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Communism and Human Nature

In a world becoming more atomized and misanthropic by the day, where it seems sometimes that you have only to be a raving degenerate...

Crimes of Communism

By Tom Woods Tom Woods Show February 25, 2017 (Excerpted with permission from Dr. Woods’s daily email.) Sure enough, a YouGov poll taken in late 2016 confirmed...

Ukraine: Banning Communism and Donbass Autonomy

Stephen Lendman RINF Alternative News All police states operate the same way. Their rules alone apply. International laws, norms and standards are ignored. Anyone opposing their authority...

Enslavement Of America – Best Speech Ever By Communism Escapee (Video)

By Susan Duclos


Ladies and gentlemen, the statement shown in the video below is six minutes long and should be seen by every single citizen of the United States of America, man, woman and child. 


At a public hearing on proposed gun control legislation, Manuel Martinez, a man who escaped Cuba in 1962 after opposing Fidel Castro and being imprisoned for it, blasts Oregon gun control lawmakers in an impassioned speech that only someone that has lived through communism and Marxism, only someone that watched innocent men, women and children murdered by their own government, only someone that fought against his whole country being enslaved by a dictator, can give.


“They come here in those dog and pony show and cry that their going to protect people. You're going to protect nobody! I want to know what is behind it? Do you know what is behind the problem we have in this country with it's Marxism," Martinez said.

He continues, saying "Marxism is not coming, Marxism is here! Marxism has been in this country for quite a while now. And the politicians allow that because they are ignorant or they're part of the plot!"

“Don’t sell me this. A very powerful man tried to sell me this 50-something years ago, I didn’t buy it, do you think I am going to buy it now after pushing 80 years?" Martinez said. “This is Marxism, plain and clear.”

“They put this dog and pony show saying hey, we are going to protect you. No, what they did was enslave a country,” Martinez said. “They destroyed a country the same way that this country is going to be destroyed if we continue in this fashion. This is what you’re selling here!” Martinez said, holding up old communist magazines from Cuba and stating "This is what you selling here!! You are not selling protection! You don't care about if we die or live!  THIS IS WHAT YOU'RE SELLING!!!

That is just a a portion of this man's statement, watch the entire video as Manuel Martinez speaks up and fights for your rights guaranteed to you under the US constitution.



The fact that an immigrant, a man who fled to the US to escape tyranny and a dictator like Fidel Castro, is willing to stand up, speak out and fight harder for OUR constitutional rights than half the people who were born free in America, says so much about how clueless some Americans truly are to how close to being totally enslaved we are at this moment in time.





Cross posted at Before It's News




UN climate chief: Communism is best to fight global warming

Michael Bastaschdailycaller.comJanuary 15, 2014 United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres said that democracy is a poor...

The New Logo For the US Spy Satellite From the National Reconnaissance Office Is...

Jon Schwartz notes: New logo for US spy satellite from National Reconnaissance Office is weirdly similar to anti-communist propaganda: The National Reconnaissance Office is one of the “big five” U.S. Intelligence agencies, which designs, builds, and operates the spy satellites … Continue reading

The New Logo For the US Spy Satellite From the National Reconnaissance Office Is Eerily Similar To American Depiction of Communism In the 1950s was originally published on Washington's Blog

Communism Now Big in Japan; Still Little in Virtue

Will the grinding poverty and initiative killing of collectivism soon wear the label “Made in Japan”? Such a prospect is likely a ways off,...

The Condition of Communism

The eye-grabbing cover of Jodi Dean’s The Communist Horizon (Verso, 2012) depicts what could be the dawn of a new day. A red sun,...

Condemned to Repeat It History as Rerun

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The Decline From Democracy to Tyranny

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Bill in Congress to Fund CIA and NSA Outlaws Wikileaks

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Ken Burns and the Vietnam War: Ten Items To Watch For

In two weeks (Sept. 17), a new TV documentary series on the Vietnam War by Ken Burns (famous for past series on the U.S....

Counterterrorism advisor Gorka out of White House, following Bannon & Scaramucci – reports

Sebastian Gorka is no longer a deputy assistant on counterterrorism to President Donald Trump. Gorka reportedly...

Understanding Trump’s Foreign Policies

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Figuring Out the JFK Murder-Coup

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The Necessity of a Moral Revolution

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CIA Agent Bill Buckley

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The Currency Paradox

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“Finland Station” and the Struggle for Socialism Today

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What Trump Is Learning From His Presidency

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The Museum of Capitalism

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A Fairy Tale from 2050

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The Destructiveness of America’s Alliances

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Impeachment of President Trump Now Much More Likely

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Embraced by Far-Right Government in Poland, Trump Claims Future of Western Civilization Is at...

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Whom Do You Trust?

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“The World is (Not) Flat”

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We Need Rules, Libertarians

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Behind the ‘Scapegoating’ of Russia

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Slouching Towards the Post-Legal Society

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Putin: U.S. Routinely Meddles in Russian and Other Nations’ Elections

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A 21st-Century Marxism: The Revolutionary Possibilities of the “New Economy”

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An Interesting View of Foreign Politics

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How I know that the Sauds did the 9/11 attacks

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Does It Matter How Trump Goes Or Even That He Does?

Photo by Karl-Ludwig Poggemann | CC BY 2.0 The chances are good and getting better that Donald Trump’s presidency will be done in, at least...

Being and Politics

Gilad Atzmon has a new book just out titled Being in Time: A Post-Political Manifesto. The title probably is influenced from a book, Being...

How the 1989 War on Manuel Noriega’s Panama Super-Charged US Militarism

Manuel Noriega is dead at 83. He seems like a sad footnote to the last disastrous quarter century, but the December 1989 US invasion...

Yale Historian Timothy Snyder on How the US Can Avoid Sliding Into Authoritarianism

Is the United States sliding toward tyranny? That is the question posed by Yale University history professor Timothy Snyder in his new book that...

Why Does the United States Beat Up On Capitalist Russia?

Photo by josef.stuefer | CC BY 2.0 The Cold War we are familiar with ended with the collapse of the Soviet Union. In his new...

The Dirty Secret of the Korean War

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Zbigniew Brzezinski, US Cold War national security advisor, dies at 89

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The Deep State is the State

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The U.S.-Jihadist Alliance

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org With America’s record-shattering $350 billion ten-year weapons-sale to the Saud family, the U.S. government’s alliance with the main family who funded and...

6 Neocon Literary Mags

In May of 1967, a former CIA officer named Tom Braden published a confession in the Saturday Evening Post under the headline, “I’m glad...

How China Lobby Shaped America

Exclusive: A prototype of the modern foreign lobby in Washington was the China Lobby, bribing and bending U.S. politicians to...

The Nixonization of Donald Trump

The comparisons are multiplying. There was Trump’s appeal to the “silent majority” during the presidential election, his later adoption of the “mad man” theory...

The American Imperium Is Going Down

For the World War II generation there was clarity. The attack on Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941, united the nation as it had never been...

New Prez Wants South Korea To Learn To Say No to America

South Korea has just elected a liberal president who favors rebuilding tattered relations with neighboring North Korea, which could signal a policy shift and...

Death Wish of the Antifas

Now that the New Left has abandoned its earlier loose, flexible non-ideological stance, two ideologies have been adopted as guiding theoretical positions by New...

Labour denies claim 100 MPs could jump ship if Corbyn loses election but doesn’t...

Labour officials rejected reports on Wednesday that up to 100 “moderate MPs” are set to...

The Very Un-PC Karl Marx

May Day celebrations were held all across the fruited plain, with leftist radicals and unionists worshipping the ideals of communism. Communism is an ideology...

Bigoted Americans Far More Supportive of War Against Syria

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org —— On April 23rd, the U.S. mega-corporate and government-funded National Public Radio network, NPR, interviewed voters about their views on...

CIA Art

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Democratic Voters Have Been Duped to Hate Putin

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Censorship at the Border Threatens Free Speech Everywhere

Defending one’s political and religious beliefs to government officials is an obligation we associate with life in authoritarian regimes, not open societies.  It’s becoming...

Trump, Empire and Our Long Retreat to Tyranny

Photo by Daniel Huizinga | CC BY 2.0 There has been a lot of worry about the Constitution and basic democratic rights since Trump’s election....

Trump wants to 'get along' with Russia but says NATO 'no longer obsolete'

President Donald Trump has admitted changing his campaign position on NATO, calling the alliance “no longer...

Hungary Targets Soros-Founded University in New Law

A legal change in Hungary means that a university founded by George Soros to foster democratic thinking in this Central East European...

The Deep State, Explained

As the daily drip of information about possible links between Trump’s campaign and Russia trickles on, Democrats, commentators and at least some officials in...

The CIA and the Intellectuals…Again

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Uncomfortable Questions

An interesting dialogue.  One that raises uncomfortable questions.  The dialogue has been ongoing at this blog for quite some time; in many ways, the...

Surveillance State Goes After Trump

Democrats are so eager to take down President Trump that they are joining forces with the Surveillance State to trample...

Rothbard on Trump

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The Political Economy of ‘Moral Authority’

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Afghan War Update: Fail, Fail Again

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The Endless, Victoryless, Afghan War

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Mr. Trump, PLEASE talk to the Russians – – –

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In Afghanistan, America's Biggest Foe Is Self-Deception

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The Rise of Islamo-Christian Civilization

We are told we live in a Judeo-Christian civilization, that the West has a Judeo-Christian heritage, a concept useful to a largely Christian...

Things Will Get Worse Until U.S. Stops Lying About Crimea

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The U.S. Politician Who Could Become Second Abraham Lincoln

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The Ongoing War Against Trump

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org The Obama-Clinton (and Democratic Party newsmedia) war against Donald Trump — a war to delegitimize him as the U.S....

U.S.-ISIS Alliance on Verge of Conquering Major Syrian City

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The Thorniest Policy-Question that President Trump Will Face

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org A decision must be made at the start of Donald Trump’s Presidency on one issue, which will shape both...

The Father of Cultural Marxism

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A Likely Way that Trump Would Be Forced Out of Office

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‘We’re Seeing the Result of a 40-Year Assault on the Liberal Mainstream’ – CounterSpin...

Janine Jackson interviewed Ellen Schrecker about the New McCarthyism for the January 6, 2017, episode of CounterSpin. This is a lightly edited transcript. Ellen Schrecker:...

Multicultural, Progressive, Totalitarian Vietnam

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The US Abstains at a UN Vote

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Situation with Russia proves America is an oligarchy

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The Problem With Equality

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Drexel University Professor Calls for White Genocide on Christmas Day

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A Joe Sobran Christmas

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Officials: Obama Prioritized Defeating Assad Above Defeating Jihadists

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The Bloodthirsty Hawks Want To See The Cold War Boil Over

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The Cuban Revolution: Defying Imperialism From Its Backyard

Fidel Castro died at age 90. The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) of the United States and Cuban exiles had tried for decades to kill...

Cuban-Americans pour onto Florida streets to celebrate Castro’s death (PHOTOS, VIDEOS)

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Death of the Liberal Class? Death to the Liberal Class!

Photo by Cliff | CC BY 2.0 For as long as I’ve been involved with progressive political movements, activists and organizers have been trying to reform the Democratic...

A Place Without Music

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EU Holds Emergency Meeting to Discuss Trump

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Democrats Caused President Trump; They Caused His Victory

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Here’s a video where Carey Wedler explains in her own thoroughly truthful way in just four minutes, how and...

Top Secret: These are actually Socialist Countries!

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'Red Scare 2': Russia and the 2016 US election

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Globalism vs. Human Nature

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The Intercept Outs Neocon Democrat’s Smear Against Trump as ‘Putin’s Puppet’

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Putin and Xi in Western Propaganda

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The Average American Has No Money

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‘With Friends Like These…’

After World War II, the United States – newly equipped with the ultimate deterrent against attack, nuclear weapons – discarded the model of the...

Nuclear Annihilation

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President Strangelove

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Why Brookings Institution & The Establishment Love Wars

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The Democrats’ Joe McCarthy Moment

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Millennials equally dislike Trump, Clinton & Putin – but would vote socialist

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Bring Back the Cold War

Pundits have declared a “New Cold War.” If only! The Cold War was a time when leaders focused on reducing tensions between nuclear powers....

Bring Back the Cold War

Pundits have declared a “New Cold War.” If only! The Cold War was a time when leaders focused on reducing tensions between nuclear powers....

Bring Back the Cold War

Pundits have declared a “New Cold War.” If only! The Cold War was a time when leaders focused on reducing tensions between nuclear powers....

I’m a Bernie Sanders Voter: Here’s Why I’ll Vote Trump

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Red-Light Warning on Now, About Hillary Clinton

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Retaliation: Reality Vs. Pundit Fantasy

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Jon Basil Utley: Phyllis Schlafly Opposed the Wars

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Phyllis Schlafly Opposed the Wars

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Frightening Totalitarianism

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The 10 Worst US Presidents

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Beware the Academic Zika Virus

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HuffPo Goes Haywire Against Russia, For Hillary

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Rethinking the Cold War

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The Psychology of Ideology and Religion

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The Central Issue in the U.S. Presidential Campaign

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There’s No Such Thing as a ‘Free Market’

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Coups Inside NATO: A Disturbing History

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Meaning, Globalism, And Death

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Emigre Super Bloc Part 4- Clinton’s Jihadis | Will the Super Delegates Vote YES...

By the end of this section, you will understand Islamic terrorism better than most analysts. Where it came from, where it's going,who's driving it...

A Sinkhole of Economic and Moral Perversion

An Interview With Hans-Herman Hoppe in the Polish weekly Najwyższy Czas! What is your assessment of contemporary Western Europe, and in particular the EU? All major political...

Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot: Afghanistan is FUBAR

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Women on top in Westminster, but a defeat for feminism?

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What Is NATO — Really?

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Election 2016 Emigre Super Blocs Part 3- How the Emigres Steal Elections

"Walled safely inside their gerrymandered districts, incumbents are insulated from general-election challenges that might pull them toward the political center, but they are perpetually...

NATO Summit Meeting, on July 8-9

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How Does Corporate Media Manufactures False Narratives?

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The New Iron Curtain

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The Coming End of the EU-USA Military Industrial Complex?

The hallmark of the months leading to today’s EU referendum has been horrifying censorship. One can but hope that Noam Chomsky’s dictum that censorship is...

