The Deep State’s Christmas Present to America: Surveillance That Never Ends

NOVANEWS
Image result for America: Surveillance CARTOON
By John W. Whitehead | The Rutherford Institute 

“He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows when you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!”
—“Santa Claus Is Coming to Town”

Just in time for Christmas, the Deep State wants to give America the gift that keeps on giving: never-ending mass surveillance.

I’m not referring to the kind of surveillance carried out by that all-knowing and all-seeing Jolly Old St. Nick and his informant the Elf on the Shelf (although, to be fair, they have helped to acclimate us to a world in which we’re always being watched and judged by higher authorities).

No, this particular bit of Yuletide gift-giving comes courtesy of the Deep State (a.k.a. the Surveillance State, Police State, Shadow Government and black-ops spy agencies).

If this power-hungry cabal gets its way, the government’s power to spy on its citizens will soon be all-encompassing and permanent.

As it now stands, Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act—the legal basis for two of the National Security Agency’s largest mass surveillance programs, “PRISM” and “Upstream”—is set to expire at the end of 2017.

“PRISM” lets the NSA access emails, video chats, instant messages, and other content sent via Facebook, Google, Apple and others. “Upstream” lets the NSA worm its way into the internet backbone—the cables and switches owned by private corporations like AT&T that make the internet into a global network—and scan traffic for the communications of tens of thousands of individuals labeled “targets.”

Just as the USA Patriot Act was perverted from its original intent to fight terrorism abroad and was used instead to covertly crack down on the American people (allowing government agencies to secretly track Americans’ financial activities, monitor their communications, and carry out wide-ranging surveillance on them), Section 702 has been used as an end-run around the Constitution to allow the government to collect the actual content of Americans’ emails, phone calls, text messages and other electronic communication without a warrant.

Under Section 702, the government collects and analyzes over 250 million internet communications every year. There are estimates that at least half of these contain information about U.S. residents, many of whom have done nothing wrong. This information is then shared with law enforcement and “routinely used for purposes unrelated to national security.”

Mind you, this is about far more than the metadata collection that Edward Snowden warned us about, which was bad enough. Section 702 gives the government access to the very content of your conversations (phone calls, text messages, video chats), your photographs, your emails. As Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., warned, “This is not just who you send it to, but what’s in it.”

Unfortunately, Big Brother doesn’t relinquish power easily.

The Police State doesn’t like restrictions.

And the Surveillance State certainly doesn’t look favorably on anything that might weaken its control. Even after Congress limited the NSA’s ability to collect bulk phone records, the agency continued to do so, vacuuming up more than 151 million records of Americans’ phone calls last year alone.

A government that doesn’t heed its constituents, doesn’t abide by the law, and kowtows to its police and military forces? That’s a dictatorship anywhere else.

Here in America, you can call it “technotyranny,” a term coined by investigative journalist James Bamford to refer to an age of technological tyranny made possible by government secrets, government lies, government spies and their corporate ties.

Beware of what you say, what you read, what you write, where you go, and with whom you communicate, because it will all be recorded, stored and used against you eventually, at a time and place of the government’s choosing. Privacy, as we have known it, is dead.

For all intents and purposes, we now have a fourth branch of government.

This fourth branch came into being without any electoral mandate or constitutional referendum, and yet it possesses superpowers, above and beyond those of any other government agency save the military. It is all-knowing, all-seeing and all-powerful. It operates beyond the reach of the president, Congress and the courts, and it marches in lockstep with the corporate elite who really call the shots in Washington, DC.

The government’s “technotyranny” surveillance apparatus has become so entrenched and entangled with its police state apparatus that it’s hard to know anymore where law enforcement ends and surveillance begins.

The short answer: they have become one and the same entity.

The police state has passed the baton to the surveillance state.

Having already transformed local police into extensions of the military, the Department of Homeland Security, the Justice Department and the FBI are preparing to turn the nation’s soldier cops into techno-warriors, complete with iris scanners, body scanners, thermal imaging Doppler radar devices, facial recognition programs, license plate readers, cell phone Stingray devices and so much more.

This is the new face of policing in America.

Enter big data policing which gives the nation’s 17,000 police agencies access to a growing “investigative” database that maps criminal associates and gangs, as well as their social and familial connections.

As Slate reports, “These social network systems, which target ‘chronic offenders,’ also include information about innocent associates, family members, and friends, creating extensive human maps of connections and patterns of contacts.” Those individuals then get assigned a threat score to determine their risk of being a perpetrator or victim of a future crime.

In Chicago, for example, “individuals with the highest scores on the Chicago Police Department ‘heat list’ get extra attention in the form of home visits or increased community surveillance.”

In Baltimore, police are using Cessna planes equipped with surveillance systems to film entire segments of the city, then combining that footage with police reports in order to “map the comings and goings of everyone—criminals and innocents alike.”

In this way, big data policing not only expands Big Brother’s reach down to the local level, but it also provides local police—most of whom know little about the Constitution and even less about the Fourth Amendment—with a new technological weapon to deploy against an unsuspecting public.

The end result is pre-crime, packaged in the guise of national security but no less sinister.

All of those individuals who claim to be unconcerned about government surveillance because they have nothing to hide, take note: pre-crime policing—given a futuristic treatment in Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report—aims to treat you like a criminal before you’ve ever even committed a crime.

This hasn’t fazed President Trump who, much like his predecessors, has thus far marched in lockstep with the dictates of the police state.

For months, the Trump Administration has been actively lobbying Congress to reauthorize Section 702 in its entirety. Now, according to The Intercept, Trump is actively considering a proposal to establish his own global, private spy network that would circumvent official U.S. intelligence agencies and answer directly to the White House.

If approved, this would be yet another secret government agency carrying out secret surveillance and counterintelligence, funded by a secret black ops budget that by its very nature does away with transparency, bypasses accountability and completely eludes any form of constitutionality.

According to The Washington Post, there are more than a dozen “black budget” national intelligence agencies already receiving more than $52.6 billion in secret government funding. Among the top five black ops agencies currently are the CIA, the NSA, the National Reconnaissance Office, the National Geospatial-Intelligence Program, and the General Defense Intelligence Program.

A significant chunk of that black ops money has been flowing to Silicon Valley since before there was an internet, itself a creation of the military/security industrial complex.

Earlier this year, Amazon announced that it would be storing classified information for U.S. spy agencies in its digital cloud, part of a $600 million contract with the nation’s intelligence agencies.

