Category Archives: The new Cold War

The Weirdness of Washington

As Brian Cloughley recently noted

Xenophobia is «the dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries» and has become rampant in Great Britain. It is a sad moral weakness but a powerful weapon for propagandists, and much of Britain’s print media excel in using it against the European Union and Russia. It feeds what Orwell called «primitive patriotism».

While the American mainstream media have been amazingly foolish and laughable in their attempt to ‘prove” Trump ‘collusion with Russia” we see similar attempts in the once authentic and honest U.K. newspapers like The Guardian where Trump is somehow accused of doing or saying something that means ( what, exactly, we can never be quite sure) he is in bed with Putin . The innuendo and leading phrasing smack of pure propaganda. And we must ask the question’ why”? What is all this dishonesty for? Who is intended to benefit? Why is presumably deposing Trump (legally or illegally), the right outcome?. Does the media and the Washington ‘elite’ not understand that they are in effect stripping away the last semblances of an American  democratic state by doing so? It appears not. So what will Washington and the United States be left with after Trump has gone?

It would appear we will be faced with a vice president cum President without any political legitimacy whatsoever, along with  the potential for violent responses on the streets from those unwashed masses the “ Basket of Deplorables” that Hillary Clinton so amazingly arrogantly described . Is that what is wanted ?

Clearly that scenario opens the way for a Washington bureaucracy-run White House which can implement even more stringent powers to restrict freedom of expression and movement in the United States…

And why are we seeing this anti-Trump media deluge exposing day after day clearly absurd and spurious charges against him , right across the Western world? Why do all Western populations have to be indoctrinated into believing that Russia is the evil empire controlling the patently brutish Trump? Where are we being led?

The recent American  attack  on Hizbollah  forces supporting the Syrian Arab Army near Al-Tanf, is yet  one more example of U.S.  forces pushing their agression into  countries where they have absolutely no  mandate to do  so-  but also   pushing the limits of credibility and sanity.  The purported U.S.  rationale for these air atacks on  a small  column of Syrian  forces maneouvering to attack  ISIS,  was that  they  were ‘too  close to  American  support forces’ and an American  base illegally stationed ( according to  international  law) on Syrian  soil.  In  another world;  this would be theatre of the  bizarre. But it pushes the margins of  likely  armed attacks on  legimately  stationed Russian forces in Syria.  It is entirely possible that the attack was designed to  push legally stationed  Iranian  and Hezbollah  forces into  a confrontation with the United States,  and thus give ‘credibility’  to  a full-blown U.S.  invasion of  Syria, with  the  likelihood, intended or otherwise, of an  Russian/American  confrontation.

Why is having a war with Russia so important? We know wars reduce democratic freedoms in both antagonists, we know that they shift essential resources from productive enterprise to war machinery, we know that it requires unhesitating patriotic fervour from the masses, we know that if one side wins the war they can impose their wishes on the defeated.. and destroy the opposition’s economic and strategic influence, we know wars can bleed a country dry….

But we also know in this instance that these two antagonists are major nuclear powers…

The United States would have no capacity to completely annihilate a Russian nuclear counter response in an attack on Russia. Russian nuclear subs, unidentified ICBM silos, the destruction of vital U.S. IT infrastructure including nuclear power plants…

The capacity for indefinite destruction of U.S,. economic infrastructure – let alone the population – is immense..

Why go there?

Who is in charge in Washington, and are they sane?

As is clearly demonstrated  in U.S. State Dept  press releases, Washington is  either entirely  divorced from  reality and has absolutely no  knowledge of what is really happening in the Middle East and elsewhere,  or they (and more probably)  are simply lieing to achieve their own political and economic ends..   As  U.S.  influence continues to decrease globally the flailing dying animal becomes more dangerous…


Links

http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2017/05/17/propaganda-feeds-fear-and-loathing.html

http://time.com/4486437/hillary-clinton-donald-trump-basket-of-deplorables/

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2017/may/18/trump-strays-white-house-message-mueller-witch-hunt?

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/05/us-attacks-syrian-government-forces-it-now-has-to-make-its-choice.html#more

The Rogue State that is the United States of America

As  one more US aircraft  carrier  steams  off to  confront the North Koreans and threaten nuclear war once again , it is timely to  recall  that  60  years ago  the United States and its allies (including a very  compliant New Zealand) began  a genocidal  bombing of every  town  and city in  the north of Korea.  Millions of Koreans died. Since that  war ended,  the largest and nuclear superpower in  the world has refused to  sign  a peace treaty  with  North Korea,  has stationed thousands of troops  and weapons along its South Korean border and has regularly  threatened to nuke North  Korea,  applied  annual  large scale attack  manoeuvres along the border with North Korea, as well  as  implementing  sanctions that in  several years since the war,  caused mass starvation in  the north.   Small  wonder that the North  Korean  regime might be considered  paranoid and unstable!
Ironically, the United States has absolutely no  interest  in  the Korean peninsula and its peoples;  its sole rationale for  maintaining the ongoing conflict  with North Korea is to justify  maintaining the extensive military  bases encircling China, with the support of the Japanese. China has recently  proposed “As a first step, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) may suspend its nuclear and missile activities in exchange for the suspension of large-scale U.S.-Republic of Korea (ROK) military exercises,” but  this eminently reasonable offer has been  once again  refused by  the United States because it would reduce the threat to  China.
While the latest  American  President is  also  considered unstable and unreliable, it is  important to  recognise that every American president’s  foreign  policy  since the 1900s   has almost entirely consisted of  a psychopathic policy of violence and war and repeated acts of genocide:-  in  the Philippines,   at  Hiroshima and Nagasaki,  in  Korea, Vietnam and Laos,   in Iraq,   and Libya,  as well  as support for unspeakable acts of murder and  terror in South  America .  Its  full logistical and weaponry  support for the starvation of millions of Yemen ‘s children by  Saudi Arabia  because they do  not share the Saudi regime’s  extremist  and sectarian Wahhabist views,  (ably supported in  this war of terror by  its sycophantic ally, the United Kingdon),  tells you exactly where the United States’ current moral  and ethical  foreign policy stands.
The old fiction of the “Shining City Upon  a Hill”  –  an American beacon of hope, democracy,  liberty and freedom ,  has been ceaselessly trotted out by American  Presidents  over the years and regurgitated by  the American mainstream  media. Now the facade of that  shining city is falling away;-exposing the house of horrors within.
United States  foreign policy  does not recognise the international  rules of war or human rights obligations;   it stands above any necessity for humanity or compassion or  peaceful  solution to  conflicts.  It is in fact,  a rogue state.

