SYRIAN WAR REPORT – JANUARY 31, 2018: TURKISH MILITARY COLUMN IS HIT BY CAR BOMB IN SOUTHWESTERN ALEPPO

On January 30, a Turkish vehicle was destroyed and few others were damaged in a car bomb attack as a military convoy of the Turkish Armed Forces was passing the town of Atarib in the province of Aleppo.

According to initial reports from the ground 2 or 3 service members were killed in the attack. The media wing of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham (formerly Jabhat al-Nusra, the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda) even claimed that the convoy was struck by an artillery shelling or an air strike by pro-government forces.

Later, the Turkish General Staff denied the initial reports and said that a civilian support worker of the TAF had been killed as well as another civilian worker and a service member had been injured in the incident.

The military added that it was deployed in the area under a de-escalation deal reached with Russia and Iran during the Astana talks in May.

According to reports, the convoy was heading to Al Eis, which is located near positions of the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) in southern Aleppo. If the TAF is able to strengthen its presence there, it will be able to prevent the SAA from advancing on militants in the area. It’s interesting to note that Al Eis is controlled by Hayat Tahrir al-Sham. Thus, statements from the Turksih leadership that its forces are going to combat the terrorist group are at the least very questionable.

Meanwhile, the SAA resumed operations against ISIS in northeastern Hama and captured the hills of Rasm Dahil and Tawilah. The tactical goal of the ongoing advance is to capture the village of Jubb Zrayq and to increase pressure on ISIS terrorists in the entire pocket.

West of Abu al-Duhur, the SAA secured al Azu, Jafr and Khafiya and advanced on Halban, Zahbia, Jadida and Tawil Halib. The town of Abu al-Duhur still remains vulnerable to Hayat Tahrir al-Sham attacks from the northern direction. So, the SAA will need to further expand the buffer zone soon.

The TAF and the Turkish-backed part of the Free Syrian Army (FSA) captured the villages of Sati Ushaghi and Khalil Kulku and advanced in the direction of Point 915 in the Afrin area. Kurdish YPG/YPJ forces conducted a series of attacks on positions of the TAF and the FSA in Barsaya Mount but failed to regain it.

The TAF and the FSA launched their operation against Kurdish forces in Afrin on January 20. Since then, they have been able to achieve only limited gains despite a clear advantage in the firepower and military equipment. Meanwhile, statements by the TAF’s general staff that over 649 Kurdish fighters have been killed during the operation also look questionable.

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المشروع السعودي يحترق في ساحات عدن

يناير 31, 2018

د. وفيق إبراهيم

مشروع السعودية وتحالفاتها بالهيمنة على اليمن أو تقسيمه على الأقلّ، يتلقّى الهزيمة تلو الأخرى. وما يحدث منذ أيام عدة في ساحات مدينة عدن عاصمة اليمن الجنوبي، يفضح المشروع الدموي السعودي الإماراتي المغطّى أميركياً وسط صمت من أعضاء مجلس الأمن الدولي، ويكشف بوضوح وصول الاجتياح السعودي لليمن إلى مرحلة متقدمة من الانهيار.

وهنا، لا بأس من التذكير أنّ السعودية بنت تحالفاً عسكرياً من أكثر من خمسين دولة، يتشاركون يومياً في قتل اليمنيين وتدمير البنية التحتية للبلاد منذ ثلاث سنين ونيّف، متسبّبين أيضاً بقتل نحو عشرين ألف يمنيّ وأكثر.

لذلك، تأتي الاشتباكات العنيفة والمتواصلة في معظم أنحاء عدن بين ميليشيات يمنيّة مدعومة من دولة الإمارات، وأخرى تنتحل صفة الجيش اليمني ومدعومة من السعودية لتكشف وللمرة الأخيرة أنّ الطرفين الإماراتي والسعودي الداعمَين للمتحاربين لديهم مصالح متناقضة في يمن يحاولان تدميره وتفتيته لتحقيق مبتغاهما.

كانا يزعمان أنّ سيطرة أنصار الله على اليمن هي سبب اجتياحهما له، ويؤكّدان أنّهما متحالفان مع ما يسمّونه زوراً الشرعية في اليمن. واتّضح أنهم يسيطرون على رئيس سابق فرّ من اليمن منذ ثلاث سنوات، عبد ربه منصور هادي، ويقيم في الرياض مفضّلاً النوم في معظم الأوقات من دون أيّ حضور سياسي أو عسكري له في اليمن، إلى جانب حكومة يترأسها بن دغر أيضاً على السعودية، والموصوف بأنّه واحد من أكثر رؤساء الحكومة فساداً.

لجهة دولة الإمارات المشاركة في الحرب على اليمن، نحت بسرعة إلى بناء نفوذ قوي لها في عدن، وأسّست ميليشيات لدعم وجهة نظرها، على الرغم من أنها تصرّ على تحالفها مع السعودية!!

فما الذي جرى حتى تحوّل المتحالفان إلى أعداء يتقاتلان بالرصاص ويدمّران ما تبقّى من عدن؟

الأمر الذي يشير إلى أنّ المشكلة أكبر من مجرد سيطرة ميليشيا على حيّ تستولي عليه ميليشيا أخرى. فلو كانت كذلك لكانت الاشتباكات توقّفت بضغطَين سياسيين بسيطَين من الرياض وأبو ظبي.

فما هي هذه الأسباب؟ اليمن صامد في وجه جحافل قوات السعودية وحلفائها منذ ثلاث سنوات. تكفي الإشارة إلى أنّ قوات سودانية وباكستانية ترتدي ملابس الجيش السعودي تشارك في القتال تحت رايته، وتحاصر «إسرائيل» اليمن بحرياً بالاشتراك مع البحريّتَين الأميركية والمصرية، من دون أن ننسى عشرات آلاف الجنود من السعودية والإمارات.

لم تتمكّن كلّ هذه الجحافل المتنوّعة من اختراق خطوط الدفاع عن اليمن الشمالي… وعندما حاول السعوديون والإماراتيون والأميركيون استعمال ورقة الرئيس السابق علي عبدالله صالح، تصدّى اليمنيون، وكانوا متفقين معه على القضاء على أنصار الله أو التشريع لحرب أهلية في صنعاء وجوارها، كان يفترض أن تؤدّي إلى استنزاف الحوثيين والنصر عليهم، ولأنّ الرهان السعودي الإماراتي على انقلاب علي عبدالله صالح كان كبيراً، ويرتجى منه بناء يمن سعودي على الطريقة القديمة، للإمارات فيه حصة، إنّما في إطار السيطرة الأميركية الجديدة.

هنا يجب الربط بين الانسداد العسكري السعودي العاجز عن تحقيق تقدّم فعليّ على الأرض وإلغاء ورقة علي عبدالله صالح، من الأسباب الأساسية للصدام الذي يستعر بين الحلفاء في عدن.

فلماذا انتظار نتائج معركة مستحيلة مع الشمال، خسروها منذ مدّة وتتواصل فقط للزوم الاستمرار والأبعاد المعنويّة؟ فانعكس هذا الوضع صراعاً بين القوّتين السعودية والإمارات لتحاصص موارد القوة في اليمن، وهي الاستراتيجيا، النفط، الغاز والسياحة.

بالنسبة للمسألة الاستراتيجية، فهي تتعلّق بباب المندب والسواحل البحرية المؤدّية إلى هرمز والمحيط الهندي. وهذا اهتمام أميركي أكبر من قياس السعودية والإمارات، لكنّ الولايات المتحدة الأميركية وجدت في الإمارات لاعباً خليجياً تسمح له إمكاناته وانتماؤه إلى الخليج والمشرق العربي أن ينفّذ سياسات تريدها واشنطن وتؤمّن لها بعض الطموحات، لذلك دفعت أبو ظبي الكثير من مالها لتأسيس قواعد عسكرية لها في جيبوتي وإريتريا وعدن والصومال، وهي بصدد افتتاح قواعد جديدة على طول الساحل اليمني في بحر عدن، فمن يصدّق أنّ بلداً صغيراً كالإمارات يحلم بتأسيس إمبراطورية عسكرية بحرية له؟!

