#BREXIT – Finally Laid Bare For All To See

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BREXIT - The Final Truth

By Graham Vanbergen:

The dream of Brexit, that of the so-called ‘ultras,’ the buccaneering Brexiteers is finally being laid bare for what it really is – a fantasy. The tally of Theresa May’s appointments who have walked out has now reached 18. The record-setting turnover rate in Theresa may’s government is only trumped in the democratic West by the master of chaos himself – Donald Trump, who to date, has lost 68 members of his Executive office staff – including the Whitehouse physician. And this is the man the ‘ultras’ are courting.

This dream has now turned into a constitutional and political nightmare – it is humiliating to witness. Britain, once a diplomatic titan in an uncertain world is now in catastrophic freefall. Political implosion is what now beckons.

The walkouts in the Tory party have one thing in common, it is what binds them. Not one of them has stated what they would do, or how they would replace Theresa May’s proposal. The only option they are providing – without being honest enough to say so – is a no-deal Brexit.

These political chancers include Boris Johnson – the ex-Foreign Secretary, ex-Brexit Secretary David Davis and Dominic Raab who has also abandoned his post as the Brexit Secretary and chief negotiator with the European Union. Then there’s Shailesh Vara, Minister of State for Northern Ireland, Jo Johnson – Transport Minister, Guto Bebb – Minister for Defence Procurement, Suella Braverman – another Brexit Minister, Esther McVey – the Works and Pensions Secretary.

Less well known are Rehman Chisti who left his role as Conservative vice-chairman, Ranil Jayawardena – Parliamentary Private Secretary at the Ministry of Justice, Nikki da Costa – the director of legislative affairs at Downing Street, Parliamentary Private Secretary Anne-Marie Trevelyan, Conservative Party vice-chairman Ben Bradley, Maria Caulfield, vice-chairwoman of the Conservative Party, Scott Mann – a Parliamentary Private Secretary for the Treasury, and yet another Parliamentary Private Secretary, Robert Courts. Then there’s Andrea Jenkyns – Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government and finally Chris Green, who was a Parliamentary Private Secretary to the Department for Transport.

Two and half years into negotiations and the sixth wealthiest country on the planet has proved just one thing – it is incapable of negotiating any deals whatsoever – even with itself.

More cabinet resignations will likely lead to a vote of no confidence in Theresa May. That vote, if successful will spark a Tory leadership battle right at the moment that crossing the T’s and dotting the I’s on some sort of deal with the world’s biggest trading bloc should be done with smiles and handshakes all around.

The Brexiteers who promised us so much mislead everyone. John Redwood said – “getting out of the EU can be quick and easy – the UK holds most of the cards“. David Davis said – “there will be no downside to Brexit,” and my favourite bad guy of them all – Liam Fox, who famously said – “the free trade agreement that we will do with the EU should be one of the easiest in human history.” They were all ruinously misguided at best.

So what now? Well, if Theresa May does survive the next round with her knife-throwing colleagues, the chances of getting her deal through parliament now looks a bit belly up – euthanised by misadventure. In turn, a politically cataclysmic fight for a second referendum will open the doors to the proverbial abyss of chaos, as if we weren’t already most of the way there. And even if Ms May does win the day, what do we get? When politicians and political commentators were working through the options last year they spoke of EEA countries like Iceland, Liechtenstein or the Norway/Canada deal, but this deal is none of those. May has effectively put on paper a deal she herself said no British Prime Minister should do.

Throughout all of this – Britain has not taken back control. A hard Brexit might give us control but at an economic cost that would prove much worse than the effects of the 2008 financial crash where taxpayers bailed out a bunch of irresponsible louts in Lambougini’s.

To be fair to Theresa May she was dealt a bad hand but has proved beyond any doubt she is no card player. Her appointments, designed to keep enemies close – betrayed her, and her strategic decisions throughout have had all the hallmarks of political despair, like a cornered animal facing the final moments with its attacker.

Much as I dislike Theresa May for her bad form in the Home Office, she has at least stuck to her guns – unlike the pitiful shards of a political party that boasted about strong and stable leadership, now forced to the edge of its own cliff. The ‘resigners,’  those that have chosen to walk away from their self-imposed dilemma are much worse though. They have abandoned the people they represent and the country they serve and now wait like salivating wolves ready for the final slaying in the glory hunting hope of being the next leader of the pack.

This shambles all started with Britain’s worst ever Prime Minister, David Cameron, stating in some sort of ‘moment of Blairism’ that he “thought he was right all along” to call the referendum. He wasn’t. This hoodie-hugging pig lover’s other decision of delusion was to blow up the wealthiest county in Africa and turn it into a slave-trading nation, which created the migrant crisis currently destabilising Europe.

Today, the two main political parties of Gt. Britain have literally torn themselves limb from limb. The third has already been cremated and is now dust. Now we have thugs from the DUP calling the shots. Society is fully divided, the country has been reduced to the status of international laughing stock and the very union of Britain is now at threat.

Theresa May’s terrible plan is to make us subservient to a political union next door that is itself fracturing. The ‘ultras’ want to make us subservient to a political union across the Atlantic that would be even worse. Heads we lose, tails we lose.

Brexit is a politically generated crisis and a crisis of their ongoing mismanagement. In reality, it was a contest between the centre-right and radical right – now it’s turning into a fight for all of society.

There’s no way out of this crisis. No matter which way you turn it is a conundrum – like a riddle with no answer.

The fact that David Cameron, who let this uncontrollable genie out of its bottle, was so tragically mistaken is one thing, but the rest of this mess really only demonstrates that many of those walking the corridors of power are psychologically flawed and unfit for office.

This is not Brexit, it’s Brex-Shit – and nothing else.

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#Brexit: The Men Who Want to Push Britain Off a Cliff

The Men Who Want to Push Britain Off a Cliff

Theresa May has a Brexit deal. Now a group of feckless Conservatives wants to torpedo everything.

