The Afghan Quagmire Gets Deeper, Denser and Bloodier – By Brian CLOUGHLEY (Strategic Culture Foundation)

The Afghan Quagmire Gets Deeper, Denser and Bloodier

In April 1971 John Kerry, who served gallantly in Vietnam and was later Secretary of State, stood in front of a US Senate Committee and asked “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam? How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”

Today, we could do with a John Kerry to ask the same question about the war in Afghanistan.

On August 5 it was reported that “a suicide bomber has killed three Czech NATO soldiers in an attack in eastern Afghanistan. The victims were targeted while on a routine foot patrol alongside Afghan forces, NATO officials said in a statement. A US soldier and two Afghan soldiers were wounded in the attack in Charikar, the capital of Parwan province.”

Just what is being achieved by Czech soldiers on fighting patrols 5,000 kilometres from home is not explained by any of the authorities responsible for their deployment — and thus for placing them in jeopardy of their lives — but the usual nauseating platitudes were promptly mouthed by some of them.

The Czech prime minister, Andrej Babis, declared that the dead soldiers were “heroes who fought against terrorism so far from home.” Well, he should know about operating far from home. Forbes lists him as being worth four billion dollars and owning “a Michelin-starred restaurant, La Paloma, in the French Riviera” which is no doubt some consolation to the relatives and friends of the men who were killed. Babis, of course, sent his “deepest condolences to their families,” as did the ever-ready General John Nicholson, the sixteenth commander in Washington’s seventeen years of war, who, never at a loss for futile banality, babbled that “Their sacrifice will endure in both our hearts and history and further strengthen our resolve.” What utter garbage.

The “sacrifice” of these Czech soldiers won’t be felt by any hearts other than those of their grieving families, and it is insulting to claim that it will. And their deaths won’t get even the tiniest footnote in history. As to “strengthening our resolve” — resolve to do what? — to carry on mouthing phoney inanities about the utter chaos in Afghanistan?

This tawdry exhibition of fake emotion sticks in the gullet — but it’s not as sickening as the observation in The Economist that the war’s “current cost — roughly $45 billion and around a dozen lives a year — is modest enough to invite little interest from Congress or the media. That suggests Mr Trump’s strategy is sustainable.”

The talented intellectuals of The Economist think that the deaths of a dozen American soldiers every year in the unwinnable Afghan War indicate that the policies of Trump and the Pentagon can be maintained indefinitely. What’s a dozen lives, after all?

Well, listen to me, you clever little intellectuals and you swaggering military strategists, because I’m going to tell you a few home truths.

The soldiers who have died — and those who are going to die —have relatives who love them. They have parents, brothers, sisters, wives, partners, children, all of whom suffer when the lives of their nearest and dearest are sacrificed by a bunch of no-hopers as part of a “modest” cost in a supposedly “sustainable strategy” in a country that is ungovernable.

The Costs of War Project at Brown University estimates that more than 100,000 people have died in the war in Afghanistan. They weren’t all soldiers, of course, because in conflicts like this, the civilian population always suffers from action by both militants and the armed forces involved. In July, the UN reported that 1,692 Afghan civilians were killed, and 3,430 injured in the first six months of 2018, which is the record for that period in the seventeen years of this catastrophe.

But let’s get back to the soldiers who are dying.

On August 9 it was finally acknowledged by the Kabul government that over twenty Afghan soldiers had been killed in an insurgent attack on August 3 in Uruzgan province. There were no US-NATO troops involved, so there has been little reporting of the disaster by the western media, and no mention of it whatever by NATO headquarters, but it is the most serious setback suffered by the Afghan Army for several months.

Consider what happens to the dependant families of dead Afghan soldiers: the widows are entitled to pensions, of course — but Afghanistan is the third most corrupt country in the world. Do you imagine for a moment that these anguished women receive a fraction of the tiny amount to which they are entitled? Of course they don’t. Usually, they don’t get a bean, because the money is stolen by crooked and heartless government officials. What have you to say to that, General Nicholson? Does it strengthen your resolve to do anything?

As reported by the Japan Times, “Help for Afghan Heroes, an Afghan non-profit organization supporting 5,000 families of wounded or dead security forces, said corruption is a key reason many women do not receive assistance.” Nasreen Sharar, special projects officer for the group, said that “they are asked to pay a bribe to get the application processed and they often don’t have the money.”

Of course they don’t have the money. They are just tiny inconsequential and stricken blobs in a “sustainable strategy” that costs $45 billion and “around a dozen lives a year.”

Hashratullah Ahmadzai, spokesman for Kabul’s Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled, told Arab News “We are in a state of war. The number of women who become widows is increasing. Those who fight on the government side and those on the side of the Taliban and the militants have wives and mothers too. People on both sides suffer and women on all sides are affected more than anyone in this war.”

But what about the Czech army soldiers who were killed in Afghanistan? The western media carried the 130 word Reuter‘s report about their deaths, and then forgot all about them, which makes a sick joke of Nicholson’s pompous pronouncement that “Their sacrifice will endure in both our hearts and history.”

They were Staff Sergeant Martin Marcin, 36, and Corporals Kamil Benes, 28, and Patrik Stepanek, 25, about whose deaths the Czech Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar declared that “We have witnessed a tragedy that can hardly be prevented when you serve in the army.” I would really like to be able to put that grubby politician on a patrol in Afghanistan, along with the intellectuals of The Economist and all the other smart-assed commentators to whom soldiers’ lives and grieving widows mean nothing.

Not that the Czech government told us much about the widows or other relatives of the soldiers Mr Metnar sent to die in Afghanistan. All that was reported by Czech Radio was “One leaves behind a widow and a three-month-old baby.”

At least, she’ll probably be paid her pension, unlike so many widows of Afghan Army soldiers who also died for… What?

In all the years of useless conflict in Afghanistan the western media has never listed the names of Afghan Army soldiers killed in action, because these soldiers don’t matter in the greater scheme of things — the “sustainable strategy” — in which they are but inconsequential pawns, as are all the civilians who are killed by bombing, whether on the ground by the Taliban, or from the sky by Afghan-US-NATO airstrikes.

The BBC reports that “Since President Trump announced his Afghanistan strategy . . . the number of bombs dropped by the US Air Force has surged dramatically. New rules of engagement have made it easier for US forces to carry out strikes against the Taliban” and this surge in aerial blitzing has certainly had an effect.

In the first six months of 2018 the UN documented “353 civilian casualties (149 deaths and 204 injured) from aerial attacks, a 52 per cent increase from the same period in 2017. The mission attributed 52 per cent of all civilian casualties from aerial attacks to the Afghan Air Force, 45 per cent to international military forces, and the remaining three per cent to unidentified Pro-Government Forces.”

While Afghan and foreign air forces blitz the country, and the Taliban and other militants wreak havoc with their constant attacks, all that happens politically is that corruption thrives and the murderously criminal vice-president, Abdurrashid Dostum, returns from self-imposed exile to create further chaos. The place is ungovernable, and the foreigners should get out, now.

As John Kerry said, almost fifty years ago: “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?”


First Free Syrian Army Group Sides With Syrian Gov’t Forces – Russian MoD – By Sputnik

A fighter from Free Syrian Army's Al Rahman legion walks near piled sandbags in Ain Tarma, eastern Damascus suburb of Ghouta, Syria July 17, 2017

© REUTERS / Bassam Khabieh
Middle East

Get short URL
3220

The Russian Reconciliation Center in Syria reported that the first large group of Free Syrian Army militants had sided with the Syrian government forces in the Southern deescalation zone.

“On June 22, after talks between the representatives of the Russian reconciliation center and the Syrian authorities with the militants of the Free Syrian Army in the Southern zone of de-escalation, the leader of the Tajammu al-Wiyat al-Omari [Omari Brigades] announced that his group is siding with the Syrian government,” the center said in a statement.

According to the statement, the Omari Brigades leader also stressed that his group will fight against militants from Nusra Front* and Daesh* together with the Syrian army in the south of the country.

“By Friday evening, the first units of the Syrian army entered the settlements of Dama and Ashiyah in the Southern zone of de-escalation,” the document said.

The Syrian military ramped up their operation in the southwest, which might be risky, as both Israel and Jordan are openly nervous about Syrian forces regaining control along with their borders. Israel says there are Iranian forces coming closer to the Golan Heights along with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s troops, posing a danger to the state of Israel, while Jordan, in its turn, is more concerned about dealing with another wave of refugees fleeing southward from the conflict.READ MORE: Syrian Army Steps Up Offensive in Southwest — Reports

Most of the territory of Syria has been liberated by government forces with Russia’s air support, while the remaining terrorist pockets are located in US-controlled areas, including Deir ez-Zor.

