NATO: The Founding Lie

May 1, 2022

German commentator, lecturer and writer. He is considered to be a leading “intervening philosopher”.

By Werner Rugemer

Source

After the 2nd World War in 1945 the USA knew: There is no danger from the weakened Soviet Union. But with the pincer grip of the Marshall Plan and NATO, the USA integrated the Western, Northern and Southern European countries into its economic and military expansion. Ex-Nazis and ex-Nazi collaborators were promoted, on the other hand anti-fascist parties, movements, persons were eliminated, infiltrated, bought. At the same time, the U.S. also helped the governments to fight against liberation movements in the colonies – also because of raw materials for US corporations. After 1990, the founding lie and thus the military-capitalist pincer grip was continued with the “eastward expansion”: Always first NATO membership, then EU membership. This includes the dismantling of prosperity and freedom for the majority populations: The EU and more and more US corporations, investors and consultants are organizing Americanization with working poor, working sick as well as legalized and illegal labor migration – at the same time militarization and hostility against Russia is being expanded: Domination of Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok was the plan from the beginning.

We bring a chapter from the book by Werner Rügemer: Imperium EU – Labor Injustice, Crisis, New Resistances, tredition 2021. Of course, the war in Ukraine does not play a role in it yet, but it becomes explainable in some respects. Sources have been omitted.

Russia after World War 2: No danger

In the run-up to the founding of NATO, those responsible in the USA knew: The Soviet Union posed no military danger. The weakened power could not sustain an attack on Western Europe even if it wanted to: The Soviet Union’s economy is largely destroyed and technologically obsolete; its transportation system is too primitive; its oil industry is easy to attack. Nor does the Soviet Union have the atomic bomb. “The men in the Kremlin are clever tyrants who will not risk their internal power by military adventures abroad. They want to win the battle for Germany and Europe, but not by military action,” was the judgment of George Kennan, the chief planner in the State Department, for State Department chief Marshall, for President Truman, and for U.S. ambassadors in various memoranda in 1948.

But why did the U.S. and its then still few allies nonetheless establish NATO, a military alliance expressly directed against the Soviet Union?

The Legend of the Cold War

The legend states that NATO was a “product of the Cold War” after the end of World War 2. In reality, NATO is a product of U.S. expansion, which was already underway before U.S. military intervention in WWII.

The “cold war” is one of the most resourceful ideological constructs used by the U.S. opinion machine to disguise U.S. practices from WW2 to the present. The term was popularized by the most important US ideologue of the 20th century: Walter Lippmann, father of “neoliberalism.”

“Cold War” is supposed to mean: After WW2, the military war is over, and the phase of non-military confrontation between the “free West” and the “communist Eastern Bloc” begins. But during the “cold war” the USA and the first NATO countries waged hot, very hot wars, e.g. in Greece, Korea, the Philippines, in Africa and Indochina – this will have to be returned to.

In reality, the “cold” war began shortly after the war started, around 1941. Roosevelt and Churchill intervened militarily as late as possible in the war – despite repeated requests from their ally Stalin: The Red Army and the German Wehrmacht were to destroy each other as much as possible. The U.S. and British governments also rejected in principle to assist any internal resistance to Hitler. Wall Street lawyer Allen Dulles, as head of the intelligence agency Office of Stragic Services (OSS) based in Switzerland, did not want the assassins of July 20, 1944 to succeed – the U.S. military wanted to prevent an early armistice with the Soviet Union at all costs. The Red Army was to suffer as high losses as possible in the further fight against Hitler’s Wehrmacht.

Advancing the U.S. “defense” line to Europe

Walter Lippmann, a Harvard graduate who initially saw himself as a leftist and socialist, had helped organize the propaganda for the U.S. entry into the war for the U.S. War Department during World War I (Committee on Public Information, CPI): In 1917, the pacifist neutrality pledge of U.S. President Woodrow Wilson was to be reversed, and the U.S. entry into the war was now to be justified.

After that, Lippmann had theoretically justified and journalistically accompanied the global expansion of the USA in a prominent position – especially concerning Europe and Japan. In 1938, as an opponent of Roosevelt’s reform course (New Deal), he had brought together the later gurus of “neoliberal” economic theory such as Friedrich Hayek, Alexander Rüstow and Raymond Aron: It was here that the euphemistic term “neoliberalism” was coined for the global, anti-union, anti-communist sharpened doctrine of capitalism.

In March 1943, Lippmann wrote: After conquering North America, Central America, the Caribbean, the Philippines, and several islands in the Pacific (Wake, Guam, Hawai, Japanese Mandate Islands), the U.S. had been forced to “defend two-thirds of the earth’s surface from our continental base in North America.” Now, however, with the foreseeable defeat of the Axis powers of Germany, Japan, Italy, and their allies and collaborators, much broader access is opening up.

The U.S. will now no longer be able to “defend” its previously conquered territories, the geostrategist said, solely from its North American territory and scattered islands in the Pacific. Rather, America can and must now decisively expand its “defense” line “by basing our foreign policy on reliable alliances in the old world.” New U.S. bases could now be established in Europe and Japan. This would allow the U.S. to move from the previous passive to active “defense” of its national interests.

USA 1947: War Department becomes Defense Department

This strategy included ideological artifices: The anti-liberal and anti-democratic intensified capitalism doctrine was called “neoliberalism.”

And the intensified military expansion was passed off as “defense.” From 1789, since its founding, the U.S. factually had a War Department: through wars, the North American continent was integrated into the national territory, then Central America, the Caribbean, Cuba, then the Philippines, Puerto Rico, China, etc. were militarily penetrated, temporarily occupied, vassal governments were installed, islands – or parts of islands like Guantanamo in Cuba – were occupied and developed as permanent military bases.

But just at the highest stage of its also military expansion up to then, the War Department was euphemistically and factlessly renamed to Defense Department in 1947. That is why the aggressive NATO was called the “defense” alliance.

The Twin: Marshall Plan and NATO

NATO, founded in 1949, was the twin of the Marshall Plan. The dual military-civilian character was embodied by George Marshall himself: During World War 2, as Chief of Staff, he coordinated the U.S. military in all theaters of war between North Africa, Europe and Asia. After the war, as Secretary of State from 1947 to 1949, he organized the Marshall Plan. And in 1950, the agile man slipped into the role of U.S. secretary of defense, organizing brutal interventions, including napalm bombings, against liberation movements around the globe, in Korea as well as in Greece.

From 1947 on, all later founding members of NATO received aid from the Marshall Plan: Great Britain, France, Portugal, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, Denmark, Iceland, Italy, Norway. This continued after NATO’s founding until the end of the Marshall Plan in 1952. In addition, in 1949, the U.S. Congress approved $1 billion in aid for the rearmament of NATO’s founding nations. In some cases, Marshall Plan aid was reallocated for military purposes.

All of these states – except Luxembourg, Italy and Norway – were also active colonial powers. Most of them were also monarchies and no paragon of democracy. The U.S. itself maintained numerous dependent territories around the globe in a neocolonial manner and dominated states in Central America and the Caribbean with the help of dictators – most famously in Cuba.

Preliminary Brussels Pact: Germans and “Communist Danger

Prior to NATO’s founding, the most reliable European countries slated to be founding members were allowed to make their prelude. In March 1948, the governments of Great Britain, France and the three small Benelux monarchies, highly subsidized by the Marshall Plan, adopted the “Brussels Pact.” It saw itself as a military alliance against renewed German aggression and against a threat of Soviet aggression.

These U.S.-led conspiracy practitioners simulated dangers that did not exist: Germany was fully disarmed and under military control of the Allies, including the Brussels Pact members themselves – France, Britain, Belgium, and the Netherlands were occupying powers in West Germany; and they could have a say in whether or not West Germany or the Federal Republic of Germany was rearmed. The Soviet Union was neither capable of nor willing to attack Western Europe, and even less willing to permanently occupy it – this assessment of the U.S. government was also familiar to the Brussels Pact states.

The Brussels Pact brought together, along with Great Britain, the states whose governments and economic elites had not resisted the occupation of the Wehrmacht, but had collaborated with Nazi Germany and also saw “communism” as the main danger. They all feared punishment, disentanglement or even expropriation after the war, the military and secret services feared loss of influence. But the U.S. held a protective hand over them.

On April 4, 1949 – a few months before the founding of the Federal Republic of Germany – the military alliance North Atlantic Treaty Organization, NATO, was founded in Washington. It was billed as a “defense” alliance, following U.S. language. All other members were dependent on the U.S., not only through the Marshall Plan, but also through additional loans, military aid and investments. NATO’s headquarters were in Washington until 1952.

Also there: Dictator Franco with special status

The ruling circles of the USA had admired Mussolini’s fascism: He had shown how to defeat the “communist danger” in the West. Mussolini was showered with loans by Wall Street, and U.S. investors bought shares in Italian companies, such as Fiat. With Mussolini and Hitler, U.S. corporations supplied the fascist Franco, who destroyed the Republic in a brutal civil war.

Franco had declared victory on April 1, 1939 – just two weeks later, the Roosevelt administration had appointed its ambassador in Madrid. Only Mussolini, Hitler, Pope Pius XII and the British fascist promoters King George VI with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had been quicker to diplomatically recognize the dictatorship.

For cosmetic reasons, Spain initially did not become a NATO member while Franco ruled. But the United States included Spain in its European expansion even without formal membership. They operated military bases here and promoted economic development, such as tourism. Fascism was compatible with “freedom and democracy” and NATO.

War against liberation movements in European colonies

With NATO, with additional U.S. military bases in NATO member states and additional partnerships such as with Spain, the U.S. not only pushed its “defense” line into Western Europe in Lippmann’s sense. It also supported the wars waged by the European colonial powers against the liberation movements in the colonies that had gained strength after the war. And in the process, the U.S. also gained access to raw materials in those colonies.

Great Britain

Britain had been supplied by the U.S. with armaments, ships and food during the war and was now heavily indebted to the U.S. The U.S. saw to it that the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which it had founded and controlled in 1944, made its first major loan to Britain in 1947: this was used to conciliate and blackmail the Labour government.

Britain was also weakened in other respects: its most important colonies, such as India, were lost. Already during the war, Great Britain had ceded several military bases in the Commonwealth to the USA (land lease program). At the time of NATO’s founding, the Labour-led government fought the liberation movement in Ghana, calling the leader of the Convention People’s Party, Kwane Nkrumah, a “little local Hitler” and putting him in prison in 1950. Only in 1957 was Ghana able to become independent with Nkrumah.

The U.S., which had already been present in Greece and Turkey from 1943 with its secret service OSS, replaced Britain’s military and secret service there in 1948 and took over the war against the anti-fascist liberation movement in Greece.

Canada

Canada, as a member of the Commonwealth, was doubly dependent: Since the late 19th century, the country had been an economic colony of the United States. Canadian troops and their intelligence service had been under British command, and British troops and the entire British war economy had been subordinate to the United States.

France

The second most important NATO member after Britain was France. The U.S. Army, along with the British and Canadians, had liberated the country from the Nazis and the Vichy collaborationist government under Marshal Pétain in 1944. The leftist Resistance, which had been infiltrated by the U.S. intelligence agency OSS, was gradually eliminated.

The unpopular General Charles de Gaulle, who had fought against Hitler and represented an independent France, had to be allowed to walk in the victory parade on the Champs Elysées in Paris, and then a provisional government was formed by him; it included the Communist Party, which had led the Resistance. But this government was never recognized by the United States. The World Bank, under President John McCloy, granted a loan to France even before the Marshall Plan, on the condition: De Gaulle and the Communists must be out of the government! U.S. Secretary of State Byrnes, Marshall’s predecessor, promised a 650 million loan and the additional delivery of 500,000 tons of coal.

Christian lacquered politicians like George Bidault, close friend of CDU chairman and future West German chancellor Konrad Adenauer and like the latter in contact with CIA chief Allen Dulles, were maneuvered into the government. De Gaulle was thrown out. The loan was granted. In 1948, the U.S. also rearmed three French divisions so that France could even act as a serious occupying power in its occupied territory in West Germany.

Algeria was not only a French colony, but was considered part of France, albeit with a racist apartheid system. This did not bother NATO at all: Algeria was immediately included in the NATO treaty area. The French government’s brutal colonial war intensified. By independence, the French military had killed hundreds of thousands of independence fighters and civilians.

At the same time, the French government demanded military aid against “communism” in the colony of Indochina: the Democratic Republic of Vietnam, proclaimed in September 1945 by the Viet Minh independence movement under Ho Chi Minh, was to be destroyed – the U.S. helped France with military advisors, food and armaments. McCloy, as president of the World Bank, also approved a loan for this purpose in 1949, the year NATO was founded.

Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg

The three Benelux countries had made no military contribution against Hitler’s Germany. Their governments and corporations had collaborated with the Nazis in the war. But Belgium and the Netherlands became NATO members and were allowed to enter West Germany as occupying forces by U.S. grace.

McCloy also conceded a World Bank loan to the Kingdom of the Netherlands in 1949, NATO’s founding year, so that the independence movement in the colony of Indonesia could be fought. Against the Republic of Indonesia, established in 1945 after the Japanese occupation, the 145,000 Dutch military forces proceeded to bomb cities, murder tens of thousands of resistance fighters and other locals, and capture the government.

Belgium

The Kingdom of Belgium continued to hold its resource-rich colony of Congo under the gun after 1945 with U.S. approval. The U.S. had obtained uranium, crucial for its atomic bombs, from the Belgian colony. The mining company Union Minière du Haut Katanga – in which the Rockefellers had a stake – had already moved its headquarters from Brussels to New York in 1939.

After 1945, anti-colonial resistance in the Congo was fought mercilessly: trade unions were banned, strikers were shot or publicly flogged. Later, in 1961, in Belgian-U.S. complicity (King Baudouin, U.S. President Eisenhower, CIA, native collaborators), the first prime minister of the newly independent Congo, Patrice Lumumba, was bestially murdered after a short time.

Portugal

Fascist Portugal had remained neutral in the war and therefore had been all the more important economically to Nazi Germany: As the most important state, Portugal supplied tungsten, a precious metal crucial to the war, for steel hardening, necessary, for example, for rifle barrels and cannon barrels. In Portugal, pirated shares and pirated gold were laundered to finance the German war effort.

After 1945, the USA returned the Asian colonies of Timor and Macau, which had been occupied by Japan, to Portugal. In the African colonies of Mozambique and Angola, colonialist forced and plantation economies (coffee, cotton) prevailed. The Communist Party, the main liberation organization, was banned and persecuted.

And the U.S. and NATO could now use Portugal’s Atlantic islands, the Azores, as military bases.

Small states and later NATO members

Iceland, a Danish colony, had been occupied by Britain and the United States in 1940. The country had declared independence to Denmark in 1944. Therefore, Iceland received Marshall Plan funds and agreed to its NATO membership. The small country maintained no military of its own, but served as a U.S. and NATO base.

Denmark: An anti-fascist government was formed here after the Nazi era. It included the Communist Party, which had resisted the Nazis. Here, too, the U.S., with the help of social democracy and the Marshall Plan, drove out the non-alignment originally intended.

In the Danish colony of Greenland, the USA had already established military bases in 1941. The Danish government, which had reserved foreign and security policy rule over Greenland, agreed: Greenland was declared a NATO defense area in 1951. The U.S. military base at Thule in Greenland was developed into one of the largest foreign U.S. bases as a forward espionage site against the Soviet Union and then against Russia, determining Danish foreign policy.

Norway: Here, the Social Democratic government wanted to remain non-aligned after the German occupation. But with the help of the Marshall Plan and additional rearmament aid, the U.S. maneuvered Norway into NATO.

Greece: In NATO’s founding year, U.S. dive-bombers napalmed the positions of the already victorious anti-fascist liberation movement in Greece and equipped the military loyal to the monarchy, which had collaborated with the Nazis. This was the only way to defeat the liberation movement. When the U.S. had ensured a U.S.-dependent government here as in neighboring Turkey, it brought the two countries into NATO in 1952.

Federal Republic of Germany: Largest U.S. Fortress in Europe

The U.S. wanted above all to bring the western occupied zones of Germany into NATO. But first, this West Germany was not yet a state; and second, the governments of France and Great Britain initially opposed rearming the Germans because of critical public opinion in both states.

But shortly after the founding of the new state of the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG), its Christian-painted chancellor Konrad Adenauer in 1950 agreed (secretly) to rearm. He had the peace and neutrality movements fought and incited as “communist”. The USA promoted arms production in the FRG for the needs of the war against the People’s Liberation Movement in Korea as early as 1950. The West German arms industrialists lobbied for NATO. And as early as September 1950, NATO included the FRG in the NATO defense area – five years before formally joining NATO.

Today in the 21st century, no other state on the planet hosts as many additional U.S. military bases – about 30 – as NATO member West Germany.

The USA invades the European colonies

NATO was thus an alliance against post-fascist and anti-fascist democratization in Europe and against national self-determination in the colonies. And the neo-colonial NATO leading state U.S. invaded the old colonies of the Europeans.

In the French colonies of Indochina (Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia) and Africa (a good dozen colonies, mainly of France, then also of Belgium and Portugal) important raw materials were stored. U.S. companies wanted to get their hands on them as cheaply as possible. Under Evan Just, the Marshall Plan authority in Paris maintained the “Strategic Raw Materials” department. It explored and inventoried in the colonies of the European colonial powers, for example, manganese and graphite in Madagascar; lead, cobalt and manganese in Morocco; cobalt, uranium and cadmium in the Congo; tin in Cameroon; chrome and nickel in New Caledonia; rubber in Indochina; oil in Indonesia; besides industrial diamonds, asbestos, beryllium, tantalite and colombit.

The Marshall Plan Authority and the State Department organized commodity purchase contracts beginning in 1948, for example, in favor of the U.S. corporations United Steel, Bethlehem Steel, and Newmont Mining. Investment banks such as Morgan Stanley and Lazard Frères formed joint holding companies to modernize mines in the colonies. For the atomic bombs, the U.S. needed even more uranium after the war than during the war anyway.

Finally, finally conquer Russia? Resistance!

For NATO, the founding was not about defeating “communism”, that was only a preliminary stage. It was and is about the U.S.-led conquest and exploitation of Europe, especially Russia, that is, all of Eurasia from Lisbon to Vladivostok (according to U.S. presidential adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in 1996) and regardless of whether it is communist or capitalist.

NATO has been and continues to be an alliance that has principally and permanently violated the UN Charter, Article 1 “Self-Determination of Nations,” from its inception. NATO members – and also associate members such as Switzerland and Austria – joined in various ways in the numerous U.S.-led wars of the wrongly so-called “Cold War,” beginning with the Korean War and most recently, for example, for two decades in Afghanistan, leaving behind impoverished, devastated countries, with high profits for the arms, energy, supply and private military services industries.

And even under the otherwise somewhat criticized President Donald Trump, NATO’s European partners followed NATO’s leading power in anti-Russian agitation and rearmament to conquer the Eurasian theater, finally, finally succeeding, if need be again with war, and this time with nuclear bombs.

With the eastward enlargement of NATO the founding lie was continued. The EU membership of the ex-socialist states always followed a few years after the NATO membership. The EU continues to be an appendage of NATO. The relative economic support provided by the Marshall Plan brought only relative prosperity – and it was only a temporary concession. That ended in 1990. The EU, together with U.S. corporations, investors and consultants, has been dismantling relative prosperity ever since, step by step, first in Eastern Europe but, at the latest since the 2008 “financial crisis,” ever more rapidly in the “rich” states of Western Europe as well.

The stakes are high. The NATO edifice of lies, nurtured for decades, is more fragile than ever. Resistance to it must and can take on a new strength, on all continents. The legal-political basis are the original UN international law and UN human rights, which include labor and social rights. And that the military harms the environment more than others, even environmentalists can still learn.

Clash of Christianities: Why Europe cannot understand Russia


April 29 2022

Source

By Pepe Escobar

Under an ubiquitous, toxic atmosphere of cognitive dissonance drenched in Russophobia, it’s absolutely impossible to have a meaningful discussion on finer points of Russian history and culture across the NATO space – a phenomenon I’m experiencing back in Paris right now, fresh from a long stint in Istanbul.

At best, in a semblance of civilized dialogue, Russia is pigeonholed in the reductionist view of a threatening, irrational, ever-expanding empire – a way more wicked version of Ancient Rome, Achaemenid Persia, Ottoman Turkey or Mughal India.

The fall of the USSR a little over three decades ago did hurl Russia back three centuries – to its borders in the 17th century. Russia, historically, had been interpreted as a secular empire – immense, multiple and multinational. This is all informed by history, very much alive even today in the Russian collective unconscious.