والسؤال الذي يطرح نفسه، هي الأسباب التي تجعل الإمارات توسّع نفوذها البحري؟

والإجابة السريعة لن تتأخّر، فالإمارات تقوم بهذا الأمر لصالح الأميركيين الذين فضّلوها، لأنّها أكثر مرونة من السعوديين، وليس لديها طموح باستعمال اليمن، بل الاستفادة من قدراته السياحية، تتلقّى دعماً أميركياً إلى حدود التشجيع على حركتَيها الاستراتيجية لخدمة واشنطن، وسياحية لخدمة اقتصادها وموانئها. وإلا فما معنى اهتمامها بسقطرى ومعظم مدن الساحل إلا لاستثمارها في تأسيس مناطق سياحية عالمية!!

على مستوى السعودية، فاهتماماتها الاستراتيجية تذهب نحو منحىً آخر له شقّان: الهيمنة على كامل اليمن، أو تفتيته في حالة تعذّر الهيمنة إلى كيانات ودول صغيرة تستنفد قوّته وأهميّاته. وهذا مكشوف في حركة الاجتياح الواسعة التي تنفّذها، ما يجعل السياسة السعودية في اليمن واضحة منذ نصف قرن، وعنوانها منع اليمن من الاستقرار والتحوّل إلى دولة فعلية. وهذا جعل السعودية تمنع اليمنيين الموالين لها، وهي تمنعهم حتى من التفكير باستثمار الغاز الذي تؤكّد شركات الطاقة العالمية أنّه موجود فيها وبغزارة.

ضمن هذا الإطار تريد السعودية تفتيت اليمن، بما يؤدّي إلى استيلاد كانتونات موالية لها وتحتوي على الغاز والنفط، كما أنّها مصرّة على ضمّ حضرموت إليها بذريعة أنّ قبائلها تنتشر بين حضرموت والجوار السعودي.

بالنتيجة، يتبيّن أنّ مراوحة الاجتياح السعودي لليمن تعبّر عن هزيمة مدوّية انعكست على العلاقة بين الحلفاء. فالمجلس الانتقالي اليمني بقيادة الزبيدي مصرّ على إقالة حكومة بن دغر المتهمة بالفساد، ويبدو هادي كأن لا علاقة له بما يجري وسط معارك متواصلة منذ أيام عدّة بين الفريقين في معظم أنحاء عدن. وهذه معارك مرشّحة للتوسّع في مناطق الجنوب كافة، في محاولة من الفريقَين السعودي والإماراتي الاستيلاء على الإمكانات الأساسية من موقع استراتيجي وسياحة ونفط وغاز… وتفتيت.

إنّ هذه الاشتباكات هي الوحيدة التي لا تستطيع الرياض اتّهام إيران بالتسبّب بها، وهي أيضاً رسالة قويّة إلى آل سعود أنّ مشروعهم دخل مرحلة التفكّك وصولاً إلى الانهيار. وهي أيضاً رسالة إلى الشجعان الصابرين من أهل اليمن، المصرّين على مواصلة الكفاح لتحرير وطنهم، من دون أن ننسى مزاجاً شعبياً جنوبياً بدأ بالتبلور عاكساً نفسه على شكل تظاهرات تندّد بالهيمنة السعودية الإماراتية.

بذلك يثبت اليمن مجدّداً أنّه قاهر المستعمرين كافة، مهما بلغ بأهله الجوع والمرض والتدمير. وكما كانت صنعاء مقبرة العثمانيين، فإنّها لن تتأخّر في أن تكون دافعاً لأهالي جزيرة العرب للتخلّص من براثن دولة تحكم الناس حتى اليوم بنظام السمع والطاعة، فإن لم تطع… فقطع الرأس بالسيف هو العقاب.

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How We Got Donald Trump, (And How We Might Have Avoided Him)

 

How We Got Donald Trump

(And How We Might Have Avoided Him)
shutterstock_107269241

 

The present arrives out of a past that we are too quick to forget, misremember, or enshroud in myth. Yet like it or not, the present is the product of past choices. Different decisions back then might have yielded very different outcomes in the here-and-now. Donald Trump ascended to the presidency as a consequence of myriad choices that Americans made (or had made for them) over the course of decades. Although few of those were made with Trump in mind, he is the result.

Where exactly did Trump come from? How are we to account for his noxious presence as commander-in-chief and putative Leader of the Free World? The explanations currently on offer are legion. Some blame the nefarious Steve Bannon, others Hillary Clinton and her lackluster campaign. Or perhaps the fault lies with the Bernie Sanders insurgency, which robbed Clinton of the momentum she needed to win, or with Little Marco, Lyin’ Ted, and Low Energy Jeb, and the other pathetic Republicans whom Trump trampled underfoot en route to claiming the nomination. Or perhaps the real villains are all those “deplorables” — the angry and ignorant white males whose disdain for immigrants, feminists, gays, and people of color Trump stoked and manipulated to great effect.

All such explanations, however, suggest that the relevant story began somewhere around June 2015 when Donald Trump astonished the political world by announcing his intention to seek the presidency. My aim here is to suggest that the origins of the real story are to be found much earlier. The conditions that enabled Trump to capture the presidency stemmed from acts of commission and omission that occurred well before he rode down that escalator at Trump Tower to offer his services to the nation.

Here’s the sad part: at each step along the way, other alternatives were available. Had those alternatives been exercised, a Trump presidency would have remained an absurd fantasy rather than becoming an absurd and dangerous reality. Like the Cuban Missile Crisis or the Vietnam War or 9/11, Trump qualifies as a completely avoidable catastrophe with roots deep in the past.

So who’s at fault? Ultimately, we — the American people — must accept a considerable share of the responsibility. This is one buck that can’t be passed.

Coulda, Woulda, Shoulda

So what follows is a review of roads taken (and not) ultimately leading to the demoralizing presidency of Donald Trump, along with a little speculation on how different choices might have resulted in a decidedly different present.

1989: The Fall of the Berlin Wall. As the Cold War wound down, members of Washington’s smart set, Republicans and Democrats alike, declared that the opportunities now presenting themselves went beyond the merely stupendous. Indeed, history itself had ended. With the United States as the planet’s sole superpower, liberal democratic capitalism was destined to prevail everywhere. There would be no way except the American Way. In fact, however, the passing of the Cold War should have occasioned a moment of reflection regarding the sundry mistakes and moral compromises that marred U.S. policy from the 1940s through the 1980s. Unfortunately, policy elites had no interest in second thoughts — and certainly not in remorse or contrition. In the 1990s, rampant victory disease fueled extraordinary hubris and a pattern of reckless behavior informed by an assumption that the world would ultimately conform to the wishes of the “indispensable nation.” In the years to come, an endless sequence of costly mishaps would ensue from Mogadishu to Mosul. When, in due time, Donald Trump announced his intention to dismantle the establishment that had presided over those failures, many Americans liked what he had to say, even if he spoke from a position of total ignorance.

1992: President H. Ross Perot. In the first post-Cold War presidential election, H. Ross Perot, a wealthy entrepreneur and political novice, mounted an independent challenge to the Republican and Democratic nominees. Both parties, Perot charged, were in bed with lobbyists, insiders, and special interests. Both were enthusiastically presiding over the deindustrialization of a once dominant American economy. The rich were getting richer, the national debt was growing, and ordinary citizens were getting screwed, he contended. His charges were not without merit. Yet when Perot lost, Washington was back to business as usual. We cannot know what a Perot presidency would have produced. Yet such a victory — the American electorate, in effect, repudiating the two established parties — might have created powerful incentives for both Republicans and Democrats to clean up their acts and find ways of governing more effectively. Had they done so, Trump’s later vow to “drain the swamp” of corruption and self-dealing would have been beside the point.

1993: Gays in the Military. Bill Clinton ran for the presidency as a centrist. Even so, once elected, he immediately announced his intention to remove restrictions on gays serving in the armed forces. This was, to put it mildly, anything but the act of a centrist. Outraged senior military officers made clear their intention to defy the new commander-in-chief. Although Clinton quickly backpedalled, the episode infuriated both cultural traditionalists and progressives. Within 20 years, a different generation of senior officers decided that gays serving in the military was no big deal. The issue instantly vanished. Yet the controversy left behind a residue of bitterness, especially on the right, that worked in Trump’s favor. Had the generals of 1993 suppressed their insubordinate inclinations, they might have ever so slightly turned down the heat on the culture wars. When the heat is high, it’s the tub-thumpers and noisy haranguers who benefit.