READ MORE: Daesh Continues Resistance in Syria Only in US-Controlled Areas — Russian MoD

*Nusra Front, Daesh — terrorist organizations, banned in Russia

 
 

Assad: Israel’s Lackeys Are Losing Syria War – By Jonas E. Alexis (VT)

5
1335

…by Jonas E. Alexis

We all know by now that Israel has been supporting legions of terrorist organs in Syria. We all know that they want Assad’s head on a silver platter. We all know that the United States has been doing Israel’s dirty work in the region. And we all know that the war itself has caused countless lives and has destroyed much of the country.

But Bashar Assad is still thriving. In fact, he has recently announced that Israel’s multiple puppets and assets in Syria—ISIS, al-Qaeda, al-Nusra, the so-called rebels, etc.[1]—are losing the war.

It is “self-evident,” said Assad, that “we are moving closer to the end of the conflict,” and that “without external interference it won’t take more than a year to settle the situation in Syria.”[2]

The war would have been over long ago, continued Assad, if the US and its supporters were not bringing in “more terrorism.” Certainly no person with an ounce of brain cells knocking together can dispute that statement. We can say with certainty that Israel has been supporting terrorists who even ended up eating people’s hearts! Putin did say something about that. He declared then:

“These are people who don’t just kill their enemies, they open up their bodies, and eat their intestines in front of the public and the cameras. Are these the people you want to… supply with weapons?”[3]

Did the Israeli regime and the US stop supporting those bloodthirsty terrorists? Did they even consider the possibility that supporting terrorism could backfire? Did they revise Shelley’s Frankenstein?

Of course not. They wanted to pursue diabolical activities which always get them into trouble. Assad continued:

“War is the worst choice but sometimes you only have this choice. Factions like Al-Qaeda, like ISIS, like Al-Nusra, and the like-minded groups, they’re not ready for any dialogue… So, the only option to deal with those factions is force.”[4]

Assad moved on to drop the atomic bomb on the United States and indeed the Israeli regime:

“The United States is losing its cards. The main card was Al-Nusra, that was called ‘moderate,’ but when scandals started leaking that they’re not moderate, that they’re Al-Qaeda, which is supposed to be fought by the United States, they started looking for another card. This card is the SDF [Syrian Democratic Forces] now.”[5]

The Israeli regime, said Assad, is panicking because they are losing the war. They have also resorted to threats, which they think would strike fears in the hearts of their enemies. Assad said:

“The Israelis have been assassinating, killing, occupying for decades now, for around seven decades, in this region, but usually they do all this without threatening. Now, why do they threaten in this way? This is panic, this is a kind of hysterical feeling because they are losing the ‘dear ones,’ the dear ones Al-Nusra and ISIS, that’s why Israel is panicking recently, and we understand their feeling.”[6]

Assad meticulously deconstructed the Zionist/Israeli position, which always seeks fresh blood and bodies in the region. One should give much respect to Assad for standing up against a powerful empire.


  • [1] Rory Jones, “Israel Gives Secret Aid to Syrian Rebels,” Wall Street Journal, June 18, 2018; “Israel Reportedly Providing Direct Aid, Funding to Syrian Rebels,” Haaretz, June 19, 2017.
  • [2] “US ‘losing its cards’ in Syria: Highlights of RT’s interview with Bashar Assad,” Russia Today, June 1, 2018.
  • [3] “Face-to-face with Abu Sakkar, Syria’s ‘heart-eating cannibal,’” BBC, July 5, 2013.
  • [4] Ibid.
  • [5] Ibid.
  • [6] Ibid.

US will face ‘regret like never before’ if it pulls out of Iran nuclear deal – Rouhani – By RT

US will face 'regret like never before' if it pulls out of Iran nuclear deal – Rouhani
The US will be faced with regret if it decides to pull out of the nuclear deal agreed with Tehran, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned, adding that his government has “plans to resist” the move.

“If the United States leaves the nuclear agreement, you will soon see that they will regret it like never before in history,” Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday, as quoted by Reuters.

Rouhani went on to state that Tehran has “plans to resist any decision by Trump on the nuclear accord,” and that “orders have been issued to our atomic energy organization… and to the economic sector to confront America’s plots against our country.

“America is making a mistake if it leaves the nuclear accord.”

His remarks come in the lead-up to May 12, a deadline by which US President Donald Trump says America’s European allies must rectify “flaws” in the nuclear agreement. If that isn’t done to Trump’s satisfaction, he says he will refuse to extend US sanctions relief for Iran.

The European allies – Britain, France, and Germany – are committed to sticking to the deal which was signed in 2015, with a recent statement from Downing Street saying they agree it is “the best way of neutralizing the threat of a nuclear-armed Iran.” 

However, in an effort to keep Washington involved, the three nations are seeking to open talks on Iran’s ballistic missile program, its nuclear activities beyond 2025 – when the key provisions of the deal expire – and its role in Middle East crises including Syria and Yemen.

That notion was slammed by Rouhani on Sunday. “We will not negotiate with anyone about our weapons and defenses, and we will make and store as many weapons, facilities and missiles as we need,” he said, stressing the rejection by Iranian leaders to hold talks on Iran’s missile program, which it claims is purely for defensive purposes.

Just a few hours earlier, Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani implied that the president would be nixing Washington’s commitment to the agreement. Trump has called the accord, which was signed under the Obama administration, the “worst deal ever negotiated.”

Trump has also said that he has the power to cancel US participation in the agreement “at any time,” and refused to certify Iran’s compliance with the deal in October, despite confirmation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Tehran was in compliance with the deal.

Meanwhile, in a controversial television slideshow at the end of last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that Iran lied about its nuclear program, which makes the 2015 deal invalid. While the US says the slideshow proves that Iran had a “robust, clandestine nuclear weapons program,” the presentation was slammed by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif as a “coordinated timing of alleged intelligence revelation by the boy who cries wolf.”

Analysts told RT that the timing of the seemingly well-rehearsed presentation was indeed crucial. Dr. Maged Botros, the head of the political science department at Helwan University in Egypt, said that Netanyahu’s presentation was “a setup for Trump,” suggesting it could be a solution for the US president to tear up the deal. 

Like this story? Share it with a friend!

Save

The Impact of America’s Wars on Freedoms and Democracy at Home – by Whitney Webb (MINT PRESS)

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence greet military personnel during a visit to the Pentagon, July 20, 2017. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

While America has gone a century and a half without being “war-torn” in the conventional sense, the damage of war is not limited to that inflicted by guns and bombs.

MINNEAPOLIS – Despite concern that the United States will soon find itself in a major war that could have global consequences, many Americans are uninterested in that eventuality as shown by the minimal attention major geopolitical events, like the recent bombing of Syria or the 17-year-long occupation of Afghanistan, receive compared to the President’s alleged sexcapades and rapper Kanye West’s tweets. Though many theories have been put forth as to why so many Americans are uninterested in their government’s military actions abroad that are committed in their name and with their tax dollars, there is one that stands out from the rest.

The United States has been at war for 93 percent of its history. However, a vast majority of those wars took place abroad and did not drastically alter domestic life for most Americans, except in the case of the Civil War. The suffering of wars in which the U.S. has participated has largely eluded the majority of Americans, save for American servicemen and veterans — who are often forced to internalize their suffering in a country disconnected from the consequences of war.

Compare, for instance, the suffering unleashed upon the people of Korea during the Korean War, the people of Vietnam during the Vietnam War and the people of Iraq during the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq to the domestic experience of the average American while those wars were taking place. Even the “just” wars of years past, like World War I and World War II, did not cause the type of destruction that those wars wrought upon Europe. In fact, the U.S. government – beyond the loss of life of its soldiers – benefited greatly from these catastrophes and allowed the country to become a world power.

As a result, there is a prevailing, though likely unconscious, perception that U.S. military adventurism abroad, no matter how brutal or criminal, does not significantly impact the day-to-day activities of American life, allowing a substantial portion of the population to ignore the more sordid consequences of U.S. imperial ambition.

Yet, while America has gone a century and a half without being “war-torn” in the conventional sense, the damage of war is not limited to that inflicted by guns and bombs. With yet another war looming, it is worth revisiting the effects past wars have had on American domestic life as well as the dangerous precedents that past actions of the U.S. government taken during war-time have set. Indeed, were the U.S. to get involved in a major war with a country like Russia or Iran, many of the past actions taken by the government, particularly those aimed at curbing dissent, are highly likely to make a comeback to the great detriment of American domestic life and, most of all, American democracy.