Does the Brexit Vote Mark the End of Internationalism?

(Photo: portal gda / Flickr) This week might represent the beginning of the end for international cooperation. All the treaties, alliances, and unions that have...

The New Iron Curtain

A foreign army consisting of 31,000 soldiers from an anti-American alliance are conducting military “exercises” a few miles from San Diego. Hundreds...

Thank Reagan for Orlando

The Orlando shooting on June 12 has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with US policies, both domestic and foreign. By domestic,...

Inside The Super Majority that Decide Election 2016 & War with Russia

How well the candidate from either party satisfies 7 questions from a particular group of people will determine who the President of the United...

Radical Chic and the US Military: Together At Last

In Syria, Western leftists ally with Washington’s regime changers The first time as tragedy, the second as farce – that’s what Karl Marx...

Rehearsing for World War III

As I write this, US troops are building a bridge across Poland’s Vistula river, and conducting a nighttime helicopter assault to secure...

The State of the Left: Many Movements, Too Many Goals?

The Sanders campaign has proven a couple of important things about today’s political reality in the United States. 1)    A substantial number of Americans...

Abolish Memorial Day

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In Nine Democratic Debates, Not a Single Question About Poverty

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The Myth That Sanders Hasn’t Been Criticized Won’t Go Away

As Donald Trump caught up with Hillary Clinton in the polls over the past two weeks, the Bernie Sanders campaign has reiterated its last-ditch...

Obama Ratchets-Up to Invade Russia

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org An article published May 7th by Andrei Akulov brings together mainly Western news sources, all solid, to make the case...

Sweden: 'Green Party may have been infiltrated by Islamists'

Lars Nicander, director of the Centre for Asymmetric Threat Studies at the Swedish National Defence College, fears that the Green Party, the...

The Mainstream Media and Its Discontents

Those of you who have been through college know that the educational system is very highly geared to rewarding conformity and obedience … it...

Gallup: Americans Want Socialized Healthcare

Eric Zuesse Most Americans want Obamacare to be replaced by what Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposes and what both Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump oppose:...

Why Obama Prioritizes Ousting Assad Over Defeating Syria’s Jihadists

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Dr. Christina Lin, a leading young scholar on jihadist groups, opened her April 8th commentary at Asia Times: In a blunder...

Army Captain sues Obama over ISIS fight

An Army Captain is suing President Barack Obama, arguing that the war against Islamic State is...

America’s Biggest of All Big Lies

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org On April 26th, Reuters headlined from Romania, “‘We’re Not Here to Provoke,’ Say U.S. Pilots on Putin’s Doorstep”, and...

When Putin Called-Out Obama on a Big Lie, Press Ignored It

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org “In 2009, US President Obama said that the missile defense only serves as protection from Iranian nuclear missiles. But now...

A Pen to Battle Fascism

Those who cannot see the growth of Fascism or deny its existence are either the many who do not know what fascism really is...

Sanders slams ‘immoral’ capitalist wealth, fossil fuel barons during Vatican visit

Bernie Sanders may have the small matter of a presidential campaign to run, but the self-described...

‘Capitalists, communists, socialists… just decide what works’ – Obama

US President Barack Obama told an audience of young Argentinians there was no great difference between...

Last Lincoln Brigade member receives unlikely tribute from US Sen John McCain

US Communist and union organizer Delmer Berg, the last remaining veteran of the famed Abraham Lincoln...

Understanding Obama’s Foreign Policy

Eric Zuesse On 28 May 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama addressed the West Point Military Academy class of graduating cadets, future leaders of America’s armed...

Thinking Outside the European Box

Syrian refugees (Photo: Jordi Bernabeu Farrús / Flickr) Europe has a deal on the table to address the current refugee crisis. This week, European leaders are...

Sanders, Redbaiting and the ‘Denouncing’ Double Standard

The Daily Beast (2/28/16) goes full-on red menace with Bernie Sanders During the Miami Democratic debate (3/9/16), Sen. Bernie Sanders was asked about sympathetic comments...

U.S. Gov’t. Backs Fascists Who Want to Destroy Russia

Eric Zuesse The Nation  published an outstanding article on March 9th, by James Carden, which described the remarkable extent to which the Obama government (and virtually all...

Democracy Ends in Turkey

Eric Zuesse On Saturday March 5th, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten (German Economic News) headlined “Turkish Police Storm Newspaper Office Zaman” and reported that, “Turkish police entered...

Islamist President of Turkey Ends Press Freedom Today

Eric Zuesse On March 4th, Tayyip Erdoğan, the Islamist President of U.S. ally and NATO member-nation Turkey, took over the country’s main surviving opposition newspaper, Zaman ...

The Dulles Brothers and Their Legacy of Perpetual War

I was intrigued by the 2015 release of David Talbot’s The Devil’s Chessboard: Allen Dulles, the CIA, and the Rise of America’s Secret Government....

Libertarians’ False Assumptions About Economics

Eric Zuesse We’ll start with a typical example of libertarians’ big misconception: Here was the libertarian white Texan Alex Jones, in a riff for the racist white...

Poland’s Tea Party Movement

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons) On a rainy day in April 1990, I journeyed to the outskirts of Warsaw to one of those functional Communist-era apartment building...

A Coherent Explanation of Obama’s Foreign Policy

Eric Zuesse Foreign policy is both economic and military. An interpretation of U.S. President Barack Obama’s foreign policy will be presented here that explains both...

Tunisia on Fire (Part 1)

If not for repeated intervention by its youth, civil rights organizations, and labor unions, Tunisia would be in even worse shape than it already...

Hillary Clinton’s Six Foreign-Policy Catastrophes

Eric Zuesse Many commentators have mentioned (such as here and here and here and here) that Hillary Clinton left behind no major achievement as the U.S. Secretary of State;...

Darkness at High Noon in Korea

Barack Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-Hye (Photo: White House) As the world focuses on the war in Syria, the refugee crisis in Europe, and...

President Kennedy and His Brother Robert Kennedy Were Murdered By The Military-Security Complex

Paul Craig Roberts (RINF) - Presstitute Media, such as the UK Telegraph, spend a lot of energy debunking exposes of government conspiracies. For example, the...

End NATO Now

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org The continuation of NATO, after its counterpart the Warsaw Pact ended in 1991, is an insanity that’s driving the...

A Look at Ukraine’s Dark Side

Exclusive: Americans have been carefully shielded from the ugly underbelly of Ukraine’s Maidan uprising in 2014 that overthrew the elected president and installed a...

The Dangerous Ideology of Religion

Ideology, in the hands of true-believers, tends to reject facts in favor of some grander “truth,” an especially dangerous tendency when mixed with religious...

George Soros Finally Suspends His Lifelong War Against Russia

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org On January 21st, George Soros, who has throughout his life been passionately opposed not just to communism but also...

The Rich Are Getting Louder and the Eventual Victory of Quiet

Tamara Pearson While the world thrashes and flounders in injustice, the rich are loud in order to conceal their contribution to it all. The most obvious...

America’s Arab Allies Debate Need for Genocide Against ‘Infidels’

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Two key allies of the United States are the fundamentalist-Sunni governments of Qatar and Saudi Arabia – two fundamentalist...

A Balanced View of the Obama Presidency

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Barack Obama’s Presidency turns out to have been what neither his supporters nor his opponents expected. A balanced historical...

Obama’s Invasion Plan of Syria Was Drawn Up by Kim Roosevelt in 1957

Eric Zuesse The same person, Teddy Roosevelt’s grandson, who planned and headed the CIA coup to overthrow Iran’s progressive secular democratic anti-communist President Mohammed Mossadegh...

The Sauds’ Impunity

Eric Zuesse No matter how bad the fundamentalist Sunni-Islamic Saud royal family are, America’s government still supports them and condemns the countries that the Sauds...

America’s Now-Aggressive War Against Russia

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org America’s aristocracy is determined to take over Russia. Ever since the end of the Soviet Union and of its...

The Reunification Guessing Game

A North Korean Soldier takes photos through the window while U.S. Army Gen Martin E. Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is...

Saudi Royal Family Announces Its New Global Sunni Military Empire

Eric Zuesse (NOTE: Some news-media have made clear to me flat-out that they won’t publish anything that criticizes the Saudi royal family, especially not as...

U.S. May Be Salvaging Victory for Jihadists: How & Why

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org According to Britain’s Telegraph, in a recent report, the U.S. Tow antitank missiles that U.S. President Barack Obama sent in...

Trump, the Islamic State, and the Cliché of Civilizations

(Photo: Aldas Kirvaitis / Flickr) I was listening to a German parliamentarian the other night. She was making some anodyne comments about transatlantic friendship and...

The Philippine People Are Under Attack from Washington – and Their Own Government

Lumad marchers in the Philippines (Photo: Bro. Jeffrey Pioquinto, SJ / Flickr) The Filipino people are under attack. The Lumad, for example – an indigenous group...

Francois Hollande – The World’s Most Powerful Person This Week

Eric Zuesse French President Francois Hollande this week possesses more power than anyone else in the world, because he will be the key decision-maker shaping...

America’s Great Lie. Europe’s Great Shame. Russia’s Great Case.

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org The West owes Russia a hell of a lot; but what it owes Russia first is a deep apology,...

Politico Reports Bush Knew 2001 Terror-Attack Was Imminent and Wanted It

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org A stunning news-report at Politico on November 12th, titled “The Attacks Will Be Spectacular,” reveals that the then CIA Director George...

U.S. SecDef Ashton Carter Implies Russia & China Are Enemies of U.S.

Eric Zuesse INTRODUCTION On Saturday November 7th, U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter, who had started his career at the Defense Department during the Reagan Administration...

EU and NATO Set to Destabilize Russia by Anti-Putin Propaganda Operation

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org German Economic News  |  Published:10/31/15 01:23Clock |  http://deutsche-wirtschafts-nachrichten.de/2015/10/31/eu-und-nato-wollen-russland-mit-unterwanderung-der-medien-destablisieren/ (Translated here by – and then with closing commentary from – Eric Zuesse) EU, US and NATO are...

America in Search of a Cause?

"If the Cold War is over, what’s the point of being an American?" said Rabbit Angstrom, the protagonist of the John Updike novels. A haunting remark,...

Syria and the ‘Vacuum’ Metaphor

By Paul R. Pillar Physical, spatial imagery has long been applied to discourse about U.S. foreign policy. During the earlier portion of the Cold War,...

The New McCarthyism

Cold War II is upon us. Once again, to write the phrase “the Kremlin” is to evoke images of an Oriental despotism both ominous and inscrutable,...

Russia Supplants U.S. in Global War Against Jihadists

Eric Zuesse A meeting between Russia’s Vladimir Putin and Saudi Arabia’s Defence Minister Prince Mohammed bin Salman (son of King Salman) ended on early Monday,...

HISTORIC NEWS: Finally, EU and U.S. Are Breaking Apart

Eric Zuesse German Economic News headlined on October 2nd, “US wants to exclude EU from peace talks on Syria,” and reported that, “The US government...

Obama v. Putin: Their Debate on Crimea

The Source of the ‘New Cold War’: The Basic Disagreement Between Obama and Putin Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org INTRODUCTION The basic disagreement between U.S. President...

Why Does the EU Ally with the U.S?

Eric Zuesse VIDEOS that starkly pose the problem: https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1566&v=yalyCk4kK-8 (The following is actually several videos, introduced by an article from me, providing context to them all.) http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2015/02/brookings-wants-villages-firebombed-ukraines-anti-terrorist-operation.html And here...

Big Lie: U.S. Allies with Saudis ‘Because We’re Addicted to Their Oil’

Eric Zuesse In Syria and elsewhere, the U.S. allies with Saudi Arabia and other Sunni nations that back or even install ISIS and Al Qaeda...

Vladimir Putin’s Foreign-Policy Objectives, & His Desire for U.S. to Be an Ally

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org On September 4th, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin restated, as he has many times before, that he seeks a U.S.-Russian...

How America Double-Crossed Russia and Shamed the West

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org SUMMARY (to be documented below) The conditionality of the Soviet Union’s agreement to allow East Germany to be taken by...

U.S. Drops Bombs; EU Gets Refugees & Blame. This is insane.

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Starting in 2011 in Libya, the United States dropped bombs on Libya in order to replace its pro-Russian dictator,...

U.S. Has Now Retrospectively Joined Fascist Side in WW II

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org At a commemorative celebration in Beijing on Thursday September 3rd, marking the 70th Anniversary of China’s freedom from the...

Ultra-right Maidan forces riot in Kiev over eastern Ukrainian autonomy law

By Alex Lantier On Monday, elements of the Ukrainian far right rioted in Kiev outside the Verkhovna Rada, the Ukrainian parliament, as it passed a...

The Greatness of Franklin D. Roosevelt. Or Not?

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org Many people are aware that U.S. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt skillfully lured Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor so as to...

Where is Neo When We Need Him

Paul Craig Roberts (RINF) - In The Matrix in which Americans live, nothing is ever their fault. For example, the current decline in the US...

Zionists Latest Anti-Semitic Inducing Provocation: Trying to Destroy a Highly Worthy and Sane Nuclear...

The same Neo-Con-Artists, and the same lying and blackmail game players AIPAC Lobby, and the same mainstream news media newspapers and televisions stations are...

George Soros’s Fakery

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org George Soros pretends to be a progressive, but he invests in and finances nazis. That’s not “Nazis” as in...

Meet the ‘Moderates’ the U.S. Is Supporting in Syria: They’re al-Qaeda

Eric Zuesse, as originally published by Strategic-Culture.org Increasing evidence is coming in that the groups the U.S. is trying to install into power in Syria...

US Congress and President Obama Officially Recognize Donbas’ Freedom!

George H Eliason It's true! President Barack Obama beat Russia's President Putin to the punch by recognizing the right of Donbas to ascend to the...

Putin Giving Up on Assad, Says Erdogan

Eric Zuesse Turkey’s President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, was asked by an interviewer last week, “On the question of Syria, have you seen changes in the...

Buckingham Palace orders inquiry, threatens legal action over Nazi salute film

By Julie Hyland A grainy video–17 seconds long–was published as an exclusive on Saturday by Rupert Murdoch’s Sun newspaper, under the heading “Their Royal Heilness,” igniting...

Why “the Ukrainians” Lie – Prof. A. Moytl Says the West Shouldn’t Freak Out!