1998: The Lewinsky Scandal. When President Clinton’s sexual encounters with a young White House intern became known, Hillary Clinton stood by her man. The first lady’s steadfast loyalty helped her husband avoid being thrown out of office, providing cover for other feminists to continue supporting the president. Imagine if she had done otherwise, declaring his conduct unacceptable. The pressure on him to resign coming from those who had been among his strongest supporters would have been intense. This much is certain: had evidence of infidelity, compounded by prior allegations of abuse toward women, forced President Clinton from office, Donald Trump would never have had a chance of being elected president. In all likelihood he would never even have considered running.

2000: Cheney Picks a Veep. When George W. Bush wrapped up the Republican nomination in 2000, he tagged Dick Cheney, his father’s defense secretary, with the task of identifying a suitable running mate. After surveying the field, Cheney decided that he himself was the man for the job. As vice president, Cheney wasted no time in stacking the upper ranks of the administration with likeminded allies keen to wield American military muscle to smite “evil-doers” and expand America’s empire. Bush had promised, if elected, to pursue a “humble” foreign policy and forego nation-building. Had he not surrounded himself with Cheney and bellicose companions like Donald Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, he might possibly have stuck to that course, even after 9/11. Instead, urged on by the uber-hawks in his own administration, he embarked upon a misguided “Global War on Terrorism.” No single action played a greater role in paving the way for Donald Trump to become president.

2000: The Supremes Pick a President. If, in choosing a president on our behalf, the Supreme Court had given the nod to Al Gore instead of George Bush, might they have averted that never-ending, never-contracting war on terrorism? No doubt the 9/11 attacks would still have occurred and some U.S. military action would have ensued. But Gore did not share the obsession with Saddam Hussein that infected members of the Bush-Cheney axis. Arguably, a President Gore would have been less likely than President Bush to insist on invading a country that had played no part in the al-Qaeda conspiracy. Had the U.S. not embarked upon a preventive war against Iraq — had this Original Sin of the post-9/11 era not occurred — a Trump presidency would have been far less likely.

2003: Congress Rolls Over. To its perpetual disgrace, Congress assented to Bush’s demands to invade Iraq. It did so less because its members, including presidential aspirants like Senators Hillary Clinton and John Kerry, were persuaded that Iraq posed a threat to national security (it did not) than because they sought to insulate themselves from the political consequences of opposing a president hell-bent on war. For decades, Congress had allowed presidents to encroach upon its constitutional responsibility to declare war, but this would be the last straw. Supine legislators became complicit in a disaster that to this day continues to unfold. A Congress with gumption might have averted that disaster, recovered its cojones, and left us with a legislative branch willing and able to fulfill its constitutional responsibilities.

2003: GM Kills the EV1 Electric Automobile. In the 1990s, General Motors produced the first viable electric car. Drivers loved it, but GM doubted its potential profitability. Shareholders were more likely to make money if the company focused on manufacturing vehicles powered by gasoline engines. So in 2003, GM executives killed the EV1. The effect was to postpone by at least a decade the development of a mass-produced electric car. Had GM persisted, it’s just possible that the EV1 might have jump-started the transition to a post-fossil fuel economy and offered humanity a leg up on climate change. Instead, politicians spent years bickering about whether climate change was even real. More than a few Republicans made political hay by denouncing those waging a “war on coal” or inhibiting crucially needed oil exploration — bogus charges that Trump adroitly exploited for his own purposes. Perhaps if the EV1 had fulfilled its potential, anyone mounting a presidential campaign while denouncing global warming as a hoax would have been laughed out of town instead of capturing the White House.

2009: Obama Bails Out Wall Street. President Obama entered the Oval Office with the U.S. economy in free-fall. His administration took prompt action to prevent systemic collapse — that is, it bailed out Wall Street. Meanwhile the little guy got clobbered, with millions of Americans losing their jobs and homes. A billionaire complaining about the system being “rigged” might otherwise have tested the outer limits of irony, but for Donald Trump the government’s handling of the Great Recession was a gift from the gods.

2010: Presidential Twitter Accounts. Huge numbers of Americans have willingly surrendered their lives to social media. I’m guessing that there are more vegans and curling aficionados in the United States today than there are non-subscribers to Facebook. So it was perhaps inevitable that politicians would hoist themselves onto the social media bandwagon, keen to use direct, unmediated electronic communications as a way of mobilizing their followers. Yet the resulting impact on American politics has been entirely negative. The space available for reasoned exchanges has shrunk. Political discourse has become increasingly corrosive, its apparent purpose less to inform than to obfuscate, trivialize, and create division. This development was probably inevitable and will no doubt prove irreversible. Even so, it was not inevitable that the presidency itself should succumb to this phenomenon. In 2010, when Barack Obama “made history” by sending the first presidential tweet, it was as if the Pope had begun spending his idle hours hanging out at some corner saloon. Even if only in barely measurable increments, the dignity and decorum associated with the presidency began to fade and with it the assumption that crude or boorish behavior would automatically disqualify someone for high office. Donald Trump, a first-class boor and maestro of Twitter, was quick to take notice.

2010: Mitch McConnell Chooses Party Over Country. With the nation still in the midst of a devastating economic crisis, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell declared on behalf of his party that the denial of a second term to President Obama was “the single most important thing we want to achieve.” To hell with the country, the GOP wanted Obama gone. McConnell’s troops fell obediently into line and the last vestiges of bipartisanship disappeared from Washington. Of course, the president won reelection in 2012 anyway, but in effect McConnell refused to recognize the result. So when Obama exercised a president’s prerogative to nominate someone to fill a Supreme Court vacancy, McConnell ensured that the nominee would not even receive the courtesy of a hearing. An environment rife with hyper-partisanship presented the perfect situation for a political outsider skilled in the “art of the deal” to offer himself as the antidote to persistent gridlock. Congratulations, Mitch! You won after all!

And So…?

It’s time to look in the mirror, folks. Blaming Trump for being Trump simply won’t do. Like Lenin or Franco or Perón or dozens of other demagogues, Trump merely seized the opportunity that presented itself. Our president is a product and beneficiary of several decades worth of vainglory, cynicism, epic folly, political cowardice, missed opportunities, and a public not given to paying attention. In present-day Washington, no one can deny that the chickens have come home to roost. The biggest fowl of them all has taken up residence in the White House and, in a very real sense, we all put him there.

Andrew Bacevich, a TomDispatch regular, is the author, most recently, of America’s War for the Greater Middle East: A Military History.

The Dumbing Down of America – By Design, and it’s Not Just #Trump

The Dumbing Down of America – By Design

NOVANEWS

The last thing the elite wants is an informed, empowered public mobilizing any grassroots movement to oppose government tyranny.

First published by GR in August 2014

This presentation focuses on the myriad ways in which the powers-that-be in the United States have been systematically dumbing down Americans as a society for a very long time – all by meticulously calculated design. Originally the term dumbing down was used as a slang expression in 1933 by film screenwriters to mean “revising [the script] so as to appeal to those of lower education or intelligence.”

The most obvious example of how Americans have been dumbed down is through this nation’s failed public education system. At one time not that long ago America reigned supreme as a leading model for the rest of the world providing the best quality free public K-12 education system on the planet. But over the last many decades while much of the rest of the world has been passing us by, it seems an insidious federal agenda has been implemented to condition and brainwash a population of mindless, robotic citizenry that simply does what it’s told, and of course the brainwashing commences early in America’s schools.

But prior to delving into the many ways we’ve been duped and dumbed down through the years, a cold hard look at the devastating result seems very much in order here. With doom and gloom warnings of impending collapse, the US economy is floundering still mired in recession, emaciated and cut off from life support, as a consequence of waging too many wars around the world (be they the longest running costly defeats in US history or the fast rising dirty little Special Ops wars secretly raging on every corner of the globe or Obama’s personal favorite, state sponsored terrorism from drone-filled skies). As a pawn to the military industrial complex, the US government has chosen permanent war over its own people. This treasonous decision has decimated the middle class and created a college educated indentured class struggling in heavy debt to find any means to stay afloat. With an outsourced, now vanished manufacturing base, upward mobility and the American dream have become tragic casualties of modern life, now a sad, nostalgic bygone reminder of the once greatness of America. 