Two decades earlier, America’s spy agencies tapped Silicon Valley to spearhead research into ways of tracking individuals and groups online. That research, as documented by Jeff Nesbit, the former director of legislative and public affairs at the National Science Foundation, culminated in the creation of a massive public-private surveillance state that hinged on a partnership between the NSA, the CIA and Google.

“The research arms of the CIA and NSA hoped that the best computer-science minds in academia could identify what they called ‘birds of a feather,’” writes Nesbit. He continues:

Their research aim was to track digital fingerprints inside the rapidly expanding global information network, which was then known as the World Wide Web… By working with emerging commercial-data companies, their intent was to track like-minded groups of people across the internet and identify them from the digital fingerprints they left behind, much like forensic scientists use fingerprint smudges to identify criminals. Just as “birds of a feather flock together,” they predicted that potential terrorists would communicate with each other in this new global, connected world—and they could find them by identifying patterns in this massive amount of new information. Once these groups were identified, they could then follow their digital trails everywhere.

The problem, of course, is that the government always sets its sights higher.

It wasn’t long before the government’s search for criminal “birds of a feather”—made much easier with the passage of the USA Patriot Act—lumped everyone together and treated all of the birds (i.e., the public) as criminals to be identified, tracked, monitored and subjected to warrantless, suspicionless surveillance.

Fast forward to the present moment when, on any given day, the average American is now monitored, surveilled, spied on and tracked in more than 20 different ways by both government and corporate eyes and ears.

Every second of every day, the American people are being spied on by the U.S. government’s vast network of digital Peeping Toms, electronic eavesdroppers and robotic snoops.

Whether you’re walking through a store, driving your car, checking email, or talking to friends and family on the phone, you can be sure that some government agency is listening in and tracking you. This doesn’t even begin to touch on the complicity of the corporate sector, which buys and sells us from cradle to grave, until we have no more data left to mine. These corporate trackers monitor your purchases, web browsing, Facebook posts and other activities taking place in the cyber sphere and share the data with the government.

Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to collect data and spy on the American people. Then there are the fusion and counterterrorism centers that gather all of the data from the smaller government spies—the police, public health officials, transportation, etc.—and make it accessible for all those in power.

These government snoops are constantly combing through and harvesting vast quantities of our communications, then storing it in massive databases for years. Once this information—collected illegally and without any probable cause—is ingested into NSA servers, other government agencies can often search through the databases to make criminal cases against Americans that have nothing to do with terrorism or anything national security-related. One Justice Department lawyer called the database the “FBI’s ‘Google.’”

In other words, the NSA, an unaccountable institution filled with unelected bureaucrats, operates a massive database that contains the intimate and personal communications of countless Americans and makes it available to other unelected bureaucrats.

Talk about a system rife for abuse.

Ask the government why it’s carrying out this warrantless surveillance on American citizens, and you’ll get the same Orwellian answer the government has been trotting out since 9/11 to justify its assaults on our civil liberties: to keep America safe.

Yet warrantless mass surveillance by the government and its corporate cohorts hasn’t made America any safer. And it certainly isn’t helping to preserve our freedoms. Frankly, America will never be safe as long as the U.S. government is allowed to shred the Constitution.

Now the government wants us to believe that we have nothing to fear from its mass spying program because they’re only looking to get the “bad” guys who are overseas.

Don’t believe it.

The government’s definition of a “bad” guy is extraordinarily broad, and it results in the warrantless surveillance of innocent, law-abiding Americans on a staggering scale. They are conducting this mass surveillance without a warrant, thus violating the core principles of the Fourth Amendment which protects the privacy of all Americans.

Warrantless mass surveillance of American citizens is wrong, un-American, and unconstitutional.

Clearly, the outlook for reforming the government’s unconstitutional surveillance programs does not look good.

As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People, whenever the rights of the American people are pitted against the interests of the military/corporate/security complex, “we the people” lose. Unless Congress develops a conscience—or suddenly remembers that they owe their allegiance to the citizenry and not the corporate state—we’re about to lose big.

It’s time to let Section 702 expire or reform the law to ensure that millions and millions of Americans are not being victimized by a government that no longer respects its constitutional limits.

Mark my words: if Congress votes to make the NSA’s vast spying powers permanent, it will be yet another brick in the wall imprisoning us within an electronic concentration camp from which there is no escape.

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Ex-Spy Chief Admits Role In ‘Deep State’ Intelligence War On Trump

NOVANEWS
By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge 

An ex-spy chief who spoke out publicly against Trump while inspiring other career intelligence figures to follow suit has admitted his leading role in the intelligence community waging political war against the presidentdescribing his actions as something he didn’t “fully think through”. In a surprisingly frank interview, the CIA’s Michael Morell – who was longtime Deputy Director and former Acting Director of the nation’s most powerful intelligence agency – said that it wasn’t a great idea to leak against and bash a new president.

Morell had the dubious distinction of being George W. Bush’s personal daily briefer for the agency before and after 9/11, and also served under Obama until his retirement. In the summer of 2016 he took the unusual step (for a former intelligence chief) of openly endorsing Hillary Clinton in a New York Times op-ed entitled, I Ran the C.I.A. Now I’m Endorsing Hillary Clinton, after which he continued to be both an outspoken critic of Trump and an early CIA voice promoting the Russian collusion and election meddling narrative.


Acting director of the CIA Michael Morell with Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta
in 2013. Image source: Wiki Commons, DoD

As Politico’s Susan Glasser put in a newly published interview, Morell “has emerged out of the shadows of the deep state” to become one of Trump’s foremost critics speaking within the intel community. However, Politico summarizes the interview as follows:

But in a revealingly self-critical and at times surprising interview for this week’s Global POLITICO, Morell acknowledges that he and other spy-world critics of the president failed to fully “think through” the negative backlash generated by their going political. “There was a significant downside,” Morell said in the interview.

Not only had Morell during his previous NYT op-ed stated that he was committed to doing “everything I can to ensure that she is elected as our 45th president” but he went so far as to call then candidate Trump “a threat to our national security” – while making the extraordinary claim that “in the intelligence business, we would say that Mr. Putin had recruited Mr. Trump as an unwitting agent of the Russian Federation.”

Curiously, Morell in his latest Politico interview indicates when asked about his “public profile” and activism so soon after leaving the agency (something that was relatively unusual prior to Trump taking office) that his post-retirement media appearances have been approved and/or received some level of oversight by the CIA. In the interview Morell states, “I did a 60 Minutes interview about my life inside CIA, and it’s something the agency thought that was a good thing to do, and I taped most of it before I left the agency.”