George Eliason (RINF) - In an article published at the New Atlanticist, Political Science Professor Alexander Moytl of Rutgers University wrote the strongest justification a Ukrainian Nationalist scholar...

How Fascist Capitalism Functions: The Case of Greece

Eric Zuesse There is democratic capitalism, and there is fascist capitalism. What we have today is fascist capitalism; and the following will explain how it...

Protest Is the New Terror: How US Law Enforcement Is Working to Criminalize Dissent

It's well established that the FBI surveilled civil rights and other activists from Martin Luther King Jr. to leaders of the National Lawyers Guild...

Percentage of Health-Uninsureds in U.S. Rises by 1.7%

Since Obama First Promised to Lower It by 100% Eric Zuesse On 23 June 2015, Bloomberg news bannered "Uninsured Rate Falls to Lowest Since Obamacare Implementation” and reported...

NATO Lies to NPR

Eric Zuesse On June 17th, U.S. National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed NATO’s and America’s General Ben Hodges, who is the Commanding General of the U.S. Army in...

The Secret Racism of Obama’s Top Enforcer in Ukraine

Eric Zuesse THE WHO’S WHO AT THE TOP OF THE COUP U.S. President Barack Obama (via his State Department official Victoria Nuland, and Ambassador to Ukraine...

U.S. May Position for a War Against Russia

Russia Says It Will Respond If U.S. Does So Eric Zuesse On Saturday, June 13th, The New York Times bannered, "U.S. Is Poised to Put Heavy Weaponry...

The Two Contending Visions of World Government

The Origin & Broader Context of Obama’s ‘Trade’ Deals Eric Zuesse U.S. President Barack Obama’s proposed ‘Trade’ deals are actually about whether the world is heading...

Are We Being Driven Like Cattle?

As we stand in line for security checks at airports, we may have the distinct feeling that we are being herded like cattle. Air...

Orson Welles born 100 years ago

  By David Walsh and Joanne Laurier (WSWS) - May 6 marked one hundred years since the birth of Orson Welles, one of the most remarkable figures in...

Social Science Findings about Conservatism

Eric Zuesse WHAT IS CONSERVATISM? The great empirical social psychologist who specialized in studying bigotry, Bob Altemeyer, in his 1996 The Authoritarian Specter, and his other...

Ukraine: A Cancer in Europe’s Heartland

by Stephen Lendman (RINF) - Ukraine is an example of what happens when lunatics run the asylum. It's a US-installed Nazi-infested fascist police state headed...

Kiev Recognizes Ultranationalist Nazi Era Collaborators as Freedom Fighters

by Stephen Lendman (RINF) - Kiev's regime is a US-installed, illegitimate, lawless, Nazi infested, fascist police state in Europe's heartland - waging naked aggression on...

The Early Signs of Whom the Next U.S. President Will Likely Be

Presidential Polls Look Confusing Regarding Bernie, But Downright Bad Regarding Hillary & All Republicans Eric Zuesse The top thing that I look for in polling-results this...

U.S. & Europe Boycott Russia’s Celebration of Its 9 May 1945 Victory Over Hitler

Eric Zuesse At first, a few progressive heads-of-state in Europe were appalled at U.S. President Barack Obama’s pressure for them to reject Russia’s invitation to...

Dangerous Flailing And Bellowing Of The Beast

  John Chuckman   (RINF) - When I think of America’s place in the world today, the image that comes to mind is of a very large...

What America’s Media Get Very Wrong About ‘Socialism’ — And About Senator Sanders

Eric Zuesse (RINF) - On April 30th, Jonathan Cohn at Huffington Post provided a perfect example of what America's media get wrong about the meaning...

40 years after Vietnam, the military industrial complex continues its rampage of war crimes

It was 40 years ago today that the last troops from America's criminal war against the people of Vietnam scurried ignominiously onto a helicopter...

How America’s Aristocracy Extends Its Global Control

Eric Zuesse As has been well documented even by the BBC, in their 1992 classic documentary about the CIA’s (still-ongoing) Gladio Operation, America’s CIA basically took...

Why the Western Alliance Is Ending

Eric Zuesse World leaders – heads of state especially – tend to be tactful people, whatever else might be said about them. When they discover...

How the U.S. Is Allied with ISIS & Al Qaeda

Eric Zuesse The United States is allied with Sunni Moslem aristocracies (and therefore with Sunni-headed nations), against Shia Moslem aristocracies (and therefore also against Shia-headed...

The American Government’s Biggest Lie Now Is About Ukraine

Eric Zuesse The American Government’s biggest lie in 2002-2003 was about Saddam Hussein and Iraq. We’ve already seen what that lie produced. It cost the...

EU Splits on Ukraine — How and Why

Eric Zuesse The issue is whether to supply weapons to Ukraine. On Friday, March 13th, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko announced, referring to himself in the third person, that: "The...

Fox ‘News’ ‘Expert’ Says We Must “Start Killing Russians.” I Disagree.

Eric Zuesse On this video from Fox 'News': At 3:30, Lou Dobbs asks the Fox Noise military analyst: “What do you expect” in Ukraine? At 3:35 he answers:...

THE CIA AND AMERICA’S PRESIDENTS – JOHN CHUCKMAN

          THE CIA AND AMERICA’S PRESIDENTS Some rarely discussed truths shaping contemporary American democracy   John Chuckman Many people still think of the CIA as an agency designed...

Proposed European Army: Good Idea or Bad?

Stephen Lendman  RINF Alternative News For sure what the world needs now is less militarism, not more. World peace depends on demilitarization - especially eliminating all...

The Origin of the ‘New Cold War’

Eric Zuesse This will be history, replacing myth. So: if at the start it might seem unbelievable, I request the reader – please click onto...

EU Increasingly Abandons Obama on Ukraine

Eric Zuesse As reported on Saturday March 7th by both German Economic News, and Spiegel magazine, the ongoing lies and arrogance from U.S. President Barack Obama’s Administration regarding...

Obama Prioritizes Weakening Russia, Over Weakening ISIS

Eric Zuesse Michael Snyder noted at Global Research on March 1st, that the U.S. is now air-dropping weapons into ISIS territory inside Syria. The U.S. is...

Obama’s War Policies Show a Pattern

On the First Anniversary of Ukraine’s Maidan Coup: Obama’s War-Policies Show a Pattern Eric Zuesse U.S. President Barack Obama has repeatedly employed a tactic of attacking Russia...

Gallup: Americans’ Fear of Russia Soars

Eric Zuesse Gallup headlined on February 16th, "Americans Increasingly See Russia as Threat, Top U.S. Enemy,” and reported that whereas back in 2011 only 3% of Americans...

U.S. Military Expert Shoots Down Washington’s Weapons-to-Ukraine Argument

Eric Zuesse Michael Kofman isn’t just an American defense expert; he’s specialized in the precise region where Ukraine is located. He spent years managing professional...

PBS-TV’s Frontline Misrepresents Russia’s Vladimir Putin

Eric Zuesse On January 13th, the Public Broadcasting System (PBS) telecast the FRONTLINE documentary, “Putin’s Way,” which purported to be a biography of Russia’s President,...

Czech President Says ‘Only Poorly Informed People’ Don’t Know About Ukraine Coup

Eric Zuesse The Czech Republic’s President Milos Zeman said, in an interview, in the January 3rd edition of Prague’s daily newspaper Pravo, that Czechs who...

Russia Says Ukrainian Nazis Pay Blackwater for Training

Eric Zuesse The Russian Government’s Tass ‘news’ agency is alleging that “The US private military company Academi (formerly known as Blackwater) … has confirmed to...

U.S. Gov’t. Seeks Excuse to Nuclear-Attack Russia

Never Was a March on Washington More Needed Eric Zuesse The world is more nervous about the drift toward nuclear war between the U.S. and Russia...

You’re Likely to Be a Lot Poorer Than You Were a Few Years Ago–And...

The typical American is even poorer than his or her equivalent in Greece. The median Australian is four times wealthier. The Canadians are twice...

U.S. House Votes 98% to Donate U.S. Weapons to Ukraine; U.S. Public Is 67%...

Eric Zuesse In a remarkable disjunction between voters and their elected (supposed) representatives in the U.S. House of Representatives, the members of the House voted...

Nazism Is Back

And It’s Winning in U.S., Europe, Israel, and Japan. The New, More-Sophisticated, CIA-Trained, Nazis. Here’s a Video-Tour through Today’s, CIA-Led, Nazism. This tour is through reality that...

Menace on the Menu: The Globalization of Servitude

Colin Todhunter In his book ‘The World Economy: A Millennial Perspective’, economist Angus Maddison noted that India was the richest country in the world and...

U.S. Among Only 3 Countries at U.N. Officially Backing Nazism & Holocaust-Denial; Israel Parts...

Eric Zuesse In a U.N. vote, on November 21st, only three countries – the United States, Ukraine, and Canada – voted against a resolution to...

Why Do We Allow Ukraine’s Government to Write the Official Report on The Downing...

Eric Zuesse There are only two suspects in the shoot-down of the MH17 Malaysian airliner over Ukraine on July 17th: the separatist rebels, whom the...

Why Is Europe Staying with the Leading Fascist Power, That’s Now Turned Nazi?

Eric Zuesse The United States is a gung-ho supporter of a genocide that it created. (Click on those links, for the verification of these shocking...

The Rape of Democracy

Eric Zuesse On the one side are conservatives, who resent taxes and self-identify with rich people who say that government is basically a huge waste...

Benjamin Netanyahu and Adolf Hitler: Uncomfortable character traits

John Chuckman RINF Alternative News I’m not one of those who scribble blunt little mustaches on pictures of politicians I dislike, but here I make some...

ISIS: A Monster Created by the West

Robert Freeman It is a laughable routine of the mass media to demonize all of the leaders of U.S. enemies as latter-day Hitlers. Saddam Hussein...

How America Changed from Being the World’s Leading Democratic Nation under FDR, to Being...

Eric Zuesse America has changed fundamentally since -- and away from -- the values that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt represented both in his words, and...

“One God” Democracy And Anti-terrorism Laws

In an interview he gave in 2000, Tony Benn once recalled Clement Atlee’s analysis of post-War Britain: “Well, Attlee was in World War I....

Filling The Voidistan

Norman Ball RINF Alternative News “This craving… tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot...

Crony Capitalism: The Power Politics of Capitalist Expansion

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News Anything goes, for the demonization of Putin, even as now when the charge, surrounding himself with Oligarchs, is really looking in...

Bilderberger Henry Kissinger Wants World Army to Fight Terrorists

Globalist war criminal once described troops as "dumb, stupid animals" STEVE WATSON Henry Kissinger, Bilderberg kingpin and architect of overthrowing democratically elected governments, is keen to...

Ukraine Government Officially Introduces Slavery, with Vague Terms

Eric Zuesse On 23 September 2014, the Ukrainian Ministry of Social Policy announced official civilian slavery, via an obscure press release, headlined "The Government has extended...

Middle East Tensions Manufactured By US / Israel Zionists

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News The US designedly engenders political-diplomatic conflict wherever it goes and whenever it can, not because it is integrally infantile or churlish,...

U.S., NATO, Hold Joint War Games in Ukraine, and Give Ukraine Weapons, to Continue...

Eric Zuesse RINF Alternative News During 15-26 September, the U.S. and 14 other NATO countries are holding war games in Ukraine, in order to assist the Ukrainian...

American dominance of world order

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News Achieving world mastery requires confronting questionable areas, current or potential obstructionism to American dominance, sequentially ordered in an intended systematic pattern...

The Big Lie in the ‘News’ ‘Reporting’ About Ukraine and Russia

Eric Zuesse  RINF Alternative News Here it is, in purest form, via a typical 'news' ‘report’ from CNN: "While questions about Russia's tactics remain, its strategy has become...

Obama Expands Bush’s War Machine

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News His predecessors have put the War Machine into constant action carrying over into his presidency, but this is Obama’s chance to...

Obama’s Rainbow (aka Mushroom Cloud)

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News Obama in Estonia, Leader of the Free World, Commander-in-Chief of a Global Alliance against ISIS and Russia (conflated into a mélange...

More than 50,000 U.S.-Backed Troops Are Fighting in Ukraine’s Civil War. Why?

Eric Zuesse  RINF Alternative News The U.S. Government installed in February 2014 the current Ukrainian Government, which started Ukraine's civil war against the residents in Ukraine's southeast, who...

Hollywood and the Obama Myth

Chris Ernesto RINF Alternative News "And believe it or not, entertainment is part of our American diplomacy. It’s part of what makes us exceptional, part of what...

Our ‘Enemies’ in Ukraine Speak

Eric Zuesse  RINF Alternative News America's 'news' media do not let the victims of Ukraine's civil war -- the people who are dying and being driven...

Obama’s Foreign Policy – Militarization of Globalism

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News In a jaundiced US national foreign-policy perspective, Obama, befitting America’s steadily moving shift politically, ideologically, culturally, sharply rightward, is somehow viewed...

Pathology of Domination

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News Psychiatry deals with the individual, but why not a social psychiatry which deals with collective behavior, values, mindset, that of a...

Kwame Nkrumah: Neo-colonialism, The Last Stage Of Imperialism, 1965

Lenin Nightingale  RINF Alternative News Kwame Nkrunah described the model by which Yankee America would enslave the world and its own people: 'The neo-colonialism of today...

Ukraine-News Flash: Bloodiest Days of Ukraine’s Ethnic Cleansing Expected to Come Now

Eric Zuesse  RINF Alternative News A reliably well-informed resident in the area that Obama's Ukrainian regime is ethnically cleansing (i.e., exterminating and/or expelling) has informed this...

5 August: Even More Certain Now: Obama’s Ukrainian Stooges Did Intentionally Down that Malaysian...

Eric Zuesse  RINF Alternative News Information continues to pour in confirming the retired Lufthansa pilot Peter Haisenko’s reconstruction of how that Malaysian airliner (MH-17) came to...

Evidence Is Now Conclusive: 2 Ukrainian Government SU-25 Fighter Jets Did Shoot Down that...

Eric Zuesse We'll go considerably farther than has yet been revealed by the professional intelligence community, to provide the actual evidence that conclusively shows that...

ISIS: The jihadist movement stamped “Made in America”

Jean Shaoul The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is made up of forces variously estimated at between 3,000 and 10,000 fighters. It has...