 

The Espionage and Sedition Acts: Protecting Americans from themselves

Reaching back a century ago, the memory of World War I is faint. “The Great War,” as it was called at the time, killed millions and arguably changed the face of war forever. While the war did not take place on U.S. soil, it too brought great change to America, with Orwellian consequences that still persist today.

In 1917, President Woodrow Wilson decided that the country needed to be protected from “the insidious methods of internal hostile activities,” and went to great lengths to restrict freedom of speech and criminalize dissent. One of the results of Wilson’s efforts was the Espionage Act of 1917. Though it was similar to past laws dealing with espionage, the Espionage Act was unique in the sense that it deemed anyone a criminal who published information during times of war that the president declared to be “of such character that it is or might be useful to the enemy” or may “attempt to cause insubordination, disloyalty, mutiny or refusal of duty [draft dodging].” The act passed with a wide majority in both houses of Congress. For those found guilty, the legislation imposed a fine of up to $10,000 and up to 20 years in prison.

Another piece of legislation passed a year later went even further in curbing domestic dissent by limiting speech. The Sedition Act, an amendment that extended the Espionage Act, officially forbade the use of “disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language” that cast the U.S. government, its armed forces, or even the national flag in a negative light or led others to view the U.S. government and its institutions with contempt during times of war — regardless of whether the information expressed was true. It also prohibited speech that interfered with the sale of government bonds designed to fund the war effort.

Though it was repealed in 1920, the Sedition Act ultimately paved the way for similar legislation that would regulate speech during peacetime in the years to come. The acts were also used to entirely dismantle the progressive left in the United States. For instance, Victor Berger, the first socialist elected to Congress, was sentenced to 20 years in prison for “hindering” the war effort, and legendary socialist leader Eugene Debs received 10 years in prison for making a single anti-war speech.

Today, a revised version of the Espionage Act of 1917 continues to be used by the U.S. government to prosecute whistleblowers like Chelsea Manning, John Kiriakou and Jeffrey Sterling, among others, as well as journalists and publishers like Julian Assange.

However, it is worth remembering that, in times of war, the Espionage Act becomes a much more powerful curb on speech and, given that the U.S. uses the law to target whistleblowers in times of peace, the war powers it bestows on the government are sure to be used if and when the U.S. enters into another major war.

 

The chill of civilian spy networks

In addition to legislative efforts and the use of media to manipulate opinion and squash dissent, American citizens were also encouraged to spy on their countrymen, leading to the formation of citizen vigilante groups likes the Knights of Liberty, the American Defense Society and the National Security League, among others.

A 1917 Chicago Tribune article on the The America Protective League.

The most powerful of these groups was the American Protective League (APL), a semi-official organization that worked with the Justice Department’s Bureau of Investigation and boasted around 250,000 members in some 600 cities across the U.S. Though ostensibly tasked with identifying war saboteurs, draft dodgers and foreign spies, the APL’s members surveilled, harassed, intimidated and “arrested” Americans whose loyalty to the war effort was called into question.

Declining to buy Liberty Bonds, being an immigrant of “questionable” origin, and even having food stores in your home were enough to raise the suspicion of the APL. They raided factories, union halls and private homes with impunity, seeking out any American who opposed the war effort as well as targeting innocent Americans of German descent, whom they tarred and feathered and attacked with horsewhips in full public view. They also worked to suppress American labor unions, calling unions and socialists “pro-German” and “anti-American” and working with the U.S. government to conduct mass raids on the socialist labor union International Workers of the World (IWW).

Despite the clearly illegal tactics of the APL, it had the support of then-Attorney General Thomas Gregory, who assured a skeptical President Wilson that the APL “should be encouraged and…not subject to any real criticism.” During the course of the war, the APL detained some 40,000 people and claimed to have found more than 3 million cases of “disloyalty.”

Though the APL and organizations like it have become relics of wars past, civilian vigilante groups that collaborate with the government have attempted to make a comeback in post 9/11 America. For instance, under the George W. Bush administration, the Terrorism Information and Prevention System (TIPS), was created and sought to create a domestic intelligence-gathering program that would have U.S. citizens report “suspicious” activity. The measure sought to recruit one out of every 24 Americans for the program, mainly those whose work provided access to private homes or businesses, such as mailmen, utility employees and truck drivers. The program, however, was eventually canceled and replaced with Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” initiative.

 

Propaganda: getting everyone on board for war

In addition to intimidating the public and curbing speech in increasingly fascist attempts to limit dissent, World War I also saw the advent of a new government agency aimed at the mass distribution of propaganda in order to drum up support for the war. The Committee on Public Information (CPI), established by Wilson through an executive order, put journalist George Creel – a fervent supporter of Wilson and the war – in charge of the first state propaganda bureau in the country’s history. In addition to Creel, the members of the committee were the Secretaries of State, War and the Navy.

The idea for the CPI was not Wilson’s, it was Creel’s. Creel had heard many military leaders call for strong censorship of criticism of the war and subsequently sought to convince Wilson that “expression, not suppression” of a controlled press could help the war effort. He urged Wilson to create an agency that would disseminate “not propaganda as the Germans defined it, but propaganda in the true sense of the word, meaning the ‘propagation of faith.’”

The CPI brought powerful businessmen, media personalities, scholars, novelists and artists into its fold, creating a propaganda machine that blended marketing techniques with human psychology. It became the primary conduit for information regarding the war, leading Creel to assert that – in any given week – more than 20,000 newspaper columns across the country were filled with information provided by CPI handouts. Towards the latter half of the war, much of the content produced by the CPI was hateful and xenophobic, adopting slogans like “Stop the Hun!” on posters that showed German soldiers terrorizing women and young children. Its film division produced such titles as The Kaiser: The Beast of Berlin and Wolves of Kultur.

The CPI was also remarkably thorough in its control of dissenting narratives. According to historian Michael Sweeney, “every war story [against the government narrative] had been censored somewhere along the line — at the source, in transit, or in the newspaper offices in accordance with ‘voluntary’ rules established by the CPI.” The CPI was also a global operation, with offices in nine countries, and used its propaganda to great effect in Europe, Latin America and elsewhere.

The CPI was dissolved soon after the war and the domestic (but not foreign) distribution of propaganda was made illegal by the Smith-Mundt Act of 1948. However, in 2013, then-President Barack Obama signed the 2013 National Defense and Authorization Act (NDAA) into law, which contained a piece of legislation, known as “The Smith-Mundt Modernization Act of 2012,” that completely lifted the propaganda ban. The act’s co-authors asserted at the time that removing the domestic propaganda ban was necessary in order to combat “al-Qaeda’s and other violent extremists’ influence among populations.”

Five years later, the result of the lifting of the ban can be seen in the era of “fake news” and “alternative facts,” in which false narratives have become commonplace and largely normalized, as those who publish demonstrably false claims face minimal, if any, accountability. Meanwhile, alternative media sources that provide dissenting narratives are rapidly being silenced and those journalists and citizens who offer different perspectives on key issues are dismissed as “regime apologists” and “Russian bots.” Were war to break out, surely the current efforts under way to control the narrative would only grow.

 

WWII: Wash, rinse, repeat

World War II, in which propaganda likewise flourished, also resurrected the dangerous “protection” practices set during World War I, namely the mass targeting of those suspected of “disloyalty” to the war effort. The most infamous of these was the internment of Japanese-Americans living on the West Coast on the sole basis of their ethnicity.

In 1942, Franklin D. Roosevelt signed executive order 9066, which put the Secretary of War and his commanders in charge of establishing military zones, or concentration camps, and deciding whom to imprison within their confines. Congress supported the measure, passing Public Law 503, which allowed for the executive order’s implementation. Significantly, the measures did not name a specific ethnic group, but allowed the military to restrict anyone it deemed a “threat.”

Anyone of Japanese ancestry along the U.S. West Coast was considered by the military to present such a threat and, after the laws were passed, many of these individuals were placed under restrictions and curfews before being “evacuated” to internment camps scattered across the country from California to Arkansas. However, it was later shown that the Japanese-Americans were targeted, not out of fear for the national security, but due to the influence of “farmers seeking to eliminate Japanese competition, a public fearing sabotage, politicians hoping to gain by standing against an unpopular group, and military authorities.”

Following evacuation orders, this store was closed.  The owner, a University of California graduate of Japanese descent, placed the "I AM AN AMERICAN" sign on the store front the day after Pearl Harbor.  Oakland, CA, April 1942.  Dorothea Lange.

Around 120,000 Japanese-Americans, two-thirds of them American citizens, were sent to the camps. More than half of those interned were children. They were not given due process and were incarcerated for up to four years, unable to leave the prison camps. Many of the children imprisoned there came to consider the camps “home.”