With the US the biggest debtor nation on earth, Americans are drowning in debt as hopelessly trapped collateral damage from a rapidly sinking, overextended Empire desperate to remain the sole global superpower even if it means death to the whole human race. At home the hapless American population has become increasingly the victim of its own government’s tyranny and oppression under the constant roving eyeball of criminal surveillance and a brutal militarized security state, leaving its citizens defenseless without any security, liberty, freedom or place to hide. After centuries of carefully orchestrated design, oligarchs of the banking cabal have finally gotten what they’ve been plotting and scheming, globally enforced austerity and impoverishment reducing life in America and around the world to near Third World status, and absolute control. The oligarchs are counting on a dumbed down population too busy addicted to their video games or watching sports or Kim Kardashian’s latest wardrobe malfunction to even notice that a longtime oligarch eugenics plan is already well underway.

But this dismal outcome has long been in the making on many fronts. Over numerous decades a grand experiment engaging in social engineering with America’s youth has been steadily working to homogenize a lowest common denominator product of sub par mediocrity, creating generations of young Americans who can neither read nor write, nor think for themselves in any critical manner. According to a study last year by the US Department of Education, 19% of US high school graduates cannot read, 21% of adults read below 5th grade level and that these alarming rates have not changed in the last ten years.

The international test results from the 2012 PISA indicate American students are lagging behind virtually all developed nations even more than in the past. China topped all 65 nations while US teenagers again scored at or below average in math, reading and science. That is because the current educational system is no longer about learning the basic A-B-C’s but simply cranking out a subclass of work force laborers. This tragic fall from grace of America’s once great educational system has education researcher Cynthia Weatherly referring to America’s current education system as “limited learning for lifelong labor.”

But this planned system of a New World Order (NOW) featuring a planned global economy and a planned global education system has been promoted for well over a century. The Carnegie Foundation outlined its explicit roadmap for absolute oligarch control way back in the 1930’s. Department of Education whistleblower Charlotte Iserbyt exposes the conspired downfall of America’s educational system in her well documented chronicle The Deliberate Dumbing Down of America.

It turns out that America’s “father of modern education” John Dewey, an unabashed admirer of Stalin and his educational system, proclaimed his NWO agenda in 1947:

“… establishment of a genuine world order, an order in which national sovereignty is subordinate to world authority…”

As the first elected UNESCO Director-General British ProfessorJulian Huxley (brother of Brave New World’s Aldous), in 1949 had the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization pumping out pamphlets expounding the importance that children be educated devoid of any national allegiance, patriotism or family loyalties identified as the biggest barriers to their demonic ambitions:

“As long as the child breathes the poisoned air of nationalism, education in world-mindedness can only produce precarious results.”

Based on my personal experience working with America’s broken child welfare system, several weeks ago I wrotean article on the current child welfare system’s assault on the modern American family. That assault is but part of a wider, across-the-boards assault by the entire US government. The federalist fascists in Washington have been busily mounting an assault on the American family through the state run public education system as well. Like the separation of church and state, the Constitution explicitly calls for specific delineation between the federal government to stay out of the business of education, traditionally leaving it within the sovereignty of the states and local communities to govern. However, just as the US Constitution has been under assault, Washington is now unlawfully dictating mandates to the 1600 US school districts that they must comply with in order to avoid the cutoff of federal dollars. Thus, local school districts throughout this nation are presently under a subversive assault from the long arm of our authoritarian totalitarian government.

Second only to the Department of Defense in its annual budget, more US taxpayer dollars are funneled into the Department of Education than any other public sector. The discretionary budget for Education as of 2015 is $68.6 billion. And these days most of those dollars are being squandered to bankroll the privatization of an already failed educational system. Through privately run charter schools and federally mandated programs like Common Core, control has been snatched away from parents, teachers and elected local school boards. 

In the Orwellian double speak deception of “school choice,” public tax funded privatized programs like Common Core have been sold as answering the need for higher educational standards. Should a school district accept even $1 from the federal government, it automatically relinquishes control to the feds, thus providing no choice to the locals. With 43 out of the 50 states already signed up for Common Core, public education run by local communities and states is clearly under siege. The federal agenda is to abolish local run school boards, abandon the letter grade system of A through F’s and seize control over the curriculum. Concealed in the fine print is the not so thinly veiled Trojan Horse promoting that same New World Order that Dewey and Huxley were driving at nearly seven decades earlier. Like it or not, even the nation’s home schoolers, private schools and students in the seven states not adopting Common Core are being impacted as textbook companies have rushed to align their books according to the dogma of the Common Core standards.

The embedded Common Core doctrine handed down from Dewey’s Progressive Education is designed to program and prepare children’s impressionable minds toward accepting the notion of collectivism. The group mind is deemed far more important than the individual mind to the extent that a child’s value is only as good as the value the child can bring to the group. As an individual one carries little intrinsic value as a human life without the greater context as the worker bee sacrificing for the maintenance of the group.

The heavy focus of public education today is primarily limited to standardized test performance and the proliferation of privatized charter schools complete with private contractors teaching the tests, usurping the authority at all levels from state, to local communities, to individual teacher’s lesson plans, to home schooling parents, largely replaced by instructional software programs.

Little thought or consideration by today’s education top down policymakers is ever given to those students who happen to score low on all these tests. To make matters worse scores are being made public access now which will only traumatize those children and schools scoring far below average. Being branded as less than carries stigmatizing effects of shame and low self-esteem that can both hurt and haunt a person their entire life. Test scores determine placement and too often those scoring lower in the youngest grades again can easily be branded for the remainder of their public education years and beyond for life. Tests always possess limitations on what they mean and measure. Many super intelligent individuals experience test anxiety and perform poorly. Yet with so much riding on test scores today, and the damaging baggage that results from lower scores and lower placements, this current system appears to be doing far more harm than good. But then that is rarely if ever taken into account when the powerful few control the lives of so many.

The New World Order educational system of the twenty-first century has been ushered in by the likes of former President Bush’s No Child Left Behind program as a transparent corporatized privatization takeover. Bush’s younger brother Neil after being banned from the banking industry after his savings and loan scandal in the late 1980’s has been making a killing with his educational software company Ignite that promises higher test scores. Behind the double speak deceit of No Child Left Behind, Washington began blackmailing school districts across America with the threat of cutting off federal funds should their test scores fail to make the cut.

This governmental design for public education to move away from actual academic learning to becoming a mere pipeline for training a docile and obedient future workforce has only accelerated on steroids during the Obama regime. With Obama’s current Secretary of Education and former CEO of Chicago public schools Arne Duncan, and current Chicago Mayor’s Rahm Emmanuel as both Obama and Duncan’s strong-arm enforcer, the scenario being played out in the murderous mean streets of Chicago is igniting the growing national debate.

The federal government busily ramrods its agenda pushing standardized tests and test performance as the packaged panacea in the form of Common Core standards and privatized charter schools under the guise of tax paid public education. Of course school privatization in many districts around this Christian nation also means Creationism is now being taught instead of evolution. Of course this systemic dumbing down of our educational system also permeates a parallel process in the dumbing down of textbooks sold to the schools. The omission of truth and inclusion of false disinformation and propaganda in school textbooks are just another form of indoctrinated mind control. This lopsided war between fascist run propaganda schools brainwashing a Brave New World youth and the local school boards, teachers and parents battling for their lives to maintain what little choice they still have left with their children is yet another pathetic cautionary tale of what the oligarch agenda is doing to destroy America today.

When those who are endowed with optimal energy and often become restless and bored with the dullard tedium of their common denominator factory education, and especially if they freely exercise an individual mind or will of their own in the classroom, they are customarily misdiagnosed and branded with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder and given drug lobotomies for control purposes so the school staff can manage the herd more easily, something is diabolically wrong with the system. When teachers are burdened with overcrowding in their classrooms with 30 or more students as is extremely common today, it is a setup for failure to provide an enriching learning environment and typically leads to the above scenario of a false ADHD-drug pushing classroom culture. Yet this is typically what happens to children and young people who are generally sharper in intellect and creativity, and are inadequately engaged, stimulated and challenged in the classroom.

Instead of encouraging the gifted by teaching to their strengths, too often they are responded to punitively by either overly frustrated and/or rigid, authoritarian adults bent on maintaining some semblance of control. As a longtime therapist of children and adolescents, I have repeatedly observed this over-reactivity by adults in our educational system often caused by the fatally flawed system more than the overloaded teacher entrusted to educate and develop the intellectual capacity of our young people. Instead they too frequently squelch, impede and destroy it. The one size fits all cookie cutter system stifles learning, cognitive and intellectual development and creativity, rewarding those who acquiesce and simply do what they are told as good little boys and girls on their way to being good little employees and citizens who are so easily manipulated, controlled and subdued. They become the lifeless, walking dead who merely go through the daily motions on autopilot, too beaten down, numb and/or fearful.