When Operation Z started I was in Istanbul – the Second Rome. I spent a considerable time of my late night walks around Hagia Sophia reflecting on the historical correlations of the Second Rome with the Third Rome – which happens to be Moscow, since the concept was first enounced at the start of the 16th century.

Later, back in Paris, banishment to soliloquy territory seemed inevitable until an academic pointed me to some substance, although heavily distorted by political correctness, available in the French magazine Historia.

There’s at least an attempt to discuss the Third Rome. The significance of the concept was initially religious before becoming political – encapsulating the Russian drive to become the leader of the Orthodox world in contrast with Catholicism. This has to be understood also in the context of pan-Slavic theories springing up under the first Romanov and then reaching their apogee in the 19th century.

Eurasianism – and its several declinations – treats the complex Russian identity as double-faced, between east and west. Western liberal democracies simply can’t understand that these ideas – infusing varied brands of Russian nationalism – do not imply hostility to “enlightened” Europe, but an affirmation of Difference (they could learn a bit from reading more Gilles Deleuze for that matter). Eurasianism also weighs on closer relations with Central Asia and necessary alliances, in various degrees, with China and Turkey.

A perplexed liberal west remains hostage to a vortex of Russian images which it can’t properly decode – from the two-headed eagle, which is the symbol of the Russian state since Peter the Great, to the Kremlin cathedrals, the St. Petersburg citadel, the Red Army entering Berlin in 1945, the May 9 parades (the next one will be particularly meaningful), and historical figures from Ivan the Terrible to Peter the Great. At best – and we’re talking academic level ‘experts’ – they identify all of the above as “flamboyant and confused” imagery.

The Christian/Orthodox divide

The apparently monolithic liberal west itself also cannot be understood if we forget how, historically, Europe is also a two-headed beast: one head may be tracked from Charlemagne all the way to the awful Brussels Eurocrat machine; and the other one comes from Athens and Rome, and via Byzantium/Constantinople (the Second Rome) reaches all the way to Moscow (the Third Rome).

Latin Europe, for the Orthodox, is seen as a hybrid usurper, preaching a distorted Christianity which only refers to St. Augustine, practicing absurd rites and neglecting the very important Holy Ghost. The Europe of Christian Popes invented what is considered a historical hydra – Byzantium – where Byzantines were actually Greeks living under the Roman Empire.

Western Europeans for their part see the Orthodox and the Christians from the East (see how they were abandoned by the west in Syria under ISIS and Al Qaeda) as satraps and a bunch of smugglers – while the Orthodox regard the Crusaders, the Teutonic chevaliers and the Jesuits – correctly, we must say – as barbarian usurpers bent on world conquest.

In the Orthodox canon, a major trauma is the fourth Crusade in 1204 which utterly destroyed Constantinople. The Frankish chevaliers happened to eviscerate the most dazzling metropolis in the world, which congregated at the time all the riches from Asia.

That was the definition of cultural genocide. The Frankish also happened to be aligned with some notorious serial plunderers: the Venetians. No wonder, from that historical juncture onwards, a slogan was born: “Better the Sultan’s turban than the Pope’s tiara.”

So since the 8th century, Carolingian and Byzantine Europe were de facto at war across an Iron Curtain from the Baltics to the Mediterranean (compare it with the emerging New Iron Curtain of Cold War 2.0). After the barbarian invasions, they neither spoke the same language nor practiced the same writing, rites or theology.

This fracture, significantly, also trespassed Kiev. The west was Catholic – 15% of Greek catholics and 3% of Latins – and in the center and the east, 70% Orthodox, who became hegemonic in the 20th century after the elimination of Jewish minorities by mainly the Waffen-SS of the Galicia division, the precursors of Ukraine’s Azov batallion.

Constantinople, even in decline, managed to pull off a sophisticated geo-strategic game to seduce the Slavs, betting on Muscovy against the Catholic Polish-Lithuanian combo. The fall of Constantinople in 1453 allowed Muscovy to denounce the treason of Greeks and Byzantine Armenians who rallied around the Roman Pope, who badly wanted a reunified Christianity.

Afterward, Russia ends up constituting itself as the only Orthodox nation that did not fall under Ottoman domination. Moscow regards itself – as Byzantium – as a unique symphony between spiritual and temporal powers.

Third Rome becomes a political concept only in the 19th century – after Peter the Great and Catherine the Great had vastly expanded Russian power. The key concepts of Russia, Empire and Orthodoxy are fused. That always implies Russia needs a ‘near abroad’ – and that bears similarities with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s vision (which, significantly, is not imperial, but cultural).

As the vast Russian space has been in constant flow for centuries, that also implies the central role of the concept of encirclement. Every Russian is very much aware of territorial vulnerability (remember, for starters, Napoleon and Hitler). Once the western borderland is trespassed, it’s an easy ride all the way to Moscow. Thus, this very unstable line must be protected; the current correlation is the real threat of Ukraine made to host NATO bases.

Onward to Odessa

With the fall of the USSR, Russia found itself in a geopolitical situation last encountered in the 17th century. The slow and painful reconstruction was spearheaded from two fronts: the KGB – later FSB – and the Orthodox church. The highest-level interaction between the Orthodox clergy and the Kremlin was conducted by Patriarch Kirill – who later became Putin’s minister of religious affairs.

Ukraine for its part had become a de facto Moscow protectorate way back in 1654 under the Treaty of Pereyaslav: much more than a strategic alliance, it was a natural fusion, in progress for ages by two Orthodox Slav nations.

Ukraine then falls under the Russian orbit. Russian domination expands until 1764, when the last Ukrainian hetman (commander-in-chief) is officially deposed by Catherine the Great: that’s when Ukraine becomes a province of the Russian empire.

As Putin made it quite clear this week: “Russia cannot allow the creation of anti-Russian territories around the country.” Operation Z will inevitably encompass Odessa, founded in 1794 by Catherine the Great.

The Russians at the time had just expelled the Ottomans from the northwest of the Black Sea, which had been successively run by Goths, Bulgars, Hungarians and then Turkish peoples – all the way to the Tatars. Odessa at the start was peopled, believe it or not, by Romanians who were encouraged to settle there after the 16th century by the Ottoman sultans.

Catherine chose a Greek name for the city – which at the start was not Slav at all. And very much like St. Petersburg, founded a century earlier by Peter the Great, Odessa never stopped flirting with the west.

Tsar Alexander I, in the early 19th century, decides to turn Odessa into a great trading port – developed by a Frenchman, the Duke of Richelieu. It was from the port of Odessa that Ukrainian wheat started to reach Europe. By the turn of the 20th century, Odessa is truly multinational – after having attracted, among others, the genius of Pushkin.

Odessa is not Ukrainian: it’s an intrinsic part of the Russian soul. And soon the trials and tribulations of history will make it so again: as an independent republic; as part of a Novorossiya confederation; or attached to the Russian Federation. The people of Odessa will decide.

Nasrallah: The war in Ukraine unmasked the racism and hypocrisy of the West

April 19, 2022

Speech by Hezbollah Secretary General Sayed Hassan Nasrallah on March 8, 2022, on the occasion of the Day of the Wounded.Source: video.moqawama.org

Translation: resistancenews.com

[…] O my brothers and sisters, the events happening around us in terms must strengthen our awareness, our lucidity and our understanding of things, the conclusions we draw from them for the current equations, as well as the lessons and teachings we learn from them. This brings me to the current events that are currently occupying all minds. I start with the events between Russia and Ukraine to state that these are very important events in terms of lessons and learning. As last time, I will just mention some brief points before I come to the internal Lebanese situation.

The first point is that the U.S. representative to the Security Council said in addressing Russia, “Any attack on civilians is considered a war crime, and we are recording all events.” In the sense that the US is monitoring everything closely, and will then try Russia for its (alleged) war crimes. That’s what she said to Russia. But what does she say about the massacres against civilians perpetrated by the US in all its wars? No war waged by the US happened without attacks on civilians, massacres, civilians killed, atrocities against civilians and civilian infrastructure, etc. From the nuclear bombing in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, whose environmental and health effects are still felt today, with traces and effects that persist to this day, to Iraq, the siege of Iraq, the starvation of Iraq and the death of tens of thousands of Iraqi children due to the siege, then the invasion (of Iraq in 2003), etc. According to the Americans themselves, they have killed tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians, and tens of thousands of Afghan civilians. How many times have American planes or drones bombed Afghan wedding ceremonies, turning them into funerals, and then claiming that they were training camps, despite the presence of women, children and old people? But they claimed that they were training camps. What about the Zionist massacres in Palestine for more than 70 years, and the massacres Israel regularly perpetrates? What about the Israeli-Zionist war crimes in Palestine? What about the siege of Gaza? Today, the whole world is shedding tears because this or that city in Ukraine has been under siege for 5, 6 or 7 days. But Gaza has been under siege for many years, for 15 years! But the world remains silent.

What about the massacres of the Saudi-American aggression in Yemen, and the tens of thousands of civilian martyrs in Yemen, children, women, men, old and young? And the entire civilian infrastructure is destroyed in Yemen. What about the siege imposed on Yemen for the past 7 years? And currently, the siege is increasing on oil derivatives (fuels), and we saw yesterday the angry demonstrations in Yemeni cities. But the whole world remains silent about this. Why is this so? Simply, and don’t mind me saying it so bluntly, it’s because all these people are not White, they are not blond and they are not blue-eyed – even if in reality there are some blond and blue-eyed white people among them, but it doesn’t matter. These people do not belong to the world of the White man. I’ll go even further than that: for the United States, even those who belong to the White man’s world are only means, tools, instruments, and have no human value.

This is the case with Ukraine [the US has no hesitation in sacrificing the Ukrainian and European population in general to advance its interests]. Thus, based on the logic of the representative of the United States, it would have been necessary today, before threatening Russia or other countries with trials, to establish dozens and hundreds of sessions to judge the Americans, the British and the Western and European armies for their crimes in Algeria, Libya, Tunisia, Africa, in all corners of the world, in India, Pakistan… It is these files that we must start by examining if we want to base ourselves on these principles.

This hypocrisy and double standard is confirmed day after day. Last Friday, in Peshawar, Pakistan, during Friday prayers, a suicide bomber blew himself up, killing dozens of people, including the Imam of the mosque, and injuring dozens more. And the whole world remained silent. This is natural. Because these takfiris suicide bombers are Made in CIA, Made in America. They serve the American project. The whole world must remain silent because it is the US and its tools in the region. Day after day, it is confirmed that the American “values” do not respect humanistic principles, morals, international law, fundamental rights, etc. Nothing matters to them but their political and economic interests and their hegemony. When their political interests ask them to condemn, they condemn. When their political interests ask them to support, they support. On the subject of the massacres perpetrated by Israel, the United States is not content with not condemning, they prevent the Security Council from condemning them! They prevent the whole world from condemning them! They defend the (Israeli) murderers and butchers who shed (Palestinian) blood! This is the truth of the United States, which we have known (for a long time), but we take advantage of the current events to remind it, so that those who have not yet opened their eyes do so, and that those who already know gain in awareness and lucidity, and in clarity of vision.

Also, and this is my second point, every day there is more evidence in the world that trusting the United States is an act of imbecility. I say this to get to Lebanon next. Trusting the United States is stupid and foolish. It is an act of ignorance that endangers the global Muslim community, the nation and the interests of the people. This is what it means to trust the Americans. A few months ago, we saw with our own eyes, and the whole world saw, the experience of the United States in Afghanistan, and how they abandoned and forsook the country. The images of the planes and the airport are still fresh in everyone’s mind.

Let’s not forget the statements of the Afghan officials who collaborated with the Americans for many years: the Afghan President on the run, who was 100% with the Americans, to the point that if they told him not to negotiate with the Taliban, he didn’t do it –while the United States themselves negotiated with them–, if they asked him not to go to Tehran, he didn’t go there, if they wanted him to go to such and such a country, he went there, and so on. He was 100% subservient to the US… So the former Afghan President says: “My mistake was to trust the United States and its international allies.” He claims that he gave them his opinion and thoughts, but they did not respond to him and did not take them into account, considering that it was their vision that was right, that they were the strategists, that the data was in their hands and that they had efficiently anticipated the consequences and results (of their actions), but the result is (the humiliating American debacle) that we saw in Afghanistan. They have abandoned (all their allies).

Today, in Ukraine, the whole world knows that the United States and Great Britain in particular (are the main culprits of the crisis). The rest of the European countries are really poor wretches. It is clear that a number of European countries did not want this problem, like Germany for example, Germany in the first place, and also France to some extent. Other European countries felt that they would be trampled and sacrificed (on the altar of NATO’s aggression against Russia), that their interests were in great danger. The United States, and with them Great Britain, which has left the European Union, have aggravated the situation in Ukraine and pushed it into the lion’s den. But of course, they acted according to precise calculations. For Biden has announced in his strategy that his priority is the fight against Russia and China. With China, the confrontation has its own calculations and its own ways. And as for the confrontation against Russia, Biden is certainly not going to wage a world war against it, because he is not capable of it, and so he has thrown Ukraine against Russia to prevent any agreement between Ukraine and Russia and to provoke this war.

This is demonstrated by the fact that after the first few days (of war), we can all listen on television to the statements of the President of Ukraine, his head of government, his foreign minister and his deputy, and his advisers. What do they say? “They let us fight alone.” Because either (the U.S.) had promised Ukraine that they would fight with them in case of war (against Russia), or, because of the trust of Ukrainians in the U.S., they believed that they would fight alongside them. And that is why Ukrainian leaders are now expressing that their hopes have been dashed. They say they have been left alone to fight. It was the Ukrainian President who said so. Ukraine is calling on the United States (and NATO) to fight on its side, but they are responding that they cannot endanger their States and their people and risk a devastating world war for the sake of Ukraine. I just said that in their eyes, even the White man has no value. (They will not risk a nuclear war) for the sake of Ukraine, for the people of Ukraine, for the White man in Ukraine, in any case. They are not ready for that. “Fight on your own, dear friends. Because as far as we are concerned, we are not ready to fight.” And that’s why they say every day that they will not send any American soldiers to Ukraine, no American planes to Ukraine. But it is you, the United States, who caused this situation and called this catastrophe on Ukraine!

Of course, my statement is not an invitation to the United States to go and fight Russia in Ukraine. I say this only to draw lessons from the current situation, for all those who trust the United States and place their hopes in them. The Ukrainian President asks (the US) to establish a no-fly zone in the skies over Ukraine to prevent Russian planes from hitting them. But they reply he gets is “Sorry, we can’t, because that would mean shooting down Russian planes, which would lead to war, and we are not ready to go to war with Russia for the sake of Ukraine.” Ukraine is calling for a total Western embargo on (Russian) oil and gas, which some countries are ready for, but others have responded frankly that they cannot do without Russian gas. Russian gas is still being sold, and its price has risen. So look at (the inconsistency): on the one hand, they impose sanctions on Russia, and on the other hand, they buy gas from it at high prices. That’s a (telling) example. The same goes for the Ukrainian request to obtain warplanes: the West refuses, because this would make it participate directly in the war. Are there not lessons to be learned there? They let Ukraine fight alone, because they are not ready to go to war for its sake. At most, they impose sanctions, a blockade, consistent with the American objective of weakening Russia. The US is acting in its own interest, not in the interest of Ukraine. This is the truth.

Today, if we could enter the hearts and minds of Ukrainian officials, we would find a feeling of maximum abandonment and neglect. And that’s why (Zelensky) starts to come down from his pedestal: he announces that he is ready to negotiate, to discuss the neutrality of Ukraine and other Russian demands. Why is he starting to reconsider – if his American masters allow him, of course? Because he has realized that those who promised to stand by him, those in whom he trusted and in whom he placed all his hopes, those who put him in this situation, have abandoned him in the middle of the road. I and you have known this lesson (that the United States are treacherous) by heart for a very long time, but I repeat it because Biden is a new proof of it. And before coming to Lebanon, I conclude on the international situation by pointing out the moral collapse of the West. The West lectures us about Western civilization, morality, humanistic values, human rights, etc. But the situation shows their moral decay. Look at how they treat refugees. Black Africans are treated differently, as well as Asians, Muslims, etc. There is discrimination on the basis of religion, race, skin color. Is this the famous Western civilization that they harp on day and night, presenting it to us as a model to follow? Whole States are acting in this way, in an official way! One of the Presidents of these countries, in order to justify this decision (to discriminate in favor of the White Ukrainian refugees), answered that it was the will of his people, who had elected him on this basis. It is therefore a racist culture, which has no connection with humanism or morality!

As far as Lebanon is concerned, I would like to say to the (pro-Western) political forces that if they aspire to please the US, they will never succeed, because the American demands are unlimited and never stop. If anyone thinks that the US can be satisfied with this or that demand, they are deluding themselves, because tomorrow they will demand one, two, three, a hundred, a thousand other things. Their diktats do not stop at any limit. And satisfying them is detrimental to Lebanon’s interests without giving us any compensation. What did the Lebanese officials get in return for their submission? We are already deprived of electricity, gas and dollars by the American sanctions or vetoes, what more could they do?

Lebanon voted against Russia at the UN, when it could have chosen to abstain, as 35 countries did. This is what Lebanon’s national interest demanded: abstention. The Prime Minister of Pakistan said a few days ago, in the face of Western pressure for his country to take an anti-Russian position, “We are not your slaves.” This is an excellent position. It would be good if Lebanon would one day dare to stand up to the American embassy and say, “We are not your slaves.” This would be a proof of freedom, patriotism, sovereignty, independence. But the worst thing is the statement of the Lebanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Our level of submission is such that the US embassy demanded that this communiqué on Russia and Ukraine be amended to be more virulent against Russia, and this rewriting was made directly by the US embassy. […]

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Very telling admission from EU High Representative Josep Borrell

November 24, 2021

The EU High Representative Josep Borrell has just made a very telling admission, check out this video

The EU High Representative Josep Borrell and the former US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright took part in the ‘UNited for’ conference “An opportunity for global change”, held on 17 November 2021.

Here is the interesting quote (at about timestamp 29:00, stress added): “And we western people, US and EU, we have been ruling the world because we were the standard setterswe were fixing the standardswe are the masters of how technology was working. And from steel-mills to trains, railways to everything warfare, we were the standard settingIf we are no longer the standard setting, we will not rule the 21st century.

Ahhh, finally!!!  You heard it from a top level and very official representative of the West: the current tensions are about maintaining the western hegemony over the world.   Back to the (1930s) future… QED.

What Is France Hiding in the Sahel?

November 09th, 2021

Reexamining and recalibrating its foreign policy towards Africa is something that may not appeal to France right now but it’s something that must be done.

By Clinton Nzala

Source

BAMAKO, MALI — On the 8th of October, Choguel Maïga, the prime minister of Mali, boldly informed the world that its former colonial power, France, was sponsoring terrorists in the country’s northern region. Standing before dozens of cameras and microphones, he provided details on how the French army had established an enclave in the northern town of Tidal and handed it over to well-known terrorist groups. The revelation was shocking not simply for the serious nature of the accusation but because in past times West African leaders have rarely sparred so openly with the French government. A chain of events simmering in the background for weeks triggered the latest spat.

On October 2nd, Britain’s BBC published an article with the headline “Mali’s plan for Russia mercenaries to replace French troops unsettles Sahel.” The embattled media outlet further claimed: “There is deep international concern over Mali’s discussions with the controversial Russian private military company, the Wagner Group.”

Scene after a terrorist attack in Gao, Mali, Nov. 13, 2018. | Wikimedia Commons

By now we all understand that whenever Western corporate media outlets utter the expression “international community,” they are referring simply to the U.S. and its European buddies, such as France. Case in point, in Addis Ababa, the seat of the African Union, or at the headquarters of the Economic Community for West African States (ECOWAS), there was absolutely no concern about Mali’s discussions with the Wagner Group. Even in Mali, the majority of citizens and political actors welcomed the possibility of the Russian security firm joining the fight against terrorist groups in the north. Why? Well, Malians believe the Wagner Group to be significantly more neutral than France, a country they accuse of having its own political and economic interests in the conflict.

L’habit ne fait pas le moine (the vestment doesn’t make the monk)

Anti-French protests have not been in short supply in Mali over the past few years, a sign of the citizens’ displeasure with the presence of foreign troops in their country. A segment of society has gone as far as describing the situation as an occupation. For this reason the only place of concern for replacing the French military with a Russian security firm was in Paris. But why? Why would the French government be worried about the possibility of the Wagner Group joining the fight against terrorist groups in the Sahel? If France were indeed concerned about defeating these armed groups, then their government should have been happy to receive news that more hands will soon join the battle, especially those belonging to a military firm experienced in conducting anti-terror operations.