Escalation of Sanctions a Step Toward War

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News The cylinder turns, which is the fatal bullet? Or, are all the chambers loaded? America, particularly under Obama, has pressed for...

Crisis in Ukraine: A Retrospective on Russia and the Dissolution of the Soviet Union

Today is St. Vladimir’s Day. The Christians in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia celebrate it as the day of Baptism. In the year of 988...

Political Bestiality: The Israeli Pogrom of Gaza

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News Let’s start with terms: “bestiality,” bestial is marked by base or inhuman instincts or desires, brutal, to which bestiality adds, display...

Israel’s Goliath to Palestine’s David

Norman Pollack RINF Alternative News Today Israel resumed its attack on Gaza, presumably in response to rocket launches into Israeli territory. I say “presumably,” because it...

Big Banks Want Power to Declare Cyber War

Merger of Big Banks and National Security Power … What Could Possibly Go Wrong? Bloomberg reports: Wall Street’s biggest trade group has proposed a government-industry cyber war...

Ukraine’s “Terrorists” Talk.

Their Message Is to America:  "Please Stop Terrorizing Us!" Here’s How That Can Be Done. Eric Zuesse A 41-minute documentary has been produced and is online, "Ukraine Crisis Today," interviewing...

Cold War Renewed With A Vengeance While Washington Again Lies

Paul Craig Roberts The Cold War made a lot of money for the military/security complex for four decades dating from Churchill’s March 5, 1946 speech...

Cold War Renewed with a Vengeance While Washington again Lies

Paul Craig Roberts The Cold War made a lot of money for the military/security complex for four decades dating from Churchill’s March 5, 1946 speech...

Cold War Renewed With A Vengeance While Washington Again Lies – Paul Craig Roberts

Cold War Renewed With A Vengeance While Washington Again Lies Paul Craig Roberts The Cold War made a lot of money for the military/security complex for four decades dating from Churchill’s March 5, 1946 speech in Fulton, Missouri declaring a…

The post Cold War Renewed With A Vengeance While Washington Again Lies — Paul Craig Roberts appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Western ideology must be unmasked

A bunch of new reports are saying that climate change will threaten our way of life, where "our" always means the West’s one: what...

Why Does NATO Still Exist?

Eric Zuesse  RINF Alternative News NATO was formed in 1949 because of the threat from the communist bloc, especially the Soviet Union. All of that is...

Tiananmen Square Guest Column by Wei Ling Chua and limited time offer of free...

Tiananmen Square Guest Column by Wei Ling Chua and limited time offer of free book on what really happened Dear Friends, On the 25 anniversary of Tiananmen Square I posted a guest column by Brian Becker who pointed out that…

The post Tiananmen Square Guest Column by Wei Ling Chua and limited time offer of free book on what really happened appeared first on PaulCraigRoberts.org.

Nationalism and fascism in Ukraine: A historical overview

Konrad Kreft and Clara Weiss This is the first part of a two-part article. The Western media is seeking to downplay the prominent role of...

Participatory Totalitarianism

According to the Chinese zodiac, the heavens circle around every 12 years. The Year of the Snake, the creature that sheds its skin to...

Bilderberg: Where Big Business and Big Government Plot Globalism

Over the weekend at the Bilderberg summit in the Danish capital, dozens of the world’s most important Big Business and mega-bank CEOs were meeting behind closed...

How and Why the U.S. Has Re-Started the Cold War (The Backstory that Precipitated...

When the Cold War ended, in 1990, Russia was in a very weak position, no real threat at all (except for nuclear weapons, but...

Techno-Fascism (NSA) and the Obama Administration

History is a holistic political-structural process, Marx’s dialectical framework notwithstanding, because even allowing for contradiction there are successive stages of integration, from each of...

Review of Alison Weir’s “Against Our Better Judgement: How the U.S. was used to...

Karin Brothers Alison Weir's short, powerful book documents hidden stories that have led to the major conflicts of the past century; understanding this history should...

What Is The Problem With The Police Federation?

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The Con Man and the Big Con


One can too easily blame capitalism for debasing the culture and intellectual life of the US. The profit motive has surely placed commercial success ahead of artistic merit. Independent purveyors of art and ideas have been either co opted and absorbed by monopoly corporations or ground to a pulp attempting to compete with corporate-sponsored rivals. Culture has become corporate culture, despite the democratizing relief sometimes offered by the Internet.

From producer to consumer, arts and entertainment corporations are the ever-present intermediaries for successful production and realization of cultural commodities. Their goal is profit and not artistic merit.

Similarly, the humanities have been marginalized through the marketization of higher education. The ever present mantra of “running everything like a business” has deeply infected the process of learning, thus sending philosophy, political studies, literature, history and other humanities to the dustbin. That which cannot pay its way deserves no place in the university, say administrators wedded to best business practices. Consequently, the appreciation for and vibrant generation of the humanities is stunted by the dominance of the “practicality” of the sciences and business. Higher learning becomes learning for a purpose, namely, getting ahead.

But the arts and independent thought are threatened by other factors as well. While even those friendly to capitalism will give a reluctant acknowledgment of the economic factors that diminish culture and humanistic pursuits, few accept the significant role of politics in stunting culture and learning. Of course many will readily agree that right wing zealots chip away politically at the liberal values that are believed to be the foundation for cultural and intellectual enrichment. They will eagerly concede that pornography police and music censors retard the free flow of ideas. But they, nonetheless, celebrate the US democratic spirit that continues to nourish the spring of cultural production and intellectual innovation.

Accordingly, they forget, or purposely overlook, the insidious role of Cold War repression that befell intellectual and cultural life in the US from the late 1940s through the early 1960s, with loud echoes today. For nearly a decade and a half, intellectual conformity on class, race, and Communism was rigorously enforced through punishment or fear, especially in the sensitive areas of culture and ideas (the battle of ideas is not merely in academia or among the men and women of letters but in the unions and mass organizations, where a vibrant incubation of radical ideas was replaced with a tepid, mediocre, and intolerant uniformity). Thousands of cultural and intellectual workers lost their jobs, were shunned, or blacklisted. Tens of thousands were frozen with fear and determined to assiduously avoid anything controversial.

Artists and intellectuals grew timid: ironically, some of the best popular cinema of the otherwise mediocre era was offered by ex-Communists who had made their mea culpas and thus earned the right to tackle edgy themes (for example, A Face in the Crowd (Kazan), Sweet Smell of Success, and The Big Knife (Odets). The best of television, a then-new medium seemingly happy to wallow in mediocrity, came from deeply covert writers who had been expelled from Hollywood. When vibrant African American music in the form of a subversive Rhythm and Blues stood to crack the cultural barriers, US entertainment corporations co-opted and whitened the music while transforming it into mildly titillating Rock and Roll (RCA and Elvis Presley), a safer alternative.

The false radicalism of Abstract Expressionism was promoted by a deeply conservative coterie of wealthy art impresarios intent upon overshadowing any subversive messages borne by representational art (see How New York Stole the Idea of Modern Art, Guilbaut). And mildly mocking satire of upper-middle-class and suburban mores a la New Yorker magazine became the gold standard of popular literature.

Youth rebellion, thought to be a biological imperative, found expression in the middle-class angst of the “beat” generation or through revisiting frontier toughness through the cult of the motorcycle. “Alienation” replaced “exploitation” as the theme of critiques of industrial society.

Moral and political philosophy shunned social criticism for the fetish of linguistic analysis while the social sciences fell under the sway of the paradigm of the self-interested, rational individual.

But it was not simply fear and intimidation that drove the vapidity of culture and thought in the high season of anti-Communism. The best and brightest of Cold War liberals readily collaborated with the US government's security forces and propaganda offensives. As Frances Stoner Saunders thoroughly documents (The Cultural Cold War), the CIA's front organization, The Congress for Cultural Freedom, purchased or captured in its net some of the most illustrious intellectuals in the US and the world. Recruitment and manipulation of writers, editors, journalists, academics exerted a strong influence on the direction of intellectual and cultural life for decades. It would be naïve not to believe-- and contrary to what has been uncovered-- that these same government tentacles had not reached into the US labor movement and numerous NGOs.
It is a pity that no one has taken on the daunting task of assembling all of the glimpses, hints, testaments, and documents that have allowed us to peek behind the curtain of secrecy and deception shielding the vast apparatus of thought control employed by US rulers. What we know about the co-option of a student organization like NSA, a labor front like AIFLD, a publishing house like Praeger, or public intellectuals like Isaiah Berlin, Mary McCarthy, Clement Greenberg, or Arthur Schlesinger Jr. suggests that the instruments of influence stretch far and wide and ensure limits to discussion, debate, and artistic expression.

A Swamp of Gullibility: The Case of Paul De Man

It was in the context of reflecting upon the Cold War clamp-down on US culture and intellectual life that I approached Evelyn Barish's new book, The Double Life of Paul De Man. From the mid-sixties until his death in 1983, De Man acquired a scholarly, intellectual reputation that secured him a position as one of the most influential intellectuals in the Western world. His students and colleagues in the intellectual school popularly known as “deconstructionism” held prestigious positions at many academic centers, influenced most of the humanities, and succeeded in penetrating into popular culture. Deconstruction-- as an intellectual current-- has the curious distinction of being nearly incomprehensible to the uninitiated, yet purporting to be a devastating critique sweeping away all that comes before it.

Not long after de Man's death, an admiring student of his discovered evidence that de Man collaborated with the Nazi occupiers in his native Belgium, contributing pro-Nazi and anti-Semitic articles to Belgium's leading newspaper. This revelation rocked the academic community and beyond, raising questions about de Man's integrity and fitness to retain his celestial place in the liberal arts heavens. De Man loyalists sought to cast the collaboration as an aberration and, perhaps with some merit, as irrelevant to the value of his work. As with other fascists or collaborators-- Martin Heidegger, Herbert von Karajan, Werner von Braun, etc.-- it may be possible to separate their life's work from their work with the devil (possible, but difficult).

Critics like David Lehman in his 1991 book, Signs of the Times: Deconstruction and the Fall of Paul de Man, offered no such life line to de Man and deconstruction. He argues forcefully that deconstruction is as tainted by hum-buggery as de Man is flawed as a human being.

But like the Western debate over Heidegger's past, sides were drawn, but no minds were changed.

Now comes Ms. Barish's book which shows that Paul de Man was thoroughly a cad, a thief, and, with few exceptions, cavalier with the truth. While Barish indulges in annoying flights of psychological speculation, while she gets some minutiae wrong, she marshals a most convincing case that de Man neglected a wife and children, falsified official documents, stole from investors, lied about academic credentials (even about his own paternity), failed to pay debts-- the list of crimes and misdemeanors goes on and on... Those curious of the myriad, lurid details should buy the book; they will find it more bizarre than fiction.

Predictably, the Barish book drew many responses. At one extreme, de Man friend and Sterling Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at Yale (succeeding de Man as Sterling professor) and Andrew W. Mellon Scholar at Princeton, Peter Brooks, brought his scholarship to bear on the book in a review published in The New York Review of Books. Notable for its prickliness, the review challenges Barish's “scholarship” but fails to engage or correct any of the substantive claims at play. Nor do Brooks’ scholarly sensitivities note that the NYRB published several de Man articles previously, perhaps a fact that might be seen as tainting the editors' objectivity.

Robert Alter, writing in The New Republic, saw the Barish book as demonstrating that de Man was simply a “total fraud,” a conclusion with which those of us less concerned with scholarly niceties might concur. Carlin Romano, writing in the Chronicle of Higher Education, similarly recoils from de Man's demonstrated moral corruption.

Harvard Professor Susan Rubin Sulieman, writing in the New York Timesconcedes that de Man is a “con man,” but cannot resist the academic urge to cast a long shadow by scolding Barish over her scholarly standards. Her sense of moral proportion seems to be overshadowed by her outrage over professional standards.

Writing in The New Yorker, Louis Menand details de Man's sins with a school-boy relish, while attempting to separate his turpitude from the intellectual views associated with his work. Menand writes, in defense of deconstructionism:
 
We could say that deconstruction is an attempt to go through the looking glass, to get beyond or behind language, but a deconstructionist would have to begin by explaining that the concepts “beyond” and “behind” are themselves effects of language. Deconstruction is all about interrogating apparently unproblematic terms. It’s like digging a hole in the middle of the ocean with a shovel made of water.

... go through the looking glass...”? “...digging a hole in the middle of the ocean with a shovel made of water...”? Is this nonsense or an example of the elevated, urbane wit so long associated with The New Yorker?

Chickens Coming Home to Roost

While writers milk the de Man affair for its full entertainment value, and academics debate the damage to the deconstructionist program, critical questions are quietly passed over: How did de Man, the con man, slip through the filters of some of the world's most prestigious universities? How did Bard, Harvard, Cornell, and Yale allow this man who never completed a baccalaureate snooker the gatekeepers on his journey to claiming one of the most prestigious academic chairs in the US? More broadly, how were the celebrated New York intellectuals, especially Mary McCarthy and Dwight McDonald, seduced into sponsoring de Man into the highest intellectual circles?

In her fashion, Barish speculates on the personalities and psyches of those taken in by de Man in order to supply an explanation. But such an explanation would reduce the rise of Paul de Man to an unprecedented, finally inexplicable historic accident.

A better answer is found by returning to the historical context of Paul de Man's journey. De Man arrived and maneuvered his way into a position to launch his career at the peak of the Cold War repression in the US. Academics and intellectuals were not expanding horizons nor inviting fresh currents. Rather, they were circling the wagons and banning controversial ideas. This was, of course, fertile soil for opportunists, people who could read the signs and conform.

It is important to remember that de Man's chosen field of literature and literary criticism underwent a radical transformation coincident with the rise of anti-Communist hysteria in the US. Formerly, critics sought to understand literature in broadly open ways, groping for social, cultural, historical, and personal factors that would inform the meaning of texts. A prominent exponent and acknowledged leader of this school was V. L. Parrington. While not a Marxist, Parrington's “...progressive interpretation of American history was highly influential in the 1920s and 1930s and helped define modern liberalism in the United States..." (Wikipedia) Parrington's Pulitzer Prize winning book “... dominated literary and cultural criticism from 1927 through the early 1950s...,” according to a source cited in the same article. At that time a Marxist, Granville Hicks, wrote a critical appreciation of Parrington's work for Science and Society in 1938 (The Critical Principles of V L Parrington), concluding that “...if he were alive, Parrington would be fighting for democracy. Certainly his work is a powerful weapon on that side.” Apparently, too powerful for the malignant 1950s.