While such CIA review of former employees’ publications and media interaction is nothing new, in Morell’s case was an unprecedented example of a very high profile intelligence figure explicitly campaigning for a presidential candidate and against another while specifically invoking his role at the CIA (he began his NYT column with, “During a 33-year career at the Central Intelligence Agency, I served presidents of both parties — three Republicans and three Democrats…” followed by a litany of key national security events he was central to).

The other important confirmation to come out of the discussion is the clear guiding assumption of the interview – that the intelligence “deep state” did in fact go to war with Trump – which has now been confirmed by Morell himself, which is essentially to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.

The key exchange in the Politico interview begins as follows:

Glasser: Okay, so, flash-forward a year. Was that a mistake?

Morell: So, I don’t think it was a mistake. I think there were downsides to it that I didn’t think about at the time. I was concerned about what is the impact it would have on the agency, right? Very concerned about that, thought that through. But I don’t think I fully thought through the implications.

And one of the ways I’ve thought about that, Susan, is—okay, how did Donald Trump see this? Right? And from—it’s very important—one of the things we do as intelligence analysts is make sure that our guy—the president—understands the other guy. Right?

So, let’s put ourselves here in Donald Trump’s shoes. So, what does he see? Right? He sees a former director of CIA and a former director of NSA, Mike Hayden, who I have the greatest respect for, criticizing him and his policies. Right? And he could rightfully have said, “Huh, what’s going on with these intelligence guys?” Right?

Morell here seems to confirm Trump’s narrative of events concerning Russiagate “fake news” and willful intelligence leaks intended to damage the president, despite his opening obfuscation of “I don’t think it was a mistake” (so he’s essentially admitting the negative consequences but with no regrets).

Surprisingly, Morell even implicates himself with the words, “And then he sees a former acting director and deputy director of CIA criticizing him and endorsing his opponent.” The interview continues:

Glasser: It embroiders his narrative.

Morell: Exactly. And then he sees a former acting director and deputy director of CIA criticizing him and endorsing his opponent. And then he gets his first intelligence briefing, after becoming the Republican nominee, and within 24 to 48 hours, there are leaks out of that that are critical of him and his then-national security advisor, Mike Flynn.

And so, this stuff starts to build, right? And he must have said to himself, “What is it with these intelligence guys? Are they political?” The current director at the time, John Brennan, during the campaign occasionally would push back on things that Donald Trump had said.

So, when Trump talked about the Iran nuclear deal being the worst deal in the history of American diplomacy, and he was going to tear it up on the first day—John Brennan came out publicly and said, “That would be an act of folly.” So, he sees current sitting director pushing back on him. Right?

Then he becomes president, and he’s supposed to be getting a daily brief from the moment he becomes the president-elect. Right? And he doesn’t. And within a few days, there’s leaks about how he’s not taking his briefing. So, he must have thought—right?—that, “Who are these guys? Are these guys out to get me? Is this a political organization? Can I think about them as a political organization when I become president?”

So, I think there was a significant downside to those of us who became political in that moment. So, if I could have thought of that, would I have ended up in a different place? I don’t know. But it’s something I didn’t think about.

Despite Morell’s attempts to mitigate his own significant contributions toward creating a climate of distrust between the White House and the intelligence bureaucracy, it seems clear to the interviewee that Morell’s admissions lend credence to Trump’s side.

Indeed, Susan Glasser reasons, based on Morell’s unexpected confessions, that “you or others who spoke out and have continued to speak out actually tend to underscore his feeling that there’s a political divide.”

Glasser: Well, it’s very interesting, because of course, there are so many things you don’t know at that moment in time, including, of course, I’m sure you assumed, along with everybody else, that Hillary Clinton was likely to be elected, and you saw this as contributing to that in some way. But it’s certainly relevant in the context of the situation we find ourselves in a year later. And, if it tends to embolden Trump in his critique of your former colleagues who are still serving in the intelligence agencies, and not only has this been a theme that he has struck repeatedly to criticize—but also to politicize this.

And inadvertently, perhaps, you or others who spoke out and have continued to speak out actually tend to underscore his feeling that there’s a political divide, and now you and others are on one side of it, and potentially all your former colleagues, and then he’s on the other side of it…

Morell: Yeah, and you can’t pick and choose like that. And when people in the intelligence community—particularly people in CIA, because for every other part of the intelligence community except CIA, you’re working for a cabinet member. At CIA, you are working for the president of the United States. That is your customer. Right? 00:08:03 So, when you see your customer questioning what it is that you are providing to him or her, and that person seems to be cherry-picking what they accept and what they don’t accept, it’s demoralizing.And when it’s demoralizing, people take actions, right? So, I live pretty close to the agency, and there’s a coffee shop between me and the agency, and I’ve met a number of agency officers in that coffee shop who have said to me, “I’m thinking about leaving.”

Yet Morell in a round about way previously admitted that he is personally one of the chief authors of precisely this “demoralizing” scenario in which the president doesn’t fully trust his intelligence briefers.

But we should all remember that this is a man who on the one hand described “Russia’s hacking is the political equivalent of 9/11” and constantly hyped “Russian propaganda”, while on the other he went on a lengthy RT News segment in order to promote his newly published book.

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Tunisians declare boycott of U.S. ships after Trump’s Jerusalem move

NOVANEWS

Palestine Information Center 

TUNIS – A Tunisian labor union on Sunday evening announced its decision to boycott U.S. ships docking at a seaport in the country’s southern region of Sfax following Trump’s recognition, on Wednesday, of Occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Spokesman of the Popular Conference for the Palestinians Abroad, Ziad al-Aloul, said on Facebook that the regional executive office of Tunisia’s Trade Unions decided to boycott all American ships docking at Sfax commercial harbor.

As part of the boycott move, workers at the seaport will not empty the shipments onboard boats tied up at Sfax seaport after they had set sail from the U.S.

Prior to the boycott, mass rallies had swept Tunisia with thousands of protesters holding up Palestinian flags and banners. Protesters also burned the U.S. flag and others stepped on images of Israeli flags.

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The Delusions of Washington-Riyadh Ruling Elite and the Journalists Who Feed Them

NOVANEWS
By Richard Silverstein | Tikun Olam 

NYT’ pro-Israel talking heads: David Makovsky and Aaron David Miller

In the aftermath of Trump’s disastrous recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the spin from Washington and Riyadh–and the journalists and think tank analysts only too eager be spun–has been outrageous. The level of sheer delusion is stupendous. This post will offer an anatomy of delusion and why it means only more suffering and bloodshed for both Arabs and Israelis.

