We’ve lived so long under the spell of hierarchy—from god-kings to feudal lords to party bosses—that only recently have we awakened to see not only that “regular” citizens have the capacity for self-governance, but that without their engagement our huge global crises cannot be addressed. The changes needed for human society simply to survive, let alone thrive, are so profound that the only way we will move toward them is if we ourselves, regular citizens, feel meaningful ownership of solutions through direct engagement. Our problems are too big, interrelated, and pervasive to yield to directives from on high.
—Frances Moore Lappé, excerpt from Time for Progressives to Grow Up
Saturday, October 1, 2016
What I found particularly valuable in this piece were his use of two sources: one that sources observations by members of the US Special Forces (unfortunately behind a paywall, but Crooke provides extensive quotes from this source) who are in Syria, and one that provides insights on the quixotic right-wing orientation of those attending a recent security/intelligence agency meeting in Texas.
Crooke taps some very interesting sources in an attempt to untangle the mysterious US actions in Syria. By arming different groups who sometimes engage in attacks on each other, the US has exhibited superficially symptoms of schizophrenia and/or a multiple personality disorder often found in mental patients. Recently various analysts have attributed this to different departments of the US government, the Defense Department and the CIA, rather independently directing operations in the area and often working at cross purposes. I don't agree.
Although Crooke doesn't offer any final conclusion, the implication of his analysis seems rather clear to me. The deep state of the capitalist ruling class works its will through all the secret and unaccountable agencies of the state (CIA, NSA, FBI, etc). Thus the meeting in Texas really reflected the views of this guiding directorate. As Obama once said in a brief moment of candor: "the CIA gets what it wants." Clearly this is an admission that he has no control over the CIA because he is only a puppet of the deep state of which the CIA is a part.
The fact that the Defense Department has permitted the deployment of US Special Forces to fight on the other side against terrorist forces was for other reasons that serve the interests of the same deep capitalist state. For example, they support Syrian Kurds who want to establish a separate nation--this conveniently fits with the dismemberment of Syria that has been frequently espoused by administration officials and usually expressed euphemistically as "no fly zones" or "safe zones". Also the resulting confusion serves their long held strategy of chaos to destabilize any targeted state.
McGovern reviews several major past lies and more recent ones that could serve to justify a catastrophic war with Russia. However he concludes with this naive statement:
In 2016, as we deal with the West’s new hysteria regarding Russia – complete with rehashes of prior propaganda themes and military escalations – the pressing question is whether there are any adults left at senior levels of Official Washington who can rein in the madness before things spin entirely out of control. [my emphasis]He naively believe that the officials of the US government control the policies that their various agencies pursue. No, they are not immature people, they are much worse: they are puppets of a deep state controlled by major transnational bankers and corporations whose diktats are enforced by their various secret services and puppets in various governments constituting the US-led Empire.
They are intoxicated with power not unlike the German fascists known as Nazis who were sponsored in the 1930s by capitalists of many Western nations as a weapon designed to be used against their nemesis, the Soviet Union. (Read, for example, A. Sutton's book Wall Street and the Rise of Hitler) However, once established they were very much like Dr. Frankenstein who was not able to control his monster. The Western capitalist nations were not able to control their monster so that it wouldn't attack their sponsors too, especially the dominant British Empire. The current Empire monster with its NATO army threatens all of humanity with the growing use of propaganda designed for their subjects to hate Russia, and secondarily, China that could contribute to a buildup for war. Both countries stand in the way of the transnational capitalists' megalomaniac dreams of world domination.
Friday, September 30, 2016
Attorney Daniel Sheehan Gives Sage Advice on Bringing a 9/11 Civil Action [a must watch/listen-to video]
Attorney Daniel Sheehan was speaking to those attending the Justice in Focus symposium recently held in NY City on the weekend of September 10-11. This event was sponsored and organized by Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911Truth). In this talk he gives advice on how AE911Truth should proceed with any legal actions based on his 50 years of experience litigating lawsuits against the government.
