Sheikh Isa Qassim: New Constitution Sole Way out of Bahrain Crisis

20/4/2021

Sheikh Isa Qassim: New Constitution Sole Way out of Bahrain Crisis

By Staff, Agencie

Bahrain’s top cleric Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim stressed that “Drawing up a new constitution is the only way out of the political crisis in the protest-hit kingdom.”

He further called on urging the regime in Manama to pursue an agreement with the Bahraini opposition instead of increasingly suppressing the dissidents.

“Since the people do not find anything to persuade themselves to stop their protest movement and are witnessing a surge in the [regime’s] policy of repression, dictatorship and marginalization, they are pressing ahead with their uprising, whatever the cost may be,” Sheikh Qassim said in a statement released on Monday and carried by the Bahrain Mirror news website.

His Eminence further highlighted: “There would be no way out of the current situation unless the government reaches an agreement with the opposition to draw up a new constitution and found relevant institutions so as to protect the citizens’ rights and recognize their sovereign position in the country’s politics.”

The senior cleric pointed out that “Reforms must be undertaken at a pace satisfactory to the public and must guarantee the authority, dignity, comfort, security and interests of all.”

This comes as Bahrain’s crackdown continues in Ramadan as regime forces attack political inmates in Jaw prison.  “There is a serious political and legal crisis in Bahrain, the consequences of which will be dangerous for both the nation and the government itself,” he stated.

He denounced the Manama regime over the “absurd” policy of putting more people behind bars, saying such a practice will not even benefit the “unjust political goal” being pursued by the Al-Khalifah regime.

“If the purpose of populating prisons with thousands of inmates is to tone down the demands for political and civil rights to mere calls for the release of prisoners, the calls among the prisoners themselves for the nation’s rights [to be guaranteed] will definitely thwart such a conspiracy,” Sheikh Qassem confirmed.

“The people of Bahrain are well aware of the fact that the solution to the country’s crisis lies only in a genuine improvement of the situation and establishment of a political relationship between the nation and the government on the basis of new and viable principles,” His Eminence elaborated.


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Bahrain Crackdown: Demonstrations Continue For 20th Consecutive Night in Support of Jailed Activists

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Bahrain Crackdown: Demonstrations Continue For 20th Consecutive Night in Support of Jailed Activists

By Staff, Agencies

Amid the continued crackdown of the Manama regime, Bahrainis have rallied for the 20th night to reiterate their call for an immediate and unconditional release of political inmates amid concerns over the alarming situation of the country’s prisons in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

The demonstrations were held under the banner of “Friday of Prisoners’ Rage,” with participants denouncing Bahraini authorities’ mistreatment of imprisoned activists, and the miserable conditions of prisoners at detention centers across the tiny kingdom.

The demonstrators carried Bahrain’s national flags as well as pictures of jailed political opponents, and chanted anti-regime slogans in several villages, including Karzakan, Karbabad, Hamala, Shahrakan, al-Dair, Karrana, Abu Saiba, Shakhura, Bu Quwah, North Sehla and Samaheej, as they called for the unconditional freedom of the prisoners.

Similar rallies were held in the villages of Dar Kulaib and Ma’ameer, where protestors held up the pictures of prominent opposition figure Zakia al-Barbouri, who was charged to five years in prison on February 6, 2019, and had her citizenship revoked in a politically-motivated case.

Earlier this month, Bahrain’s most prominent Shia cleric Sheikh Isa Qassim warned that political dissidents in Bahraini prisons are facing deaths and demanded their immediate release. 

In a statement carried by Arabic-language Bahrain Mirror news website on April 1, the senior cleric called on the ruling Al Khalifa regime to choose between the deaths of the dissident inmates and their release.

“One of the worst things that the government of Bahrain does is to keep prisoners as leverage for political bargaining, especially now that the coronavirus is attacking prisons with full force,” the senior cleric added.

Demonstrations in Bahrain have been held on a regular basis ever since a popular uprising began in mid-February 2011.

The participants demand that the Al Khalifah regime relinquish power and allow a just system representing all Bahrainis to be established.

Manama, however, has gone to great lengths to clamp down on any sign of dissent.

On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to assist Bahrain in its crackdown.

On March 5, 2017, Bahrain’s parliament approved the trial of civilians at military tribunals in a measure blasted by human rights campaigners as being tantamount to imposition of an undeclared martial law countrywide.

King Hamad ratified the constitutional amendment on April 3, 2017.

مصر وحالة اللامعقول… أمن قوميّ أم أمن الرئيس؟ Egypt and the state of the absurd … national security or the security of the president?

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

مصر وحالة اللامعقول… أمن قوميّ أم أمن الرئيس؟

سعادة مصطفى أرشيد

أثار حادث جنوح الباخرة «إيفر غيفن» منذ أيام وسدّها مجرى الملاحة في قناة السويس، تسونامي من الأخبار والتعليقات والتحليلات، اعتمد كثير منها على نظرية المؤامرة، التي وإنْ كانت غالباً على خطأ، إلا أنها قد تصيب أحياناً، ومما لا شك فيه، أنّ تأثيرات هذا الحدث ولا بد، استراتيجية بامتياز، وسوف تكون لها تداعيات مهمة في الزمن القريب، انه ليس حدثاً عابراً.

تتعطل الموانئ السورية، اللاذقية، بانياس وطرطوس، يتمّ تدمير ميناء بيروت بفعل فاعل، يتوقف ميناءا عدن والحديدة عن العمل بسبب الحرب والحصار، وأخيراً تجنح سفينة «إيفر غيفن» التي تحمل بضائع يقلّ وزنها قليلاً عن ربع مليار طن بسبب الرياح، والنتيجة أن تغلق قناة السويس أمام حركة الملاحة، فيما تعمل موانئ الخليج بنشاط، مثلها مثل موانئ حيفا وأسدود، ويتداول الجميع الحديث عن قناة بديلة، تصل بين البحر الأبيض المتوسط والبحر الأحمر، من عسقلان حتى أيله (ايلات)، وعلى شواطئها مدن صناعيّة وتجمّعات عمالية وفنادق ومراكز ترفيه.

فكرة قناة السويس في البداية، ارتبطت بالغرب وتوسّعه وحركة تجارته العالميّة وتنافسه الاستعماريّ، حفر المصريون القناة بجهدهم وعرقهم في منتصف القرن التاسع عشر، وفقدوا مئات ألوف الأرواح أثناء عملية الحفر، وذلك باستعمال الفأس والقفة، وحققوا خلال عشر سنوات، معجزة هندسيّة تفوق في روعتها وفوائدها وتأثيرها أهرامات الجيزة، لكن ورثتهم لم يحافظوا عليها، وحتى عملية تطويرها التي انتهت عام 2015 لم تكن ذات بال وأهميّة، وهنا يتضح أنّ المسألة ليست مسألة سفينة جانحة بحادث عرضي، أو رياح عاتية، وإنما فشل للنظام.

في عام 1888 وقعت اتفاقية القسطنطينية، لإدارة قناة السويس والتي حدّدت حقوق السفن العابرة للقناة، وكذلك الحقوق والواجبات المترتبة على مصر، ومع تقدّم الزمان، تطوّر القانون الدولي المتعلق بالمضايق والممرات وأضاف على اتفاقية القسطنطينية التي لا تزال معمولاً ومعترفاً بها، بنوداً عديدة تحكم وتنظم عمل القناة، وهي تشمل حرية الملاحة والمرور السريع البريء والآمن للجميع، ومن دون تمييز تجاه العلم الذي ترفعه السفينة الذي يمثل الدولة التي سجلت السفينة بها، ويحظر كلّ من الاتفاقية المذكورة والقانون الدولي إغلاقها، وفي حين تملك مصر حقوقاً في القناة باعتبارها جهداً مصرياً في أرض مصرية، إلا أنها في الوقت عينه ترتب عليها مسؤوليات، وذلك بأن تقوم بما يلزم من أجل سلامة المرور، وصيانة الممر، وتأمين وسائل تيسير الملاحة، وضمان سلامة السفن، وحيازة ما يلزم من آليات الطوارئ في حال تعطلت القناة. فالممرات المائيّة يحظر إغلاقها لما في ذلك من تأثير على السلم العالمي، وأمام خطورة هذا الحدث الذي أثبت أنّ الدولة الفاشلة غير قادرة على إدارة هذا الممر الحيوي، الأمر الذي قد يضع إمكانيّة وضع إدارة القناة تحت رعاية دوليّة أمراً ممكناً.

الفشل عند هذا النظام، لم يبدأ عند حادث السفينة، فالنظام أصلاً لم يستطع المحافظة لا على مكانته العربيّة والأفريقية والإسلامية فحسب، ولا على علاقاته بجواره غرباً في ليبيا التي عادت وستعود عليه بالكوارث، مقابل خدمته لأولياء النعمة ومصدر بقائه في الحكم، أو جنوباً في السودان، الذي تقسّم وأخذ ينحو بشطريه الجنوبي والشمالي بعيداً عن مصر وعن المحيط العربي، وفشل النظام في التعاطي مع سدّ النهضة، الذي أخذ يمتلئ بالماء وأصبح أمراً واقعاً، فيما رجال النظام وقططه السمان يموّلون السدّ المعادي ويقرضون الحكومة الإثيوبيّة، بشرائهم سندات تمويل السدّ، لإماتتهم وإماتة المصريين عطشاً، مقابل فوائد ربوية، فيما حلفاء النظام السعوديين والإماراتيين، الذين يحارب نظام عبد الفتاح السيسي من أجلهم، نراهم يقفون إلى جانب إثيوبيا.

لم يرَ نظام العسكر في مصر، من مخاطر على بلده من الحرب الأهلية وليبيا، ولا في جنوب السودان، وما يحضّر له من سدود ومشاريع مائية، بخبرة وشركات (إسرائيلية) وأموال خليجيّة تقضي على إمدادات المياه من بحيرة فكتوريا والنيل الأبيض، ولا أمام خطر العطش الذي سيصيب مصر بعد اكتمال المشاريع على جميع روافد النيل، ويتنازل عن جزر مهمة لأمنه القوميّ في مضائق البحر الأحمر – تيران وصنافير – والتي كانت السبب المباشر لحرب عام 1967، والتي ستكون متكآت ملاحيّة لمشروع القناة البديلة.

إنها هزيمة لنظام العسكر، لصورة الدولة الشرقيّة في أذهان العالم، أنهم مثال للهزيمة في الحرب، والفشل في الإدارة، والاستبداد بالحكم، وعلى سبيل المثال البسيط، نرى وزير النقل المصري وهو جنرال متقاعد لا يرى في حادث السفينة مسؤوليّة إلا مسؤولية الرياح، التي استطاعت إزاحة سفينة متطوّرة يصل وزنها مع حمولتها إلى ربع مليار طن، في حين يتمّ تداول روايات سخيفة حول سبب الحادث والمسؤولية عنه.

هذا انكشاف لعورات نظام متهافت، فشل في الحفاظ على البلد وعلى أمنها القوميّ، يخوض حروباً بالوكالة في ليبيا، وأخرى في جنوب جزيرة العرب، يتحالف مع «إسرائيل» واليونان في خطوط الغاز، ويفرّط بحقوقه المائيّة التي هي سرّ بقاء مصر المعروفة في التاريخ باسم هبة النيل، عاجز عن التعامل مع الأزمات الاقتصادية الخانقة والمتلاحقة وغير قادر على حلها، البطالة تتفاقم وتزداد بمعدلات مزعجة وترافقها انهيارات اجتماعيّة، فساد مستشرٍ في كافة قطاعات الإدارة القاصرة، أبراج سكنية تنهار فوق أجساد ساكنيها، فيما لا يرى من مهدّدات للأمن القومي إلا في المعارضة الداخليّة، وزجّ 60 ألف من مواطنيه في السجون، بتهمة الانتماء للإخوان المسلمين، فيما بعضهم من الأقباط…

إنه نظام العسكر، ومصر التي نامت نواطير أمنها القومي ومصالحها العليا، فيما عاثت بها الثعالب ضراً وفساداً، لكم تحتاج إلى حاكم بعقلية السلطان العثماني محمود الثاني، الذي أنهى سيطرة العسكر الانكشاريّ على الدولة، بعد أن أصبحوا عبئاً ثقيلاً عليها، ومصدراً من مصادر ضعفها وهوانها.

اليوم في أمّ الدنيا كما يحب أهل مصر تسميتها، نرى في نظام العسكر، انّ الحمار قد أكل الأمن القوميّ وأبقى على أمن الحاكم وضرورات بقائه.

*سياسي فلسطيني مقيم في جنين – فلسطين المحتلة

Egypt and the state of the absurd … national security or the security of the president?

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SAADA Mustafa Arshid

The accident of the delinquency of the ship «Ever given» days ago and blocked the course of navigation in the Suez Canal, a tsunami of news, comments and analysis, many of which relied on the conspiracy theory, which although often wrong, but may sometimes infect, and no doubt, that the effects of this event must, strategy par excellence, and will have important repercussions in the near time, it is not a passing event.

The Syrian ports, Latakia, Banias and Tartus are destroyed by an actor, the ports of Aden and Hodeidah stop working due to the war and siege, and finally the ship “Ever Geven” which carries goods weighing just under a quarter of a billion tons due to the wind, the result is that the Suez Canal is closed to shipping traffic, while the Gulf ports are working actively, as are the ports of Haifa and Ashdod, and everyone talks about an alternative channel, connecting the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, from Ashkelon to Ayla (Eilat), and on its shores industrial cities, labor gatherings, hotels and entertainment centers.

The idea of the Suez Canal at the beginning, associated with the West and its expansion and the movement of its world trade and its colonial competition, the Egyptians dug the canal with their effort and sweat in the middle of the nineteenth century, and lost hundreds of thousands of lives during the drilling process, using the axe and the shell, and achieved in ten years, an engineering miracle beyond In its splendor and its benefits and impact the Pyramids of Giza, but their heirs did not preserve it, and even the process of development that ended in 2015 was not significant and important, and here it is clear that the issue of a ship is not a matter of ship accidentally, or high winds, but a failure of the system.

In 1888, the Constantinople Agreement was signed for the management of the Suez Canal, which defined the rights of ships crossing the canal, as well as the rights and duties of Egypt, and as time progressed, the development of international law on straits and corridors, added to the Convention of Constantinople, which is still in force and recognized, many clauses governing and regulating the operation of the canal, which includes freedom of navigation and rapid, innocent and safe passage for all, without discrimination against the flag that the ship flies in, which represents the country in which the ship is registered, and both the aforementioned convention and international law prohibits its closure. While Egypt has rights in the canal as an Egyptian effort on Egyptian territory, it has responsibilities to do what is necessary for traffic safety, maintain the corridor, secure the means of facilitating navigation, ensure the safety of ships, and possess the necessary emergency mechanisms in the event of a breakdown of the canal. Waterways are prohibited from being closed because of the impact on world peace, and in the face of the seriousness of this event, which has proved that the failed State is unable to manage this vital corridor, which may place the possibility of placing the management of the canal under international auspices.

Failure with this system did not begin when the ship accident, for the regime originally could not preserve its Arab, African and Islamic status only, nor its relations with its side to the west in Libya, which returned and will return to it with disasters, in return for its service to the saints of grace and the source of its survival in power, or to the south in Sudan, which is divided and began to turn its southern and northern parts away from Egypt and the Arab ocean, and the failure of the regime in dealing with the Renaissance Dam, which began to fill with water and became a fait accompli, while the regime’s fat cats were financing the hostile dam and lending to the Ethiopian government, by buying bonds to finance the dam, to kill them and let the Egyptians thirst in exchange for usurious interest, while the regime’s allies, Saudi and Emirati whom the regime of Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is fighting for, are standing by Ethiopia.

The military regime in Egypt does not see the dangers to its country from the civil war and Libya, nor in southern Sudan, and the dams and water projects prepared, with experience and (Israeli) companies and Gulf funds that eliminate water supplies from Lake Victoria and the White Nile, nor the danger of thirst, which will afflict Egypt after the completion of projects on all the tributaries of the Nile. Moreover, the regime gave up important islands for its national security in the straits of the Red Sea – Tiran and Sanafir – which were the direct cause of the 1967 war, and which will be navigational anchors for the alternative canal project.