A substantive quality education should teach the curious developing mind to be critical and discriminating, willing to ask questions, challenging the status quo of preconceived suppositions and accepted dogma. But then when we have a leader like President Obama telling the graduating seniors last year at Ohio State University to “reject” what they may hear about their government’s tyranny, in effect dictating how they as college educated adults should think, especially when it’s a complete and utter lie, again another disturbing warning sign that there is something extremely wrong with both the educational as well as political system. And again, more overwhelming evidence of the systematic and relentless dumbing down of America.

With an educational system that purposely misinforms and indoctrinates young people to respond as Skinnerian rats to a positive reinforcement schedule of operant conditioning, children as future adults are being shaped and programmed to become little robots easily controlled by their oligarch masters.

It is worth mentioning that the world wide web offers people around the globe much needed access to important information and knowledge. Though there is much on the internet that also is of little value regarding enrichment of website users’ minds and lives, with some effort and discriminative appraisal, people can increase their awareness and understanding by leaps and bounds if tapping the best that the internet can provide. Yet as much as it can be a valuable disseminator of truth and knowledge, the internet can also potentially empower individuals and groups of individuals to greater heights of achievement for the collective good of all humanity with its instantaneous capacity to share and communicate vital, even life saving information. The old expression that “information is power” is true.

Because of this fact that information is power, the last thing the elite wants is an informed, empowered public mobilizing any grassroots movement to oppose government tyranny. Thus, the net neutrality that Obama had promised in his campaign was met with yet more betrayal of the American people when he appointed high powered telecom exec Thomas Wheeler as head of the FCC. And in no time at all as the next predictable move, the internet is now in process of both censoring sites and charging internet consumers additional fees for individual site access.

With so many people struggling financially just to survive, pending changes to the internet would hamper and block access to whatever potential good the internet offers the public. However, in case of an emergency or crisis under martial law conditions, Obama has already stipulated that in the interest of national security, the buzzword deception used ever since 9/11 to justify all constitutional violations of civil liberties and privacy rights, access to theinternet will be cut off. This obviously would instantly sabotage and likely reverse any progress that people, groups and a potential worldwide movement might make through the vital connection network that computers provide. And with the US government planning and preparing long in advance of such an emergency, it will deploy all security apparatus and resources using police and armed forces to quell any political, social and economic unrest or revolt against the government. This power to deny internet access is also the ultimate strategy to ensure that the American public stays deaf and dumbed and powerless.

Another primary means of dumbing down America is through mass media. If the public is busily preoccupied with the superficial garbage spoon-fed to the masses every single day via television, movies, music, internet, video games that all act just as effective as the most potent drug dulling the senses and the brain, again an enormous control over the population is achieved and maintained. With so much entertainment as the modern day opiate to the masses to divert people’s attention, these weapons of mass distraction easily render people oblivious to see what is really happening in the world. Compound that with the lowest common denominator appealing to the most prurient interests such as pornography, crass materialism (using mind control techniques to manipulate consumers into spending money on false promises of sex, status and happiness), entertainment that dually serves as propaganda along with the mesmerizing effects captivated by sports that also draw enormous amounts of money, and the oligarchs have us right where they want us – numbed and dumbed.

Even the flicker rates of televisions, videos, computers and cinema by design are all programmed to contain hidden properties that physically resonate and alter the human brain’s alpha wave state to induce a hypnotic, mesmerizing, trancelike state of mind. This literally drugs and distorts the cognitive processes of the mass audience being subliminally fed input that modify and shape values, moral and ethical messages and multiple autosuggestions that carry powerful binding effects on people’s unconscious minds and future behavior. This too is another form of calculated brainwashing, mind control as well as behavior control that the media as vehicles of propaganda and disinformation constantly utilize. The constant 24/7 sensory bombardment that media puts on humans is one highly effective means of control over both culture and population.

With the consolidation of mass media in recent years limited now to just a handful of transnational giant media corporations merging with national governments, a monopoly of thought, beliefs, perceptions of reality and core values are instilled into the masses and covertly maintained. Thus, entire populations of countries and regions of the earth are easily influenced and controlled by the elite through powerful mass media outlets. Add the outright lies spewing forth nonstop from the government and mainstream media as state sponsored propaganda and mind control and the oligarchs have absolute control over a deluded, impotent and hopelessly oblivious population. With the homogenizing effects of mass media these days possessing a global outreach that is unprecedented in recorded human history and people on this planet fast become programmed sheeple and unthinking automatons under complete power and control of the oligarchs.

Along with war criminal Henry Kissinger, perhaps the most emboldened globalist associated with a prominent role in a US president’s innermost circle is Jimmy Carter’s National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski. For years he has regularly come out with very matter-of-fact yet incredibly astute and even prophetic observations about the oligarch agenda. Way back in 1970 in his book Between Two Ages: America’s Role in the Technotronic Era, Brzezinski envisioned:

“The technotronic era involves the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values. Soon it will be possible to assert almost continuous surveillance over every citizen and maintain up-to-date complete files containing even the most personal information about the citizen. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities.”

Welcome to the twenty-first century. Brzezinski goes on to conclude that the American people will become brainwashed in giving up control of their lives to the elite that they will reach a point when they are so dumbed down and confused, they are unable to even think individually for themselves. So they can only repeat that which is downloaded into them by the constant repetition of what is driven into their heads by the mainstream media outlets. In effect, people defer the task of cognitive assessment and analysis of what is most important and real to what is simply communicated and propagated to them by the media.

Mentioned earlier in describing the addictive properties of the enticing media outlets, all drugs whether illicit or legal by their very nature dumb down people’s minds and impair their brain functioning. Yet both prescription and over-the-counter drugs are commonly addictive, always smothering symptoms be they physical, mental or emotional, acting as a quick escape or quick fix for whatever ails you. Currently an incredible near 70% of all Americans are taking at least one prescription drug. Between the multibillion dollar alcohol and tobacco industries and the multibillion dollar Big Pharma industry, these corporate entities wield colossal amounts of power in America, buying off politicians, spending billions on advertising, often times killing people whose addiction overpowers them. To a considerable extent, so called lesser drugs like caffeine and sugar also possess addictive features that also impair and endanger the mind and health if excessively consumed.

And though alcohol consumption around the world does far more damage than any and all of the so called illegal substances combined, obviously all of them create a widespread culture and practice of extremely high rates of addiction in North America and globally that both dumb users down as well as destroy their health and lives. The fact that the oligarchs, banking cabal of the West and US government working hand in hand with the drug cartels virtually control the entire international drug smuggling market, making billions if not trillions of dollars off of drugging and dumbing the masses down to easily ensure that those incapacitated pose little threat to the power elite. Rampant drug addiction in US society becomes yet another very effective means of control over millions of humans who struggle daily with their very real demons. The number of deaths related to drug overdose has jumped 540% since 1980. And whatever collateral damage results from those who die as well as those who engage in criminal activity to support their habit, with both a privatized prison industrial complex and privatized medical system, again the only profiteers feeding off the misfortunes of the afflicted are that same power elite. It’s another win-win for them.

The same damage and dumbing down effects are only added on when considering the detrimental and often lethal effects that chemically processed foods, chemical and hormone injected meat products, genetically altered organisms (GMO’s) and pesticide-ridden foods that virtually the entire American population consumes on a daily basis. The masses are poisoning themselves to death with built up toxins in their bodies. Yet because they have little choice about what they eat due most often to an inability to afford purchasing higher priced organic food, of course exacerbated by Monsanto willfully, maliciously obstructing their access to information when profit is deemed far more valuable than human life. Thus far, despite Vermont’s passage of law as the first state requiring GMO labeling in 2016, Monsanto has had its way bribing the Food and Drug Administration and court system to maintain its impunity in its monumental damage to the health and well being of humans, a dying bee population and a multitude of life forms on the planet.