Strangely and tellingly, Japanese-Americans, despite being considered a domestic security threat, were able to join the U.S. Armed Forces after filling out a short questionnaire.

Not all Japanese-Americans complied with the government orders, however. The most well-known of those who disobeyed the internment order was Fred Korematsu, who later challenged the internment of Japanese-Americans on the grounds that it was unconstitutional. The Supreme Court eventually ruled 6-to-3 that the internment of Japanese-Americans was well within the war powers of the President, arguing that in times of war such actions — even if blatantly racist — are justified when there exists a “military necessity.”

It is important to note, however, the vague nature of the law that led to the internment of Japanese-Americans. It stated that the Secretary of War was authorized to “prescribe military areas” and that “the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion.” Thus, the legal war-time precedent that resulted from war hysteria gave the U.S. military the ability to place anyone from any group into concentration camps using “national security” and “military necessity” as justification.

It’s not hard to imagine how this could play out in the United States today if and when war breaks out. Trump’s so-called “Muslim ban” and push to make a registry of Muslim immigrants, as well as top U.S. officials calling people of Russian descent “genetically driven” to be untrustworthy, are just a few examples of the xenophobia and related hysteria currently at work in the U.S. As long as those irrational fears are cloaked in the patriotic blanket of “military necessity,” it seems that the internment camps could again make an appearance on American soil.

 

Fascism and racism cloaked in patriotism: an inevitable cycle

Ultimately, what the past shows us is that, in times of war, the United States often embodies the very evils it purports to stand against – fascism and racism chief among them – but does so by wrapping these troubling acts in a veneer of patriotism that falsely seeks to claim that such crimes against the Constitution and American democracy are done out of “necessity” to national security.

Again, the oft-repeated adage that “those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it” rings true. Trump’s Muslim ban and the anti-Russian hysteria of the “Resistance” have raised concern among Japanese-Americans that another group could again suffer in American internment camps as they once did. Homeland Security’s “See Something, Say Something” program shows that the APL’s brand of patriotic vigilantism still lives on. The U.S. government’s continued use of the Espionage Act to target whistleblowers and journalists further shows that dissenting narratives are unwelcome here, whether during times of war or times of peace.

Top Photo | President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence greet military personnel during a visit to the Pentagon, July 20, 2017. (AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Whitney Webb is a staff writer for MintPress News and a contributor to Ben Swann’s Truth in Media. Her work has appeared on Global Research, the Ron Paul Institute and 21st Century Wire, among others. She has also made radio and TV appearances on RT and Sputnik. She currently lives with her family in southern Chile.

Republish our stories! MintPress News is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 International License.

‘Double standards: US, UK, France stand by Saudis in Yemen but pose as moral crusaders in Syria’ – By RT

'Double standards: US, UK, France stand by Saudis in Yemen but pose as moral crusaders in Syria'
The Syria attack reveals the hypocrisy of the West – which fuels the Saudi-led bombing campaign in Yemen despite documented abuses – but relies on unverified claims to punish Syria, journalist and broadcaster Neil Clark told RT.

As Riyadh’s campaign in Yemen enters its fourth year, it has been repeatedly accused by rights groups of civilian casualties during the bombardment. However, in Syria’s case, reports of a chemical weapon attack in Douma that are yet to be independently corroborated became the trigger for a coordinated military action, Clark pointed out.

“On the one hand, they are rolling out the red carpet for Saudi leaders and they are supporting, either directly or indirectly, the Saudi bombing of Yemen, which is causing a great humanitarian catastrophe – and how many children has that conflict killed?

“On the other hand, they pose as moral paragons, as moral crusaders when they claim children have died in Syria’s chemical weapons attack without evidence,” he said.

Clark argued that by continuing its weapons sales to Riyadh, the West “has been feeding and supporting that conflict.”

Between March 2015 (the start of the Saudi-led campaign) and February 2018, almost 6,000 civilians were killed and 9,500 wounded, according to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. In its report in March, Amnesty International said it has documented at least 36 coalition airstrikes that appeared to be carried out in violation of international humanitarian law, many of which may constitute a war crime. At least 513 civilians perished in their raids, including 157 children, it said.

“So, on one hand we have got documented evidence of children dying in huge numbers in Yemen through cholera and through bombing. That’s true, that’s evidence, actually. And the same powers responsible for that are bombing Syria in response to unverified claims of attacks on children in Syria,” Clark said. “The double standards are totally, totally off-the-scale.”

Just last month, UK Prime Minister Theresa May, US President Donald Trump, and French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the Gulf country’s defense minister and de-facto ruler who is on a charm offensive in Europe and the US.

As a result, the UK, which has provided a steady supply of arms to the ultraconservative kingdom, signed a huge arms deal with Riyadh that will see it purchasing 48 Typhoon jets from British firm BAE Systems. 

In his own meeting with bin Salman in Washington, President Trump boasted about $12.5 billion in finalized sales of American weapons to Saudi Arabia. In May 2017, he chose Saudi Arabia for his first foreign trip as president and signed a record $350-billion arms deal. 

France, which according to data from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) was Saudi Arabia’s third biggest weapons supplier between 2013 and 2017, might soon also conclude a new series of deals with the kingdom.

Last week, a French defense minister official told Reuters that France had agreed on a new arms export strategy with Saudi Arabia. According to reports in French media, Paris can soon start selling navy patrol boats and Caesar artillery canons to Saudi Arabia, manufactured by CMN and Nexter respectively. 

Think your friends would be interested? Share this story!

 
Reporting what the mainstream media won’t: Follow RT’s Twitter account

ATTACK ON SYRIA BIG FLOP! AIR DEFENSES ROBUST; MASSIVE FAILURE FOR TRUMP, MAY, MACRON AND THE USUAL GANG OF IDIOTS – By Ziad Fadel

usabombingsinsyria

In the early hours of April 14, 2018, at specifically 3:55 a.m., the United States, Britain and France, launched a misguided campaign of noise and fire against the government and people of Syria.  The targets were already known by the Syrian government since the Russians had negotiated them with Secretary of Defense, James “Mad Dog” Mattis.  Since everybody knew Trump was going to do something, sometime, some way, all precautions were taken to protect lives and materiel.  Syria’s most advanced jets were stored in fortified hangars or flown to bases such as Humaymeem where Russian personnel are stationed.

The attack involved two U.S. cruise missile carrying destroyers in the Red Sea; tactical aircraft flying from one aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean; and several B-1 bombers traced to new runways in American-occupied Al-Tanf near the Jordanian-Iraqi borders.  The British fllew a wing of Tornado bombers carrying cruise missiles out of Akritiri Airbase in Cyprus while the French used their Mirages and Rafal bombers based in Jordan.

The combined forces used 110 cruise missiles 71 of which were either intercepted and destroyed by Syria’s Pantsir air defense systems or were electronically toppled by a force which will remain unmentioned.  Only 39 cruise missiles reached any target, many of them falling harmlessly in the Syrian Desert.

The only targets hit were a scientific research facility in Barza which contained classrooms and laboratories.  All material had been removed so that the Americans could claim falsely that they had destroyed a CW-related institution.  Another building which the Americans were allowed to destroy was a military warehouse in Homs, at Misyaaf, which the Americans could not hit because all the missiles aimed at that target were electronically toppled.  As the cruise missiles were being deflected, they exploded on the ground injuring 3 civilians. The NATO allies also fired 12 missiles at the Al-Dhumayr AB east of Damascus. Russian news says all 12 were downed by Soviet-era air defense systems.

Of the 110 cruise missiles fired, 14 of them were American Tomahawks.  Most of the others were British and Fench.  None of the British or French missiles hit any target.  Complete failure and a lesson to the allies of the U.S.

An helicopter airbase near the Lebanese border was also struck.  However, because the attack took place in the early hours, nobody was at the base and, conveniently, no aircraft were to be found.

One thing is absolutely certain:  this was a training exercise to see how well NATO weapons would work.  The enemy here, Syria and Russia, was in on the planning and knew ahead of time what the attacking force was going to do.  There was high drama, what with Trump calling Dr. Assad an “animal”.  There was puffing with Trump tweeting about his “new, smart” missiles in response to a Russian diplomat claiming his country would knock down all attacking missiles.  But, of course, Trump fancies himself a great negotiator and managed to negotiate the rules of this engagement.