This is the exposure of the states of a reckless regime, which failed to preserve the country and its national security, is engaged in proxy wars in Libya, and another in the south of the Arabian Peninsula, allied with Israel and Greece in gas lines, and overrides its water rights, which are the secret of Egypt’s survival known in history as the Gift of the Nile, unable to deal with the economic crises stifling and successive and other Unemployment is worsening and increasing at alarming rates and accompanied by social collapses, widespread corruption in all sectors of the underage administration, residential towers collapsing over the bodies of its inhabitants, while it sees no threats to national security except in the internal opposition, and 60 thousand of its citizens are imprisoned, accused of belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood, while some Copts.

Today in the mother of the world, as the people of Egypt like to call it, we see in the military system that the donkey has eaten national security and kept the security of the ruler and the necessities of his survival.

*Palestinian politician residing in Jenin, Occupied Palestine

Suez Canal: Sisi is a danger not only to Egypt, but to the world

David Hearst is co-founder and editor-in-chief of Middle East Eye. He is a commentator and speaker on the region and analyst on Saudi Arabia. He was The Guardian’s foreign leader writer, and was correspondent in Russia, Europe, and Belfast. He joined the Guardian from The Scotsman, where he was education correspondent.

David Hearst

26 March 2021 18:16 UT

Egyptian government’s abject failure in responding to the Suez closure highlights the threat this regime poses to international trade and stability

Sisi
Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi at the UN in New York in 2019 (AFP)

When a 35km expansion of the Suez Canal was opened six years ago, banners appeared on the streets of Cairo proclaiming it to be Egypt’s “gift to the world“.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi welcomed foreign leaders on a yacht. Helicopters and jets performed a fly-by. The expansion was hailed as a national triumph and a turning point after years of instability.

The Egyptian government is a practised liar. It lies to its own people every day, but in times of crisis, it also lies to the international community

When the Suez Canal was closed unceremoniously by a 400-metre container ship hitting the bank in a dust storm on Tuesday, there was silence. For 26 hours, there was not a word about the closed canal, the shipping backing up in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea, or of the Ever Given itself.

Instead, the Suez Canal Authority (SCA) issued a media statement announcing the successful transit of an Italian cruise ship with 65 Covid-19 cases aboard.

There was a media blackout. It was only on Wednesday that the lying started in earnest, with the first official statement noting that efforts were “continuing to reopen the canal”. The SCA downplayed the impacts on navigation, sending a “message of assurance that the navigation will continue as usual”. As if to reinforce that message, the authority allowed a convoy of ships to enter from the northern end in Port Said on 24 March.

Feeding the propaganda mill

The authority warned journalists not to heed any news or rumours about the most serious incident to block the canal since the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, other than statements coming from them. Egyptian journalists did not need any encouragement to toe the line. They fed the propaganda mill, celebrating the SCA’s statement and claiming the ship had been refloated. They even tried to demonstrate this with satellite images, although the images themselves still showed the ship firmly wedged in place. 

The truth was even concealed from international shippers. The Gulf Agency Egypt shipping company quoted the SCA as saying that the container ship stranded in the canal for more than a day had been partially refloated and was standing alongside the bank, and that traffic would resume shortly.

The same story was fed to Lloyd’s List, which reported seeing an email from the Egyptian company sent to the China Shipowners’ Association: “We are still waiting confirmed information for the towing direction. Convoy and traffic will be back to normal within [a] very short time as soon as the vessel is towed to another position,” read the email, based on information provided directly by the SCA early on Wednesday.

Satellite imagery shows tug boats and dredgers attempting to free a ship that ran aground in the Suez Canal on 26 March 2021 (Satellite image c.2021 Maxar Technologies/AFP)
Satellite imagery shows tug boats and dredgers attempting to free the ship that ran aground in the Suez Canal on 26 March 2021 (Satellite image c.2021 Maxar Technologies/AFP)

On Thursday, two days after the chaos had started, the SCA officially announced that navigation had been suspended.

The Egyptian government is a practised liar. It lies to its own people every day, but, in times of crisis, it also lies to the international community. 

When a Russian passenger jet was brought down in 2015 by an Islamic State (IS) missile 23 minutes into a flight from Sharm el-Sheikh to St Petersburg, Russia and the UK instantly cancelled all flights to the Red Sea resort.

Two harsh lessons

But it is difficult to keep maintaining that a ship the size of the Ever Given is floating, when it so evidently isn’t.

However the Suez Canal crisis is resolved, this incident has taught the world two harsh lessons: how important the canal and Egypt still are for international shipping, and how disastrously and incompetently both are being run.Egypt’s Suez Canal: Why does its closure matter?

The incompetence of Sisi’s dictatorship, in other words, is not just a matter of international concern on the issues of human rights and the rule of law. Sisi’s incompetence threatens a major international waterway.

In the immediate future, this week’s Suez crisis could not have happened at a worse moment. It reinforces the interest of oil-and-gas-producing Gulf states in exploring ways to bypass the canal by routing their product through Israel. The Emirati normalisation deal with Israel has led to a tidal wave of contracts and projects, each of which spells an existential threat to Egypt’s monopoly on this traffic.

Whether through a long-neglected pipeline built by the shah of Iran, new internet cable or a railway line, or even a canal through the Negev desert – no greater push could be given to finding ways of bypassing the Suez Canal and Egypt than by the Egyptian reaction to an incident of this magnitude.

Sisi’s disastrous rule

In the longer term, there is now a clear pattern of decline and disaster to Sisi’s rule. Above and beyond all the other issues in which he has embroiled his country – backing the wrong side in Libya, a witch hunt against the Muslim Brotherhood at home and abroad – Sisi really had two existential things to worry about. He has failed in both.

The first was the Suez Canal; the second was maintaining the water levels of the Nile. Sisi laughed and ridiculed his boss, former Egyptian president Mohamed Morsi, for raising concerns about the dam Ethiopia was building in 2012, and arranged for a leak of a private meeting to embarrass the president. 

The line from the Egyptian army was that the issue was too serious for a mere Muslim Brotherhood president to handle. So they shelved the issue, and Sisi then compounded his mistake by signing away Egypt’s claim in an agreement with Ethiopia and Sudan in 2015. Now, he is reportedly considering military action, just weeks before the dam – which has long been completed – gets its second crucial filling

Instead of concentrating his meagre resources on the two issues that really matter to his country, Sisi has spent all his time obsessed with his image

Instead of concentrating his meagre resources on the two issues that really matter to his country, Sisi has spent all his time obsessed with his image. 

A revealing window into Sisi’s real priorities in the years in which he has run Egypt into the ground can be seen in the official record of lobbyists working for the Egyptian government, filed with the US Department of Justice under the Foreign Agents Registration Act.

An investigation of these official records conducted by a group of Egyptian journalists at Sasapost reveals how the lobbying operation in Washington went into overdrive after the 2013 Rabaa massacre and the suspension of $260m in US military aid, a fraction of the total $1.3bn package.

Sisi’s government paid the Glover Park Group $250,000 a month to lobby senior members of Congress who opposed him, such as Senators Lindsey Graham and the late John McCain. Glover Park spent two years working on Graham until he reversed his position, Sasapost reported. Between 2013 and 2019, Sisi paid this company alone $13.25m – a huge price in the Washington lobby market.

Whitewashing the regime

What were Egypt’s concerns in Washington? Whitewashing Sisi’s image, targeting the American right and Israel’s supporters, and focusing on “religious rights,” with Joe Biden about to enter the White House. In other words, everything that Sisi has spent his money on has been about his image. None of it has had anything to do with what really matters to his country.

But these are Sisi’s priorities. He has not uttered one word about the crisis going on in the Suez Canal. 

It is now commonplace to hear that Egypt is a failing state – a state that fails its citizens, one with depleted resources, a weakened economy plundered by the Egyptian army, and growing levels of poverty affecting tens of millions of people. 

The international community, however, has yet to wake up to the fact that Sisi is a danger not only to his people and his country but also to international trade and stability. Perhaps a big ship jammed into a tight space will do that for them.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Eye.

timeline suez canal

American Dystopia – The Propaganda Mask and the Utopia Syndrome

American Dystopia – The Propaganda Mask and the Utopia Syndrome

January 24, 2021

By Larry Romanoff for the Saker Blog

American dystopia « Utopia or Dystopia

In an article in the NYT on America’s “Racial Democracy” (or racist democracy), (1) Jason Stanley and Vesla Weaver noted “The philosopher Elizabeth Anderson argued that when political ideals diverge very widely from reality, the ideals themselves may prevent us from seeing the gap. When the official story differs greatly from the reality of practice, the official story becomes a kind of mask that prevents us from perceiving it.”

This means that if propaganda is not only incessant and pervasive but if its tenets are too far removed from factual truth, the victims of this propaganda lose their ability to separate fact from fiction and become unable to recognise the discrepancy between their beliefs and their actions, believing their actions correspond with the religiously-inspired tenets of their propaganda even when they patently and most obviously do not correspond. The theory is not intuitively obvious, but it is heavily supported by facts. Perhaps it is for this reason that Americans are guilty of what I call “the Utopia Syndrome”, comparing themselves not with the real world of their actions but with some utopian standard that exists only in their own imaginations, a world of fancy and illusion where they meet the standards but all others do not. In this light, it may be that much of what we attribute to American hypocrisy may in reality be due to a peculiarly American kind of mass insanity.

Dictionaries generally define ‘aberration’ as a deviation from the normal or typical, an event or characteristic that may be unpleasant or even criminal but that is seldom encountered. In 1975, a US Senate Committee was investigating the documented tales of the CIA engaging in widespread killings of world leaders obstructive to US hegemony. (2) (3) Their conclusion?

“The committee does not believe that the acts of assassination which it has examined represent the real American character. They do not reflect the ideals which have given the people of this country and the world hope for a better, fuller, fairer life. We regard the assassination plots as aberrations.”

So, as William Blum noted, (4) the assassinations by the CIA of more than 50 national leaders and 100 lesser targets spanning at least 50 years and continuing in uninterrupted form through twelve US Presidents, are mere “aberrations” that don’t reflect “the real American character”. Reading from the same script, the US military casually described all the circumstances and events at its worldwide network of US torture prisons over twelve decades as “aberrations”.

It is worth re-reading the above quote telling us the 150 or more murders “do not represent the real American character”, the quote forming a perfect introduction to the Propaganda Mask and the Utopia Syndrome. The assassinations of all these foreign leaders are not denied; instead they are described as inconsistent with the American utopian ideal, and it is the ideal rather than the act against which America judges itself, the fictitious utopian ideal providing the real measure of American moral supremacy. This pathological reasoning is a stunning tribute to the efficacy of the propaganda methods of Lippman and Bernays, who almost single-handedly turned Americans into raving lunatic war-mongers during both World Wars. (5) It is from precisely this propaganda that Americans today can commit multiple horrendous atrocities, violate every measure of human rights, yet claim the high moral ground and see no inconsistency or conflict. The propagandised utopian ideal of creating peace and stability in the world will supersede America’s actions of creating only war and instability. The propagandised ideal of fostering and protecting democracy will overwhelm and mask the reality that the US has never anywhere installed a democracy, has never supported democracy, and has instead almost exclusively installed and supported brutal Right-Wing dictatorships. This patently illogical logic applies across the entire spectrum of US behavior.

Following the same line of reasoning, an American writer named Dana Williams wrote a reasonably good article detailing that America’s military interventions have always been waged only on behalf of big business and the elites, but then added: “America’s most priceless treasure is its democratic values and its growing sense of human rights”. What? A growing sense of human rights? Evidenced by what? This woman had just written of the increasingly devastating litany of American atrocities and destruction of so many governments and nations and in the next breath tells us of this same country’s priceless and growing treasure of democracy and human rights, apparently unaware of any conflict. Such is the power of propaganda and the ability of myths to insinuate themselves into the human heart and mind.

Michael Parenti, for whom I have considerable admiration, did essentially the same thing, writing, “… the American way is to criticize and debate openly, not to accept unthinkingly the doings of government officials of this or any other country.” (7) But where were all these openly-debating Americans when their government was progressively destroying Iraq for more than ten years? Where were they when Madeline Albright was killing 500,000 Iraqi infants? Where was the open public debate about the destruction of Jugoslavia or Libya? Where are they today when the US is destroying Venezuela? Due to the intensive propaganda and ideological programming, Americans are taught to venerate the process, but ignore the result. This is truly a kind of mass insanity, with all the credit due to Bernays, “the father of Public Relations in America”.

Further examples of this mass delusion are not difficult to find. US President Obama was asked why the US managed to rise for more than 200 years without apparent failure. His response was to say, “The true strength of our nation comes not from power of our arms or the scale of our wealth, but from the staying power of our ideals of democracy, liberty, opportunity and unyielding hope.” (8) We can be forgiven for questioning the man’s sanity, that he could make such a blatantly nonsense statement. Even worse, how ignorant and gullible can Americans be, that they will cheer and wave their flags on hearing such rubbish? We have already examined the sources of wealth of this nation, and they most emphatically have never been related, not even in imagination, to ideals of democracy or liberty.

In another case illustrative of the pervasive nature of this illness, in 2014 an American football team cancelled the employment contract of one of their star players for having made a vicious assault on his wife. In a casino hotel, the elevator camera recorded the man punching his wife in the head so hard that he drove her head-first into the steel wall, rendering her unconscious on the floor. (9) (10) A moment later, the CCTV camera in the hallway recorded him dragging her unconscious body out of the elevator and dumping her on the floor like a rag doll. When the videos were released and went viral, the man made a statement to the media in which he said, “That is not the kind of person I am.” But of course it is the kind of person he is; this was the third time the police had to intervene when he had done something similar. But, as with most Americans and with the nation itself, he doesn’t compare himself to the reality of his actions but rather to the utopian ideals he pretends to hold in his mind. So even though he repeatedly punches his wife unconscious, that’s not the kind of person he is. This story is a perfect illustration of America today.

On another occasion, James Fallows, an American author and correspondent for the Atlantic magazine, wrote in one of his diatribes comparing China with the US: “… though we fall short of the ideal, we strive for a reliable rule of law.” (11) I have no particular wish to throw stones at Fallows, but this man is painting targets on his forehead with such a clearly ridiculous statement. All of the current domestic and international evidence – all of it – supports an unqualified assertion that the US freely ignores and violates every manner of law, both its own and those of other nations, whenever they become inconvenient or hinder unilateral action, yet we have Fallows with his delightfully patronising arrogance pontificating about America striving for perfection in following the rule of law, while suggesting that China does not do so. His claim is not different in quality than Bush and Obama flatly stating “we do not torture” after we have seen all the evidence and the torture prisons are all still open. Black is white. Nothing else to see here. Let’s move on. And move on Fallows does, secure in his fairyland mythology of American moral superiority, oblivious to the enormous contradictions snapping at his heels.

Fallows, in his suspended consciousness, conforms perfectly to this utopian syndrome, comparing the actions of his country to a high standard which exists only in his imagination and to which the US has never adhered. He does the same with his foolish criticisms of China, imagining the existence of some idolised standard which he then claims China fails to meet.

It is of extreme importance for readers to realise and fully understand that expressions like ‘rule of law’, ‘freedom’, and ‘democratic values’ are merely hypothetical idealistic constructs. They are myths and, like all myths, they are “designed to serve an emotive rather than cognitive function, not to provide fact based on reason but as propaganda to arouse emotions in support of an idea”. (12) Their purpose, and their clever effect, is not to provide information but to make one’s heart swell with pride at one’s own moral superiority. Think again of Fallows’ “though we fall short of the ideal, we strive for a reliable rule of law.” As Americans, we instantly feel that surge of pride in our breasts that we are so law-abiding while others by insinuation are not. Even further, we feel yet more pride that we so openly admit our (occasional and trivial) failures but, being good incarnate, we face and overcome these failings and continue striving in the best Olympic spirit. How can our god not love us?

The US government does precisely the same with its annual reports on human rights, which not only meet the definition of the utopian fallacy but contain the added merit of being mostly grand lies about countries that happen to be out of favor, and equally grand omissions about current politically-useful allies.

In this mental condition, Americans consider themselves superior to all others and believe they are advancing some greater good when all they are doing is forcibly imposing their warped anti-social values and political hegemony onto unwilling nations and peoples. Through their generations of propaganda, programming and brainwashing, most Americans live in an indispersible fog of mass delusion and self-deception in which black is white but which they inexplicably fail to fathom. From their ignorance and simple-mindedness created by their excessive utopian programming, Americans see their country’s prosecution of wars, the cannibalisation of nations and the single-minded devotion to the profit of a few elites, as the promotion of democracy and freedom, and are apparently incapable of the minor clarity of thought necessary to see that their murderous and greedy actions have absolutely nothing to do with either freedom or democracy.