Links

The Monster that was Obama

Thankfully the  words of adulation for  ex-president Obama are now dying down and we are instead  now innundated with hate media  (not altogether underserved)  for President Trump.

Obama was above all  things a con-artist. The sweet  honeyed words of the used car  saleman,  masking  sociopathic   intent . A man  who  talked peace and made war. A man  who  preached enviromentalism  and destroyed much  more than he preserved. A man  who  faked humanity while ruthlessly killing  innocents by  drone.

And a man  who  has set  the scene for the  destruction of what little remains of the U.S democratic  process, through  his  persistent undermining of his successor.

By  why  let me drone on?

Please look at this excellent  record of  his legacy by  Samuel Johnson   for yourself,  and decide….


Links

View story at Medium.com

 

Lies, Damn Lies, and Propaganda

My apologies to Benjamin Disraeli for abusing his wonderful quote about statistics in my blog title.
In essence, any information, however factual, can be used to manipulate opinion; and is most frequently used in that manner. The recent barrage of U.S. media reports on ‘fake news’, of Facebook getting mainstream media to, laughably, monitor what is fake and is not fake in Facebook posts, the accusations of Russian (sorry Putin) manipulation of the US media for his  own nefarious ends…. the list of ‘factual’ reports goes on and on.

What we do know as fact is that the media has frequently and knowingly, lied to their respective publics about news; particularly news about ‘foreign’ wars.
For instance, we know the media lied on behalf of the U.S. State Department about the reasons for war with North Korea in the 50s, the Gulf of Tonkin incident which was  supposedly the rationale for war with “North’ Vietnam, the war in Kosovo against Serbia, the war in Iraq, the war in Libya, the war in Syria….and so on..

And U.S. media is not alone in blindly reporting press releases from government agencies- the U.K. media is amazingly compliant for one which espouses a ‘free press’, in reporting as ‘fact’  what  is churned out from  government  reporting channels.
So , one might think that the world public would by now recognize that media tells lies and half-truths, or ‘selective truths’ – incessantly- for political ends. But for some reason; time after time; the public believes the next new set of ‘facts’.
And I am not for a minute suggesting that the Russian media is in any way free of the propaganda and lies that Western media indulge in daily; the difference for western publics, is that they are a new set of lies- or ‘half-truths’, or simply a different perspective. Hence they are extremely valuable in helping Westerners determine what the possible ‘real’ reality might be.

We have seen increasingly hysterical and far-fetched outbursts from Western politicians and their mainstream media (MSM) allies about ‘fake news ‘ because MSM is failing to deliver the goods to them. The public is slowly but increasingly becoming aware of other perspectives on international events;  the  open internet  plays a very  significant role in  this. ‘Brexit’ was a prime example where enormous resources were poured into convincing the UK public that exiting the EU would be the worst possible thing that could ever happen to them-and yes the majority of voters voted for Brexit! In the U.S., the presidential election saw an astonishingly powerful alignment of MSM , politicians, celebrities etc lined up against Trump- and yes- using the archaic electoral college system, he won! The constantly repeated refrain about evil Assad and Putin in Syria  and  Aleppo has become to fray at the edges as many westerners see the Aleppan public dancing in the streets as the rebels are ‘evacuated’ to other places, and the true savagery of the ‘moderate rebels’ unveiled.
There is panic in Western political circles. What if the public really could make up its own mind, using multiple and divergent sources of information?
Russia therefore becomes a convenient bogey-man- haven’t we always feared the barbaric, savage and primitive Russian Bear? The consequence of using ‘external’ bogey-men is that politicians and media therefore imply that if you dont agree with their version of events, you must have been subtly manipulated by Communist (whoops!) I mean Russian, propaganda. The dangerous next implication, is that we have a fifth column in our midst; people who are not ‘true patriots’ because they dont believe the ‘correct’ party line..

This fear-mongering by MSM and politicians is therefore , a deliberate and direct attack on our democratic freedoms and rights.