France instead threw a tantrum, tossing all of their toys out of their coats. French officials threatened to withdraw their troops from the region and cease providing aid to Mali’s armed forces. Florence Parly, France’s current Minister of the Armed Forces and a former member of the Socialist Party, arrogantly told reporters that her country will not “cohabit with Russian mercenaries.” Well, someone needs to tell the minister that in Africa guests don’t get to decide who they share the house with; only the host is reserved such rights.

It is not difficult to understand why France would react in such a manner. In my village on the banks of Africa’s longest river, the Zambezi, we say, “Only a witch is unsettled by the arrival of a witch-finder in the village.”

If I said I was surprised by France’s reaction, I would be lying. The average African is well aware that France’s so called fight against “terrorism” in the Sahel has nothing to do with protecting the lives of the people of the region but everything to do with protecting its interests. Those interests date back to the dark period when the region was ruled with an iron fist from Paris. Only naivety would permit someone to believe that the French government would fork out billions of francs and risk the lives of its citizens to protect the lives of Black people thousands of miles away.

France’s Minister of the Armed Forces,
Florence Parly. | Wikimedia Commons

Rights denied from Paris to Marseilles and beyond

If France is in love with Africans, why don’t they first express their affection to the French citizens of African descent? Twenty-one years into the new millennium, Black people living in France continue to be treated as second-class citizens. More often than not, these souls are compiled into squalid living conditions in the ghettos of Paris or Marseille, with little or no social services provided to them, and are subjected to racism and harassment by security agents for no reason other than not looking “French enough.” How about first assisting those Africans in Libya who are being held as slaves in torture hellholes run by armed bandits funded by the European Union?

What about France repaying Haiti for forcing the small Caribbean country to reimburse its former slaveholding settlers and their descendants following the Haitian revolution. That total amount was not repaid until 1947 and, in present-day value, amounts to over $28 billion, according to French economist Thomas Piketty, or upwards of $260 billion if a 3 percent annual interest rate were applied. In 2015, just prior to his trip to Haiti, the French president said, “When I come to Haiti, I will, for my part, settle the debt that we have.” Aides scurried to clarify that the debt in question was not monetary but “moral.” In the relationship between France and Haiti, however, neither debt has been settled.

Former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide insisted that France open talks with Haiti about repaying the money extorted from the country after its independence in 1804. Aristide was deposed in two separate coups (1991 and 2004). On both occasions he was forced into exile. | http://www.aristidefoundationfordemocracy.org

As far as Mali is concerned, France will not play fair because Paris’s only concern is that the arrival of other actors in the African country will dilute its own influence and the monopoly French companies enjoy in the region. All other Africans and their descendants affected by the French colonial and neo-colonial project must fend for themselves.

France’s fit also shows the deeply ingrained colonial hangover it continues to suffer several decades after losing its colonies in West Africa. Paris arrogantly and abhorrently still views itself as the landlord and self-appointed sheriff of West Africa; therefore, any other party that wishes to venture into the region must seek its permission and blessings, a mentality that in the last five decades has led to a lot of bloodshed and atrocities committed by France’s stooges in its former colonies. These tragedies include the brutal murder of Pan-Africanist revolutionary heroes such as Thomas Sankara and other leaders who signed their death certificates by simply refusing to bow down at the throne of French imperialism.

“He who feeds you, controls you.” — Former President of Burkina Faso, Thomas Sankara. | Twitter @lord_tillah

A very troubled history in Africa

France’s role in overthrowing African leaders and replacing them with dictators, such as Gabon’s Omar Bongo, is well documented. This started with the first military intervention into Gabon in 1964, when French paratroopers flew in to help then-President Leon Mba to brutally crush an attempted overthrow by a group of young military officers. These soldiers had briefly seized power in response to growing public dissatisfaction with Mba’s leadership. During the next four decades, France would go on to directly or indirectly participate in the toppling or installing of governments in different African countries such as Niger, Chad, Ivory Coast, Burkina Faso, Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, among many others. Paris even deployed troops to Rwanda in 1994 as part of Operation Turquoise, which provided support to Hutu government forces during the genocide in the small African country. Once establishing a control zone, French military officials allowed Radio Télevision Libre des Milles Collines to broadcast from Gisenyi. One radio show encouraged “Hutu girls to wash yourselves and put on a good dress to welcome our French allies. The Tutsi girls are all dead, so you have your chance.”

The Flame of Hope burns at an official Kwibuka event. In Rwanda. Kwibuka means ‘to remember.’ It describes the annual commemoration of the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda. The 2021 Kwibuka theme was to “Remember, Unite, Renew.” | Kwibuka.rw

Successive French governments have often claimed that these interventions were done to maintain or stabilize democracy. However, if France’s past and current allies are anything to go by, this claim is outright laughable. The list of Paris’s choice of friends in Africa is littered with brutal and corrupt dictators such as Blaise Compaore (Burkina Faso), Mobutu Sese Seko (Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Omar Bongo (Gabon), individuals who not only bled their country’s coffers dry but committed unimaginable human rights atrocities right under the nose, or with the explicit blessing, of the French government.

France’s two-faced foreign policy in West Africa was further exposed in February 1996, when Niger’s first democratically elected government was overthrown by the military. Instead of throwing its support behind ousted president Mahamane Ousmane, officials in Paris opted to watch from the sidelines despite having a military base in the country. Deciding to stand idly by was viewed as a nod of approval for the coup.

The same France that claims to be in Africa to ensure the “natives” can fully enjoy the benefits of Western democracy, on two occasions in the 1990s ordered its troops stationed in Gabon to join Omar Bongo’s troops to violently crush pro-democracy demonstrators. In this case, thousands had taken to the streets to protest against the results of a disputed election. Paris also continues to hobnob with autocrats such as Cameroon’s Paul Biya, who has turned the country into a personal fiefdom that he has ruled with an iron fist since 1982.

As the self-appointed enforcer of democracy in Africa, France certainly has a strange choice of bedfellows. Going by the long list of Paris’s shady activities in the region, how can claims made by the government of Mali, that France is sponsoring and arming terrorist groups, effectively destabilizing the region, be dismissed? Instead of issuing threats, the best way the French government can clear its name is by being more transparent with its activities in the Sahel. Paris should also understand that regional and continental organizations such as the African Union and ECOWAS are capable of dealing with the conflict in the Sahel.

Taking care of business

Despite the misgivings some outsiders might have against African organizations in resolving internal conflicts, the African Union Mission in Somalia has unequivocally demonstrated its capabilities against Al Shabaab. Meanwhile, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) standby forces — led by Rwanda, Botswana and South Africa — have produced even better results in battling insurgents in Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado region. These achievements have been made with less than 10 percent of the resources that Paris has spent in the Sahel conflict with absolutely no results to speak of.

It is long overdue that the world accepts the fact that Africans are capable of solving their own problems.

Conclusion

The situation in the Sahel region remains a source of concern and requires long-lasting solutions. Those solutions, however, must derive from the streets of Addis Ababa, Bamako, Nouakchott, N’Djamena and Dakar, not from the government corridors and suburbs of Paris or Brussels. The quarrel between Bamako and Paris should serve as an eye-opener to the latter, that the age of barking orders to  former colonies is over, fini.

France must now come to the realization that while the older generation of Africans might have been pliable to its machinations in the region, it is now dealing with a new generation of Africans, people unwilling to bow down passively to a former imperial power. It’s a generation that won’t allow the West or another power to choose their enemies or friends.

“Everything must change,” sang the late and legendary South African trumpeter, composer and singer, Hugh Masekela, in his hit song called “Change.” The time of change in how West Africa conducts its affairs has also come and, while the process of change can be painful and uncertain, it is inevitable.

Reexamining and recalibrating its foreign policy towards Africa is something that may not appeal to France right now but it’s something that must be done. It’s undeniable that there will always be a strong relationship between France and its former colonies and, while there is nothing wrong with this reality, the new relationship must be built on mutual respect, and not be that of master and servant.

The Neo-Nazi Threat From The East

22 SEPTEMBER 2021

By Slavisha Batko Milacic

Source

The Neo-Nazi Threat From The East

In the course of the seven years of Ukraine’s “pro-Western turn” the local right-wingers, who already represented an organized force, were reinforced by veterans of the Donbass war, members of the country’s military and security forces.

Late this summer, Estonia, in the person of its president, Kersti Kaljulaid, became the first EU country to declare that Ukraine remains as far away from EU membership as it was after the “Revolution of Dignity” – the events of 2013-14 in Kiev, which toppled Ukraine’s vacillating pro-Russian president, Viktor Yanukovych. Shortly after, the ambassador of Estonia’s neighbor, Latvia, in Ukraine, echoed Kaljulaid’s statement, although in a slightly softer form. This came as unpleasant news for the current authorities of Kiev, especially amid the celebration of Ukraine’s 30th independence anniversary and the “Crimean Forum,” which, according to President Zelensky’s plan, was supposed to rally international support for the country in its confrontation with Russia. However, during the past seven years, Ukraine has been a serious problem for the EU, which is becoming increasingly hard to solve.

Back in 2014, the Kremlin’s response to the overthrow of its ally, Yanukovych, was just as harsh as to the coming to power in Kiev of pro-Western elites. Without firing a single shot, Russia annexed Crimea, a major base for the Russian Black Fleet, and populated by a Russian-speaking majority, many of whom sincerely welcomed the region’s reunification with Russia. Meanwhile, a civil war broke out in Ukraine’s also Russian-speaking southeast where the local separatists were actively supported by Moscow. Europe then realized that it was now necessary to ramp up pressure on Russia and support the budding democratic transformations in Ukraine. However, the country’s successive pro-Western presidents, Petro Poroshenko and Volodymyr Zelensky, who shared European values, have since failed to achieve any significant results in European integration. Moreover, they became enmeshed in US electoral scandals and the war of compromising evidence, and they do not create the impression of being independent figures. Moreover, they were consistently making one mistake after another. In two major battles with separatists near Debaltsevo and Ilovaisk in 2014-15, the Ukrainian Armed Forces suffered a crushing defeat, despite the upsurge of patriotism backed by US and European support. The closure of the borders with Russia has divided families and left tens of thousands of people without jobs. An inept language policy and rabid nationalism split the Ukrainian nation, which had just begun to shape up, with wholesale corruption plunging the country into poverty.

In their clumsy effort to prove their adherence to European values, Petro Poroshenko, and after him Volodymyr Zelensky, both made clumsy attempts to prove their adherence to Western values, starting to prioritize the interests of the country’s LGBT community. As a result, gay people were given prominent positions in the country’s leadership, and the square outside the presidential palace became the venue of almost weekly gay pride parades. This open disregard for the conservative values of the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians led to an even greater split between the ruling elites and the nationalists, who are now at loggerheads with the Zelensky administration on many issues – another gigantic problem hindering Ukraine’s European integration.

The fact is that Ukrainian nationalism has old and very controversial roots. Starting out as fighters for independence, the Ukrainian right-wingers quickly joined the camp of Hitler’s admirers and committed a number of serious war crimes not only in Ukraine proper, but on the territory of neighboring Poland as well. Their heirs now honor Hitler and Ukrainian collaborationists, deny many crimes of Nazism and espouse anti-Semitic views that are unacceptable for Europe. Moreover, they do not see Russia as their only enemy, actively provoking conflicts with the Poles and accusing them of the “genocide of the Ukrainians” during the 1930s in the territories that until 1939 were part of the Polish state.

In the course of the seven years of Ukraine’s “pro-Western turn” the local right-wingers, who already represented an organized force, were reinforced by veterans of the Donbass war, members of the country’s military and security forces. They were long regarded by Washington as important allies in the fight against Russia, failing to see real neo-Nazis hiding under patriotic slogans. Now it is exactly these people, who are breaking up gay parades in Kiev and crippling LGBT activists. They feel no need for European values because they take much closer to heart the legacy of the Third Reich. Thanks to visa-free travel to Europe, they have become regulars, and often the striking force of neo-Nazi gatherings from Germany to Spain. They are ready to kill refugees from the Middle East and burn synagogues. Moreover, some of them have retained ties with their Russian neo-Nazi brethren, who, although in deep opposition to Vladimir Putin, continue to propagate the idea of superiority of the Slavic race.

President Zelensky and his administration are smart enough to distance themselves from the local right-wingers. Moreover, they are detained, and sometimes their rallies are broken up by police (albeit without any consequences for the leaders). Even though the ultra-nationalist Right Sector lost their seats in parliament in the last elections, they retained their hard-core base and influence. De facto neo-Nazi leaders maintain good contacts with the outwardly liberal presidential administration and are thus immune from prosecution. They also go to Europe, where right-wing sentiments are very popular.

Meanwhile, President Zelensky continues to pointlessly lose soldiers along the “contact line” with separatists, unable to “be strong with his weakness” and establish a full-fledged truce in a war he does not yet want to win. As a result, more and more illegal arms are seeping into the country’s central regions from the frontlines and many soldiers, fed up with the war, are now joining the ranks of right-wing militants! These are by no means pro-European activists. They will be just as happy to beat up LGBT members and destroy a refugee camp as the Russian embassy. The authorities simply cannot fight them in earnest because the ultranationalists have too many supporters in the state apparatus and too many activists capable of plunging Kiev into chaos in a matter of hours. Small wonder that such post-Soviet countries as Estonia and Latvia, which themselves had problems with both nationalism and the justification of local collaborationists, were the first to raise their voices criticizing Kiev.

Well, Ukraine could and should be viewed as a potential new EU member. However, it must be forced to root out Nazism, instead of holding staged gay prides in downtown Kiev just for show to demonstrate the elites’ adherence to European values! Otherwise, we would have a faction of real neo-Nazis in the European Parliament, compared to whom any members of the European Far Right would look like moderate conservatives. In addition to stamping out corruption, President Zelensky needs to eradicate neo-fascism, which threatens Europe just as it does his own country. Only then can we talk about European integration. Meanwhile, we have to admit that, just as the Estonian president said, seven years of “European democracy” have not brought Ukraine one step closer to the United Europe…

Nuances of a silent expansive explosion

Nuances of a silent expansive explosion

September 09, 2021

By Fabio Reis Vianna for TheSaker blog

When the world system was still in its infancy in that appendix of the Eurasian continent we know today as Europe, Babur, the King of Kabul, entered India from the northwest to establish the Mughal Empire in 1526, outlining an empire that would later be consolidated by his grandson Akbar (1556 – 1605).

The splendor of the great Eastern civilizations took place in a historical period when the world’s economy, cultural activities, and military power were concentrated in places such as China, India, and the ancient Persian Empire, now known as Iran.

The strategic withdrawal of China of the Ming – the most advanced civilization among the great pre-modern empires – from the great expansionist game, may have been the delimiting point between the before and the after of the geopolitical rise of those, as historian Paul Kennedy would say, “dispersed and relatively unsophisticated peoples who occupied the western part of the Eurasian landmass”, namely, the Europeans.

The Chinese vacuum still remains a great mystery to many historians: Why would Admiral Cheng Ho have withdrawn his fleet and that great rising civilization have given up its expansion toward an undisputed hegemonism in the Eurasian world system?

More than five hundred years after these events, we see the current hegemon of the modern world system, heir to the violent and predatory expansionism invented by the Europeans, withdrawing in an impromptu manner from that territory that in the past was part of the great Mughal Empire of King Babur and his grandson Akbar, Afghanistan.

According to most Western media analysts, the US withdrawal from Afghan territory should have been done in a coordinated manner with the puppet government, allies, and after all the Afghans who collaborated with the invasion and occupation had already left the scene.

It so happens that both the abrupt exit from Afghanistan, and Biden’s first speech justifying the exit, would confirm something that analyses centered on an American leadership of the past no longer follow.

The current expansive explosion of the world system, which began in the 1970s and shaped itself into imperial contours after the collapse of the Soviet Union, seems to be at a unique moment and certainly generated by pandemic chaos.

It is true that even before the Covid-19 crisis the increase in competitive pressure was already visible, reflecting the entry into the game of the new emerging powers, especially Russia and China.

The intensification of interstate competition, therefore, would have led the United States to give up its global leadership based on the diffuse values of the so-called “Liberal Order” instituted after World War II.

The 2017 national security strategy published during the Trump administration, which in practice had already been outlining and deepening since the first incursion into Iraq in 1991, would now reveal itself without masks.

The tearing of the fantasy of the old benevolent hegemon had come true.

The big news of what happened in Afghanistan would be revealed at the last G7 meeting, when the European leaders demanded from the United States a more responsible posture in its global leadership.

However, what is still hard for the European allies to understand, or accept, is that the United States has given up any global leadership, and in this new strategic configuration – which was not a point out of the curve created by the erratic Trump administration – the national interest, and only the national interest of the United States, will be the priority.

This being so, and taking into consideration that the United States’ military presence in Afghanistan, paradoxically, would not be negatively affecting the Chinese economic projects, and, on the contrary, favored them by guaranteeing stability in the region, it is absolutely plausible the line of reasoning that would justify the way out: to establish chaos in a region where the Eurasian enemies would be interested in stability.

The fourth expansive explosion of the world system reveals itself in frightening appearances by indicating, besides the increase in competitive pressure and the escalation of conflicts in itself, a displacement of what the professor of the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, José Luís Fiori, would call a “black hole” of destructive force.

The black hole, therefore, would be at this very moment moving to a new war epicenter, which would probably be the Indo-Pacific, as well as previously unthinkable regions such as South America itself.

In a recent poll, USA Today indicated a rise in Joe Biden’s unpopularity rating after what happened in Afghanistan, which could have erroneously indicated a possible step backwards in the American exit. However, what is likely to happen is just the opposite: the bid for more systemic chaos and global destabilization.

The world system feeds on the permanent expansion of power, and this becomes even clearer when those at the top of the system find themselves challenged and losing ground to their adversaries.

More than ever perhaps the time has come for the Eurasians to fill that void left by Admiral Cheng Ho’s squadron in 1433.

Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor of laws (LL.B), MA student in International Relations at the University of Évora (Portugal), writer and geopolitical analyst. He currently maintains a column on international politics at the centennial Brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil.

Gaslighting: The Psychology of Shaping Another’s Reality

Gaslighting: The Psychology of Shaping Another’s Reality

August 08, 2021

By Cynthia Chung for The Saker Blog

“But I don’t want to go among mad people,” Alice remarked.
“Oh, you can’t help that,” said the Cat: “we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad.”
“How do you know I’m mad?” said Alice.
“You must be,” said the Cat, “or you wouldn’t have come here.”

– Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

We are living in a world where the degree of disinformation and outright lying has reached such a state of affairs that, possibly for the first time ever, we see the majority of the western world starting to question their own and surrounding level of sanity. The increasing frenzied distrust in everything “authoritative” mixed with the desperate incredulity that “everybody couldn’t possibly be in on it!” is slowly rocking many back and forth into a tighter and tighter straight jacket. “Question everything” has become the new motto, but are we capable of answering those questions?

Presently the answer is a resounding no.

The social behaviourist sick joke of having made everyone obsessed with toilet paper of all things during the start of what was believed to be a time of crisis, is an example of how much control they have over that red button labelled “commence initiation of level 4 mass panic”.

And can the people be blamed? After all, if we are being lied to, how can we possibly rally together and point the finger at the root of this tyranny, aren’t we at the point where it is everywhere?

As Goebbels infamously stated,

If you tell a lie big enough and keep repeating it, people will eventually come to believe it. The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension, the truth is the greatest enemy of the State [under fascism].”

And here we find ourselves today, at the brink of fascism. However, we have to first agree to forfeit our civil rights as a collective before fascism can completely dominate. That is, the big lie can only succeed if the majority fails to call it out, for if the majority were to recognise it for what it is, it would truly hold no power.

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

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, the majority choose not to…

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 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.

In fact, many are probably not fully aware that presently there is a battle waging for who will “control the past” in a manner that is closely resembling a form of “memory wipe”.

***

William Sargant was a British psychiatrist and, one could say, effectively the Father of “mind control” in the West, with connections to British Intelligence and the Tavistock Institute, which would influence the CIA and American military via the program MK Ultra. Sargant was also an advisor for Ewen Cameron’s LSD “blank slate” work at McGill University, funded by the CIA.

Sargant accounts for his reason in studying and using forms of “mind control” on his patients, which were primarily British soldiers that were sent back from the battlefield during WWII with various forms of “psychosis”, as the only way to rehabilitate extreme forms of PTSD.