When challenged, they usually offer a logic so groundless and illogical as to almost defy challenge. In their minds, all the nations their government has attacked are by utopian definition “evil regimes”. From the invasion of Mexico onward, in all the nations in South and Central America, in Africa and the Middle East, in Asia and Africa, the US was selflessly battling despotic tyranny. Of course, these nations were innocent, but to produce a list of all the countries the US has invaded and colonised with a military dictatorship, will almost inevitably evoke this response: “You make a list of all the evil regimes that “free America” has fought against, and use that list as evidence of how evil free America is.” If only that were true.

The combined political, religious and capitalistic propaganda tenets have resolved into what John Galbraith in The Affluent Society termed “conventional wisdom” (13) (14) which, through generations of that same propaganda, made these tenets “more or less identical with sound scholarship”, and their status being “virtually impregnable”, as he put it. The tenets of course have not actually been adhered to by any US government or indeed by the elites and their corporations, which means in Galbraith’s terms that the tenets are “highly acceptable in the abstract” rather than in reality. And this is the source of our dystopia of utopia in America today. We have the bizarre situation where this conventional wisdom – propaganda, in fact – makes a vigorous advocacy of these beliefs a substitute for behavior according to these beliefs.

So we have Americans preaching democracy while their government installs brutal dictatorships everywhere, and they see no disconnect. We have Americans preaching human rights while kidnapping people in other countries and “rendering” them to be mostly tortured to death, and see no disconnect. We have Americans fervently preaching and defending free-market capitalism while that same animal relieved about 30% of them of their homes and jobs, yet they see no disconnect.

This massive delusion is constantly reinforced by public repetition where each knows that many others share these beliefs. It all functions as a kind of religious morality play, the repetitive propaganda not only providing reassurance but serving as additional and pervasive evangelising of these foolish beliefs. Galbraith stated that “In some measure, the articulation of the conventional wisdom is a religious rite. It is an act of affirmation like reading aloud from the Scriptures or going to church.” He went on to say that this evangelising as a religious rite is not negligible because “its purpose is not to convey knowledge but to beatify learning and the learned”. In other words, statements like “we strive for a rule of law” are empty and nonsense pronouncements providing religious reinforcement of the mythical utopian tenets of American propaganda, then used as evidence of a superior morality tantamount to God’s will. Only in America do we find rampant self-adoration for preaching a gospel that we totally ignore in our real lives, in fact a monstrous hypocrisy re-branded as religion.

This is precisely what John Kozy was telling us (15) when he wrote that subjects in American schools were taught as if they were comprised of revealed religious truths, and in which the fundamentals of American patriotism, religious and political ideology, consumerism and free market capitalism were not different than studying the Bible in that they could not be questioned because they were by nature unquestionable, and therefore critical evaluation was proscribed. And again, “those who ask inconvenient questions are silenced in shame; books that present inconvenient truths are removed from libraries”. In the US as in no other country in the world, is it so necessary to adhere to the accepted narrative, nor so likely to provide acceptance and even applause for regurgitating that same narrative. And in no other nation does there exist the vast discrepancy between beliefs and actions or between theory and practice. The American political gospel tells us that we protect and install democracies everywhere. In real life this has never occurred even one time, but that doesn’t alter our faith in our political religion and nobody excommunicates us for our sins.

According to Galbraith again, “conventional wisdom accommodates itself not to the world that it is meant to interpret but to the audience’s view of the world”, the same view that has been artificially created by the professional propagandists. As much as Americans may criticise other nations for disapproval of deviations in behavior, especially political behavior, the same disapproval mechanism operates much more forcefully in American society. Only in America can we fully experience the awesome power of the ability of propaganda to make 300 million people so deaf, dumb and blind that they will fervently and solemnly declare that black is white. This process is so effective that not long after the flood of revelations of the extensive US network of torture prisons, including witness reports, photos and video of the pathologically depraved treatment of the prisoners, President Bush could go on national TV and tell America, “We do not torture” – and have most Americans believe him. Likewise with Obama with his torture prisons still in full operation, who told the nation, “I can stand here before you tonight and assure you that we do not torture”, leaving 300 million pathetically-brainwashed Americans firmly grounded in the moral superiority of a nation that does no wrong.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel, commenting on American deaths in Iraq, said President Bush “believes in the value and dignity of every human life, that every life is precious and he grieves for each one that is lost”. (16) (17) As proof, one day President Bush was speaking to a meeting of the terrorist organisation known as Freedom House, and told the members, “We’re a country of deep compassion. We care. One of the great things about America, one of the beauties of our country, is that when we see a young, innocent child blown up, we cry. We don’t care what the child’s religion may be, or where that child may live, we cry. It upsets us. The enemy knows that, and they’re willing to kill to shake our confidence. That’s what they’re trying to do”. (18) But then there is a White House videotape of a conversation between former Secretary of State Colin Powell and then President George Bush, discussing their Christian obligation to spread democracy everywhere, at least in part for the purpose of protecting the lives of these innocent children. (19) (20) Powell opened the conversation with, “We’ve got to smash somebody’s ass quickly. We must have a brute demonstration of power.” To which Bush responded, “Kick ass! If somebody tries to stop the march to democracy, we will seek them out and kill them! Stay strong! Kill them! We are going to wipe them out!”

After overthrowing about 50 national governments and installing brutal military remote-control dictatorships in each of them, and trying to do the same in another 20 countries while grossly interfering in their media, elections and internal affairs, Karl Eikenberry, the US ambassador in Kabul, told the world, “America has never sought to occupy any nation in the world. We are a good people”. (21) (22)

After interfering in about 100 countries, inflicting immense bloodshed and misery on countless millions of innocent civilians, US President Ronald Reagan boasted, “We have never interfered in the internal government of a country and have no intention of doing so, never had any thought of that kind.” (23) And it was the great John F. Kennedy himself who told us, “The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war”. (24) As William Blum pointed out, this must mean that in America’s hundreds of wars with more than 70 nations spanning more than 200 years, all those countries invaded the US first, and America was just defending itself.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, in an interview probably conducted in the office of his psychiatrist, claimed “the men and women of the US Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps were the most important peacekeepers in the world for the last century”. (25) This was the same interview in which he encouraged all NYT readers to “give war a chance”.

US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, needing a way to punish Saddam Hussein for not wanting to become a US colony, personally arranged the targeted destruction of Iraq’s drinking water purification facilities and enacted worldwide sanctions to prevent Iraq from obtaining replacement supplies or repairs. According to the United Nations, Albright’s actions directly resulted in the deaths of more than 500,000 Iraqi infants from contaminated drinking water, with the full knowledge of the US government. Then in a TV interview on the program 60 Minutes where she was confronted with evidence of these acts by Leslie Stahl, Albright famously proclaimed, “Yes, it was worth it.” (26) (27) And after personally arranging the 80-day non-stop bombing of Yugoslavia, the greatest continuous bombing campaign ever instituted by anybody anywhere, she said, “The United States is good. We try to do our best everywhere”. (28)

A US government official stated that “The American Empire is probably the most beneficial and moral the world has ever seen; not only in terms of technological development, but also through nurturing democracy and prosperity in the world. No other global empire has ever taken actions so massively against its interests solely for moral purposes.” Yet examination will uncover no example where the US has ever nurtured democracy, nor prosperity either, and I challenge anyone to detail even a single incident in the history of the world where the US has ever acted, massively or otherwise, against its interests solely for moral purposes. Various US military officials have claimed that “Our country is a force for good without precedent”, and that “The US military is a force for global good that … has no equal”. US President Woodrow Wilson boasted a century ago, that “America is the savior of the world”, while destroying and colonising that same world. Robert Kagan of the Carnegie Endowment for War and Misery, wrote, “And the truth is that the benevolent hegemony exercised by the US is good for a vast portion of the world’s population”. (29) Evidenced by what? By the Propaganda Mask and the Utopia syndrome. Nothing else.

American Christianity is a major part of this national insanity. George Bush informed the world that God told him to invade Iraq and, during the invasion, said “I trust God speaks through me. Without that, I couldn’t do my job”. And when the war was over, after having killed a million or more innocent Iraqi civilians, Bush said, “When we lift our hearts to God, we’re all equal in his sight. We’re all equally precious. … In prayer we grow in mercy and compassion. … When we answer God’s call to love a neighbor as ourselves, we enter into a deeper friendship with our fellow man”. We are apparently to conclude that no one has had greater love for his fellow man than George Bush had for the million civilians he killed in Iraq and that Madeleine Albright was just exhibiting her great love for mankind by killing half a million infants. And of course, Obama can’t be left out of this parade. After countless thousands of deaths in the illegal destruction of Libya and the countless civilian deaths incurred by his drones in Pakistan, he fulfilled his propaganda obligation by telling us, “I believe that Christ died for my sins and I am redeemed through him. That is a source of strength and sustenance on a daily basis”. (30) The people in Afghanistan, Libya, Syria and Pakistan might have a different interpretation of Obama’s relationship with his god.

Another result of this utopian syndrome is what we term “the pot calling the kettle black”, in other words, attributing to others the sins that “our side” commits and being apparently oblivious to the gross illogic and falsehoods in our position. The only reason the US accuses Huawei of being a potential spy is because Cisco, Microsoft, Intel, Xerox, and so many other American IT firms have been spying for the CIA and NSA for decades. The US media accuse anyone writing articles sympathetic to China, Russia or Iran of being paid shills, only because American correspondents have been paid CIA shills since the 1950s.

Another example that recently crossed my path was an article in the Financial Times by Jamil Anderlini who was at the time the FT’s station chief in Beijing. In an article titled ‘Patriotic education distorts China world view’, (31) Anderlini claimed that China’s “selective teaching of history influences its self-image”, imagining a great “disconnection between how the world views China and how China – from ordinary citizens to top leaders – sees itself.” He stated the world sees China as a frightening monster that bullies all other nations, his ignorance rendering him blissfully unaware that this sentiment is not true for China but for the US that he defends.

He wrote that China’s “selective teaching” of history and emphasis on “patriotic education” cultivates a “nationalistic, anti-western victim mentality among young Chinese”, again apparently ignorant of the typical Western (US) patriotic education cultivating US patriotism. This mentality is typical for all Western media correspondents who are selected primarily for the extent of their conversion by US propaganda. This is perhaps a good place to note that prior to joining the Financial Times, Anderlini was employed as a male underwear model which employment no doubt contributed to his deep understanding of Chinese culture while solidifying his credentials as the FT’s Beijing station chief.


Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 28 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English-language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology When China Sneezes‘. His full archive can be seen at https://www.moonofshanghai.com/ + http://www.bluemoonofshanghai.com/ He can be contacted at: 2186604556@qq.com.

Notes

(1) https://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/01/12/is-the-united-states-a-racial-democracy/

(2) https://nsarchive.gwu.edu/briefing-book/intelligence/2017-06-02/white-house-cia-pike-committee-1975

(3) https://spartacus-educational.com/JFKassassinationsC.htm

(4) https://williamblum.org/essays/read/us-government-assassination-plots

(5) https://www.moonofshanghai.com/2020/08/blog-post_49.html

(6) https://www.researchgate.net/publication/259127294_Americans_and_Iraq_twelve_years_apart_Comparing_support_for_the_US_wars_in_Iraq

(7) http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Parenti/Superpatriotism.html

(8) https://edition.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/11/04/obama.transcript/

(9) https://knowyourmeme.com/memes/events/ray-rice-elevator-assault-video

(10) https://pressofatlanticcity.com/news/crime/ravens-ray-rice-indicted-in-aggravated-assault-on-fiancee-at-atlantic-city-casino/article_1f5f5e80-b5e9-11e3-b57b-0019bb2963f4.html

(11) https://www.theatlantic.com/author/james-fallows/

(12) I have lost the source of this quotation

(13) https://www.betterhelp.com/advice/wisdom/conventional-wisdom-what-it-means-and-when-to-use-it/

(14) https://www.amazon.com/Affluent-Society-John-Kenneth-Galbraith/dp/0395925002

(15) https://www.globalresearch.ca/learning-without-questioning-in-america-the-sunday-school-syndrome/5364233

(16) https://williamblum.org/aer/read/55

(17) https://www.counterpunch.org/2008/03/04/how-could-hillary-have-known/

(18) https://williamblum.org/aer/read/32

(19) https://www.lewrockwell.com/2008/06/tom-engelhardt/kill-kill-kill/

(20) http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article41967.htm

(21) https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/cifamerica/2011/jun/20/the-talibans-wishlist

(22) https://www.foreignpolicyjournal.com/2011/07/08/the-brown-mans-burden/

(23) http://whale.to/b/reagan_h.html

Ronald Reagan, 1982. See: Nicaragua [2011 Jan] RONALD REAGAN: ILLUMINATI TOOL [1995] The Crimes of Mena By Sally Denton and Roger Morris.

(24) https://www.jfklibrary.org/archives/other-resources/john-f-kennedy-speeches/american-university-19630610

(25) https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2009/10/frie-o13.html

(26) https://dissidentvoice.org/2010/10/the-evil-of-madeleine-albright/

(27) https://dissidentvoice.org/2020/03/we-think-the-price-is-worth-it/

(28) https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/American_benevolence

(29) https://carnegieendowment.org/1998/06/01/benevolent-empire-pub-275

(30) https://www.boston.com/news/politics/2008/articles/2008/08/17/obama_mccain_air_views_on_faith/

(31) https://www.ft.com/content/66430e4e-4cb0-11e2-986e-00144feab49a

الديمقراطيّة الأميركيّة: الحقيقة والوهم! من غوايدو كراكاس إلى «غوايدو» واشنطن…

د. عدنان منصور

الولايات المتحدة الأميركية التي نصّبت نفسها لعقود، حاملة شعارات براقة، وآثرت باستمرار على ترويجها، وتسويقها لشعوب العالم، مدّعية حرصها الدائم و»غيرتها» الشديدة على التمسك بالمبادئ والقيم، وعلى نشر مفاهيم الديمقراطية في العالم، وتعزيز أسس الحرية وحقوق الإنسان، آخر من يحقّ لها الكلام بعد ما شاهده العالم من مهزلة «ديمقراطية» يوم أول امس جرت على أرضها.

لم تكن الولايات المتحدة يوماً، بأجهزتها العميقة داخل الدولة، الا نصيرة ومنقذة، وداعمة للأنظمة الدكتاتورية في العالم بأبشع صورها، وعدوة رئيسة لكل الانظمة الوطنية الديمقراطية الحرة التي جاءت بإرادة شعوبها، وكان ذنبها الكبير الذي لا يُغتفر، انها ترفض سياسة التبعية، والإذلال والتسلط، والسيطرة الأميركية عليها .

لم تحترم الولايات المتحدة ارادة الشعوب الحرة، التي قررت عدم السير في الفلك الأميركي، مصمّمة الحفاظ على قرارها الحر المستقلّ، حيث كانت واشنطن تلجأ الى معاقبة الأنظمة التي تعارض سياساتها، والإطاحة بها، من خلال تنفيذها للانقلابات، وتخطيط المؤامرات، وتحريك أجهزتها العسكرية والاستخباراتية. هكذا كان سلوك الولايات المتحدة على الدوام ضدّ الأنظمة الديمقراطية الوطنية في أميركا الوسطى وأميركا الجنوبية، وفي أفريقيا، وآسيا والعالم العربي. ليس من السهولة على العالم أن ينسى ما فعلته أجهزة المخابرات الأميركية CIA وقوات المارينز، من مؤامرات متنقلة أطاحت بالأنظمة الديمقراطية لتحلّ مكانها انظمة ديكتاتورية تكون في خدمة الولايات المتحدة وأهدافها، ومصالحها الاقتصادية والأمنية والاستراتيجية.

كان الحال مع سلفادور اللندي في تشيلي، مروراً بكوبا الثورة، ونيكاراغوا، والمكسيك، وبنما، وغانا نكروما، وإيران مصدّق، وإندونيسيا سوكارنو، وسيريلانكا باندرانيكا، وغيرها الكثير من الأنظمة الوطنية الديمقراطية التي أطاحت بها الولايات المتحدة خلال عقود سابقة حيث اللائحة تطول.

