a matter of a few weeks, they will be deciding whether to charge or absolve him once and for all. Next February, Ecuador will be holding political elections. If Julian Assange loses asylum, will he be extradited to Sweden and then to the US?

How did it all start? Back in 2006, why did you think a new media organisation was necessary?

I had watched the Iraq War closely, and in the aftermath of the Iraq War a number of individuals from the security services, including the Australian [ones], came out saying how they had attempted to reveal information before the war began and had been thwarted. People who wanted to be whistleblowers before the Iraq war had not found a channel to get the information out. I felt that this was a general problem and set about to construct the system which could solve this problem in general.

In a famous interview, you declared that at the beginning you thought that your biggest role would be in China and in some of the former Soviet states and North Africa. Quite the opposite, most of WikiLeaks’ biggest revelations concern the US military-industrial complex, its wars in Afghanistan and in Iraq and its serious human rights violations in the war on terror. These abuses have had a heavy impact in an open and democratic society like the United States and produced ‘dissidents’ like Chelsea Manning willing to expose them. Why aren’t human rights abuses producing the same effects in regimes like China or Russia, and what can be done to democratise information in those countries?

In Russia, there are many vibrant publications, online blogs, and Kremlin critics such as [Alexey] Navalny are part of that spectrum. There are also newspapers like “Novaya Gazeta”, in which different parts of society in Moscow are permitted to critique each other and it is tolerated, generally, because it isn’t a big TV channel that might have a mass popular effect, its audience is educated people in Moscow. So my interpretation is that in Russia there are competitors to WikiLeaks, and no WikiLeaks staff speak Russian, so for a strong culture which has its own language, you have to be seen as a local player. WikiLeaks is a predominantly English-speaking organisation with a website predominantly in English. We have published more than 800,000 documents about or referencing Russia and president Putin, so we do have quite a bit of coverage, but the majority of our publications come from Western sources, though not always. For example, we have published more than 2 million documents from Syria, including Bashar al-Assad personally. Sometimes we make a publication about a country and they will see WikiLeaks as a player within that country, like with Timor East and Kenya. The real determinant is how distant that culture is from English. Chinese culture is quite far away.

What can be done there?

We have published some things in Chinese. It is necessary to be seen as a local player and to adapt the language to the local culture.

There is strict control of the web in China…

China banned us in 2007, we have worked around that censorship at various times, publishers there were too scared to publish [our documents]. The feeling is mixed within China: they of course like to see the Western critique that a number of our publications enable. China is not a militaristic society, they don’t see they have a comparative advantage in making warfare, so they presumably like general critiques of war, but it is a society that is authority-structured, which is terrified of dissidents, whereas if you compare it to Russia, it too is an increasingly authoritarian society, but one that has a cultural tradition of lionising dissidents.

Why aren’t the US and UK intelligence agencies leaking to WikiLeaks about their enemies, like Russia or China? They could do it using NGOs or even activists as a cover and they could expose WikiLeaks, if your organisation didn’t publish their documents…

We publish full information, pristine archives, verifiable. That often makes it inconvenient for propaganda purposes, because for many organisations you see the good and the bad, and that makes the facts revealed harder to spin. If we go back to the Iraq War in 2003, let’s imagine US intelligence tried to leak us some of their internal reports on Iraq. Now we know from US intelligence reports that subsequently came out that there was internal doubt and scepticism about the claim that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Even though there was intense pressure on the intelligence services at the political level to create reports that supported the rush towards the war, internally their analysts were hedging. The White House, Downing Street, the New York Times, the Washington Post and CNN stripped off those doubts. If WikiLeaks had published those reports, these doubts would have been expressed and the war possibly adverted.

WikiLeaks published documents on Hillary Clinton and the US Democrats. How do you reply to those who accuse you of having helped to elect Mr. Trump?

What is the allegation here exactly? We published what the Democratic National Committee, John Podesta, Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, and Hillary Clinton herself were saying about their own campaign, which the American people read and were very interested to read, and assessed the elements and characters, and then they made a decision. That decision was based on Hillary Clinton’s own words, her campaign manager’s own words. That’s democracy.

Do you agree with those who say that it was a hit job, because you hit Hillary Clinton when she was most vulnerable, during the final weeks of her campaign?