The same can be said for the known toxin fluoride that is added to America’s drinking water from the tap. One of the most researched side effects is diminished intelligence. The list goes on and on how the power elite continue to endanger and harm the public. Vaccines loaded with mercury and other known toxic metals cause major health problems that also kill people. Chemtrails of more toxic metals raining down everyday for decades on defenseless people from military planes cannot possibly have a positive impact on human health. Manmade as well as the earth’s electromagnetic waves can also have the capacity to alter the electromagnetic activityin the human brain which in turn can alter thoughts, emotions and behavior. For years “black ops” have been experimenting to fine tune and harness this phenomenon as a military weapon. Yet unsurprisingly the powers-that-be continue denying and lying to the public maintaining that no ill effects from any of these controversial sources pose any real danger. Yet many even among the dumbed down US population can discern and suspect that all these actions committed by the powerful do in fact cause harm. Due to the government’s ultra-secrecy, the extent of that harm is still largely unknown.

The totality of destructive damage that transnational corporations have perpetrated against all forms of planetary life has destroyed the eco-systems of thousands upon thousands of animal and plant species. Of the five times that life on earth has become massively extinct in the past, we humans are rapidly causing the sixth great cycle of mass extinction and the first and fastest due to manmade effects in the form of rising global air and water temperatures and over-polluted water, air and soil. The dead zones across the planet are spreading faster rates of extinction amongst plant and animal life than at any prior time in the earth’s known history. Destruction of our living habitat and eco-system carries perhaps the most damning, ultimate dumbing down effect that the oligarchs have caused. But then they no doubt have laid out their own contingency plan utilizing a hidden technology that can save them when the lights go out on mother earth for the rest of us lowly expendables.

The chaos the USA has caused in Ukraine

Hundreds of far-right vigilantes sworn in to ‘enforce Ukrainian order’ on Kiev’s streets (VIDEO)  

Hundreds of far-right vigilantes sworn in to 'enforce Ukrainian order' on Kiev's streets (VIDEO)

How #Brexit Was Engineered by Foreign Billionaires to Bring About Economic Chaos – for Profit

Source

By Graham Vanbergen,

This article first appeared on GR in October 2017.

In this truly alarming story I connect three significant articles to show that Brexit, far from being the result of representative democracy, is in fact a campaign of covert intervention by foreign billionaires to bring about economic chaos in Britain in order create the circumstances for making huge profits. This is not the stuff of mere conspiracy theories. Clear evidence has emerged that Brexit was engineered and is already proving to be a catastrophe, as confirmed by the mainstream media frenzy over Theresa May’s political mis-management of the greatest post-war challenge of our time. In part-one (by left leaning, The Guardian newspaper) we see how Brexit really came about and who influenced it. In part-two (by centre newspaper The Independent) we see how opaque and deceptive think tanks have heavily influenced Brexit and in part-three (by right leaning EUReferendum) we see that economic chaos is being planned in a post-Brexit era, who is involved and why. These articles identify the actors behind the current attack on Britain and what has happened to date so far. At the end, the reader should get a sense of the impending disaster being constructed by the super-rich against the people of Britain purely for profit. Just as oil speculators pushed up global energy prices to $145 a barrel just prior to the financial crash in what was termed the London Loophole, and then profited from short bets on the way down – Britain is being set up for a fall where those with big money will ultimately clean up.

PART ONE: Carole Cadwalladr from The Guardian wrote a searing piece last May on what really happened in Britain’s EU referendum vote. Her first sentence led the reader into a 7,000 word setting of foreign actors and corporations intent on usurping democracy in Britain. “A shadowy global operation involving big data, billionaire friends of Trump and the disparate forces of the Leave campaign influenced the result of the EU referendum.” The article entitled “The Great British Brexit Robbery: How Our Democracy Was Highjacked” is now the subject of a bitter legal battle between the accused; Cambridge Analytica LLC and SCL Elections Limited and The Guardian newspaper. Several amendments to the article have been made since the original publication in a climate of legal threats. The stakes are very high just for reporting it.

Source: The Guardian

The article went deeply into how technology and data was illegally used in Britain’s EU referendum voting process. One former employee of the main company involved, Cambridge Analytica, confirmed that they were using psychological operations – the same methods the military use to effect mass sentiment change. It’s what they mean by winning ‘hearts and minds’. “We were just doing it to win elections in the kind of developing countries that don’t have many rules.” Except they were doing it in Britain, and at a historical moment for its future.

As the reader continues, names like Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, Facebook, Google, MI5 and other vested interests such as hedge funds and banks litter the story.

It is clear from Cadwalladr’s investigation that British democracy was subverted through a covert, far-reaching plan of coordination enabled by US billionaires and she shows how Britain is in the midst of a massive land grab for power by them. These determined individuals bypassed Britain’s electoral laws and swung the margins in favour to Brexit. She also highlights some political activities much closer to home – note the involvement of the DUP, now the balance of power in Theresa May’s government.

Vote Leave (the official Leave campaign) chose to spend £3.9m, more than half its official £7m campaign budget. As did three other affiliated Leave campaigns: BeLeave, Veterans for Britain and the Democratic Unionist party (DUP), spending a further £757,750. “Coordination” between campaigns is prohibited under UK electoral law, unless campaign expenditure is declared, jointly. It wasn’t”.

The story gets darker as it accuses the British military-industrial complex, old-school Tories, a former parliamentary under-secretary of State for Defence procurement, director of Marconi Defence Systems, and David Cameron’s pro-Brexit former trade envoy – of involvement. Allegations are made that the head of psychological operations for British forces in Afghanistan are in on the game. One alarmingly frank quote says: “SCL/Cambridge Analytica was not some startup created by a couple of guys with a MacBook. It’s effectively part of the British defence establishment” using “military strategies on a civilian population.

Data, algorithms, micro-ads, emotional manipulation, voter engagement/disengagement, and psyops strategies are just some of the buzz words in use to ensure enough votes go the right way. These strategies are all connected to names such as the aforementioned Cambridge Analytica, but also Robert Mercer, Steve Bannon, AggregateIQ, Leave.EU, Vote Leave, Nigel Farage, the DUP and big financial donors.

We are in an information war and billionaires are buying up these companies, which are then employed to go to work in the heart of government. That’s a very worrying situation.”

David Miller, a professor of sociology at Bath University and an authority in psyops and propaganda, says it is “an extraordinary scandal that this should be anywhere near a democracy. It should be clear to voters where information is coming from, and if it’s not transparent or open where it’s coming from, it raises the question of whether we are actually living in a democracy or not.”

This all conjures up the characteristics of a great novel, a story that helped to bring about the biggest constitutional change to Britain in a century. In the end, the article concludes that  “we, the British people, were played.”

This conclusion is best described by Cadwalladre’s final words.

This is Britain in 2017. A Britain that increasingly looks like a “managed” democracy. Paid for by US billionaires. Using military-style technology. Delivered by Facebook. And enabled by us. If we let this referendum result stand, we are giving it our implicit consent. This isn’t about Remain or Leave. It goes far beyond party politics. It’s about the first step into a brave, new, increasingly undemocratic world.”

Unfortunately, Cadwalladr’s article is not a work of fiction or theory. And if you think that is depressing – that foreign billionaires can usurp Britain’s democracy at will, then it does in fact, get much worse, because obviously there must be reasons why so much time, effort and money has gone into such a dangerous high stakes game in the first place.

PART-TWO – In February 2016, The Independent newspaper published an article about the role of think tanks and Brexit entitled: “EU referendum: Think-tanks conducting ‘independent’ research to support Brexit have close links to Vote Leave.”

Matthew Elliott, political strategist, lobbyists, one time director of right-wing TaxPayers’ Alliance, CEO of Vote Leave organisations

Their conclusions revealed that there was a network of right-wing organisations whose staff, board members and even offices were linked to one of the main Leave campaigns, in fact, Vote Leave.

Dr David Green, the chief executive of think tank Civitas, and Ryan Bourne, head of public policy at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA), are both listed as supporters of Economists for Britain, a group that was run by Matthew Elliott, who was chief executive of the Leave Campaign (all names you will read about in Part-Three).

Elliot is described as a ‘political strategist and lobbyist’ who was also co-founder of right-wing The Taxpayers Alliance, was campaign director for the successful NOtoAV campaign in the 2011, which left the UK as one of very few modern democracies left with its archaic First-Past-The-Post electoral systems. Elliot was the subject of a lengthy Guardian investigation who described TPA as a right-wing lobby group with close links to the Conservative party. Vote Leave ultimately garnered the support of Boris Johnson and Michael Gove for the Brexit campaign.

Mark Littlewood, the director general of the IEA, was on the editorial board of “Change or Go” – Business for Britain’s 1,000-page “bible” on the case for Brexit.

The multimillionaire hedge fund boss Sir Michael Hintze is a trustee of IEA, and is also on the advisory council of Business for Britain. He has also been linked to Vote Leave.

Vote Leave used reports generated by these think tanks to heavily promote the case for Brexit.

Both Civitas and the IEA insisted that their work was entirely independent of the Brexit campaigns and their organisation reflected a wide range of views.

Daniel Bentley, editorial director at Civitas, said:

Civitas is an independent think-tank which conducts its research without fear or favour. We have no formal links with either Vote Leave or Business for Britain. There is absolutely no evidence, nor can it be reasonably deduced, that Civitas’s work is anything less than robust and accurate. Those claiming otherwise are committed pro-EU campaigners, who self-evidently have an agenda to undermine evidence which conflicts with their position.”

At his point it should be noted that both Civitas and the IEA have been identified by Transparify (who rate the financial transparency of major think tanks), as being ‘highly opaque’ about how they are funded and who by. Transparify went on say the following:

A closer look at the highly opaque institutions on our list confirmed our hypothesis that think tanks that hide their donors usually have something to hide. For example, according to research compiled by TobaccoTactics, the Adam Smith Institute, the Centre for Policy Studies, and the Institute for Economic Affairs have all previously received undisclosed funding from tobacco companies, and all have produced research that was then used to lobby against stronger anti-smoking regulations. We found that the Adam Smith Institute has created a structure so opaque that it concealed not only who gave money, but also who took it, leaving us unable to determine where close to one million pounds given by American donors had ended up. Meanwhile, Policy Exchange has previously used evidence that appears to have been fabricated; the resulting report led to fake news headlines in several media outlets that had naively trusted “research” conducted by an opaque think tank.”

All of these names you will read about in part three.

The Rise of Disaster Capitalism is a 2007 book by the Canadian author and social activist Naomi Klein. In the book, Klein argues that neoliberal free market policies (as advocated by the economist Milton Friedman) have risen to prominence in some developed countries because of a deliberate strategy of “shock therapy”. This centers on the exploitation of national crises to push through controversial policies while citizens are too emotionally and physically distracted by disasters or upheavals to mount an effective resistance.

PART THREE: By adding part one of this story to part two, you will start to gather that all these actors are connected one way or another. Part three identifies yet more actors whose end game is to bring about economic chaos in Britain, one which has been described as “disaster capitalism“, designed to significantly profit from a hard Brexit. “Here, a comparison could be made with Hong Kong, where a similar situation might arise in a UK under the stress of a hard Brexit, where many traditional firms have run for cover, or relocated in the EU, leaving many assets under-priced.

In other words – Brexit has been engineered to bring about economic chaos for no other reason than making huge profits. Read on…

EUReferendum writes: Currently making something of an impact in the Brexit debate is an operation calling itself the Legatum Institute, based in fashionable W1 with the address of 11 Charles Street.

The Foundation is registered with Company House as a company limited by guarantee. But, according to the 2015 accounts (submitted to the Charity Commissioners in October 2016), the bulk of its income comes from the Legatum Foundation Limited, a company registered in Bermuda.

The Bermuda company in turn is controlled by the Institute’s parent undertakings. The ultimate parent undertaking is the Legatum Partnership LLP, a limited liability partnership registered in Jersey., all of which are offshore tax havens.

The Institute itself is part of the Legatum Group, set up in 2006 by the multi-billionaire New Zealand born Christopher Chandler, formerly president of Sovereign Asset Management.

In the 2015 report to the Charity Commissioners, senior management personnel of the Legatum Institute were listed as Anne Applebaum, Giles Dilnot, Alexandra Mousavizadeh, former newspaper columnist Christina Odone and Shanker Singham, the latter acting as chairman of the Institute’s Special Trade Commission, fronting most of the Brexit propaganda.

Applebaum is firmly on the political right, having been an adjunct fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. She has an extensive career as a journalist, working for the Washington Post, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph and the Economist. She was deputy editor of the Spectator and political editor for the Evening Standard. However, she resigned from the Legatum Institute in 2016, having disagreed with the director over the Institute’s support for Brexit. She now works for the LSE. If Applebaum was described as ‘politically right’ – one can only imagine where Legatum stands.

Currently top of the hierarchy is Philippa Stroud, CEO of the Institute. Previously. She used to be Chief Executive of the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), a right-wing think tank that she co-founded with Iain Duncan Smith in 2004. Prior to the CSJ, she was also Special Adviser to Iain Duncan Smith MP (then Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) from 2010-15. Another of the Legatum Institute directors is Toby Baxendale. He is also on its board of trustees. As to other interests, he was director, alongside co-director Steve Baker, of the now defunct Leadsom4Leader, a limited company set up to support Andrea Leadsom’s Conservative Party leadership bid.

Baxendale is also co-founder, again with Steve Baker, of the Cobden Centre, a free market libertarian think tank that influenced Margaret Thatcher). He also set up the Hayek Visiting Fellowship at the London School of Economics and has been a significant donor to the Conservative Party.

A senior fellow of the Cobden Centre is Professor Kevin Dowd, who is also an honorary fellow of the Institute of Economic Affairs. Dowd is a professor of finance and economics at Durham University and a member of the lobby group, Economists for Free Trade and an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute – an American right-wing think located just down the road to the Whitehouse in Washington DC that is funded by the billionaire Koch brothers. The brothers allegedly spent nearly $900 million dollars trying to influence the outcome of the last presidential race that saw Donald Trump move into the Whitehouse.

The links with the Cobden Centre bring us to Matthew Elliott, who just happens to be a senior fellow of the Legatum Institute (and you thought he was chief executive of the Leave Campaign!). Elliott, founder of the aforementioned Taxpayers Alliance and one-time director of Vote Leave, sits with another Legatum senior fellow Tim Montgomerie, founding editor of Conservative Home and former Times columnist. At the Cobden Centre, he sits on the Advisory Board with Sam Bowman, research director of the Adam Smith Institute (categorised by Transparify as almost the most ‘highly deceptive’ think tank in Britain), Ewen Stewart – a managing board member of the Freedom Association (right-wing pressure group) – and Douglas Carswell.

Yet another senior fellow Legatum Institute is Danny Kruger, former chief speechwriter to David Cameron, chief leader writer at The Daily Telegraph, and director of research at the Centre for Policy Studies (categorized as highly opaque/deceptive think tank by Transparify).

Listed as a Legatum fellow, along with many others, one also finds Graeme Leach, founder and chief economist of Macronomics, a macroeconomic, geopolitical and future megatrends research consultancy he launched in 2016. He is a visiting professor of economic policy, a member of the IEA Shadow Monetary Policy Committee and has a weekly column in the City AM newspaper. Between 1997 and 2013 he worked as Chief Economist and Director of Policy at the Institute of Directors (IoD), where he was also a main board director.

A trustee of Legatum is Richard Briance, the Chairman of PMB Capital Limited, a newly formed merchant banking business and former Chief Executive of Edmond de Rothschild Ltd. Before that, he had been Managing Director of Credit Suisse First Boston Ltd, Vice-Chairman at UBS Ltd and Chief Executive of West Merchant Bank Ltd.

In terms of his other political activities, Briance was a Non-Executive Director at Oxford Analytica from 1999-2010 and he has been a trustee of Policy Exchange, the think tank (categorised as ‘opaque’ by Transparify) created in 2002 by Michael Gove, now environment minister, Nicholas Boles and Francis Maude.

One of the key figures in the Policy Exchange was Lord (James) O’Shaughnessy, formerly Deputy Director. He then worked for the Prime Minister, David Cameron, as his Director of Policy between 2010 and 2011 and for three years (2007-2010) worked in the Conservative Party as Director of Policy and Research. He has now become a senior fellow at the Legatum Institute.

Another network is created with the use of Sian Hansen as chair the Institute’s development committee. Formerly managing director of the Policy Exchange, she went on to become executive director of the Legatum Institute”.

She is also also holds non-executive directorships with JP Morgan Income and Capital Trust PLC, Pacific Assets Trust and EBF International (Shanghai) Ltd.

In October 2016, The Legatum Institute sponsored a report called The Road to Brexit. The foreword was by Iain Duncan Smith, Philippa Stroud’s former boss. Also writing for the report were the MPs John Redwood, Peter Lilley, Owen Paterson and Bernard Jenkin – leading members of the “Ultras”.