The other  hugely significant implication of the U.S Intelligence  fear-mongering, is that if a a  foreign  media outlet indicates any  support for one  side or other of a political  debate  or election it is somehow undermining that  country’s democracy. The implication being that  all  foreign media  should have slavishly endorsed the Hilary  campaign ( 99% of which  did so as ordered)

 

Postscript

The recent accusations by  President Obama , the Democrat  Party and others that  Russia (and specifically Vladimir Putin)   hacked   Democrat  emails to discredit  Hillary  Clinton in the presidential  election  are outlined in  the State Department media  release . The very  reputable US based WordPress  IT website ‘Wordfence’    concludes  that  the State Dept information  provided is implausible in its intent to  show that the hacking (if it occurred) , was Russian, and that the sources quoted in the State Dept memo  are in  fact outdated Ukrainian malware)
https://www.wordfence.com/blog/2016/12/russia-malware-ip-hack/

Overall Conclusion
The IP addresses that DHS provided may have been used for an attack by a state actor like Russia. But they don’t appear to provide any association with Russia. They are probably used by a wide range of other malicious actors, especially the 15% of IP addresses that are Tor exit nodes.

The malware sample is old, widely used and appears to be Ukrainian. It has no apparent relationship with Russian intelligence and it would be an indicator of compromise for any website.

Rinf.com argues that Cloudstrike–  the company  contracted by  the Democrat Party to investigate the ‘hacks” ,  and also  the sole source of the State Dept info on  the ‘hacks’,  is  strongly connected to  the Ukrainian regime in Kiev ,  which  is strongly  ant-Russian  for obvious reasons. We appear to  be seeing,  as we have time and time again,  the U.S.  ‘intelligence’  community  being easily or (willingly )  conned  by  hostile vested interests determined to  create hostilities where none are needed:  think   the Kuwaiti  scam  on  Saddam’s Iraqi soldiers bayoneting incubator  babies,  the Libyan  scam on  Ghadaffi’s forces using   viagra to  rape  civilians… the list  goes on  and on. Combine the lack  of inteligence and  analytical  skills of the U.S. intelligence community with  a deeply ingrained  psyche that  considers violence and war as the solution to  everything,  we have a problem….The  current massing of hundreds of American  tanks and other weaponry  in  the Baltic states is signalling that the U.S.  war  machine intends to  strike soon .

The latest   surreal  reports of Trump  being  manipulated and blackmailed by  Putin  get even  more scary. This is now evidence that  the current US administration  under Obama is trying to  subvert the results of the US Presidential  election so  that they  can continue in  the buildup  to  war with Russia ..There is now overwhelming feedback  from  a multitude of specialist  sources that  these accusations by a  ‘former’  MI6 agent are simply  porkies.

Craig Murray provides a very  clear insight into why  the ‘former’  MI6 agents ‘dossier’  is  rubbish.


Links

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/the-deep-state-versus-donald-trump-new-smears-and-a-ukrainian-connection.html#more

Trump Sex Blackmail, New Twist in Witch-Hunt  By Finian Cunningham

The Steele Dossier or the Hitler Diaries Mark II

Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections ( Office of the Director of U.S.  National  Intelligence)

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/01/12/britain-dragged-donald-trump-dirty-dossier-row-amid-claims-whitehall/

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/the_real_purpose_of_the_us_governments_report_on_alleged_hacking_by_russi

http://www.moonofalabama.org/2017/01/deep-state-35-pages-attack-against-trump-fails-foreign-and-domestic-losses.html#more

http://www.unz.com/pcockburn/the-dodgy-trump-dossier-reminds-me-of-the-row-over-saddams-wmds/

https://theintercept.com/2017/01/11/the-deep-state-goes-to-war-with-president-elect-using-unverified-claims-as-dems-cheer/

Aleppo- the final battle ground for the Saudis?

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have put huge resources,  not only into  funding and paying for anti-Shiite Salafist  soldiers in  Syria, but also into  resourcing  a vast media   campaign to   attack   Iran  and the IRGC for its role in  supporting the Assad regime.

With the imminent defeat of the Saudi  funded jihadists in Aleppo, the Saudis are facing a huge hit to their morale and international  standing-  especially when  taken alongside their disastrous war in Yemen, which increasingly is seen  to be a humanitarian  human rights genocidal  campaign against  the Yemen people. The anti-Iran campaign  now means that it will be considered internationally that Iran has in effect, defeated the Saudis in Syria. This is however, not the true state of affairs; while Iran’s IRGC has played a significant role in Syria over the past two years, their role does not appear to have been a game changer- despite the Iranian  hype about the famed General  Suleiman and his soldiers.

With the likely defeat of all opposition forces in Eastern Aleppo in the next few weeks,  those 25,000  battle-hardened SAA (Syrian Government) soldiers in  action there can  now be deployed elsewhere in  Syria. This re-deployment will likely result in  the final defeat of the majority of forces  aligned with the Saudis and Qataris  and  trained  by  Western  governments  in the Jordanian  ‘rebel’  camps. The “King’  of Jordan will  now have to make  some considerable  contortions in  order  to ‘make up’  with Assad – but it’s quite possible that  those jihadis escaping back over the Jordanian border will now  make a serious attempt to overthrow  another of the West’s  pawns in  the Middle East. Additionally, those rebels of European origin,  which  Western intelligence agencies have been facilitating into Syria  for the past five years, are also likely to return  to  their native European countries bringing their  carefully honed military skills and sectarian hatreds with them.

Should the Assad regime succeed in  pacifying the majority of Syria , the huge resources put into destabilising Syria by the George Soros business empire, the French,  the U.K., Turkey and the U.S.,  means  that  their corporate intent to profit from  re-building the Syria they have destroyed,  will have come to nothing. Chinese and Russian businesses are now well placed to do that.