The Times Shills for the Two-State Delusion

The NY Times, ever the newspaper of record for the élite and their paid emissaries, purports to debate whether the two-state solution remains viable in light of Trump’s seeming endorsement of Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Who does Mark Landler quote as sources? Why, think tank talking heads who earn their keep from the Israel Lobby and its donors. Landler quotes no less than four sources affiliated with Lobby, all of whom endorse a two-state solution. And none of whom have ever offered any serious analysis or balanced discussion of the one-state solution: Martin Indyk, David Makovsky, Scott Anderson, and Daniel Levy.

How many Palestinian or Arab sources does he quote? One, Saeb Erekat.  And he doesn’t quote anything original from Erekat. He merely quotes statements the Palestinian made to other media outlets. He begins with Erekat saying:

… Erekat… a steadfast advocate for a Palestinian state, said in an interview on Thursday that Mr. Trump and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel “have managed to destroy that hope.” He embraced a radical shift in the P.L.O.’s goals — to a single state, but with Palestinians enjoying the same civil rights as Israelis, including the vote.

“They’ve left us with no option,” he said. “This is the reality. We live here. Our struggle should focus on one thing: equal rights.”

Once Landler lays this out, he must debunk it immediately. And he does:

Mr. Erekat’s change of heart is unlikely to change Palestinian policy. The dream of a Palestinian state is too deeply ingrained in a generation of its leaders for the Palestinian Authority to abandon it now. Israel would be unlikely to accede to equal rights, because granting a vote to millions of Palestinians would eventually lead to the end of Israel as a Jewish state.

Who is a NY Times reporter who knows little about what Palestinians believe, to say that a two-state solution is “too deeply ingrained” to be abandoned? And note who he points to as the arbiters of what Palestinians accept or believe? “Leaders,” by whom he means the doddering old kleptocratic octogenarians who have sold out the Palestinian cause for decades. Landler makes no attempt to reach out to Palestinian activists or academics or indigenous NGOs who know much better what the Palestinian street is thinking. Does Landler think that only leaders matter? Does he think leaders this corrupt and out of touch can merely wave a magic wand and four million Palestinians will follow them like the Pied Piper of Hamelin?

Further, why would Israel’s objections to “equal rights” and a one-state solution be a reason this doesn’t become the eventual resolution of the issue? Why do we assume that Israel will always be calling the shots? Did Serbia call the shots regarding Kosovo or Bosnia after NATO intervened? Why does the resistance of a nation which threatens to take the entire region to the brink of Armageddon become an immovable obstacle? The sheer chutzpah of such an assumption is enormous.

Later, the article offers the administration’s rebuttal of the Palestinian perspective on Trump’s proclamation:

Administration officials strenuously reject the argument that Mr. Trump has foreclosed a two-state solution… He studiously avoided taking a position on the eventual borders or sovereignty of Jerusalem.

That is either an ignorant or disingenuous statement.  When you recognize Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem (not over “west Jerusalem,” as Trump could have said) and you omit any reference to Palestinian sovereignty over East Jerusalem, then you’ve taken a crystal clear position on borders and sovereignty. You’ve said Israel has sovereignty and the Palestinians don’t.  If you believe otherwise, you’re a fool or a villain (or both).

Then Landler chimes in with an affirmation of Trump’s claims of even-handedness:

Beyond the president’s words, there were other signs he is serious about his intentions. On the same day that he signed his name with a John Hancock-like flourish to a proclamation recognizing Jerusalem as the capital, he quietly signed another document that will delay the move of the American Embassy to the city for at least six months — and probably much longer.

How does Trump’s recognition that he can’t immediately move the embassy for a thousand logistical reasons equate to Trump being “serious in his intentions” to be fair and balanced in weighing the claims of Palestinians? Should Palestinians view the delay in moving the embassy as a gift to them? Something that has any real benefit or meaning to them?

At this point, Landler gives voice to his first pro-Israel talking head, Martin Indyk, who makes this blindingly astute observation:

“Avoiding a move of the embassy is a way of avoiding geographic definition,” said Martin S. Indyk, a former American ambassador to Israel. “Avoiding any geographic definition of their recognition of Jerusalem looks like their effort to keep the peace process alive.”

It’s hardly much of an affirmation by Indyk of Trump’s peace process. But he does seem to believe that by not moving the embassy, the U.S. believes it’s offered the Palestinians something. When of course, it’s nothing and will have no value to any Palestinian.

Landler’s coup de grâce in terms of marshalling pro-Israel analysts is David Makovsky. And his comments have to be read to be believed:

… Some longtime Middle East observers said Mr. Erekat’s talk of a one-state solution reflected anger rather than a watershed change in the Palestinian position. Given Israel’s probable rejection of equal rights, American and Israeli supporters of a two-state solution said that option, for all intents and purposes, remained the only game in town.

“I don’t want to minimize the hurt the Palestinians feel,” said David Makovsky, a senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. “But there was a duality to Trump’s message that has gotten lost.”

Mr. Trump, he said, was not closing the door to negotiations on borders and sovereignty. “Both parts should be heard,” he said. While he questioned the timing of the move, he said the Palestinians could return to the table when tempers cool.

“Right now their anger is such that they probably can’t hear this,” Mr. Makovsky said. “But if he presents a plan in the first quarter, are you not going to want to hear what it is? The Palestinians still think Trump’s enough of a bulldozer that if he gave something to the Israelis on a Wednesday, he’s capable of giving something to the Palestinians on a Thursday.”

It’s quite amazing that a pro-Israel shill like Makovsky who knows the two-state solution is dead and knows that no one in power in Israel or the U.S. believes in it, can still sell a journalist like Landler a bill of goods.  And note that Landler only quotes analysts who support a two-state solution and a PLO official who also has supported it till now. There are no sources here offering an alternative point of view.  None.  Which means this article is journalism in bad faith, whether the reporters who compiled it were aware of this bias or not.

Note that the strongest adjective Makovsky can muster to describe Palestinians emotions is “hurt.” No, hurt is when you skin your knee or sprain your pinkie. What Trump did to Palestinians is more like a shot to the gut; a paralyzing blow that deprives them of any hope and drives them into the arms of radical extremists.

I also like Makovsky’s assurance that Palestinians will return to talks once their hot-headed tempers cool down. Those pesky Palestinians always let their tribal emotions get the better of them. If they could only realize they have no choice. That what Trump offers is as good as they’re going to get. Then they’d get down to business.