Moderately progressive views such as Parrington's were squelched in this time of toadyism:
 

Trilling was one of the most important "hard-liners" in the CIA's Congress for Cultural Freedom. 

Today, Parrington is largely forgotten, thanks to Cold Warriors and academic opportunists. And in his place, the “New Critics” arose in the late 1940s to rescue literary texts from a fulsome, rich interpretation, especially an interpretation that might even remotely suggest Marxism. From that time on, everything was text and only text. Like the shift from representational art to Abstract Expressionism, the movement to “new criticism” was a Cold War gambit masquerading as a new, daring approach to culture, a safe officially sanctioned rebellion that barred the door from seditious art and interpretation.

Arriving in New York in 1948, Paul de Man's brand of charm, salon wit, and shameless opportunism fit perfectly into the intellectual milieu of the emerging Cold War. A European, without the baggage of Communism or leftism, but emitting vague hints of participating in the Resistance, proved attractive to Cold War liberals. But when he packed up and left Bard College for Harvard ahead of bill collectors and scandal, his fortunes took another even more significant turn. Harvard's heralded Humanities Six class gave de Man a taste of the flavors enjoyed at the US's elite universities. The gift of the New Critics' method of “close reading” became the foundation for his meteoric career. Add European exoticism, a profound rejection of inter-subjective meaning, and convey this package in a dense, impenetrable language, and you have a ticket to stardom for an incorrigible con man. Paul de Man punched the ticket.

Intellectual life in the US was irreparably damaged by the stifling, suffocating atmosphere imposed by Cold War hysteria. Cultural and intellectual watchdogs collaborated with administrators to master promoting the illusion of a free and open society while blocking any potential challenges to the bourgeois canon. Central to that task was the project of creating and shaping ersatz rebellion, of channeling the natural skepticism and contrariness of young minds towards benign expressions of revolt. Paul de Man became a willing participant in that game, molding deconstruction into an instrument for thumbing one's nose at an ambiguous, amorphous establishment. A difficult, frustratingly opaque language coupled to a defiant rejection of the most basic category of understanding-- meaning-- seduced initiates into the world of deconstruction. While it challenged no center of real power, deconstruction tasted, smelled, and looked like rebellion. Thus, it joined a long list of carefully constructed cultural and intellectual manifestations that absorb the rebelliousness of youth while producing a harmless release of energies.

Many believe that with the loosening of the repressive noose popularly called McCarthyism, the US returned to openness and freedom of expression. However, that is a misleading perspective. Openness and freedom of expression mean nothing when intellectual and cultural ideas were purged and remain forgotten or uncritically scorned. Openness and freedom of expression mean nothing when intellectual and cultural workers have had their spines surgically removed to the point that they cannot muster the courage to call out frauds and poseurs.

Though hardly revolutionary, V.L. Parrington's ideas and those of many similarly purged, remain lost to a new generation, while the ideas of the discredited Paul de Man and those of other intellectual opportunists and charlatans continue to circulate through the universities and in prestigious journals. The same could be said in the arts and many other intellectual pursuits where the limits of debate are not stated, but inherited. This is the legacy and cost of hysterical, unrestrained anti-Communism.

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The Practical Choice: Not American Capitalism or “Welfare State Socialism” but an Economy...

For years Americans have assumed that our hard-charging capitalism  is better than the soft-hearted version found in Canada and Europe. American capitalism might be a bit crueler but it generates faster growth and higher living standards overall. Canada’s and Europe’s “welfare-state socialism” is doomed.  

It was a questionable assumption to begin with, relying to some extent on our collective amnesia about the first three decades after World War II, when tax rates on top incomes in the U.S. never fell below 70 percent, a larger portion of our economy was invested in education than before or since, over a third of our private-sector workers were unionized, we came up with Medicare for the elderly and Medicaid for the poor, and built the biggest infrastructure project in history, known as the interstate highway system.

But then came America’s big U-turn, when we deregulated, de-unionized, lowered taxes on the top, ended welfare, and stopped investing as much of the economy in education and infrastructure.

Meanwhile, Canada and Europe continued on as before. Soviet communism went bust, and many of us assumed European and Canadian “socialism” would as well.

That’s why recent data from the Luxembourg Income Study Database  is so shocking.

The fact is, we’re falling behind. While median per capita income in the United States has stagnated since 2000, it’s up significantly in Canada and Northern Europe. Their typical worker’s income is now higher than ours, and their disposable income – after taxes – higher still.

It’s difficult to make exact comparisons of income across national borders because real purchasing power is hard to measure. But even if we assume Canadians and the citizens of several European nations have simply drawn even with the American middle class, they’re doing better in many other ways.

Most of them get free health care and subsidized child care. And if they lose their jobs, they get far more generous unemployment benefits than we do. (In fact, right now 75 percent of jobless Americans lack any unemployment benefits.)

If you think we make up for it by working less and getting paid more on an hourly basis, think again. There, at least three weeks paid vacation as the norm, along with paid sick leave, and paid parental leave.

We’re working an average of 4.6 percent more hours more than the typical Canadian worker, 21 percent more than the typical French worker, and a whopping 28 percent more than your typical German worker, according to data compiled by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof.

But at least Americans are more satisfied, aren’t we? Not really. According to opinion surveys and interviews, Canadians and Northern Europeans are.

They also live longer, their rate of infant mortality is lower, and women in these countries are far less likely to die as result of complications in pregnancy or childbirth.

But at least we’re the land of more equal opportunity, right? Wrong. Their poor kids have a better chance of getting ahead. While 42 percent of American kids born into poor families remain poor through their adult lives, only 30 percent of Britain’s poor kids remain impoverished – and even smaller percentages in other rich countries.

Yes, the American economy continues to grow faster than the economies of Canada and Europe. But faster growth hasn’t translated into higher living standards for most Americans.

Almost all our economic gains have been going to the top – into corporate profits and the stock market (more than a third of whose value is owned by the richest 1 percent). And into executive pay (European CEOs take home far less than their American counterparts).

America’s rich also pay much lower taxes than do the rich in Canada and Europe.

But surely Europe can’t go on like this. You hear it all the time: They can no longer afford their welfare state.

That depends on what’s meant by “welfare state.” If high-quality education is included, we’d do well to emulate them. Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 rank near the bottom among rich countries in literacy and numeracy. That spells trouble for the U.S. economy in the future.

They’re also doing more workforce training, and doing it better, than we are. The result is more skilled workers.  

Universal health care is another part of their “welfare state” that saves them money because healthier workers are more productive.

So let’s put ideology aside. The practical choice isn’t between capitalism and “welfare-state socialism.” It’s between a system that’s working for a few at the top, or one that’s working for just about everyone. Which would you prefer?

Ukraine’s Fascist Roots

Ukraine's Fascist Roots

by Stephen Lendman

US-installed putschists are fascist extremists. Elevating them to power should scare everyone. 

Ukraine is the epicenter of European fascist reemergence. It's a freedom-destroying cancer. 

It threatens world peace. It risks global conflict. It doesn't surprise. Its roots are deep. 

Washington offers full support. It's longstanding. It dates from 1945. Svoboda and Right Sector parties are modern-day Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) heirs.

Its Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) leaders were Nazi collaborators. They fought with Hitler's Waffen SS Galician Division. 

Their forces massacred hundreds of thousands. Their hero was Stepan Bandera. He headed OUN-B. It terrorized Ukrainian and Polish Jews.

His legacy thrives in Ukraine today. His heirs openly display his OUN-B red and black flag. They enjoy full US support. 

Svoboda's slogan is "Ukraine for Ukrainians." Bandera said the same thing. He wanted Ukraine made ethnically pure. Mass extermination followed.

Svoboda earlier called itself Socialist-Nationalists. It bears erie resemblance to Hitler's National Socialism. It reflects fascism writ large.

Svoboda openly calls for "creat(ing) a truly Ukrainian Ukraine in the cities of the East and South."

"We will need to cancel parliamentarism, ban all political parties, nationalise the entire industry, all media, prohibit the importation of any literature to Ukraine from Russia."

"Completely replace the leaders of the civil service, education management, military (especially in the East)." 

"Physically liquidate all Russian-speaking intellectuals and all Ukrainophobes (fast, without a trial shot. Registering Ukrainophobes can be done here by any member of Svoboda)." 

"Execute all members of the anti-Ukrainian political parties."  

Svoboda straightaway abolished Russian-speaker minority rights. It targets Jews, ethnic Russians and opposition elements. 

Its manifesto calls for "carry(ing) out a broad public discussion about the meaning of Ukrainian pluralism for the future of Europe, Russia and the world."

Its aim is undermining Russian Eurasian influence. It wants fundamental freedoms destroyed. It wants hardline rule replacing it. 

Democracy is strictly verboten. Hooliganism is longstanding  strategy. Unrestrained violence reflects it. Opposition elements are targeted for elimination.

Post-WW II, Washington began cooperating with Ukrainian fascists. OUN-B leader Mykola Lebed (1909 - 1998) openly collaborated with Nazis.

He was responsible for massive Volhynia and Eastern Galicia Polish ethnic cleansing.

In 1949, he emigrated to America. He did so with CIA/State Department help. 

He lived in New York. His CIA-funded Prolog Research Corporation spied on Soviet Russia.

In his book titled "The OUN, the UPA and the Holocaust: A Study in the Manufacturing of Historical Myths," Per Rudling said:

"During the early Cold War, extreme nationalism and fascism were retooled and employed by Western intelligence services in the struggle against the USSR." 

"One CIA analyst argued that 'some form of nationalist feeling continues to exist (in Ukraine)…"

"There is an obligation to support it as a cold war weapon."

According to Rudling, CIA and State Department officials collaborated with OUN members. 

They sponsored them. They brought them to America. They shielded them from war crimes prosecutions.

They helped them gain "positions of of influence and authority, assisting their creation of semi-academic institutions and/or academic positions at established universities," said Rudling.

They whitewashed their WW II crimes. They transformed them into Ukrainian heroes. 

During Viktor Yushchenko's illegitimate Orange Revolution presidency, institutes of memory management and myth-making were established.

They buried information about OUN/UPA atrocities. 

According to Rudling, "(u)nlike many other former Soviet republics, the Ukrainian government did not need to develop new national myths from scratch, but imported ready concepts developed in the Ukrainian diaspora."

Washington calls OUN/UPA and its modern-day heirs "nationalists." It buries their fascist roots. It ignores their criminal past.

Rudling was clear and unequivocal saying:

"The OUN shared the fascist attributes of antiliberalism, anticonservatism, and anticommunism, an armed party, totalitarianism, anti-Semitism, Führerprinzip, and the adoption of fascist greetings." 

"Its leaders eagerly emphasized to Hitler and Ribbentrop that they shared the Nazi Weltanschauung and a commitment to a fascist New Europe."

Racial/ethnic purity was a core ideological element. It remains so today. Washington's alliance with hard right extremist groups is longstanding.

Political analyst Caleb Maupin said decades before European fascism, Ku Klux Klan elements were state-sponsored in former slave-holding states.

It wasn't the only fascist organization Washington embraced, said Maupin. Post-WW I, American Legion leaders were openly fascist.

So were prominent US industrialists like Henry Ford. Fascism thrives in today's America. It reflects its dark side.

It emerged post-WW I. At the time, Western civilization was called decadent and destructive. It was in decline, critics said.

In his book titled, "The Decline of the West," Oswald Spengler said "liberalism, democracy, socialism (and) free-masonry" weakened it. Fascism alone could save it, he claimed.

In his essay titled, "Fascism: Doctrine and Institutions," Mussolini said, "Fascism denies, in democracy, the absurd conventional untruth of political equality dressed out in the garb of collective responsibility."

He called it Marxism's "complete opposite." In class struggle for social progress and justice, he added. 

"Fascism should more appropriately be called Corporatism because it is a merger of State and corporate power," he stressed.

His definition applies now. Corporatism's alliance with political Washington reflects his ideology. It built for decades. 

It's deeply entrenched. It reflects Washington's bipartisan agenda. Its criminal class runs things.

Huey Long once said fascism will arrive "wrapped in an American flag." In his book titled, "Friendly Fascism," Bertram Gross called Ronald Reagan its prototype ruler.

He described a slow, powerful "drift toward greater concentration of power and wealth in a repressive Big Business-Big Government." 

It reflects a Big Brother alliance. It leads "toward a new and subtly manipulative form of corporatist serfdom." Its friendly face conceals its dark side.

In the 1930s, George Seldes saw it coming. He worried about New Deal policies eroding. 

In his 1934 book titled, "Iron, Blood and Profits," he discussed a "world-wide munitions racket." 

He cited WW I militarists. He named weapons makers in Europe and America.

He called them "merchants of death." They promote "imperialism (and) colonization - by means of war." 

"(T)he healthfulness of the business depends on slaughter. The more wars," the more profits.

His 1943 book titled "Facts and Fascism" explained "Fascism on the Home Front" in Part One. It's called "The Big Money and the Big Profits in Fascism."

In Parts Two and Three, he discussed "Native Fascist Forces" in industry and his day's media. It was a shadow of today's propaganda machine.

Print and radio's early days alone existed. Television was years away.

In his 1935 novel titled, "It Can't Happen Here," Sinclair Lewis saw fascism coming in hard times. 

It'll be led by a charismatic leader, he said. A self-styled reformer/populist champion. A con man exploiting human misery.

He recounted Merzelium "Buzz" Windrip's rise to power. His promise to restore prosperity equitably was duplicitous. His alliance with corporatist interests and religious ideologues remained hidden.

He capitalized on hard times. He instituted militarism. He established unconstitutional governance. 

He convened military tribunals. He did so for civilians and nonbelievers. He called them traitors.

He solidified hardline rule. He institutionalized tyranny. He put political enemies in concentration camps. 

He created Minute Men paramilitaries. They terrorized opposition elements.

He destroyed democracy. He abolished constitutional freedoms. He declared martial law. 

He usurped dictatorial powers. He circumvented Congress. He made himself supreme ruler.

Lewis said it can happen here. Today it's institutionalized. It rules America. 

It runs Ukraine. Svoboda and Right Sector parties have enormous power.