The first rule was that the Russians have to convince Dr. Assad that his country was going to be hit, but not hard.  The second rule was that Dr. Assad could use all air defense assets at his disposal.  The third rule of this idiotic game was that Russia would only give minimal assistance such that Trump’s “smart” missiles could reach some targets which were already prepared.  The 4th rule was that Trump, May and Macron would be allowed to give orotund speeches with plangent, stentorian appeals to the loftiest platitudes about “joint action” when international norms were being violated.  The 5th rule was that nobody would talk about selling lethal weapons to the Saudi chimpanzees so they could use them to violate international law by murdering innocent Yemeni civilians.

So much for the touted Anglo-American-French attack to punish Syria. YAWN.  OH, YAWN.

The lies of the imperialist powers over the Skripal affair are unravelling-Robert Stevens (World Socialist Web Site) (SOTT)

Skripal meme

© imgflip.com

On September 1, 1939, German radio announced the outbreak of the Second World War by reporting Adolf Hitler’s speech to the Reichstag, in which the dictator said, “This night for the first time Polish regular soldiers fired on our own territory. We have been returning the fire since 5:45 A.M. Henceforth, bomb will be met with bomb.”

Under the direction of Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebbels, the invasion of Poland was portrayed as an act of self-defence.

A similar resort to lying and demonization has been carried out by the British, American and several European governments around the March 4 poisoning in Salisbury, England of former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter, Yulia.

It is now beyond any reasonable doubt that the claims of the Conservative government of Theresa May charging Russia with responsibility for the poisoning of the Skripals are fabrications.

On Tuesday, Gary Aitkenhead, chief executive of the UK’s chemical weapons facility, the Porton Down Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, told Sky News that scientists had “not verified the precise source” of the material used in the attack in Salisbury on March 4. Aitkenhead’s statement came on the eve of the convening at Moscow’s request of the Organisation for the Prevention of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at The Hague, which would have exposed the UK government’s case. But this resort to damage control only underscores the monstrous hoax perpetrated by the British and American governments and their European allies.

May told parliament on March 12 that Porton Down was “absolutely categorical” that the “nerve agent” used on the Skripals had come from Russia. “Based on the positive identification of this chemical agent by world-leading experts at Porton Down,” she said, “the government has concluded that it is highly likely that Russia was responsible” for an “attempted murder” on British soil.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson told German broadcaster Deutsche Welle on March 20 that “the people from Porton Down” were “absolutely categorical” that the source of the nerve agent used against the Skripals was Russia. “I asked the guy myself,” he said, “and he said ‘there’s no doubt.'”

So politically devastating is the exposure of Britain’s lies that yesterday the Foreign Office deleted a text it sent out on March 22 declaring that the “analysis by world-leading experts at the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down made clear that this was a military-grade novichok nerve agent produced in Russia.”

Skripal UK foreign office tweet

Based on this lie, and without asking for any proof other than the word of May and Johnson, the United States, 14 European Union member states, Ukraine, Canada, Australia and three other allies between them expelled more than 100 Russian diplomatic personnel. The NATO military alliance followed suit, expelling seven Russian staff to send “a clear and very strong message that there was a cost to Russia’s reckless actions.”

Every one of these states knew from the outset that the allegations against Russia were a fraud. Even though Britain’s supposed case against Russia has fallen apart, this has had no impact on the backing it has received from its imperialist allies.

The emergency session of the OPCW called at Russia’s request received no answers to the serious questions Moscow insisted Britain had to address. Instead, the UK’s representative said Russia could not take part in a joint investigation with Britain into the Skripal affair, as it was “a likely perpetrator.” This was given unqualified backing by an EU spokesperson, who demanded that Russia respond to the UK’s “legitimate questions” about its alleged continued production of novichoks.

No less implicated in this criminal affair is the corporate media, especially the New York Times, which has spent the past month disseminating the raw propaganda issued by London and Washington and baying for Moscow’s punishment.

At no point did the Times raise a single question about the reliability of the claims of the May government. And now its response to the refutation of the lies is to ignore and bury Aitkenhead’s statement.

The role of the corporate media in the Skripal provocation confirms the political purpose of the hysterical campaign it has been leading against “fake news,” and its insistence that social media be regulated, restricted and monitored.

After the Skripal affair, is any more proof required that nothing the officially sanctioned media publishes or broadcasts can be taken at face value?

It denounces any questioning of the imperialist narrative as “fake news,” while it carries out its function of publishing false and lying reports.

As Leon Trotsky wrote 80 years ago, the lie is the ideological cement of social and political reaction. The World Socialist Web Site is an indispensable and powerful tool of the working class in combating the lies of the imperialist powers and their state-controlled propaganda machines.

In January, the World Socialist Web Site issued an open letter to socialist, anti-war, left-wing and progressive websites, organizations and activists calling for the formation of an international coalition to fight Internet censorship. Recent events attest to the importance of this critical initiative.

Comment: Don’t miss: British Government’s Chemical Attack Narrative Falls Apart – Boris Johnson Lied About Russia

The military and arms industry effectively control America – By Eric Zuesse (Sott.net)

us military

Unlike corporations that sell to consumers, Lockheed Martin and the other top contractors to the US Government are highly if not totally dependent upon sales to governments, for their profits, especially sales to their own government, which they control – they control their home market, which is the US Government, and they use it to sell to its allied governments, all of which foreign governments constitute the export markets for their products and services. These corporations control the US Government, and they control NATO. And, here is how they do it, which is essential to understand, in order to be able to make reliable sense of America’s foreign policies, such as which nations are ‘allies’ of the US Government (such as Saudi Arabia and Israel), and which nations are its ‘enemies’ (such as Libya and Syria) – and are thus presumably suitable for America to invade, or else to overthrow by means of a coup. First, the nation’s head-of-state becomes demonized; then, the invasion or coup happens. And, that’s it. And here’s how.

Because America (unlike Russia) privatized the weapons-industry (and even privatizes to mercenaries some of its battlefield killing and dying), there are, in America, profits for investors to make in invasions and in military occupations of foreign countries; and the billionaires who control these corporations can and do – and, for their financial purposes, they must – buy Congress and the President, so as to keep those profits flowing to themselves. That’s the nature of the war-business, since its markets are governments – but not those governments that the aristocracy want to overthrow and replace. The foreign governments that are to be overthrown are not markets, but are instead targets.

The bloodshed and misery go to those unfortunate lands. But if you control these corporations, then you need these invasions and occupations, and you certainly aren’t concerned about any of the victims, who (unlike those profits) are irrelevant to your business. In fact, to the exact contrary: killing people and destroying buildings etc., are what you sell – that’s what you (as a billionaire with a controlling interest in one of the 100 top contractors to the US Government) are selling to your own government, and to all of the other governments that your country’s cooperative propaganda will characterize as being ‘enemies’ – Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Yemen, etc. – and definitely not as being ‘allies’, such as are being characterized these corporations’ foreign markets: Saudi Arabia, EU-NATO, Israel, etcetera.

In fact, as regards your biggest foreign markets, they will be those ‘allies’; so, you (that is, the nation’s aristocracy, who own also the news-media etc.) defend them, and you want the US military (the taxpayers and the troops) to support and defend them. It’s defending your market, even though you as the controlling owner of such a corporation aren’t paying the tab for it. The rest of the country is actually paying for all of it, so you’re “free-riding” the public, in this business. It’s the unique nature of the war-business, and a unique boon to its investors.

Thus, on 21 May 2017, US President Donald Trump sold to the Saud family, who own Saudi Arabia, an all-time-record $350 billion of US arms-makers’ products, which they’re now obligated to buy during the following ten years, with an up-front commitment of $100 billion during just the first year, so as to make even that one-year commitment an all-time record. This deal is by far the biggest part of Trump’s boost to American manufacturers – but it’s only to military manufacturers, the people who depend virtually 100% on sales to governments, specifically to ‘friendly’ governments: to ‘allies’, such as, in this case, to the Saud family.

In fact, the Sauds’ war against their neighbor Yemen is a good example of just how this sort of operation (profit to the billionaires, bloodshed and destruction to – in this case – the Yemenites) works:

Yemen’s war goes back to the “Arab Spring” revolution in Yemen, which overthrew the US-and-Saud-backed President, former Colonel and then General, Saleh. Wikipedia says of him: “According to the UN Sanctions Panel, by 2012 Saleh has amassed fortune worth $32-60 billion hidden in at least twenty countries making him one of the richest people in the world. Saleh was gaining $2 billion a year from 1978 to 2012 mainly through illegal methods, such as embezzlement, extortion and theft of funds from Yemen’s fuel subsidy program.[75][76][77]” And, furthermore: “New York Times Middle Eastern correspondent Robert F. Worth described Saleh as reaching an understanding with powerful feudal ‘big sheikhs’ to become ‘part of a Mafia-style spoils system that substituted for governance’.[18] Worth accused Saleh of exceeding the aggrandizement of other Middle Eastern strongmen by managing to ‘rake off tens of billions of dollars in public funds for himself and his family’ despite the extreme poverty of his country.[19]” Saleh fled to Saudi Arabia. Yemen’s Army installed the Vice President, and former General, Hadi to succeed him. Then, there was a second revolution, and, on 21 January 2015, the Shia Houthi tribe took over, and the rabidly anti-Shia Saud family promptly started their bombing of Yemen, using American training, weaponry and tactical and refueling support.