The other reason, was because the Soviets had apparently become “experts” in the field, and out of a need for national security, the British would thus in turn have to become experts as well…as a matter of self-defence of course.

The work of Ivan Pavlov, a Russian physiologist, had succeeded in producing some disturbingly interesting insights into four primary forms of nervous systems in dogs, that were combinations of inhibitory and excitatory temperaments; “strong excitatory”, “balanced”, “passive” and “calm imperturbable”. Pavlov found that depending on the category of nervous system temperament the dog had, this in turn would dictate the form of “conditioning” that would work best to “reprogram behaviour”. The relevance to “human conditioning” was not lost on anyone.

It was feared in the West, that such techniques would not only be used against their soldiers to invoke free-flowing uninhibited confessions to the enemy but that these soldiers could be sent back to their home countries, as zombified assassins and spies that could be set off with a simple code word. At least, these were the thriller stories and movies that were pumped into the population. How horrific indeed! That the enemy could apparently enter what was thought the only sacred ground to be our own…our very “minds”!

However, for those who were actually leading the field in mind control research, such as William Sargant, it was understood that this was not exactly how mind control worked.

For one thing, the issue of “free will” was getting in the way.

No matter the length or degree of electro-shock, insulin “therapy”, tranquilizer cocktails, induced comas, sleep deprivation, starvation etc induced, it was discovered that if the subject had a “strong conviction” and “strong belief” in something, this could not be simply erased, it could not be written over with any arbitrary thing. Rather, the subject would have to have the illusion that their “conditioning” was in fact a “choice”. This was an extremely challenging task, and long term conversions (months to years) were rare.

However, Sargant saw an opening. It was understood that one could not create a new individual from scratch, however, with the right conditioning that was meant to lead to a physical breakdown using abnormal stress (effectively a reboot of the nervous system), one could increase the “suggestibility” markedly in their subjects.

Sargant wrote in his “Battle of the Mind”: “Pavlov’s clinical descriptions of the ‘experimental neuroses’ which he could induce in dogs proved, in fact, to have a close correspondence with those war-neuroses which we were investigating at the time.”

In addition, Sargant found that a falsely implanted memory could help induce abnormal stress leading to emotional exhaustion and physical breakdown to invoke “suggestibility”. That is, one didn’t even need to have a “real stress” but an “imagined stress” would work just as effectively.

Sargant goes on to state in his book:

“It is not surprising that the ordinary person, in general, is much more easily indoctrinated than the abnormal…A person is considered ‘ordinary’ or ‘normal’ by the community simply because he accepts most of its social standards and behavioural patterns; which means, in fact, that he is susceptible to suggestion and has been persuaded to go with the majority on most ordinary or extraordinary occasions.”

Sargant then goes over the phenomenon of the London Blitz, which was an eight month period of heavy bombing of London during WWII. During this period, in order to cope and stay “sane”, people rapidly became accustomed to the idea that their neighbours could be and were buried alive in bombed houses around them. The thought was “If I can’t do anything about it what use is it that I trouble myself over it?” The best “coping” was thus found to be those who accepted the new “environment” and just focused on “surviving”, and did not try to resist it.

Sargant remarks that it is this “adaptability” to a changing environment which is part of the “survival” instinct and is very strong in the “healthy” and “normal” individual who can learn to cope and thus continues to be “functional” despite an ever changing environment.

It was thus our deeply programmed “survival instinct” that was found to be the key to the suggestibility of our minds. That the best “survivors” made for the best “brain-washing” in a sense.

Sargant quotes Hecker’s work, who was studying the dancing mania phenomenon that occurred during the Black Death, where Hecker observed that heightened suggestibility had the capability to cause a person to “embrace with equal force, reason and folly, good and evil, diminish the praise of virtue as well as the criminality of vice.”

And that such a state of mind was likened to the first efforts of the infant mind “this instinct of imitation when it exists in its highest degree, is also united a loss of all power over the will, which occurs as soon as the impression on the senses has become firmly established, producing a condition like that of small animals when they are fascinated by the look of a serpent.

I wonder if Sargant imagined himself the serpent…

Sargant does finally admit: “This does not mean that all persons can be genuinely indoctrinated by such means. Some will give only temporary submission to the demands made on them, and fight again when strength of body and mind returns. Others are saved by the supervention of madness. Or the will to resist may give way, but not the intellect itself.”

But he comforts himself as a response to this stubborn resistance that “As mentioned in a previous context, the stake, the gallows, the firing squad, the prison, or the madhouse, are usually available for the failures.”

How to Resist the Deconstruction of Your Mind

He whom the gods wish to destroy, they first of all drive mad.

– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow “The Masque of Pandora”

For those who have not seen the 1944 psychological thriller “Gaslight” directed by George Cukor, I would highly recommend you do so since there is an invaluable lesson contained within, that is especially applicable to what I suspect many of us are experiencing nowadays.

The story starts with a 14 year old Paula (played by Ingrid Bergman) who is being taken to Italy after her Aunt Alice Alquist, a famous opera singer and caretaker of Paula, is found murdered in her home in London. Paula is the one who found the body, and horror stricken is never her old self again. Her Aunt was the only family Paula had left in her life. The decision is made to send her away from London to Italy to continue her studies to become a world-renowned opera singer like her Aunt Alice.

Years go by, Paula lives a very sheltered life and a heavy somberness is always present within her, she can never seem to feel any kind of happiness. During her singing studies she meets a mysterious man (her piano accompanist during her lessons) and falls deeply in love with him. However, she knows hardly anything about the man named Gregory.

Paula agrees to marry Gregory after a two week romance and is quickly convinced to move back into her Aunt’s house in London that was left abandoned all these years. As soon as she enters the house, the haunting of the night of the murder revisits her and she is consumed with panic and fear. Gregory tries to calm her and talks about the house needing just a little bit of air and sun, and then Paula comes across a letter written to her Aunt from a Sergis Bauer which confirms that he was in contact with Alice just a few days before her murder. At this finding, Gregory becomes bizarrely agitated and grabs the letter from Paula. He quickly tries to justify his anger blaming the letter for upsetting her. Gregory then decides to lock all of her Aunt’s belongings in the attic, to apparently spare Paula any further anguish.

It is at this point that Gregory starts to change his behaviour dramatically. Always under the pretext for “Paula’s sake”, everything that is considered “upsetting” to Paula must be removed from her presence. And thus quickly the house is turned into a form of prison. Paula is told it is for her best not to leave the house unaccompanied, not to have visitors and that self-isolation is the best remedy for her “anxieties” which are getting worst. Paula is never strictly forbidden at the beginning but rather is told that she should obey these restrictions for her own good.

Before a walk, he gives as a gift a beautiful heirloom brooch that belonged to his mother. Because the pin needs replacing, he instructs Paula to keep it in her handbag, and then says rather out of context, “Don’t forget where you put it now Paula, I don’t want you losing it.” Paula remarks thinking the warning absurd, “Of course I won’t forget!” When they return from their walk, Gregory asks for the brooch, Paula searches in her handbag but it is not there.

It continues on like this, with Gregory giving warnings and reminders, seemingly to help Paula with her “forgetfulness” and “anxieties”. Paula starts to question her own judgement and sanity as these events become more and more frequent. She has no one else to talk to but Gregory, who is the only witness to these apparent mishaps. It gets to a point where completely nonsensical behaviour is being attributed to Paula by Gregory. A painting is found missing on the wall one night. Gregory talks to Paula like she is a 5 year child and asks her to put it back. Paula insists she does not know who took it down. After her persistent passionate insistence that it was not her, she walks up the stairs almost like she were in a dream state and pulls the painting from behind a statue. Gregory asks why she lied, but Paula insists that she only thought to look there because that is where it was found the last two times this occurred.

For weeks now, Paula thinks she has been seeing things, the gas lights of the house dimming for no reason, she also hears footsteps above her bedroom. No one else seems to take notice. Paula is also told by Gregory that he found out that her mother, who passed away when she was very young, had actually gone insane and died in an asylum.

Despite Paula being reduced to a condition of an ongoing stupor, she decides one night to make a stand and regain control over her life. Paula is invited, by one of her Aunt Alice’s close friends Lady Dalroy, to attend a high society evening with musical performances. Recall that Paula’s life gravitated around music before her encounter with Gregory. Music was her life. Paula gets magnificently dressed up for the evening and on her way out tells Gregory that she is going to this event. Gregory tries to convince her that she is not well enough to attend such a social gathering, when Paula calmly insists that she is going and that this woman was a dear friend of her Aunt, Gregory answers that he refuses to accompany her (in those days that was a big deal). Paula accepts this and walks with a solid dignity, undeterred towards the horse carriage. In a very telling scene, Gregory is left momentarily by himself and panic stricken, his eyes bulging he snaps his cigar case shut and runs after Paula. He laughingly calls to her, “Paula, you did not think I was serious? I had no idea that this party meant so much to you. Wait, I will get ready.” As he is getting ready in front of the mirror, a devilish smirk appears.

Paula and Gregory show up to Lady Dalroy’s house late, the pianist is in the middle of the 1st movement of Beethoven’s Piano Sonata #8 in C minor. They quickly are escorted to two empty seats. Paula is immediately immersed in the piece, and Gregory can see his control is slipping. After only a few minutes, he goes to look at his pocket watch but it is not in his pocket. He whispers into Paula’s ear, “My watch is missing”. Immediately, Paula looks like she is going to be sick. Gregory takes her handbag and Paula looks in horror as he pulls out his pocket watch, insinuating that Paula had put it there. She immediately starts losing control and has a very public emotional breakdown. Gregory takes her away, as he remarks to Lady Dalroy that this is why he didn’t want Paula coming in the first place.

When they arrive home, Paula has by now completely succumbed to the thought that she is indeed completely insane. Gregory says that it would be best if they go away somewhere for an indefinite period of time. We later find out that Gregory is intending on committing her to an asylum. Paula agrees to leave London with Gregory and leaves her fate entirely in his hands.

In the case of Paula it is clear. She has been suspecting that Gregory has something to do with her “situation” but he has very artfully created an environment where Paula herself doubts whether this is a matter of unfathomable villainy or whether she is indeed going mad.

It is rather because she is not mad that she doubts herself, because there is seemingly no reason for why Gregory would put so much time and energy into making it look like she were mad, or at least so it first appears. But what if the purpose to her believing in her madness was simply a matter of who is in control?

Paula almost succeeds in gaining the upper-hand in this power-struggle, the evening she decided to go out on her own no matter what Gregory insisted was in her best interest. If she would have held her ground at Lady Dalroy’s house and simply replied, “I have no idea why your stupid watch ended up in my handbag and I could care less. Now stop interrupting this performance, you are making a scene!” Gregory’s spell would have been broken as simple as that. If he were to complain to others about the situation, they would also respond, “Who cares man, why are you so obsessed about your damn watch?”

We find ourselves today in a very similar situation to Paula. And the voice of Gregory is represented by the narrative of false news and the apocalyptic social behaviourist programming in our forms of entertainment. The things most people voluntarily subject themselves to on a daily, if not hourly, basis. Socially conditioning them, like a pack of salivating Pavlovian dogs, to think it is just a matter of time before the world ends and with a ring of their master’s bell…be at each other’s throats.

Paula ends up being saved in the end by a man named Joseph Cotten (a detective), who took notice and quickly discerned that something was amiss. In the end Gregory is arrested. It is revealed that Gregory is in fact Sergis Bauer. That he killed Alice Alquist and that he has returned to the scene of the crime after all these years in search for the famous jewels of the opera singer. The jewels were in fact rather worthless from the standpoint that they were too famous to be sold, however, Gregory never intended on selling these jewels but rather had become obsessed with the desire to merely possess them.

That is, it is Gregory who has been entirely mad all this time.

A Gregory is absolutely dangerous. He would have been the end of Paula if nothing had intervened. However, the power that Gregory held was conditional to the degree that Paula allowed it to control her. Paula’s extreme deconstruction was thus entirely dependent on her choice to let the voice of Gregory in. That is, a Gregory is only dangerous if we allow ourselves to sleep walk into the nightmare he has constructed for us.

“When I use a word,” Humpty Dumpty said in rather a scornful tone,
“it means just what I choose it to mean — neither more nor less.”
“The question is,” said Alice, “whether you can make words mean so many different things.”
“The question is,” said Humpty Dumpty, “which is to be master – – that’s all.”

– Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass

The author can be reached at https://cynthiachung.substack.com/

  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

US blatant disregard for International laws | The Communiqué with Richard Medhurst

The Brazilian fracture between the Expanding Universe and the new imperialist competition in South America

The Brazilian fracture between the Expanding Universe and the new imperialist competition in South America
Fabio Reis Vianna, lives in Rio de Janeiro, is a bachelor of laws (LL.B), MA student in International Relations at the University of Évora (Portugal), writer and geopolitical analyst. He currently maintains a column on international politics at the centennial Brazilian newspaper Monitor Mercantil.

April 05, 2021

By Fabio Reis Vianna for The Saker Blog

In an article published in Foreign Affairs magazine – one of the most prominent mouthpieces of US imperialism – , and signed by, among others, Marcus Hicks, former commander of the US Special Operations Command in Africa during the period 2017-2019, defends the idea that the increased competition between the great powers ignites a red alert that the United States should turn its attention to the African continent.

The main motivator of this concern would be the urgent need to limit the “malign influence” of the hegemon’s two major strategic rivals: Russia and China.

Citing the increased Sino-Russian presence on the African continent, in which Russia alone would have already established military agreements with at least 19 countries, and China, installed in 2017 its first international military base in Djibout.

It is worth noting, that although the Foreign Affairs article mentions that there was an ebb in the American presence during Donald Trump’s administration, in reality, and in a long-term look, since 2001 American foreign policy has turned more aggressively to Africa, and this posture has even been an incentive for a greater presence of other actors of the interstate system in that continent.

The American presence in Africa, justified by the excuse of fighting transnational terrorism, was therefore the trigger for an increase in the presence of other interstate actors, and consequently, of the imperialist competition that in this pandemic 2021 gains even more dramatic contours.

Although this article is specifically a defense of the American presence in Africa, it serves as a warning of how the American establishment is positioning itself in face of a phenomenon that has deepened considerably in recent years: the new imperialist race.

Therefore, it is of utmost importance to understand the role of South America in this complex power game.

Taking into consideration that the increase in competitive pressure in the world system has been accelerating considerably since the collapse of the Soviet Union, has gained imperial contours after September 11, and has unveiled itself as, in fact, in a scenario of almost war with the advent of the pandemic, it is possible to deduce that the recent events in certain parts of South America definitely place it as a battleground of the current powers’ wider dispute for global hegemony.

Symptoms of this competitive phenomenon could be seen recently in insinuations that the Chinese are carrying out naval maneuvers in Argentinean waters (when in fact it was the Americans who in fact carried out exercises near the Brazilian coast), as well as in the intensification of the diplomatic crisis between Venezuela and Guyana.

There are many fracture points in South America, and perhaps the most visible and dangerous one lies over the Esequibo zone, a Guyanese territory of 159,000 square kilometers never recognized by Caracas.

In early March, Guyana accused Venezuela of having violated its airspace with the use of two Sukhoi SU 30 drones, of Russian origin. Caracas promptly refuted the accusations as false.

Repudiated by the Secretary of State for Falklands, Antarctica and the South Atlantic, Daniel Filmus, more recently, the publication of the new British defense plan – ratifying the decision to maintain a permanent military presence in the Falkland Islands – brought concerns to Buenos Aires.

The presence of foreign powers in South American territory is clear, and in light of the significant increase of competitive pressure in the world system – which has been gradually taking place since the disproportionate display of American military power against a defenseless Iraq in 1991 – the theory of the Expanding Universe is confirmed year after year, and in an increasingly dramatic way.

Contradicting the idea that a unipolar system, and therefore led and conducted by a single hegemon, would lead to Kant’s “perpetual peace,” the theory of the Expanding Universe supports the thesis that the global power game tends to reproduce itself ad infinitum as a continuously expanding, anarchic, and directionless universe.

Thus, it doesn’t matter whether the dispute is bipolar or multipolar: whoever is at the top of the system tends to expand his power even further – even if he is not necessarily being challenged at the moment, as is the case in the period right after the Soviet collapse, when the United States reigned absolute over the rest of the world.

The factual (and cruel) reality that comes to confirm the theory of the Expanding Universe could not fit into a more appropriate outfit than that of the present moment.

Just as 9/11 served as the perfect excuse for the expansion of the United States’ global power (in this specific case against an imaginary enemy – since the usual enemy, Russia, was temporarily out of the game), the Covid-19 pandemic serves today as a ladder for an unprecedented increase in competitive pressure in the interstate system.

Following this reasoning, and contrary to what Atlanticist analysts are saying, the pandemic crisis would be favoring only one country: the United States of America.

Not only because Silicon Valley technology companies have never profited as much as they do now, but the awakening of sovereigntist and militarist instincts brought about by the pandemic chaos has made possible the realization of the only fundamental and untouchable consensus of the currently divided US elites: the permanent and continuous reproduction and expansion of their military industrial complex. This expansion would be nothing more than the viability of the so-called Full Spectrum Dominance contained in the DOD Joint Vision 2020, published in the year 2000.

In this context, South America comes to play a new role in the global geopolitical chessboard, a role that the long period as a zone of peace under Anglo-Saxon influence would have softened.

With the increased competitive pressure caused by the pandemic event, which in other terms could be seen as the hegemon’s reaction to the entrance of new competitors in the system, came an increase or shock in the demand for energy resources.

In this scenario, we could exemplify the perspective of an expressive growth in the global demand for oil for the next 30 years, with China and India alone representing approximately 50% of all demand.

Considering that South America today can be considered the region with the largest oil (Venezuela) and Lithium (Bolivia) reserves on the planet – not to mention the Amazon forest and fresh water reserves (Brazil) – and in light of this global energy order in formation and dispute, it would not be an exaggeration to say that the new imperialist race between the great powers in the beginning of this century would be gradually turning to the region.

This situation is a wake-up call for a country in the region that is currently experiencing the greatest identity crisis in its entire history: Brazil.

Fractured internally since before the pandemic, the South American giant has never found itself so pressured and isolated internationally.

The systemic chaos that began with the Color Revolution of June 2013, and which has been deepening year after year until culminating in the election of Jair Bolsonaro (puppet president emerging from the white coup orchestrated by the consortium between the Armed Forces High Command and the U.S. government), finally goes into full short circuit after the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic.

Since then the growing discontent of sectors of the local economic elites with the disastrous management of the health crisis by the current government ruled by the military junta is visible.

Threatened by external sanctions from all sides, the country that has surpassed the mark of 300,000 deaths, is experiencing an internal fracture unprecedented in its history.

Something little remembered, but already in October 2019, Portuguese-speaking writers Mia Couto and José Eduardo Agualusa, on a visit to Brazil, said they were impressed by the climate of local political animosity, comparing the South American giant to African countries like Mozambique and Angola during the pre-civil war period.

At the same time that military police officers in Rio de Janeiro organize marches dressed in suggestive black shirts in defense of President Jair Bolsonaro, military police officers in the state of Bahia are threatening to cause chaos with a riot against the local governor (Rui Costa, from the Workers’ Party, an opponent of Bolsonaro).

Amid escalating tensions, the arm-wrestling between government and parliament is intensifying, and in particular with regard to two issues of geopolitical relevance: 5G and the Sputnik V vaccine.

Even if it is not clear from the stories reported by the hegemonic Brazilian press, it is visible that the Bolsonaro government deliberately acts as a representative of US interests in Brazil.

The difficulties created for the approval of the Russian Sputnik V vaccine, and the constant threat of exclusion of the Chinese technology giant Huawei from the great 5G auction in the country, reflect the current role of Brazil as a battleground of the great expansionist dispute of the world system in this beginning of the century.

The social fracture, and the deepening divide within the local elites expose the serious risk of a country that could spiral out of control at any moment.

The news that the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil (APIB) has sent a letter to Mr. Joe Biden, and to his Special Climate Secretary John Kerry, requesting a direct channel of communication – and away from the Brazilian government – to deal with issues related to the Amazon, opens a very serious alert about something that, for those who know history, would not be new.

Bearing in mind that geopolitical competition between the great powers is usually concentrated in fracture zones of the world system, history teaches us that fractured societies – and weakened states – tend to become the object of divisive games in the hands of the great powers.

With all due respect to the Articulation of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil – so mistreated and threatened by the current government – but the moment calls for a deep reflection on this.