As well as Shanker Singham, there were two other authors, Sheila Lawlor and James Arnell. Lawlor directs the economic, education, constitutional and social policy programmes of think tank Politeia  who advocates the abolition of the NHS –  while Arnell is a partner as Charterhouse, displaying ultra right-wing views on Brexit.

The picture one gets of Legatum, therefore, is of an exceptionally well-endowed think-tank with fingers in many pies and strongly networked with other think-tanks and the media. With offshore finance, though, this is redolent of foreign interference in UK politics.

The greatest concern, though, comes from reading the Legatum website. Having invested heavily in Russia and developing countries, the business speciality is moving into markets at times of crisis where assets are mispriced.

EUReferendum continues: With an eye for emerging trends and undervalued assets, it invested heavily in the telecommunications sector in Brazil, just after the country emerged from hyperinflation. It describes its own “investment heritage” in navigating through choppy markets, following the great financial crisis.

The company takes great pride in its investments in Hong Kong real estate, a market which investors had fled after the signing of the Sino-British Accord, an agreement that promised to give Hong Kong back to the Chinese government. It saw assets mispriced, and noted that “opportunities arise in times of crisis”.

This is a business style which has been described as “disaster capitalism“, which would benefit significantly from a hard Brexit. Here, a comparison could be made with Hong Kong, where a similar situation might arise in a UK under the stress of a hard Brexit, where many traditional firms have run for cover, or relocated in the EU, leaving many assets under-priced.

Looking also for opportunities arising from deregulation and further privatisation – especially in the NHS, with Legatum having considerable healthcare interests – hard Brexit presents multiple opportunities. This, after all, is a business that openly states that it “finds value where disruptive transitions create unique opportunities“.

In this, the Legatum Institute seems to be paving the way for its “parent undertakings”, engineering a “disruptive transition” for Brexit, then to reap the profits from chaos. Its task is assisted by useful fools and fellow travellers on the Tory right. What we have often characterised as incompetence, therefore, may be more sinister. There is money to be made out of a hard Brexit.

Finally, there are others who agree that Brexit on its own is one thing but what is actually happening is something quite different.

Tax Justice Network, (one of the most transparent think tanks in Britain) are very concerned:

It was never quite made clear who would be the major beneficiaries of Brexit. One thing was certain at the time: it wouldn’t be ordinary people. Instead, power is being consolidated by the same old political and economic elites and the state is becoming more, not less, beholden to big business and its demands. These are the real consequences of Brexit.”

It is also becoming clear with this strategy, that a right-wing Tory Brexit will end with huge deregulation. This will be sold to the general public as freedom from the red tape of an EU bureaucracy that Britain escaped, not the public protections put in place over decades to ensure civil society thrives. But as George Monbiot opines;  

Ripping down such public protections means freedom for billionaires and corporations from the constraints of democracy. This is what Brexit is all about. The freedom we were promised is the freedom of the very rich to exploit us.”

EUReferedum states in its overall aims for a post-Brexit Britain that:

Within the United Kingdom, our vision is for a government respectful of its people who will take on greater participation and control of their affairs at local and national level. Our vision fosters the responsibility of a sovereign people as the core of true democracy.

On its current trajectory, Brexit is not going to deliver any of those noble outcomes, unless of course, you happen to be a foreign billionaire with significant interests in the game.

All images in this article are from the author unless otherwise stated.

 

How They Do It–Discussing Iran, Netanyahu Meets Putin and says ‘Holocaust Teaches Us to Stand Up to Murderous Ideologies’ (Unless it’s israel of course)

Source

Netanyahu accompanies Putin to a new exhibit on the Sobibor death camp in the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow

Haaretz

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Russian President Vladimir Putin are meeting in Moscow to discuss Iran’s meddling in Syria and Lebanon.

As they headed into their meeting Netanyahu said: “I think that the main lesson of the rise of the Nazis and then the defeat of the Nazis is that we have to face murderous ideologies in time and with power.”

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“This is our mission today as well,” Netanyahu said, noting that their meetng was to focus on the countries’ “joint efforts to promote security and stability in our region, and of course our mutual cooperation between Russia and Israel.”

The two leaders were meeting at the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center in Moscow, where together they toured a new exhibit on the Sobibor death camp. At the start of the meeting, Netanyahu emphasized that both countries had a “common struggle against the greatest evil that humanity has known.” He also stated “the awful price paid by the Jewish people, and the Russian people, and the great sacrifice of 20 million Russians alongside our 6 million, and the heroism of the Red Army in achieving victory over the Nazis.”

Netanyahu is expected to raise Israel’s right to operate to prevent the smuggling of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah in Lebanon through Syrian territory.

Before Netanyahu flew for the lightning five-hour visit to meet Putin Monday, he said such coordination was essential to stymie Iranian attempts to solidify their forces on the ground there.

“This is something we are adamantly opposed to and are working to stop,” Netanyahu said in comments just before flying to Moscow.

Netanyahu said he and Putin will also be talking about Iranian inroads in Lebanon, Israel’s northern neighbor. He said Iran was trying “to turn Lebanon into one big missile site, a site for manufacturing precision missiles against the State of Israel. This is something we are not prepared to tolerate.”

Netanyhahu was accompanied by Minister Zeev Elkin, a member of the security cabinet who is considered to have close ties with Russian officials, as well as National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat and outgoing Military Intelligence chief Maj. Gen. Herzl Halevi.

The meeting, which was set up earlier this month during a telephone conversation in which the two leaders exchanged New Year’s greetings, also dealt with U.S. President Donald Trump’s ultimatum to Europe on amending the nuclear deal with Iran.

On the issue of Iran’s growing presence in both Syria and Lebanon, Israel’s main goal is to maintain its freedom of action in both countries’ airspace.

Israeli officials have said they retain the right to operate to prevent the smuggling of advanced weaponry to Hezbollah in Lebanon through Syrian territory.

The Israeli delegation will also seek to understand how Russia envisions its future involvement in the region and to gauge how strongly it opposes the American effort to reopen the nuclear deal.

Specifically, although Israel has assumed the Russians would oppose any changes in the agreement, Netanyahu has been keen to find out how willing they are to put themselves on the line over this issue.

Netanyahu’s visit with Putin to the Jewish Museum and Tolerance Center’s new exhibit of the Sobibor death camp had symoblic resonance after a diplomatic crisis erupted between Israel and Russia after Poland decided not to include Russia in a project to build a museum and memorial to the camp’s victims in which Israel was included.

The Nazis closed Sobibor following an uprising led by Alexander Pechersky, a Jewish officer in the Soviets’ Red Army, and Russia was angry at Israel over its exclusion from the project even though Israel made clear that it had no objection to Russian participation.

Netanyahu’s visit to the Jewish Museum was meant to ease this crisis. But it is also a way for Russia to poke Poland in the eye, just after Poland’s parliament infuriated Israel by passing a law which is widely seen as suppressing discussion of the role Poles played in the Holocaust.

Last month, Putin made a surprise visit to a military base in Syria and met with Syrian President Bashar Assad there. The Kremlin said at the time that “Russia gave the broadest military backing to the government in Syria, our longtime ally, in the country’s civil war.” According to that announcement, Putin said once again that Russia would withdraw its troops from the country, but would leave limited forces at the Hemeimeem air force base, near Latakiya, as well as at the naval base in Tartus. The Russian president also said that if terrorism in Syria “raises its head,” Russia will strike back at the terrorists with full force.

In a speech to the soldiers, after announcing the withdrawal of troops, Putin said: “Friends, the homeland awaits you.” Russian television footage shows Putin getting off the plane at the military base and shaking hands with Assad. According to Russian media reports, Assad thanked Putin for his soldiers’ contribution to the fighting in Syria.

About three weeks earlier, Assad visited Russia. According to the Kremlin’s announcement at the time, the leaders agreed that the focus of efforts in Syria were changing from a military operation to “eradicate terror,” to the search for a political solution. “We have a long way to go before we declare a complete victory over the terrorists, but the military operation is indeed in its final stages,” Putin said, after the meeting in Sochi, on the Black Sea. “I think the most important thing now, of course, is political questions.”

Shortly after his meeting with Assad in Russia, Putin held a summit on the issue of Syria with Iranian President Hassan Rohani and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. At the meeting, Rohani said that the foreign involvement in Syria should be ended but that any foreign presence in the country would be acceptable on condition the foreigners were invited by the Syrian government. Rohani did not mention specific countries. He added that the last terror cells in Syria must be uprooted and that conditions are ripe for a political settlement.

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