The pro-Brexit, Conservative lawmaker Jacob Rees-Mogg speaking to the media outside the Houses of Parliament on Thursday.CreditCreditMatt Dunham/Associated Press

LONDON — I am scared. The markets are scared. The politicians I have been talking to are scared, or livid.

A few days ago, Prime Minister Theresa May unveiled her deal with the European Union. Within 48 hours, Britain’s government spun into crisis. Mrs. May’s survival is threatened as furious prominent Brexiteers go public with their intention to unseat her. Four ministers have resigned, more resignations may follow and nobody believes that she has the votes to get her deal through Parliament. What happens after that is a conundrum.

The cause of this paralysis is the hard-line Brexiteers, a frighteningly powerful cohort within Mrs. May’s Conservative Party, a group that is heedless about economic damage to Britain in pursuit of a political goal.

The first minister to resign was Mrs. May’s Brexit secretary, Dominic Raab, a cold-eyed man in a hurry, a flintily ambitious Thatcherite. The bid to topple Mrs. May was initiated by Jacob Rees-Mogg, a vain, drawling member of Parliament, a financier who once campaigned alongside his nanny in a Mercedes and has built a career as a political rock star and possible leader on the back of such affectation. They join an earlier defector, the flailing, floppy-haired Boris Johnson, a man who is half-crazed by his repeated failure to become the Conservative Party’s leader and who is desperate to grasp at his last chance, even if it means undermining the country.

Everything is up in the air in Britain’s tumultuous politics right now, but there is one certainty: There is no limit to the practical, economic and psychological damage these Brexiteers are prepared to inflict on the rest of us in the pursuit of their delusions or their demented desire for power.

They savage Mrs. May’s deal and offer no practical suggestions for anything else. This is an utter failure of responsibility. Yes, the prime minister’s deal is pitiful, an awkward compromise that will hobble Britain’s economy and diminish our power. But the truth is — and everyone knows this — there is no better, purer Brexit available without a permanent economic hit.

If they were reasonable people, the pro-Brexit faction would now be shocked into facing reality. But they are not. These are the same politicians who tricked voters out of Europe by promising them that leaving would be all gain and no pain. Britain would become proud, sovereign, powerful, more prosperous. It could slash immigration, enrich its health service, cut magnificent and profitable trade deals with the rest of the world, opt out of European Union laws and still trade with and travel freely in Europe.

It was always rubbish, marketed by people deliberately indifferent to facts. The European Union was never going to let us leave the club while retaining all the advantages of belonging, any more than a tennis club allows ex-members to use the facilities for free. It said so, patiently, repeatedly. The agonizing negotiations of the past 18 months proved that over and over

Mrs. May finally managed some wriggling round the edges, reducing part of the huge and unavoidable economic penalties of Brexit by keeping Britain in the European Union Customs Union and parts of the single market. It is a valuable concession, and one the European Union has agreed to principally in order to not inflame sectarian tensions in Northern Ireland, which would otherwise have to rebuild a border with the Irish Republic. The price that must be paid for remaining in the market is that Britain agrees to faithfully track and follow its rules, while no longer having any voice in how they are made.

These restrictions have sent the hard-line Brexiteers into a cold fury, but they were inevitable. You can’t even join a tennis match if you insist on drawing your own courts and deciding your own scores. The Brexit fanatics blindly ignore that. They have learned nothing, acknowledged nothing.

Rather than accepting their shameful role in deceiving voters over what was possible, they are doubling down on denunciation. They accuse Mrs. May of betrayal, of trapping and binding the country, of breaking her word. It is sheer selfish manipulation, political destructiveness on a huge scale, because they cannot get what they want; indeed, they cannot agree among themselves on what they want. They want the prime minister removed, but while they may secure the votes to challenge her, they’re unlikely to get enough to unseat her.

Even if they succeed in wounding her so deeply that she decides to step down and a hard-line Brexiteer takes her place, a new prime minister cannot negotiate a harder Brexit; the European Union has made it clear that the withdrawal deal is closed. If these craven politicians did find their way to power and tried to force a “no deal” Brexit — leaving the European Union without any kind of agreement in place — Parliament and the country would revolt. Nearly four out of five voters thought Brexit was going badly this July. In some areas that voted Leave, there have been big swings toward staying in the European Union.

In their grab for power, these monstrous, preening egos, desperate for validation and vindication, are already steering the Brexit process out of control, knocking Mrs. May’s deal sideways, increasing the speed at which investors and businesses flee. This chaos could last weeks or months. But the group’s ruthlessness in mowing down the middle ground of a compromise Brexit may give them whiplash. For members of Parliament, who must pass the final vote on any Brexit deal, the recent Brexiteer extremism has made their choices far starker and has raised the stakes.

If Mrs. May’s deal cannot get through Parliament, and the nightmare of a no-deal looms, then it becomes much more likely that a decisive number of members of Parliament will resolve that the final decision has to be returned to the electorate, in a second referendum that is being called the People’s Vote. Last month, an estimated 700,000 people marched in London in support of such a referendum.

The People’s Vote could offer the British electorate three choices: no deal, Mrs. May’s deal and remaining in the European Union. A recent poll found support for such a vote is now running at almost 60 percent, while the Remain vote has shifted from 48 percent in the referendum to 54 percent now.

A few weeks ago, I feared that a second vote would feel illegitimate, that a compromise Brexit, though bad for the country, should go ahead. The dangerous intransigence of the hardest Brexiteers has changed my calculation, and may change that of many others.

These hard-liners are ruthless. They aren’t prepared to accept a compromise that the prime minister has constructed for them. Instead, they are blowing it up. By eliminating the center option, they intend to push Britain to the hardest possible Brexit, toward the wrecked economy and shattered lives that would follow. They have destroyed any sense that I — and many others — had, that we owe it to them to honor and accept the original referendum. They are polarizing and galvanizing us. If no deal is the Brexiteers’ preferred option, I can with a clear conscience campaign for Remain in a People’s Vote. Anyone else could, too.

It’s just possible that the crash the Brexiteers are engineering could also be their own.