The sheer ignorance of Makovsky assuming that the Palestinians will have natural curiosity about Trump’s offer and want to come back to the table to hear it is amazing. Why would Palestinians care what Trump offered them? Why would they attribute any value to it given his current and past statements? And just what does Makovsky believe Trump is going to give the Palestinians on that proverbial Thursday?

Finally, Landler ends his piece quoting the “liberal” pundit of the bunch, the guy the reporter probably feels covers his bases on the left, Daniel Levy. The only problem is that Levy isn’t “on the left.” He’s a liberal Zionist, neither progressive or leftist. And Levy too supports a two state solution. So where is the diversity of opinion this subject demands?

“It’s hard to see how you can go down that route without at some stage divesting yourself of a semblance of a self-governing authority,” said Daniel Levy, the London-based president of the U.S./Middle East Project. “You’ve got to call time on the Palestinian Authority, which never became a state.”

Instead, Mr. Levy said he believed that the peace process, and the Palestinians, were in a “transitional period,” in which the two-state solution had failed for now. But he added, “what people have done can be undone.”

Got that? Two states are dead “for now.” But not forever. That should give Palestinians hope that at some point in the vague future we men of good faith can revive it; or rather pull it out of the dustheap of failed Middle East plans, dust it off, and pretend it’s as good as new.

And what does Levy mean “what’s done can be undone?” How do you undo the death of thousands? How do you undo fierce rage against a sociopathic American president and his narcissistic Saudi and Israeli buddies who believe they can put the Palestinians on ice and ignore their legitimate claims to land, rights and nation?

The Saudi Delusion

Speaking of the Saudis, this Reuters story conveys the views of the ruling Crown Prince on these matters. If anything, they’re even more delusional than Trump or Netanyahu’s views. Before I offer a sampling, it’s worth hearing about the plan Trump is offering (and which the Saudis are endorsing):

As told to Abbas, the proposal included establishing “a Palestinian entity” in Gaza as well as the West Bank administrative areas A and B and 10 percent of area C, which contains Jewish settlements, a third Palestinian official said.

Jewish settlements in the West Bank would stay, there would be no right of return, and Israel would remain responsible for the borders, he said.

The proposal appears to differ little from existing arrangements in the West Bank, widening Palestinian control but falling far short of their minimum national demands.

A Palestinian entity. Not even a state. And even if someone wanted to call it a state, it wouldn’t be. It would be a bantustan of Palestinian villages surrounded by massive Israeli settlements. If the proposal essentially ratifies a rotten status quo, why would any Palestinian be willing to accept it?

Here is the real zinger, displaying the absolute cluelessness of the Saudis involved with this charade:

A Saudi source said he believed an understanding on Israeli-Palestinian peace would nonetheless begin to emerge in the coming weeks.

“Do not underestimate the businessman in (Trump). He has always called it the ultimate deal,” the source said, declining to be named because of the sensitivity of the subject.

“I don’t think our government is going to accept that unless it has something sweetened in the pipeline which (King Salman and the crown prince) could sell to the Arab world – that the Palestinians would have their own state.”

In other words, because Trump offers some blather about an ultimate deal, but refuses to offer the Palestinians any details other than assure them it would be “something they would like,” then we’re to assume that it would be “sweet” enough for MbS to sell (the Saudi’s apt words, not mine) to the Palestinians. I don’t know who’s worse, Trump or MbS. It’s worse than the blind leading the blind. It’s the deaf, dumb, and blind leading the deaf, dumb and blind.

The Reuters article too suffers from a surfeit of sources who cynically ratify the status quo and the consensus as defined by the Middle East and Beltway elites:

Most Arab states are unlikely to object to Trump’s announcement because they find themselves more aligned with Israel than ever, particularly on countering Iran, said Shadi Hamid, senior fellow at Brookings Institution in Washington,

“If Saudi officials, including the crown prince himself, were particularly concerned with Jerusalem’s status, they would presumably have used their privileged status as a top Trump ally and lobbied the administration to hold off on such a needlessly toxic move,” he wrote in an article published in The Atlantic.

“It’s unlikely Trump would have followed through if the Saudis had drawn something resembling a red line.”

Even if this is true (and it very possibly is), why doesn’t anyone bother to say the obvious: that if the Saudis wish to betray the Palestinians and abandon their role as guardians of the region’s Muslim holy places (including Jerusalem), they themselves will be abandoned by the Arab and Muslim world. Why do the eminences grise think that the Saudis can act in any way they choose without paying any consequences in terms of regional influence?

In truth, the Saudis will make themselves irrelevant if they force this deal down the Palestinians throat. They will force those Palestinians who reject it to turn to Iran and its Shiite allies like Hezbollah. They will turn Hamas into leaders of the Palestinian resistance after the PA has abandoned its responsibility to defend Palestinian rights. Even those Sunni states like Jordan or Egypt who might feel compelled to go along with the Saudi plan, will do so with tepid enthusiasm. And at the first sign of failure, they will bolt from the stables like horses staring at a forest fire. Leaving MbS alone with his buddies, Trump and Netanyahu (who by then may be long gone as prime minister–perhaps even behind bars).

Posted in USA, Saudi Arabia0 Comments

Venezuela’s Electoral System Reliable, Says Monitor

NOVANEWS
Image result for Venezuela’s Electoral System CARTOON
By Ryan Mallett-Outtrim | Venezuelanalysis

Venezuela’s voting system remains one of the most reliable in the world, an international group of electoral experts said Thursday.

The country’s electronic voting system boasts some of the world’s best checks and balances, and is both “safe and reliable”, according to Nicanor Moscoso, the head of the Latin American Council of Electoral Experts (CEELA).

“The results have never been formally refuted. It is the most audited process in the world,” he said.

The comments were made after Moscoso concluded talks with Venezuela’s electoral authority, the CNE.

Praising the work of the CNE, Moscoso said the electoral system is heavily automated and easy for voters to use.

“Venezuelans can be sure that Sunday will deliver the real results of the democratic will,” Moscoso said, referring to upcoming municipal elections this Sunday.

More than 300 mayoral positions nationwide are up for grabs, with the ruling socialist party, the PSUV, hoping to repeat its surprise victory in October’s regional vote. The party secured 18 of the country’s 23 state governorships in the elections.

Ahead of the vote, opposition parties had expected to make major gains, and largely refused to acknowledge the unexpected results once they came in. Prominent opposition parties including Voluntad Popular, Primero Justicia and Vente Venezuela have all vowed to boycott Sunday’s vote.

The boycott is likely to backfire on the opposition, according to Phil Gunson of the International Crisis Group.