Their members hold key ministerial positions. Previous articles discussed Obama's new friends. They include a rogue's gallery of societal misfits.

They're militant fascists. They're thugs. They're criminals.

They're illegitimate putschists. They're xenophobic, hate-mongering, ultranationalist anti-Semites. 

Combined they represent mob rule. They make mafia bosses look saintly by comparison.

For the first time since WW II, overt fascists have real power in Europe. They hold major government posts.

In December 2012, European parliamentarians expressed concern about "rising nationalistic sentiment in Ukraine."

They called Svoboda members "racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic." They're polar opposite "EU's fundamental values," the added.

They "appeal(ed) to pro-democratic parties in (Ukraine's legislature) not to associate with, endorse, or form coalitions with" these elements.

That was then. This is now. EU officials openly support what they condemned. They do so unapologetically.

They march in lockstep with Washington hardliners. They mock democratic values they claim to support.

Olexander Turchynov serves as illegitimate president/parliament speaker. He's a political opportunist.

He's Ukrainian armed forces commander-in-chief. He's Batkivshchyna/All-Ukrainian Union/Fatherland party deputy chairman.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk serves as Ukraine's illegitimate prime minister. He's super-rich.

He's a former central banker/economy/foreign minister/ parliament (Verkhovna Rada) speaker.

He's a Batkivshchya/All-Ukrainian Union (Fatherland) leader. He sold out for greater wealth and power. 

He serves Washington, EU interests and Western bankers. Paying them comes first. Ukrainians bear the burden. 

Exploiting them irresponsibly is official policy. So is plundering Ukraine for profit. Selling its state enterprises at fire sale prices. 

Strip-mining its state resources. Hollowing out its economy. Wrecking it entirely. 

Creating a protracted Greek-style Depression. Making ordinary people suffer most. Cracking down hard on nonbelievers.

Andriy Parubiy co-founded the ultranationalist neo-Nazi Social National party. It's now called Svoboda. He did so with Oleh Tyahnybok.

Right Sector hard right neo-Nazi hate-mongering anti-Semite Dmytro Yarosh is his deputy. He openly boasts about "...fighting Jews and Russians till I die."

He calls Russia Ukraine's "eternal enemy." He said war between both countries is inevitable.

Right Sector neo-Nazis are the worst of Ukrainian extremists. On May 2, they massacred 300 Odessan civilians in cold blood.

They did so inside Odessa's Trade Union House building. They hunted down survivors and murdered them. 

They're gun-toting, radicalized terrorists. Imagine them and likeminded scoundrels in charge of Ukraine's government.

Imagine Obama embracing them. They're cold-blooded killers. State terrorism defines their agenda. Elements opposing them are targeted for elimination.

Oleh Tyahnybok heads Svoboda. He's a force to be reckoned with. He reflects fascism writ large. He openly claims determination to crush "Russkie-Yid mafia" elements Ukraine.

Parubiy serves as Kiev's Secretary of National Security and Defense Council. He oversees Ukraine's Defense Ministry and armed forces. 

He directed months earlier Right Sector Maidan violence. Other Svoboda/Right Sector officials hold influential ministerial posts.

Obama's new friends are fascist extremists. Their agenda makes peace activists cringe. They threaten civil war. Regional conflict could follow. They risk spreading it globally.

Yatsenyuk vowed never to give up "a centimeter" of Ukraine to Russia. "This is our land," he said. "Our fathers and grandfathers have spilled their blood for this land." 

"And we won't budge a single centimeter from (it). Let Russia and its president know this."

Washington pledged full support. Obama pledged financial aid. Doing so violates US law. It doesn't matter. 

Parubiy wants all he can get. He wants "immediate US military aid," he said. On May 15, he got feature Wall Street Journal op-ed space requesting it.

He lied claiming "Putin's goal is to destroy the independent Ukrainian state…"

"(B)ecause it had the courage to choose a better future with Europe," he said.

He called UN Charter recognized self-determination "illegal." He said so regarding Crimea's legitimate reunification with Russia.

He turned truth on its head claiming Putin "stirr(ed) up separatist movements in multiple regions of Ukraine in the hope of annexing even more Ukrainian territory."

Ukraine "can't do everything on its own," he said. It's "a peaceful nation," he claimed.

It's waging war without mercy on its own people. Burying truth is longstanding fascist policy.

Parubiy want US military aid. He wants weapons, "modern equipment," and training. He wants all he can get. He enjoys Journal editorial support.

He and likeminded ideologues turned Ukraine into a fascist police state. It's an eastern cauldron of violence.

Paribiy deplores peace. He wants conflict escalated. He ludicrously claims Western military aid can "regain stability."

Enhancing Ukrainian might can "withstand Russia('s) (nonexistent) aggression." He wants powerful weapons supplied.

He wants "tools to defend our nation." He wants them despite no existing threat. He wants them for lawless aggression.

He wants eastern opposition elements crushed. He wants them slaughtered in cold blood. 

He wants Washington partnering with his crimes. He risks global conflict. 

He and likeminded ideologues may start WW III. Stopping them matters most.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

Break the Silence: A World War Is Beckoning

John Pilger Why do we tolerate the threat of another world war in our name? Why do we allow lies that justify this risk? The scale of...

New York Times War on Truth

New York Times War on Truth

by Stephen Lendman

The so-called "newspaper of record" is an establishment broadsheet. It represents wealth, power and privilege. 

It's America's lead instrument of state propaganda. It marches in lockstep with official US policy. 

It's a virtual Washington house organ. A lying machine. A de facto ministry of state misinformation.

Vital truths are buried. Managed news rubbish substitutes. Core journalistic ethics are violated. Readers are systematically lied to. 

They deserve better. They're cheated on what matters most. They're betrayed. 

It bears repeating what previous articles stressed. All the news fit to print isn't fit to read.

Famed Chicago columnist Mike Royko (1932- 1997) once said "no self-respecting fish would (want to) be wrapped in a Murdoch paper..." Or the NYT he might have added.

Its war on truth persists. It's regular daily fare. It's featured. It's deplorable. It's longstanding. It's fundamental Times policy. 

When America wages lawless aggression or plans it, Times correspondents, contributors and editors march in lock step.

When Washington replaces democratic leaders with despots, official Times policy endorses what demands denunciation.

Ukraine is Exhibit A. In February, Washington elevated fascist putschists to power. They replaced democratic leadership.

They did so illegitimately. Times editors cheerled their lawlessness.  They continue doing so. 

They pretend fascist extremists are democrats. They bury truth in the process. They systematically turn it on its head. 

They twist reality to fit US policy. They irresponsibly bash Putin daily.

On May 12, they headlined "What Mr. Putin Can't Control." They claimed legitimate free, fair, open democratic Eastern Ukrainian referendums were "farcical."

They blamed Putin for US-instigated Ukrainian crisis conditions. He's gone all-out to resolve them diplomatically. Not according to Times editors. 

They lied claiming his real aim is "to transform Ukraine into a federation under a weak and neutral Kiev government permanently dependent on Russia."

He'll impose "unacceptable demands…Ukraine is broke…(He's) claiming unrealistically large payments to continue supplying natural gas."

His hand isn't "all aces. He must be aware that any Russian military drive into southeastern Ukraine would entail bloody resistance" and much more.

"…Mr. Putin is not immune to the damage done to his reputation, especially in Germany, the European country he seems to care most about."

Fact: Putin has no territorial ambitions.

Fact: He respects Ukrainian sovereignty.

Fact: He does so for all nations.

Fact: He supports real democracy.

Fact: He opposes coup d'etat illegitimacy.

Fact: So should everyone.

Fact: He made no "unacceptable demands."

Fact: He "claim(s) (no) unrealistically large" gas payments.

Fact: In mid-April, he said Ukraine's gas debt reached a "critical" level.

Fact: It was unpaid for three months.

Fact: He wants addressing it prioritized.

Fact: He wants payment for natural gas provided.

Fact: Companies don't supply products and services free of charge.

Fact: Or nations from state enterprises.

Fact: Since Soviet Russia's dissolution, Moscow guaranteed Ukraine cut-rate-priced natural gas.

Fact: Uninterrupted transit through its territory was assured.

Fact: Russia fulfilled all its contractual obligations.

Fact: Ukraine putschists violated theirs systematically.

Fact: Russia continued providing unprecedented natural gas discounts.

Fact: From 2009 to today, they totaled $17 billion. Plus another $18.4 billion incurred by Kiev as a minimal take-or-pay fine.

Fact: Russia subsidized Ukraine's economy generously. 

Fact: It went way out of its way doing it.

Fact: Since 2009, it provided $34.4 billion.

Fact: It helped preserve stability and credibility. 

Fact: It saved jobs.

Fact: Russia alone showed this type generosity.

Fact: EU nations denied support.

Fact: So did Washington.

Fact: They seek to exploit.

Fact: They're imposing harsh IMF diktats.

Fact: They'll wreck Ukraine's economy.

Fact: They'll hollow it out entirely.

Fact: They'll deeply impoverish millions in the process.

Fact: They want Ukrainian resources plundered.

Fact: They want its state enterprises sold to Western corporate predators and fire sale prices.

Fact: They created a huge Ukrainian trade imbalance.

Fact: It exceeds $10 billion.

Fact: It's two-thirds of Ukraine's 2013 deficit.

Fact: It negatively affects Ukraine's ability to fulfill its contactual obligations for Russian natural gas.

Fact: Moscow alone is forced to bear an unreasonable burden.

Fact: Ukraine's gas debt grows monthly.

Fact: It's done so by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Fact: No longer.

Fact: Beginning mid-May, supplies provided must be pre-paid.

Fact: Overly generous discounts ended.

Fact: They should have long ago.

Fact: Gazprom deserves fair prices.

Fact: What other customers pay.

Fact: It's not in business to be cheated.

Fact: Don't expect Times editors to explain.

"The OSCE must set out its road plan as soon as possible, and the Germans, above all others, must make clear to Mr. Putin that they won't be lulled by more false promises," they said.

"(T)hat unless he clears the way for presidential elections on May 25, gets his minions in southeastern Ukraine in line and really pulls back his armies, the European Union and the United States will impose sanctions that will cut Russia off for a long time from Western sources of technology, arms and finance."

Fact: On May 7, Putin and OSCE head Didier Burkhalter met. 

Fact: They discussed roadmap principles.

Fact: They did so to resolve Ukraine's crisis diplomatically.

Fact: They did what Washington deplores.

Fact: Steps proposed include halting hostilities, deescalating tensions, establishing dialogue, and holding free, fair, open democratic elections.

Fact: On the one hand, Putin called planned Ukrainian presidential elections "a movement in the right direction."

Fact: On the other, he said they'll "settle nothing if all Ukrainian citizens will not understand how their rights will be guaranteed after" elections are held.

Fact: Kiev putschists reacted negatively to OSCE principles.

Fact: They scorn diplomacy.

Fact: They abhor responsible national dialogue.

Fact: They want their way imposed.

Fact: They want fascist rule.

Fact: Washington is going all-out to perpetuate conflict.

Fact: Planned May 25 Kiev elections will be farcical when held.

Fact: Obama wants pro-Western stooges running Ukraine.

Fact: He wants ordinary Ukrainians having no say.

Fact: He wants Russian diplomatic conflict resolution efforts scuttled.

Fact: He wants total US control.

Fact: He wants Ukraine made another NATO member state.

Fact: He wants US bases encroaching on Russia's borders.

Fact: He wants long range multiple nuclear armed missiles targeting its heartland.

Fact: He wants Russia eliminated as a major rival.

Fact: He wants pro-Western puppet governance replacing its sovereign independence.

Fact: He wants its resources plundered.

Fact: He wants its people exploited.

Fact: He scorns diplomacy.

Fact: He deplores democracy.

Fact: He tolerates none at home or abroad.

Fact: He prioritizes confrontation.

Fact: He substitutes belligerence for peaceful conflict resolution.

Fact: He's the most ruthless leader in US history.

Fact: He's the most dangerous by far.

Fact: He exceeds the worst of his predecessors.

Fact: He's ideologically over-the-top.

Fact: He's recklessly out-of-control.

Fact: He risks igniting WW III to achieve his objectives.

It bears repeating. Don't expect New York Times editors to explain. Endorsing what demands condemnation matters more. 

So does daily Russia bashing. Times policy is on the wrong side of history. World peace hangs in the balance.

A Final Comment

John Pilger's 2003 documentary "Breaking The Silence: Truth And Lies In The War on Terror" exposed US "war on terror" Big Lies.

Washington's actions "have nothing to do with fighting terrorism," he said. They're "part of an opened-ended war" on freedom.

It rages for unchallenged US "global dominance…" It's for plundering world resources. It reflects state terrorism writ large.

Pilger asked:

"What are the real aims of this war and who are the most threatening terrorists?" 

"Who is responsible for far greater acts of violence than those committed by the fanatics of Al-Qaeda, crimes that have claimed many more lives than September 11th and always in poor, devastated, faraway places?"

His documentary revealed "rapacious imperial power." It's about "terrorism that never speaks its name." Because it's "our terrorism," he stressed.

It masquerades as humanitarian intervention. Big Lies substitute for truth.

Pilger's latest article headlined "Break the Silence: a World War is Beckoning."

"Why do we tolerate (it) in our name," he asked? Why do we permit such risk?"

Post-WW II, Western enemy names changed over time. They ranged from "communism to Islamism…"

It's "any society independent of western power and occupying strategically useful or resource-rich territory."

It's leaders are systematically eliminated. Pro-Western stooges replace them.

"Washington’s role in Ukraine is ­different only in its implications for the rest of us," said Pilger. It's heading things toward possible world war.

"We in the west are backing neo-Nazis in a country where Ukrainian Nazis backed Hitler."

Like ravaged and destroyed Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, Washington turned Ukraine "into a CIA theme park run by CIA director John Brennan in Kiev, with 'special units' from the CIA and FBI setting up a 'security structure' that oversees savage attacks on those who opposed the February coup."

Russian-speaking Ukrainians are endangered. They're "fighting for survival." Their enemy is headquartered in Washington.

It maintains satellite branches in other Western capitals, Kiev and elsewhere. 

Post-911, things changed. They did so horrifically for the worst. Washington bears full responsibility. Rogue EU/Israeli partners share it.

Lunatics make policy. Madness reflects it. "Rampant militarism now rules," said Pilger. Liberty is "hemorrhaging" in plain sight.