And Saudi Arabia, has by its attempts to play  Iran  as the key evil  agent in Syria ,  almost literally, shot itself in the foot-  with  a consequence that  the whole Saudi  regime is now likely to  go  gangrenous  in a relatively short space of time. No wonder the UK is panicking in its absurd manipulation of MSM media coverage of the Syrian war! The loss of the Saudi ‘kingdom’ to UK control and arms sales, would be a catastrophic loss for those who hold the puppet-strings of power in Whitehall and ‘The City’. Should the Qatari regime also be brought down in the aftermath of a SAA victory, the implications for Western influence in the Middle East will be huge.

Given that Egypt now appears to be wavering towards supporting the Assad regime and the Russians, there are serious international re-alignments happening. Even the wily but somewhat  deranged President Erdogan of Turkey is admitting that his long-term interests no  longer lie with  being antagonistic to  Russia – particularly if the  oil pipeline from Russia to Europe can run  through  his backyard!

Early prognostications were that the EU and US sanctions against Russia, (ostensibly for their Crimean ‘invasion’) would cripple the Russian economy. With the shift of economic focus of Russia towards the East and China’s One Belt Road, the impacts of the sanctions have been somewhat reduced,  and the medium  term economic outlook  for Russia  now looks  considerably more rosy than even the worst dreams of  U.S. neocons .

For the Chinese, the increasing hysteria coming from the US about China’s growing power, economically and militarily, is now being mitigated by the rapid development of  the ‘One Belt Road’   This new high-speed  overland trade route to  Russia  and the West means that China will, in  the near future, be somewhat insulated from the increasing risks of Western  warships blockading its trade routes to the outside world. Bizarrely the U.K. government in London is now also sending its aging warships to the South China Sea (shades of the ‘Opium Wars’). Commercial  engagement in  a revitalised Syria is just one part the Chinese are likely to  play in their resurgent role in the Middle East.

In short, the battle for Aleppo is one symptom of the shifting power alignments in the world. A victory for Assad and his allies implies a significant change in the ways of the world for the medium to long term.

Where next for Syria?

The recent  announcement  by  the Obama administration that it will  send 50  U.S.  military  advisers into  Syria  apparently adds another layer of complexity to  an already  viciously complex and violent  war in Syria, however in this analysis I will  argue that this U.S.  announcement simply attempts to  legitimise  what  already  exists on the ground.

Some media have portrayed this  “civil war’  as a sectarian one. However  the sectarianism is a one-side affair in this instance. Those who play  the  sectarian  card are invariably those of an extremist Sunni  Wahhabi   and takfiri persuasion – ie they  wish to  ensure that  Syria becomes  a completely  Sunni wahhabi dominated society where other  Syrian religions and Muslim sects  are either eliminated or marginally tolerated. Those who  fund and support these  extremist doctrines  are primarily those in the Gulf dictatorships- the Saudi and Qatar governments,  and the increasingly  sectarian  government of Turkish  president Erdogan (particularly after his  most suspiciously positive and unexpected electorate  win  a few days ago).

In part this takfiri  response can be explained as a fear of Shi-ite Iran, and to  a smaller degree, Shi-ite Iraq,  reasserting their  influence  and non Western-government alignment in  the Middle East. In part it  also symbolises the  hold that  the bigots of the Wahhabi sect have over the Gulf regimes.  In tandem  with this approach we have the United States ( and the U.K.  France and Italy)  actively supporting these extremist regimes in  the vain  hope that  destabilisation and balkanisation of the Middle East  will  serve their economic interests ( more weapons sales) and preserve the increasingly fragile Israeli  occupying power in Palestine.  The United States has been actively supporting destabilisation of the Syrian Assad government  since at  least  2004, with  supposedly non-lethal military  hardware and  ‘advisors’ to  what  are described by  the U.S.  as  “moderate’ anti-Assad groups, on  the ground in Syria.

The resultant avalanche  of Syrian  refugees into  Eastern  Europe and beyond, is  perhaps an unanticipated  impact  on already  vulnerable  European economies. However, in  all  of this, the U.S. remains largely immune to  the horrendous human impacts  and geopolitical  disaster its support for extremism has incurred across the Middle East and now, to a  vastly smaller degree, to Europe.

On the other “side” we have the SAA, the Syrian government army; which  despite the hype from  the opposition, is largely composed of non-Allawite  and non-Shi-ite  troops, but is increasingly supported by  Shi-ite Hezbollah fighters from Lebanon and  Iranian “advisers” from  their irregular army,  the IRGC, the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution.  The decision of Russia to  escalate its support for the Assad regime; (it has had a naval  base at  Tartus on the Syrian  coast for many years, and provided some military  resources and advisors to  the SAA  since the start  of the war) and begin  bombing  all  of the groups opposing the SAA, has shifted the military  balance on  the ground significantly in  favour of the Assad government. The fiction that  the Russians are in  fact only bombing the ‘nice guys’ opposing the Assad regime, belies the fact  that all  of  the opposition groups’ key aim is to  topple the secular Assad government and establish  a Sunni Wahhabi state  or caliphate . While the opposition groups  fight amongst  each  other  for dominance, and disagree on  the level  of intolerance and extremism   required to  achieve this goal, they also  increasingly collaborate on  the ground  in  the face of  threats of potential  extinction by  the resurgent Assad government forces and their allies.

As Wikipedia notes here, the number of factions fighting in Syria is  already  in the  forties  and the “civil war” environment  is growing increasingly complex day  by  day. What  the proportion of  foreign fighters  (whether mercenaries or jihadists) in the anti-Assad camp is  impossible to  verify  at  this point;  but  the reports of deaths caused by  the recent SAA resurgence,  indicate a substantial  proportion are non-Syrian.