اليوم تطفو الديمقراطية الأميركية المزيفة على السطح. فالمنظومة العميقة داخل الدولة الأميركية، تفعل فعلها، وتثبت للملأ أنها ضدّ الديمقراطية وإرادة الشعب الأميركي الذي جاء ببايدن رئيساً للولايات المتحدة. هذه المنظومة التي تحرم الديمقراطية الحقيقية على الشعوب الحرة التي تختار زعماءها بإرادتها، والتي تعمل في ما بعد على تشويه العملية الديمقراطية والتشكيك فيها، ومن ثم التحضير للقيام بالإطاحة بها، تطبّق اليوم سلوكها المشين حتى في الداخل الأميركي رافضة قرار الشعب، معتبرة ان الانتخابات الرئاسية، يشوبها التزوير، والفساد والفوضى والتآمر، فقامت باقتحام الديمقراطية في عقر دارها، وهي التي جاءت برئيسها قبل أربع سنوات، والمنهزم اليوم عبر صناديق الاقتراع.

لقد أنجبت الولايات المتحدة من جملة من أنجبتهم، غوايدو في فنزويلا، وبينوشيه في تشيلي، وباتيستا في كوبا، وعائلة تروخيليو في جمهوريات الموز، وماركوس في الفلبين، والشاه محمد رضا بهلوي في إيران، وسوهارتو في اندونيسيا، وحسني الزعيم في سورية، بالإضافة الى عشرات الدمى في العالم العربي وبلدان العالم الأخرى.

ها هو غوايدو أميركا يطلّ برأسه في الداخل الأميركي هذه المرة، عبر قرصان الديمقراطية المزيفة ترامب، لينقض على النتيجة الرئاسية كما تنقض أجهزة الولايات المتحدة على نتائج الانتخابات التي تقول فيها الشعوب كلمتها الحقة، وتعبّر عن إرادتها الحرة، التي تتعارض مع سياسات الغطرسة الأميركية، وتدخلاتها ونفوذها وهيمنتها!! فالدولة التي يقول رئيسها وهو على سدة الرئاسة، إن انتخابات بلده مزيفة ومزوّرة، غير جديرة بأن تكون النموذج الذي يُحتذى به من قبل الشعوب الحرة، وبالتالي هي آخر من يحق لها بعد اليوم، ان تراقب وتتابع أيّ عملية انتخابية تجري في دولة من دول العالم، أو تحكم، أو تعطي شهادة «حسن سلوك» تقيم من خلالها مستوى شفافية الديمقراطية للدول التي ترفض بالشكل والأساس سياسة التسلط والتهديد والابتزاز الأميركي.

يوم السادس من كانون الثاني لعام 2021، لن يكون إلا وصمة سوداء على جبين الديمقراطية الأميركية التي ترنّحت أمام المشهد البشع عندما شاهدت شعوب العالم كله، جحافل «الجمهوريين» وهي تقتحم عقر دار الديمقراطية وتعبث بها، في مشهد قلّ أن نرى نظيره في العالم. فلو كان الذي حصل في الولايات المتحدة، جرى مثله في دولة من دول العالم لا ترضى عن سياستها وتوجهاتها واشنطن، لثارت ثائرتها، وأقامت الدنيا وأقعدتها، لتظهر للعالم بمظهر الغيور والحامي للديمقراطية وحرية الشعوب وحقوقها .

ما حصل في الولايات المتحدة أثلج ولا شكّ قلوب العديد من الشعوب الحرة المقهورة التي ذاقت الكثير من الظلم والمصائب والويلات والفوضى والحروب والدمار التي حلت بها، نتيجة السياسات التعسّفية المستبدة، التي مارستها الإدارة الأميركية بحقها، والتي كانت تبرّر أفعالها وتدخلاتها في شؤونها، بسبب «حرصها» البالغ

على احترام الديمقراطية، وحقوق الإنسان وتوفير الحرية لها.

لقد كشفت بوضوح منظومة الدولة العميقة التي أرادت أن تطيح بنتائج الانتخابات الرئاسية وتعيدها الى نقطة الصفر، الوجه المزيف للحياة السياسية الأميركية، التي تشوّهت وغابت عنها صدقيتها، وأوجدت شرخاً كبيراً داخل المجتمع الأميركي، حيث لا أحد يستطيع منذ الآن، معرفة متى وكيف سيلتئم الجرح العميق، بعد ان تزعزعت الثقة بـ «الديمقراطية» الأميركية، من قبل الداخل قبل الخارج.

*وزير الخارجية والمغتربين الأسبق

Democracies Don’t Start Wars. But Democrats Do

By Philip Giraldi, Ph.D.
Source: Strategic Culture

It may have been President Bill Clinton who once justified his wrecking of the Balkans by observing that liberal interventionism to bring about regime change is a good thing because “Democracies don’t start wars with other democracies.” Or it might have been George W. Bush talking about Iraq or even Barack Obama justifying his destruction of Libya or his interventions relating to Syria and Ukraine. The principle is the same when the world’s only superpower decides to throw its weight around.

The idea that pluralistic democracies are somehow less inclined to go to war has in fact been around for a couple of hundred years and was first elaborated by Immanuel Kant in an essay entitled “Perpetual Peace” that was published in 1795. Kant may have been engaging in some tongue in cheek as the French relatively liberal republic, the “Directory,” was at that time preparing to invade Italy to spread the revolution. The presumption that “democracies” are somehow more pacific than other forms of government is based on the principle that it is in theory more difficult to convince an entire nation of the desirability of initiating armed conflict compared to what happens in a monarchy where only one man or woman has to be persuaded.

The American Revolution, which preceded Kant, was clearly not fought on the principle that kings are prone to start wars while republics are not, and, indeed, the “republican” United States has nearly always been engaged in what most observers would consider to be wars throughout its history. And a review of the history of the European wars of the past two hundred years suggests that it is also overly simple to suggest that democracies eschew fighting each other. There are, after all, many different kinds of governments, most with constitutions, many of which are quite politically liberal even if they are headed by a monarch or oligarchy. They have found themselves on different sides in the conflicts that have troubled Europe since the time of Napoleon.

And wars are often popular, witness the lines of enthusiastic young men lining up to enlist when the Triple Entente took on the Germans and Austrians to begin the First World War. So, war might be less likely among established democracies, but it should be conceded that the same national interests that drive a dictatorship can equally impact on a more pluralistic form of government, particularly if the media “the territory of lies” is in on the game. One recalls how the Hearst newspaper chain created the false narrative that resulted in the U.S.’s first great overseas imperial venture, the Spanish-American War. More recently, the mainstream media in the United States has supported the disastrous invasion of Iraq, the destabilization of Syria, and the regime change in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Libya.

So now we Americans have the ultimate liberal democratic regime about to resume power, possibly with a majority in both houses of Congress to back up the presidency. But something is missing in that the campaigning Democrats never talked about a peace dividend, and now that they are returning the airwaves are notable for Senators like Mark Warner asking if the alleged Russian hacking of U.S. computers is an “act of war?” Senator Dick Durbin has no doubts on the issue, having declared it “virtually a declaration of war.” And Joe Biden appears to be on board, considering punishment for Moscow. Are we about to experience Russiagate all over? In fact, belligerency is not unique to Donald Trump and Mike Pompeo.  War is in the air, and large majority of the Democratic Party recently voted for the pork-bloated National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), endorsing a policy of U.S. global military dominance for the foreseeable future. If you are an American who would like to see national health insurance, a large majority among Democrats, forget about it!

But more to the point, the Democrats have a worse track record than do the Republicans when it comes to starting unnecessary wars. Donald Trump made the point of denouncing “stupid wars” when he was running for office and has returned to that theme also in the past several weeks, though he did little enough to practice what he preached until it was too late and too little. Clinton notoriously intervened in the Balkans and bombed a pharmaceuticals factory in Sudan and a cluster of tents in Afghanistan to draw attention away from his affair with Monica Lewinsky. His secretary of State Madeleine Albright thought the death of 500,000 Iraqi children due to U.S. sanctions was “worth it.” Barack Obama tried to destroy Syria, interfered in Ukraine and succeeded in turning Libya into an ungovernable mess while compiling a “kill list” and assassinating U.S. citizens overseas using drones.

If you want to go back farther, Woodrow Wilson involved the U.S. in World War One while Franklin D. Roosevelt connived at America’s entry into the Second World War. FDR’s successor Harry Truman dropped two atomic bombs on civilian targets in Japan, killing as many as 200,000. Japan was preparing to surrender, which was known to the White House and Pentagon, making the first use of nuclear weapons completely unnecessary and one might call it a “war crime.” Truman also got involved in Korea and John F. Kennedy started the intervention in Vietnam, though there are indications that he was planning to withdraw from it when he was killed. The only Democratic president who failed to start one or more wars was the much-denigrated Jimmy Carter.

So, it is Joe Biden’s turn at the wheel. One has to question the philosophy of government that he brings with him as he has never found a war that he didn’t support and several of his cabinet choices are undeniably hardliners on what they refer to as national security. The lobbies are also putting pressure on Biden to do the “right thing,” which for them is to continue an interventionist foreign policy. The Israeli connected Foundation for the Defense Democracies (FDD) has not surprisingly issued a collection of essays that carries the title “Defending Forward: Securing America by Projecting Military Power Abroad.” If one had to bet at this point “defending forward” will be what the Biden Administration is all about. And oh, by the way, as democracies don’t go to war with democracies, it will only be the designated bad guys who will be on the receiving end of America’s military might.Or at least that is how the tale will be told.

The ‘European Democracy Action Plan’ Risks Sanctioning EU Citizens For Exercising Free Speech

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By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

3 DECEMBER 2020

The

The long-waited “European Democracy Action Plan” has finally been unveiled, but its proposal to sanction alleged purveyors of so-called “disinformation” is extremely worrisome because people (including EU citizens) might have their fundamental rights and freedoms violated if they’re punished for publishing and/or sharing content that’s been arbitrarily flagged as such, and the Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency’s ambiguity about whether this will be imposed against publicly financed Russian international media outlets like RT and Sputnik risks the possibility that their EU employees might be sanctioned for their professional affiliations too.

The EDAP’s Supposed Principles

The “European Democracy Action Plan” (EDAP) has just been unveiled, but instead of reassuring everyone about the bloc’s commitment to human rights in its fight against so-called “disinformation”, it dangerously risks violating them by proposing that alleged purveyors of such arbitrarily flagged information products be sanctioned. The document starts off innocuously enough by explaining the need to “promote free and fair elections and democratic participation; support free and independent media; and counter disinformation”, all of which it’s claimed will be done “in full respect of the fundamental rights and freedoms enshrined in the Treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights, as well as in national and international human rights rules.” Regarding the aforementioned Charter, they note how “media freedom and media pluralism” are “enshrined” in it. The EDAP also condemns the fact that “Smear campaigns are frequent and overall intimidation and politically motivated interference have become commonplace” when describing the threats to journalists’ safety, some of which they note are “even initiated by political actors, in Europe and beyond”, which “can lead to self-censorship and reduce the space for public debate on important issues.”

The Definition Of “Disinformation”

This makes it all the more surprising that the EDAP later goes on to propose sanctions against those who repeatedly spread “disinformation”, which they define as “false or misleading content that is spread with an intention to deceive or secure economic or political gain and which may cause public harm”. Although they promise that this will be done “in full respect of fundamental rights and freedoms”, no transparent mechanism is suggested for explaining how they determine the offending individual’s intent for sharing supposed “disinformation”, nor is there any mention of an appeals process for those who are unfairly targeted for the same political reasons that the EDAP’s authors earlier condemned. The document notes that the experiences of the European External Action Service’s (EEAS) East Stratcom Task Force (which, while not mentioned in the text, is the combined foreign and defense ministry of the EU that also runs the defamatory “EU vs. Disinformation” portal which regards any non-mainstream “politically incorrect” viewpoint as Russian and/or Chinese “disinformation”) will play a role in this process, which is extremely disturbing because of how politically motivated that structure’s determinations are.

A Dystopian Task Force For Stifling Free Speech

The EEAS East Stratcom Task Force actually represents everything that the EDAP earlier said that it’s against. To channel the document’s own words, “Smear campaigns are frequent and overall intimidation and politically motivated interference have become commonplace” as evidenced by their hit piece in December 2019 against me personally and occasional “debunking” of OneWorld’s factually sourced analyses (which are personal interpretations of the facts and not representative of a “chain of command from the Kremlin” like they libelously wrote without any evidence whatsoever other than circumstantial speculation). Their labeling of the site as “being a new edition to the pantheon of Moscow-based disinformation outlets” proves that they’ve arbitrarily concluded that the intent of its authors such as myself is spread “disinformation”, which the EDAP defines as “false or misleading content that is spread with an intention to deceive or secure economic or political gain and which may cause public harm”. I never had any such intent since the purpose in sharing my analyses is solely to stimulate “debate on important public issues”, which is a personal mission statement that’s actually in accordance with what the EDAP purportedly says that it wants to protect.

EU vs. Disinformation” Or “EU + Disinformation”?

From my experience being defamed by the EEAS East Stratcom Task Force’s “EU vs. Disinformation” project, I have no confidence in its capabilities to make independent and accurate determinations but rather suspect that it’s a political instrument wielded by the EU’s foreign and defense ministries to intimidate those who share “politically incorrect” interpretations of “important public issues”. The EDAP says that its anti-disinformation proposals “do not seek to and cannot interfere with people’s right to express opinions or to restrict access to legal content or limit procedural safeguards including access to judicial remedy.” Nevertheless, my right to express my opinion is being infringed upon after my work was defamed as “disinformation” (importantly without anyone from that platform ever making an attempt to contact me beforehand even on Twitter despite them referring to my account there and thus being aware of it prior to the publication of their hit piece), and I have no access to “judicial remedy” after what they’ve done. Based on what the EDAP proposes pertaining to sanctions against alleged purveyors of “disinformation”, OneWorld, its media partners, myself, and/or the other contributors including those who are EU citizens might possibly have such costs unfairly imposed upon them.

Cracking Down On EU Citizens

Vice President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency Vera Jourova ominously told the US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) “in an interview to coincide” with Thursday’s release of the EDAP that “sanctions will should [sic] follow the EU’s cybersanction regime, which was used for the first time this year to freeze assets and introduce visa bans on offenders — primarily Russian, Chinese, and North Korean citizens and companies — that have attacked the bloc.” Just as equally disturbing was that “she didn’t want to specify at the moment (whether Russian media companies such as RT and Sputnik can be targeted in the future), but added that ‘it can be governmental or nongovernmental actors, whoever will be identified, using very good evidence, that they are systematic producers or promoters of disinformation.’” This confirms what I feared when I read the EDAP, namely that individuals employed by those two companies (including EU citizens among them), as well as people such as myself dangerously defamed by the EEAS East Stratcom’s Task Force and others for allegedly being part of a Russian state “disinformation” conspiracy, might one day wake up to find themselves sanctioned by the EU.

EDAP’s Ambiguities Must Be Immediately Addressed

In order to sincerely abide by its stated principles to respect people’s freedoms, the EDAP must be amended to remove any ambiguities which could allow for the sanctioning of individual people, especially those who might even be EU citizens. After all, its “EU vs. Disinformation” “watchdog” functions more as a politically driven attack dog as proven by my personal experience of having been defamed by them (made all the incriminating on their part because no attempt was made to contact me for comment on the same Twitter account that they wrote about in their hit piece before publishing it). Everyone has the right to freely express their views even if they’re “politically incorrect”, and it’s practically impossible for a nebulous structure representing the entire bloc’s foreign and defense ministry to confidently determine someone’s “intention to deceive or secure economic or political gain and which may cause public harm” whenever they publish, share, or tag someone under such arbitrarily flagged information products. Nobody can be confident in the EU’s ability to combat legitimate instances of “disinformation” when that defamatory label is casually thrown around with reckless abandon without considering the life-changing consequences that it could have for the victims like myself.