No, we have been publishing about Hillary Clinton for many years, because of her position as Secretary of State. We have been publishing her cables since 2010 and her emails also. We are domain experts on Clinton and her post 2008 role in government. This is why it is natural for sources who have information on Hillary Clinton to come to us. They know we will understand its significance.

So Clinton is gone, has WikiLeaks won?

We were pleased to see how much of the American public interacted with the material we published. That interaction was on both sides of politics, including those to the left of Hillary Clinton those who supported Bernie Sanders, who were able to see the structure of power within the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and how the Clintons had placed Debbie Wasserman Schultz to head up the DNC and as a result the DNC had tilted the scales of the process against Bernie Sanders.

What about Donald Trump? What is going to happen?

If the question is how I personally feel about the situation, I am mixed: Hillary Clinton and the network around her imprisoned one of our alleged sources for 35 years, Chelsea Manning, tortured her according to the United Nations, in order to implicate me personally. According to our publications Hillary Clinton was the chief proponent and the architect of the war against Libya. It is clear that she pursued this war as a staging effort for her Presidential bid. It wasn’t even a war for an ideological purpose. This war ended up producing the refugee crisis in Europe, changing the political colour of Europe, killing more than 40,000 people within a year in Libya, while the arms from Libya went to Mali and other places, boosting or causing civil wars, including the Syrian catastrophe. If someone and their network behave like that, then there are consequences. Internal and external opponents are generated. Now there is a separate question on what Donald Trump means.

What do you think he means?

Hillary Clinton’s election would have been a consolidation of power in the existing ruling class of the United States. Donald Trump is not a DC insider, he is part of the wealthy ruling elite of the United States, and he is gathering around him a spectrum of other rich people and several idiosyncratic personalities. They do not by themselves form an existing structure, so it is a weak structure which is displacing and destabilising the pre-existing central power network within DC. It is a new patronage structure which will evolve rapidly, but at the moment its looseness means there are opportunities for change in the United States: change for the worse and change for the better”.

In these ten years of WikiLeaks, you and your organisation have experienced all sorts of attacks. What have you learned from this warfare?

Power is mostly the illusion of power. The Pentagon demanded we destroy our publications. We kept publishing. Clinton denounced us and said we were an attack on the entire “international community”. We kept publishing. I was put in prison and under house arrest. We kept publishing. We went head to head with the NSA getting Edward Snowden out of Hong Kong, we won and got him asylum. Clinton tried to destroy us and was herself destroyed. Elephants, it seems, can be brought down with string. Perhaps there are no elephants.

You have spent six years under arrest and confinement, the UN established that you are arbitrarily detained, the UK appealed against the UN decision and lost, so this decision is now final. What is going to happen now?

That’s all politics, that’s something that people cannot properly understand, unless they been through the legal system themselves in high-profile cases. This decision by the UN in my case is really an historical decision. What is someone to do when they are in a multi-jurisdictional conflict, that is politicised and involves big powers? There is too much pressure for domestic courts to resist, so you need an international court with representation from different countries which are not allied to each other to be able to come to a fair decision. That is what happened in my situation. Sweden and the United Kingdom have refused to implement this decision so far, of course it costs both Sweden and the UK on a diplomatic level and the question is how long they are willing to pay that cost.

After six years, the Swedish prosecutors questioned you in London, as you had requested from the beginning. What happens if you get charged, extradited to Sweden and then to the United States? Will WikiLeaks survive?

Yes, we have contingency plans that you have seen in action when my Internet was cut off and while I was in prison before. An organisation like WikiLeaks cannot be structured such that a single person can be a point of failure in the organisation, it makes him or her a target.

Is the internet still cut off?

The internet has been returned.

You’ve declared on more than one occasion that what you really miss after 6 years of arrest and confinement is your family. Your children gave you a present to make you to feel less alone: a kitten. Have you ever reconsidered your choices?

Yes, of course. Fortunately I’m too busy to think about these things all the time. I know that my family and my children are proud of me, that they benefit in some ways from having a father who knows some parts of the world and has become very good in a fight, but in other ways they suffer.

One of the first times we met I noticed a book on your table: “The Prince” by Machiavelli. What have you learned about power in 10 years of WikiLeaks?

My conclusion is that most power structures are deeply incompetent, staffed by people who don’t really believe in their institutions and that most power is the projection of the perception of power. And the more secretively it works, the more incompetent it is, because secrecy breeds incompetence, while openness breeds competence, because one can see and can compare actions and see which one is more competent. To keep up these appearances, institutional heads or political heads such as presidents spend most of the time trying to walk in front of the train and pretending that it is following them, but the direction is set by the tracks and by the engine of the train. Understanding that means that small and committed organisations can outmanoeuvre these institutional dinosaurs, like the State Department, the NSA or the CIA.

Posted in Politics0 Comments

Capitalism vs. Socialism: A Changed Debate

NOVANEWS

By Richard D. Wolff, Truthout

(Image: Lw / TO; Adapted: Matthew Henry, Damian Gladal)

(Image: LW / TO; Adapted: Matthew Henry, Damian Gladal)

Once again, private capitalism’s contradictions, flaws and weaknesses threaten its own existence. Two major global collapses — first in the 1930s and more recently, since 2008 — plus periodic downturns every few years have underscored the instability that haunts the system. At the same time, deepening inequality has turned ever-larger populations into capitalism’s critics. Talk of reform and revolution has crowded onto political agendas. The capitalism versus socialism debate has returned everywhere. However, it is a changed debate transformed by lessons drawn from the Soviet Union and other similar experiences and experiments. The debate now displays three key alternative systems, not two: private capitalism, state capitalism and socialism. And that changes everything.

During the later nineteenth and twentieth centuries, we mostly believed ourselves to be caught up in a struggle between capitalism and socialism — as the two alternative economic systems differentiated by how the individual related to the state. Private versus public enterprises, free markets versus central planning: these were the epochal individual versus state oppositions that, especially in economics, took the form of capitalism versus socialism. But we know now that we should not equate the private-versus-public debate with a real consideration of capitalism versus socialism. Capitalism, we have learned, displays both private and state forms, and socialism differs from both of them. Capitalism, as we discuss further below, is a production system structured by its relationship of employer to employee as different persons or groups, regardless of whether employers are public or private. In contrast, socialism’s very different structure has employer and employee being the same person.

Reexamining past economic systems that coexisted with state apparatuses shows that they included both private and public enterprises. In many examples of slave economic systems, there were private masters alongside public masters. That is, private individuals or groups of citizens owned slaves, but so did local, regional or national state bodies and agencies. Likewise, in many examples of feudalism, we find private individuals who were lords ruling over serfs alongside, for example, kings or other state bodies who were also lords presiding over serfs.

Societies where slavery prevailed sometimes displayed struggles between the private and the state slave enterprises. Where feudalism prevailed, there were comparable struggles between the private and the state feudal enterprises. Such struggles sometimes broadened into grand oppositions between private and public, individual and state, citizen versus government, etc. But those struggles and oppositions usually occurred within one, shared class system: slavery or feudalism.

Capitalism has a parallel history. Private enterprises (owned and operated by private individuals and groups holding no position within any state apparatus) have frequently coexisted with public or state enterprises. The latter were owned by the state and operated by state officials. In both the private and public capitalist enterprises, the common basic relationship was between employer and employee. This matched the common relationship (master-slave) shared by private and public slave enterprises and the common relationship (lord-serf) shared by private and public feudal enterprises.

In slavery, feudalism and capitalism, the proportions of private versus state enterprises could and did vary. Public enterprises were sometimes a small and marginal portion of a region’s or nation’s total economy. They might also be altogether absent, or, at the opposite extreme, be the chief or even the only kind of enterprise. Depending on which form prevailed, economies could be described as private or state slavery, private or state feudalism, or private or state capitalism.

What obscured these parallels over the last century and a half was confusion between private versus state capitalism, on the one hand, and capitalism versus socialism on the other. Most people described the dominant opposition as capitalism versus socialism, but their definition of socialism equated it with state capitalism. They viewed capitalism as an economy based on private capitalist enterprises (or “free” enterprises) and markets as organizations for the distribution of enterprises’ resources and products. They viewed socialism as an economy of public enterprises (or “state” enterprises) and central planning as the organization for distributing resources and products. In effect, they conflated socialism with state capitalism.

These confusions of terms and meanings likely arose because nineteenth and twentieth century socialists focused strategically on capturing the state (either by revolution or by parliamentary politics). They planned to use the state as the means to transform capitalism into socialism. State capitalism would serve as a kind of way station where state capitalist enterprises and central planning prevailed (occupied the “commanding heights”) over private capitalist enterprises and markets. Such an economy would then be further transformed into socialism, presumably by the socialists who had captured state power. Socialists were often quite vague about their ultimate goal of socialism, especially when compared to their clear focus on political strategies to win state power and establish state capitalism.

Most socialists gradually stopped viewing the state as merely the means for (and state capitalism as a way-station to) a further transformation. Instead, state capitalism — operated by a state apparatus controlled by people who identified as socialists — came to be viewed as, in itself, the transformation of capitalism into socialism. Converting private to state capitalist enterprises and subordinating markets to central planning came to define the achievement of “socialism.” Two sequential transitions — the first from private to state capitalism and the second from state capitalism to socialism — were conflated into the first one alone.

The last century’s so-called great contest between capitalism and socialism was thus actually a contest between private and state capitalism. The US mostly favored private capitalism. It displayed chiefly private enterprises with significant instances of state capitalist enterprises; it likewise displayed a largely market system of distribution with significant instances of planned distributions. Meanwhile, the USSR was mostly a state capitalism. It displayed chiefly state capitalist enterprises and centrally planned distribution with significant instances of private capitalist enterprises and market distributions. However, most of its advocates and its critics alike described the USSR as “socialist.”

Historically, then, the revolution of 1917 achieved a transition from private Russian capitalism to Soviet state capitalism, while the 1989 implosion achieved precisely the reverse transition. In good dialectical fashion, those oscillations between private and state capitalisms enable us to clarify that socialism lies beyond them both.

The socialist alternative to both private and state forms of capitalism is the end, the supersession, of capitalism as the specific employer-employee organization of production. The replacement of private enterprises by state enterprises and markets by planning are changes that mostly leave in place the employer-employee organization of production, capitalism’s distinguishing mark. The employer-employee relationship in production differentiates capitalism from slavery (where master-slave is the distinguishing relationship). It differentiates capitalism likewise from feudalism (where lord-serf is the distinguishing relationship). Finally, the employer-employee relationship differentiates capitalism — in both its private and state forms — from socialism, in which the dualistic oppositions of master-slave, lord-serf, and employer-employee are all dissolved. In socialism — if we return to its original conception as a basic alternative to capitalism — the workers/employees themselves function as their own collective employer.

Worker coops — what might more precisely be called worker self-directed enterprises — are the core or definition of a socialist organization of production that is a systemic alternative to capitalism. In worker self-directed enterprises, no dichotomy of enterprise participants pits them against one another. No minority (masters, lords or employers) dictates to a majority (slaves, serfs or employees). Enterprises comprise a community of individuals democratically organizing all of their own work activities. The production process itself is thereby socialized. The socialization no longer applies merely to the ownership of means of production and the distribution of resources and products as in classical “socialism.” Worker self-directed enterprises democratize the enterprise, thereby providing more of a basis for the democratization of the economy and society than capitalism (private or state) could ever achieve.

Karl Marx’s analytical focus on exploitation — how surpluses are extracted from producers (slaves, serfs and proletarians) by exploiters (masters, lords and capitalists) — points toward a socialism that negates all forms of exploitation. In contrast, state capitalist enterprises change who the exploiters are and the conditions of that exploitation. State and private capitalisms can be and have been very different in their social consequences, political complexions, etc. Struggles between them have had momentous historical significance. But they did not end worker exploitation; they did not establish a socialist economy that banished exploitation.

For struggles between private and state capitalisms to become means for or steps toward transitions to socialism, their limits must be appreciated. The emerging twenty-first century socialism, focused on a system beyond state capitalism, represents both a return to Marx’s basic insights and a learning from the successes and failures of what the twentieth century called socialism. This will be a stronger, more developed kind of socialism, confronting a capitalism whose internal contradictions, flaws and weaknesses are now more widely appreciated than ever.

Posted in Education, Politics0 Comments

Prof. Anthony Hall Vindicated

NOVANEWS
By Kevin Barrettt 

The witch-hunt against University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall may have just ended not with a bang but with a whimper. And it is the Israel lobby group B’nai Brith Canada, and its flunkies at the University of Lethbridge, who are whimpering.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) just issued a stinging reprimand for University of Lethbridge president Mike Mahon, a glorified gym teacher who unilaterally suspended Professor Hall without pay because he disagrees with Hall’s political views. See:

Lethbridge University President Says He Can Fire Tenured Faculty at Will for No Reason

Here is CAUT’s statement:

screen-shot-2016-12-06-at-11-19-03-pm

CAUT is using extremely strong language. The statement accuses Mike Mahon of violating “all principles of due process and natural rights” and “denying… legal rights” i.e. violating the law.

CAUT is not only threatening all-out legal action, but also “imposing censure” on the University of Lethbridge. This is a formal process that amounts to a complete boycott of the University of Lethbridge by the entire Canadian academic community – a sort of scholarly BDS action. Professors would refuse to work there, students would refuse to study there, and all Canadian academicians would essentially consider that the “University of Lethbridge” no longer existed.

How could the University of Lethbridge resolve the situation? I spoke to Professor Hall this morning. He was optimistic about the long-term prospects of his academic freedom struggle, and grateful to CAUT for doing the right thing. But he also hastened to point out that Mike Mahon and others at the University had created an extremely hostile work environment for him, and that the University of Lethbridge needs to do much more than merely allowing him to return to teaching in the horrendous environment they have created for him.

By suspending Professor Hall without pay, without any form of due process, the University essentially endorsed the outrageous, libelous lies concocted by the B’nai Brith and its suspected confederates. The biggest lie, the one that launched the entire witch hunt, was a Zionist-fabricated “kill all Jews” image that was mysteriously planted on Professor Hall’s Facebook page without his knowledge. B’nai Brith and Facebook conspired to create a media scandal about the image, and despite Hall’s complete innocence, media outlets including the Lethbridge Herald and CBC labored to fabricate a spurious link between the horrific, genocidal image and Professor Hall in their coverage of the incident. Rather than reporting the truth – that Professor Hall was the innocent victim of a smear campaign – they absurdly implied that Professor Hall himself wanted to “kill all Jews” !

The genocidal image was created by a Florida-based Jewish Zionist false flag terrorist named Joshua Goldberg (who has been arrested for plotting fake “Islamic terrorism”) and then planted on Professor Hall’s Facebook page by persons unknown. Though the planted image was credited to “Glen Davidson,” an Alberta resident, Davidson  says he was not the source of the image, and does not know how it came to be surreptitiously planted, under his name, on Professor Hall’s Facebook page. See:

The PLANTED weaponized image that got Professor Anthony Hall suspended

Why would B’nai Brith and its accomplices target Professor Hall for this kind of slander operation? Presumably they disapprove of Hall’s research and public statements on various controversial issues, especially his work on false flag terrorism. (Hall has interpreted such events as 9/11 and the Ottawa capitol shooting as apparent false flag public relations stunts designed to further the Zionist war on Islam and Muslims.)

The University of Lethbridge, by implicitly endorsing B’nai Brith’s libelous big lie, has managed to tarnish Professor Hall’s reputation on campus to the point that many students and colleagues have accepted the false notion that Hall is a “genocidal anti-Semite.” Hall has suffered hostile treatment on and off campus as a result of the University’s going along with the B’nai Brith’s witch hunt.

At a very minimum, the University needs to:

*Fire president Mike Mahon and Board Chairman Kurt E. Schlachter;

*Apologize in the strongest possible terms;

*Vow to support Professor Hall’s academic freedom to study, write, and speak about any and all issues;

*And make it absolutely clear that Professor Hall has done nothing wrong, but has in fact been doing exactly what all tenured professors are implicitly required to do by virtue of their tenure: Investigate the  most controversial issues and pursue the truth wherever it leads, no matter how much  powerful interest groups may be displeased.

Posted in ZIO-NAZI, Canada, Politics0 Comments

Mila Kunis: Hollywood producers want actresses to be pimps

NOVANEWS

Mila Kunis: “I’m done compromising; even more so, I’m done with being compromised.”

Will she remain true to her moral principle?

Will she remain true to her moral principle?

…by Jonas E. Alexis

Actress Mila Kunis has spilled the beans last month and joined a chorus of other actresses by saying that Hollywood producers wanted her to be a slut in order to get to the top.[1] Like Sinéad O’Connor and DMX, Kunis has realized that the entertainment industry doesn’t give a flip about her as a human being. In fact, they could care less about her existence.

Producers, Kunis said, are just interested in making money, and they will do whatever it takes to get that money. What if making money means that Kunis has to become a prostitute? Well, that is a very small price to pay.

What if Kunis has to compromise her own principle? Producers would respond by saying that losing one’s principle is worth it. If people can compromise their own principle, say Hollywood producers, then they will succeed in the industry. If they cannot, then the producers will show them where the exit door is. In other words, the industry is built on Mammon.