War on humanity threatens everyone. Potential nuclear war looms. It begs the question, said Pilger. "W)hy do we tolerate" the unthinkable?

Why does madness prevent responsible policy? Daily events should scare everyone. 

Upside down reality threatens humanity. Criminality is rewarded. Doing the right thing is punished.

Warmakers win peace prizes. Peace advocates are scorned. They're targeted for elimination.

Today is the most perilous time in world history. It bears repeating. World peace hangs in the balance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

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

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour 

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Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News - Once again, the Oscars dominated headlines on US television networks as well for the last 86 Years. ‘12 Years a Slave’ based on the book by Solomon Northup won the 2014 Oscar for best picture of the year tells the story of how slaves of African ancestry were treated by its white owners. Host of the Oscars Ellen DeGeneres said “Tonight, there are so many different possibilities. Possibility number one: 12 Years a Slave wins Best Picture. Possibility number two: You’re all racists! Now, for our first white presenter, Anne Hathaway!” That was funny, especially coming out of Hollywood. Racial politics seems to be the norm in the United States especially if you listen to the main stream media and its new propagandist, the Reverend Al Sharpton on MSNBC. An analysis by the Washington Free Beacon said that “MSNBC host Al Sharpton mentioned race in some capacity a total of 314 times on Politics Nation in 2013.” Race is often used by the media to divide and conquer people at least in the United States especially between black and white. But the fact remains that there were millions of Africans transported to North and South America have been tortured, murdered, raped and exploited for slave labor.  African-Americans suffered a great deal because of the slave trade, and many still do today.  Many cultures throughout human history have suffered the same fate. Whether black, white, indigenous, Jewish or Irish, human tragedies have taken place. Race and class wars have played a part in many of these crimes against humanity. Sometimes a tyrannical system such as fascism or extreme communism for example, under the leadership of Pol Pot in the 1960’s who imposed slavery on society.

It is not just the human history of one group over another that we should acknowledge it is a systemic problem of our society. Slavery existedthroughout all regions of the world.  Many people were slaves including the Irish, Jews, and many others.  It was and still is a system of the elite class who wish to rule humanity because of their status. Today a modern-day form of slavery exists through debt.

However, there is a piece of history not mentioned in history books or in Hollywood movies. It was called “Anti-Italianism” during the early 20th Century in America. Italian immigrants were seen as the enemy in the United States especially during a time of tensions when it came to employment and the economic hard times. Anti-Italian immigrant movements developed in several areas of the United States in the 20th century. In an interesting article called “Dark Legacy” by David Pacchioli, it describes what filmmaker of Linciati: Lynchings of Italians in America, Heather Hartley discovered during her research:

As she proceeded, however, Hartley’s research turned up another lynching of Italians, then another. “The more I looked, the more I uncovered,” she remembers. Accounts told of lynchings in Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida, Colorado, Kentucky, Illinois, Washington, and New York between the years of 1885 and 1915, some 50 killings in all

Pacchioli’s article explains why the lynching’s in the United States happened to the Italian community:

The most egregious example, in New Orleans, was precipitated by a rivalry between two groups of Italian dockworkers. When the city’s police chief was shot and killed shortly before he was to testify against one of these groups, Italian males in the city were rounded up indiscriminately. The New Orleans Times-Democrat captured the mood: “The little jail was crowded with Sicilians,” the paper reported, “whose low, receding foreheads, repulsive countenances and slovenly attire proclaimed their brutal nature”

Nine Italian men were tried and acquitted of murder. In response, a large mob led by some of the city’s leading citizens stormed the parish prison, shot nine men as they cowered in their cells, then dragged out and hanged two more. It was the largest lynching in American history, and although no one was indicted for the crime, President Benjamin Harrison subsequently paid reparations of $25,000 to the Italian government

In ‘Guns, Goats, And Italians: The Tallulah Lynching of 1899’ by Edward F. Haas of the North Louisiana Historical Association wrote:

Six times in the 1890s Italians fell prey to American mob violence. Three of these tragedies happened in Louisiana. The most famous case resulted from the fatal shooting of New Orleans Police Superintendent, David Hennessy, in October 1890. Before he died, the chief reportedly whispered, “The dagos did it.” Authorities attributed the crime to the Mafia and soon arrested a score of Italians. After a public meeting in downtown New Orleans on March 14, 1891, an angry mob that included numerous prominent citizens descended upon the city jail, and meeting no resistance, systematically shot or clubbed to death, eleven of the Italian prisoners. When an investigation excused the mob’s actions, the Italian government severed diplomatic relations with the United States and briefly contemplated war

What is important to understand is that many different people of society were affected one way or another by a society based on racism and exploitation. It is not just a problem of one or two groups. It is a societal problem that we face as human beings.  Slavery, torture and lynching hangs a dark cloud over all of humanity and understanding our past would allow us to better ourselves as a human race.

Here is an excerpt from a Documentary called “Pane Amaro (Bitter Bread)” about the lynching’s that took place involving Italian immigrants:

     

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Containing Russia

Containing Russia

by Stephen Lendman

It's longstanding US policy. In his March 18 address on Crimea, Putin was right saying:

"(W)e have every reason to assume that the infamous policy of containment, led in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, continues today."  

Western nations are "constantly trying to sweep us into a corner because we have an independent position, because we maintain it, and because we call things like they are and do not engage in hypocrisy."

"Everything has its limits," he added. "(I)n Ukraine, our Western partners crossed the red line." They "act(ed) irresponsibly and unprofessionally."

Putin had the courage to say what needs to be heard publicly. Containing Russia is longstanding US policy. It reflects US hegemonic ambitions. It risks a potential belligerent East/West confrontation.

As early as 1917, Washington and Britain wanted the new Soviet state destroyed. Three months before WW I ended, Britain led a multi-nation force. 

At the time, Lloyd George was Prime Minister. Churchill was UK Minister of War and Air. Woodrow Wilson was US president.

Thousands of US marines were involved. They invaded Russia. They intervened against Bolshevik forces. They remained until April 1920.

So-called "preventive war" failed. At the same time, "Red Scare" propaganda was intense. 

Political scientist Murray Levin called it "a nation-wide anti-radical hysteria provoked by a mounting fear and anxiety that a Bolshevik revolution in America was imminent - a revolution that would change church, home, marriage, civility, and the American way of Life."

Newspapers hyped fear. Xenophobia raged. Industrial Workers of the World (IWW Wobblies) were demonized. 

Latter-day media scoundrels called them "radical threats to American society" inspired by "left-wing, foreign agent provocateurs."

Labor strikes they led were called "crimes against society," conspiracies against the government," and "plots to establish communism."

Dozens of Wobbly members were arrested. They were convicted. They got long prison terms. The IWW was never the same again.

The infamous 1917 Espionage Act and 1918 anti-anarchist Sedition Act were enacted. Law Professor David Cole said Wilson "targeted alien radicals." 

"(He) deported them for their speech or associations. (He) ma(de) little effort to distinguish true threats from ideological dissidents."

In 1918, the abusive Palmer raids followed. They continued into 1921. Wilson's Attorney General Mitchell Palmer ordered them. He targeted Wobbly members and other left-wing groups.

He launched J. Edgar Hoover's FBI career. It began in the Department of Justice Bureau of Investigation's newly created General Intelligence Division. In 1935, it became the FBI.

A year earlier, the Special Committee on Un-American Activities was established. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) succeeded it.

From the mid-1950s through the early 1970s, Hoover's infamous COINTELPRO (counterintelligence) program targeted political dissidents, alleged communists, anti-war, human and civil rights activists, American Indian Movement members, and Black Panther Party ones, among others.

In their book, "Agents of Repression," Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall said:

"(T)he term came to signify the whole context of clandestine (usually illegal) political repression activities…" 

They included "a massive surveillance (program via) wiretaps, surreptitious entries and burglaries, electronic devices, live 'tails' and bogus mail." 

It was done to induce paranoia and "foster 'splits' within or between organizations."

Other tactics included:

  • "black propaganda" through leaflets or other publications; it was "designed to discredit organizations and foster internal tensions;"

  • "disinformation or 'gray propaganda' " for the same purpose; 

  • "bad-jacketing" to "creat(e) suspicion - through the spread of rumors, manufacture of evidence, etc." to turn some members against others violently;

  • "harassment arrests (on bogus) charges;" and

  • "assassinations (of) selected political leaders."

This writer vividly remembers December 4, 1969. Chicago police murdered Black Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark while they slept. They did so in cold blood.

In November 1968, J. Edgar Hoover ordered FBI agents "to exploit all avenues of creating....dissension within the ranks of the BPP (using) imaginative hard-hitting counterintelligence measures aimed at crippling" the organization.

He targeted independent voices challenging America's imperial agenda. Soviet Russia supporters were prime targets.

Post-WW II, containing Russia became official US policy. US diplomat/ambassador to Soviet Russia/presidential advisor George Kennan (1904 - 2005) was "the father of containment."

He was a core member of so-called foreign policy "Wise Men." His advice inspired the Truman Doctrine. More on it below.

His 1946 "Long Telegram" from Moscow and 1947 "Sources of Soviet Conduct" claimed its government was inherently expansionist. 

Containing its influence in strategic areas vitally important to America had to be prioritized, he argued. Cold War policies followed. Kennan was instrumentally involved.

In February 1948, his "Memo PPS23" said:

"(W)e have 50% of the world's wealth but only 6.3% of its population. (It makes us) the object of envy and resentment. Our real task in the coming period is to devise a pattern of relationships (to let us) maintain this position of disparity without positive detriment to our national society." 

"To do so we will have to dispense with all sentimentality and daydreaming; and our attention will have to be concentrated everywhere on our immediate national objectives." 

"We need not deceive ourselves that we can afford today the luxury of altruism and world benefaction...."

"We should dispense with the aspiration to 'be liked' or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism."

"We should (stop talking about) unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization." 

"The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are hampered by idealistic slogans (ideas and practices), the better."

In July 1947, his so-called "X" article headlined "The Sources of Soviet Conduct."

He urged "counter(ing) it "effectively." He stressed "containment, saying:

"The main element of any United States policy toward the Soviet Union must be that of a long-term, patient but firm and vigilant containment of Russian expansive tendencies."

He quoted Lenin saying:

"Unevenness of economic and political development is the inflexible law of capitalism. It follows from this that the victory of Socialism may come originally in a few capitalist countries or even in a single capitalist country." 

"The victorious proletariat of that country, having expropriated the capitalists and having organized Socialist production at home, would rise against the remaining capitalist world, drawing to itself in the process the oppressed classes of other countries."

He said Soviet power reflects "innate antagonism between capitalism and socialism."

"We have seen how deeply that concept has become imbedded in foundations of Soviet power. It has profound implications for Russia's conduct as a member of international society." 

"It means that there can never be on Moscow's side a sincere assumption of a community of aims between the Soviet Union and powers which are regarded as capitalist." 

"It must inevitably be assumed in Moscow that the aims of the capitalist world are antagonistic to the Soviet regime, and therefore to the interests of the peoples it controls."

Antagonism remains, said Kennan. "And from it flow many of the phenomena which we find disturbing in the Kremlin's conduct of foreign policy: the secretiveness, the lack of frankness, the duplicity, the wary suspiciousness, and the basic unfriendliness of purpose."

Russians will be "difficult to deal with" for a long time, he stressed. In November 1948, NSC 4 outlined "US Objectives with Respect to the USSR to Counter Soviet Threats to US Security."

NSC 7 followed. It covered "The Position of the United States With Respect to Soviet Dominated World Communism." It said:

"(A) defensive policy cannot be considered an effective means of checking the momentum of Soviet expansion."  

"Defeat(ing)" communism was considered "vital to the security of the United States." It argued Washington should organize and lead a "counter-offensive" aimed at undermining Soviet strength.

It should "develop, and at the appropriate time carry out, a coordinated program to support underground resistance movements in countries behind the iron curtain, including the USSR."

Kennan's 1948 "Inauguration of Political Warfare" explained his ideas on how to conduct it. He discussed covert and overt strategies.

He included political alliances, economic policies, and encouraging underground resistance initiatives. He encouraged establishing "Liberation Committees" across Europe. He supported policies short of war.

"In the long run," he said, "there can be only three possibilities for the future of western and central Europe. One is German domination. Another is Russian domination." 

"The third is a federated Europe, into which the parts of Germany are absorbed but in which the influence of the other countries is sufficient to hold Germany in her place."

"If there is no real European federation and if Germany is restored as a strong and independent country, we must expect another attempt at German domination." 

"If there is no real European federation and if Germany is not restored as a strong and independent country, we invite Russian domination, for an unorganized Western Europe cannot indefinitely oppose an organized Eastern Europe." 

"The only reasonably hopeful possibility for avoiding one of these two evils is some form of federation in western and central Europe."

In March 1946, Churchill spoke at Fulton, MO-based Westminster College. He delivered his famous "Iron Curtain" speech. He titled it "The Sinews of Peace." 

He helped change the way Western nations viewed communist Eastern ones. In pointed language, he said:

"Nobody knows what Soviet Russia and its communist international organization intends to do in the immediate future, or what are its limits, if any, to their expansive and proselytizing tendencies."

"From Stettin in the Baltic to Trieste in the Adriatic, an iron curtain has descended across the Continent."

"Behind that line lie all the capitals of the ancient states of Central and Eastern Europe."

"Warsaw, Berlin, Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest and Sofia, all these famous cities and the populations around them lie in what I must call the Soviet sphere, and all are subject in one form or another, not only to Soviet influence but to a very high and, in many cases, increasing measure of control from Moscow."

Many analysts consider his speech the beginning of the Cold War.

In March 1947, Truman's Doctrine pledged "support (for) free peoples who are resisting attempted subjugation by armed minorities or by outside pressures."

He aimed to keep Greece and Turkey from going communist. His policy applied globally. He initiated America's National Security State strategy.

Establishing NATO followed. So did policy papers like Kennan wrote. Peace didn't last long. Truman attacked North Korea. More on this below.

In April 1950, a Paul Nitze-supervised Joint State-Defense Department Committee National Security Memorandum No. 68 (NSC-68) was about containing Soviet Russia.

Inflammatory language called it an enemy "unlike previous aspirants to hegemony...animated by a new fanatic faith, antithetical to our own (wishing to) impose its absolute authority over the rest of the world." 