The US Government – like its ally the Saud family – is rabidly anti-Shia. That’s to say: The US aristocracy, like Saudi Arabia’s aristocracy (the royal family), is rabidly anti-Shia. But, whereas for the Sauds, this is motivated more by hate than by greed, it’s more greed than hate on the US side, because at least ever since the US coup in the leading Shia country, Iran, in 1953, it’s been purely about greed, specifically that of the oil (and other) companies who also (in addition to the armaments-firms) control US foreign policies. (For example, international oil companies need to extract and sell oil from many countries. They’re highly dependent upon the military, though not nearly to the extent that the weapons-firms are.)

The most recent poll that has been taken of American public opinion regarding America’s arming and training Saudi forces to fly over and bomb Yemen was taken during November 2017, tabulated on 28 January 2018, and finally published a month later, on 28 February 2018. This “Nationwide Voter Survey – Report on Results – January 28, 2018” asked 1,000 scientifically sampled American voters, “Question: Congress is considering a bi-partisan bill to withdraw US forces from the Saudi-led war in Yemen. Would you say that you support or oppose this bill?” It reported that, “Support” was 51.9%, “Oppose” was 21.5%, no opinion was 26.6%; and, so, 71% of the opinions were “Support”; only 29% were “Oppose.” That’s more than two-thirds supporting this bill to consider withdrawing US forces from that war. But, when the vote was taken in the US Senate, it was 55% opposing the bill, opposing, that is, consideration of the matter, and 44% supporting consideration of the matter (and not voting was 1% of the 100 Senators). 55% of Senators didn’t want the Senate to even consider the matter. Here’s how the issue had managed to get even that far:

On 4 December 2017, just weeks after that poll of Americans was taken, Russian Television headlined “Saleh’s death means a fresh hell beckons for Yemen”, and the US Government’s participation in the bombing of Yemen then did increase. This event – the murder of Saleh – raised the Yemen war to broader public attention in the country that was supplying the bombs and the weapons to the Sauds.

On 28 February 2018, US Senator Bernie Sanders was the lone sponsor of “S.J.Res.54 – 115th Congress (2017-2018)”: “This joint resolution directs the President to remove US Armed Forces from hostilities in or affecting Yemen, except those engaged in operations directed at Al Qaeda, within 30 days unless: (1) the President requests and Congress authorizes a later date, or (2) a declaration of war or specific authorization for the use of the Armed Forces has been enacted.”

On March 19th, NBC bannered “Senators to force vote to redefine US role in Yemen” – that was merely to force a vote in the Senate, not actually to vote on the issue itself. However, given how overwhelmingly America’s voters opposed America’s arming the Sauds to slaughter the Yemenese, this vote in the Senate to consider the measure was the gateway to each Senator’s being forced to go public about supporting this highly unpopular armament of the Saudis; and, so, if it had gotten that far (to a final vote on the issue itself), the arms-makers might lose the vote, because Senators would then be voting not ‘merely’ on a procedural matter, but on the actual issue itself. So, this vote was about the gateway, not about the destination.

The next day, Breitbart News headlined “Administration, Bipartisan Interventionist Establishment Kill Aisle-Crossing Effort to Rein In US Military Involvement in Yemen” and presented a full and documented account, which opened: “The Senate resolution invoking the War Powers Act to demand the administration seek congressional authorization or withdraw American support from Saudi Arabia’s military operations in Yemen was defeated Tuesday by a vote of 55-44.” The peace-activist, David Swanson, headlined at Washingtonsblog, “Why 55 US Senators Voted for Genocide in Yemen”, and he alleged that the vote would have been even more lopsided than 55% for the weapons-industry, if some of the Senators who voted among the 44 non-bloodthirsty ones hadn’t been in such close political races. The weapons-industry won’t hold against a Senator his/her voting against them if their vote won’t even be needed in order to win. Token-votes against them are acceptable. All that’s necessary is winning the minimum number of votes. Anything more than that is just icing on the cake.

So, this explains how the US Government really ignores public opinion and only pretends to be a democracy. It’s done by fooling the public. On the issue of which countries are ‘allies’ and which are ‘enemies’, and other issues regarding national defense, all necessary means are applied in order to achieve, as Walter Lippmann in 1921 called it, “the manufacture of consent.” He wrote:

That the manufacture of consent is capable of great refinements no one, I think, denies. The process by which public opinions arise is certainly no less intricate than it has appeared in these pages, and the opportunities for manipulation open to anyone who understands the process are plain enough. The creation of consent is not a new art. It is a very old one which was supposed to have died out with the appearance of democracy. But it has not died out. It has, in fact, improved enormously in technic, because it is now based on analysis rather than on rule of thumb. And so, as a result of psychological research, coupled with the modern means of communication, the practice of democracy has turned a corner. A revolution is taking place, infinitely more significant than any shifting of economic power.

The CIA virtually controls the ‘news’ media.

The most corrupt part of the US Government is the ‘Defense’ part. That also happens to be – and by far – the most popular part, the most respected (by the American public) part. That’s a toxic combination: toxic not only for a government’s domestic policies, but especially for a government’s foreign policies – such as for identifying which nations are ‘allies’, and which nations are ‘enemies’. This type of mega-toxic combination can’t exist in a nation whose press isn’t being effectively controlled by the same general group that effectively controls the Government (in America, that’s the richest few, by means of their many paid agents), the Deep State. In America, one key to it is that the ‘Defense’ firms are privately owned.

POSTSCRIPT:

On March 24th, Zero Hedge headlined an opinion-article “The Death of Democracy” and Alasdair Macleod said that, “The Deep State is on course to take control of Congress. If this happens, it will be the next step in a global trend of side-lining democracy in the West, driven in large part by American foreign policy. It has led to governments everywhere increasing control over their people, in an inversion of democratic principles.”

Furthermore:

“The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has identified 102 seats as ‘competitive’ in its red-to-blue campaign programme. Eighty of these seats are vulnerable Republicans, and 22 are seats where the incumbent is retiring. 57 of the 221 candidates standing for the Democratic nomination in these 102 districts are current or past agents of the military-intelligence complex. And of those 102 districts, 44 have one of these candidates, 11 have two, and one has three. Furthermore, there are indications that the financial backers of the Democratic Party are supporting this influx of intelligence operatives, and that they are well-funded.”

Macleod went on to say that they’ve already apparently taken over Trump:

“There can be no doubt that the chaos in the White House since Trump’s victory has reflected a fight behind the scenes for control of foreign policy, homeland security and military spending. It has been about the CIA’s ultimately successful attempts to ensure Trump backtracked on relevant electoral promises and complies with its own agenda. So far, Trump has backed down on Russia, North Korea, Iran and on military spending, suggesting he is well on the way to becoming the Deep State’s lackey. It now seems the CIA wants to control the balance of power in Congress.”

His conclusion is:

“If the US military-intelligence complex manages to pack out Congress, it will be the killer blow for any democracy remaining in America. It will clear the field for a secret state organisation, which has shown little or no regard for human life and the rule of law, to accelerate its warlike agenda. It will have unfettered access to the national finances to accelerate its programme of global aggression, and damn the consequences for anyone else.”

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

Comment: So few in the US and abroad truly understand that war is one of the most profitable and pervasive businesses in the world – and just how far greed is in the motivation to justify trillions – that’s Trillion$ – in mind-boggling war spending.

West attacks China’s Social Credit System to deflect from its fascist panopticon – by Jeff J. Brown for The Saker blog

by Jeff J. Brown for The Saker blog crosslinked with:

http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2018/03/24/west-attacks-chinas-social-credit-system-to-deflect-from-its-fascist-panopticon-china-rising-radio-sinoland-180325/
https://youtu.be/VKeBiK0Z-Xo
https://soundcloud.com/44-days/west-attacks-chinas-social-credit-system-to-deflect-from-its-fascist-panopticon-cr-radio-sinoland

 

Pictured above: the panopticon Illinois State Prison, in Joliet. For every Westerner out there, just look out your window. It’s even worse. Your every move, every communication and transaction, monetary and otherwise, is being tracked, recorded and stored by a faceless, multilayered, fascist corporate-government octopus. One-hundred-eighty degrees to the east in China, it’s all posted on the internet, TV and print media, for every citizen to follow and comment on, upon which Baba Beijing will respond in kind. Now, that’s what I call real, participatory democracy.