By listening to it you will learn about similar cases that brought suits against government agencies where major crimes were alleged by the plaintiffs. In his talk Sheehan warns that this would not be any kind of normal case. They will face all kinds of problems trying to seek justice, and he gives several examples of such cases that he was directly involved in: the Karen Silkwood case, the Iran-Contra affair, and his work with the Christic Institute which exposed many other crimes that were being committed by US agencies in Central America during the 1970s and 80s.
He argues that the legal system that was created by the financiers (Alexander Hamilton, Robert Morris, etc) of the American Revolution was designed to serve and protect the government which was established by them. He further argued that to have any chance of winning, they will need three things: a major mass-based movement, a supportive media that will expose accurately what's happening in the case, and grass roots organizers.
While he was litigating such cases, I was involved in many grass-roots organizations in support of such legal actions. I can with great confidence assert that nothing short of a dedicated revolutionary movement will rid our nation of such a criminal ruling class. And, I think Sheehan's experience and recommendations suggests the same conclusion.
In the interview she frequently refers to east and west Aleppo, Syria's largest city with a population of over 2 million. The eastern part of the city has been held by terrorists who are often referred to in corporate media as "rebels", and the western part of the city is mostly under the control of the Syrian government army.
What’s really going on in Aleppo? Are Assad and Putin exterminating the population for sport? Is it a war against US-backed “moderates”? That is what the mainstream media would have us believe. We speak with Vanessa Beeley, a journalist who just returned from Aleppo for the real story.
I have been following their post for several years and have been impressed with their diligence in investigating Wall Street crimes such as JPMorgan’s London Whale trades. In addition they have been posting articles about the high number of suspicious deaths of people working in the banking industry, especially JP Morgan Chase banks which have been facing a number of lawsuits. Just last year they posted an article entitled "Wall Street Banker Deaths Continue; Where Are the Serious Investigations?".
Last Thursday, September 22, 2016, the body of Ann Korkki, a Senior Administrative Assistant in the Wealth Management division of JPMorgan Chase in Denver, Colorado was found with the body of her sister, Robin Korkki, inside their luxury vacation villa at the Maia Resort on Seychelles, an island in the Indian Ocean off the East African coast. Ann Korkki was 37; her sister Robin was 42.
According to the local Seychelles newspaper, there was no sign of violence on the bodies of the women who were on a one week vacation at the resort.
The Playpen investigation—driven by the FBI’s hacking campaign—resulted in hundreds of criminal prosecutions that are currently working their way through the federal courts. The issues in these cases are technical and the alleged crimes are distasteful. As a result, relatively little attention has been paid to the significant legal questions these cases raise.
But make no mistake: these cases are laying the foundation for the future expansion of law enforcement hacking in domestic criminal investigations, and the precedent these cases create is likely to impact the digital privacy rights of Internet users for years to come.
Thursday, September 29, 2016
The author reports on how the French section of the US-led Empire is plundering Africa's resources by using NGOs and indigenous collaborators. For example, he offers this perspective on the Democratic Republic of Congo:
Since nominal independence from Belgium in 1960, the country has been a neo-colony of Western interests and has been maintained in a permanent state of war and poverty. The Congo is the world's richest nation. But its people are poor. The contradiction is called capitalism. Since the CIA and Belgian intelligence agents assassinated the country's first Prime Minister Patrice Lumumba in 1961, puppet leaders have proven untrustworthy.He gets into the details of this plundering by reporting on French operations in various countries of Africa.
By comparing mostly refugees from Central America with Syrian refugees, the author explains why refugees are regarded very differently by our masters in the capitalist ruling class depending on their value to them. In this case it is propaganda value that they are after. This is only another illustration among so many that policies under advanced capitalist rule are guided strictly by the value--whether economic, political, propaganda, etc--that can be derived from them to enhance their profits and power throughout the world. The author expresses this principle slightly differently by citing an observation made by Noam Chomsky who viewed the same phenomenon in terms of worthiness:
This is a perfect example of what Noam Chomsky calls “worthy” and “unworthy victims”. The “worthy” victims are the ones mistreated by groups the US is opposed to and therefore receive our support. The “unworthy” victims are the victims of our crimes, and they are treated as nothing more than a nuisance.
In a new research study by Carolyn Snyder related to her doctoral thesis at Stanford University was published in Nature (behind a paywall). She is now employed at the government's favorite protector of corporations doing environmental damage and suitably represented by an Orwellian name--Environment Protection Agency. It seem likely that her career at this agency will be problematic.
Nature described Snyder's findings in greater detail in an article accompanying her published study: "Even if the amount of atmospheric CO2 were to stabilize at current levels, the study suggests that average temperatures may increase by roughly 5° C over the next few millennia as a result of the effects of the greenhouse gas on glaciers, ecosystems and other factors. A doubling of the pre-industrial levels of atmospheric CO2 of roughly 280 parts per million, which could occur within decades unless people curb greenhouse-gas emissions, could eventually boost global average temperatures by around 9° C."It appears that already her findings have been labeled "controversial" by various well-placed scientists.
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
After examining his resume in various government functions, I thought he could not really deliver on what he promised in this introductory post. After a lengthy reading of his full article, I was rather impressed with how far he went to provide an understanding of the existing power structure in the US, but I also concluded that he stopped safely short of examining any unifying ideology or class structure.
This article can be considered as an introduction to his longer article "How American Media Serves as a Transmission Belt for Wars of Choice" which I read. In the latter article there was no mention of capitalism or capitalists in the article, and no class structure. The closest he came was his brief designation of an "investor class" at the end of page 35 (PDF). In his section entitled "A note on the role of ideology" there was none to describe the ideology of the US governing deep state. And my final criticism is that he at one point suggests that the only path to bring about change in this deteriorating governing structure is to work within the two party system--even though they have been thoroughly captured by the capitalist ruling class!
...the only path for even marginal change is an insurgency within one of the two established parties. As it happens, in 2016 there was rebellion in both parties. This is not coincidental. The failures of the two-party consensus are evident in voter fury directed against Republicans and Democrats alike....Still, in spite of its limitations, I regard the article as a very good read.
Tuesday, September 27, 2016
This veteran political observer is clearly alarmed by recent events in Syria and in the vitriolic remarks and hostile actions of US officials and US forces in Syria. He attempts to explain this unprecedented level of hostility in several ways including what is suggested in the headline, but he also suggests that it might have something to do with the fear of the "war party" with the prospect of Trump winning the forthcoming election. He posits a "war party" but doesn't elaborate what he means by this phrase, and suggests that Obama has acted to restrain them. This is in accord with those who theorize that the Pentagon has acted independent of the president and the State Department to undermine the negotiated ceasefire agreements.
I thoroughly agree with his feelings of alarm and most other observations, but I am very skeptical of the reasons he suggests as to the cause of the very strained relations between Russia and the US Empire. I don't think these events have anything to do with the forthcoming election nor any one event that transpired regarding Syria. And I think we should ignore the superficial differences between the official agencies of government as reported by corporate media.
I think that the aggressive neoconservative faction which is likely the dominant faction in the US capitalist ruling class is seriously frustrated in their attempts to advance their imperial agendas in Ukraine, Syria, and other places by Russia and secondarily by China. Because of this we are at a very frightening stage which threatens a catastrophic war, and Doctorow expresses this anxiety very well.
Engdahl may have accurately put his finger on one major link between the deep state and the Executive branch of the US government.
Biden is clearly an enforcer for a faction of what we might call the permanent establishment, the hidden real government that runs on automatic imperial pilot regardless who is nominal US President. That “permanent establishment” is currently becoming “dis-established” everywhere in the world. It sees with horror that its grip on the entire world is crumbling. It does only what it has always tried in such cases—war, war, war. Only of late, those wars—war against Russia over Ukraine, war against Assad’s Syria, an attempted war against Erdogan in Turkey, a war against the growing economic muscle in the world of China—have been impotent flops. Biden, a dutiful servant of those interests, carries the flag of war to where he is sent, much like the character in Monty Python’s Ministry of Silly Walks.
Jürgen Todenhöfer: How is the relation between you and the United States? Does the U.S. support the rebels?
Abu al-Ezz [Al Nusra commander]: Yes, the U.S. support the opposition, but not directly. They support the countries which support us. But we are not yet satisfied with this support. They should support us with highly developed weapons. We have won battles thanks to the "TOW" missiles. We reached a balance with the regime through these missiles. We received the tanks from Libya through Turkey. Also the "BMs" - multiple rocket launchers. The regime excels us only with their fighter jets, missiles and missile launchers. We captured a share of its missile launchers and a large share came from abroad. But it is through the American "TOW" that we have the situation in some regions under control.
To whom did the U.S. hand those missiles before they were brought to you? Were those missiles first given to the Free Syrian Army by the U.S. and from there to you?
No, the missiles were give directly to us. They were delivered to a certain group. When the "road" was closed and we were besieged we had officers here from Turkey, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Israel and the United States.
Martin describes the two candidates for the highest office in the government as gangsters. This is a very apt description especially because at this advanced stage of capitalism, the ruling class's rule can most aptly be described as "organized crime". The only difference between their rule and the activities of organized crime figures is that, instead of taking control of the government, the latter are in a hurry and take short cuts by using threats of physical harm to intimate anyone who gets in their way of acquiring riches and power. They are perfectly aware how so-called legitimate capitalists have gained their power, that the latter steal from workers using threats of intimidation if they don't comply, and as a result they call themselves "wise guys"--not Mafia figures or the "mob" as described in corporate media. Hence Martin's portrayal of the two candidates as gangsters:
Trump is the personification of business gangsterism, a billionaire who built his fortune on swindles, bankruptcies, the theft of wages and deals with the Mafia. When Clinton charged him with profiteering from the collapse of the sub-prime mortgage market, which touched off the 2008 financial collapse, he retorted, “That’s business.” When she accused him of paying no taxes on his vast fortune, he boasted, “That makes me smart.”
Clinton is the personification of political gangsterism, deeply implicated in the crimes of American capitalism over a quarter century, from the destruction of social welfare programs, to the criminalization of minority youth, to the launching of imperialist wars that have killed millions. At one point in the debate she declared that her strategy for defeating ISIS was focused on the assassination of its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. She alluded to her role in “taking out” Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi and said she would make such killings “an organizing principle” of her foreign policy.
"No More Heroes": Jordan Flaherty’s New Book Excavates the Deep Roots of the White Savior Industrial Complex
It appears that the author of the book, Flaherty, writes that frequently people involved in "humanitarian" efforts are identified as heroes, but in reality they frequently end up supporting a system that oppresses working people, particularly those who can't function well in a capitalist society--the very people that they are described as helping.
Born into privilege and most often white, today’s progressive saviors believe in their inherent superiority and refuse to listen to the people they are supposedly serving. Crucially, they lack imagination and structural analysis and therefore often end up strengthening the systems that they claim to be working against. While our capitalist culture insists that individual heroes instigate societal change, change happens through the hard work of people in grassroots movements, such as the Movement for Black Lives, the Arab Spring, and the Occupy movement. Flaherty’s point isn’t that saviors are bad people, but that our capitalist system supports and rewards saviorism, which we can help uproot by supporting movements led by the people most impacted by the issues being addressed.This phenomenon of "saviorism" is frequently used by Empire agents in foreign affairs to justify aggressive policies against other nations, and they express these actions as "humanitarian".
Monday, September 26, 2016
This Russian born commentator and blogger, who is living in Florida, assesses the significance of the recent elections in Russia's parliament, the Duma. Although the winning party, United Russia, is a party divided between nationalist Russians like Putin and the Medvedev faction (aka the Atlanticists), he argues that the increase in the United Russia party's representation in the Duma really represents increased and solid support for the Putin faction. Here is an excellent description of the Atlanticist faction and what the election results represent for them:
The truth is, the real opposition to Putin is precisely that, the economic-financial ministers of the Medvedev government and all the factions which they represent: bankers, IMF-drones, corrupt businessmen from the 1990s who hate Putin because he does not allow them to steal like in the past, all the ex-Nomenklatura and their kids who made a killing in the 1990s and whose heart is in the West, the Atlantic Integrationists à la Kudrin who are basically “Washington consensus types” and who hate the Russian people for voting for Putin. That is the real opposition and that opposition is far more dangerous than the US and NATO combined. And for that opposition the result of the elections was a crushing defeat.
Crooke sees much evidence of chaos in the official US government. Whether that is true or merely intended appearances is very difficult to determine. My opinion is that there may be factional differences about US Empire policies and strategies; but they are not in the official government, rather they are behind the official scenes in the secluded rooms of the major think tanks like Council on Foreign Relations, Brookings Institution, etc. I think that the real policies can be determined by what the major ruling class media are suggesting.
What is so surprising here is the non-surprise evinced by the editorial writers of the New York Times. The Board blandly states that the Defense Secretary and the Pentagon might not comply. Not a hint of surprise is evident at the constitutional implications of this open defiance of Presidential authority.Notice also that Crooke agrees with "The Saker" regarding his analysis of the recent Duma elections.
No, rather the Board seems to view it as quite natural and commendable that Carter should refuse to comply with this “unusual and risky” proposition. But this was not some “proposition for collaboration.” This was an agreed formal accord between the United States and another state – reached after lengthy negotiations, and done with Presidential mandate.
With the atomization of society, the corporatization of political parties and the disappearance of unions in the neoliberal era, citizens have been largely relegated to the role of spectators in the political process, whose function is to support bipartisan American hegemony. Sports, where fans come together to watch passively, have become the most important venue to propagandize for militarism and American supremacy.And the "bipartisan" part is only for appearances. It's much like "putting lipstick on a pig" to disguise capitalist rule to make it look attractive, a class rule which is designed to fool people into thinking that their nation is ruled by a democracy.
Sunday, September 25, 2016
[Note: I've spent considerable time this morning gathering information about SOTT to see if they are a credible source and to find out about their funding. The website is a project of Quantum Future Group whose founders are a Polish-born physicist, Arkadiusz Jadczyk, and his American wife, Laura Knight-Jadczyk. Besides this website they are into some kind of mysticism called "Cassiopaea", however I see little evidence that their articles are in any way used to advance this philosophy. The website's staff are mostly English speaking located in the US, Canada, Ireland, and Britain. The Jadczyks apparently moved from Florida to France about five years ago where, I believe, they still reside. I failed to find financial information, because to obtain it they required registration and too much information about myself. However, I find the articles contained in SOTT meet my standards of credibility: sincerity, independent, insightful, well documented, and considered reputable by other reputable sources.]
Empire agents have frequently set up fake NGO's for a variety of nefarious purposes. In this article the author examines one fake "human rights" organization that is frequently used by corporate media based in countries of the Empire to document their deceptive propaganda against a targeted country, in this case Syria.
For 5 years, bloody mayhem has been going on in Syria, and in all that time only independent media has picked up on the really obvious flaw in the official narrative about the "Syrian civil war" ...
Officially, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) is a UK-based organization providing data to the Western press about troop movements, government policy and public sentiment in Syria. The Western press then reprints the information they are given - no questions asked.
What Western media editors conceal from the public however, is that the "Syrian Observatory for Human Rights" is neither based in Syria nor is it an observer of what actually goes on there.
This article is particularly insightful regarding Obama and the other government officials of the US who are seen acting under the supervision of a "deep state". This is illustrated by their actions in the recent negotiations regarding the Syrian conflict.
The Russian cellist and conductor Sergei Roldugin recently shared an eye-opening anecdote regarding Putin and Obama. He apparently told a group of journalists - "confidentially" - that "Obama's bodyguards are not trusting enough to leave him alone with Putin, so that they can speak one-on-one." Sure, Putin is a martial arts master and ex-KGB, but to imagine he would put Obama in a chokehold or poison his tea is ridiculous. There has to be another reason, besides concerns for his physical safety, why Obama needs minders during his meetings with Putin. What could it possibly be?
The answer should be clear, and it has to do with what we wrote about on Tuesday regarding the differences of opinion between the State Department and the Pentagon, for example. But it goes deeper than that.