“I don’t think there are many instances in history where governments have been brought down by electoral boycotts,” he told The Guardian.

“I think the very least you can ask of an opposition is that it shows up and puts up a fight,” Gunson added.

Posted in Venezuela0 Comments

Nazi Gate: The Arrogance of Jewish Power in the United States

NOVANEWS
IsraelGate: The Arrogance of Jewish Power in the United States

*(Benjamin Netanyahu, Jared Kushner and U.S. President Donald Trump are seen during their meeting at the King David hotel in Jerusalem. Monday, May 22, 2017. Image credit: Kobi Gideon / GPO/ Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs/ flickr)
By Philip Giraldi 

The revelation that the Trump transition team colluded with Israel to sabotage a foreign policy initiative by the Obama White House made the news, sort of, when the story broke at the end of November. But it has since died, pushed down by the relentless pressure in the media to “disappear” all things critical of Israel or its behavior.

Thanks to the ongoing investigation of Russiagate by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, we Americans have learned that prior to President Donald Trump’s inauguration, some of his closest advisers responded to Israeli solicitation to derail a United Nations vote on illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories. The effort to help Israel was implemented behind the scenes and in opposition to the official U.S. foreign policy.

Possible collusion with a foreign state has produced an avalanche of negative press coverage and congressional baying for blood related to Moscow and its President Vladimir Putin but similar action on the part of Israel has produced little to nothing in terms of a response from the Fourth Estate and political class.

Perhaps not too surprising, the story has actually taken a different turn, producing some opinion pieces, mostly from American Jews, insisting that Jared Kushner, the presidential son-in-law who was behind the effort, did the right thing because it was done “for Israel.” It is a sure sign of the invulnerability of those exercising Jewish power in the United States that something very close to treason involving a foreign country can be applauded with impunity. This is in spite of the fact that successful attempts to bury the story and even to justify what was done inevitably raises the issue of “dual loyalty” on the part of some American Jews who clearly see Israel as something that has to be protected and cherished even when it means doing serious damage to the American people and U.S. national interests.

One of the most illustrative opinion pieces written by an “Israel firster” appeared recently in Forward, America’s leading Jewish news and information website. It was entitled “Jared Kushner Was Right To ‘Collude’ with Russia – because he did it for Israel” before it was changed in the online edition to “Was Kushner doing the right thing?” The author, Daniel Kohn, lives in San Diego California. The article is particularly interesting as it makes a grotesque convoluted effort to not only justify what took place but also to sing the praises of Israel and all its works.

The extent to which the op-ed is characteristic of American-Jewish thinking regarding Israel is, of course, difficult to estimate but I would suspect that most Jews in the U.S., who are generally self-described progressives, would find much of it rather dubious, though many would be reluctant to openly criticize or counter the arguments being made for fear of ostracism by their community.

Kohn constructs a straw man around the fact that previous incoming presidential administrations have communicated with foreign governments during their transition periods. This is certainly true and even sensible. But, at the same time, meeting representatives of other countries cannot be allowed to undercut the policies being pursued by the White House team that is actually still in power. In this case, President Barack Obama had made clear that his opposition to the Israeli settlement expansion would be expressed through U.S. abstention on a United Nations Security Council vote condemning such activity.

In response, the government of Israel asked Jared Kushner to use Trump’s potential leverage to bring about a veto or delay in the resolution. Kushner clearly approached his task with some zeal, instructing incoming National Security Adviser Mike Flynn to contact the U.N. delegations of the countries on the Security Council to do just that, undercutting what Obama was doing. That is how the phone call from Flynn to Russian Ambassador Sergei Kislyak came about.

Kohn also critiques the applicability of the Logan Act, which blocks American citizens from negotiating with foreign governments on behalf of the United States by claiming that it “would likely not be a successful litigation path.” He argues that Kushner was “already acting in an official capacity,” which is flat out untrue as he had no official status. If Kushner had in fact been an honest broker he would have gone through the State Department, but he was instead working covertly to subvert a policy being pursued by the legally-in-power President of the United States. There is no other way to look at it.

Finally, Kohn argues that the U.N. Resolution 2334 that was approved in spite of Flynn’s call, gives the Palestinians both “more leverage” and “moral authority” in any future negotiations with the Israelis. He sees this as a bad thing, that Kushner was therefore rightly “pursuing a moral agenda that would help Israel’s security.” This is really the crux of the matter as Kohn sees the Middle East in very simple terms: Israeli dominance is a good thing, enabling Netanyahu to dictate both the pace and consequences arising from the endless peace talks that only continue to sustain land thefts and human rights violations by powerful Jews in dealing with virtually powerless Arabs. That is just the way Kohn and the Israelis want things to be, and, unfortunately President Donald Trump has now made clear that he endorses “that reality.”

There are altogether too many American Jews like Daniel Kohn who reflexively think as he does. Israelis are cheering in Jerusalem over Donald Trump’s surrender to them over the location of their capital, but real Americans should be mourning. The arrogance of Jewish power in the United States, exemplified by Kushner in regards to the United Nations and more recently concerning Jerusalem, means that U.S. citizens will be less secure when they travel, American businesses will have to think twice when seeking overseas markets, and diplomats and soldiers working in foreign Embassies and military bases will become targets. If there is an actual positive American interest concealed somewhere in the packages of concessions to Israel, I certainly cannot find it.

 

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI0 Comments

US and Nazi regime ‘Isolated’ at UN Security Council Meeting on Jerusalem

NOVANEWS

U.S. Ambassador Zionist Nikki Haley at the United Nations Security Council on December 8, 2017. | Photo: AFP

In an emergency meeting convened by the United Nations Security Council on the crisis prompted by Zionist Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the Nazi state capital, the U.S. stood isolated as other members unanimously condemned the decision.

The meeting was called by Bolivia, Uruguay, Italy, Senegal, Egypt, France and the United Kingdom on Friday.

Bolivian Ambassador Sacha Llorenti offered the strongest words of condemnation. Llorenti is known for his outspoken support of the Palestinian people, having debated the issue at the U.N. wearing a Keffiyah: a black-and-white scarf that has become a symbol of Palestinian resistance.

“While there are two parties in this conflict, they are not on a level playing field,” Llorenti said. “One is an occupying power, the other is an occupied people.

“One party builds illegal settlements… One party puts a seige on Gaza… One party takes over the water resources and farmlands of the other …. One of the parties engages in forced displacement. Bolivia opposes the unilateral decision of the United States to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”

Other representatives, including France, Japan, Russia, and Sweden, expressed their dismay at the decision, saying that it would lead to violence and potentially ruin chances at the peace process that President Trump claims to favor.