Western propaganda brilliantly and ceaselessly employs what is known as psychological reflection. This is a mental health term meaning that if you are guilty of being a pedophile or tax cheat, for example, you get on your soapbox about the evils of child molestation or fiscal crooks, respectively, while doing exactly that. Another great example is homophobia. Many homophobes, especially the most violent ones are repressed, closeted gays and lesbians, who internally loathe themselves.

Be it war, invasions, occupation, genocide, massacres, exterminations (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2018/03/17/wilfred-burchett-explains-why-like-all-good-fascists-every-day-is-my-lai-for-americans-china-rising-radio-sinoland-180319/), the use of chemical and biological weapons (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2018/03/12/noose-of-truth-is-tightening-around-milton-leitenberg-co-s-collective-neck-china-rising-radio-sinoland-180310/), institutionalized corruption, election fraud, pollution, CIA drug cartels, CIA organized crime (https://ganxy.com/i/113798/), ad nauseam, the West aggressively attacks all its enemies for being guilty of these and the rest of the world’s criminality, when in fact Eurangloland is the most brazen and bald faced Global Enemy #1 in every one of these categories, with the rest of humanity being its long-suffering victims.

Sadly, the West’s psychological reflection works so well that its endless tsunami of shameless lies and propaganda continues to win over the long term. Just look at how Eurangloland has completely perverted the opinions of the vast majority of the world’s people, at least those who do not live in communist-socialist countries, when it comes to Russia, the Russian people and its president, Vladimir Putin. Ditto Iran, Venezuela, North Korea (DPRK), Cuba, the Philippines and any other country (or its leader) that does allow itself to be a craven whore for capitalist empire.

The effectiveness of western psychological reflection in the mainstream media is so thorough, that people I know who should see through this withering fog of propaganda are completely brainwashed. I call it being behind the Great Western Firewall. Yet, most Westerners I know who live overseas are just as clueless, due to their innate sense of racial superiority (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/11/10/all-the-chinese-people-want-is-respect-aretha-franklin-diplomacy-on-china-rising-radio-sinoland-171110/) and their unwillingness to look beyond CIA-MI6 CNN, New York Times, BBC, the Economist and all the other rubber stamp ventriloquist dummies that shill for their deep state masters. It is a demoralizing fact of life, something I passionately wrote about in Book #2 of The China Trilogy (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/05/19/the-china-trilogy/), China Rising – Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations (https://ganxy.com/i/113798/).

Eurangloland’s owners are throwing everything they have trying to destroy Russia, Iran, Venezuela and DPRK (let’s call them the Fearless Four) and too many others to name. You may notice that three of these four countries are some of the biggest hydrocarbon producers in the solar system, and that’s what the West’s elites really want to do, is bring down their respective governments and install puppet Boris Yeltsin’s, to commence with the rape of their citizens and plunder of their natural resources. It’s called capitalism, if you haven’t already figured it out or have yet to reluctantly accept the truth.

After 500 years of global tyranny and dictatorship, cracks in Western empire’s game plan are starting to show. The Fearless Four keep exposing Westerners for the racist buffoons and ideological zealots that they are. Almost nothing is working as planned near home base Europe (Russia and Iran) and America (Venezuela) Even North Korea’s very astute Kim Jong-Un is besting the West on the diplomatic front (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/08/28/why-dprk-will-n-e-v-e-r-stop-its-nuclear-arms-program-china-rising-radio-sinoland-170828/), having gotten Trump to agree to a joint summit (https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2018/03/trump-kim-jong-un/555323/).

How much worse can it get for Western empire? It must be time to bomb another country into the Middle Ages, or invade a small, helpless, poorly defended country full of dark skinned people. Like Iraq, how about Grenada II? That’ll keep the beer and popcorn flowing in front of Westerners’ 25%-interest-installment-plan-purchased widescreen TVs, for a week of Hunger Games bread and circuses.

Way out east, OMG, along comes Baba Beijing (China’s leadership) to really make a mess for Eurangloland (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/11/23/china-tech-is-unstoppable-from-noodle-shops-to-outer-space-china-rising-radio-sinoland-171123/). It too continues to run circles around racist, greedy and let’s face it, incredibly hubristic Westerners, at least the deep state and its stooges who occupy positions of power in its “democratically elected” puppet governments (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/10/25/how-can-western-capitalism-beat-this-thats-the-rub-it-cant-china-rising-radio-sinoland-171022/

and http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/12/10/china-loves-being-number-two-behind-the-us-officially-of-course-china-rising-radio-sinoland-171210/).

Thus, the mainstream media Wehrmacht undoubtedly has on the boards to try to bring down Baba Beijing, but it is being held up. Why? Three’s company and the Fearless Four are already a crowd. You can only spread your resources of destruction and chaos so far. As any good fascist will tell you, the Big Lie means staying laser focused and relentlessly on-message. Given with how it’s currently playing out and knowing the ultimate goal is taking control of these Others’ human and natural resources, the propaganda tsunami against the Fearless Four is already reaching the point of diminishing marginal returns. Adding a fifth behemoth target like China (which is just as savvy and patient as the Fearless Four) has probably been deemed too much by the West’s owners.

Therefore, Baba Beijing has gotten off pretty lightly up to now, compared to the fascist Big Lie against the Fearless Four. But in the interim, that still doesn’t mean China gets off Scot-free. The CIA-MI6 mainstream media juggernaut sees a chink in China’s armor (sorry, I couldn’t resist the awful, off-color pun), with its rapidly developing (Chinese) Social Credit System (CSCS – http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2018/01/11/chinas-public-social-credit-system-versus-the-wests-secret-panopticon-china-rising-radio-sinoland-180111/).

Patrice Greanville, Editor-in-Chief of The Greanville Post (http://www.greanvillepost.com/) sent to Godfree Roberts and me a hatchet piece about CSCS (https://forbiddenknowledgetv.net/china-banning-people-from-transit-for-bad-social-credit-scores/). It originally came from Reuters, a CIA-MI6 chop shop from way back (https://www.reuters.com/article/us-china-credit/china-to-bar-people-with-bad-social-credit-from-planes-trains-idUSKCN1GS10S). James Corbett has a rabid, irrational fear of all things China-socialism-communism, so he piled on (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6Buhli5MYk). Then Forbidden Knowledge ran with Corbett’s propaganda video, adding insult to injury.

Corbett is so cartoonishly bad about this subject, I even commented on it in China Rising – Capitalist Roads, Socialist Destinations (https://ganxy.com/i/113798/). It’s too bad, because otherwise he does some really good journalism. But then again, “liberal”, “progressive”, “alternative” journalists who have epileptic seizures at the mere whiff of China, socialism, communism or false flags (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/05/06/a-us-government-lie-exposed-the-1995-oklahoma-city-bombing-china-rising-radio-sinoland-170505/) are a renminbi a thousand. It takes courage and conviction to look outside your own bigoted, ideological blinders to admit that there are different points of view and squirm-in-your-seats, smoking gun evidence.

I sometimes wonder if journos like this get PayPal hongbao (red envelopes full of money given during Chinese New Year) from Langley and Vauxhall Cross, to post anti-Chinese propaganda. Or, maybe they are just your plain vanilla, subconscious racists (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2018/01/06/slavs-and-the-yellow-peril-are-niggers-brutes-and-beasts-in-the-eyes-of-western-empire-china-rising-radio-sinoland/). Forbidden Knowledge possibly didn’t notice it, but they allowed Godfree’s thoughtful and reasoned riposte to be published below their piece. If they nuke it, I have posted it below, safe for posterity.

In closing, here is a prime example of the difference between the West’s real life, fascist panopticon versus China’s open, honest and forthright Social Credit System. This month, China Central Television (CCTV) cooperated with Tencent Research (of Wechat fame) to do a national survey, talking to 8,000 citizens. The results were broadcast on CCTV, picked up by all the print and social media and it was the topic-of-the-country for a few days. Why? Because 76.3% of the respondents think that some kinds of artificial intelligence (AI) are a threat to their privacy (https://www.thestar.com.my/tech/tech-news/2018/03/06/the-increasing-use-of-artificial-intelligence-is-stoking-privacy-concerns-in-china/). As the world’s largest user of surveys and polls (I wrote a whole chapter on this in China Rising and here is an article that touches on it: http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2016/05/22/china-has-the-worlds-most-popular-government-for-a-reason-china-rising-radio-sinoland-160522/), I can guarantee you that the results of this poll and many others like it were/are put on President Xi Jinping’s desk, as well as in the hands of thousands of other decision makers in China’s government. Unlike the West, Baba Beijing and Chinese democracy are proactively responsive to the citizens’ concerns, hopes and aspirations (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/11/30/do-you-see-what-i-see-depends-on-where-you-look-china-rising-radio-sinoland-171130/). Thousands of poll results are synthesized, analyzed and end up in laws passed and policies changed. China’s is real people’s participatory democracy, not the elitist, Potemkin Western version (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/12/27/china-has-democracy-and-the-west-has-dictatorship-171227/).