As the U.S. knows well, a victory  for the anti-Assad (anti-Syrian  government) forces, will  result  in the total  breakdown of Syrian  infrastructure,  the destruction of Damascus,  the creation of a multitude of states within  states in Syria and Iraq, a bloodbath  for those remaining non-Sunni   sects  in Syria and a greater avalanche of refugees into  Europe. One can  only assume that this  is what  the United States and its Western  allies want.

Yet, when  we look  at  mainstream  Western media,  the Russian intervention is portrayed as  being caused by Putin’s megalomania,  Russian attempts to  reinstate themselves as  a global  power  or  an  attempt to  re-live the old glories of the Soviet empire , rather than  a fearful  response to  Western  destabilisation. Russia  Iran  and Hizbollah  are only too  familiar with   the ongoing destabilisation of their countries by  Western intelligence agencies and their proxies, to  not see  the export of Wahhabi extremism  to  Syria as a serious threat  to their own  long-term viability.

The announcement by  Obama of 50 U.S. “Special Forces” troops to  be deployed to  Syria, is therefore simply smoke and mirrors. In all  likelihood, those same 50  special  forces have been on the ground  (along with other Western  intelligence officers and  advisors from  the Gulf states, for at  least  the past 5 years in Syria; advising, training and channelling weapons to  their “moderate” jihadists. The announcement is an  attempt to  somehow legitimise the status quo, when in fact those men  are operating illegally inside a sovereign  state with  the sole  purpose of destabilising that state.

The other often mentioned U.S. response of a  ‘no-fly zone’ in Syria, is another rather transparent attempt to  ensure that  the Syrian air-force and helicopters cannot  engage the jihadists;  with the inevitable outcome being  a  full  collapse of the Damascus government and infrastructure and a massive increase in  human suffering and refugees..

The recent flurry  of diplomatic manoeuvering in Vienna between some, but not all of the key players, reflects in  part the concerns in Washington about the impacts of the recent active bombing of ISIS and other Al Qaeda affiliates in Syria by  the Russian airforce, and the consequent  apparently significant  military  successes on the ground by  the SAA and its  allies.


 

Links

http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n21/patrick-cockburn/too-weak-too-strong

http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2015/11/08/the-sham-syrian-peace-conference/

Jeremy Corbyn and ‘The Red Flag’

The recent election by  the British Labour Party  members of a new  person to head the party, may  foreshadow a new groundswell  of public opinion  to  negate the years of right-wing propaganda  that has  enveloped many Western  party structures in the past few decades. The Labour Parties and Social Democrats of Europe had become bought enterprises- vehicles for corporate business to make shady deals, rather  than political parties representing those who have been disadvantaged, and the factory  working class.

While the gap  between  rich  and poor across the Western  world has widened significantly  (none more so in my own  country  of New Zealand), as a result of these neo-con or “New Labour”  business policies, we have also  seen  a marked decline in  the industrial  bases  of all of those countries ( save Germany), with   industrial  output outsourced, or simply acquired by  businesses predominantly in China. That decline in western industrial production has resulted in a marked decline in the numbers of the “working class” (ie factory workers). Instead, the service industries (primarily tourism, the hospitality industry, and the provision of support to the disadvantaged) have blossomed, but the collective power of their respective trade unions, has not.  Thus the collective capacity to negotiate or confront the widening economic gap, has dwindled as the need has become greater.

Along with increasing disparity; perhaps even because of it, we have seen the power of media manipulators who represent the rich, consolidated. The media empires  controlled by  people like  Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg ,Ted Turner, and more recently the Qatari ruling dictatorship  via Al Jazeera,  now have the capacity to bombard the public day and night using multiple media. That barrage of media is unremittingly designed to favour the perspectives of the rich. While western democracies still retain some capacity to deliver independent and non-partisan news; that capacity is a minute proportion compared to the deluge of “news” delivered by the media moguls.   Thus the mogul’s news is seen by  the general  public  as “mainstream”, “orthodox” and not “radical”, and somehow because of that, the real legitimate news.

So, returning to Jeremy Corbyn: will he be able to withstand the certain onslaught of “mainstream” media condemning him as a ‘radical’, ‘communist’, ‘anti-semitic’, ‘terrorist’, ’crazy’, ‘neolithic’, ‘out-of-touch –with –reality’, ‘has-been’ politician. That  war has already  begun  in the U.K. media. See the Daily Mail’s most recent   diatribe  here . Or the U.K. Conservative Party’s  somewhat  bizarre atempt  at  scaremongering  below.

And will Mr Corbyn stick to his promises should be come to power in Britain? Or will he, like the Syriza Party in Greece, fold under the intense pressures of other more “business-friendly” governments?  If he can indeed keep to  his political  promises, and be elected  as Prime Minster of England in the UKs general election of Thursday 7 May 2020, and not be pulled to  pieces by  the mainstream media  dogs in the interim, he will  have done our international  democratic landscape a great  service; and potentially as service to  our environment and an end to senseless wars (senseless other than to line the pockets of politicians, war manufacturers and international  re-development agencies) . May he be one of the first  markers of a return  to true democratic pluralism rather than  oligarchy, along with  the  demoralised  Syrizas of Greece, the Podemos of Spain  and the other radical  truly left-wing groups re-forming all  over Europe.