Jenni Russell (@jennirsl) is a columnist for The Times of London and a contributing opinion writer.

US, Britain Push Yemen Ceasefire as Tactic to Defeat Houthis

US, Britain Push Yemen Ceasefire as Tactic to Defeat Houthis

FINIAN CUNNINGHAM | 16.11.2018 |

US, Britain Push Yemen Ceasefire as Tactic to Defeat Houthis

At first glance, it may seem like a positive move. The Trump administration and London are both putting pressure on Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to implement a ceasefire in Yemen’s atrocious war. Washington and London are also calling for warring sides to enter into peace negotiations within a month.

What’s wrong with that, you may ask? Well, as Houthi rebels who took over Yemen at the end of 2014 are saying, the country has been under aggression for the past three years from a Saudi-led coalition supported militarily by the US, Britain and France. The unrelenting war on the poorest country in the Middle East has led to the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in decades, with over half of the population – some 14 million people – at risk of starvation, according to the UN.

Therefore, the appropriate legal and moral course of action now is not merely a ceasefire or talks. It is for the Western-backed Saudi, Emirati coalition to immediately halt its criminal aggression against Yemen. In short, stop the foreign interference in Yemen’s sovereign affairs.

US Secretary of State James Mattis and Britain’s Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt appear to be impelled by humanitarian concern for the massive human suffering in Yemen with their recent calls for cessation of hostilities.

But a more nuanced reading of their exhortations suggest that the real concern is to burnish the blood-soaked image of the Saudi coalition that their governments support, and, secondly, to inveigle the Houthis into a negotiations framework that will result in undue foreign influence over Yemen’s politics.

Last week, Washington announced that it was suspending mid-air refueling flights for Saudi and Emirati warplanes that have been pounding Yemen since March 2015, which has resulted in a horrendous death toll among civilians. The indiscriminate killing of the Saudis and Emirati air strikes has been amply documented, albeit downplayed by Western media. The latter keep repeating a figure of 10,000 dead in Yemen – a figure which has bizarrely remained unchanged for at least the past two years. The real death toll from air strikes is unknown but likely to be near 50,000.

American, British and French military support for the murderous operations in Yemen should have stopped months, even years ago, if official humanitarian concerns were genuine.

The question is: why the sudden effort by Washington and London, as well as Paris, to call for a ceasefire and follow-on political talks?

One factor, no doubt, is the barbaric murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by assassins linked to the House of Saud. Turkish authorities believe that Khashoggi was brutally murdered in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2, his body hacked to pieces and dissolved in industrial-strength acid. Audiotapes obtained by the Turkish authorities have implicated the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the murder plot against the dissident journalist.

The gruesome details of Khashoggi’s killing and the blatant lies that the Saudi rulers have issued to cover up their barbarity have heaped immense pressure on Washington, London and Paris over their close ties with the House of Saud. Public outrage has demanded that sanctions be imposed on Riyadh, such as cancelling multi-billion-dollar arms deals.

It seems significant that the acute disgrace over the appalling Khashoggi affair and the association of the US, British and French governments with such a despotic Saudi regime has in turn prompted these Western powers to mount a damage-limitation exercise in public relations.

This is where the Yemen war provides an opportunity for the Western powers and their Saudi clients to salvage their tarnished public image.

By pushing for a ceasefire in Yemen, Washington, London and Paris can claim to be “getting tough” with the Saudis for the sake of alleviating “humanitarian suffering”. By appearing to respond to the Western calls for a ceasefire, the Saudis can then also claim they are relenting out of humane concern.

However, such pleas have not stopped Saudi and Emirati-backed militia on the ground besieging the Yemeni port city of Hodeida on the Red Sea, for which 80-90 per cent of the entire population in the country rely on for food and other vital supplies. In other words, the Western-backed Saudi coalition is using starvation tactics to bring the Houthi rebels and the wider Yemeni population to their knees. That is a monstrous war crime.

What Mattis is calling for in terms of ceasefire is for all heavy weapons in Yemen to be put under the control of United Nations peacekeepers. Washington is also demanding that the Houthis rebels withdraw from the country’s border with Saudi Arabia, from where the rebels have mounted missile attacks which have gravely harassed the Saudis, including in the capital Riyadh. The Houthis have struck Saudi territory in response to the air strikes.

So, what the Americans, British and French are striving for is, firstly, a respite from the sordid publicity over the Khashoggi killing. If the “humanitarian appeal” over Yemen succeeds to placate Western public outrage, then these governments will be able to continue business-as-usual selling the Saudi regime lucrative weapons contracts.

Secondly, by drawing the Houthi rebels into “peace negotiations” that will also burnish the Western and Saudi public image, as well as – equally importantly – forcing the rebels into accepting a compromise on their revolutionary government. By entering negotiations with the Saudi-backed remnants of the exiled Yemeni leader Mansour Hadi, the Houthis will inevitably have to accept making concessions and allowing an accommodation with the ousted, discredited regime.

Mansour Hadi, who has been living in exile in Saudi Arabia since the Houthis seized power, was reviled by most Yemenis for his corruption and being a puppet of the Saudis and Americans. His exiled clique is routinely and mendaciously referred to by Western media as the “internationally recognized government of Yemen”.

When he fled the country in ignominy in early 2015, the Houthi rebels had succeeded in spearheading a popular revolt. The rebels profess a branch of Shia Islam, but there was every indication that they had a relatively democratic program for pluralist governance.

The Saudi and American sponsors of the ousted Mansour Hadi reacted to the overthrow of their puppet by launching an air war on Yemen in late March 2015 – a war which has continued unremittingly ever since, with Britain and France also joining the profitable slaughter by suppling warplanes and missiles.

Another lie told by Western media is that the rebels are proxies of Iran, a lie which is used to “justify” the Western-backed criminal war against the country. Iran supports the Houthis diplomatically, but there is no evidence of arms supplies. Even if there was, so what? That wouldn’t justify aerial bombardment of the country and its people.

The devastation inflicted on Yemen and its people has largely been ignored by Western news media. Despite the lack of coverage, the Western public have nevertheless become aware of the horror and their governments’ complicity. Harrowing images of skeletal children dying from starvation and lack of basic medicines have shamed Washington, London and Paris into taking some action, however despicably inadequate and long overdue.

The recent impetus for a ceasefire and talks in Yemen coming from the US and its Western allies is not due to humanitarianism. It’s a cynical PR exercise to whitewash bloodied images – both theirs and that of their Saudi client regime. The Yemen war has been shown to be a sickening charnel house in a futile bid for Western regime change against the Houthi revolution. By forcing the Houthis into negotiations, the Western powers hope to achieve their regime change objective by another tactic – and gain PR capital at the same time.

If Washington, London and Paris were really serious about ending the suffering in Yemen, they would simply demand that the aggression stops immediately, so that the Yemenis are allowed to determine their own political future without foreign interference. But the Western powers will not do that because their interference in Yemen, along with the Saudis, is the very reason why this criminal war of aggression started and grinds on.

Britain’s Deep Ties to Saudi Arabia’s War in Yemen

Mark Lattimer

In your welcome editorial on UK and western complicity in violations of civilian rights by the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen (12 November), you point out that “until we stop selling arms and sharing intelligence, we remain complicit”.

UK support for Saudi Arabia’s conduct in Yemen goes a lot further than that. According to the summary of the high court in June 2017, based on the account of the government’s official witness,

“the UK provides significant logistical and technical support to the Saudi military. In particular, the Ministry of Defense Saudi armed forces projects team, comprising over 200 UK armed forces and MoD personnel, provides advice to the Saudi military on the equipment supplied by BAE Systems.”

Furthermore,

“UK liaison officers in the Saudi Arabian military HQ have a significant degree of insight into Saudi Arabia’s targeting procedures and access to sensitive post-strike coalition mission reporting. The RAF chief of air staff liaison officer in Riyadh has unparalleled access to the decision-makers in the Saudi air force HQ.”

The MoD also provides training to Saudi armed forces in targeting, compliance with international law and the operation of weapons and munitions.

Given the scope and depth of this cooperation, and the unparalleled access enjoyed by the RAF, further searching questions urgently need to be asked. At what point do UK service personnel embedded within the Saudi armed forces learn of an airstrike targeting civilians, such as the Dahyan bus strike that killed 40 schoolchildren on 9 August, and what is their specific advice? For how long have UK personnel been aware of the Saudi strategy of inducing famine in large parts of Yemen through the systematic targeting of farms, fishing vessels, market places and food storage sites?

Source: The Guardian, Edited by website team

Yes, What About Yemen?

By Jeremy Salt
Source

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After the murder of Jamal Khashoggi, many are asking ‘But what about Yemen?’ Yes, indeed, what about Yemen, but what about Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, and Somalia? What about Egypt in 1956, what about Iran in 1953 and what about Palestine from 1917 to the present day?

There is a string of ‘what abouts?’ going all the way back to the French occupation of Algeria in 1830.  The ‘western’ presence in North Africa and the Middle East is an unbroken record of criminality, invasion, occupation, massacre, assassination and overthrow stretching back over two hundred years.

The ‘west’ is always killing someone somewhere, or helping someone else to kill them. Nothing has ever stopped it.  Not 9/11 and certainly not the killing of Jamal Khashoggi. Even now Britain is ramping up its arms sales to Saudi Arabia, consolidating its position as a partner in the slaughter of Yemenis.

This is the template for what we now see around us.  In the Middle East, the ‘west’ has been a curse. But what is ‘the west’?

No more than a useful cover, basically for three countries, Britain, France, and the US.  Their outriders, Australia, Canada, other European states, in it for the money, or bullied and intimidated into joining the ‘coalition of the willing’ or whatever propaganda phase is cooked up to conceal the massacre of millions, are no more than useful bit players masquerading as independent countries.  To this list has to be added the Arab regimes prepared to sell out anything that can be defined as an Arab cause in return for ‘western’ approval, pre-eminently Palestine. Previously covert dealings with Israel by Gulf states are now right out in the open.

From 1798 when French warships arrived off the coast of Egypt until 1956 when Britain and France were humiliated at Suez, it these two countries that brought havoc to the Middle East, wave after wave and country after country.  If the Palestinians lost Palestine it was because the British gave it to the Zionists. If the Zionists have nuclear weapons it is because France gave them their nuclear reactor.

These two powers have an appalling record wherever you want to look. Their ‘peace conference’ after the end of the First World War was a ‘more war’ conference. Wars on the people of Palestine and Iraq, along with the wars already running, on the people of Egypt and Algeria, where the French butchered Algerians in the streets of Paris in the 1960s, having butchering them in their occupied home country. They massacred them and asphyxiated them with smoke in the caves where they were hiding. So much for la mission civilisatrice.

By the 1960s, finally, exhausted, militarily and financially, no longer able to hang on to their empires, the two governments had to let go and hand power over to the third pillar of the ‘western’ imperium, the US.

Having conspired to overthrow the Syrian government in 1949 and the Iranian government in 1953, the US was planning to overthrow the Syrian government again in 1956 at the very moment Britain France and British, Zionist colony in Palestine attacked Egypt.

Eisenhower knew nothing of the simultaneous plot to destroy the Egyptian government. Deceived by Britain and France, he was furious.

Threatening Britain with an end to financial aid, and seizing the opportunity to let France and Britain know who was boss in the Middle East from now on, he quickly brought the attack on Egypt to an end.

No longer able to start wars of their own, Britain and France now follow the US wherever it wants to go, into Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, and Syria, running in to grab whatever they can from the chaos.

The consequences for the people of the Middle East are deaths on a massive scale and refugees pouring out of their ruptured countries, drowning in the Aegean or the Mediterranean while the killing continues somewhere else.

No ‘western’ country takes any responsibility for any of this. When ‘migrants’ jump ashore from rubber boats or press against border fences, the collective ‘west’ is affronted as if this humanitarian crisis had nothing to do with it, as if these people were the cause of the problem rather than the symptom.

Morality, justice, law, human rights, civilization, democracy are all irrelevant, indeed an insult when coming from the mouths of the politicians responsible for this devastation. The clichés are uttered and the caravan of death moves on.

Witness Khashoggi. They want him forgotten as soon as possible so they can get on with business as usual, i.e. selling weapons so the Saudis can bomb more buses and wedding parties in Yemen and starve more children to death.

It surely has escaped no-one’s attention that all the countries or territories they or their colonial implant in the Middle East, Israel, invade, bomb or occupy, with the single exception of the Balkans in the 1990s, are almost wholly or predominantly Muslim?

Syrian, Yemeni, Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan, Somalia and Palestine recurrently over the past seven decades and just about everyone in the Muslim world at some point, going back to 1798.

They have killed millions of mostly innocent people. Those that did take up arms were resisting invasion and occupation. Did Fouad Zakaria really have to ask, after 9/11, ‘why do they hate us?’ If there is a ‘clash of civilizations,’ who does anyone think has created it and whose blood was really shed along ‘Islam’s bloody borders,’ as described by Samuel Huntington?

Have a look at a map of the Middle East and North Africa. At some point, virtually all of it has come under ‘western’ attack.  The exceptions happen to be those pandering rulers that give the ‘west’ what it wants and keep on giving.

Money and weaponry trump morality every time. What is the shocking murder of one man compared to the hundreds of billions to be made from arms sales and other deals with Saudi Arabia?

Amorality is the name of their game. They armed Saddam. They helped him use chemical weapons against his Iranian enemy. They looked the other way when he used them against the Kurds and when they had no more use for him they hanged him.

They bought Libya’s oil and brought Muammar al Qadhafi in from the cold until he began setting up financial structures to take Africa out of the hands of the IMF. Then they destroyed his country and killed him. Hillary Clinton guffawed when told of his murder.

Trump promised to end the wars but did not. That is not the reason he is hated by the pseudo-liberals, from the babbling talk show hosts to the editors of their house journals, the Washington Post and the New Yorker.

They couldn’t care less how many Syrians, Yemenis or Palestinians died last week. They hate Trump because he is not one of them. He offends them by his presence. He does not look like them and he does not talk like them. Neither do they have any affinity with the people he represents, including the soldiers from impoverished regions and decaying cities who fight the wars they support.

They just want this execrable creature gone, by whatever means it takes, removed permanently from their line of sight.

They like Hillary. She is a woman, after all, a feminist icon who crashed through the glass ceiling by being as bad as the men and worse than most.  This is what is called a victory for women everywhere.  She is a feminist who has never shown any compassion for the murdered women and children of Palestine, Syria, and Yemen. Her sympathies lie with those who kill, torture or imprison them.

Of course, Clinton’s only interest is herself.  However, the biological fact of gender apparently trumps everything and would have trumped Trump had not the scheming, diabolically cunning Vladimir Putin corrupted the elections from somewhere in the heart of the Kremlin. The man with the orange hair was his Manchurian candidate.

They have no evidence for any of this because there is none. It is fiction from start to finish. From the Washington Post to the New Yorker these pseudo-liberals cling to their fictive version of history because they cannot accept that Clinton lost because the American people had enough common sense to reject her.

Is Trump worse than Hillary would have been? Who knows? Who cares? Outside the serried rank of the pseudo-liberals baying for Trump’s blood, who gives a rat’s arse? Let the Americans fight their civil war. The more damage they do to each other the less the damage they might be able to do to other people.

 

Propaganda during World War I: An Illustrated Account

By Terje Meloy
Source

These stories are not unique cases from a remote war. The same methods are constantly rinsed and repeated, the mentality in our ruling elites is the same, and the risk of a major conflict is as great today as in 1914.

These examples concentrate mostly on British/American perception management and propaganda. First of all, because they are masters of the art, and secondly, as victors they still dominate the narrative.

Arthur Ponsonby and Falsehood in Wartime

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After the Great War came a huge backlash of disillusion and revulsion. Calmly analysed, most of what had been told in the war turned out to be lies and half-truths. «Falsehood in War-time, Containing an Assortment of Lies Circulated Throughout the Nations During the Great War» was the title of a book published in 1928. Written by Arthur, Ponsonby, it discussed 20 instances of lies in wartime.

The contents of the book can be summed up in the Ten Commandments of War Propaganda:

  1. We do not want war.
  2. The opposite party alone is guilty of war.
  3. The enemy is the face of the devil.
  4. We defend a noble cause, not our own interest.
  5. The enemy systematically commits cruelties; our mishaps are involuntary.
  6. The enemy uses forbidden weapons.
  7. We suffer small losses, those of the enemy are enormous.
  8. Artists and intellectuals back our cause.
  9. Our cause is sacred.
  10. All who doubt our propaganda, are traitors.

The Enemy Is the Face of the Devil

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The perception of German atrocities in World War 1 has had is up and downs during the decades.  They ‘Huns’ were indeed quite ruthless, and freely executed several thousand suspected franc-tireurs and hostages when they invaded Belgium and Northern France in 1914.

However, the theme of barbaric, nun-raping, baby-bayonetting Huns was so carried to excess by the Entente propaganda machine that there came a backlash in public opinion after the war. By the 1920s, the disillusionment with the war and its aftermath was so great that all of these stories were dismissed as atrocity propaganda, which again would backfire in 1939, when there was reluctance to believe stories of – this time real – massive German atrocities.

The same theme was used more recently, with the infamous tale of «Iraqis ripping babies from incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals», in the warm-up to the Gulf War in 1990. Before the US Congress, a young woman in tears testified how she as a nurse in Kuwait witnessed Iraqi soldiers ripping prematurely born babies out of their incubators, leaving them to die on the floor. The story was later repeated by an equally moved President George HW Bush.