Syria, Venezuela sanctions | The Communiqué with Richard Medhurst

Venezuela and Syria are both under siege warfare by the United States and its allies. Richard Medhurst speaks with Alena Douhan, United Nations Special Rapporteur on sanctions, about her preliminary report after recently returning from Venezuela.

الكاردينال وقائد الجيش للزوم إحياء مستحيل للبنان 1920

د.وفيق إبراهيم

تنحصر الحركة الشعبية اللبنانية حالياً في جمهور ينتمي بغالبيته الى مناطق ذات غالبية مارونية. وهذه الحركة تُصرّ يومياً على تأييد قائد الجيش بذريعة أنه يحمي لبنان كما تذهب ناحية التأييد المطلق والكبير للكاردينال الراعي لأنه يحمي لبنان، على حد قولهم.

هذان القياديان يحظيان حالياً بهذا التأييد الأعمى على الرغم من أنهما لم يشاركا في تحرير لبنان من العدو الإسرائيلي المجمع على عداوته للبنان، لذلك يتسجّل هذا التأييد في خانة الصراعات الطوائفية في لبنان، كما يصل هذه المرة حاملاً معه إحساساً مارونياً بإمكانية خسارة الصيغة القديمة بكاملها التي قام عليها لبنان في العشرينيات بدعم فرنسي كامل.

لا بدّ أولاً من التأكيد على أن صيغة 1920 أصيبت بعطب شديد كاد أن يطيح بها كاملاً نتيجة لاتفاق الطائف.

هذا الاتفاق التهم الأحادية المارونية في السلطة وأدخل السنة الحريرية شريكاً عليها من دون منازع وكادت صيغة 1920 أن تسقط كاملة ولمصلحة ثلاثيّة مع الشيعة والدروز لولا تدخلات دوليّة وإقليميّة خليجيّة.

لكن هذا الأمر لم يظهر الى العلن، لكنه أصبح حقيقة سياسية لا يمكن تجاوزها بسبب التفوق النوعي لحزب الله وحلفائه في الأحزاب الوطنية، ولولا هذه التدخلات الخارجية والخليجية لكانت الصيغة الحاكمة في لبنان مشكلة من هذه القوى الشديدة الفاعليّة في هذه المرحلة بالتحديد.

هذه التطورات أنتجت إقراراً مارونياً ضمنياً بالثلاثية السياسية للسلطة في لبنان، لكنها اصطدمت بمحاولات للمحافظة على صيغة 1920 من بعض القوى الداخلية عند الموارنة الذين يعتقدون بإمكانية استمرارها في السلطة.

هؤلاء اختاروا الشارع وسيلة لمحاولة التمسك بآخر ما تبقى من صيغة 1920 معطوفة على الطائف في إطار الاتفاق الإضافي غير المكتوب مع الشيعة بما يؤدي الى تشكيل ثلاثية تحفظ ثلث لبنان للموارنة لأمد طويل.

هذا ما يفعله الموارنة اليوم في الشارع حاملين فيه لواء الكاردينال وعصمة قيادة الجيش معتقدين أن هذين الحرمين يمنعان الضرر عن بقية الصيغة اللبنانية.

لذلك انتقل الصراع بين الأجنحة السياسية المارونية على قيادة الجيش ورئاسة الجمهورية حيث تشهد الشوارع التحاقاً بقيادة الجيش وتصويره وكأنه منقذ لبنان، مع الالتصاق الشديد بالكاردينال الذي «أعطي له مجد لبنان»، كما تقول العامة.

تشهد شوارع لبنان إذاً محاولة مارونية لصون الجزء الثلاثيّ من السلطة الخاصة بالموارنة، لكنها تصطدم بصراعات مارونية داخلية تعمل على الوصول الى رئاسة الجمهورية او بالاستحواذ بالشارع الماروني.

فقسم كبير من المتحرّكين في الشارع هم من جماعة حزب القوات اللبنانية والكتائب مقابل التزام مؤيدي التيار الوطني الحر بمنازلهم تحضّراً لأيام جسام تبدو واضحة في الأفق.

جرى الانتقال اذاً من الصراع الماروني السني وصولاً إلى الصراع مع الشيعة في اتفاق الطائف وصولاً الى الصراع الماروني في الوقت الحاضر بين القوات والكتائب والتيار؟ إلا أن قوات جعجع حاولت أن تنفي مشاركتها في قطع الطرق فيما واصل سامي الجميل رعاية المتحركين باحثاً عن مكانة فقدها حزبه الكتائب منذ صعود الحريرية السياسية التي دعمت القوات وفضلتها على غيرها من القوى المسيحية لأسباب غربية صرفة وأخرى خليجية.

لذلك فإن ما يجري اليوم هو صراع بين قوى مسيحية تحاول الاستحواذ على تأييد الخليج والغرب، وقد يبحث بعضها عن تأييد ضمني إسرائيلي.

فهل ينجح جعجع وسامي الجميل في السيطرة على كتلة كبيرة في الشارع المسيحيّ؟

هناك تأكيد ان القوات والكتائب تتصلان بشكل شبه يومي بألمانيا ومصر والأردن في محاولة لكسب أدوار تمنحها عدداً معيناً من وزارة يشكلها قريباً سعد الحريري.

وألمانيا ومصر والأردن ذاهبون لعقد مؤتمر دولي لبحث أزمات الشرق الاوسط من فلسطين الى لبنان.

أما القوات فيكاد قائدها لا يعبر يوم واحد إلا ويختلي فيه بدبلوماسيين من هذه الدول. ماذا اذاً عن طلب المتظاهرين باستقالة رئيس الجمهورية؟ هذه تندرج في إطار الصراع الماروني الماروني وبما أنها على هذا النحو فلا قيمة فعلية لها، لأنه تمكّن فريقاً صغيراً من الموارنة من إقالة الرئيس اللبناني بفتح المجال واسعاً للبدء بتغيير أي صيغة تحكم لبنان. وهذا يؤدي بدوره إلى الجزم بأن الكاردينال الراعي لا يقبل بهذا الأمر حرصاً على مارونية الرئاسة، كما أن الجمهور اللبناني الكبير الموالي لعون ليس بهذا الوارد، ومستعدّ للمقاتلة، بالإضافة الى ان جمهور حزب الله والأحزاب الوطنية لا يسمح بهذه الترهات التي تعني إلغاء النظام التاريخي اللبناني.

يتبين بالاستنتاج استحالة إحياء صيغة 1920 وإمكانية إلغاء حتى اتفاق الطائف اذا ما انضبطت الطوائف في كهوفها وانطلقت لقرن جديد يبدأ من 2020 ويجب أن يستمر حتى القرن المقبل بلبنان الطائفيّ الهش.

Who Gains From Misportraying Russia As A Rogue Regime?

By Andrew Korybko

Source

Who Gains From Misportraying Russia As A Rogue Regime?

The push by Western forces and those sympathetic to them to misportray Russia as a “rogue regime” after this summer’s Navalny incident is meant to pave the way for a more comprehensive sanctions policy against the Eurasian Great Power and intensify multilateral efforts to “contain” it.

The Western press has recently revived the debunked trope that Russia is a so-called “rogue regime” after the latest developments surrounding this summer’s Navalny incident. The self-described “investigative reporting” outlet Bellingcat and CNN recently published a joint report claiming that the FSB tried to poison the anti-corruption blogger, which is an unrealistic scenario to speculate upon and one which was condemned by President Putin during his year-end press conference as a provocation by foreign intelligence services. Nevertheless, this information warfare narrative persists and was given fresh coverage by former chess champion Gary Kasparov in the op-ed that he published at CNN on Friday about how “It’s time to treat Putin’s Russia like the rogue regime it is”. His piece deserves to be debunked in order to set the record straight and extrapolate his agenda for propagating it.

Kasparov shares a smorgasbord of accusations straight off the bat alleging that Russia is guilty of crimes ranging from assassinating political foes with chemical weapons to invading Ukraine and hacking the US. What he doesn’t mention, however, is that no evidence has been presented to conclusively prove Russia’s responsibility for those aforesaid assassination attempts. Regarding Ukraine, Kasparov leaves out the fact that Crimea reunified with Russia after a democratic referendum and that a real military invasion of that country by Moscow wouldn’t have manifested itself in limited skirmishes contained to Eastern Ukraine’s Donbas region. Moreover, the chess champion omits the fact that Trump contradicted Pompeo’s claims of Russian complicity in the latest hack attack and actually blamed China instead. Evidently, these facts are too “politically inconvenient” for Kasparov to mention and thus had to be ignored in order to advance his weaponized narrative.

That narrative, it should be said, is one of paranoia and speculation. Parts of it read as a fever dream of a brilliant mind gone mad imagining that Russia’s security agencies are falling apart by the second despite he himself previously alleging that they’ve carried out such egregious crimes as the ones that he talked about earlier. This schizophrenic stance is explained away by his theory that President Putin simply doesn’t care anymore about how sloppy his international provocations have become because no meaningful consequences have ever followed. That’s yet another fallacy on Kasparov’s part since Russia has been victimized by an ever-intensifying sanctions regime since 2014. Still, he’s somehow convinced himself that the West is actually “appeasing” Russia by continuing to retain some limited relations with it of a pragmatic nature. These, he believes, must be immediately stopped and followed up by removing Russia from international institutions.

What he’s clamoring for is clear for any objective observer to see, and it’s a redoubling of the Western sanctions regime against Russia and an intensification of the multilateral efforts to “contain” it. Earlier attempts by some American officials to designate Russia as a so-called “state sponsor of terrorism” might receive a second life if Kasparov’s op-ed is coordinated with US intelligence officials to precondition the international public into accepting such a dramatic move. The incoming Biden Administration is chock-full of anti-Russian hawks so it’s quite possible that they might make swift progress in further worsening bilateral relations with Russia on that or some similar pretext. It should be remembered, however, that the entire basis for this scenario is the unquestionable assumption that Russia is responsible for everything that Kasparov and his allies claim, which is highly dubious to say the least.

Even so, it’s nowadays taboo for anyone to publicly challenge those accusations lest they be tarred and feathered as a “Russian agent”. The media-military nexus is operating perfectly insofar as coordinating their messaging to justify forthcoming provocations against Russia. The American people have been brainwashed into believing that Russia is one of their main enemies, with Kasparov’s comments on the latest Navalny development being used to reinforce that narrative. CNN published his op-ed in order to grant it maximum exposure at home and abroad, all for the earlier explained reasons. While his ravings are limited to the internet for now, they might soon have a real-life impact if the US runs with his claims to push through a new sanctions regime and other related “containment” efforts against Russia. This could even happen if Trump pulls off an upset and remains in office after 20 January considering his recent anti-Russian track record.

In conclusion, the only ones who gain by misportraying Russia as a “rogue regime” are the anti-Russian members of the US’ permanent military, intelligence, and diplomatic bureaucracies (“deep state”) and their international allies like Kasparov who has a personal axe to grind against President Putin. Objectively speaking, Russia’s alleged “rogue” activity pales in comparison to the US’ actual rogue actions since the end of the Old Cold War, which include drone assassinations, Color Revolution coups, Hybrid Wars, and several large-scale wars. That’s not to deflect with “whatabouttism”, but just to remind the reader of the global strategic context for the purpose of pointing out America’s blatant hypocrisy in this respect. Looking forward, the US’ anti-Russian information warfare campaign will only intensify and won’t ever stop until Moscow submits to Washington’s unipolar hegemonic demands, which won’t ever happen so the infowar is here to stay.

Corporations, States, and the neo-liberal symbiosis

Corporations, States, and the neo-liberal symbiosis

December 16, 2020

By Francis Lee for the Saker Blog

The men and women who run global corporations are the first in history with the organization, technology, money, and ideology who are attempting to structure the world as an integrated economic unit. (1)

THE RISE OF CORPORATE POWER.

Scroll down another six decades (or thereabouts) and this statement has hardened into an objective fact – and moreover has turned out worse than the above authors had ever imagined. In effect what has taken place, and is still taking place, is the massive shift of power, out of the hands of nation states and democratic governments and into the hands of Transnational Corporations (TNCs) banks, Investment banks, Commercial banks, and Central banks. It is now the coalition that effectively governs the lives of the vast majority of the people on earth; yet these new world realities are seldom reflected in the strategies of citizen movements for democratic change. All too often, strategies are aimed primarily at changing government policies, whilst the real power being exercised by TNCs behind the scenes is rarely challenged, let alone dismantled. When the operations of TNCs do become a prime target for citizen action campaigns, there is a tendency to employ a rather piecemeal and foot-dragging approach to such popular struggles to what is a deeply systemic problem – a problem for the lower orders that is.

Regardless of their nominal home bases these globe-trotting corporate Leviathans have become essentially ‘stateless’ (I use this term advisedly) juggling multiple national identities and loyalties in order to achieve their global competitive interests. Regardless of where they operate in the world these conglomerates can use their overseas subsidiaries, joint ventures, licensing agreements, and assume foreign identities and tax evasion on a huge scale – as for example in the practise of ‘transfer pricing’ – whenever it suits their purposes. In so doing, they develop chameleon-like abilities to change their identities to resemble insiders wherever they are operating. As one nameless CEO put it, When we go to Brussels, we are member states of the EU, when we go to Washington, we become an American Company. Whenever the need arises these gentlemen will wrap themselves up in the national flag of choice (or flags of convenience as in the shipping industry) to get support for tax breaks, research subsidies, or governmental representation in negotiations affecting corporate profit and marketing plans. Through this process stateless corporations are effectively transforming what were independent nation states to suit their interests.

CORPORATIONS AND STATES – PARTNERS IN CRIME

Having said this, however, I would add a qualifying disclaimer:

Namely, that nation states do not necessarily choose to prostrate themselves before their lords and masters of Finance and Industry, this was never – mirabile dictu – meant to be a one-way arrangement or an alternative to the liberal market economy. I have argued elsewhere that states and corporations are both conjoint and symmetrical. Both need each other. The state unquestionably remains the most significant force in shaping the national and world economies, despite the rhetoric of the state-denialist lobby. The state has played a fundamental role in the economic development of all countries, from the 19th century onwards, and my hunch is that it will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

However, given the universality of the state-economy dualism it should be understood that a system of variegated capitalism is a feature of the contemporary state-economy partnership. In general terms this fragmentation breaks down into basic models of actually existing capitalism.

1. The liberal-market capitalism (LMC). This is generally understood to be associated with the Anglo-American economies. Rampant individualism has become the dominant characteristic, short-termist and based upon a weak industrial and a strong financial sector. Shareholder value has assumed a quasi-religious status. The banking system is oligopolistic and averse to industrial investment and fixated on the property sector. Financialization is the dominant economic form.

2. Social-market capitalism. (SMC) A premium is placed on collaboration between different actors in the economy with a broader definition of ‘stakeholders’ beyond that of solely the owners of capital. The concept of ‘social partnership’ is more prominent than the Anglo-American model, but somewhat weaker more recently. Capital markets – unlike the LMC – tend to be bank-centred and the banking industry tends to be more diffuse as instanced in the existence of the German Sparkassen. This model is characteristic of the German, Scandinavian, western European bloc.

3. Developmental Capitalism. This is a highly activist state-driven system (although not necessarily through public ownership of productive assets). The state sets substantial policies contained within an explicit industrial strategy. Capital markets tend also to be bank-centred and there is a strong emphasis on tight business networks – e.g., the Chaebol and Keiretsu. The model is exemplified by Japan, (south) Korea, Taiwan, Singapore, and more recently by China.

4. Russian Capitalism. This is difficult to categorize since it is given an unbelievably bad press – for geopolitical reasons – in the western media and academia.

It is also under the cosh of western sanctions which makes development even more difficult. Moreover much of what is going on is conducted in the Russian language which makes reporting and analysis even more difficult. Both political and economic structures were liberalized after 1991 but the Russian state still exerts strong control over the economy. The jury is still out on Russia’s system and development.

Given a choice of which system works best it would seem to be the highly state-activist developmental model.

‘’We can safely predict that the Anglo-American model will become less influential … whilst … virtually all of the Asian models of capitalism involve a more active role for government. And the rise of these models is taking place as the US approach is discredited by abuse, shrivelling opportunities and a shrinking middle-class. Among listed alternatives, the US model is now the outlier.’’ (2)

Alexander Hamilton 1755-1804

These views on industrialisation and state-building could legitimately be described as a protectionist and strategic policy, this to the extent that his theories made a positive impression, and these were not lost on US President and ex-commander-in-chief of the Army of the Potomac, Ulysses S Grant. (1822-1885).

According to Grant:

‘’For centuries England has relied on protection, has carried it to extremes and has obtained satisfactory results from it. There is no doubt that it is to this system that it owes its present strength. After two centuries, England has found it convenient to adopt free trade because it thinks that protection can no longer offer it anything. Very well then, gentlemen, my knowledge of our country leads me to believe that within 200 years, when America has gotten out of protection all that it can offer, it too will adopt free trade.’’

Interestingly enough the United States did not become a great trading power and not recognisably be a free-trade nation until after WW2.

Similarly In Germany, Friedrich List (1789-1846) who also had scant regard for any ‘free-market’ nonsense along with the Ricardian corollary of comparative advantage, was instrumental in promoting a guided political economy; a system of political supervision from above as a policy for economic development. He argued that,

‘’…the first stage (of such a long-term policy) is one of adopting free-trade with more advanced nations as a means of raising themselves from a state of barbarism, and of making advances in agriculture; in the second stage, promoting the growth of manufactures, fisheries, navigation and foreign trade by means of commercial restrictions; and in the last stage, on after reaching the highest degree of wealth and power by gradually reverting to the principle of free-trade and of unrestricted competition in home and foreign markets.’’ (3)

As with Hamilton’s economic theories and their influence on Grant, so with List’s theories, on the leading figure in Germany at the time, the ‘Iron Chancellor’ and leading statesman of the day – Otto Von Bismarck (1771-1845).

These strategic, nation-building, and planned approaches were to give rise to the considerable success of the ‘mixed economies’ during the Bretton Woods era – 1944-1971 – and particularly so in the west. But this historical phase ended abruptly with the rise of the Thatcher-Reagan axis circa 1980, to the tune of TINA – there is no alternative, although such policies continued to be the chosen road to development in East Asia. If the TNC-State paradigm operates globally they do so only because the state allows and facilitates this. But the relationship between the two varies from one state’s political economy to another.

The present actually existing state-market archetype – which in its essence is neo-liberal – is such that business enterprises now seem fit to expect/demand more from their governments in order to secure markets for their products (these enterprises certainly have some chutzpah in this respect!)Trade follows the flag. This special pleading notwithstanding, the fashionable nostrums extolling the economic virtues of neo-liberalism – nostrums of an entirely theoretical nature, based upon a type of reasoning associated with the medieval schoolmen, or rolled out as if it were Immanuel Kant’s Categorical Imperative. In this respect also such economic theory, as postulated by the marginalist school (see below) takes place before any engagement with the material world, the theory precedes practice when it should be the other way around. I believe that it was Goethe who once said “All theory is grey, my friend. But forever green is the tree of life.”

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENTAL DESIDERATA

However, in spite of the neo-classical economics theological school founded in 1870 (4) the fact of the matter is that the private sector requires at least 4 principles of support and services from governments.

1. Infrastructure support. That is to say state funding of high-risk and basic research. This involves funding of universities and of vocational training systems. Subsidizing of mechanisms for the dissemination of scientific and technological transfers.

2. Providing tax breaks. Incentives, necessary for investment in industrial R&D

3. Guarantees. That national enterprises from the given country have a sufficiently stable Home Base and privileged access to the home market via public contracts (defence, telecommunications, health, transport, education, social services). Industrial policy, particularly for those in the high technology strategic sector (defence, telecommunications, and data processing), also guarantee of a certain basic scientific and technical competence, as well as protecting designated sectors of the internal market on which local enterprises may depend.

4. Provision: that is the necessary support and assistance (regulatory and/or commercial, diplomatic, and political) to local enterprises in their activities and in their fight to better survive in international markets.

The above prescriptions would constitute the absolute sine qua non for economic growth and development. But it is no longer necessarily the case that these expectations will be met. Instead of the assessment (and presence) of past economic developmental strategies with measurable outcomes we have a religious, inflexible dogma of ‘market forces’ which is not to be gainsaid, gibberish in theory, but not even workable in practice. Herewith the record.

1. Capital/Labour relations.

Promise: Deregulation will allow for full employment.

Outcome: No clear impact.