Remember how the industry took Miley Cyrus and transformed her into a complete pimp?[2] And if you think that this is not the goal of the industry, listen to the admission of singer and actress Nicole Sherzinger:

“To be honest with you, I sometimes wish I were more slutty. I’d probably be a lot more successful if I were.”[3]

How did Sherzinger know that she would “probably be a lot more successful”? Well, look at how Madonna and others prostrate before the Powers That Be. They obviously made it big, but they forget that money can never be substituted for true love, joy, peace, wisdom, patience, sacrifice, and endurance in the midst of hardship. That is why many of those people quickly become miserable. Sometimes they even take their own life.

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain

Kurt Cobain of Nirvana was a classic example. Throughout his entire life Cobain tried to find meaning through drugs and pleasure. Charles R. Cross, one of Cobain’s biographers, noted,

“Heroin became, in many ways, the hobby he’d never had as a child: He methodically organized his ‘works’ box the way a small boy might shuffle his baseball card collection. In this sacred box he stored his syringe, a cooker to melt the drugs, and spoons and cotton balls used in preparing the heroin for injecting. A seamy underworld of dealers and daily deliveries became commonplace.”[4]

Nearly all his associates knew that Cobain was on the path of death. One observer noted, “With him, it was this train wreck that was going down and everyone knew it, and everyone just wanted to get out of the way.”[5] Another biographer noted that Cobain had an “aggressive personality who struggled with demons that drove and tormented him.”[6]

Yet Cobain did not find the salvation which he had sought through drugs and through an existentially meaningless life. At the end of the day, he was miserable. He confessed in his journal:

“Isn’t there somebody out there? Somebody, anybody, please help me. I want to be accepted. I have to be accepted. I’ll wear any kind of clothes you want! I’m so tired of crying and dreaming, I’m soo soo alone. Isn’t there anyone out there? Please help me. HELP ME!”[7]

Did the industry really care about Cobain’s pain? Did they reach out to him? No. Cobain then began to contemplate suicide and became “a changed man and in a frenzy that showed no signs of abating. The drugs, combined with what many around him described as a lifelong undiagnosed depression, shrouded him in madness. Even heroin had betrayed him; he reported it wasn’t as effective as a painkiller anymore. ”[8] His famous note which was found throughout his journals and even his album was, “I hate myself and I want to die.” Cross writes,

“Kurt’s normal carelessness was replaced by a death wish that frightened even the most seasoned, cynical junkies. The last few months of his drug use, he had wantonly shared needles with other users, ignoring public health warnings about HIV and hepatitis.”[9]

After years of battling with drugs, alcohol and depression, the rock star blew his head off with a shotgun in 1994. Yet before he committed suicide, Kurt cited Shakespeare’s most famous character: ‘Dr. Baker says that, like Hamlet, I have to choose between life and death. I’m choosing death.”[10]

Did Kurt make a conscious decision to follow an essentially purposeless lifestyle? Yes. Is the industry an accomplice in his death? Yes. How? Perhaps we should summon DMX again:

“The industry don’t give a fuck about you! But the industry can’t make a dime without you…The industry wants new artists to sell their souls to survive.”

If new artists have “to sell their souls to survive,” then they have to compromise their principles, and if they have to do that, then they more than likely will violate the moral law and order, and when that happens, chaos ensues. This is actually what the industry is promoting, and Mila Kunis seems to realize that this isn’t a good thing. She said:

“A cliché to be sure, but also what a producer threatened when I refused to pose semi-naked on the cover of a men’s magazine to promote our film.

“I was no longer willing to subject myself to a naïve compromise that I had previously been willing to. ‘I will never work in this town again?’ I was livid, I felt objectified, and for the first time in my career I said ‘no.’”

Kunis blames much of the problem on gender inequality, but that is obviously false. The issue goes much deeper. She adds:

“The older I got and the longer I worked in this industry, the more I realized that it’s bullshit! And, worse, that I was complicit in allowing it to happen.”

Kunis remembered a producer who actually objectified her:

“In this email chain, this producer chose to email the following: ‘And Mila is a mega star. One of biggest actors in Hollywood and soon to be Ashton’s wife and baby momma!!!’”