The public later found out that the woman was in fact not a nurse, but the daughter of the Kuwaiti ambassador to Washington, and the story was concocted as part of the propaganda effort by the PR-Agency Hill & Knowlton.

Mussolini Changes His Mind — Italy Should Join the War

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Italy at first stayed neutral, then chose to join the Entente. This turned out to be a really bad decision, killing a generation of young men, and with not many gains to show for it in the peace treaties.

The decision was partially helped by subsidies from English and French intelligence to the Italian press. The Italian journalist Benito Mussolini (picture: in white coat, arrested during a scuffle with police in 1914) had a change of heart, and went from a leading socialist and war opponent to a fierce advocate of Italy joining the war.

According to a note written in November 1922 by the French secret services in Rome, Mussolini (who was described in another note from the same service as «an agent of the French Embassy in Rome») had in 1914 collected ten million francs «to support Italy’s war alongside the allied powers». In 1915, he was one of the founders the Fascist movement, which later took power in 1922.

The Difference Between Declared War Aims and Real Ones

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In August 1914, when an almost unanimous German parliament voted yes to war, it was presented to the German public as a defensive Schutzkrieg against conniving enemies. With the exception of one member, Karl Liebknecht, the entire 110-member delegation from the Social Democratic Party bowed to the war euphoria and voted yes to war loans.

The perception presented to the public during the first few years of fighting, was of a Germany fighting a defensive war for survival, not a scheme for imperial aggrandizement. But in reality, already in September 1914, in the first few weeks of the war, a secret plan for an extensive redrawing of Europe’s borders was prepared for Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg, the Septemberprogramm (see map).

After the Brest-Litovsk separate peace with the Bolsheviks in 1917, the eastern part of these war aims were achieved, where Germany occupied or created puppet governments in Poland, Ukraine, the Caucasus and Baltic areas, and created a dependent state in Finland.

Although a victory, this led to great disillusionment in the German liberal-left, which so far had supported a war to preserve the country. Now he myth of a defensive war was exposed as a lie, and the treaty showed it to be a war for imperial expansion.

The Sinking of the Lusitania

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In May 1915 the British Government was in trouble. The European war was not going well. Instead of reacting to aggressive British blockades by begging for mercy, Germany was sinking more and more British ships with her U-boats.

The Lusitania was sunk by a German submarine on Friday May 7 1915, 12 miles off the coast of Ireland, killing 1198 people. The ship was running at two-thirds speed and in a straight line, rather than the recommended zigzag used to avoid torpedoes. The passengers were mostly US citizens (including millionaire Alfred Vanderbilt).

Her cargo consisted mostly of undeclared weapons and explosives, a fact finally confirmed in 1960, and which explained why she sank so fast. She was bound for the UK, sailing all alone, inexplicably without escort from the Royal Navy and right into a known U-boat hunting ground.

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No members of the press even considered asking why Lusitania had been steaming so slowly and in a straight line, or why the British Admiralty had chosen to withhold the usual naval escort.

The numerous travel warnings posted by the German government in US newspapers, warning people they traveled on British shipping into British waters at their peril, was left out of the narrative. The German explanation, that the Lusitania was a legitimate target because she carried armaments, was dismissed out of hand.

And totally forgotten was the aggressive policy of starving Germany to its knees that had prompted the U-boat campaign in the first place. After the war began in 1914, Britain immediately began a naval blockade of Germany. Since even food was classified as “contraband,” the Germans had to ration food. By all estimates, several hundred thousand people ultimately died of starvation due to the blockade.

The sinking of the Lusitania was one of the main causes that brought the United States into the war, saving the war for the British.

An Inconvenient Peace Offer: “What Does He Want to Butt In for?”

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In July 1915, Pope Benedict XV published the apostolic exhortation «To the Peoples Now at War and to Their Rulers.» Two years later, in 1917, this became The seven-point plan, a peace note presented to the warring parties. It was based on a peace linked to justice rather than military conquest, cessation of hostilities, a reduction of armaments, a guaranteed freedom of the seas, international arbitration, and Belgium restored to independence and guaranteed «against any power whatsoever.» (But it tacitly implied that Germany would gain some territory in the east).

The initiative failed: Although the Central Powers (Germany, Austria-Hungary) were positive to the mediation after three years of exhausting war, no one on the Entente side showed any interest. (The collapse of the Russian imperial government a few months later reduced the German willingness to negotiate.) Britain did not even show the Holy See the common courtesy of a proper reply. The French and Italian replies were hostile, and the rejection on behalf of the alliance was made by president Woodrow Wilson of the United States, who had initially remarked of the pope’s proposal: “What does he want to butt in for?»

The decision to reject any proposal from the Vatican was already decided in 1915. The threat was that a peace mediation from someone like the Pope might create so much pressure from a war-weary populace that it might just gather enough momentum to force the powers to accept.

The secret Treaty of London (1915), committing Italy to the Entente (Britain, France and Russia) contained a clause, article 15, where Italy is given carte blanche to do whatever is deemed necessary to silence the Church: «France, Great Britain and Russia shall support such opposition as Italy may make to any proposal in the direction of introducing a representative of the Holy See in any peace negotiations or negotiations for the settlement of questions raised by the present war» .

From Women’s Liberation to a Tool for the State

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There is nothing new about liberal social reformers falling into lockstep when the country goes to war.

British Emmeline Pankhurst was the most prominent member in the Women’s Suffrage movement. She founded the Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1902. After a remarkable and highly radical campaign for women’s rights, including hunger strikes, arson and window smashings, the group changed from a reformist program to a hard right reactionary nationalism as soon as the war broke out.

In 1914-15, bands of women roamed the cities of England handing out white feathers of cowardice to men wearing civilian clothes. The ‘White Feather Brigade’ was established by admiral Charles Fitzgerald, a war hawk who wished to see Britain institute mandatory military service. The campaign spread through the country with astonishing rapidity.

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The highly successful White Feather campaign, shaming British men to enlist.