2. Forms of Competition.

Promise: Deregulation will erode oligopolistic market power and will restore free competition

Outcome: Re-regulation, less producers, increased market concentration, from one oligopolistic form of competition to another.

3. Monetary Regime

Promise: Control of Monetary Base is possible.

Outcome: Monetary Innovation prevents this control and the rise of the shadow banking system.

4. State.

Promise: Minimal state will enhance growth and productivity

Outcome: Poor levels of productivity due to lack of educational infrastructures. Finance is put before industry.

5. International Regime

Promise: Smooth currency adjustments.

Outcome: Large movements up and down of exchange rates

And so on and so forth. The state – if it so chooses – remains the most formidable institution to channel and tame the power of the markets. In the absence of powerful countervailing regulation any economic analysis shows that persisting unemployment, recurring financial crises, rising inequality, underinvestment in productive activities such as education and research, a cumulative asymmetry of information and power and overinvestment in financial activities are the outcomes of a complete reliance on market forces. This we already know, but the suffocating global impact of Anglo-American liberal globalism – in both theory and practice, and in its sphere of influence – has served to erect a seemingly insurmountable barrier, both political and ideological, to any exit from the dead-end of TINA.

DECLINE AND FALL

Sad to say, however, that the public authorities on both sides of the Atlantic have defaulted on their obligations to their electorates and to a large extent have merged with the corporate and banking sector. The US and EU remain in thrall to neo-liberal doctrine, the only ‘growth’ policy considered worthy of the name consists of eliminating organizations or institutions of any kind that are regarded as obstructing markets and competition, be they cartels, chambers of commerce and industry, trades unions or tax guilds, or minimum wages or employment protection. This is all that is meant when todays creditors expect debtor states to implement the dreaded ‘structural reforms’. The collapse of the Keynesian economics establishment and its political manifestation in both social-democratic theory and practice was unable (and even unwilling) to prevent the counter-revolutionary onrush of the neoliberal forces who now command the political and economic agenda.

‘’The historical significance of the transition from a Keynesian to a Hayekian political economy, which has been taking place since the 1970s, becomes clearer if we recall the situation at the beginning of the neoliberal turn. Whereas today with open borders, formerly sovereign states with independent central banks must pursue a rule-bound economic policy in accordance with a prescriptions of efficiency theory, the Keynesian mixed economy of the post-war decades had at its disposal a wide range of instruments for discretionary government intervention, especially in the distribution of the national product and the life-chances of national citizens … The neoliberal counter-revolution has left nothing of this. It’s objective was to trim the states of post-war capitalism as much as possible reducing them to providing for the functioning and expansion of markets and making them institutionally incapable of corrective intervention in the self-regulating enforcement of market justice.’’(5)

Returning to the global perspective of the opening passage the problems of under-development in the periphery is now being felt in the imperial centre as the centre becomes more and more like the periphery. A state cannot be emerging or developed if it is not inward rather than outward looking to the goal of creating a domestic market and thus reasserting a national economic sovereignty. This complex objective requires over all aspects of economic life. In particular, it demands policies that protects food security and sovereignty, and equally sovereignty over ones natural resources and access to others outside one’s territory. These multiple and complementary objectives are contrasted with those objectives of the internal comprador class, who are content to adapt to growth models that meet the requirements of the dominant global system (liberal globalization) and the possibilities that these latter alternatives offer. (6)

At the present time, the historical requirement for the establishment of an entirely new social and economic order based upon sound principles and respecting the environment with a goal of the fulfilment of human rights has become imperative. It hardly needs stating that this is a monumental task and the possibilities between success and failure are evenly balanced. Nonetheless it remains the greatest challenge in today’s world – moreover it is a challenge which spans both the developed and developing world and for tackling the issue of the survival of the human species and the Earth itself. Whether mankind is up for this challenge remains to be seen, but the world is running out of time and positive action needs to start very soon indeed. We shall wait and we shall see.

La Lotta Continua.

NOTES

(1) Richard Barnet & Robert Mueller -Global Reach – 1974

(2) Rothkopf – Financial Times – 01/02/2012)

(3) Freidrich List. – National System of Political Economy. P.15

(4)The Marginalist ‘Revolution’ of 1870. The term ‘marginalist revolution’ is commonly utilised to indicate the abandonment of the classical liberalism – of Adam Smith, and John Stuart Mill – and posited a theoretical shift to a subjective theory of value and the analytical notion of marginal utility. The years between 1871 and 1874 saw publication of the major writings of the leaders of the Austrian marginalist school, Carl Menger (1840-1921); of the British school, William Stanley Jevons (1835-1882); and of the French (Lausanne) school, Leon Walras (1834-1910). For better or worse – pretty much the worse FL – this is the basis of the contemporary economics taught in schools and universities today. It is a toxic legacy.

(5) Wolfgang Streeck – Buying Time – pp.111/112

(6)Samir Amin – The Implosion of Capitalism – p.44

Iranians: The people the West are allowed to assassinate

November 30, 2020

by Ramin Mazaheri and crossposted with PressTV

(Ramin Mazaheri is currently covering the US elections.
He is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV
and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a
daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported
from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and
lsewhere. He is the author of ‘Socialism’s Ignored
Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism’ as well as ‘I’ll Ruin
Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’, which is also available in simplified and traditional Chinese.)

The recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh – and the total silence regarding any sanctions on those who illegally played judge, jury, invader and executioner – reminds us how very unique Iranians are: Iranians are the people whom Westerners feel they are legitimately allowed to assassinate.

The citizens of which other country get so shamefully and shockingly assassinated by Westerners with such regularity in the 21st century?

We can’t compare the assassinations of Iranians with allegations (which did arise amid a once in a half-century Russophobia campaign in the West) that Russia poisoned a convicted double agent inside the United Kingdom. Not only did Western countries issue actual condemnations, unlike with the illegal murder of Fakhrizadeh, but they even expelled over 150 Russian diplomats.

The largest point to make clear is regarding why Iranians get this extraordinary (inhumane) treatment. It’s important for journalists to answer the short-term question of, “Why Fakhrizadeh?”, but we must also answer the long-term question of “Why Iran?”

The reality is that the average Westerners doesn’t even know how they got to this point. The Iranian hostage crisis was long ago, Israel is the belligerent one which keeps invading (and losing), the US is the belligerent one which keeps invading (and losing) – the refusal to allow Iran to defend itself is something which the average Westerner mostly doesn’t agree with and which they definitely cannot explain. That is to say: the reason is political – but Westerners are atrocious politicians, atrociously cynical about politics and atrociously misinformed about politics and socioeconomics due to their ever-more obvious censorship, propaganda and self-censorship.

There are several answers to “Why Iran?” Firstly, Iranians are an “expendable” people:

For a few centuries Westerners have regarded Iranians (as well as many others) as people who own things of value (natural resources), but who can produce nothing of value. Value is derived from supporting not just Westernism, but a Westernism which is totally unleavened – Westerners might say “contaminated” – with any non-Western ideas. Those who work for systems which do not conform to Western desires – no matter how great the democratic legitimacy of these systems -can be assassinated at will, in Western eyes. This is why the killing of a Qasem Soleimani or Fakhrizadeh does not merit consequences, unlike the assassination of a French general or a Japanese scientist.

Secondly, Iranians are a “ignorable” people:

Even though Iranians are so very expendable, they must also be ignored in the 21st century. The problem is: Iran keeps attracting well-wishers and like-minded people. Iran has allies in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon due to centuries-old cultural ties, but Iran also has allies in places like China and Venezuela precisely because Iran can talk about more than just religion.

Lastly, because Iranians refuse to be expendable and because they do things which are worthy of meritorious recognition, Iranians are thus an “assassinatable” people:

Iranians are assassinated because they show to the Muslim world and beyond that resistance to Western imperialism is not only possible, but that it produces far, far greater domestic success than continuing to ape Western nations.

Iran is not so special – they are merely the last one standing. Israel assassinated Egyptian and Iraqi nuclear scientists in the 1960s and 1970s, but these two countries either decided to collaborate with Israel or were too culturally divided to resist invasion by Israel’s ally and/or master. Iran is extraordinary in the 2020 context because they have rejected cooperation with Western imperialism, something which is always obscured by Western leftists and their fake-leftist media, and – history since 1917 proves – this means the West must assassinate you.

The West became a superpower by violence, not by merit, persuasion or mutually-beneficial cooperation, of course.

As long as Iran keeps earning meritorious recognition, assassinations (acts of war) will continue

This theory of Iran as the “assassinatable people” does not include the recent lie of Al-Qaeda’s #2 being assassinated in Tehran. This allegedly occurred in August but was not reported by The New York Times until just two weeks before the murder of Fakhrizadeh. Obviously, this was false propaganda designed to pave the way for the acceptance of brutally assassinating more Iranians, like Fakhrizadeh, in the minds of Westerners. It is guilt by association, no matter the historical record and the anti-terror fighting facts on the ground.

We must remember that so very much Western fake news is designed not to sway the world, nor logical people, but to plant false consciousness in their own citizens. Many Americans were shocked at the totalitarian brutality in the assassination of Soleimani – many Americans even publicly protested in Soleimani’s favor, something unthinkable in the 1980s or after 9/11. Considering how absurd it is – that Iran would peacefully host the #2 of the group which Soleimani and Iran fought for so very long (and The Times even admitted this contradiction in its (anonymous, as always) “scoop), the alleged death in Iran of that seemingly endless funeral procession of “Al-Qaeda #2s” should be disregarded. This is how 21st century Western propaganda works – it has no real political motivation/indoctrination, but only a motivation of furthering belligerent attitudes: it is designed to fuel panic and suspicion among Western citizens, which then grants their militaries approval for more war.

Israel is being blamed for the murder of Fakhrizadeh, but of course the US had to approve it. However, an Iranian reprisal against Israel or the US would definitely not trigger a large-scale war, for two obvious reasons: Iran does not want one, and because the West has absolutely zero chance of defeating Iran in a large-scale war. The proof of this truth is that Iran retaliated by firing on American forces occupying Iraqi soil after the murder of Soleimani, and there was no war with the US. The US simply lied about the damage, precisely because there is no way Western forces could hold a fraction of Iranian territory that they can in Iraq and Afghanistan.

What a major, immediate Iranian retaliation would achieve would only be to give fuel for decades of Western propaganda that Iran is a belligerent nation, even though Iran is clearly this exceptional victim of exceptional belligerence. But this false narrative is being domestically exposed in the West with each assassination.

The reality is that Fakhrizadeh’s death is something which must ultimately be bitterly swallowed by Iranians, because I doubt that Fakhrizadeh himself would want the country to go to war over his own assassination. Just as the “next man up” doctrine was successfully applied after Soleimani, so it will be applied for the martyr Fakhrizadeh, which is precisely why this physics teacher taught – for the good of the community, not the good of the individual. That’s a rather anti-Western notion, but a very successful one: Despite having just 80 million people Iran is regularly among the top 5 nations in the world in producing total STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) graduates, thanks to selfless humanists and patriots like Fakhrizadeh.

That staggering achievement of modestly-sized Iran will go totally unexplained in the West, of course, and such wilful ignorance can only but continue to neuter the West’s understanding of Iran. There is no invasion of Iran possible, and there is no stopping the nation’s nuclear energy project – there is only the West’s attempted implosion of Iran’s meritorious and successful culture, which would then result in the posting of US troops in Iran.

The assassination of Fakhrizadeh is designed to inflame tensions and entrap Iran into war – this plan will not work, yet again. It’s being said that the murder is a way by Israel to “salt the earth” and prevent a restoration of the JCPOA, but it’s clear the West views Iranians as exceptional from other humans on earth: Iranians should believe that people can be assassinated on their streets without a word of condemnation, but also that Europeans are on the cusp of doing fair business with Iranians in Iran?

Maybe Joe Biden will actually win the US election, and maybe he has also had a change of heart and truly does not want to support foreign interventions and invasions after so many decades of doing precisely that? But what’s known for certain is that many Westerners only want war, and not with just Iran.

Iran is actually just like Palestine – totally assassinatable by Israel and other Westerners. But while they can take Palestinians’ land they cannot take Iranian culture and intelligence – the teaching of physics, as well as anti-imperialist thought, continues in Iran.


New role for China and Russia – and how after a Biden victory?

New role for China and Russia – and how after a Biden victory?

October 25, 2020

Paul Schmutz Schaller for The Saker Blog

On the world stage, profound changes are under way. Obviously, China and Russia have lost the confidence that the West will contribute to the solution of the world’s problems in some constructive manner. China and Russia have now accepted their role as the leading forces with the responsibility of holding the world together. The West held this role for centuries, but this time is over. The West has essentially become destructive. The West has lost the power of solving problems and now use her resources mainly for creating problems. In my eyes, this is the central evolution of the last months and it is an epochal change.

China and Russia did not easily decide to go ahead without the West. They have hesitated for a long time. They are quite aware of the burden they will have to bear. Other countries have led the way. In particular, Iran and North Korea have come to the conviction already some time ago that they cannot count on the West. The same is true for Hezbollah, for Syria, for Cuba, or for Venezuela. But apparently, China and Russia did not intend to „blindly“ follow these countries. However, not only the moment has come to take a decision, but China and Russia now also feel strong enough to advance without the West, or, may-be more precisely, despite the West.

The new role for China and Russia includes a lot of functions. They have to defend some kind of international order and law; they have to maintain and even strengthen important international organizations, in particular the UNO; they have to try to contain regional conflicts; they have to propose possible solutions for the world’s problems. Of course, this cannot and will not be done in a dictatorial manner. China and Russia always insist that the decisions must be taken in a much more democratic spirit than that which was – and is – practiced by the West.

It is a fact that the West does more and more undermine any kind of international law and order. Their international politics is destructive.There are countless sanctions against other countries, there are murders, conspiracies, and lies. In recent times, there is no conflict in the world where the West has tried to support a peaceful solution, may-be with the exception of Afghanistan and – at least for some time – of the two Koreas. And during the current pandemic, the West has made no effort in order to propose a common reaction of the world; countries like China, Russia, and Cuba did much more in this direction.

It is not a simple coincidence that China and Russia used the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the victory in World War II, the 3 September, in order to clarify their new role. Namely, during this war, Russia and China already bore the principal responsibility for the victory over the fascist aggressors.

In this context, Xin Jinping wrote to Vladimir Putin: „China and Russia both shoulder important responsibilities for the cause of world peace and development. I am ready to work with you to take the 75th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War as an opportunity to lead China and Russia towards deeper comprehensive strategic coordination. Together with the international community, we should firmly protect our victory in World War II and international fairness and justice, actively uphold and practice multilateralism, promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, in a bid to allow future generations to enjoy a world featuring lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.“

Vladimir Putin, on the same occasion (3 September), wrote to Xi Jinping that „it is a common responsibility of Russia and China to safeguard the truth of WWII history“ and called on the two countries to resolutely oppose any attempt to deny the outcomes of the war. Russia is ready “to continue active efforts jointly with its ally China in order to prevent wars and conflicts in the world and ensure global stability and security.”

In his speech at the Valdai Discussion Club (22 October), Putin has very much developed the new role of Russia (and China). This is an absolutely crucial speech, including the questions and answers. In particular, Putin explains that a strong state which has the confidence of the citizens is „a basic condition for Russia’s development“. Putin underlines that „genuine democracy and civil society cannot be ‚imported‘ … only the citizens of a particular country can determine their public interest“.

* * * * *

Now let us come to the other side, the West. The upcoming US elections will determine the official Western leadership, that is, the Trump team or the Biden team. It is of course an important decision, even if the differences between the two teams are may-be more in style than in the content. Nevertheless, the outcome will have a big influence on the whole West. So, let us try to consider the consequences.

For me, the first question is, which side is less destructive? This question is still quite difficult to answer. The Trump team has more and more developed a destructive foreign politics, in particular against Iran and China. The Biden team on the other hand has concentrated the campaign essentially on the destruction of the Trump team, without mentioning constructive projects. So both sides are basically and intrinsically destructive.

The second question is, citing Putin’s formula, which team may gain more confidence of the citizens? The (numerical) outcome of the elections is by far not the unique measure for this. The particulate and egoistic interests of some powerful and very rich groups have an enormous influence – leaving aside corruption and manipulation of the elections.

All what I hear from the USA hints to my feeling that the Biden team is utmost arrogant and completely detached from the people and, as a consequence, is more subdued to the particulate and egoistic interests of these powerful and very rich groups. This does not mean that the Trump team is close to the citizens, but at least it is tendentiously closer than the other team; therefore, the Trump team is somewhat more autonomous.

Concerning the West, a victory of the Trump team would probably not change much. This would be a small advantage for the world since the West will – partly – remain blocked by internal divisions, and new aggressive wars will be quite difficult. On the other hand, a victory of Biden’s team bears the risk that both leading political parties in the USA will unit in order to plan new wars.

How big is this danger? It should not be underestimated. The power of the Trump team is basically one which comes from direct popular support. If this popular support becomes negligible, then the particulate egoistic groups will try to eliminate the Trump team and all its supporters. Moreover, in the whole West, the „moral“ and „ideological“ imperialism will obtain a big push.

However, these „hopes“ created in the West by the perspective of a Biden’s victory are a pure illusion. There are based on nothing, just on nostalgia. It is plain nonsense to think that the problems of the West were created by the Trump team and its supporters. A Biden’s victory cannot solve the inner problems of the West, and the former strength of the West cannot be regained.

The „moral“ imperialism intends to punish all countries which do not have an, often imported, Western liberal system. But this is impossible. The world has become too diversified. So, the push towards this pathological feeling of superiority of the West will probably be a straw fire. Nevertheless, it can be quite dangerous.

What is my prognosis? We should expect a victory of Biden’s team. As I explained, this is not what I would wish. However, elections have some own laws. Often, the central subject of the election battle is of crucial importance. When the central subject was the social unrest in the US cities, then the Trump team had a clear advantage. But now, the central subject seems to be have shifted to the pandemic. This favors Biden’s team. Of course, I do not think that Biden would have better managed the pandemic. But it was Trump who was the president during the pandemic. Therefore, in some sense, he will be taken responsible for the pandemic, justified or not.

Of course, it is possible that the Trump team wins. It is also possible that after the elections, there will be chaos. But still, I would not count on such a result. More probable is some kind of which hunt against the supporters of the Trump team. This could also affect everybody who is not a declared Trump hater. But this foreseeable extremism, provoked by a Biden’s victory, will again alienate the USA inside the West.

* * * * *

National elections are not isolated events. They take place in a global context. This global context has to be considered for a correct assessment of the results. These elections are the first US elections in the new epoch, characterized by the new role of China and Russia. The elections will be affected by this fundamental change, in some way or another. It can be supposed that they will give important hints how the world will proceed in the new epoch.

Remarks by Vladimir Putin and China’s Xi Jinping

By Stephen Lendman

Source

Putin addressed the 17th annual Valdai Club session in Moscow at a time of likely protracted economic Depression and endless US-initiated global conflicts.

Commenting on whether the world order abides by rules or ignores them, he said the following:

“Regrettably, the game without rules is becoming increasingly horrifying…” 

US hegemonic aims create global disorder, not the other way around.

Putin mocked the notion of “import(ing) democracy,” calling it “a shell or a front (without) a semblance of sovereignty,” adding:

“People in the countries where such schemes have been implemented were never asked for their opinion, and their respective leaders are mere vassals.” 

“(T)he overlord decides everything for the vassal.”

“(O)nly the citizens of a particular country can determine their public interest(s).”

Nothing less than remaining free from external control is acceptable. Without it, sovereignty and fundamental freedoms are lost to a higher power.

“A strong, free and independent civil society is nationally oriented and sovereign by definition,” said Putin, adding: 

“It grows from the depth of people’s lives and can take different forms and directions.”

It’s free from interests of exploitive foreign powers.

“The duty of the state is to support public initiatives and open up new opportunities for” it people, said Putin.

“This is the guarantee of Russia’s sovereign, progressive development, of genuine continuity in its forward movement, and of our ability to respond to global challenges.”

“Some countries (seek) to divide the (global) cake…to grab a bigger piece” for themselves.

There’s no ambiguity about where Putin’s fingers pointed.

Russia is a significant country on the world stage, its status growing in importance, not ebbing.

Putin: “(T)hose who are still waiting for Russia’s strength to gradually wane, the only thing we are worried about is catching a cold at your funeral.”

As Russia, China, and other nations rise, the US “can hardly claim exceptionality any longer.”

The more unacceptably it behaves toward nations free from its imperial control, the more it furthers its own decline.