Media Literacy Is The Solution To “Disinformation”

The EDAP had it right near the end of the document when it proposed improving everyone’s media literacy like I earlier suggested over the summer after being victimized by a different defamation attack. Instead of violating people’s rights and especially those who might be EU citizens, the bloc should prioritize media literacy in order to cultivate a well-informed populace capable of arriving at their own conclusions about the various information products that they encounter. Falsely labeling something “disinformation” just because a government superbureaucracy like the EEAS can’t tolerate the fact that someone is peacefully sharing a dissident political opinion in line with their UN-enshrined human right to do so seriously discredits the bloc as a whole and raises questions about its stated intentions. Jourova herself said in a speech on the day that the EDAP was unveiled that “We do not want to create a ministry of truth. Freedom of speech is essential and I will not support any solution that undermines it”, yet that very same document that she was promoting does exactly that when it comes to my and others’ freedom of speech, especially those who are EU citizens whether casually involved in what’s wrongly described as “disinformation” or employees of foreign media companies.

Concluding Thoughts

Sanctions are never the solution to combating so-called “disinformation”, media literacy is, as the former is akin to the same state intimidation that the EDAP purports to be against while the latter is proof of confidence in people’s capabilities to independently arrive at their own conclusions. Only a “ministry of truth” would dare to sanction people, including its own citizens (however that would work out in practice despite potentially being illegal under the EU’s own laws since its people’s assets and freedom of movement can’t be seized/restricted without court order), for exercising their freedom of speech by sharing “politically incorrect” interpretations (analyses) of the facts. Quite hypocritically, some in the EU claim that Russia is a “dictatorship”, yet Moscow hasn’t threatened to sanction foreign media outlets, foreign commentators, and even its own citizens through asset seizures and/or travel restrictions for sharing views that contradict the Kremlin’s. In fact, judging by the EDAP itself and Jourova’s ominous hints in her interview with RFE/RL, it can be said that the EU will be much less democratic than Russia if it goes through with its “disinformation” sanctions proposal, thus turning the bloc into a modern-day Soviet Union when it comes suppressing freedom of speech and peaceful dissent.

Trump Doubles Down on Coup D’État

Trump Doubles Down on Coup D'État - TheAltWorld

Finian Cunningham

Former editor and writer for
major news media organizations.
He has written extensively on
international affairs, with articles
published in several languages

November 12, 2020©

For the first time in the history of the United States an incumbent president is refusing to concede electoral defeat. Ominously, Donald Trump, the sitting president, has this week also packed the Pentagon’s civilian leadership and intel agencies with political loyalists who are described as his “foot-soldiers”.

The flurry of appointees are former special forces and generals. Here is a profile of the president’s men. One Pentagon insider said of them: “These are the people who go in and do whatever they think is required to achieve his [Trump’s] agenda. They are true soldiers in the war on government, the war on what Trump calls the deep state.”

The shakeup in the military-intelligence apparatus has stunned observers from its audacity. There is speculation that Trump will next sack the Pentagon’s top general Mark Milley, FBI chief Christopher Wray and CIA director Gina Haspel, to be replaced by “true believers” of his Make America Great Again project.

There is an edgy feeling that Trump, a maverick megalomaniac, is actually going for it. That is, a coup d’état.

But this can’t happen here, or so goes the plaintive refrain. Well, it looks like it is.

A stunning bold-faced denial of reality this week came from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who told incredulous reporters that there would be a “smooth transition”… to a second Trump administration.

Most of the Republican lawmakers on Capitol Hill are refusing to acknowledge publicly that Democrat Joe Biden won the presidential election – despite him gaining a decisive lead of more than five million votes over Trump as well as in the all-important Electoral College votes.

Trump-appointed Attorney General William Barr is brazenly politicizing the justice department by endorsing Trump’s calls for investigations and lawsuits over allegations of voting fraud and other purported irregularities. There is negligible evidence to support these allegations, many of which have been thrown out already by state judges as frivolous. But Barr is giving inordinate authority to shore up what amounts to tittle-tattle from a sore loser.

State election officials, both Republican and Democrat, have unanimously reported no significant electoral fraud or malfeasance.

Republican city commissioner in Philadelphia Al Schmidt, in the key swing state of Pennsylvania which was won by Biden, confirmed there were no voting irregularities. He was then denounced as “disloyal” by Trump. Schmidt also claims to have subsequently received death threats.

Strangely, too, Trump and Republicans in Congress aren’t complaining about fraud in the down-ballot votes for the House and the Senate races where they performed relatively well in gaining or holding on to seats. Even though those ballots were cast in the exact same process as the presidential vote. How can one item on the ballot sheet be prone to fraud, but the ones which suit Republicans aren’t? It’s self-serving duplicity that’s what it is.

What Team Trump is betting on is not winning litigation over the election results. There is not a chance of the president overturning the large majorities that Biden won in key swing states. No, the game plan seems to be to cast doubt on the legitimacy of the elections and run out the clock so that Republican legislatures in states like Pennsylvania, Georgia, Wisconsin, Michigan and Arizona do not certify Biden as the winner of the popular vote.

Moreover, it is being mooted that Republican legislatures in these states will appoint electors to the Electoral College who will nominate Trump as the winner, in defiance of the popular vote. The Electoral College is to convene on December 14 when the deciding vote is cast on who is to be next president. Tradition and precedent holds that the state electors respect the popular vote, but this election is unprecedented. It is not unthinkable that Trump will continue insisting that the election was stolen from him by citing (baseless) fraud claims. For many of his 72 million voters, there is a shared conviction (delusion) that the election was rigged or absurdly contend that the coronavirus was “weaponized”.

Biden won over 77 million votes in the popular ballot. If Trump goes for barricading himself in the White House claiming he is the rightful winner, then the U.S. faces a constitutional nightmare scenario. Widespread violent protests are on the cards, if not civil war. Already Trump hacks have prepared the propaganda narrative that any protests against Trump are the work of “Antifa subversives” and “Marxist terrorists”. We saw that outlandish narrative being wheeled out during the recent months of legitimate massive protests against racist police killings.

As tensions boil over in the run-up to the presidential inauguration date on January 2o, what Trump and his cadres will declare is a state of emergency and martial law to “protect the nation” from leftists and “deep state” orchestrated “color revolution” against a “democratically elected president”.

This is the significance of the shakeup at the Pentagon and intelligence apparatus this week. Trump is putting in place the kind of fascist operatives to carry out his coup d’état.

Ironically, Trump claims he was the target of coup forces from the deep state after his 2016 election victory over “swamp creature” Hillary Clinton. To be fair to Trump, that effort to unseat him was real enough, centered on baseless “Russia collusion” claims that dogged his entire presidency. However, that coup attempt failed. But now another seizure of power is underway this time hatched by Trump himself and his cronies.

Biden and his Democrat party are being sheepishly complacent about the dramatic and daring power grab taking place by Trump. Biden this week sought to sound calm and cool, saying that Trump’s refusal to concede defeat was merely “embarrassing”. Biden really is being “sleepy Joe” if he doesn’t realize that there is a coup going down in the White House.

Another sign of complacency was from the New York Times which headlined: ‘Trump Stacks the Pentagon and Intel Agencies with Loyalists. To What End?’

The NY Times answered its question by speculating Trump was planning overseas adventurism, perhaps a military attack on Iran or a rushed withdrawal of troops from Afghanistan.

How stupidly complacent. Trump’s adventurism is not overseas, it is right at home. It’s all about trashing the U.S. constitution and installing himself for a second term regardless of democratic mandate. In short, dictatorship.

The Refusal of Democrats & Republicans to Face Political Reality

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☆ ZENITH NEWS® AN INDEPENDENT NEWS AGENCY

Eric Zuesse November 1, 2020

Almost all of America’s Democratic and Republican voters are simply closed-minded, and refuse to acknowledge that each of this nation’s two political Parties is controlled by its billionaires and is profoundly corrupt, not allowing any progressive legislation (but only conservative and liberal legislation, which is backed by billionaires) to get through, nor any progressive jurist to receive a high court appointment, nor any progressive Presidential candidate to win the Party’s nomination — such as Bernie Sanders in 2016, and in 2020. It’s a dictatorship by America’s Republican and Democratic billionaires, no democracy, at all, and the vast majority of voters in each Party refuse to recognize this core reality about today’s America. To them, it’s Democrats versus Republicans, instead of billionaires versus the public. They are wrong, and they don’t even care that they are wrong.

For example, on the Republican side, the fact that Donald Trump’s coronavirus leadership has been a catastrophic failure and is recognized throughout the world to be so, is ignored by some and denied by others, but it’s not recognized by Republican voters — they are in reality-denial about it. Also, for another example, these voters are in reality-denial about Trump’s racism and race-baiting. They deny the clear evidence of it.

However, on the Democratic side, the fact that Joe Biden is profoundly corrupt is simply ignored, as is the fact that he stole the nomination from Sanders by lying through his teeth. As is the fact that Biden was the U.S. Senate’s leading advocate in the Democratic Party for continuing segregation (‘separate but equal’). He was a stealthy bigot, not only on segregation, but on criminal justice. Also, the fact that Biden is an ardent proponent of U.S. imperialism and of the privatization of infrastructure in the conquered countries so as to sell them off to U.S.-and-allied investors, is likewise totally ignored by Democrats. (The main difference between Biden and Trump on foreign policy is over which country is the most important to conquer: for Trump it’s China; for Biden it’s Russia; but both want to conquer also Syria, Iran, Venezuela, and a few others.)

Perhaps the truth that both Republican and Democratic voters resist more strongly than any other is that the Republicans’ leadership regarding coronavirus-policy has been disastrously myth-laden and bad, and that Democrats are better only in that they are not leading this disaster, but Democrats have actually gone along with Trump on it wherever the polls were showing that a majority of the public were supporting his policy on the given matter. In other words: Biden’s policy has been simply to gloat over Trump’s getting all of the blame, and to avoid crucial specifics on what his own policy and priorities would be. But a choice between two evils is still evil — it’s an evil system. What is evil there is not merely the options, but the corrupt system that restricts those options to only ones that are acceptable to the actual rulers, to the very few — the aristocracy — that benefit from, and control, the corruption. That’s what’s more evil than either of the two nominees is. It is the people who are financing their political careers. And this is the reality that the vast majority of America’s voters, in both Parties, refuse to recognize. They refuse to recognize the more-fundamental problem, which problem is the trap that the country has degenerated into. Without recognizing that more-fundamental problem, there is no way out of it — not even possibly a way out of it.

Here is how disastrous it is, as reflected in the coronavirus results:

Great leadership on this matter was recognized right at the very start of the soaring pandemic:

On 5 April 2020, Suze Wilson, of Massey University, headlined “Three reasons why Jacinda Ardern’s coronavirus response has been a masterclass in crisis leadership”, and she wrote of New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern:

Imagine, if you can, what it’s like to make decisions on which the lives of tens of thousands of other people depend. If you get things wrong, or delay deciding, they die.

Your decisions affect the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of people, resulting in huge economic disruption, mass layoffs and business closures. Imagine you must act quickly, without having complete certainty your decisions will achieve what you hope.

Now imagine that turning your decisions into effective action depends on winning the support of millions of people.

Yes, you do have enforcement capacity at your disposal. But success or failure hinges on getting most people to choose to follow your leadership – even though it demands sudden, unsettling, unprecedented changes to their daily lives.

This is the harsh reality political leaders around the world have faced in responding to COVID-19.

As someone who researches and teaches leadership – and has also worked in senior public sector roles under both National and Labour-led governments – I’d argue New Zealand’s Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is giving most Western politicians a masterclass in crisis leadership.

Three communication skills every leader needs

When it comes to assessing New Zealand’s public health response, we should all be listening to epidemiologists like Professor Michael Baker [Otago U., “‘Overjoyed’: a leading health expert on New Zealand’s coronavirus shutdown [announced 23 March 2020], and the challenging weeks ahead” March 23, 2020]. On Friday, Baker said [“Coronavirus: NZ with a chance to be only Western nation to eradicate COVID-19 – expert”, 3 April 2020]. New Zealand had the “most decisive and strongest lockdown in the world at the moment” – and New Zealand is “a huge standout as the only Western country that’s got an elimination goal” for COVID-19. …

What has been the result of that policy?

At the moment, as I write, the definitive website tracking the Covid-19 cases and deaths around the world, which is https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/#countries, shows that the United States has had 26,860 cases per million residents, and 695 deaths per million residents. By contrast: New Zealand has had 388 cases per million residents, and 5 deaths per million residents. Per million people, America has 69 cases for each coronavirus case in N.Z., and 139 deaths for each such death in N.Z. That’s the difference between a society that serves its population, and a society that doesn’t. The difference is huge multiples, not merely a few percent.

But not all of the blame for this goes to Donald Trump, and not all of the credit for this goes to Jacinda Ardern. A dysfunctional society, such as America, has far lower levels of public trust in its leaders, because it has far less reason than New Zealanders do to trust their leaders. Even if Trump had been trying to do what Ardern did, Americans would have been vastly more resistant to it, than New Zealanders were. New Zealanders love their country, and don’t hate each other trying to grab control of it, out of fear that ‘the other side’ might win, as the case is in America. In America, the actual other side — the behind-the-scenes rulers — already have control, no matter which of their two Parties dominates, and so the only real solution for that dictatorship is for the public to take the country back from them. But this can’t be done if the voters are in denial of that reality. The head-in-the-sand approach can’t do it. But that’s the approach in America.

If Michael Baker was able to recognize as early as March 23rd that N.Z. was “looking like the only Western country with a chance of eradicating COVID-19,” then maybe his prediction’s coming true (to the extent that it has) wasn’t only luck.

But how well have the best non-Western countries been doing on this matter? Here are the best coronavirus-performers among them (and, for the most part, they are countries that Americans have been taught to despise): Vietnam (12 and 0.4), Cambodia (17 & 0), Taiwan (23 & 0.3), Burundi (46 & 0.08), Niger (50 & 3), Thailand (54 & 0.8), China (60 & 3), Papua (65 & 0.8), Yemen (69 & 20), Chad (87 & 6), Burkina Faso (117 & 3), DRC (124 & 3). Mali (171 & 7), Benin (209 & 3), Somalia (246 & 6), Uganda (250 & 2), South Sudan (257 & 5), Togo (264 & 6), Liberia (278 & 16), Angola (283 & 8), Nigeria (298 & 5), Malawi (306 & 9), Syria (310 & 15), Sudan (311 & 19), Mozambique (386 & 3). And all of those can be compared to N.Z. (388 & 5).

Above those were: Rwanda (389 & 3), Sri Lanka (392 & 0.7), South Korea (506 & 9), Zimbabwe (554 & 16), Cuba (582 & 11), Madagascar (608 & 9), Hong Kong (which is China’s richest city: 706 & 14), and Japan (768 & 14).

The next-lowest Western country is Australia (1,076 & 35). Therefore, the two best-performers in the West were N.Z. and Australia, which suggests that one of the common factors for their shared remarkable success is simply their being geographically isolated in the same region, which is predominantly non-Western, more Asian.

Then, the next-best Western country is Finland (2,700 & 64). Then Greece (3,027 & 56). Then Venezuela (3,153 & 27). Then Norway (3,332 &51). Then Estonia (3,337 & 64). Then Lithuania (4,040 & 50). Then Germany (5,359 & 121).

America isn’t the world’s worst coronavirus-country, at 26,860 & 695, but it’s certainly the worst large country, because it is the world’s 12th-worst, and its population is 331.6 million, whereas the second-largest of the worst 12 has only 11.6 million: Belgium (27,661 & 931). The third-largest of them, Israel, has 9.2 million (33,770 & 265). The 4th-largest, Panama, has 4.3 million (29,796 & 607). Five of the worst 12 countries have under 1 million population. America is the unchallengeable giant of the baddies, but Brazil has 213 million population, and its figures, which place it as the 16th-worst country (25,328 & 738), are very close to America’s.

So: both of the bad giants, America and Brazil, have Governments that are diametrically the opposite of N.Z.’s Government. Whereas N.Z.’s is democratic socialist, America’s and Brazil’s are fascist libertarian (otherwise called authoritarian neoliberal). Of course virtually all countries call themselves “democratic,” but most (actually) are not — it’s just PR, propaganda, for them. An international survey in 53 countries asked residents “Yes” or “No” on “My country is democratic,” and America ranked #38 out of the 53, with the top 10 countries, in order, being: Taiwan, Denmark, Switzerland, S. Korea, China, Austria, Vietnam, India, Norway, and Argentina. At the very bottom, #53, was Venezuela.