I note with pleasure Mr Corbyn’s first political gesture on his election:- the singing of “The International” (completely tunelessly),  in a London pub before his foray out to greet his fellow celebrants of his victory outside Parliament.

The International (The Red Flag) (first chorus)
The people’s flag is deepest red,
It shrouded oft our martyred dead,
And ere their limbs grew stiff and cold,
Their hearts’ blood dyed its every fold.

So raise the scarlet standard high,
Beneath its shade we’ll live and die,
Though cowards flinch and traitors sneer,
We’ll keep the red flag flying here.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Flag#cite_note-5“>[5]

However, this return to representation of the disadvantaged, the marginalised and the impoverished must be matched by  a new understanding of the urgent  need of our species to  co-exist  with all  the others on this planet. The old   fight over the means of production (capitalism versus socialism/communism) must be replaced by one which  questions at  every  turn, our need to  produce and “grow” countries’  economies. A sustainable world for all the remaining species on  this planet , along with an end to  all  wars, is an incredibly urgent goal  for humanity at  this late, late hour.


Links

http://gordoncampbell.scoop.co.nz/2015/09/14/gordon-campbell-on-corbyn-trump-and-outsider-politics/

http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2015/09/epic-challenges-facing-jeremy-corbyn-labour-leader

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/sep/15/leftwing-evangelical-christianity-corbyn

The Rule of International Law

Richard Falk; ex- U.N. rapporteur for  Palestine, writes another beautifully effective and rational  analysis of the realities of international  law  in his blog entitled   “Opposing Impunity  for Geopolitical  Criminality” .

In this of many similar articles from Richard Falk, he exposes the hypocrisy of state entities who  proselytize about the rule of law in  state conflicts.

The ongoing theme of “victor’s justice” permeates all current   and historical rule of international  law – that needs to  change if we are to  see the end to  wars and  state violence.

The Death of Boris Nemtsov: A Quick Analysis

The recent murder of Boris Nemtsov, a Russian  opposition politician  and ex-physicist, on the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge very  near to  the Kremlin in Moscow, raises many questions.

Predictably,  Western  politicians  and  mainstream  media are pointing  the finger at  Vladmir Putin, the President of Russia, as the man  who  signed off on Nemtsov’s execution. In  remarkably similar  ways to  the their response to  the  downing of MH 17 over Ukraine last  year,  they have leapt at  the opportunity to  once more demonise Putin. Proof of course, is immaterial in  this game.

Let us be under no  illusions, Putin  as an  ex-KGB officer is perfectly capable of signing Nemtsov’s death  warrant and may have done so, but , as I will  attempt  to  demonstrate, that   is the more unlikely  scenario in this instance.  Western media point to   other deaths of Russian  opposition politicians and oligarchs where  some of the evidence points to Russian  state apparatus involvement as proof that  this time, once again, another key  opposition to  Putin  has been  removed.  This despite the fact  that  Putin’s approval  rating in Russia  remains  at  around 86% while Nemtsov’s appears to  have been  less than  5% at  the time of his death.

Nemtsov’s political  colleagues argue that  he was killed to  pre-empt his imminent disclosure of  proof of Russian  military  direct  involvement in Ukraine.  Why his death  would prevent that  disclosure happening is unknown, or even  why  Nemtsov would have access to information that  was not  immediately available  to  Western politicians via  high-resolution  spy satellite imagery,  is a mystery.

His death  certainly resulted in  a Moscow march  of  many  thousands  of supporters and also  presumably included some  who  want an end to violence murder and political  intimidation in  the city . The Guardian  newspaper disparagingly reported that Moscow  Police estimated 7,000 on the march,  whereas in  fact  the police estimates from  RT.com  talk  of   around 50,000.

Boris Nemtsov was undoubtedly an  interesting  person.  With  a Phd in physics and a significant number of academic papers under his belt for quantum physics, he turned , instead to  politics, and quickly became a rising star  in Boris Yeltsin’s alcoholic haze of a government after the fall  of Soviet Russia becoming Deputy Prime Minister  for four months under Yeltsin in  1998 . Credited as being a “reformist”,  he later co-founded  the the “Union of Right Forces ”  party  in 1999 , and then opposed its inevitable merge to  survive as part of the ‘Right Cause’ party in 2008.  In 2012,  Nemtsov was appointed co-chair of the Republican Party of Russia – People’s Freedom Party (RPR-PARNAS) which  is a  member of the  Alliance of Liberals and Democrats  for Europe Party . 

Nemtsov and many of the parties he has been  affiliated to have been  accused, with  some truth, of being funded supported and guided by  European  and American  political interests such  as the  (European) Endowment for Democracy – an agency  with  distinctly  U.S. business  and right wing agendas, but portraying itself as a supporter of  local democracy.   Such  philosophies  are clearly on  a collision course with rising  nationalist  fervour in  many parts of Eastern Europe.   Implicated in  many of the “colour revolutions” in  places like Ukraine and Georgia, and in support of the “moderate” rebels in Syria, the agency  plays a lead non government role in  supporting  U.S.  government  power and control agendas. Very  much because of this American  bias and Russian  nationalism,  rather than  their neo-liberal agenda,  the political  parties Nemtsov was active in, played  to  an increasingly  smaller Russian audience over the years.

Russian  opposition activists see Nemtsov’s death  as an  opportunity; “We need to seriously think what to do from now on,” Leonid Volkov, an opposition leader and organizer of the March 1 memorial, said by phone. “We were at a low point but now some things have crystallized that allow us to make plans. I think it’s the start of a new wave of protests. It’s a real shame it took such an event for that to happen.”