Separately on the 70th anniversary of China’s involvement in Washington’s preemptive war on North Korea — the first of many more US post-WW II acts of aggression against nonbelligerent states — Xi Jinping warned US hardliners about Beijing’s determination to challenge their unacceptable actions.

China “resist(ed) US aggression” against North Korea from 1950 to an uneasy 1953 armistice — after which Washington’s war on the country by other means began and continues to this day.

“Seventy years ago, the imperialist invaders fired upon the doorstep of a new China,” said Xi, adding: 

“The Chinese people understood that you must use the language that invaders can understand – to fight war with war and to stop an invasion with force, earning peace and respect through victory.”

“The Chinese people will not create trouble but nor are we afraid of (it), and no matter the difficulties or challenges we face, our legs will not shake and our backs will not bend.”

If US aggression rears its ugly head again in East Asia, China is prepared to defend its security and sovereign rights.

“(U)nilateralism, protectionism, and ideology of extreme self-interest are totally unworkable, and any blackmailing, blockades and extreme pressure are totally unworkable,” Xi stressed. 

“Any actions that focus only on oneself and any efforts to engage in hegemony and bullying will simply not work – not only will it not work, but it will be a dead end.”

China promotes world peace, stability and cooperative relations with other countries.

Washington’s agenda is polar opposite, seeking dominance over other nations — wars by hot and other means its favored strategies. 

Over time, its drive for hegemony is self-defeating.

If the US provokes war with China to dominate the Asia/Pacific unchallenged, Xi’s message is that Beijing will resist with the full force of its considerable might.

The same goes for Russia. Along with China, Kremlin leadership wants peace, but will capably defend itself against US aggression if occurs.

Neither country will bend to the will of another at the expense of their sovereign rights.

Xi laid down a red line, saying “people of China are now united, and are not to be trifled with.”

Beijing long ago confronted US aggression when the military strength of both countries greatly favored Washington.

While still superior to China militarily, the disparity between both countries greatly narrowed.

Beijing’s nuclear and other super-weapons would pose a formidable challenge to US preemptive war on the country.

According to political scientist Xie Maosong, Xi’s message to Washington was “we will fight and we will win” if the US war party pushes things too far.

Worlds apart differences between both countries are irreconcilable because of US hegemonic rage.

It’s waging war on China by other means to undermine its development on the world stage.

Hostile US actions risk direct confrontation. Unthinkable hot war is possible — because of escalating provocations by Washington that threaten China’s national security.

The US is a warrior state, a violent state, a destabilizing state, an outlaw lawless state, a belligerent state at war on humanity in pursuit of its imperial aims.

Instead of stepping back from the brink in the Asia/Pacific, both wings of its war party continue to heighten tensions — risking possible war with China or Russia. 

If attacked by a foreign aggressor, they’re able to hit back hard and effectively anywhere worldwide.

Neither will sacrifice its sovereign rights to a foreign power — what no nation should do.

The Covid-19 Numbers Game: The “Second Wave” is Based on Fake Statistics

By Prof. Michel Chossudovsky

Source

Image CTV report, September 

“Red zones”, travel bans, quarantines, “red lists”. A “Second Wave” has been announced. 

The fear campaign has gone into overdrive. Millions of people are lining up for Covid-19 testing.

Drastic state measures are contemplated, including restrictions on social gatherings, marriages, funerals, the closing down of restaurants and bars, the outright paralysis of civil society. 

Coming to the rescue of our citizens. What is the justification? 

This article focusses on the “Numbers Game”.  How statistics and “estimates” are used by politicians to justify the closure of the national economy and the derogation of fundamental civil rights.  

From the onset of the Covid crisis in January 2020, far-reaching decisions taken by the WHO and national governments have been justified by citing “estimates” of the Covid-19 disease as well “statistics” pointing to a  Worldwide spread of a new deadly coronavirus originating in Wuhan, China. 

Scientific analysis confirms that these estimates of “confirmed cases” tabulated by the WHO and the CDC are flawed. The tests do not detect or identify the virus. The figures are often manipulated to justify political decisions. Moreover, official studies confirming the identify of the SARS-CoV-2 virus have not been released. 

Both the concepts as well as the test results do not point to the existence of a Worldwide Covid-19 pandemic. Nor do they justify social distancing, the face mask and the closing down of the global economy.

Corruption prevails at the highest levels of government as well within the upper echelons of the United Nations system. The entire state apparatus as well as inter-governmental organizations are controlled by powerful financial interests. 

Millions of people are now being tested which contributes to increasing the number of so-called “confirmed” Covid positive cases Worldwide. These statistics are then carefully tabulated.  The governments need those numbers to justify their totalitarian measures.

What’s the Big Lie? What’s the Smoking Gun?

SARS-CoV-2 is NOT A “KILLER VIRUS”. The fear campaign has no scientific basis. (See analysis below)

The standard RT-PCR test used to “detect” the insidious Virus, “cannnot identify the Virus”. 

The governments which claim “to be protecting us” are using meaningless and manipulated statistics to justify the imposition of Covid-19 “Code Red”. 

The Virus

In early January 2020, a so-called novel coronavirus  entitled SARS-CoV-2 , which causes “coronavirus disease 2019, or COVID-19” was identified. It was given a similar name to an existing coronavirus, namely SARS-CoV, i.e. the beta coronavirus that causes the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS)

According to renowned immunologist Dr. Beda Stadler of Bern University,

“this so-called novel virus is very strongly related to SARS-1 as well to as other beta-coronaviruses which make us suffer every year in the form of colds.”

Stadler also begs the question: Is this a new virus or the mutation of an existing virus, “similar to the corona beta cold viruses”.

According to a recent study by Tsan-Yuk Lam, Na Jia, et al (Joint Institute of Virology, Shantou and Hong Kong universities):

…the [SARS-2] virus [is] most closely related (89.1% nucleotide similarity) to a group of SARS-like coronaviruses (genus Betacoronavirus, subgenus Sarbecovirus) (Nature, April 2020).

Moreover, the studies of Dr. Anthony Fauci et al in the New England Journal of Medicine as well as the WHO acknowledge that Covid-19 has similar features to seasonal influenza (Viruses A and B). (For further details, see Michel Chossudovsky, September 2020)

What these scientific statements convey is that SARS-2 (which causes Covid-19) is not a killer virus. In fact quite the opposite.

But neither the governments nor the media have reassured public opinion.

The fear campaign not only prevails, it is gaining momentum.

At this juncture of the Covid-19 crisis, governments are envisaging the launching of extreme measures in response to a so-called “Second Wave”. In turn, several media are now spreading stories that this Second Wave is comparable to the 1918 Spanish Flu:

At this point in the coronavirus pandemic, with more than 32 million infected and more than 980,000 dead worldwide, describing this time as “unprecedented” may sound like nails on a chalkboard. This pandemic, however, actually isn’t without precedent: The last time we dealt with a pandemic so mysterious, uncontained and far-reaching was in 1918, when influenza devastated populations around the globe. (CNN, September 25, 2020)

Flashback to March 11, 2020: The Launching of the WHO Pandemic 

On March 11, the WHO officially declared a Worldwide pandemic at a time when there were 18,000 confirmed cases and 4291 deaths out of a total World population outside China of the order of 6.4 billion people.  What do these “statistics” tell you? Most of these confirmed “positive cases” were estimated using the RT-PCR test which does not detect or identify the virus. (See our analysis below)

Immediately following the March 11 WHO announcement the fear campaign went into high gear. Confinement instructions were transmitted to 193 member states of the United Nations. The outright closing down of national economies was upheld as a means to resolving a public health crisis.

Politicians are the instruments of powerful financial interests. Was this far-reaching decision justified as a means to combating the Virus? Did the “numbers” (of confirmed cases) justify a Worldwide pandemic?

Unprecedented in history, applied almost simultaneously in a large number countries, entire sectors of the World economy were destabilized. Small and medium sized enterprises were driven into bankruptcy. Unemployment and poverty are rampant.

In some countries famines have erupted. The social impacts of these measures are devastating.

The devastating health impacts (mortality, morbidity) of these measures including the destabilization of the system of national health care (in numerous countries) far surpass those attributed to Covid-19.

The Rush to Get Tested

In a large number of countries, simultaneously, people are encouraged to get tested which in turn contributes to increasing exponentially the number of so-called confirmed  Covid-19 “positive cases”. Facilities are set up all over the country.

Screenshot, Daily Express

Panic prevails. national authorities establish testing facilities, do it yourself testing kits, etc.

People stand in line to get tested. The estimates are often manipulated.

In England “People stand in drive-thru lines as testing centres hit capacity”

CBC News Screenshot

Screeshot Reuters. Test at German airports

With increasing numbers, as of early June, the health authorities in several countries have pointed to an imminent “Second Wave”.

What is the intent of the Second Wave?

To postpone “normalization”? To prevent the reopening of national economies? To trigger more unemployment?

Currently, national economies have partially reopened.  This Second Wave constitutes the “second phase” of a bankruptcy program, targeting the services economy, air transport, the tourism industry, retail trade, etc.

Social distancing prevails. Schools, colleges and universities are closed down, social gatherings and family reunions are prohibited.

The face mask is reimposed despite its negative health impacts. We are told that it is all for a good cause. Combat the transmission of the virus.

These far-reaching decisions which derogate fundamental civil rights, are based on the “estimates” of Covid-19 positive cases, not to mention the manipulation of the test results.

Video; The Covid-19 Numbers Game with Michel Chossudovsky
https://www.youtube.com/embed/43VdZOhe-5s

The Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (RT-PCR)  

The standard test used to detect / identify SARS-2 around the World is The Reverse Transcription-Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (RT-PCR) which is used to estimate and tabulate the number of confirmed positive Covid-19 cases. (This is not the only test used. Observations below pertain solely to the standard PCR).

According to Nobel Laureate Dr. Kary Mullis, who invented the PCR test:

“PCR detects a very small segment of the nucleic acid which is part of a virus itself. The specific fragment detected is determined by the somewhat arbitrary choice of DNA primers used which become the ends of the amplified fragment.”

The PCR test was never intended to identify the virus.

PCR detection of viruses is helpful so long as its accuracy can be understood: it offers the capacity to detect RNA in minute quantities, but whether that RNA represents infectious virus may not be clear” (see also Lancet report)

The standard PCR Test applied in relation to Covid-19 does not detect or identify the virus. What it detects are fragments of several viruses. According to renowned Swiss immunologist Dr B. Stadler

So if we do a PCR corona test on an immune person, it is not a virus that is detected, but a small shattered part of the viral genome. The test comes back positive for as long as there are tiny shattered parts of the virus left. Even if the infectious viri are long dead, a corona test can come back positive, because the PCR method multiplies even a tiny fraction of the viral genetic material enough [to be detected].

According to Dr. Pascal Sacré, “these tests detect viral particles, genetic sequences, not the whole virus”

What this means is that the PCR test cannot detect or identify SARS-CoV-2. What it detects are fragments, which suggests that a standard “PCR positive” cannot be equated to a so-called Covid-19 Positive.

The PCR test will pick up fragments of several viruses including corona viruses as well as influenza (flu viruses A and B)

While SARS-2 which causes Covid-19 is considered to be similar to SARS-CoV-1, it has similar symptoms to seasonal influenza (Viruses A and B). Moreover, some of its milder symptoms are similar to those of the common cold corona viruses. According to the CDC: “Sometimes, respiratory secretions are tested to figure out which specific germ is causing your symptoms. If you are found to be infected with a common coronavirus (229E, NL63, OC43, and HKU1), that does not mean you are infected with the 2019 novel coronavirus.”

According to the CDC  there are “seven [human] coronaviruses that can infect people” the first four of which (alpha, beta) are associated with the common cold.

229E (alpha coronavirus)

NL63 (alpha coronavirus)

OC43 (beta coronavirus)

HKU1 (beta coronavirus)

MERS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, or MERS)

SARS-CoV (the beta coronavirus that causes severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS)

In the above context, what this means is that a PCR test will pick up fragments of corona as well as influenza viruses. It will not be able to identify individual viruses including SARS-2.

“Fragments of viruses positive” does not mean “SARS-2 positive” (or Covid-19 Positive). The PCR test may pick up fragments of influenza viruses (A, B) as well as common cold beta coronaviruses (e.g. OC43, HKU1).In other words, the published estimates of COVID-19 positive (resulting from the standard PCR test) in support of the Second Wave hypothesis are often misleading and cannot be used to measure the spread of SARS-2..There are currently, at the time of writing (according to WHO statistics) almost 33 million so-called “confirmed cases” and 1 million deaths. Are these alleged “Covid-19 positive” estimates which are in large part based on the RT-PCR test reliable? Global Research has published numerous reports on theses issues..In addition to the issue of false positive (which has been amply documented), a person with a bad cold or a flu, could be categorized as SARS-2 (Covid-19) positive, allegedly a dangerous virus.

What governments have done is to give the PCR positive test a single label namely Covid-19, when in fact the PCR positive test could be the result of other viruses including those pertaining to influenza or coronavirus common cold, which (according to the CDC) have similar symptoms to Covid-19.

Once the Covid-19 Positive label is established and accepted, it is then subject to numerous forms of manipulation, not to mention the falsification of death certificates.

These fake figures are then used to sustain the fear campaign and justify political decisions by corrupt national governments.

The public is led to believe that there is a “Second Wave” and the government is there to save lives through social distancing, the face mask, the closing down of economic activity, the paralysis of the national health system and the closing down of schools and universities.

There is a circular causal relationship. The more people get tested as a result of the fear campaign, the more PCR positive cases. …

It’s a Big Lie.

When the Lie becomes the Truth, there is no moving backwards.

Russia vs. US Imperial Aims in Syria

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, October 01, 2020

Former NATO commander General Wesley Clark earlier explained that the US underwent a post-9/11 transformation. A “policy coup” occurred. 

With no public debate or acknowledgement, hardliners in Washington usurped power.

Days after 9/11, Clark learned from Pentagon commanders that plans were made to “destroy the governments in seven countries.”

Besides Afghanistan, Yemen, and partnering with Israeli wars on Palestinians, they include Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Iran.

The plan follows the 1990s Paul Wolfowitz doctrine, stating the following:

“Our first objective is to prevent the re-emergence of a new rival, either on the territory of the former Soviet Union or elsewhere…”

“This is a dominant consideration underlying the new regional defense strategy and requires that we endeavor to prevent any hostile power from dominating a region whose resources would, under consolidated control, be sufficient to generate global power.”

Adopted by both right wings of the US war party, his doctrine is all about waging endless wars by hot and other means for unchallenged control over all other nations, their resources and populations — what the scourge of imperialism is all about.

The Obama regime’s preemptive war on nonbelligerent Syria over nine years ago was and remains part of Washington’s aim for controlling the Middle East and its vast hydrocarbon resources — in cahoots with junior partner Israel and key NATO countries.

Russia’s legitimate involvement from September 30, 2015 to the present day — at the request of Syria’s government — turned the tide of battle from defeat of its forces to liberation of most of the country.

Illegal occupation of northern Syria by US and Turkish forces, along with Pentagon troops in the country’s south, prevent conflict resolution.

On Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu explained the game-changing effectiveness  of Moscow’s Syrian operations, saying the following:

“A total of 865 gang leaders and more than 133,000 militants, including 4,500 militants from the Russian Federation and the CIS countries (US supported jihadists) have been eliminated,” adding:

“The operation in Syria has demonstrated the fundamentally increased capabilities of the Russian Armed Forces, the ability to successfully defend national interests in any part of the world, as well as the readiness to provide military assistance to its allies and partners.”

“A total of 98% of military police units’ personnel, 90% of Russian pilots, and 60% of sailors gained real combat experience” in Syria.

The most active phase of Russia’s military operations in the country was from September 30, 2015 – December 11, 2017.

Over 44,000 sorties were conducted to the present day. Long-range cruise missiles were used against high-priority targets.

Surface and sub-service vessels carried out around 100 strategic strikes against ISIS and other US supported jihadists — dozens more by long-range bombers to destroy their infrastructure.

Shoigu believes that the threat posed by ISIS in Syria is neutralized.

By invitation from Damascus, Russia established two military bases in Syria.

Its Khmeimim airbase facilities are suitable for all its combat and support aircraft.

Its Tartus naval base can accommodate numerous ships. Its state-of-the-art facilities include vessel servicing, maintenance and repair capabilities.

Russian operations prevented the Syrian Arab Republic from becoming a US vassal state.

Its involvement also helps maintain a regional balance of power.

Despite important strategic accomplishments in the past five years, war in the country continues because of foreign occupation.

A potentially important development occurred on Tuesday.

According to Southfront, “Russian troops broke through a US blockade and entered eastern Syria, erecting a checkpoint along a road in Hasaka,” adding:

“The Russian military convoy, despite the opposition of the Americans, managed to break through into the eastern part of northern Syria.”

Russia’s new military checkpoint blocks movement of US troops, weapons and equipment from Iraq into Syria.

It also blocks transport of stolen Syrian oil by the US into Turkey.

Separately on Thursday, the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA) reported the following:

“In cooperation and coordination with Turkish regime-backed terrorists, the Turkish Grain Board (TMO) started to loot the wheat and barley crops which are stolen from (Syrian) farmers” — citing local sources, adding:

The Erdogan regime “opened…storehouses for this purpose after forcing farmers…to hand over their crops to centers run by terrorists and Turkish brokers in Ras al-Ayn area in Hasaka northern countryside…”

They’re smuggling them cross-border into Turkey.

Its occupation forces and terrorist proxies threatened to burn Syrian crops if farmers don’t comply with Ankara’s demands.

Shoigu’s claim about the elimination of ISIS in Syria was somewhat exaggerated.

According to AMN News on Wednesday, Syrian and Russian warplanes struck Daesh positions in Raqqa and Homs provinces to “weaken…the terrorist group’s resolve and…eliminate their remaining sleeper cells.”

A Final Comment

US sanctions war on Syria is all about wanting its people starved into submission — notably by last June’s so-called Caesar Syria Civilian Protection legislation (Caesar Act) that has nothing to do with protecting its people.

The measure threatens sanctions on nations, entities and individuals that maintain legitimate economic, financial, military, and intelligence relations with Damascus — their legal right under international law.

On Wednesday, the Trump regime imposed new sanctions on Syria.

According to a Treasury Department statement, 13 Syrian entities and individuals were blacklisted.

Targeted individuals include Syrian Central Bank governor Hazem Younes Karfoul and General Intelligence Directorate head Husam Muhammad Louka.

Targeted entities include  telecommunications, tourism, and technology firms.

US war by hot and other means on the Syrian Arab Republic aims to eliminate its sovereign independence.

Russia’s involvement in the country is a powerful counterforce against US imperial objectives.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.US Syria Pullout? A Saigon Moment?The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

Leaked Docs Expose Massive Syria Propaganda Operation Waged by Western Govt Contractors and Media

Source

Leaked Docs Expose Massive Syria Propaganda Operation Waged by Western Govt  Contractors and Media — Strategic Culture

September 26, 2020

Western government-funded intelligence cutouts trained Syrian opposition leaders, planted stories in media outlets from BBC to Al Jazeera, and ran a cadre of journalists. A trove of leaked documents exposes the propaganda network.

Ben NORTON

Leaked documents show how UK government contractors developed an advanced infrastructure of propaganda to stimulate support in the West for Syria’s political and armed opposition.

Virtually every aspect of the Syrian opposition was cultivated and marketed by Western government-backed public relations firms, from their political narratives to their branding, from what they said to where they said it.

The leaked files reveal how Western intelligence cutouts played the media like a fiddle, carefully crafting English- and Arabic-language media coverage of the war on Syria to churn out a constant stream of pro-opposition coverage.

US and European contractors trained and advised Syrian opposition leaders at all levels, from young media activists to the heads of the parallel government-in-exile. These firms also organized interviews for Syrian opposition leaders on mainstream outlets such as BBC and the UK’s Channel 4.

More than half of the stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained in a joint US-UK government program called Basma, which produced hundreds of Syrian opposition media activists.

Western government PR firms not only influenced the way the media covered Syria, but as the leaked documents reveal, they produced their own propagandistic pseudo-news for broadcast on major TV networks in the Middle East, including BBC Arabic, Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Orient TV.

These UK-funded firms functioned as full-time PR flacks for the extremist-dominated Syrian armed opposition. One contractor, called InCoStrat, said it was in constant contact with a network of more than 1,600 international journalists and “influencers,” and used them to push pro-opposition talking points.

Another Western government contractor, ARK, crafted a strategy to “re-brand” Syria’s Salafi-jihadist armed opposition by “softening its image.” ARK boasted that it provided opposition propaganda that “aired almost every day on” major Arabic-language TV networks.