It’s therefore obvious that, even if America was, at some former time, a great country, it isn’t any longer. But, if it used to be, then it has declined enormously. Surveys show that Americans don’t think that the country is improving, but instead that it’s “on the wrong track.” Obviously, America is getting worse, not better. Also obviously, neither of the two billionaire-controlled Parties even has any sincere intention of reversing that decades-long trend into the abyss. The people who control it won’t let go of it. And the public don’t want to take control of it. They don’t even want to recognize how dire America’s condition, and direction, are. More of the same is acceptable to them; and, so, control of the country gyrates from Democratic billionaires to Republican billionaires and then back again, ad infinitum, but being the billionaires all the time, no real change. The billionaires face no effective resistance, in America, because the voters for each of the two Parties think that their “them” (“not us”) is the other Party, instead of being the nation’s billionaires. In such a circumstance, what group will even try to take the country back from the few hundred individuals who have controlled it, now, for decades — at least ever since 1981, if not since 1945? It’s going from bad to worse, but how bad will it get? Is there anything to reverse that decades-long trend? Certainly, a prerequisite would be for Democrats and Republicans to face, no longer to deny, the political reality in America. Nothing indicates any such tendency, as of yet. Therefore, lots worse seems likely.

Why Propaganda is Vital In Upholding The Illusion of a Democracy

The Saker

October 29, 2020

Why Propaganda is Vital In Upholding The Illusion of a Democracy

By Cynthia Chung for the Saker Blog

“Whenever the government of the United States shall break up, it will probably be in consequence of a false direction having been given to public opinion. This is the weak point of our defenses, and the part to which the enemies of the system will direct all their attacks. Opinion can be so perverted as to cause the false to seem true; the enemy, a friend, and the friend, an enemy; the best interests of the nation to appear insignificant, and the trifles of moment; in a word, the right the wrong, the wrong the right. In a country where opinion has sway, to seize upon it, is to seize upon power. As it is a rule of humanity that the upright and well-intentioned are comparatively passive, while the designing, dishonest, and selfish are the most untiring in their efforts, the danger of public opinion’s getting a false direction is four-fold, since few men think for themselves.”

-James Fenimore Cooper

Democracy is something that has been completely taken for granted here in the West. There is an ongoing triumph over past laurels, without paying heed to the road we have strayed from. We criticize others for failing to uphold a standard we consider ourselves the leaders of, but democracy is not something simply “acquired” and subsequently “retained,” it is not a “possession.” This is because a system of democracy is at every moment of its existence defined by the character of its citizenry. Democracy only exists if it is upheld, and if a citizenry fails to do so, it renders itself defenseless to an ever-creeping tyranny.

For such a “creeping tyranny,” control is conditional to whether the citizenry is satisfied with an ever-growing “illusion of democracy.” Such a construct needs to give its subjects the impression that they have “free choice” in what shapes their future and their way of life, including: who will be their “friends” and who will be their “foes.”

And thus, War has always depended on a reliable system to spread its propaganda.

The Arthashastra written by Chankya (350-283 BCE) who was chief advisor to the Emperor Chandragupta (the first ruler of the Mauryan Empire) discusses propaganda and how to disperse and apply it in warfare. It is one of the oldest accounts of the essentialism of propaganda in warfare.

Propaganda is vital in times of war because it is absolutely imperative that the people, who often need to make the greatest sacrifices and suffer the most, believe that such a war is justified and that such a war will provide them security. To the degree that they believe this to be true, the greater the degree of sacrifice and suffering they are willing to submit themselves for said “promised security”.

It is crucial that when the people look at the “enemy” they see something sub-human, for if they recognise that said “enemy” has in fact humanity, the jig is up so to speak.

And thus we are bombarded day after day, hour after hour of reminders as to why the “enemy” is not human like us, not compassionate like us, not patient, just and wise like us.

No doubt, war has been a necessary response when tyranny has formed an army to fight for its cause, but I would put forth that most wars have been rather unnecessary and downright manipulated for the design of a small group of people.

During WWI, on Dec 25th 1914, something rather unexpected occurred and a series of widespread unofficial ceasefires along the Western Front took place between the French/British soldiers and the German soldiers. Some even ventured into “no man’s land”, given its name since none left it alive, to mingle with the “enemy” and exchange food and souvenirs. There were joint burial ceremonies and prisoner swaps. A game of football took place as well. It is said that these truces were not unique to the Christmas period but that they were much more widespread during the holiday season.

These fraternisations would understandably make it quite difficult to return to combat against one another…for no apparently good reason. Some units needed to be relocated since they had developed friendships with the opposing side and now refused to fight them.

The lesson was quickly learned and propaganda was heavily pumped down the throats of the Allied countries, and by the course of just a few years, they no longer viewed the Germans as human.

The Battle For Your Mind

“Politicians, Priests, and psychiatrists often face the same problem: how to find the most rapid and permanent means of changing a man’s belief…The problem of the doctor and his nervously ill patient, and that of the religious leader who sets out to gain and hold new converts, has now become the problem of whole groups of nations, who wish not only to confirm certain political beliefs within their boundaries, but to proselytize the outside world.”

– William Sargant “Battle of the Mind”

Mass propaganda is the very reason why in this so-called “age of information”, we are more confused and divided from each other than ever…

It had been commonly thought in the past, and not without basis, that tyranny could only exist on the condition that the people were kept illiterate and ignorant of their oppression. To recognise that one was “oppressed” meant they must first have an idea of what was “freedom”, and if one were allowed the “privilege” to learn how to read, this discovery was inevitable.

If education of the masses could turn the majority of a population literate, it was thought that the higher ideas, the sort of “dangerous ideas” that Mustapha Mond for instance expresses in “The Brave New World”, would quickly organise the masses and revolution against their “controllers” would be inevitable. In other words, knowledge is freedom, and you cannot enslave those who learn how to “think”.

However, it hasn’t exactly played out that way has it?

The greater majority of us are free to read whatever we wish to, in terms of the once “forbidden books”, such as those listed by The Index Librorum Prohibitorum (1). We can read any of the writings that were banned in “The Brave New World”, notably the works of Shakespeare which were named as absolutely dangerous forms of “knowledge”.

We are now very much free to “educate” ourselves on the very “ideas” that were recognised by tyrants of the past as the “antidote” to a life of slavery. And yet, today, there is a fear of that very thing, that to “know” will label you an outcast from a “healthy” society. That the simple desire to know is the beginning of rebellion.

It is recognised, albeit superficially, that who controls the past, controls the present and thereby the future. George Orwell’s book “1984”, hammers this as the essential feature that allows the Big Brother apparatus to maintain absolute control over fear, perception and loyalty to the Party cause, and yet despite its popularity, there still remains today a lack of interest in actually informing oneself about the past.

What does it matter anyway, if the past is controlled and rewritten to suit the present? As the Big Brother interrogator O’Brien states to Winston, “We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not? [And thus, are free to rewrite it as we choose…]”

Of course, we are not in the same situation as Winston…we are much better off. We can study and learn about the “past” if we so desire, unfortunately, it is a choice that many take for granted. And thus, by our failure to ask the right questions and seek the appropriate answers, we find ourselves increasingly in the unsettling position of a Winston…we are enslaved by the very lack of our own will.

In Orwell’s “1984”, there are three main super states in the world: Oceania, Eurasia and Eastasia that are in one combination or another constantly at war with each other and have been so for the last 25 years.

In the case of Winston, he has only known Oceania (the British commonwealths and U.S.), he knows essentially nothing of either Eurasia or Eastasia, except that sometimes Oceania is at war with Eurasia and sometimes it is at war with Eastasia. In fact, even this memory, that the enemy is not constant, is not something Winston is supposed to recollect or acknowledge. Just by doing this very thing, he is committing a “thoughtcrime”.

Winston’s experience begs the questions, if one were born into a fascist, totalitarian state would they know it? Of course, the state itself would not describe itself as such. How would you be able to compare your “freedom” with the “oppression” of the enemy, when all you were given was what the state chose to give to you?

How do you know that what has come to shape your convictions, your beliefs, your fears really belong to you, and were not placed there by another?

We are all very sensitive to this unsettling question because ironically, that has also been placed in us. It was what started this whole business of “mind control”, you see, it had to be done…for our “protection”.

Warfare in the 21st Century

For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the pinnacle of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the pinnacle of skill.

– Sun Tzu

There a many different forms of warfare, but namely there is warfare that exists in the physical domain of aggression vs defense and warfare that exists in the mental domain of ideas.

The majority of tyrants from the ancient times to present day, have always had a network of powerful people behind them (whether they were aware of it or not) that opened up a path for them to sit on the throne so to speak. For example, we now know that there was a very direct support of Hitler coming from the Bank of England amongst other very influential institutions. That is, Hitler did not arise to power ‘naturally’ or by his mere merit.

The desperation of that economic environment in Germany was predictably formulated as a direct consequence of the Treaty of Versailles which was essentially a death sentence to the German people. And Hitler who had started to make a small name for himself was selected and endorsed as the ‘face’ of what had already been decided would be the fate of Germany.

Wars have almost always been the result of funding and organising from powerful groups with geopolitical interests, often of empire, who create an environment of disinformation and desperation amongst the people through economic and military warfare along with color revolutions.

However, once there was the creation of nuclear bombs, geopolitical warfare was changed forever.

Though we still use much of the same old strategies today, war is ever more located on the plane of ideas, and along with this the ever increasing focus on the manipulation of information and the populace’s perspective of who is good and who is bad.

The war that needs to be fought against the present tyranny is thus increasingly a mental war. In the case of the populace, all together they hold more power than they realise. The real crisis of today’s western thinking is that the people have forgotten how to think. Attention spans have gone down drastically along with a functional vocabulary. People are becoming more and more dominated by image based messages rather than content that requires more than a 10 minute attention span. Articles in the news keep getting shorter and shorter because people seemingly cannot be bothered with too much reading. Along with the serious decline in reading in replacement for quick entertainment (more successful than any book burning in history), people no longer bother to work for a comprehensive viewpoint. Information becomes an annoying barrage of ad campaigns, each yelling louder and more frequently than the other.

The solutions to our problems such as the oncoming economic collapse (in case you haven’t noticed we are doing everything the same as pre-2008), have their solutions in what Russia and China are presenting.

The initiation of war has almost always been presented as a false ‘necessity’, that is in response to the dominating geopolitical ‘balance’, which is basically meant to service the present system of empire, and the erroneous belief in zero sum game.

However, the idea that humans exist in a zero sum game, doomed to battle forever over a diminishing return of resources, was disproven time and again in modern history through the application of successful principles of national political economy. Notable examples of which include Colbert’s dirigisme of France’s 17th century (later revived during the presidency of Charles De Gaulle), the Hamiltonian system of America as exemplified by Abraham Lincoln’s Greenbacks, FDR’s New Deal, and JFK’s space program as well as its most recent expression of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.

This system understands that fast money is parasitical and acts in direct opposition to the long-term investments required for projects that will revolutionise a nation’s infrastructure, including science-driver programs.

That debt for such long-term projects is not qualitatively the same as the present debt we see accruing today, and that debt towards investing for the future will always yield a higher return than the cost over time. This is why debt towards long-term investment on infrastructure and science driver projects, such as space exploration, will always be sustainable with a massive return quantitatively and qualitatively. Whereas, the gambling of fast money will very predictably lead to a collapse as was clearly indicated by the 2008 financial crisis, and which insanely has yet to be addressed with a serious bank reform.

The higher battle ground is being fought on the plane of ideas and which proposed ‘new system’ will replace the current collapsing one we are presently in. On the one side the hegemonic rule of a one world government who thinks that they can use force and oppression to rule and on the other side a multi-polar system of cooperating nation states committed to progress that will offer a real qualitative return for the future.

The Art of Doublethink

“WAR IS PEACE, FREEDOM IS SLAVERY, IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH”

George Orwell’s “1984” (Big Brother Mantra)

A truly immersive system of propaganda, which necessarily will be full of contradictions to the truth, absolutely requires that its subjects are compliant with “doublethink,” that is, the ability to accept two contradictory thoughts in your mind without acknowledging that they are in fact opposites.

Orwell identifies this under two forms of “doublethink”, which are “crimestop” and “blackwhite”. “Crimestop” meaning the faculty of stopping short, as though by instinct, at the threshold of a dangerous thought.

Orwell further states “It includes the power of not grasping analogies, of failing to perceive logical errors, of misunderstanding the simplest arguments…and of being bored or repelled by any train of thought which is capable of leading in a heretical direction. Crimestop in short, means protective stupidity.”

“Blackwhite”, is the act of contradiction of plain facts, applied to an opponent. And when applied to the Party, it is the willingness to say black is white when the Party discipline demands it so.

As Orwell describes it “it means the ability to believe that black is white, and more, to know that black is white, and to forget that one has ever believed the contrary. This demands a continuous alteration of the past…The alteration of the past is necessary for two reasons…The subsidiary reason is that…he must be cut off from the past, just as he must be cut off from foreign countries, because it is necessary for him to believe that he is better off… [the precautionary reason] by far the more important reason for the readjustment of the past is the need to safeguard the infallibility of the Party.”

Orwell continues “The splitting of the intelligence which the Party requires of its members, and which is more easily achieved in an atmosphere of war, is now almost universal, but the higher up the ranks one goes, the more marked it becomes. It is precisely in the Inner Party that war hysteria and hatred of the enemy are strongest.”

That is, it is the Inner Party members who are the most indoctrinated, the best at inducing “mind control” or “doublethink” on themselves, and at the same time believe that it is the best and right thing to do.

Orwell describes “doublethink” thus: “The process has to be conscious , or it would not be carried out with sufficient precision, but it also has to be unconscious, or it would bring with it a feeling of falsity and hence guilt…To tell deliberate lies while genuinely believing them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then, when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed, to deny the existence of objective reality and all the while to take account of the reality which one denies – all this is indispensably necessary. Even in using the word doublethink it is necessary to exercise doublethink.”

What many fail to grasp when reading “1984” is that Orwell is not only the character Winston, he is also the character O’Brien. He is the Outer Party member-turned-revolutionary, and he is the Inner Party disciplinarian.

He is simultaneously the tormentor-programmer as well as the tormented-programmed.

Winston eventually breaks and releases the one thing that kept him human, his love and loyalty to Julia. In the end, an announcement is made that Oceania is ever nearer to winning the war and Winston looks up at a large poster of Big Brother and cries gin-filled tears of joy and relief, for he had finally come to love Big Brother.

He had become O’Brien.

So Who is the Said “Enemy”?

The enemy is our lesser selves.

Our most base fears, desires and obsessions. The voice that whispers in our ears telling us not to believe in anything genuine or honest, that the world we live in will ultimately destroy itself and thus it is all about looking out for number one. That it is our fate to be the playthings of higher powers.

This is the voice of a prisoner of Plato’s cave, neck shackled and looking at only shadows on a wall. This is not reality. This is the voice of someone who has been enslaved for most of their life. The voice of someone who has become so disempowered that they wholly accept whatever ugly condition is imposed upon them and will even work to defend it as necessary.

There is a way out of all of this, but you will have to become an optimist in order to see the solution.

“We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory will swell when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”

– Abraham Lincoln

Footnote:

  1. The Index Librorum Prohibitorum was a list of forbidden books, which were judged to be dangerous to the faith and morals of Roman Catholics, and had a suspicious gravitation towards works by platonic humanists. Among the banned works would include those of Dante, Erasmus and all of Machiavelli’s books. For more refer to my paper on this subject.

The author can be reached at cynthiachung@tutanota.com

Trump Plots to Kill President Assad, Sends Him Top Delegation Asking for Help!

October 19, 2020 Arabi Souri

US President Donald Trump - Syrian President Bashar Assad
US President Donald Trump – Syrian President Bashar Assad

Trump sent a top official US delegation to Damascus in August begging for help from the Syrian government in regard to a US mercenary and a US citizen of Syrian origins who disappeared in Syria in 2012 and 2017.

The top delegation included Roger Carsten, a career US ambassador tasked to freeing US spies caught on foreign lands, and Kash Patel, a deputy assistant to the US embattled President Donald Trump.

The news of the visit of the US top officials was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and confirmed by a Syrian official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs who spoke to the Syrian Al Watan Newspaper.

Donald Trump is badly needing any achievement in foreign policy before the presidential elections in his country, especially after failing in every single topic in international relations with foes and enemies alike, even some minor stunts forcing US allies to get closer is marred with uncertainties and destined to fail in the medium and long term, and more importantly, after the miserable conduct of his regime on all domestic policies over the past four years of his unprecedented dictatorship-style ruling despite being the first US president who replaced all his officials during his first term, some of them more than once.