The  answer to  the question  therefore, of “cui  bono” ( who  benefits) by  this death  remains complex.  It is still  certainly possible that  Nemtsov’s death  was ordered or orchestrated by  President Putin or  members of his coterie, but given  Putin’s professed wish  to  re-establish  positive relations with  the West  after the annexation of Crimea and supposed military  involvement in Eastern Ukraine, this seems unlikely.  Russia Today (rt.com)  stated that  “At the moment, investigators are looking into five possible motives behind Nemtsov’s assassination.   ” According to Vladimir Markin, spokesman for the Investigative Committee, the murder could have been a provocation to destabilize the political situation in Russia. It could also be linked to threats Nemtsov received over his stance on the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris or the current war in Ukraine. The politician’s business activities and a possible assault related to his personal life are also being looked into.”  Notably,  and understandably for their personal  safety perhaps! the Moscow Police  excluded a  state political  motivation for the  murder.  Could Putin have removed Nemtsov because he  might be seen to be a  leading contender for Presidency if the economic situation deteriorated even  further in  Russia?- a possible but rather obscure motivation in  my view.

Nemtsov certainly had links to  what has been  termed as  the Russian Mafia and oligarchs -to-be ,  in his role in selling off state assets at  bargain  prices to criminals after the fall  of the Soviet Union- did he still  have enemies from  those days?-that  also  seems unlikely; although his recent links to  Russian  business interests are deemed to  be extensive, but  unknown to this blogger.

The role of the  young girl who  accompanied him  onto  the bridge where he was shot and who escaped entirely unharmed after 4 shots were fired into  Nemtsov’s back, warrants investigation. Indeed one may wonder why  Western mainstream media is so  indignant that  she is being held for questioning  (as is standard Police practice internationally),  and not allowed to return  home to the Ukraine. Nemtsov’s was  very  much  opposed to  Russia’s annexation of Crimea and  the Russian  connection to  the Eastern Ukraine rebellion. Such  a political  view is extremely unpopular and deemed to  be unpatriotic in  Russia today; was he murdered by Novorussians perhaps because he was considered a traitor?

Or alternatively, was he murdered by  his  Western intelligence handlers because he was now  worth more to  them dead than  alive? Certainly the track  record of Western “intelligence”,  would indicate they  have absolutely no  qualms about torturing, murdering or destroying the lives of anyone who  gets in their way to  create that ‘better world’  ruled by  their funders.  Clearly the immediate  benefit of his death is to  further undermine  Putin’s credibility in  the eyes of those who  read and believe  Western mainstream media. The impact  on a Russian audience is likely to be negligible given  Putin’s high standing with  the Russian public.

The Russian  opposition is ever hopeful  however: “We need to seriously think what to do from now on,” Leonid Volkov, an opposition leader and organizer of the March 1 memorial, said by phone. “We were at a low point but now some things have crystallized that allow us to make plans. I think it’s the start of a new wave of protests. It’s a real shame it took such an event for that to happen.” 

So, we are left with an implausible reason for Putin  and/or Russian intelligence to  kill Nemtsov, i.e. “proof” of Russian military involvement in Eastern Ukraine;  a possible  business deal gone wrong,   a murder to meet  the needs of  anti-Russian sentiment in  the West, an  opportunity for Russian opposition parties to  garner local  support, or possibly, but unlikely  given the murder ‘s locality on  a very public bridge,  a murder  to  avenge  a romantic relationship  gone sour. The death  certainly has the look of a targeted killing rather than  an act of revenge, and the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge is an ideal  public location to  stage opposition solidarity demonstrations after the death with  a Kremlin backdrop. And four single bullets to the back? hmmmm

 


Links

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/feb/27/russian-opposition-politician-boris-nemtsov-shot-dead-moscow-reports

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/garry-kasparov-speaks-out-on-assassination-of-boris-nemtsov-2015-2

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_Cause_%28political_party%29

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Union_of_Right_Forces

http://vineyardsaker.blogspot.co.nz/2015/02/breaking-news-false-flag-in-moscow.html

Rumblings on the Eastern Front

The Post title parodies  that  remarkable and brave account of the German war  in  Western Europe during World War One, “All  Quiet of the Western Front”  by    Erich Maria Remarque, a German veteran of World War I.

220px-Remarque_Im_Westen_nichts_Neues_1929As Robert Parry wrote in Consortium News If you wonder how the world could stumble into world war three – much as it did into world war one a century ago – all you need to do is look at the madness that has enveloped virtually the entire US political/media structure over Ukraine where a false narrative of white hats versus black hats took hold early and has proved impervious to facts or reason.”

But this impervious narrative is an essential  component of the drive to  crush  the Russian  economy with  sanctions and lowered oil  prices, along with  the attempts to  encircle   China via the  East  Asian  Pivot.

Much  like the sanctions imposed on Iran for decades because of their fictional  nuclear weapons development, every  political  player West  and East  knows that  the fictional  Russian  troops in Eastern Ukraine (aside from  the Crimea)   are a wonderful  excuse to  attempt to economically destroy  the country. It is virtually impossible for the sanctioned country  to  prove the absence of something that  did not exist  in  the first place. But as Cuba has so ably proved in  the past 50  years, alternative strategies are possible and even beneficial.

The impact  of  crashing oil prices -however temporary-  on   all  the major oil  producers- including  Saudi Arabia, Dubai,  Abu Dhabi  and Qatar as well as Iran,  Venezuela, Russia and the shale oil industries of the U.S. and Canada , are unknown  and unpredictable. Did the  powers-that-be in  Washington and London consider what the impacts  of plunging oil prices would have on their jihadists  in Syria and Iraq and their consequent capacity to  buy more men and equipment? or even consider that weakening oil prices will  strengthen  China’s economic position in  the world?- we may never know…

In response to  these threats , Russia  and China have launched a whole swathe of economic  agreements between themselves and with other  neighbouring countries . As Pepe Escobar describes it, the   development of  the new silk road  via  high  speed rail  links between   China  and the rest  of Asia and Europe has begun  at  a startling rapid pace and will  result in  a completely changed  political/economic dynamic in  the world within  a very  short space of time that will also  be out of the reach  of U.S. and U.K . interests.

There is therefore urgent  need for the UK and US war economies  to  move fast  to eliminate these new threats as Western economies start to  crumble and their capacity to   control  markets and other state and non-entities is progressively  reduced.

Perhaps that  haste is the reason for the  level of incompetency  shown  by  the State Department in  putting “their man” Natalie Jaresko as Ukraine’s new Finance Minister.  The contempt shown to  Eastern Europeans  by  the US government in the appointment of this  corrupt US citizen and State Department official  as Ukraine’s Finance Minister is staggering, but yet remarkable for the   lack  of a response from  the (for now) subjugated Western Ukrainians. Or the even more absurd  Obama reaction to  some hacker group  infiltrating Sony and threatening  the company  for its film which  encourages the  assassination of a living head of state – something for which  the company could in fact  be indicted for in an international  court of law; (were there such a neutral  international  player)

The recent  reports from  the U.S on the types and extent of torture US officials are prepared to  disclose, is a tiny drop  in the ocean of the countless examples of the extent to  which  US and UK governments have long been  prepared to enslave, murder, torture and destroy  indiscriminately  if it serves their interests. While the British Empire’s  brutality  against  those of other skin colour  should need no further  explanation, it is often useful  to  point out  that the United States’ history  of state terrorism  and genocide is also  a very long one;  beginning with  the terror and genocide against  the Plains Indians in the  late 18th  century,  to  the US’s    brutal  colonizations  of  the Philippines and Caribbean in the 19th  century and the genocide committed in  the name of “democracy  and freedom”  in Korea, Vietnam,  Cambodia and Iraq ( to name just  a few). The 21st  century  is no  exception to  this long litany of terror, torture and murder by  these two  so-called “civilised” countries.  The scale of devastation and horror inflicted by  these two  countries against other  (‘foreign’)  populations, has no  equal.

That is not to  say  that   those state entities the United States and the UK  wish  to destroy  are themselves  necessarily humanitarian  and democratic; but it can be argued  that  -as in  the case of  post 1917 Russia, Weimar Germany, North Korea and Cambodia; where  civic institutions are crushed by  an overwhelmingly  powerful  outside force, then despotism  can freely reign.

The United States , the United Kingdom  and a few other ex-colonial  powers, have no  such  excuse. It is interesting to  note, that  up  until  the development of the “Terrorist” threat post 9/11, the  actions  of those two  states against  their own citizens had been  relatively benign; their emphasis has traditionally been on  harming external  states for  commercial  benefit; that  locus appears to  be changing into  a more wide-ranging capacity to  harm or  destroy  any individuals or entity  within  or without their  state borders that   impinge on the  powerful “elite”s capacity to  extract  more money for itself. In  all  probability,  this shift in  focus  is directly attributable to the dawning understanding that  the days of Western hegemony over  the world’s resources are numbered.

What  is blindingly obvious in this analysis is the totally banale and infantile drivers for these  constant wars, let alone  their leaders’  complete lack  of understanding and compassion for the suffering of others.   And we should not forget   the  massive contribution to  environmental  destruction this  300  year  old process  has delivered. This is certainly not an intelligent  process, although  the processes of domination and extraction of plunder are often complex.

We can only watch in  amazement  at the  psychopathic behaviours of key  US officials delighting in  the violent deaths of others  -eg  Dick Cheney, or Hilary  Clinton (below)

or Obama joking about killer drones, knowing full well  the impacts in  families and communities of  the thousands of innocent lives killed by  these random killing machines.

In fact  recent evidence on Hillary Clinton’s motivation’s for the war in Libya, reveal  little else than  the fact  that she didn’t like Muammar Ghaddafi.  Certainly there was absolutely no  evidence of the  genocide of Libyan civilians  by  Ghaddafi’s forces as was alleged and provided as rationale to U.S. supporting the jihadist  forces  there. Clinton’s  maniacal  delight in  Ghaddafi’s brutal  death  is a warning to us all.

and the UK’s Blair  and Jack  Straw who  simply refuse to  acknowledge that  their orders  resulted in  the needless deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and Afghans based simply on their whim ( ‘I kill because I can’). It may  be salutory  to  read Ahmad Baqawi’s damning analysis of the NATO intervention in Libya  and the resultant total  and deliberate destruction of Libya as a nation-state, or perhaps Peter Lee’s account of the  brutal  murder and destruction carried out by  the West  proxy’s in Syria in the name of “democracy  and freedom”

In another more equitable world , those  politicians would have long ago  been convicted and sent to high security forensic mental  health wards; or perhaps, as  the highly respected American  columnist   William Pfaff notes -simply tried Nuremburg style and, if convicted on  the evidence,  hanged.


Links

John Pilger – The Coming War documentary’ campaign