Egyptian Ambassador Amr Aboulatta said he expected the decision to have a “grave” impact on peace.

The U.N. special coordinator for the peace process, Nickolay Mladenov said: “The United Nations has repeatedly declared that any unilateral decision that seeks to alter the character and status of Jerusalem… could seriously undermine current peace efforts and may have repercussions across the region.”

Despite resounding criticism from the rest of the international community, U.S. Ambassador Zionist Nikki Haley maintained that Zionist Trump’s move was “simple common sense,” and that the president remains “committed to achieving a lasting peace agreement.” She also accused the U.N. of being “hostile” towards ‘Israel’.

Nazi ambassador was the only other party who praised the decision, calling it “courageous” and demonstrating a “true understanding of justice.”

Since Zionist Trump’s announcement, Palestinians have resolutely condemned the decision and erupted in mass “days of rage” protests. Palestinian resistance movement Hamas has called for a “new intifada,” or uprising, against the Nazi illegall occupation, a plea backed by Lebanese resistance movement Hezbollah.

Protests in various parts of illegally occupied Palestine have met with violence by Nazi armed forces. At least two Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more injured. On Friday, the Red Crescent said they have so far attended 767 injuries in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza.

Posted in USA, ZIO-NAZI, UN0 Comments

Tillerson Rules Out a Containment Strategy for North Korea

NOVANEWS

U.S. again offers talks without preconditions, warns of military option

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson PHOTO:JONATHAN ERNST/REUTERS

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Tuesday the U.S. wants to have a dialogue with North Korea “anytime,” backing away from Washington’s previous demand that Pyongyang give up its nuclear weapons before they come to the table. Photo: AP

WASHINGTON—Secretary of State Rex Tillerson ruled out pursuing a traditional Cold War-style containment and deterrence strategy against a nuclear-armed North Korea, citing concerns that Pyongyang will transform its arsenal into a commercial business and sell nuclear weapons to other actors.

“Many people have asked the question, ‘Well, why can’t you live with a containment strategy? You lived with it with Russia. You lived with it with China,’” Mr. Tillerson said. “The difference is that with the past behavior of North Korea, it is clear to us that they would not just use the possession of nuclear weapons as a deterrent. This would become a commercial activity for them.”

President Donald Trump has long said he won’t tolerate a North Korea with nuclear weapons capable of striking American shores. Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo warned in September that North Korea was willing to share its nuclear arms technology with “lots of folks,” including potentially Iran. And a U.N. report last March detailed how North Korea attempted to sell nuclear material to unidentified international buyers in 2016.

Mr. Tillerson’s comments on Tuesday to an audience at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington made clear that the Trump administration sees the possibility of nuclear technology sales as reason enough to quash the possibility of a deterrence strategy—which would de facto accept North Korea as a nuclear power while preventing Pyongyang from using the weapons through mutually assured destruction.

The secretary of State said the U.S. had already seen elements of North Korea’s commercial nuclear activity in the marketplace and couldn’t accept that development, particularly in a world where hostile nonstate groups pose some of the greatest threats to the U.S. Unlike the Soviet Union and China, Mr. Tillerson said, North Korea has no record whatsoever of abiding by international norms.

“That’s the reason the president and I agree with his assessment that we simply cannot accept a nuclear armed North Korea,” Mr. Tillerson said. He vowed to pursue diplomacy with Mr. Kim “until the first bomb drops” but reiterated that U.S. military options remained on the table.

North Korea has conducted three intercontinental ballistic missile launches since last summer and six nuclear weapons tests since 2006. The growing pace and complexity of the tests in recent months has alarmed officials in Washington, who have spearheaded a pressure campaign against Pyongyang, including the harshest international sanctions ever applied on North Korea, in an effort to induce Mr. Kim to give up his program.

Last summer, Mr. Tillerson said the U.S. wanted to enter a dialogue with North Korea only if Pyongyang comes to the table assuming it will give up its nuclear weapons. But the top U.S. diplomat since has tempered that stance and opened the door to talks without preconditions, even as he has admitted that North Korea has never been a reliable counterpart in talks.

“We have said from the diplomatic side we are ready to talk anytime North Korea would like to talk,” Mr. Tillerson said Tuesday. “Let’s just meet.”

Mr. Tillerson said the first meeting would allow both sides to put everything they want on the table and get started. He warned, however, it would be “tough to talk” if in the middle of the talks, North Korea tested another device.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration is continuing efforts to step up pressure on Pyongyang. Mr. Trump has been pressuring China to place a full oil embargo on North Korea to stop the tests and bring Pyongyang into negotiations, but critics have raised human rights concerns about the impact that such an embargo would have on North Korean citizens in the middle of the winter.

Mr. Tillerson appeared to back the president’s rationale for a full oil embargo. “The last time the North Koreans came to the table, it was because China cut the oil off,” he said. “Three days later, the North Koreans were at the table talking.”

He said China was taking steps to prepare for North Korean refugees flowing over the border, in the event of an internal crisis in Pyongyang or a military conflict. He said such refugee flows are something China can manage and that the threat isn’t as significant as others have suggested.

Posted in USA, North Korea0 Comments

Global Arms Sales Rise for First Time in Five Years

NOVANEWS

Arms sales by the world’s top 100 arm producers rose 1.9 percent in 2016, the first year of growth in five years, with the United States and Western Europe taking an over 82 percent share, according to an international survey released Monday.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) — behind the survey — said in a statement Monday that sales of arms and military services by the world’s largest arms-producing and military services companies — the SIPRI Top 100 — totaled $374.8 billion last year, excluding China.

The total arm sales were equivalent to nearly 0.5 percent of global Gross Domestic Product, up 38 percent since 2002.

Topping the list was the U.S., which continues to maintain the world’s largest military expenditures. Companies from the world largest economy increased their sales by 4 percent last year to $217.2 billion, making the U.S. account for 57.9 percent of the total top 100 arms sales.

SIPRI said that U.S. military operations overseas as well as acquisitions of large weapon systems by other countries drove the rise.

“Lockheed Martin, the world’s largest arms producer, increased its arms sales by 10.7 percent in 2016, reaching $40.8 billion and significantly widening the gap between it and Boeing — the second-largest arms producer,” it added.

Sales of Western Europe arm producers totaled $91.6 billion, a rise of 0.2 percent from 2015.

U.S. and West European companies accounted for 82.4 percent of total arms sales for 2016, SIPRI said.