Trump wanted to secure the release of two US citizens who disappeared in Syria, Austin Tice, a freelance mercenary and a former Marine from Texas posing as a journalist, he disappeared in 2012 while training the ‘rebels’ (Al Qaeda Levant) on how to use rocket-propelled grenades against the Syrian army personnel and policemen, in Syria, and Majd Kamalmaz, a US therapist of Syrian origins last seen in 2017.

Syria has never affirmed it has either of the two in its custody while the US insists that they’re held by Syrian law enforcement, or at least can help secure their release. Syria has in the past helped free many US citizens who travel halfway around the planet to find themselves in the wrong hands in the wrong places at the wrong times ‘coincidentally’.

The Syrian source who spoke to Al Watan Newspaper added that the visiting US delegation met with Major General Ali Mamlouk, head of Syria’s national security at his office, and the delegation wanted to discuss a wide range of topics with the Syrian government.

‘This is not the first visit of this high level of US officials to Damascus and has been preceded by three similar visits to Damascus in the past months and years,’ the official source told Al Watan.

President Assad has turned down previous pleas to talk by Donald Trump, one of those pleas was reported by Trump’s former national security advisor Bolton who described the ill-language used by Trump in addressing the Syrian leadership.

Why would Syria accept to help the USA or its president, when the US occupies parts of Syria, helps Israel occupy the Syrian Golan, helps Turkey invade large parts of northern Syria, supports terrorist groups including ISIS in Syriasteals Syrian oil, plots to kill the Syrian president, and imposes inhumane sanctions on the country?! The USA is not that strong, especially in our region, and Syria is not that weak, at all, despite the decade-long war of terror waged against it by the world’s superpowers and super-rich countries.

The source added, as per Al Watan Newspaper: ‘The visiting delegation were surprised to face the same position of Damascus rejecting any discussion or cooperation with Washington before discussing the US troops withdrawal from Syria.’

Damascus insisted on the withdrawal of the occupying American forces from the east of the country and the emergence of real signs of this withdrawal on the ground, the visiting US officials tried to earn Damascus’s cooperation in the ‘American kidnapped’ file, however, Damascus stood its position in prioritizing the US withdrawal first, the Syrian official source conveyed.

The Syrian official source concluded to Al Watan: ‘the Syrian leadership is aware of the influence of the American lobbies on American presidents, their decisions, and their public policies’.

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’Blood and Oil’ Co-authors: MBS Only Cares Fir His Image, is ‘Allergic’ to Political Reform

’Blood and Oil’ Co-authors: MBS Only Cares Fir His Image, is ‘Allergic’ to Political Reform

By Staff, OCBS News

OCBS News’ Intelligence Matters host Michael Morell interviewed Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck, the co-authors of “Blood and Oil: Mohammed bin Salman’s Ruthless Quest for Global Power,” about the leadership style and strategic decision-making of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman [MBS].

Hope and Scheck offered their assessment of MBS’ “dichotomy”, explaining how he has behaved as both a great reformer and ruthless dictator. They also discuss his likely awareness of the murder of dissident Jamal Khashoggi, his views on political reform, and attempts to diversify the Saudi economy.

On MBS’ reaction to the killing of Jamal Khashoggi, Scheck said: “I think he was very surprised by the outrage and by the fact that people in these other countries that he considers as important were going to harp so much on the death of one Saudi citizen.”

“This is a Saudi citizen he viewed as a traitor. ‘Why is this such a big deal?’ He told someone, he blurted out, ‘Oh now the world sees me as a journalist killer.’ His image is very important to him and because he’s not the king yet, he is the Crown Prince, and creating this image of someone who is fit to be king is very important. He was extremely concerned and surprised that he is now defined in the eyes of many foreign leaders as the guy he who killed the journalist,” Scheck added.

Commenting on MBS’ “allergy” to political reform, Hope said: “Mohammed bin Salman, despite being seen as a reformer, in the Western media and also among Saudi youth, he’s completely allergic to anything close to political reform. I’ve never in any of my reporting heard of him having anything close to a discussion of political reforms . . . He is completely politically illiberal, but he’s socially liberal. And that is something that everyone needs to know when they’re trying to think about Mohammed bin Salman.”

Regarding the Saudi kingdom’s future of economic development, Scheck explained that if MBS focuses on economic development, there are huge risks.

“If Saudi Arabia does not end its near total reliance on oil revenue, there’s not really a great future for it. It’s hard to envision the future of a country that doesn’t have a great source of revenue, has not enough fresh water for its people, virtually no arable land.”

Scheck went on to say that MBS has talked a lot about how he’s going to do that, but so far, the things that we’ve seen him do to get to a real economy haven’t been effective.

“Investing close to 50 billion dollars in foreign tech companies hasn’t produced meaningful dividends for the kingdom. But beyond that, it hasn’t produced a clear roadmap for how those tech investments are somehow going to fuel that economy.”

US Election: Mohammed Bin Salman Braces for The Loss of a Key Ally

US Election: Mohammed Bin Salman Braces for The Loss of a Key Ally

By Madawi Al-Rasheed – MEE

No doubt Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman listened to US presidential candidate Joe Biden’s statement on the second anniversary of the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi with apprehension.

Biden’s statement this month was a strong condemnation of the murder by Saudi operatives of Khashoggi, who had been a US resident since 2017. Biden promised to withdraw US support for the war in Yemen launched by Saudi Arabia in 2015, and noted: “Today, I join many brave Saudi women and men, activists, journalists, and the international community in mourning Khashoggi’s death and echoing his call for people everywhere to exercise their universal rights in freedom.”

Such a statement by someone who may become the master of the White House has surely sent shock waves through Riyadh.

Shifting public opinion

In contrast, two years ago, US President Donald Trump uncritically adopted the Saudi narrative about the slain journalist as an “enemy of the state”. Trump shamelessly boasted about shielding the murderers, above all bin Salman, and protecting him from further denunciation by Congress. Trump sensed a major shift in public opinion, and above all in Congress, in favor of vigorous scrutiny of US authoritarian allies in the Middle East – above all, the Saudi regime.

Many Republican and Democratic congressmen condemned Saudi Arabia and its authoritarian ruler for committing crimes against their own citizens on foreign soil, and continuing a policy of zero tolerance towards activists and dissidents. Shielding bin Salman from further scrutiny and possible sanctions allowed the crown prince to enjoy two years of security and tranquility, which may not be readily available after 3 November, should Biden win the presidential election.

Yet, one must be cautious when anticipating great US policy shifts if a Democrat is elected to the White House. The previous record of Democratic leadership has been more in line with a long US tradition of supporting authoritarian proteges in the Middle East, above all in Saudi Arabia, despite being more likely to invoke US values and their contradiction with the realist policy of propping up the region’s dictators.

Barack Obama went further than any previous US president by withdrawing support for former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak, rather than openly and actively embracing the democratic forces that toppled him in 2011. By failing to unconditionally support a long-term US ally, Obama antagonized the Saudis, who interpreted his position on Egypt as abandoning a loyal partner.

The Saudis feared that the Arab uprisings would leave them exposed to serious political change, without the US superpower rushing to protect them against a dramatic fall. Saudi leaders knew they could not count on Obama to embrace them without demanding serious reforms. In a famous interview, Obama reminded Gulf leaders that their biggest problems were domestic and encouraged them to stop amplifying “external threats”, such as Iran’s regional influence, while silencing critical voices at home.

Sense of betrayal

The Saudi leadership was further annoyed by a historic deal between the US, several European countries and Iran, facilitated by Oman. The Saudis realized how far a US Democratic president could go towards marginalizing them, without openly denouncing their domestic and regional policies in the Middle East.   

That didn’t sit well with Saudi autocrats, who have always aimed to paint a picture of a kingdom besieged by hostile regional powers, while enjoying the bliss of harmony and the support of its domestic constituency. Obama publicly debunked this Saudi myth and negotiated with Iran, Saudi Arabia’s archenemy for decades.

The Saudis felt a sense of betrayal, which Trump quickly abated when he fully endorsed bin Salman – or, more accurately, the crown prince’s promises to invest in the US economy and to seriously consider normalizing relations with Israel, both high prices for US tolerance of bin Salman’s excesses at home and abroad.  

Should Biden win the US election, bin Salman will be on alert. Any word uttered by the White House that falls short of endorsing the young prince and reminding Congress of the centrality of the “historical partnership” between the US and Saudi Arabia will automatically be interpreted in Riyadh as a hostile stand.

Yet the rambling discourses of the Democrats about US values is no longer convincing, if not accompanied by real policy changes. Withdrawing support from autocrats is not enough. The region and its activists expect more than passive support from a country that boasts about its democracy and civil rights. They expect real and concrete measures that undermine the longevity of authoritarian rule, if the region and the rest of the world are to enjoy political change, economic prosperity and social harmony.

Loss of faith

The first step is to starve those autocrats of weapons used against their own people and their neighbors. Whether Democrats will reconsider the relentless US export of arms and training programs to Saudi Arabia and its neighbors remains to be seen. At the least, Biden could make the export of weapons to Saudi Arabia conditional on meeting international standards on human rights, and on serious political changes to allow Saudis to be represented in a national assembly. The Saudi people could do the rest.

Frankly, the Middle East, and for that matter the rest of the world, have lost faith in the US. Americans have yet to calculate the costs of having elected Trump and the ensuing reputational damage. Should they bring a Democrat to power next month, they will struggle to correct not only the short history of Trump’s failings, but also more than half a century of misguided US policy in the Middle East. 

From now until early November, bin Salman will no doubt have sleepless nights in anticipation of losing a good partner in Washington – one who allowed him to get away with murder.

Further Betrayal of Palestinians

By The Muslim News

Global Research, October 07, 2020

The Muslim News 25 September 2020

The old idiom says, “possession is nine-tenths of the law”, but in the case of the dispossessed Palestinians, occupation represents one hundred per cent of the law after their land was usurped due to Israel’s creation some 82 years ago. Other Arab territories have been annexed in a succession of wars that followed too.

Justice is further away than ever with the UAE and Bahrain formally becoming the latest Arab countries to sell out their Palestinian brethren by normalising relations with Israel, despite Israel’s continued illegal military occupation of Palestinian land and the expansions of illegal settlements and destruction of Palestinian homes.

Both Arab dictators proceeded to formally sign agreements to normalise relations with Israel at a ceremony hosted by President, Donald Trump, the most pro-Israel US leader since Harry Truman who presided over the recognition of Israel in 1948.

Trump has torn up so many international conventions and norms by moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, despite its special status, as well as handing over Syria’s Golan Heights that have been illegally occupied by Israel for over half a century.

Trump’s “No-Peace/Peace Plan” for Palestine. Netanyahu/Gantz Invited to White House to Discuss “Deal of the Century”

The move by the UAE and Bahrain to the Israeli camp is also a shift to realign the Middle East against Iran, described by Benjamin Netanyahu as Tel Aviv’s biggest enemy. Tehran was one of just a few countries to publicly condemn the normalisation of relations, describing it as “shameful” and a “humiliating act.”

Trump has tried to turn the rest of the world against Iran by trying to destroy the landmark nuclear deal by unilaterally withdrawing. According to Middle East Eye Editor, David Hearst, the new alliance in the Middle East could also be targeted against Turkey’s influence in the region.

The deal was brokered by Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner and former British PM, Tony Blair, who called the deal “a massive and welcome opportunity to recast the politics of the region.”

The former envoy to the Middle East Quartet has spent much of his forced retirement time trying to encourage Arab countries to build cooperation with Israel based on a “shared outlook.”

He is credited with turning the accepted formula of “peace with the Palestinians before normalisation” on its head by effectively relegating their legitimate aspirations for a viable state to the back of the queue.

Perplexingly, apart from dangling the prospects of more US military sales, the UAE is reported to have received a pledge from Netanyahu that Israel will temporarily suspend its plans to annex parts of the occupied West Bank, not to carry out the usurpation of territories already illegally seized for decades.

The new alliances are a further trampling of Palestinian rights by Israel’s incessant illicit encroachments. The theft of their land is a legacy of British colonialism and placing a special responsibility on the UK to put right before might.

The latest Arab alliance, which some suspect comes ahead of Saudi Arabia following suit, is a sad day, not just a more betrayal and as such sets a precedent that there is little sense of justice left in the world.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.The original source of this article is The Muslim NewsCopyright © The Muslim NewsThe Muslim News, 2020

رئيس نتفلكس: السعودية سمحت بعرض أفلام جنسية مقابل حذف حلقة تنتقد ابن سلمان بشدة

Evidence the U.S. Is a Dictatorship, Not a Democracy

Evidence the U.S. Is a Dictatorship, Not a Democracy

September 10, 2020

by Eric Zuesse for the Saker Blog

On September 2nd, Pew Research — one of America’s most respected polling organizations — issued findings from their survey of 11,001 U.S. adults between July 27 and Aug. 2, 2020, regarding three important questions that are indicative of whether or not Americans believe the U.S. Government to be a democracy, or instead a dictatorship. These are those three findings:

“Elected officials face serious consequences for misconduct.” 27% Yes. (73% No.)

“Government is open and transparent.” 30% Yes. (70% No.)

“Campaign contributions do not lead to greater political influence.” 26% Yes. (74% No.)

The last-listed of those three indicates that three-quarters of the American public believe exactly the same as the existing political-science empirical studies clearly have documented to be actually the case: that America is ruled by only its wealthiest and best-connected people — that it’s an aristocracy, a one-dollar-one vote nation, instead of a one-person-one-vote nation — it’s not a democracy at all. So: that is now established as a fact in political science; it’s not merely an opinion by three quarters of the U.S. public.

However, another relevant question produced an extreme disparity between the opinions of Republicans (America’s conservatives) versus Democrats (America’s liberals) regarding whether America is a democracy, and here is that fourth question and its answers:

“Everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed.” Republicans 76% Yes. Democrats 28% Yes.

Those are diametrically opposite opinions, by the adherents to the two political Parties.

So, on that one question, America’s conservatives do consider America to be a democracy, regarding at least the factor of whether or not all Americans have equal opportunity. This question is relevant to democracy because if everyone has equal opportunity, then there is equality on at least that single matter of equality — equality of opportunity — which cannot even possibly exist in a dictatorship, because a dictatorship has dictators, who, obviously (by definition), possess enormously more opportunity than do the rest of the population. So, whereas Republicans think that America is a democracy on at least that factor (equal opportunity), Democrats equally strongly believe that it’s not.

There was also one other question on which a strong contrast existed between Republicans and Democrats, though not diametrically opposite views, and here is that fifth question, and its answers:

“The fundamental design and structure of American government need significant changes.” Republicans 50% Yes. Democrats 79% Yes.

How should these opinion-differences by Party (ideology) be interpreted?

Whereas Democrats overwhelmingly believe that America is a dictatorship, Republicans overwhelmingly believe that it is an equal-opportunity dictatorship; and half of Republicans believe (perhaps because they believe America provides equal opportunity) that (regardless of whether or not America is a dictatorship) “The fundamental design and structure of American government don’t need significant changes.” How can one make sense of that viewpoint? Perhaps Republicans believe that poor people deserve to be poor because they’re lazy and/or incompetent, and that the rich deserve to be rich because they’re hard-working and brilliant, and perhaps Democrats are more inclined to attribute the unequal outcomes (rich versus poor) to “the fundamental design and structure of the American government.” The views of Democrats on these matters are entirely consistent with the view that America is a dictatorship, but the views of Republicans are not.

Republicans overwhelmingly believe that America is an equal-opportunity society, and half of Republicans believe that the fundamental design and structure of the American government don’t need any significant changes. Both of those viewpoints are accepting America as it is, which means that they are blaming the poor — instead of blaming “the fundamental design and structure of American government” (such as that America is being ruled by the rich) — for the poverty of the poor. Consequently, at least half of Republicans (the ones who don’t believe that America needs structural changes) believe in the rightfulness of an aristocracy — they believe that the wealthiest should rule, the public should not. Those Republicans want to be ruled by the rich, instead of ruled by the majority of the public. They are, at the very least, ambivalent about (if not outright hostile toward) democracy.