In other words, if Kunis becomes a “baby momma,” then she will no longer bring the almighty dollar to Hollywood producers, and that is enough for the industry to dump Kunis altogether. Kunis responded by saying that the producer

“reduced my value to nothing more than my relationship to a successful man and my ability to bear children. It ignored my (and my team’s) significant creative and logistical contributions. We withdrew our involvement in the project.”

Kunis ended up by saying:

“I’m done compromising; even more so, I’m done with being compromised. So from this point forward, when I am confronted with one of these comments, subtle or overt, I will address them head on; I will stop in the moment and do my best to educate.

“If this is happening to me, it is happening more aggressively to women everywhere. I am fortunate that I have reached a place that I can stop compromising and stand my ground, without fearing how I will put food on my table.”

I hope that Kunis means business here. We should all appreciate her candor and her willingness to do something meaningful. Kunis obviously is learning very quickly that the people in the industry don’t care. They want to kill, steal, and destroy. As writer and film director Clive Barker himself put it some years ago:

“Because I make horror movies I have to offend people. That’s my responsibility, to kill as many people as possible…And some of that truth may not be palatable to anybody. My responsibility is not to give a fuck about that. My responsibility is not to care.”[11]

Barker himself admitted that he was influenced by none other than Aleister Crowley. Barker said:

“Yeats then led me to the Golden Dawn, and from the Golden Dawn to Aleister Crowley—and to a whole metaphysical system based on magic. Which I took terribly, terribly seriously. I was trying these experiments, putting things under my pillow in the belief they would influence my dreams in certain directions.”[12]

Kunis needs to understand that it is not a gender issue at all. The fundamental issue has always revolved around morality or practical reason. As human beings, it is our destiny to abide by the moral law. Failing to do so is a one-way ticket to spiritual and intellectual death.

Finally, if Kunis means business, then she needs to stop objectifying human beings and assaulting the family-friendly culture in movies like Bad Moms.


YouTube – Veterans Today –


[1] “Mila Kunis pens essay promising intolerance for gender bias,” Washington Post, November 3, 2016; “Mila Kunis slams sexism in Hollywood as she reveals she was objectified by producer,” New Zealand Herald, November 4, 2016; Ezinne Ukoha, “Mila Kunis Pens Essay on Hollywood Sexism, And How It Has Threatened Her Career,” Hollywood Reporter, November 2, 2016; “Mila Kunis felt ‘objectified’ after Hollywood producer asked her to pose semi-naked,” BBC, November 2, 2016; “Mila Kunis rails against Hollywood sexism: ‘insulted, sidelined, paid less,’” Guardian, November 3, 2016.

[2] See for example Hanna Flint and Georgia Hart, “Miley Cyrus encourages fans ‘to kiss members of the same sex’ and says she hopes they’re on drugs…as she wears Union Jack leotard during first London gig,” Daily Mail, May 6, 2014.

[3] Quoted in Nick Durden, “What’s new Pussycat? Nicole Sherzinger on being a global pop star and conquering an eating disorder,” Independent, March 10, 2013.

[4] Charles R. Cross, Heavier than Heaven: A Biography of Kurt Cobain (New York: Hyperion, 2001), 226.

[5] Ibid., 226-227.

[6] Christopher Sandford, Kurt Cobain (New York: Carroll and Graf Publishers, 2003), 71.

[7] Cross, Heavier than Heaven, 284.

[8] Ibid., 318.

[9] Ibid., 323.

[10] Ibid., 312.

[11] Quoted in David Ehrenstein, Open Secret: Gay Hollywood (New York: William Morrow, 1998), 265-266.

[12] Quoted in Douglas E. Winter, Clive Barker: The Dark Fantastic (New York: HarperCollins,

2002), 58.

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Honoring Henry Kissinger at Oslo

NOVANEWS
kissinger

On December 10-11, the Nobel Peace Prize Forum Oslo will be launched, featuring Henry Kissinger and Zbigniew Brzezinski addressing the theme, “The U.S. and World Peace after the Presidential Election.” The Forum is intended to become an annual event closely linked to the celebrations surrounding the Nobel Peace Prize.