The Brexit decision does not seem to have had an impact on the arms sales of British companies, which rose 2.0 percent in 2016, SIPRI said.

According to SIPRI, arms sales by Russian firms in the top 100 continued to grow, rising 3.8 percent to $26.6 billion in 2016.

Companies from South Korea boosted their arms sales by 20.6 percent to $8.4 billion last year due to concerns over North Korea’s missile and nuclear programs.

Producers in Brazil and Turkey also showed growth, while there was a slight decline for firms in India.

Due to lack of data, Chinese companies were not included. Based on Chinese defense spending that almost tripled between 2002 and 2016, SIPRI estimated that at least nine Chinese firms, including aircraft maker AVIC, could have been included on the list.

“The growth in arms sales was expected and was driven by the implementation of new national major weapon programs, ongoing military operations in several countries, and persistent regional tensions that are leading to an increased demand for weapons,” the group added.

Created 1966 by the Swedish parliament, SIPRI tracks military spending and arms transfers. It began to chart arms sales by defense firms in 2002.

Posted in USA, Europe0 Comments

Is the United States on the Brink of Nuclear War?

In the thirteen days since North Korea tested an intercontinental ballistic missile capable of reaching large portions of North America, the United States has further escalated its war threats.

• On Thursday, US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haleywarned that the United States might not send athletes to participate in the 2018 Winter Olympics to be held in South Korea, because it could not guarantee their safety in the event of a war.

• Last Sunday, National Security advisor H.R. McMaster warned that the threat of war between the United States and North Korea is “increasing every day.”

• That same day, South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham warned that the United States is “getting close to a military conflict” with North Korea, and urged the military to remove the families of US soldiers from South Korea.

These developments have been met with alarmed warnings from within the US foreign policy establishment as well as international bodies.

• On Friday, the Washington Post published a chilling hypothetical narrative by Jeffrey Lewis, a scholar at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies, entitled, “This is how nuclear war with North Korea would unfold.” Lewis spelled out in hair-raising detail a scenario in which “nearly 2 million Americans, South Koreans and Japanese had died in the completely avoidable nuclear war of 2019.”

• On Saturday, the New York Times warned that the Trump administration’s rhetoric on North Korea increasingly resembles that of the Bush administration in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq. The newspaper added,

“Outside experts are increasingly concluding that the Trump administration’s threats may not be empty and that officials are seriously contemplating attacking North Korea and its nuclear weapons and missile arsenal.”

• That same day, UN envoy Jeffrey Feltman issued a statement declaring that, after discussion with North Korean leaders, both the UN and North Korea had concluded that

“the current situation was the most tense and dangerous peace and security issue in the world today,” warning, “Time is of the essence.”

• On Sunday, at a ceremony to award the Nobel Peace Prize to the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, representatives of the group warned that “mutual destruction” between the United States and North Korea “is only one impulsive tantrum away.”

• On Sunday, conservative columnist George Will strongly hinted that a US attack against North Korea would place the country in violation of international law, noting that “crimes against peace” formed the basis of the Nuremberg tribunal of Nazi war crimes. Will concluded,

“The first two counts in the indictments at the 1946 Nuremberg trials concerned waging ‘aggressive war.’”

Such statements underscore the profound unease and concern with which large sections of the US and international foreign policy establishment view a potential war with North Korea. As opposed to the successive wars waged against Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Syria, the United States has no international supporters in a potential war against North Korea. It is operating increasingly outside of the framework of international law, with flagrant indifference to the mandates of the United Nations and the consensus of its erstwhile allies.

The administration’s critics within the US political establishment fear that a war against North Korea would be an unmitigated disaster for the United States in every conceivable scenario, involving the deaths, at a minimum, of hundreds of thousands of civilians on both sides of the North Korean border. Such a war would shatter whatever remains of Washington’s standing on the international arena, rendering it a pariah state.

The increasingly bellicose stance toward North Korea, which threatens to engulf it in a war far more disastrous than even the invasion of Iraq, has been a leading driver of speculation over the possibility of a White House palace coup.

In an article published in the current issue of Foreign AffairsScott D. Sagan warns that averting a potentially disastrous war with North Korea may present a substantial impetus for removing Trump from office by sections of the military.

Sagan notes that, in some ways, the US standoff with North Korea is even more dangerous than the Cuban Missile crisis, when “strong civilian leaders countered the U.S. military’s dangerously hawkish instincts.” But now,

“it is the senior political leadership in the United States that has made reckless threats, and it has fallen to Secretary of Defense James Mattis (a former general) and senior military officers to serve as the voices of prudence.”

He adds,

“If senior military leaders believe at any time that Trump is impaired, they have a duty to contact Mattis, who should then call for an emergency cabinet meeting to determine whether Trump is ‘unable to discharge the powers and duties of his office’ and thus whether to invoke the 25th Amendment.”

While no one should underestimate the danger of such a military coup, the idea that the US military leadership would somehow serve to check the Trump administration’s drive to war in the Pacific is wishful thinking. Defense Secretary “Mad Dog” Mattis has threatened genocide against North Korea, warning that a war could lead to the “destruction of its people.” National Security Advisor H.R. McMaster has likewise stated that the United States is prepared to launch a “preventive,” that is, unprovoked, war against North Korea.

As the United States faces an unprecedented acceleration of the breakdown of its postwar hegemony, the possibility exists that it may go to war simply to make good on the Trump administration’s threats.

Meanwhile, the mounting talk of removing Trump from office through impeachment, forced resignation or the invocation of the 25th Amendment increases the pressure on the administration to seek through war a solution to the domestic political crisis gripping the United States.

All of this underscores the immense danger posed by the US nuclear standoff. While there exist factional differences within the US ruling elite over the advisability of a war with North Korea, there is no antiwar faction within the ruling elite. The policy demanded by those factions opposing Trump—an escalation of the conflict with Russia—poses its own danger of an escalation into all-out world war.

Far from warning of the mounting danger of war, the Democratic Party has spent the last two weeks intensifying its campaign over the Trump administration’s alleged collusion with Russia. It is simultaneously working to corrupt public consciousness with its witch hunt against “sexual misconduct” in Hollywood and on Capitol Hill, aimed at rallying an upper-middle-class constituency for its conflict with the Trump administration.

The only social force capable of averting a catastrophic third world war is the international working class. This social force must be mobilized, on the basis of a socialist program, into a mass international antiwar movement, aimed at putting an end to war and the capitalist system that creates it.

Posted in USA, North Korea0 Comments

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