Herewith is Godfree Robert’s comment about the Reuters/Corbett Report/Forbidden Knowledge fearmongering yarn about China’s SCS. It is a great combo with my aforementioned article on the same subject (http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2018/01/11/chinas-public-social-credit-system-versus-the-wests-secret-panopticon-china-rising-radio-sinoland-180111/).

I would like to preface Godfree by saying that in the CSCS, if you have substantial back taxes, delinquent loans, unpaid financial court settlements and the like, you can be banned from flying, or taking costlier highspeed trains here. They may even take your passport. The logic being, if you can afford to buzz all over the place, then why can’t you pay your debts? These are usually well-heeled citizens who have the assets to live the high life. They can always drive their (chauffeured) cars on China’s 131,000km of motorways, more than any other country in the world (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_road_network_size and http://chinarising.puntopress.com/2017/08/26/china-is-the-most-plugged-in-big-economy-in-the-world-china-rising-radio-sinoland-170824/). I have never heard of not being able to take the metro or standard trains, unless you are out of prison and on parole.

These kinds of restrictions and much more onerous ones are put upon citizens in the West. The United States is now routinely imprisoning poor people who owe money, East St. Louis being just one of many examples (https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2016/02/debtors-prison/462378/). That’s just the tip of the American iceberg for loss of freedoms and due process. The Oklahoma Department of Education (ODE) refuses to give me my updated teacher’s certificate, because I have sent in my tax returns to the IRS three times, and due to its incompetence, my returns have never been official registered in its database. Last summer, I even went to the Oklahoma Tax Commission and hand delivered my returns to them, but that’s not good enough. The feds say no go, so I’m out $50 at ODE for nothing but frustration and insults.

These kinds of governmental limits on freedom and due process are legendary in the West (I lived and worked in France for five years), often preying on the powerless, voiceless and dark skinned members of society. As Godfree explains below, the Chinese are getting legal recourse for the CSCS. I know experientially that they already have it in local courts for small claim redresses, because I threatened to sue my landlord in Beijing and he backed down, a true life story I detailed in China Is Communist Dammit – Dawn of the Red Dynasty (https://www.amazon.com/China-Communist-Dammit-Dawn-Dynasty/dp/6027354380/).

Godfree’s turn:

Erm, no. China’s very public Social Credit program is not America’s very secret No Fly List. Not even close.

Our media are interpreting yet another Chinese policy, Social Credit, in Western terms but China does things differently and, usually, better.

First, Social Credit is a popular initiative: the Chinese are the most trusting society on earth yet don’t have credit ratings so they’re tired of being scammed online for billions each year. 

First [II], they trust the government–not private credit agencies like Equifax–to run projects that impact everyone because they trust their government far more than we trust ours: 86% of them say it works for everybody and not just for a fortunate few.

Second, Social Credit doesn’t just rate citizens. It rates everyone from government departments and individual officials to cops, corporations, Supreme Court justices, Congresspeople–absolutely everyone and every enterprise gets a social credit rating that arises naturally from their interactions with others. 

Third, doesn’t this sound better than being secretly rated by private corporations who sell your information to other private corporations and secretly share it with government agencies–without your permission? And charge us for access to our own information? And offer no reciprocity? Ask TRW for a vendor’s credit history and current rating and what it costs you.

Fourth, Social Credit is 90% carrot and 10% stick: the higher your score the easier your life becomes. Japan and the Netherlands already offer expedited visa processing for tourists with scores above 750 and landlords and car rentals waive deposits if you’re over 800. It’s intended to be a magic carpet for those who play straight with everyone they encounter. 

Fifth, all the rules are public and anyone can play and all changes to your SC rating are transparent to you, in real time. For free. 

Sixth, China already has a prototype running, an online Social Credit Arbitration Court where, for a few dollars, you can have your case heard and receive a binding verdict that corrects mistakes. Millions of people use it and are refining it. It will go national in 2020.

Seventh, There’s an idealistic element: it’s part of China’s 2,000-year-old plan to create a ‘datong’ society in which (to be brief) everybody is taken care of and nobody needs to lock their doors at night: a goal every Chinese supports and which the government hopes to deliver by 2120. Imagine the effects of 100 years of Social Credit on the entire culture…

Customers applying for visas for developed countries, like Luxembourg or Japan, with scores above 750 need not submit bank records and enjoy perks like expedited airport security checks: a consumers’ magic carpet that reduces transaction fees and credit losses and builds consumer confidence. By 2018, more than 1,100 government officials had been blacklisted. 

More carrot than stick, corporations with strong social credit can expect government contracts and low-interest loans and raises small corporations’ credit if they observe consumer and product safety regulations, while debiting them for unreliability, dishonesty, excess emissions and even poor worker safety. Regulators say that, when the system becomes integrated it will generate corporate scorecards directly from sensor data, CCTV cameras, government and court records and consumer reviews. 

The program comes with a sting in its tail, as Oxford University’s Rogier Creemers says, “When rules are broken and not rectified in time you are entered in a list of ‘people subject to enforcement for trust breaking’ and denied access to things. Rules broken by corporations can lead to them being unable to issue corporate bonds and individuals being unable to become company directors. Trust-breakers can face penalties on subsidies, career progression, asset ownership and the ability to receive honorary titles from the Chinese government. Those who fail to repay debts are punished by travel restrictions”. 

A typical travel restriction made the news in 2017 when a real estate developer attempted to book a first class ticket to London and found that the system would only issue him a tourist seat. When he investigated he found that his restriction stemmed from several court judgements whose penalties he had not paid. By 2018, the People’s Court had banned six million defaulters from traveling by air and was working with government departments to ensure that they would be ‘limited on multiple levels’. A local court got creative: when someone calls a delinquent debtor in Dengfeng, Henan Province, instead of a ringtone they hear, “The person you are calling is listed as dishonest by the Dengfeng People’s Court. Please urge them to fulfill their obligations”. 

Social Credit gives consumers the same access to corporate and government ratings as corporations and governments have to consumers and make a highly trusting society transparent. Since it will be operational by 2020 and will doubtless arouse Western fears of Orwellian control, here is the official summary of the State Council’s Basic Plan for Establishing and Improving Systems of Joint Incentives for Trustworthiness [I posted the link to the whole document in my related article]:

Praise creditworthiness, discipline untrustworthiness. Fully utilize credit incentives and constraints, increasing the extent of incentives for trustworthy entities and of disciplinary actions for seriously untrustworthy entities, letting the trustworthy receive benefits and the untrustworthy be subject to restrictions, forming systemic mechanisms for praising honesty and disciplining untrustworthiness.

Coordinate departmental and social action. By disclosing and sharing credit information, establish cross-region, interdepartmental, and cross-sector mechanisms for joint incentives and joint disciplinary action, forming a common governance structure in which government departments coordinate their concerted action, industry organizes self-discipline and management, credit service organizations actively participate–all broadly supervised by public opinion.

Protect rights and interests in accordance with laws and regulations. Strictly follow laws, regulations and policies to scientifically delineate trustworthy and untrustworthy conduct, develop joint incentives for trustworthiness and joint disciplinary action for untrustworthiness.

Establish complete mechanisms for credit restoration, objections, appeals and so forth to protect all participants’ lawful rights and interests [the Social Credit Arbitration Court].

Focus on key points, coordinate advancement. Persist in being problem-oriented, striving to resolve credit issues in key industries that are currently harmful to the public interest and public safety, on which many people have given strong feedback [recall all the polls and surveys discussed above], or which have caused serious negative impacts on economic and social development.

Encourage and support innovations and demonstrations by local people’s governments and relevant departments and gradually expand mechanisms for jointly incentivizing trustworthiness and jointly discipline untrustworthiness to every area of the economy and society.

This is another Big Chinese Experiment, a revolutionary way for people and institutions to relate to one another so let’s give it a chance. Who knows? We might learn something.

%d bloggers like this: