Syria’s “White Helmets” myths goes to Hollywood

Source

By Rick Sterling,

The netflix movie “The White Helmets” may win an Oscar in the “short documentary” category at the Academy Awards on Sunday February 26.  It will not be a surprise, despite the fact that the group is a fraud and the movie is an contrived infomercial.

The White Helmets are a “feel good” story like a Disney hero movie: 90% myth and fabrication. Most of what is claimed about the Syrian rescue group is untrue. They are not primarily Syrian; the group was initiated by British military contractor James LeMesurier and has been heavily funded by the USA, UK and other governments.

They are not volunteers; they are paid. This is confirmed in the Al Jazeera video which shows some White Helmet “volunteers’ talking about going on strike if they don’t get paid soon. Most of the heavy funding goes to the marketing which is run by “The Syria Campaign” based in New York. The manager is an Irish America woman Anna Nolan who has never been to Syria. As an example of its deception, “The Syria Campaign” website features video showing children dancing and playing soccer implying they are part of the opposition demand for a “free and peaceful” Syria . But the video images are taken from a 2010 BBC documentary about education in Syria under the Baath government.

When eastern Aleppo was finally freed from the armed militants, it was discovered that the White Helmets headquarters were alongside the headquarters of the Al Qaeda Syrian militant group. Civilians from east Aleppo reported that the White Helmets primarily responded when the militants were attacked. Soon after departing Aleppo in government supplied buses (!) the White Helmets showed up in the mountains above Damascus where they allied with terrorist groups in poisoning then shutting off the water source for five million people in Damascus.

The White Helmets’ claim to be neutral and independent is another lie. They only work in areas controlled by the rebel groups, primarily Nusra/ Al Qaeda.  Their leaders actively call for US and NATO intervention in Syria. Video shows White Helmet workers picking up the corpse of a civilian after execution and celebrating Nusra / Al Qaeda terrorist battle wins.

The movie is as fraudulent as the group it tries to heroize.

The film-makers never set foot in Syria. Their video footage takes place in southern Turkey where they show White Helmet trainees in a hotel and talking on cell phones. Thrilling. There is some footage from inside Syria but it looks contrived.  The opening scene depicts a White Helmet “volunteer” going to work and beseeching his son not to give mommy a hard time. Real or scripted?

The message is simple: here are people we can support; they are under attack by the brutal “regime”…shouldn’t we “do something” to stop it??!

Khaled Khatib is said to be the person who filmed the footage from inside Syria. He has reportedly received a US visa and will attend the Oscars. This will likely garner special media attention. Ironically, some of those who have exploited the refugee issue for their own fund-raising campaigns, like Human Rights Watch, are groups which promote the war which created the refugee crisis.

Khatib has tweeted the first video he took showing the White Helmets. It looks remarkably unrealistic, with a girl who was totally buried being removed without injuries or wounds or even much dirt. Is it really possible to rescue people that quickly? In the real world, rescue workers are told to work slowly so as to not damage or exacerbate body injuries. The original video has the logo of Aleppo Media Center (AMC) which was created by the Syrian Expatriates Organization.  Their address on K Street in Washington DC suggests this is yet another Western funded media campaign driven by political objectives.

In the past few days, with perfect timing for the upcoming Oscars, there is yet another “miracle” rescue …. another girl totally buried but then removed and whisked away in record breaking time – perfect for social media.  Is it real or is it contrived?

This raises a question regarding the integrity of the Oscar Academy Awards. Are awards given for actual quality, authenticity, skill and passion?  Or are Oscar awards sometimes given under political and financial influence?  There is political motivation to promote the White Helmets as part of the effort to prevent the collapse of the Western/Israeli/Gulf campaign to overthrow the Syrian government.

These same governments have given boatloads of money to fuel the propaganda campaign. Last week Syria Solidarity Movement reached out to three marketing firms in the LA area to request help challenging the White Helmets nomination.  Two of the firms declined and the third said they were already being paid to promote the nomination!

The true source and purpose of the White Helmets was exposed almost two years ago. More recently Vanessa Beeley has documented the fact there is a REAL Syrian Civil Defence which was begun in the 1950’s and is a member of the International Civil Defense Organizations. This organization is opposite to the group created in Turkey in 2013. According to on-the-ground interviews in Aleppo, terrorists began by killing real Syrian rescue workers and stealing their equipment.  Since then the White Helmets have been supplied, by the West through Turkey, with brand new ambulances and related rescue equipment.

Max Blumenthal has written a two part detailed examination of the “shadowy PR firm” behind the “White Helmets”. And Jan Oberg has written an overview survey of the “pro” and “con” examinations in his work “Just How Gray are the White Helmets”.

Yet mainstream media, and some ‘alternative’ media, continue to uncritically promote the myth of the “White Helmets”. The promoters of the group absolutely deserve an award for marketing and advertising.  This is a field where truth and reality is irrelevant; it’s all about sales and manipulation. On that basis, the “White Helmets” has been an incredible success. The group was started as “Syria Civil Defense”  in Turkey in 2013.

It was re-branded as the “White Helmets” in 2014. It was heavily used in 2014 and 2015 by Nicholas Krisof, Avaaz and others to campaign for all out aggression against Syria.  In 2016 the group received the Rights Livelihood Award and was seriously considered for a Nobel Peace Prize.  These facts show how corrupt and politically and financially influenced the Rights Livelihood Award and Nobel Peace Prize can be.

The White Helmets movie is a tactic in the ongoing campaign of distortion and deception around Syria.  It’s a fraud, just like the fake kidnapping of NBC reporter Richard Engel. The Oscars will be a demonstration of the integrity of the Academy Awards.  The reporting on the story will be a test of the integrity and accuracy of media outlets. Ironically, the Israeli mainstream TV program I24 presented both sides and titled the segment “White Helmets: Heroes or Hoax?”.  In contrast, the highly popular and widely respected DemocracyNow has  only broadcast a puff piece promoting the “White Helmet” disinformation.  The coming days will reveal more about the ongoing information war against Syria.  Meanwhile on online petition continues to gather signatures to NOT give the Oscar to the White Helmets deception.

Rick Sterling is an investigative journalist who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. He can be reached at rsterling1@gmail.com

 

Americans: The World’s Most Over-Entertained, Uninformed Know-Nothings

Americans: The World’s Most Over-Entertained, Uninformed Know-Nothings

 

by Stephen Lendman
What more appropriate topic than on Super Bowl Sunday. The National Retail Federation estimates around 189 million Americans tuning in, myself not among them.
On Monday, they’ll know all about “the game,” nothing about the major issues of our time, hugely affecting their lives, welfare and futures.
It’s why America gets away with murder on an unimaginable scale time and again, permanently at war at home and abroad, humanity’s survival endangered by its recklessness.
Too few Americans understand, more focused on who wins “the game,” mindless about what matters most – kept uninformed by over-entertainment and major media fake news.
It’s a deplorable situation, perhaps incurable, given how the American way is drummed into the minds of the public constantly,  manipulating people to accept groupthink.
It’s a deep state conspiracy. Rational thinking doesn’t have a chance against dark forces, shutting out what’s most important to know, media scoundrels in cahoots with powerful interests, keeping the public uninformed, misinformed, in the dark, brainwashed to accept fake news as real.
Pro-Hillary dark forces are allied against Trump, manipulating protests, challenging his policies. Crowds comprised of enlisted agitators and other elements show up when he speaks in public, outside the Super Bowl on Sunday, even at his Florida Mar-A-Lago home where he’s spending the weekend.
On Saturday evening, large numbers headed toward what he calls his second home, calling for his removal from office, chanting “(h)ey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go.”
Heavy security kept crowds at a safe distance from Trump’s estate, preventing unacceptable incidents from occurring.
Most disturbing are protests against the wrong things. The problem in America isn’t Trump. It’s longstanding US policy.
Privileged interests are served at the expense of most others. Permanent wars on humanity rage at home and abroad, nonbelievers cracked down hard, things headed toward full-blown tyranny if not curbed.
It’s likely another major false flag attack away, most people willing to accept loss of freedom for greater safety, not realizing they’ll lose both.
People nationwide should be protesting on these and related vital issues – not against a president in office 16 days as this is written, even though some of what he’s done warrants criticism.
Where were crowds when Obama was terror-bombing seven countries? Why didn’t they demand his arrest and prosecution for high crimes?
Why weren’t they furious about America transformed into a banana republic, half the nation’s households impoverished or bordering it, mass unemployment and underemployment harming many millions, the nation’s resources handed to Wall Street, war profiteers and other corporate favorites?
As long as protests are directed against Trump and not the way the nation is run by powerful interests, they’ll continue having things their way at the public’s expense – a slippery slope to dystopian hell.

TRUMP PRESIDENCY – first SNAFUs already

TRUMP PRESIDENCY – first SNAFUs already

This article was written for the Unz Review 

It is a rare privilege to be able to criticize a politician for actually fulfilling his campaign promises but Donald Trump is a unique President and this week he offered us exactly this opportunity with not one, but three different SNAFUs to report.

First, there was the botched raid against an alleged al-Qaeda compound in Yakla, Yemen. First, let me commit a crimethink here and remind everybody that for all the great Hollywood movies, Americans have a terrible record of doing special ops. The latest one was typical. First, it involved Navy SEALS, one of the most disaster-prone US special forces. Second, it involved special forces from the United Arab Emirates (don’t ask why, just don’t). I am pretty sure that using US Rangers alone would have yielded better results. Third, as always, they got detected early. And then they began taking casualties. This time from female al-Qaeda fighters. Finally, they botched the evacuation. They did kill some kids and, so they say, an al-Qaeda leader. More about this raid here and here. As I said, this is pretty much par for the course. But I am sure that some Hollywood movie will make it look very heroic and “tactical”. But the real world bottom line remains unchanged: Americans should give up on special ops, they just can do it right.

Second, there was the absolutely terrible press conference by General Flynn. See for yourself:

So not only did Flynn put Iran “on notice” like a high-school principal would do to a rowdy teenager, but FOX TV is already speaking about “lines in the sand”. Wait – were “lines in the sand” not one of the dumbest features of the Obama Presidency? And now, just one week in the White House, we see Trump doing exactly the same?

This also begs the question of whether a very intelligent man like Flynn seriously and sincerely believes that he can bully or otherwise scare Iran. If he does – then we are all in a lot of trouble.

There is also the troubling aspect of the language chosen. Instead of speaking about “international concern” or the will of the UN Security Council, Flynn decided to use the kind of language typical of a wannabe World Hegemon. Again, been there – done that. Do they really think that this kind of imperial hubris will work better for them than it did for the Neocons?

Lastly, the Ukronazis are apparently back on the warpath. For many months now they have been shelling the Novorussians, and they even have tried a few, rather pathetic, local attacks. This time around this is different: incoming artillery strikes are counted not by the tens, but by the thousands and the shelling is happening all along the line of contact. Of course, this is not directly Trump’s fault, but it does show that the Ukronazis in Kiev are taking their cues from the former power configuration – that is the Germans, the Neocons, and the East European cry-babies à la Poland and Lithuania. At the time of writing, there are no signs that Trump is taking the situation under control. The good news is that the Russians are still waiting, but with that level of violence there is only that much they can wait before having to give the Novorussians the green light for a counter-attack (the Novorussian forces are already engaging in strong counter-battery fire, but they have not yet pushed their forces forward).

I sure hope that this week is not a harbinger of what the rest of the Trump Presidency will look like.

Still, It is not too late to change course and return to reality-based politics.

First, the easy stuff. As I said, the Pentagon should give up on special ops. If, for political reasons and to feel good about “making American great again” the US must absolutely flex its muscle, I would recommend re-invading Grenada, provided only one of the Services is given that task. I recommend the Marines. For the rest, and especially in the Middle-East, the US should finally come to terms with the fact that they cannot and should not put any US boots on the ground. Ever.

A tad harder, but still quite manageable, Trump needs to reign in the Ukronazis. The way to do that is simple: to spend a special representative to Kiev and explain to the junta members that times have changed, that there is a new boss in the White House, and that from now on they better behave or else. The Ukronazis are used to that kind of language, they will get the message, and they will even meekly comply, provided they feel that the US means it. This, of course, is just a quick fix, a short-term solution to buy time and to work on a long-term solution to the Ukrainian debacle, but that will be a much more complex and costly exercise and will have to involve not only the US, but all of the EU and Russia as the sums of money needed to rebuilt the Ukraine will be astronomical.

The big problem right now is Iran. Well, not Iran itself, of course, but the stupid anti-Iranian rhetoric of the Trump campaign before the elections. My biggest fear is that while Trump and the people around him have apparently come to the (correct) conclusion that they cannot bully Russia into submission they have decided that they could do that with Iran. If that is really their plan, then they are headed for a major disaster.

For one thing, Iran has been living with the threat of a AngloZionst attack since 38 years, including 23 years of Neocon power in the USA. To think that right now they will be suddenly really frightening and will meekly comply with Uncle Shmuel’s demands is very naïve. The Iranians have been preparing for a war against the US and Israel for almost a quarter of a century – they are fine ready, both militarily and psychologically. Oh sure, the US can most definitely strike at Iran with cruise missile and air-strikes, but at what cost and what would that exactly achieve? In terms of achievement, it would have a beneficial psychotherapeutic effect on those Americans who feel insecure about their military size and who want to feel big and powerful again. It will also kills plenty of Iranians and destroy some unknown amount of Iranian targets, including possibility missile technology or nuclear technology related ones. But it will not change Iranian policies by even a tiny amount, nor will it prevent Iran from further pursuing nuclear or missile technologies.

But this has never been about nuclear or missile technology, of course. That is all nonsense, “informational prolefeed” so to speak.

In reality this was always about only one thing: Israel wanted to be THE regional superpower in the Middle-East and Iran was to be prevented from threatening this monopoly status by any means. In other words, if an Islamic country is mismanaged and run by incompetent fanatics, this is great. But when an Islamic country is run by a wise and extremely capable leadership which cannot be overthrown due to the fact that it has popular support, then this Islamic country becomes an absolutely unacceptable precedent. And Iran, with its advanced technologies, powerful military, strong economy and generally successful political and social model is an immense affront to the racist delusions of the Zionist regime in Palestine. Add to this that Iran dares to *openly* defy the United States and you immediately will see the real reasons for all the saber-rattling and constant threats. The problem for Trump is exactly the same as the problem for Obama, Dubya or Clinton:

the US cannot win a war against Iran.

Why?

Because a war has to have some political objective, a definition of what “victory” means. In the case of Iran, there is no possible victory. Even of the US launches 1000-2000 missile strikes against Iran, and all of them are successful, this will not be a “victory”.

Many years ago I wrote an article entitled “Iran’s Asymmetrical Response Options”. It is dated now, a lot as happened since 2007, but the fundamental conclusions are still valid:

the USA cannot win and Iran has plenty of asymmetrical options ranging from riding out the attack to attacking CENTCOM targets all over the Middle-East.

But the biggest change since 2007 has been the civil war in Iraq and Syria and Trump’s promises to eradicate Daesh. This is crucial.

There is simply no way, none at all, to eradicate Daesh without putting boots on the ground. I think that we can all agree that these boots won’t be American. They won’t be Russian either. Obama’s approach was to use a mix of Iraqi, Kurdish and Turkish boots, with the threat of Saudi and other Gulf State’s boots thrown in for good measure. We all know how that worked: it didn’t. And it won’t. So here is the ugly secret that everybody knows or, at least, ought to know:

the only boots on the ground to defeat Daesh have been, still are and will be, Iranian boots. That is a fact of life, sorry.

The Turks are out, after the attempted coup against Erdogan and the subsequent purges the Turkish military is only a shadow of what it used to be. The Kurds have no desire whatsoever to be used as cannon fodder in a dangerous and difficult war against Daesh. The Saudis and the rest of them are a joke, barely capable of terrorizing civilians, but they will be instantly defeated by Daesh in the first skirmish. So unless the Canadians, the Brits, the Poles, the Lithuanians and, say, the Georgians want to lead the struggle against Daesh (just kidding!), the only country which can make Trump’s campaign promise happen is Iran (and Hezbollah, of course).

Furthermore, I submit that Iran is powerful enough to prevent *any* policy of being successful in the Middle-East unless Iran at least passively okays it. In a way, Iran’s position in the Middle-East is similar to the Russian position in the “near abroad” (the former Soviet Union): while Iran/Russia cannot impose anything against everybody, Iran/Russia can veto/prevent any policy or outcome it does not want.

The main consequence of this is that even if Iran decided to completely renounce any kind of retaliatory counter-attack against the US or Israel, Iran could *painfully* retaliate against such a strike by simply telling Trump

“we will make darn sure that you fail everywhere, in Iraq, in Syria, in Pakistan, and Yemen and everywhere else in the Middle-East”. And that won’t be an empty threat: the Iranians absolutely can deliver on it.

Furthermore, a US attack on Iran is also going to send the US-Russian relationship into a tailspin. How much of a disaster this will be will depend on how bad the attack on Iran is, but while Russia will not militarily intervene in a US-Iranian conflict, Russia will not allow the US to get away with it either and the main political cost will be that an attack on Iran will further reinforce the Russian-Iranian-Chinese triangle.

Do I need to spell out here how an attack on Iran will be perceived in Beijing?

If it happens, the US attack on Iran will look very much like the 2006 Israel war on Hezbollah, and it will achieve the same results, only on a bigger scale. To put it simply – it will be a total disaster and it will mark the failure of the Trump presidency.

Right now Trump still has an immense political capital. It’s not like the world truly trusts him, it is way too early for that, but there is a lot of hope out there that Trump’s America will be a different one, a civilized one which will act as a responsible and rational international actor. Not like an Obama 2.0. But listening to Flynn’s condescending and, worse, empty (not to mention wholly illegal) threats against Iran, I am left wondering whether the US can mend its ways and be meaningfully reformed or whether it will take a cataclysmic collapse (military or economic) to finally see the end of the wannabe World Hegemon.

The Saker

PS: for whatever this is worth, the first statement by the US rep at the UNSC just reinforces my worst fears, see for yourself:

Double Standards: Where Were the Liberal Protestors During Obama’s Wars?

Source

Mike Whitney — CounterPunch Jan 26, 2017

President Obama addresses a press conference on August 1, over the abduction of Israeli 2nd Lt. Hadar Goldin by Hamas

President Obama addresses a press conference on August 1, 2001. Click to enlarge

The election of Donald Trump has sent millions of people pouring out onto the streets to protest a man  they think is a racist, misogynist, xenophobic bully who will destroy US democracy in his quest to establish himself as supreme fascist ruler of the country.

Maybe they’re right. Maybe Trump is a fascist who will destroy America. But where were these people when Obama was bombing wedding parties in Kandahar, or training jihadist militants to fight in Syria, or abetting NATO’s destructive onslaught on Libya, or plunging Ukraine into fratricidal warfare, or collecting the phone records of innocent Americans, or deporting hundreds of thousands of undocumented workers, or force-feeding prisoners at Gitmo, or providing bombs and aircraft to the Saudis to continue their genocidal war against Yemen?

Where were they?

They were asleep, weren’t they? Because liberals always sleep when their man is in office,  particularly if their man is a smooth-talking cosmopolitan snake-charmer like Obama who croons about personal freedom and democracy while unleashing the most unspeakable violence on civilians across the Middle East and Central Asia.

The United States has been at war for eight straight years under Obama, and during that time, there hasn’t been one sizable antiwar march, demonstration or protest. Nothing. No one seems to care when an articulate bi-racial mandarin kills mostly people of color, but when a brash and outspoken real estate magnate takes over the reigns of power, then ‘watch out’ because here come the protestors, all three million of them!

Can we agree that there is at least the appearance of hypocrisy here?

Indeed. Analyst Jon Reynolds summed it up perfectly over at the Black Agenda Report. He said:

“If Hillary had won, the drone strikes would have continued. The wars would have continued. The spying would continue. Whistleblowers would continue being prosecuted and hunted down. And minorities would continue bearing the brunt of these policies, both in the US and across the world. The difference is that in such a scenario, Democrats, if the last eight years are any indication, would remain silent — as they did under Obama — offering bare minimum concern and vilifying anyone attacking their beloved president as some sort of hater. Cities across the US would remain free of protests, and for another 4-8 years, Democrats would continue doing absolutely nothing to end the same horrifying policies now promoted by a Republican.” (“Delusions Shattered“, Jon Reynolds, The Black Agenda Report)

He’s right, isn’t he? How many of the 800,000 protesters who marched on Sunday would have flown to Washington to express their contempt for would-be President Hillary Clinton?

Zero, I’d wager, and yet it’s Hillary who wanted to implement the no-fly zones in Syria that would have put Washington in direct confrontation with Moscow, just like it was Hillary who wanted to teach Putin a-thing-or-two in Ukraine.  But is that what the people want? Would people prefer to be led into World War 3 by a bonefide champion of liberal values than concede the post to a brassy billionaire who wants to find common ground on fighting ISIS with his Russian counterpart?

It seems like a no-brainer to me. And it’s not like we don’t know who is responsible for the killing in Syria either. We do.

Barack Obama and his coterie of bloodthirsty friends in the political establishment are entirely responsible. These are the people who funded, armed and trained the Salafist maniacs that have decimated the country and created millions of refugees that are now tearing apart the EU. That’s right, the spillover from America’s not-so-covert operation is ripping the EU to shreds. It’s just another unfortunate side-effect of Obama’s bloody Syrian debacle.  As journalist Margaret Kimberly says in a recent post at The Black Agenda Report: “All of the casualties, the sieges, the hunger and the frantic search for refuge can be placed at America’s feet.”

Amen, to that.  All the violence can be traced back to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, home of Barack Hussein Obama, Nobel peace prize winner. What a joke. Here’s how analyst Solomon Comissiong sums it up in another article at the BAR:

“Supporters of Barack Obama, and liberals in general, are disingenuous frauds. They had no issues protesting the likes of the amoral warmongering George W. Bush or the racist xenophobe, Donald J. Trump, however when it comes to Barack Obama they can find no reason to protest his mass murdering escapades. Obama supporters were recently nostalgic and teary eyed after he gave his last major speech as president of the United States, yet can find little reason to shed tears over the masses of civilians who were destroyed directly as a result of Obama’s policies. Where were the emotions and tears when men, women and children were getting blown to bits by USA drone attacks, indiscriminate air strikes and bombs?…Those who protested the racist and xenophobic Trump, but not Obama or Clinton, are nothing more that disingenuous frauds and amoral cowards.”  (As Obama Exits the White House, Never Forget His Destructive Imperialist Legacy“, Solomon Comissiong, Black Agenda Report)

Let’s be honest, Obama got a pass from his supporters strictly because of appearances; because he looked and sounded like a thoroughly reasonable bloke who only acted on the loftiest of principles. Obama was hailed as a moral giant, a political rock star, a leader among leaders. But it was all fake, all make-up and glitz behind which operated the vicious national security state extending its tentacles around the world, toppling regimes wherever it went, and leaving anarchy and destruction in its wake. Isn’t this Obama’s real legacy when you strip away the sweeping hand gestures and pompous rhetoric?

Of course it is. But Trump won’t have that advantage, will he? Trump is not a public relations invention upon which heartsick liberals pin their highest hopes. Trump is Trump warts and all, the proverbial bull in the china shop. That’s not to say Trump won’t be a lousy president. Judging by the Wall Street cutthroats and hard-edged military men he’s surrounded himself with,  he probably will be. But the American people are no longer asleep, so there’s going to be limits to what he can hope to achieve.

So the question is: How should one approach the Trump presidency?  Should we denounce him as a fascist before he ever sets foot in the Oval Office?  Should we deny his “legitimacy” even though he was elected via a process we have honored for over 200 years?  Should we launch impeachment proceedings before he’s done anything that would warrant his removal from office?

Veteran journalist Robert Parry answers this question in a recent piece at Consortium News. Here’s what he said:

“The current danger for Democrats and progressives is that – by bashing everything that Trump says and does – they will further alienate the white working-class voters who became his base and will push away anti-war activists.

There is a risk that the Left will trade places with the Right on the question of war and peace, with Democrats and progressives associating themselves with Hillary Clinton’s support for “endless war” in the Middle East, the political machinations of the CIA, and a New Cold War with Russia, essentially moving into an alliance with the Military (and Intelligence) Industrial Complex.

Many populists already view the national Democrats as elitists disdainful of the working class, promoters of harmful “free trade” deals, and internationalists represented by the billionaires at the glitzy annual confab in Davos, Switzerland.

If — in a rush to demonize and impeach President Trump — Democrats and progressives solidify support for wars of choice in the Middle East, a New Cold War with Russia and a Davos-style elitism, they could further alienate many people who might otherwise be their allies.

In other words, selectivity in opposing and criticizing Trump – where he rightly deserves it – rather than opportunism in rejecting everything that Trump says might make more sense. A movement built entirely on destroying Trump could drop Democrats and progressives into some politically destructive traps.” (“Selectivity in Trashing Trump“, Robert Parry, Consortium News)

Right on, Bob. A very reasonable approach to a very thorny situation.

Bravo!

MIKE WHITNEY lives in Washington state. He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press). Hopeless is also available in a Kindle edition. He can be reached at fergiewhitney@msn.com

Source

Count your blessings, it could have been Clinton

The Not-Hillary President

It is impossible to know what the Not-Hillary inauguration will bring. Not-Hillary because putting up Hillary as candidate was the most stupid thing the Democratic party and it paymasters could do. She had extremely high negative ratings and stood for everything that one could dislike with the party’s policies. Many who ended up not voting or voted for Trump could have been easily won by a different Democratic candidate even with much of the same general policies (see: Obama, Barack).

Hillary would surely have lost against any middle-of-the-road Republican candidate. History will note that she was an arrogant but incompetent   Democratic candidate who lost against a rather bad Republican candidate, one who lacked support even from his own party. Trump won barely, but she lost completely.

Seen from the perspective of power centers Clinton once had all the support she needed. But she then lost a decisive group due to her uncompromising neo-conned foreign policy. Here is an interesting take based on a theory from the 1950s:

[T]he power elite can be best described as a “triangle of power,” linking the corporate, executive government, and military factions: “There is a political economy numerously linked with military order and decision. This triangle of power is now a structural fact, and it is the key to any understanding of the higher circles in America today.”The 2016 US election, like all other US elections, featured a gallery of pre-selected candidates that represented the three factions and their interests within the power elite. The 2016 US election, however, was vastly different from previous elections. As the election dragged on the power elite became bitterly divided, with the majority supporting Hilary Clinton, the candidate pre-selected by the political and corporate factions, while the military faction rallied around their choice of Donald Trump.

That is only a rough take. The corporate factions are divided within. The oil industry does not like it when wars disturb its long term businesses (see Russia and Libya). Boeing wants to sell planes to Iran. Other corporate parts don’t mind such wars as long as they create new markets or easy access to cheap labor. The media love war as it creates ever thrilling content around which they can sell advertisements.

The decisive political point in this election round was the fight between neo-conservatives/liberal-interventionists and foreign policy realists. One side is represented exemplary by the CIA with the U.S. military on the other:

A schism developed between the Defense Department and the highly politicized CIA. This schism, which can be attributed to the corporate-deep-state’s covert foreign policy, traces back to the CIA orchestrated “color revolutions” that had swept the Middle East and North Africa.

The CIA created bloodthirsty future enemies the military will later have to defeat. Fascists in Ukraine and Takfiris all over the Middle East are used by the CIA to further neocon aims but then require relative cheap military intervention at high human costs. The Generals do not like that. (The precedence of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan was enough for them.) Neither does the military industry. Fighting Takfiris does not require big ticket items. Ratcheting up the rhetoric against peer competitors (without ever fighting a real war) is the best justification for a two million strong military and huge military contracts.

It is still astonishing that the military Trump faction of the power triangle could win the fight. Trump made that possible when he used a hostile media for his gain. The corporate media stood strongly behind Clinton but that was not enough to hide her negative sides. Trump’s salesmen bluster proved too fascinating to not be reported. In the end the media that hated him ended up making the very best advertisement for him. For weeks the neoconned Washington Post editorial page ran five or six anti-Trump pieces per day. That alone was for some reason enough to vote for Trump.

Trump will now have to win over other parts of the power triangle. The corporate part is the easy one. He will lower its taxes. He will also, in one form or another, reinstate tariffs along the U.S. borders. His confrontational position against main exporting countries, China, Germany, Mexico etc, will also transfer into higher U.S. corporate profits. It may even create some additional jobs in the U.S. which would help him to get reelected.

The military will demand its due beyond the three generals now in Trump’s cabinet. But soldiers do not like to go to war. That means that Trump will increase conflict rhetoric against some foreign countries but also that he will not start any serious war. Expect the announcement of some super nifty, new but useless military wonder weapon for which Trump will promise trillions (Reagan’s star wars redux).

The most difficult faction to win over to his view is the political/executive/secret services side including many people within his own party. Neoliberalism has inflicted those on all levels. Trump will have to neutralize or fire people in their upper ranks early and often. If he fails to do that all his plans will be challenged and stymied in their early implementation.

Trump is a highly gifted salesman, one of the best I have ever seen. His general business skills are more average. He is full of bluster before going into negotiations. His current rhetoric in relations to other countries should be seen as opening shots. Such threats and offers alike are to him just parts of a negotiation process. His main aim with those will be to get some manufacturing back into the United States. He needs some success in this, in creating jobs, jobs, jobs and raising wages, to secure his reelection.

Economically Trump will lower taxes and increase spending (after some minor for-show cuts.) U.S. national debt will rise significantly. Interest rates will rise in conflict with his aim to lower the dollar value in exchange markets. His U.S. centric protectionism will allow other countries to also take steps in such a direction. At one point Trump will have to take up a fight with speculative Wall Street banking. It is an impediment for all his other aims. This will be his most difficult fight and the one he will probably lose.

Over all I do not expect anything exceptional from Trump. His time in the White House will probably turn out to be minor remake of Reagan’s.

The best armed forces on the planet?

The best armed forces on the planet?

In my recent article “Risks and Opportunities for 2017” I made a statement which shocked many readers. I wrote:

Russia is now the most powerful country on the planet. (…) the Russian armed forces are probably the most powerful and capable ones on earth (albeit not the largest ones) (…) Russia is the most powerful country on earth because of two things: Russia openly rejects and denounces the worldwide political, economic and ideological system the USA has imposed upon our planet since WWII and because Vladimir Putin enjoys the rock-solid support of about 80%+ of the Russian population. The biggest strength of Russia in 2017 is a moral and a political one, it is the strength of a civilization which refuses to play by the rules which the West has successfully imposed on the rest of mankind. And now that Russia has successfully “pushed back” others will inevitably follow (again, especially in Asia).

While some dismissed this as rather ridiculous hyperbole, others have asked me to explain who I can to that conclusion. I have to admit that this paragraph is somewhat ambiguous: first I make a specific claim about the capabilities of the Russian military, and then the “evidence” that I present are of a moral and political nature! No wonder that some expressed reservations about this.

Actually, the above is a good example of one of my worst weaknesses: I tend to assume that I write for people who will make the same assumptions I do, look at issues the way I look at them, and understand what is implied. My bad. So today I will try to spell out what I mean and clarify my point of view on this issue. To do this, however, there are a number of premises which I think need to be explicitly spelled out.

First, how does one measure the quality of an armed force and how can armed forces from different countries be compared?

The first thing which need to immediately get out of the way is the absolutely useless practice known as “bean counting”: counting the numbers of tanks, armored personnel carriers, infantry combat vehicles, artillery pieces, aircraft, helicopters and ships for country A and country B and come to some conclusion about which of the two is “stronger”. This is utterly meaningless. Next, two more myths need to be debunked: high tech wins wars and big money wins wars. Since I discussed these two myths in some detail elsewhere (here) I won’t repeat it all here.

Next, I submit that the purpose of a military force is to achieve a specific political objective. Nobody goes to war just for the sake of war and “victory” is not a military, but a political concept. So yes, war is the continuation of politics by other means. For example, the successful deterrence of a potential aggressor should be counted as a “victory” or, at least, as a successful performance of your armed forces if their goal was to deter. The definition of “victory” can include destroying the other guy’s armed forces, of course, but it does not have to. The British did win the war in the Malvinas/Falkands even though the Argentinian forces were far from destroyed. Sometimes the purpose of war is genocide, in which case just defeating a military forces is not enough. Let’s take a recent example: according to an official statement by Vladimir Putin, the official objectives of the Russian military intervention in Syria were to

1) stabilize the legitimate authority and

2) create conditions for a political compromise.

It is undeniable that the Russian armed forces fully reached this two objectives, but they did so without the need for the kind of “victory” which implies a total destruction of your enemies forces. In fact, Russia could have used nuclear weapons and carpet bombing to wipe Daesh, but that would have resulted in a political catastrophe for Russia. Would that have been a “military victory”? You tell me!

So, if the purpose of a country’s armed forces is to achieve specific and political objectives, this directly implies that saying that some country’s armed forces can do anything, anywhere and at any time is nonsense. You cannot access a military outside a very specific set of circumstances:

1) Where: Space/geographical

2) When: Time/duration

3) What: political objective

Yet, what we see, especially in the USA, is a diametrically opposite approach. It goes something like this:

we have the best trained, best equipped and best armed military on earth; no country can compete with our advanced stealth bombers, nuclear submarines, our pilots are the best trained on the planet, we have advanced network-centric warfare capabilities, global strike, space based reconnaissance and intelligence, we have aircraft carriers, our Delta Force can defeat any terrorist force, we spend more money training our special forces than any other country, we have more ships than any other nation, etc. etc. etc.

This means absolutely nothing. The reality is that the US military played a secondary role in WWII in the European theater and that after that the only “kinda victory” it achieved is outright embarrassing: Grenada (barely), Panama (almost unopposed). I would agree that the US military was successful in deterring a Soviet attack, but I would also immediately point out that the Soviets then also successfully deterred a US attack. Is that a victory? The truth is that China also did not suffer from a Soviet or US attack, does that mean that the Chinese successfully deterred the Soviets or the Americans? If you reply ‘yes’ then you would have to accept that they did that at a fraction of the US costs, so whose military was more effective – the US or the Chinese one? Then look at all the other US military interventions, there is a decent list here, what did those military operations really achieve. If I had to pick a “least bad one” I would reluctantly pick the Desert Storm which did liberate Kuwait from the Iraqis, but at what cost and with what consequences?!

In the vast majority of cases, when the quality of the Russian armed forces is assessed, it is always in comparison to the US armed forces. But does that make sense to compare the Russian armed forces to a military which has a long record of not achieving the specific political objectives it was given? Yes, the US armed forces are huge, bloated, they are the most expensive on the planet, the most technology-intensive and their rather mediocre actual performance is systematically obfuscated by the most powerful propaganda machine on the planet. But does any of that make them effective? I submit that far from being effective, they are fantastically wasteful and amazingly ineffective, at least from a military point of view.

Still dubious?

Okay. Let’s take the “best of the best”: the US special forces. Please name me three successful operations executed by US special forces. No, small size skirmishes against poorly trained and poorly equipped 3rd world insurgents killed in a surprise attack don’t qualify. What would be the US equivalent of, say, Operation Storm-333 or the liberation of the entire Crimean Peninsula without a single person killed? In fact, there is a reason why most Hollywood blockbusters about US special forces are based on abject defeats such as Black Hawk Down or 13 hours.

As for US high-teach, I don’t think that I need to dwell too deeply on the nightmares of the F-35 or the Zumwalt-class destroyer or explain how sloppy tactics made it possible for the Serbian Air Defenses to shoot down a super-secret and putatively “invisible” F-117A in 1999 using an ancient Soviet-era S-125 missile first deployed in 1961!

There is no Schadenfreude for me in reminding everybody of these facts. My point is to try to break the mental reflex which conditions so many people to consider the US military as some kind of measuring stick of how all the other armed forces on the planet do perform. This reflex is the result of propaganda and ignorance, not any rational reason.

The same goes, by the way, for the other hyper-propagandized military – the Israeli IDF whose armored forces, pilots and infantrymen are always presented as amazingly well-trained and competent. The reality is, of course, that in 2006 the IDF could not even secure the small town of Bint Jbeil located just 2 miles from the Israeli border. For 28 days the IDF tried to wrestle the control of Bint Jbeil from second rate Hezbollah forces (Hezbollah kept its first rate forces north of the Litani river to protect Beirut) and totally failed in spite of having a huge numerical and technological superiority.

I have personally spoken to US officers who trained with the IDF and I can tell you that they were totally unimpressed. Just as Afghan guerrillas are absolutely unanimous when they say that the Soviet solider is a much better soldier than the US one.

Speaking of Afghanistan.

Do you remember that the Soviet 40th Army who was tasked with fighting the Afghan “freedom fighters” was mostly under-equipped, under-trained, and poorly supported in terms of logistics? Please read this appalling report about the sanitary conditions of the 40th Army and compare that with the 20 billion dollar per year the US spends on air-conditioning in Afghanistan and Iraq! And then compare the US and Soviet occupations in terms of performance: not only did the Soviets control the entire country during the day (at night the Afghan controlled most of the country side and the roads), they also controlled all the major cities 24/7. In contrast, the US barely holds on to Kabul and entire provinces are in the hands of the insurgents. The Soviets built hospitals, damns, airports, roads, bridges, etc. whereas the Americans built exactly nothing. And, as I already mentioned, in every interview I have seen the Afghans are unanimous: the Soviets were much tougher enemies than the Americans.

I could go on for pages and pages, but let’s stop here and simply accept that the PR image of the US (and Israeli) military has nothing to do with their actual capabilities and performance. There are things which the US military does very well (long distance deployment, submarine warfare in temperate waters, carrier operations, etc.) but their overall effectiveness and efficiency is pretty low.

So what makes the Russian armed forces so good?

For one thing, their mission, to defend Russia, is commensurate with the resources of the Russian Federation. Even if Putin wanted it, Russia does not have the capabilities to built 10 aircraft carriers, deploy hundreds of overseas bases or spend more on “defense” than the rest of mankind combined. The specific political objective given to the Russian military is quite simple: to deter or repel any attack against Russia.

Second, to accomplish this mission the Russian armed forces need to be able to strike and prevail at a maxial distance of 1000km or less from the Russian border. Official Russian military doctrine places the limits of a strategic offensive operation a bit further and include the complete defeat of enemy forces and occupation of his territory to a depth of 1200km-1500km (Война и Мир в Терминах и Определениях, Дмитрий Рогозин, Москва, Вече, 2011, p.155) but in reality this distance would be much shorter, especially in the case of a defensive counter-attack. Make no mistake, this remains a formidable task due to the immense length of the Russian border (over 20’000km of border) running over almost every imaginable type of geography, from dry deserts and mountains to the North pole region. And here is the amazing thing: the Russian armed forces are currently capable of defeating any conceivable enemy all along this perimeter. Putin himself said so recently when he declared thatWe can say with certainty: We are stronger now than any potential aggressor, any!” I realize that for a mostly American audience this will sound like the typical garden variety claptrap every US officer or politician has to say at every public occasion, but in the Russian context this is something quite new: Putin had never said anything like that before. If anything, the Russian prefer to whine about numerically superior their adversaries seem to be (well, they are, numerically – which every Russian military analyst knows means nothing).

Numerically, the Russian forces are, indeed, much smaller than NATO’s or China’s. In fact, one could argue for the size of the Russian Federation, the Russian armed forces are rather small. True. But they are formidable, well-balanced in terms of capabilities and they make maximal use of the unique geographical features of Russia.

[Sidebar: Russia is a far more “northern” country than, say, Canada or Norway. Look at where the vast majority of the cities and towns in Canada or Scandinavia are located. Then look at a map of Russia and the latitudes at which the Russian cities are located. The difference is quite striking. Take the example of Novosibirsk, which in Russia is considered a southern Siberian town. It is almost at the same latitude as Edinburgh, Scotland, Grande Prairie, Alberta or Malmö in Sweden]

This is why all the equipment used by the Russian Armed Forces has to be certified operational from temperatures ranging from -50C to +50C (-58F to 122F). Most western gear can’t even operate in such extremes. Of course, the same also goes for the Russian solider who is also trained to operate in this range of temperatures.

I don’t think that there is another military out there who can claim to have such capabilities, and most definitely not the American armed forces.

Another myth which must be debunked is the one of western technological superiority. While it is true that in some specific fields the Soviets were never able to catch up with the West, microchips for example, that did not prevent them from being the first ones to deploy a large list of military technologies such as phased-array radars on interceptors, helmet-mounted sights for pilots, supercavitating underwater missiles, autoloaders on tanks, parachute deployable armored vehicles, double-hulled attack submarines, road-mobile ICBMs, etc. As a rule, western weapon systems tend to be more tech-heavy, that is true, but that is not due to a lack of Russian capabilities, but to a fundamental difference in design. In the West, weapon systems are designed by engineers who cobble together the latest technologies and then design a mission around them. In Russia, the military defines a mission and then seeks the simplest and cheapest technologies which can be used to accomplish it. This is why the Russian MiG-29 (1982) was not a “fly-by-wire” like the US F-16 (1978) but operated by “old” mechanical flight controls. I would add here that a more advanced airframe and two engines instead of one for the F-16, gave the MiG-29 a superior flight envelope. When needed, however, the Russians did use fly-by-wire, for example, on the Su-27 (1985).

Last but not least, the Russian nuclear forces are currently more modern and much more capable than the comparatively aging US nuclear triad.  Even the Americans admit that.

So what does that all mean?

This means that in spite of being tasked with an immensely difficult mission, to prevail against any possible enemy along the 20’000+km of the Russian border and to a depth of 1000km, the Russian armed forces have consistently shown that they are capable of fulfilling the specific political objective of either deterring or defeating their potential enemy, be it a Wahabi insurgency (which the western pundits described as “unbeatable”), a western trained and equipped Georgian military (in spite of being numerically inferior during the crucial hours of the war and in spite of major problems and weaknesses in command and control), the disarmament of 25’000+ Ukrainian (supposedly “crack”) troops in Crimea without a single shot fired in anger and, of course, the Russian military intervention in the war in Syria were a tiny Russian force turned the tide of the war.

In conclusion, I want to come back to my statement about Russia being the only country which now openly dares to reject the western civilizational model and whose leader, Vladimir Putin, enjoys the support of 80%+ of the population. These two factors are crucial in the assessment of the capabilities of the Russian armed forces. Why? Because they illustrate the fact that the Russian soldiers knows exactly what he fights for (or against) and that when he is deployed somewhere, he is not deployed as a tool for Gazprom, Norilsk Nickel, Sberbank or any other Russian corporation: he knows that he is fighting for his country, his people, his culture, for their freedom and safety. Furthermore, the Russian soldier also knows that the use of military force is not the first and preferred option of his government, but the last one which is used only when all other options have been exhausted. He knows that the Russian High Command, the Kremlin and the General Staff are not hell-bent on finding some small country to beat up just to make an example and scare the others. Last but not least, the Russian solider is willing to die for his country and while executing any order.  The Russians are quite aware of that and this is why the following circulated on the Runet recently:

Translation: under both photos it says “private of the US/Russian Army, under contract, deployed in a combat zone”. The bottom central text says “One of them needs to be fed, clothed, armed, paid, etc. The other one just needs to be ordered “this way” and he will execute his mission. At any cost”

At the end of the day, the outcome of any war is decided by willpower, I firmly believe that and I also believe that it is the “simple” infantry private who is the most important factor in a war, not the super-trained superman.  In Russia they are sometimes called “makhra” – the young kids from the infantry, not good looking, not particularly macho, with no special gear or training. They are the ones who defeated the Wahabis in Chechnia, at a huge cost, but they did. They are the one which produce an amazing number of heroes who amaze their comrades and enemies with their tenacity and courage. They don’t look to good in parades and they are often forgotten. But they are the ones which defeated more empires than any other and who made Russia the biggest country on earth.