Not unconnected, the WSPU successfully carried out secret negotiations with the government, and on the 10th August 1914, the government announced it was releasing all suffragettes from prison. After receiving a £2,000 grant from the government, the WSPU organised a pro-war demonstration in London. Members carried banners with slogans such as «We Demand the Right to Serve» and «Let None Be Kaiser’s Cat’s Paws».

Pankhurst founded the Women’s Party in 1917. Excerpts from the program:

(1) A fight to the finish with Germany.

(2) More vigorous war measures to include drastic food rationing, more communal kitchens to reduce waste, and the closing down of nonessential industries to release labour for work on the land and in the factories.

(3) A clean sweep of all officials of enemy blood or connections from Government departments. Peace terms to include the dismemberment of the Hapsburg Empire.

(8) Irish Home Rule to be denied.

In the Suffrage Movement’s defense, many members chose a different and more honorable stance, like her daughter Sylvia Pankhurst. In 1915, Sylvia gave her enthusiastic support to the International Women’s Peace Congress, and she later became a leading international voice in the resistance to Mussolini’s attack on Ethiopia.

Edith Cavell – Nurse (And a Hundred Years Later, a Spy After All)

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Few incidents created bigger outrage in the First World War than when the British nurse Edith Cavellwas executed by firing squad for helping Allied soldiers escape occupied Belgium. In the trial, she admitted to leading a people smuggling network.

But the German charges also claimed that Cavell was a spy, sending sensitive intelligence through the same network, a claim which was strongly denied by both Cavell and the British government.

The government’s insistence on her innocence was taken as implicitly true in Britain, and she became a symbol for victims of Hunnic habitual cruelty. This perception also had great impact on public opinion in the still neutral United States. The implicit presumption of innocence lingered for a many years, and was a useful propaganda tool for many decades.

In a BBC-program in 2015, a hundred years after Cavell’s death, Stella Rimington, former head of the MI5, revealed that she had discovered documents in Belgian archives indicating that Cavell was in fact a spy.

This is of course a limited hangout. MI5 would have known this all along, being Cavell’s boss, but naturally chose to keep quiet about it, since the idea of her innocence was so convenient.

Rimington said her evidence showed «that the Cavell organisation was a two-pronged affair» and that espionage was the other part of its clandestine mission.

The documents included an account by Herman Capiau, a young Belgian mining engineer who had brought the first British soldiers to Cavell in 1914 and was an important member of her network.

He wrote: «Whenever it was possible to send interesting intelligence on military operations, this information was forwarded to the English intelligence service punctually and rapidly.»

Capiau referred to information about a German trench system, the location of munitions dumps and the whereabouts of aircraft.

Since she was in fact guilty, it would make her case similar to the famous spy Mata Hari, who was unceremoniously executed by the French in 1917, without any international outcry. Of course, Cavell’s case is worse, since she used a humanitarian cover for her activities, putting all medical personnel under suspicion.

Most of Our Opinions Are Formed by Men We Have Never Heard of

After the United States joined the war in 1917, president Wilson founded a government agency, The Committee on Public Information, to drum up support in public opinion for the US Crusade for Freedom©.

A young man, Edward Bernays,  started working for it, and quickly learned his trade there. He later became known as «the father of public relations», and a pioneer in the modern PR-industry, where he, among other things, arranged the media part of the CIA-regime change operation in Guatemala in 1954. The full quote from him is as follows:

«The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organized habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds are molded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of.»

The Invasion of 1910 — A Book Commissioned to Tell the Public Who the Next Enemy Is

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Describing an imagined German invasion of England, the book The Invasion of 1910 was written by William le Queux on commission from the press magnate Lord Northcliffe and serialized in his newspaper the Daily Mail in 1906. After the detente with France and friendlier relations with Russia, British elites circles agreed on who the next likely enemy would be. But the British public still wasn’t ‘with the program’, and a large campaign was started to prepare them mentally. In the years 1906-1914, a torrent of books and articles on the terrible Hun menace poured out from a number of authors, including Arthur Conan Doyle.

Bits by Bits a War Memorial Day Gets a New Meaning

14027266043_a3a49cb221_z.jpgCadets march in the 2014 ANZAC day parade (Picture: Flickr/Chris Phutully)

World War 1 was a bloody affair for the Commonwealth countries. Most Australian country towns or even small villages have a cenotaph or monument with a shockingly long list of local men lost in WW1. ANZAC-day  (on 25th of April, the anniversary of the Anglo-French campaign to conquer Gallipoli and the Dardanelles, where Australia played a part) was decided as a holiday in 1921 to commemorate these war dead, in a rather sombre spirit. The holiday and ceremony was a quiet affair for most of last century, apart from the usual right-wing forces trying to capitalize on it. It reached it’s nadir in the late 1970s, after the Vietnam war.

A marked change started in the 1990s, with a concerted and very well funded campaign from the government to militarize Australian history. Now the ceremonies are huge, military-political events, full of pathos, cant and sentimentality.  By spending huge sums to connect the public idea of Australianness to a glorification of its military glory, it seems Australian participation, like in 1914 by choice, in the next bloody world war is inevitable – nothing learned Down Under.

Neutral Countries Are the Winners

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This Swiss cartoon by Karl Czerpien, is captioned «The wooing of the Neutrals», where orators from the warring countries are trying to entice neutrals to join them. The different alliances spent large efforts to tangle neutral countries into their imperialistic intrigues (see the case of Italy above). For smaller neutral countries, war between the great powers is always a dangerous time, but by trying to stay neutral, they are rather better off than by joining an alliance. A lesson for our time, when small countries in Europe seem very eager to get the honor of being the battlefield in the next war.

1924 — The Pacifist Ernst Friedrich Shows the Real Faces of War

In 1924, in the book War against War, the German anti-war activist Ernst Friedrich breaks a taboo in war reporting, by showing real war injuries. Such horrific pictures were – and still are – generally very rarely shown in war reporting, both in the corporate media and in anti-war literature.