One of the ways that Republicans might get around this problem in their viewpoint is by assuming that there is no Deep State, no unelected and totally unaccountable power behind the elected rulers, other than some amorphous governmental bureaucracy, career civil-service professionals, nothing which is outside and above that, such as the aristocracy of billionaires who select which politicians’ careers to fund, and which ones not to fund. According to this conservative viewpoint, all the deficiencies in the government come from the career bureaucracy, none come from the corruption that allows the richest to buy the winning politicians and the major newsmedia, and the think tanks, etcetera. In those people’s imaginings, the controlling power is inside the government, not outside, and above, it.

There is a good ten-minute Republican-Party propaganda video which displays that viewpoint, by mocking the hypocrisy of a leading congressional Democrat, regarding democracy. This video excludes any raising of the crucial question: “Whose interests (other than the politician’s own) is that politician actually serving?” By not asking that question, the ignoring of logical inconsistencies within one’s own political opinions is not only easy to do, but it is quite natural to do. Apparently, conservatives, far more than liberals, think this way: they don’t examine to find out whom the beneficiaries of the politician’s decisions are. It’s a way that accepts corruption. It doesn’t even wonder how corruption works. It doesn’t seek to understand.

That’s the problem with the conservative side. The problem with the liberal side is its hypocrisy, which that video is mocking. Maybe the reason for the hypocrisy of liberals is that they sort-of are opposed to corruption, whereas conservatives are entirely devoted to the free market, which allows corruption, since to do otherwise is to support policies against corruption, which policies would prohibit certain types of mutually voluntary agreements, and would specifically penalize agreements that are corrupt. Thus, Republicans oppose government regulations, whereas Democrats support government regulations.

By accepting corruption (as conservatives do, since they are devoted to the free market), a person accepts one-dollar-one-vote government, and rejects one-person-one-vote government — one accepts a dictatorship by wealth, and rejects a democracy by the people: by the nation’s residents. So: this difference in support for the aristocracy — the holders of the vast majority of the nation’s wealth — might explain the differences between Republicans and Democrats.

Here are previous studies that have been done on whether America is a democracy or instead a dictatorship. First is an international comparison that enables these recent findings by Pew to be viewed in an international comparative context:

On June 15th, a NATO-backed study was published, “Democracy Perception Index – 2020”. As I summarized it on July 3rd under the headline “Countries Ranked on ‘Democracy’ in 2020”:

Here are the findings, and the rankings:

% saying yes to ‘My country is democratic’

(ranks shown are out of the 53 countries that were surveyed):

78% Taiwan #1

77% Denmark #2

75% Switzerland #3

75% S. Korea #4

73% China #5

73% Austria #6

71% Vietnam #7

71% India #8

71% Norway #9

69% Argentina #10

69% Sweden #11

67% Germany #12

66% Netherlands #13

65% Philippines #14

65% Portugal #15

64% Canada #16

63% Singapore #17

61% Malaysia #18

61% Greece #19

60% Ireland #20

59% Israel #21

57% Indonesia #22

56% Spain #23

56% Australia #24

56% UK #25

56% Turkey #26

55% Belgium #27

55% Peru #28

54% South Africa #29

54% Romania #30

54% Italy #31

53% Saudi Arabia #32

53% Pakistan #33

52% France #34

52% Mexico #35

51% Brazil #36

49% Kenya #37

48% U.S. #38

46% Japan #39

46% Colombia #40

45% Thailand #41

45% Algeria #42

43% Nigeria #43

42% Chile #44

41% Egypt #45

40% Morocco #46

40% Ukraine #47

39% Russia #48

38% Poland #49

37% Hong Kong #50

36% Hungary #51

28% Iran #52

24% Venezuela #53

(NATO did not publicize those rankings, nor even the scores.)

Perhaps the two most reliable statistical scores which tend to indicate the extent to which a given country is a dictatorship is its imprisonment-rate: the percentage of its residents who are in prison. Right now, the U.S. has the world’s highest percentage of its residents who are imprisoned. This indicates either that it has the worst people or that it has the worst laws, or both, but it also provides overwhelming solid empirical evidence that “The fundamental design and structure of American government need significant changes.” Consequently, the 79% of Democrats, and the 50% of Republicans, who agree with that proposition are certainly correct, because the world-record-high imprisonment-rate proves it. It’s not consistent with the opinion that “The fundamental design and structure of American government don’t need significant changes.”

Furthermore: since America’s prisoners are overwhelmingly the nation’s least wealthy, and since America’s wealthiest are virtually (if not totally) impossible to imprison regardless of how many people they might have defrauded — or else even murdered by promoting and selling toxic and dangerous products, sometimes even more toxic than toxic collateralized mortgage obligations — these facts are further evidence that “The fundamental design and structure of American government need significant changes” is true, and that “Everyone has an equal opportunity to succeed” is false. So, a consistent picture is emerging, which is consistent with the political-science findings that the U.S. is, in fact, a dictatorship (by its wealthiest).

However, this does not necessarily mean that any single one of those indicators is reliable, on its own, as an indicator of whether or not the given nation is a dictatorship. Everything should be viewed within its broader context.

One question that deepens this context is whether or not there has been some stability in America’s being at the top of the imprisonment heap. The earliest web-archived version of comparative international imprisonment-rates was this one on 20 March 2009, and the nation which, at that time, was shown to have the highest imprisonment-rate was the United States. So, from at least that time to this time, America has had the world’s highest imprisonment-rate. If that’s not a dictatorship, then what is? But, of course, the political-science empirical studies already show that the U.S. is a dictatorship. So, can can there even be a debate about it?

This means that any ‘news’ report that refers to America as being a “democracy” is demonstrably and clearly false.

Yet another indicator that the U.S. is a dictatorship is that it now is spending approximately half of the entire world’s military expenditures. It’s not only the most police-state, it is the most militarized nation — not necessarily in terms of having the world’s highest numbers of soldiers, but definitely in terms of having the world’s highest military expenditures (especially on weapons). So: it’s an international dictatorship.

On 17 June 2014, I headlined “Why Does NATO Still Exist?” and was (so far as I have been able to find) the first person publicly to refer to the “U.S. Regime” (other than as being part of an adjective in the many online references to “U.S. regime change” operations). In that article, I used the phrase “U.S. regime”, for the first time, directly as a noun, in the phrase, “The U.S. regime can say …”. More than five years later, on 10 November 2019, I headlined “Why does no other writer refer to ‘the U.S. regime’?” Instead, ‘news’ reports still are referring to such fantasies as “American democracy” and “the U.S. and other democracies.” However, recent evidence indicates that a majority of the American public have figured this hoax out for themselves, no thanks to America’s (or the rest of the world’s) ‘news’ media. People are learning, perhaps from their own personal experiences. Anyway, that’s what it is: it is the U.S. regime (or “the American regime”). That is today’s reality.

—————

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity.

Report Says Bahrain to Announce Normalization with ‘Israel’ In Nearest Future. Who’s Next?

Capture

By Staff, Agencies

Report Says Bahrain to Announce Normalization with ‘Israel’ In Nearest Future. Who’s Next?

Bahrain is expected to become the next Gulf kingdom to formally and shamelessly normalize ties with the ‘Israeli’ entity, a Zionist official told Kan public broadcaster Wednesday.

According to the report, the kingdom is expected to announce its bold move after an accord between the Zionist regime and the United Arab Emirates has been signed.

The official was cited as saying that Washington seeks to host the ceremony where the Tel Aviv regime and Abu Dhabi will sign a treaty formalizing their diplomatic ties in mid-September.

The US is said to be pushing for the accord to be signed before the Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year holidays, which begin on September 18.

Unashamed with all ‘Israeli’ war crimes and crimes against humanity in the occupied Palestinian lands, Bahrain is pushing for the process to speed up as well after long-running talks on the prospect.

Bahrain was one of the countries that US State Secretary Mike Pompeo visited during his recent Middle East tour centered on the ‘Israeli’-UAE normalization.

At the time, it claimed that it rejects normalizing ties with the Zionist entity as it informed Pompeo that it remained committed to a so-called two-state solution and backed the Arab ‘Peace’ Initiative — a plan that, among other items, vows normalization between ‘Israel’ and Muslim nations once a Palestinian state with a capital in East al-Quds has been established.

Related

Manama Manipulates Covid-19 Pandemic as Part of Its Alarming Prolonged History of Shiite Crackdown

Manama Manipulates Covid-19 Pandemic as Part of Its Alarming Prolonged History of Shiite Crackdown

By Sondoss Al Asaad, AHT

It’s been roughly seven months since the first cases of the coronavirus were reported in Bahrain. Although various states have wisely dealt with the pandemic, thereby transcending all debates, Manama; however, has unethically leaned towards a radical political and sectarian policy to approach the issue with its majority Shiite population.

Since the very beginning, it accused Tehran of a “biological aggression” by covering up the spread of the coronavirus dubbing anyone diagnosed with coronavirus as Iranian traitors.

Besides, while many governments have come under pressure from human rights groups over prisons’ conditions including overcrowding, poor sanitation, medical care negligence and lack of basic necessities, Manama have denied calls to free its opposition leaders and 4000+ prisoners of conscience, in particular ageing detainees or those with medical conditions, including opposition leader Hassan Mushaima and rights activist Abdulhadi Al Khawaja housed in Bahrain’s notorious Jaw Prison.

Meanwhile, the grip has been tightened with the arrival of Ashura season, which constitute a part and parcel of Bahrain’s cultural and historical identity.

Due to the pandemic, right from the beginning, Bahrain’s Shiite scholars and the largest opposition bloc al-Wefaq National Islamic Society have both stressed on the mourners’ strict adherence to social distancing and guidelines designed to prevent the spread.

The authorities’ security forces, who follow orders from high officials, have however waged a ferocious war against the Shiites’ religious freedoms. They reportedly handed out summonses to people who displayed black banners to forcibly remove them and shut down the Al-Zahraa mosque.

Bahrain’s highest Shiite religious authority, exiled now, Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim said the shut down of the mosque would “only stirs up sedition and disturbs the atmosphere of the Ashura season”.

Unfortunately, state media campaigners have also manipulated the pandemic to incite hate speech and target the Ashura rituals, which are supposedly guaranteed by the Bahraini Constitution that stipulates “Freedom of conscience is absolute. The State shall guarantee the inviolability of places of worship and the freedom to perform religious rites and to hold religious processions and meetings in accordance with the customs observed in the country.”

Manama who claims to be concerned about health condition is going to host the F1 Grand Prix between November 29 and December 6, and none of its mouthpiece have expressed any concern. Perhaps the pandemic is only transmitted by “Shiite”!

Further, rights campaigners have reported that 5 prisoners of conscience are subjected to prolonged isolation and deprivation of communication with their families after being accused of inciting other prisoners to go on hunger strike over the lack of religious freedoms and inadequate healthcare.

Manama has long jailed, deported and interrogated Shiite, in what activists describe as the systematic targeting of the country’s Shiite majority. In the recent years, numerous prisoners of conscience have complained of slander against their beliefs during investigation, torture and imprisonment.

Bahrain laboriously works on modifying the demographic by carrying out mass political naturalization of foreign mercenaries whilst the indigenous Shiite population is subjected to arbitrarily citizenship revocation and deportation.

There is no official statistics regarding the population, which makes political naturalization easier to implement and allows elections to be misrepresented.

Political naturalization has been described as a strategic project by Salah Al Bandar, former adviser in Bahrain’s Cabinet Affairs Ministry. The Al Bandar Report was leaked between July and August 2006 and exclusively mentions the plan to encircle Shiite scholars and institutions.

The report contains plans to exclude and marginalize Bahrain’s Shiite in all executive branches, cleanse their existence from national institutions, and prevent them from educational opportunities and some benefits, through discriminative policies, adoption by some governmental bodies, substitution of civil societies with Shiite administrations for government operated bogus NGOs [GONGOs] and creation of internet forums fomenting sectarian tension.

Huge funds were set aside for this political scheme, which was orchestrated and financed by Bahrain’s members of the National Assembly and senior officials.

On their podiums, Shiite scholars preach about peacefulness articulating their condemnation of sectarian strife in all its forms.

This has been evidenced in the 2011 uprising to this day, where they chanted “Brothers Sunni and Shiite; this nation will not be sold,” despite the clear attempts to instigate turmoil and push the opposition to violence.

In 2011, tens of thousands of Bahrainis, from different ideologies and affiliations, kicked off to the street calling for freedom, justice, rights and an elected government with complete authoritative and constitutional powers.

During the imposition of emergency law [March-May 2011], commonly referred to as period of national safety, Bahrain’s security forces with the assistance of Gulf Cooperation Council’s forces, brutally clampdown on the Shiite by demolishing more than 38 mosques.

The grave-site of Companion Saasaa bin Suhaan was also subject to repeated vandalism. Since then, permits are discriminately not given for building mosques and hussainiyat [congregational halls].

Top Shiite scholarly figures like Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassim and Ayatollah Najati are currently stateless. Religious orators, lecturers and chanters are targeted persistently, and attacks are carried out on mourners carrying out religious processions and commemorations.

Further, Congregation prayers are banned in the Central Imam Sadiq Mosque and many other mosques.

The rights of Shiite charitable groups have been confiscated and banned from assisting the orphans and the poor.

The most hazardous side is the systematic hate speech that is being orchestrated to slander Shiite ideology.

Official news agencies broadcasts hate speech in a structured and continuous fashion including accusing Shiite of disloyalty and referred to in derogatory, slanderous, racist and derogatory terms [loyalists to Iran, Safavis, Rafidah, Kafer, etc.]. They purposely omit the existence of Shiite religious culture and events.

While thousands currently commemorate Ashura, State’s media is void of any Ashura-related news, with no coverage of any of its activities representing the Shiite identity.

Obviously, the state’s curriculum incorporates sectarian teachings that are hostile and in contravention of the beliefs of Shiite. This had pushed the Islamic Ulama Council and Al Tawaeya [two religious educational institutions] for teaching Shiite ideology, but the regime shut them down as well as ceased their funds.

Not only this, but Shiite are marginalized in labor especially in the army, national security apparatus and the state’s hospitals.

Since 2011, Shiite students have frequently been denied both national and international scholarships and other educational opportunities regardless of their qualifications. The authorities also have orchestrated mass dismissals against thousands of Shia employees from their jobs merely because they partook in the pro-democracy demonstrations.

Here are some statistics, Shiite only represent:

15% of the executive branch
12% of the judiciary
1% of the National Guard, King’s Court and the army
12% of the ministerial and judicial senior positions 
10% of the major companies and organizations

Since the Al Khalifa family assumed power, Bahrain’s Shiite majority, aka Baharna [colloquial term for Bahraini Shia] have been enduring continuous and systematic sectarian persecution.Bahrain is a tiny island composed of 33 archipelagos situated near the western shores of the Persian Gulf, with a 765.3 km2 area.

Many international reports have alluded to the persecution of the Shia by the ruling family. For instance, J.G Lorimer, an Officiating British Resident present in the Gulf during the early 1900s, says, “Even though the Baharna are superior in terms of numbers, they are not relevant in the political landscape. In reality, their situation is slightly better than the slaves.”

The indigenous people of Bahrain stems from the Shiite tribes of Abdulqais, Tamim and Rabia, and they steeped with amiable character, peacefulness, hospitality and humbleness.

Under the Pretext of Coronavirus, Saudi Authorities Remove Ashura Flags in Qatif

Under the Pretext of Coronavirus, Saudi Authorities Remove Ashura Flags in Qatif

By Staff

As part of the continued security pressures practiced by the Saudi authorities against the people of Qatif while commemorating the Ashura mourning ceremonies, security forces removed all black Ashura flags raised in the Tarout Island graveyard.

The action represented a blatant provocation for the Ashura mourning organizers who, according to Qatif local sources speaking to al-Ahed, are subjected to unprecedented tightening under the pretext of the Coronavirus.

According to information obtained by al-Ahed, intelligence officers were granted ultimate authorities to intervene and impose their restrictions as part of the personal behavior and intervening in the details of the mourning ceremonies.

Donations made for supporting the ceremonies were totally banned. Additionally, names, contacts and civil records of the Ashura lecturers were collected by the authorities.

Local sources told al-Ahed that the authorities also prevented Ashura mourning organizers from raising the voice of mourning inside Husseiniyas and family gatherings.

The same sources added that the imposed measures were very strict and aimed at controlling all Ashura ceremonies.

Shia Muslims across the world commemorate the martyrdom anniversary of third Shia Imam Hussein bin Ali [AS] and his family members and companions who stood up to injustice and fought in the battle of Karbala in the year 61 Hijri. The ten-day commemoration begins on the first of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic year.

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