As many will remember, Kissinger, along with Le Duc Tho, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1973, perhaps the most controversial award in the long history of this most coveted prize. The prize in 1973 was given to the two men who negotiated the peace agreement that finally brought the war in Vietnam to a close. While the negotiations were in their most pivotal phase, the U.S. Government introduced the notorious ‘Christmas Bombing’ terrorist tactic to increase its diplomatic leverage over Hanoi, which also served to reassure its corrupt allies in Saigon that they were not being abandoned by Washington. Le Duc Tho, to his credit, citing this infamous background, refused the prize, while Kissinger accepted although he did not attend the ceremony.

What is difficult to grasp, is the thinking of the organizers of Nobel Peace Prize Forum, which led them to such infamous war-oriented political and intellectual figures as Kissinger and Brzezinski. Of course, the guardians of the Nobel are not alone. Among the many depressing features of the recent American presidential campaign was the distressing news that both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump paid homage to Kissinger by publicizing foreign policy briefing visits with this most shaky pillar of the Washington establishment, but neither Clinton nor Trump aspire to the ideals of world peace that are supposed to animate the Nobel Peace Prize.

Kissinger’s involvement, direct and indirect, with the criminality of foreign governments that cruelly repress their own populations has been abundantly documented, set forth in a non-technical format by Christopher Hitchens in The Trial of Henry Kissinger (Verso, 2001), and in a more legal format in declassified government documents. This record establishes a strong case for investigation and likely prosecution for a long list of international crimes, including especially crimes against humanity. An NGO founded and led by the world renowned peace intellectual Fredrik Heffermehl, The Nobel Peace Prize Watch, has urged the Director of Public Prosecutions in Norway to take appropriate action with the view toward holding Kissinger criminally accountable.

Whether Norwegian law allows its courts to proceed in such a case depends on whether universal jurisdiction is considered available to address the alleged crimes (committed outside of Norway) of Kissinger. Because of the constraints surrounding the activity of the International Criminal Court, especially in dealing with the criminality of Western states, it is particularly important that national courts act as enforcement agents of the world community and end the impunity enjoyed by those who have so frequently and fragrantly violated international criminal law. In light of the adoption by the General Assembly of the Nuremberg Principles there seems to be an adequate foundation in international customary law for national courts to accept this responsibility to raise the level of accountability in international society. The physical presence of Kissinger in Norway offers an opportunity that were we living in a world where the global rule of law prevailed would not be missed. Sadly, we are aware that in the global setting providing the backdrop for his crimes geopolitics rather than the rule of law sets the tone, and it is highly unlikely that Kissinger will be formally apprehended when he visits Norway, although popular demonstrations are certain to occur. This tension between governmental refusal to adhere to the global rule of law and societal initiatives to impose accountability explain the international pervasiveness of double standards with regard to the implementation of international criminal law: accountability for the weak, impunity for the strong.

What is equally distressing is the Orwellian insensitivity of the Nobel authorities to the inappropriateness of treating Kissinger as though he is a highly trusted source of guidance and wisdom with respect to world peace. Kissinger has applauded the worst excesses of dictators, especially in Latin America, and backed the most immoral geopolitical policies throughout his long career. He has never even pretended to be interested in promoting a more peaceful world, and has viewed the United Nations with cynical indifference unless it can be deployed to promote U.S. geopolitical goals. Indeed, Kissinger has often argued in his writings that those who pursue peace as a value or goal are those most likely to induce war. While Secretary of State, Kissinger also admits being annoyed by aides urging greater attentiveness to the relevance of international law and morality.

Even pragmatically, Kissinger is hardly a helpful guide. As a warmonger, he has generally supported the long list of failed American interventions, including Vietnam. What is uncanny about the Kissinger brand is that his repeated errors of judgment have not tarnished his reputation, nor have his distasteful moral postures lowered the level of mainstream respect. In an article recently appearing in The New Yorker (Aug. 20, 2016) Jon Lee Anderson uses declassified materials to show how Kissinger lauded the Argentinian rulers for ridding their country of terrorism in the course of the despicable ‘dirty war,’ overlooking reliance on the vile tactics of torture and ‘disappearances’ systematically used against nonviolent activists and progressives.

It is the saddest of commentaries on the mainstream approach to peace, justice, and security that Kissinger should be singled out for honors or as a source of guidance at an event in Norway, a country with one of the strongest reputations for morally oriented internationalism. Such an impression is reinforced by Nobel sponsorship. It stretches the moral imagination to its breaking point once it is realized that those in Norway who have been entrusted with carrying out the wishes of Alfred Nobel should now be adding their weighty imprimatur to such a willfully distorted conception of world peace.

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