Virtually every major Western corporate media outlet was influenced by the UK government-funded disinformation campaign exposed in the trove of leaked documents, from the New York Times to the Washington Post, CNN to The Guardian, the BBC to Buzzfeed.

The files confirm reporting by journalists including The Grayzone’s Max Blumenthal on the role of ARK, the US-UK government contractor, in popularizing the White Helmets in Western media. ARK ran the social media accounts of the White Helmets, and helped turn the Western-funded group into a key propaganda weapon of the Syrian opposition.

The leaked documents consist mainly of material produced under the auspices of the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. All of the firms named in the files were contracted by the British government, but many also were running “multi-donor projects” that received funding from the governments of the United States and other Western European countries.

In addition to demonstrating the role these Western intelligence cutouts played in shaping media coverage, the documents shine light on the British government program to train and arm rebel groups in Syria.

Other materials show how London and Western governments worked together to build a new police force in opposition-controlled areas.

Many of these Western-backed opposition groups in Syria were extremist Salafi-jihadists. Some of the UK government contractors whose activities are exposed in these leaked documents were in effect supporting Syrian al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra and its fanatical offshoots.

The documents were obtained by a group calling itself Anonymous, and were published under a series of files entitled, “Op. HMG [Her Majesty’s Government] Trojan Horse: From Integrity Initiative To Covert Ops Around The Globe. Part 1: Taming Syria.” The unidentified leakers said they aim to “expose criminal activity of the UK’s FCO and secret services,” stating, “We declare war on the British neocolonialism!”

The Grayzone was not able to independently verify the authenticity of the documents. However, the contents tracked closely with reporting on Western destabilization and propaganda operations in Syria by this outlet and many others.

UK Foreign Office and military wage media war on Syria

A leaked UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office report from 2014 reveals a joint operation with the Ministry of Defence and the Department for International Development to support “strategic communications, research, monitoring and evaluation and operational support to Syrian opposition entities.”

The UK FOC stated clearly that this campaign consisted of “creating network linkages between political movements and media outlets,” by the “building of local independent media platforms.”

The British government planned “Mentoring, training and coaching for enhanced delivery of media services, including digital and social media.”

Its goal was “to provide PR and media handling trainers, as well as technical staff, such as cameramen, webmasters and interpreters,” along with the “production of speeches, press releases and other media communications.”

An additional 2017 government document explains clearly how Britain funded the “selection, training, support and communications mentoring of Syrian activists who share the UK’s vision for a future Syria… and who will abide by a set of values that are consistent with UK policy.”

This initiative entailed British government funding “to support Syrian grassroots media activism within both the civilian and armed opposition spheres,” and was targeted at Syrians living in both “extremist and moderate” opposition-held territory.

In other words, the UK Foreign Office and military crafted plans to wage a comprehensive media war on Syria. To establish an infrastructure capable of managing the propaganda blitz, Britain paid a series of government contractors, including ARK, The Global Strategy Network (TGSN), Innovative Communication & Strategies (InCoStrat), and Albany.

The work of these firms overlapped, and some collaborated in their projects to cultivate the Syrian opposition.

Western government contractor ARK plays the media like the fiddle

One of the main British government contractors behind the Syria regime-change scheme was called ARK (Analysis Research Knowledge).

ARK FZC is based in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. It brands itself as a humanitarian NGO, claiming it “was created in order to assist the most vulnerable,” by establishing a “social enterprise,  empowering local communities through the provision of agile and sustainable interventions to create greater stability, opportunity and hope for the future.”

In reality ARK is an intelligence cutout that functions as an arm of Western interventionism.

In a leaked document it filed with the British government, ARK said its “focus since 2012 has been delivering highly effective, politically-and conflict-sensitive Syria programming for the governments of the United Kingdom, United States, Denmark, Canada, Japan and the European Union.”

ARK boasted of overseeing $66 million worth of contracts to support pro-opposition efforts in Syria.

On its website, ARK lists all of these governments as clients, as well as the United Nations.

ARK contractor Syria UK US Australia Canada

In its Syria operations, ARK worked together with another UK contractor called The Global Strategy Network (TGSN), which is directed by Richard Barrett, a former director of global counter-terrorism at MI6.

ARK apparently had operatives on the ground inside Syria at the beginning of the regime-change attempt in 2011, reporting to the UK FCO that “ARK staff are in regular contact with activists and civil society actors whom they initially met during the outbreak of protests in spring 2011.”

The UK contractor boasted an “extensive network of civil society and community actors that ARK has helped through a dedicated capacity building centre ARK established in Gaziantep,” a city in southern Turkey that has been a base of intelligence operations against the Syrian government.

ARK played a central role in developing the foundations of the Syrian political opposition’s narrative. In one leaked document, the firm took credit for the “development of a core Syrian opposition narrative,” which was apparently crafted during a series of workshops with opposition leaders sponsored by the US and UK governments.

ARK trained all levels of the Syrian opposition in communications, from “citizen journalism workshops with Syrian media activists, to working with senior members of the National Coalition to develop a core communications narrative.”

The firm even oversaw the PR strategy for the Supreme Military Council (SMC), the leadership of the official armed wing of Syria’s opposition, the Free Syrian Army (FSA). ARK created a complex PR campaign to “provide a ‘re-branding’ of the SMC in order to distinguish itself from extremist armed opposition groups and to establish the image of a functioning, inclusive, disciplined and professional military body.”

ARK admitted that it sought to whitewash Syria’s armed opposition, which had been largely dominated by Salafi-jihadists, by “Softening the FSA Image.”

ARK contractor Syria soften FSA image

ARK took the lead in developing a massive network of opposition media activists in Syria, and openly took credit for inspiring protests inside the country.

In its training centers in Syria and southern Turkey, the Western government contractor reported, “More than 150 activists have been trained and equipped by ARK on topics from the basics of camera handling, lighting, and sound to producing reports, journalistic safety, online security, and ethical reporting.”

The firm flooded Syria with opposition propaganda. In just six months, ARK reported that 668,600 of its print products were distributed inside Syria, including “posters, flyers, informative booklets, activity books and other campaign-related materials.”

In one document spelling out the UK contractors’ communications operations in Syria, ARK and the British intelligence cutout TGSN boasted of overseeing the following media assets inside the country: 97 video stringers, 23 writers, 49 distributors, 23 photographers, 19 in-country trainers, eight training centers, three media offices, and 32 research officers.

ARK emphasized that it had “well-established contacts” with some of the top media outlets in the world, naming Reuters, the New York Times, CNN, the BBC, The Guardian, the Financial Times, The Times, Al Jazeera, Sky News Arabic, Orient TV, and Al Arabiya.

The UK contractor added, “ARK has provided regular branded and unbranded content to key pan-Arab and Syria-focused satellite TV channels such as Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, BBC Arabic, Orient TV, Aleppo Today, Souria al-Ghadd, and Souria al-Sha’ab since 2012.”

“ARK products promoting HMG (Her Majesty’s Government) priorities by fostering attitudinal and behavioural change are broadcast almost every day on pan-Arab channels,” the firm bragged. “In 2014, 20 branded and un-branded Syria reports were produced on average by ARK each month and broadcast on major pan-Arab television channels such as Al Arabiya, Al Jazeera, and Orient TV.”

“ARK has almost daily conversations with channels and weekly meetings to engage and understand editorial preferences,” the Western intelligence cutout said.

The firm also took credit for placing 10 articles per month in pan-Arab newspapers such as Al Hayat and Asharq Al-Awsat.

US-UK program Basma cultivates Syrian media activists

The Syrian opposition media war was organized within the framework of a project called Basma. ARK worked with other Western government contractors through Basma in order to train Syrian opposition activists.

With funding from both the US and UK governments, Basma developed into an enormously influential platform. Its Arabic Facebook page had over 500,000 followers, and on YouTube it built up a large following as well.

Mainstream corporate media outlets misleadingly portrayed Basma as a “Syrian citizen journalism platform,” or a “civil society group working for a ‘liberatory, progressive transition to a new Syria.’” In reality it was a Western government astroturfing operation to cultivate opposition propagandists.

Nine of the 16 stringers used by Al Jazeera in Syria were trained through the US/UK government’s Basma initiative, ARK boasted in a leaked document.

In an earlier report for the UK FCO, filed just three years into its work, ARK claimed to have “trained over 1,400 beneficiaries representing over 210 beneficiary organisations in more than 130 workshops, and disbursed more than 53,000 individual pieces of equipment,” in a vast network that reached “into all of Syria’s 14 governorates,” which included both opposition- and government-held areas.

ARK UK contractor Syria media map

The Western contractor published a map highlighting its network of stringers and media activists and their relationships with the White Helmets as well as newly created police forces across opposition-controlled Syria.

ARK UK contractor Syria opposition media map

In its trainings, ARK developed opposition spokespeople, taught them how to speak with the press, and then helped arrange interviews with mainstream Arabic- and English-language media outlets.

ARK described its strategy “to identify credible, moderate civilian governance spokespeople who will be promoted as go-to interlocutors for regional and international media. They will echo key messages linked to the coordinated local campaigns across all media, with consortium platforms able to cover this messaging as well and encourage other outlets to pick it up.”

In addition to working with the international press and cultivating opposition leaders, ARK helped develop a massive opposition media super-structure.

ARK said it was a “key implementer of a multi-donor effort to develop a network of FM radio stations and community magazines inside Syria since 2012.” The contractor worked with 14 FM stations and 11 magazines inside Syria, including both Arabic- and Kurdish-language radio.

To propagate opposition broadcasts across Syria, ARK designed what it called “Radio in a Box” (RIAB) kits in 2012. The firm took credit for providing equipment to 48 transmission sites.

ARK also circulated up to 30,000 magazines per month. It reported that “ARK-supported magazines were the three most popular in Aleppo City; the most popular magazine in Homs City; and the most popular magazine in Qamishli.”

A Syrian opposition propaganda outlet directly run by ARK, called Moubader, developed a huge following on social media, including more than 200,000 likes on Facebook. ARK printed 15,000 copies per month of a “high-quality hard copy” Moubader magazine and distributed it “across opposition-held areas of Syria.”

The British contractor TGSN, which worked alongside ARK, developed its own outlet called the “Revolutionary Forces of Syria Media Office (RFS),” a leaked document shows. This confirms a 2016 report in The Grayzone by contributor Rania Khalek, who obtained emails showing how the UK government-backed RFS media office offered to pay one journalist a staggering $17,000 per month to produce propaganda for Syrian rebels.

Another leaked record shows that in just one year, in 2018 – which was apparently the final year of ARK’s Syria program – the firm billed the UK government for a staggering 2.3 million British pounds.

This enormous ARK propaganda operation was directed by Firas Budeiri, who had previously served as the Syria director for the UK-based international NGO Save the Children.

40 percent of ARK’s Syria project team were Syrian citizens, and another 25 percent were Turkish. The firm said its Syria team staff had “extensive experience managing programmes and conducting research funded by many different governmental clients in Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Yemen, Turkey, the Palestinian Territories, Iraq and other conflict-affected states.”

Western contractor ARK cultivates White Helmets “to keep Syria in the news”

The Western contractor ARK was a central force in launching the White Helmets operation.

The leaked documents show ARK ran the Twitter and Facebook pages of Syria Civil Defense, known more commonly as the White Helmets.

ARK took credit for developing “an internationally-focused communications campaign designed to raise global awareness of the (White Helmets) teams and their life saving work.”

ARK also facilitated communications between the White Helmets and The Syria Campaign, a PR firm run out of London and New York that helped popularize the White Helmets in the United States.

It was apparently “following subsequent discussions with ARK and the teams” that The Syria Campaign “selected civil defence to front its campaign to keep Syria in the news,” the firm wrote in a report for the UK Foreign Office.

“With ARK’s guidance, TSC (The Syria Campaign) also attended ARK’s civil defence training sessions to create media content for its #WhiteHelmets campaign which launched in August 2014 and has since gone viral,” the Western contractor added.

In 2014, ARK produced a long-form documentary on the White Helmets, titled “Digging for Life,” which was repeatedly broadcast on Orient TV.

While it was running the White Helmets’ social media accounts, ARK bragged that it was boosting followers and views on the Facebook page for Idlib City Council.

The Syrian city of Idlib was taken over by al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, which then went on to publicly execute women who were accused of adultery.

While effectively aiding these al-Qaeda-aligned extremist groups, ARK and the British intelligence cutout TGSN also signed a document with the FCO hilariously pledging to follow “UK guidance on gender sensitivity” and “ensure gender is considered in all capacity building and campaign development.”

Setting the stage for lawfare on Syria

Another leaked document shows the Western government-backed firm ARK revealing that, back in 2011, it worked with another government contractor called Tsamota to help develop the Syrian Commission for Justice and Accountability (SCJA). In 2014, SCJA changed its name to the Commission for International Justice and Accountability (CIJA).

The Grayzone exposed CIJA as a Western government-funded regime-change organization whose investigators collaborated with al-Qaeda and its extremist allies in order to wage lawfare on the Syrian government.

ARK noted that the project initially worked “with seed funding from the UK Conflict Pool to support investigative and forensic training for Syrian war crimes investigators” and has since “grown to become a major component of Syria’s transitional justice architecture.”

Since the US, European Union, and their Middle East allies lost the military phase of their war on Syria, CIJA has taken the lead in trying to prolong the regime-change campaign through lawfare.

InCoStrat creates media network, helps them interview al-Qaeda

In the leaked documents, another UK government contractor called Innovative Communications Strategies (InCoStrat) boasted of building a massive “network of over 1600 journalists and key influencers with an interest in Syria.”

InCoStrat stressed that it was “managing and delivering a multi donor project in support of UK Foreign Policy objectives” in Syria, “specifically providing strategic communication support to the moderate armed opposition.”

Other funders of InCoStrat’s work with the opposition in Syria, the firm disclosed, included the US government, the United Arab Emirates, and anti-Assad Syrian businessmen.

InCoStrat served as a liaison between its government clients and the Syrian National Coalition, the Western-backed parallel government that the opposition tried to create. InCoStrat advised senior leaders of this Syrian shadow regime, and even ran the National Coalition’s own media office from Istanbul, Turkey.

The Western contractor took credit for organizing a 2014 BBC interview with Ahmad Jarba, the then-president of the opposition National Coalition.

The firm added that “journalists have often reached out to us in search of the appropriate people for their programmes.” As an example, InCoStrat said it helped plant its own Syrian opposition activists in BBC Arabic reports. The firm then added, “Once making the initial connections we encouraged the Syrians to maintain the relationships with the journalists in the BBC instead of using ourselves as the conduit.”

Like ARK, InCoStrat worked closely with the press. The firm said it had “extensive experience in engaging Arab and international news media,” adding that it worked directly with “heads of regional news in major satellite TV networks, press bureaus and print media.”

“Key members of InCoStrat have previously worked as Middle East correspondents for some of the world’s largest news agencies including Reuters,” the Western contractor added.

Also like ARK, InCoStrat established a vast media infrastructure. The firm set up Syrian opposition media offices in Dera’a, Syria; Istanbul and Reyhanli, Turkey; and Amman, Jordan.

InCoStrat worked with 130 stringers across Syria, and said it had more than 120 reporters working inside the country, along with “an additional five official spokesmen who appear several times a week on international and regional TV.”

InCoStrat also established eight FM radio stations and six community magazines across Syria.

The firm reported that it penetrated the armed opposition by developing “strong relationships with 54 brigade commanders in Syria’s southern front,” that involved “daily, direct engagement with the commanders and their officers inside Syria,” as well as defected officers Free Syrian Army (FSA) units in government-held Damascus.

In the leaked documents, InCoStrat boasted that its reporters organized interviews with many armed opposition militias, including the al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra.

Don’t just plants media stories; “initiate an event” to create your own scandals

In its media war on Damascus, InCoStrat pursued a two-pronged campaign that consisted of the following: “a) Guerrilla Campaign. Use the media to create the event. b) Guerrilla Tactics. Initiate an event to create the media effect.”

The intelligence cutout therefore sought to use the media as a weapon to advance tangible political demands of the Syrian opposition.

In one case, InCoStrat took credit for a successful international campaign to force the Syrian government to lift its siege of the extremist-held opposition stronghold of Homs. The Grayzone contributor Rania Khalek reported on the crisis in Homs, which was besieged by Damascus after the far-right Sunni fundamentalists that controlled it began carrying out sectarian massacres against religious minorities and kidnapping Alawite civilians.

“We connected international journalists with Syrians living in besieged Homs,” InCoStrat explained. It organized an interview between Britain’s Channel 4 and a doctor in the city, which helped raise international attention, ultimately leading to an end to the siege.

In another instance, the UK contractor said it “produced postcards, posters and reports” comparing the secular government of Bashar al-Assad to the fundamentalist Salafi-jihadists in ISIS. Then it “provided a credible, Arabic-English speaking Syrian spokesperson to engage the media.”

The campaign was very successful, according to InCoStrat: Al-Jazeera America and The National published the firm’s propaganda posters. The British contractor also organized interviews on the topic with The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, The Guardian, The Times, Buzzfeed, Al-Jazeera, Suriya Al-Sham, and Orient.

InCoStrat Syrian opposition media Assad ISIS

After regime change comes Nation Building Inc.

InCoStrat has apparently been involved in numerous Western-backed regime-change operations.

In one leaked document, the firm said it helped to train civil society organizations in marketing, media, and communications in Afghanistan, Honduras, Iraq, Syria, and Libya. It even trained a team of anti-Saddam Hussein journalists inside Basra, Iraq after the joint US-UK invasion.

In addition to contracting for the United Kingdom, InCoStrat disclosed that it has worked for the governments of the United States, Singapore, Latvia, Sweden, Denmark, and Libya.

After NATO destroyed the Libyan state in a regime-change war in 2011, InCoStrat was brought in in 2012 to conduct similar communications work for the Libyan National Transitional Council, the Western-backed opposition that sought to take power.

Coordinating with extremist militias, cooking news to “reinforce the core narrative”

The leaked documents shed further light on a UK government contractor called Albany.

Albany boasted that it “secured the participation of an extensive local network of over 55 stringers, reporters and videographers” to influence media narratives and advance UK foreign policy interests.

The firm helped create an influential Syrian opposition media outfit called Enab Baladi. Founded in 2011 in the anti-Assad hub of Daraya, at the beginning of the war, Enab Baladi was aggressively marketed in the Western press as a grassroots Syrian media operation.

In reality, Enab Baladi was the product of a British contractor that took responsibility for its evolution “from an amateur-run entity into one of the most prominent Syrian media organizations.”

Albany also coordinated communications between opposition media outlets and extremist Islamist opposition groups by hiring an “engagement leader (who) has deep credibility with key groups including (north) Failaq ash-Sham, Jabha Shammiyeh, Jaysh Idleb al Hur, Ahrar ash-Sham, (center) Jaysh al Islam, Failaq al Rahman, and (south) Jaysh Tahrir.” Many of these militias were linked to al-Qaeda and are now recognized by the US Department of State and European governments as official terrorist groups.

Unlike other Western government contractors active in Syria, which often tried to feign a semblance of balance, Albany made it clear that its media reporting was nothing more than propaganda.

The firm admitted that it trained Syrian media activists in a unique “newsroom process” that called to “curate” news by “collecting and organising stories and content that support and reinforce the core narrative.”

In 2014, Albany boasted of running the Syrian National Coalition’s communications team at the Geneva Peace talks.

Albany also warned that revelations of Western government funding for these opposition media organizations that were being portrayed as grassroots initiatives would discredit them.

When internal emails were leaked showing that the massive opposition media platform Basma Syria was funded by the United States and Britain, Albany wrote, “the Basma brand has been compromised following leaks about funding project aims.”

The leaks on social media “have damaged the credibility and trustworthiness of the existing branded platform,” Albany wrote. “Credibility and trust are the key currencies of the activities envisaged and for this reason we consider it essential to refresh the approach if the content to be disseminated is to have effect.” The Basma website was taken down soon after.

These files provide clear insight into how the Syrian opposition was cultivated by Western governments with imperial designs on Damascus, and was kept afloat with staggering sums of cash that flowed from the pockets of British taxpayers – often to the benefit of fanatical militiamen allied with Al Qaeda.

While Dutch prosecutors prepare war crimes charges against the Syrian government for fighting off the onslaught, the leaked files are a reminder of the leading role that Western states and their war-profiteering companies played in the carefully organized destruction of the country.

thegrayzone.comThe views of individual contributors do not necessarily represent those of the Strategic Culture Foundation.

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