So yes, Russia currently does have the most capable armed forces on the planet.  There are plenty of countries out there who also have excellent armed forces.  But what makes the Russian ones unique is the scope of their capabilities which range from anti-terrorist operations to international nuclear war combined with the amazing resilience and willpower of the Russian solider.  There are plenty of things the Russian military cannot do, but unlike the US armed forces, the Russian military was never designed to do anything, anywhere, anytime (aka “win two and a half wars” anywhere on the planet).

For the time being, the Russians are watching how the US cannot even take a small city like Mosul, even though it had to supplement the local forces with plenty of US and NATO “support” and they are unimpressed, to say the least.  But Hollywood will surely make a great blockbuster from this embarrassing failure and there will be more medals handed out than personnel involved (this is what happened after the Grenada disaster).  And the TV watching crowd will be reassured that “while the Russians did make some progress, their forces are still a far cry from their western counterparts”.  Who cares?

The Saker

We Must Not Demonize and Threaten Russia. Nuclear War by Accident or Miscalculation?

Source

By John Scales Avery,

russia-usa

Eisenhower’s warning

In his famous farwell address, US President Dwight Eisenhower eloquently described the terrible effects of an overgrown military-industrial complex. Here are his words:

We have been compelled to create a permanent armaments industry of vast proportions…. This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence, economic, political, even spiritual, is felt in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government…[and] we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society.

In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the militaryindustrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

In another speech, he said:

Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world in arms is not spending money alone. It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.

The devil’s dynamo

The military-industrial complex involves a circular flow of money. The cash flows like the electrical current in a dynamo, driving a diabolical machine. Money from immensely rich corporate oligarchs buys the votes of politicians and the propaganda of the mainstream media. Numbed by the propaganda, citizens allow the politicians to vote for obscenely bloated military budgets, which further enrich the corporate oligarchs, and the circular flow continues.

Today the world spends more than 1.7 trillion dollars ( $1,700,000,000,000) every year on armaments. This vast river of money, almost too large to be imagined, is the “devil’s dynamo” driving the institution of war. Politicians notoriously can be bought with a tiny fraction of this enormous amount; hence the decay of democracy. It is also plain that if the almost unbelieivable sums now wasted on armaments were used constructively, most of the pressing problems now facing humanity could be solved.

Because the world spends almost two thousand billion dollars each year on armaments, it follows that very many people make their living from war. This is the reason why it is correct to speak of war as an institution, and why it persists, although we know that it is the cause of much of the suffering that inflicts humanity.

We know that war is madness, but it persists. We know that it threatens the survival of civilization, but it persists, entrenched in the attitudes of historians, newspaper editors and television producers, entrenched in the methods by which politicians finance their campaigns, and entrenched in the financial power of arms manufacturers, entrenched also in the ponderous and costly hardware of war, the fleets of warships, bombers, tanks, nuclear missiles amd so on.

The military-industrial complex needs enemies

The military-industrial complex needs enemies. Without them it would wither. Thus at the end of the Second World War, this vast power complex was faced with a crisis. It was saved by the discovery of a new enemy: Communism.

This new enemy saved the military-industrial complex for a long time, but at the end of the Cold War, there was another crisis: the threat that arms profits would be converted into a  “peace dividend”. Would this be the end of unlimited corporate greed? Heaven forbid! There was a desparate search for a new enemy. What about Islam? The Crusades could be revived, and all would be well. This seemed, for a long time to be a good solution.

But recently, with the Middle East in flames, Islam no longer seemed to be a sufficiently strong enemy justiify the collossal budgets of armaments industries. A new enemy was urgently needed. One  look at our mass media tells us the solution that our military-industrial complex has come up with: Revival of the Cold War!

Nuclear war by accident or miscalculation.

As a concequence of our oligarchy’s decision to revive the Cold War, we are witnessing increasing demonization of Russia as well as flagrant provocations, such as the recent massive NATO manovres on Russia’s borders.

With unbelievable hubris and irresponsibility, western politicians are risking the destruction of human civilization and much of the biosphere through a thermonuclear war. Such a cataclysmic war could occur through technical or human error, or through escalation. This possibility is made greater by th fact that despite the end of the Cold War, thousands of missiles carrying nuclear warheads are still kept on a “hair-trigger” state of alert with a quasi-automatic reaction time measured in minutes.

A number of prominent political and military figures (many of whom have ample knowledge of the system of deterrence, having been part of it) have expressed concern about the danger of accidental nuclear war.

Colin S. Grey, Chairman of the US Institute for Public Policy, expressed this concern as follows: “The problem, indeed the enduring problem, is that we are resting our future upon a nuclear deterrence system concerning which we cannot tolerate even a single malfunction.”

General Curtis E. LeMay has written, “In my opinion a general war will grow through a series of political miscalculations and accidents rather than through any deliberate attack by either side.”

Bruce G. Blair  of the Brookings Institute has remarked that “It is obvious that the rushed nature of the process, from warning to decision to action, risks causing a catastrophic mistake.”… “This system is an accident waiting to happen.”

The duty of civil society

Civil society must make its will felt. A thermonuclear war today would be not only genocidal but also omnicidal. It would kill people of all ages, babies, children, young people, mothers, fathers and grandparents, without any regard whatever for guilt or innocence. Such a war would be the ultimate ecological catastrophe, destroying not only human civilization but also much of the biosphere. Each of us has a duty to work with courage and dedication to prevent it.

Some suggestions for further reading

https://human-wrongs-watch.net/2015/03/30/europe-must-not-be-forced-into-a-nuclear-war-with-russia/

http://www.countercurrents.org/avery170715.htm

https://act.rootsaction.org/p/dia/action3/common/public/?action_KEY=12514

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article44904.htm

https://human-wrongs-watch.net/2016/03/15/peace/

http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/feed-the-people-before-building-fighter-planes

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46211.htm

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/46209.htm

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2017/01/trump-the-banks-and-the-bomb/

https://www.transcend.org/tms/2017/01/donald-trumps-new-nuclear-instability/

John Avery received a B.Sc. in theoretical physics from MIT and an M.Sc. from the University of Chicago. He later studied theoretical chemistry at the University of London, and was awarded a Ph.D. there in 1965. He is now Lektor Emeritus, Associate Professor, at the Department of Chemistry, University of Copenhagen

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