This unwillingness contributes, intentionally or just because the pictures are too shocking to handle, to an almost idealized image of war, where our dead are always beautifully serene and the wounded well wrapped in bandages.

Criminal war, poverty at the heart of European & US migration turmoil

By Finian Cunningham
Source

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Europe has certainly adopted more fortress-like controls against would-be refugees. A concomitant rise in anti-immigrant political parties has in turn fueled popular resentment towards EU institutions.

But the debate requires much more than “moral appeals.”

A recent study entitled ‘Building Walls’ puts the growth of EU internal and external border barriers into stark perspective. In the 1990s, there were two border walls. Now the number has grown to a total of 17, with most of the structures built over the past three years.

Ten countries out of 28 EU member states have built physical barriers to control migrants entering from outside the bloc. They include Austria, Spain, the United Kingdom, Hungary, Greece, Slovenia and Latvia.

The authors of the above report call the structures “edifices of fear” and make the startling comparison to the Berlin Wall that separated East and West Germany until its dismantlement in 1989. EU states have built border barriers equivalent to the length of six Berlin Walls.

The report also reproaches the proliferation of “mental walls” across EU member states with the rise of what it calls “far-right” and “racist” political parties. There are now, it is claimed, 10 EU states in which “xenophobic” parties have significant government or parliamentary representation.

However, the problem with a report like this is that it provides no practical solutions to the immense political and social challenges stemming from phenomenal migration. The United Nations high commissioner for refugees estimates that a record number of 68.5 million people worldwide are forcibly on the move from their origins, many of them trying to reach Europe.

We can perhaps agree that in recent years that the EU has faced an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers and would-be refugees. That, in turn, has engendered political and social tensions, as well as anti-immigrant parties and anti-EU popular sentiments.

The authors of ‘Building Walls,’ however, largely base their appeal on moral arguments in favor of accepting migrants in the context of human rights. They call on EU governments to reject “racist discourse of the extreme right” and “to reverse the policies that lead us to walling ourselves in and defending a fortress in which the privileged and secure live.”

That recommendation reveals an abject naivety. Millions of EU citizens would not consider themselves “privileged and secure,” as the authors claim.

In the 58-page report, there is this tiny mention of the real issues at stake. “Civil society and political parties should rigorously study the structural causes of 68.5 million people having to flee their homes by force, in order to implement prevention policies based on global economic justice and to prevent war and armed conflict.”

Indeed, “structural causes” need scrutinizing. These issues should be comprehensively explored if a proper understanding and solution to the problem are to be achieved. Such an approach would also go some way to addressing the concomitant issue of anti-immigrant politics and resentment towards the EU status quo.

Here is where disclosure by the ‘Building Walls’ study is pertinent. The publisher, the Transnational Institute, based in Amsterdam, isfunded in part by liberal financier George Soros. The billionaire hasdeclared himself an advocate for open borders and promoting the rights of refugees. Some critics see Soros’ agenda as something more sinister than mere philanthropy. He is accused of trying to undermine national sovereign controls over migration. In Hungary, from where Soros migrated years ago to the US, the government of Viktor Orban has even gone as far as banning organizations funded by the billionaire.

t seems significant that the ‘Building Walls’ report deals with the whole matter of refugees and migration from the premise of acceptance. It avoids tackling the phenomenon with an analysis of structural causes, even though the authors briefly mention the key issues of poverty and war.

The expansion of walls across the EU and the increase in refugees are correlated with the spate of illegal wars the United States and its NATO allies have fomented in the Middle East, North Africa and Central Asia over the past three decades. The wars are the cause, the refugees are the effect.

The main migration routes to Europe via the Mediterranean and Balkans follow the pattern of wars that the US and its NATO allies have waged, overtly and covertly, in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Libya, among other countries. The opening of these routes then draws in migrants from many other countries in Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Indisputably, the US and EU are both complicit in perpetrating criminal wars which have unleashed the unprecedented numbers of migrants seeking refuge in Europe.

Added to that are international neoliberal economic policies pushed by Washington and the EU, which have impoverished African nations, leading to environmental crises and communities being displaced.

The same structural causes apply to the migrant caravan heading towards the US from Central America. For decades, Washington has ransacked its “backyard” with counterinsurgency warfare and sponsoring repressive regimes, which have in turn led to the spawning of criminal gangs and mass poverty. Any wonder then that droves of desperate people decide to flee to somewhere they perceive as relatively safe.

The other side of the coin is poverty and bankrupt economics in the EU, as well as the US. For decades, governments have been crushing their own people with brutal austerity and grinding poverty. The gulf between a tiny wealthy elite and the mass of impoverished society has exploded. The hardship and misery under Western corporate capitalism has understandably engendered huge insecurity and anxiety within populations. Such sentiments feed into reactionary politics and are susceptible to perceiving foreigners as threats.

Having said that, it should be recognized that resident communities in Europe or the US have a valid grievance about abrupt cultural changes. It seems inappropriate to dismiss objections as merely “racist” or “xenophobic.” Why should settled populations have to deal with a sudden influx of foreigners?

Making moral appeals for tolerance towards refugees is futile. It does not address the structural cause of problems, or practical solutions.

We need to engage the issue of refugees and migration directly with policies based on structural analysis.

European governments along with Washington have to be held accountable for the criminal wars they have inflicted. That at least means paying financial reparations for the reconstruction of nations blown apart by militarism. Stop the wars, pay for damages and reconstruction, and the refugee problem is largely curbed.

On economics, the real problem is the bankrupt capitalist system. It impoverishes billions of people, both within so-called developed countries and elsewhere, leading to mass migration and deep rancor in destination countries.

If European countries or the US were run on a more democratic, productive and socially beneficial economic system, instead of neoliberal austerity exploiting inequality, then much of the public resentment and fear of foreigners would not be such a concern. And anti-immigrant political parties would have much less of a constituency. Thus, stop economically crushing people with bankrupt economics, and many of the social and political problems of xenophobia and populist revolt would diminish.

Imperialist wars and destructive capitalism are the root problems. We’d better deal with them.

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