It claimed it at a time America was the only global superpower. Soviet Russia was devastated by WW II. Many more years were needed to regain normality. It threatened no one.

IF Stone's "Hidden History of the Korean War" explains a much different account than popularly believed.

In 1952, Monthly Review co-founders Leo Huberman and Paul Sweezy wrote in the preface:

"This book...paints a very different picture of the Korean War - one, in fact, which is at variance with the official version at almost every point." 

Stone's investigation into official discrepancies led him "to a full-scale reassessment of the whole" war.

Publisher Claude Bourdet wrote his own article titled "The Korean Mystery: Fight Against a Phantom,"? saying:

"If Stone's thesis corresponds to reality, we are in the presence of the greatest swindle in the whole of military history."

It's "not a question of a harmless fraud but of a terrible maneuver in which deception is being consciously utilized to block peace at a time when it is possible."

Stone called it international aggression. Huberman and Sweezy agreed. In August 1951, they said:

"(W)e have come to the conclusion that (South Korean president) Syngman Rhee deliberately provoked the North Koreans in the hope that they would retaliate by crossing the parallel in force."

He did so at Truman's behest. Multiple South Korean provocations gave him the war he wanted. Millions perished. Northern areas were turned to rubble. More wars followed. 

"The northerners," said Huberman and Sweezy, wanted Korea unified, not war. They "fell neatly into the trap." Truman took full advantage. He instigated conflict. 

Stone believed it saying:

"(W)e said we were going to Korea to go back to the status quo before the war, but when the American armies reached the 38th parallel they didn't stop."

"They kept going, so there must be something else. We must have another agenda here, and what might that agenda be?"

The same one he later learned initiated Washington's Southeast Asian war and others. Permanent war is official US policy. Containing Russia continues today. More on this below.

Post-WW II, the Marshall Plan (European Recovery Program) had little to do with so-called "huge gestures of (US) benevolence."

Economist Walt Rostow helped implement the plan. He called it one part of an "offensive to strengthen the area still outside Stalin's grasp."

In December 1947, then Undersecretary of State for Economic Affairs William Clayton said if aid wasn't provided, "the Iron Curtain would then move westward at least to the English Channel."

While implementation was being discussed, he said America "hold(s) in (its) hands the powerful weapon of discontinuance of aid if contrary to our expectations any country fails to live up to our expectations."

Economic Stabilization Bureau head Chester Bowles was candid, saying:

"The real argument for the Marshall Plan is a bolstering of the American system for future years."

The plan was named for popular General George Marshall. Post-war, Truman's popularity fell sharply. 

Putting his name on it risked public anger enough perhaps to get congressional rejection.

Marshall played the game. He pitched the plan. He delivered canned speeches. 

He disingenuously claimed it was to relieve "hunger, poverty, desperation, and chaos." It was about saving capitalism from communism and Stalinist influence.

Containing Russia remains official US policy. It's back to the future. The Cold War never ended. It morphed into new form.

Putin is public enemy number one. He's vilified more intensively than Soviet era leaders. In 2007, during his first term as president, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed containing Russia, saying:

"The very (notion) appeals to instincts of the past. It not so much attests to the lack of imagination, but rather that for some individuals almost nothing has changed since the end of the Cold War." 

"These people propose imposing the structure of international relations which took shape long ago in the Western alliance, to the present moment." 

"The motives that dictated this policy of containment are making themselves felt at this new historical stage, as well."

"What kind of Russia should be contained," he asked? "What can be the goal of 'containing Russia' today?" 

"A Russia that has renounced an ideology of imperial and other 'great plans' in favor of pragmatism and common sense." 

"How can a nation, which has placed emphasis on its domestic development and is now progressing remarkably well, be contained?" 

"Russia's consolidation through creative work has naturally been translated into the strengthening of its international positions. Russia's foreign policy is nothing more than the continuation of its domestic policy." 

"We have realistic and understandable aspirations, namely: the maintenance of international stability as a major condition for our further development together with the natural evolution of international relations with the goal of achieving freedom and democracy."

Washington and Moscow are geopolitical opposites, he added. Therein lies what's at issue. Russia's peace and respect for national sovereignty priorities are at odds with America's imperial agenda.

Heightened tensions risk an East/West confrontation. Irresponsible US policy risks possible global war. If initiated there's no turning back. Humanity's fate hangs in the balance.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs three times weekly: live on Sundays at 1PM Central time plus two prerecorded archived programs. 


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Communist Unity and Its False Friends


To paraphrase de Maistre, every political party has the leadership it deserves. It is confidence in the wisdom of this maxim that keeps me from commenting extensively on the continuing effort to retreat from Marxism-Leninism on the part of Chairman Sam Webb and the rest of the Communist Party USA top leadership. As the membership continues to shrink-- discounting internet “friends” and “likes”-- one can only marvel at the dogged loyalty of most of the remaining membership, a loyalty perhaps leftover from times when the Party was under attack from all sides. But the Party is under attack from no one today, especially since the Party's entire body of work coincides with working selflessly for Democratic Party election victories while slavishly following (off-electoral season) the leadership of the AFL-CIO.
Apparently changes are afoot in the CPUSA as it approaches its June National Convention. There will be leadership change. Unfortunately, it does not promise to be accompanied by a shift in ideological perspective. Nonetheless, some will entertain an unfounded “hope” in a new direction, a hope that will immobilize dissent.
There is also talk of dropping references to “Communism,” the final barrier, if the Webbites are to be believed, to the CPUSA becoming a party with mass support.
For an honest, critical discussion of the latest musings of Sam Webb, go here: Houston Communist Party.
Apart from its continual decline, the CPUSA counts as a small voice, but an authoritative voice, to the US left on matters pertaining to the World Communist Movement. Recently, Sue Webb, who represented the CPUSA at the International meeting of Communist and Workers Parties held in Lisbon in November of last year, gave a report of that meeting, highlighting the CPUSA’s and other parties' assessments and views on the current situation and the way forward.
Much of Sue Webb's commentary is a thinly-veiled attack upon the Greek Communist Party (KKE) under the guise of supporting diversity and independence in the world movement. At the same time, she exploits differences between Parties to justify the CPUSA's exodus from Marxism-Leninism.
Now the KKE needs no one to defend its honor or its positions; it is supremely capable of supporting both. However, it is important for all Communists and friends of Communism to examine carefully and critically the views represented in Lisbon. Sue Webb's commentary fails to reach those standards.
She disparagingly suggests that the KKE obstinately and unreasonably thwarted a final, unifying statement: “The Greek party's criticisms were so strong that it rejected and blocked issuance of any consensual final statement summarizing the thinking of the conference. In doing so, the Greek party and its supporters from a few other countries clearly went up against the thinking and policies of the overwhelming majority of parties represented at the meeting.”
At the same time, she heralds the diverse roads taken by various Parties and their relative autonomy from a single path, citing Lenin copiously as well as her Party's reliance upon "our own experiences and conditions of struggle.” In other words, she faults the KKE for not acceding to the will of others by drawing upon its “own experiences and conditions of struggle.” Apparently, she finds no inconsistency in touting the old Euro-Communist line of national Communism while chiding the KKE for its principled, independent stance in the Lisbon meeting.
The charge of instigating disunity is particularly spurious when the KKE's big role in revitalizing the international meetings, conferences, and exchanges is recognized.
Lost in Sue Webb's simplistic account is the singular contribution that the KKE brings to any discussion of the path to socialism. Without judging the merits of its every conclusion, one must respect the deep analysis that the KKE has made of the collapse of mass European Communist Parties since the Second World War. While most Parties have wrestled with the lessons of the loss of the Soviet Union and the Eastern European socialist community, few explore the theoretical consequences of the near-complete self-destruction of powerful mass Communist Parties in Italy, France, and Spain as thoroughly as does the KKE. The process of evisceration of Marxism-Leninism in non-ruling Communist and Workers Parties began well before the fall of Soviet power. It is the KKE that draws the most profound lessons from this experience. Webb ignores it entirely.
Failure to grapple with the lessons of the collapse of Eastern European socialism and the failure of Euro-Communism leads to a one-sided, distorted map of the road ahead.
It is in this context that the KKE challenges the position that there are “stages” between capitalism and socialism. After World War Two, many Parties projected an anti-monopoly stage in the transition to socialism. Still others sought to construct a stage built on a “democracy of a new type,” a system of rule that was neither bourgeois nor socialist. These strategies entailed a focus upon parliamentary struggle and collaboration with all non-monopoly capitalist forces. The Italian “Historic Compromise” was the symbolic culmination of this perspective, engaging a strategy that opened the door to the bourgeoisification of the Italian Communist Party (PCI) and consequently its inevitable demise.
One of the ideological salesmen of this approach, Giorgio Napolitano, demonstrates, with the trajectory of his life, the cruel tragedy of the PCI's failure: once a member of a university fascist youth group, Napolitano engaged with the resistance, joined the PCI, assumed a leading role in its new direction, and today reigns as the President of the Italian bourgeois Republic. With measured civility and dignity, he legitimized the government of the buffo-fascist, Silvio Berlusconi. His many honors, decorations, and prizes testify to his service to capitalism.
In an interview in 1975, Napolitano, then the economic spokesperson for the PCI, deftly danced around hard questions posed by Eric Hobsbawn:“I believe that in any country the process of socialist transformation as well as socialist regimes have to be founded on a broad basis of consensus and democratic participation... My argument about the principles and forms of democratic life to be upheld in the context of an advance to socialism and the construction of socialist society refers more concretely to the countries of Western Europe in which bourgeois democracy was born, where representative institutions have a more or less strong tradition and diverse democratic,ideological, cultural and political currents have operated more or less freely... [and] which are characterized in varying degrees... by the presence of sizable intermediate groups between the proletariat and a big bourgeoisie controlling the basic means of production.” Only a mere thirty years after Communists played a key role in the fall of anti-democratic European despotism, Napolitano vigorously celebrates the dubious Euro-tradition of bourgeois democracy while catering opportunistically to the interests of the middle strata. Unfortunately, these illusions still linger with many Communist Parties. It is this failed perspective that is vigorously opposed by the KKE.
Similarly, the mass Spanish Party, under the leadership of Santiago Carillo, collapsed into near irrelevancy thanks to the fetish of bourgeois democracy and the pandering to non-proletarian strata. Carillo argued that ”... the Communist Party should be the party of freedom and democracy...We must bring into our programme as an integral part, not only the demands of the workers, but also those of all sections of society which are under privileged.” These vacuous, shallow slogans serve the bourgeoisie well, as they do when inscribed in the platforms of modern bourgeois congressional or parliamentary parties. No wonder workers fled the PCE in droves; they understood Marxism far better than did the Party leaders.
Reflections on these tragic miscalculations should lead one to heed the warnings against opportunism issued by the KKE:
It leaves them defenseless against the corrosive work of the bourgeois and opportunist forces which are trying to assimilate the CPs into parliamentarianism, to castrate them and make them a part of the bourgeois political system, with unprincipled collaborations, with participation in governments of bourgeois management which have a “left”-“progressive” label, with entrapment in the logic of class collaboration, with support for imperialist centres, as is happening e.g. with the CPs of the so-called European Left Party, as well as other CPs that are following the same path. (G. Marinos, Member of the PB of the CC, KKE)
In the wake of the deepest global economic crisis since the Great Depression, the idea that Communist and Workers Parties should struggle to lead capitalism out of the weeds-- to better “manage” capitalism-- is an absurd strategy guaranteed to further marginalize the prospects for socialism. If only the Communists (or Communists in alliance with others) can rescue capitalism, why would they do so?
Sue Webb fails to frame the KKE positions in the context of class partisanship, an error that guarantees confusion and misunderstanding. She fails to find a difference between fighting for reforms in the framework of capitalism and refusing to take the side of a bourgeois class, a distinction that the KKE sharply makes. Where reforms benefit working people-- increases and improvements in public education, social welfare, public health, etc,-- Communists fight harder than anyone and accept allies unconditionally. But where workers are asked to stand with the bourgeoisie-- in sacrificing wages and benefits to make their employer more competitive, in boycotting products produced by foreign workers-- Communists urge that workers stand aside.
Sue Webb charges the KKE with discounting emerging economies as rivals to Western imperialism:“the concept of the BRICs countries... or others, such as in Latin America, emerging as challenges to Western imperialism is rejected.” But this is absurd; Communists see these countries as imperialist rivals to Western imperialism. That is, they have their own designs upon the global economy, their own expansionist interests. At the same time, Communists oppose aggression and war on the part of imperialist powers in every case and of every stripe. For example, Communists fervently oppose US intervention in Venezuela; they oppose EU and US meddling in Ukraine. However, they do not support the respective national bourgeoisies. This is in contrast to some “Marxist” organizations that vacillated on or capitulated to regime changes or “democratic” missionary work in countries such as Iraq or Libya.
Sue Webb scoffs at the KKE rejection of the term “financialization.“Identifying financialization as a particular feature of today's capitalism is a hoax, a diversion. Capitalism is capitalism.” One might well ask her: if capitalism is not capitalism, then what is it? I'm sure it’s lost on her that the notion that there is good capitalism and there is bad capitalism is alien to Marxism. Social Democracy and its genetic relatives all attempt to find a good capitalism to ride toward socialism. Of course in every case they have failed-- capitalism doesn't go in that direction.
Profit is the driving force of capitalism; it is impossible to imagine capitalism without profit. And profit-seeking shapes the trajectory of capitalism. Like a rabid predator, capitalists seek profits everywhere-- in the capital goods sector, in the consumer goods sector, in the service sector, and in the financial sector. The fact that the financial sector played a bigger role in profit-seeking in recent times sheds little light on capitalism's fundamental operation. Rather, anointing financial activity as a unique species of capitalism only obfuscates the basic mechanisms of capitalist accumulation. It adds nothing.
That the global crisis first broke out in capitalist financial centers is undeniable. But the fact that the initial eruptions were the result of processes long set in motion is equally undeniable. Social democrats would have us believe that the crisis was caused by aberrant behavior, a feverish fixation on financial maneuvers easily repaired by regulation and reform. This is nonsense. This is not Marxism.
Thus, the term “financialization” is a kind of hoax. A term favored by those too lazy or too afraid to examine the inner workings of a rapacious system.
One does not have to agree with every perspective, every formulation of the KKE to recognize that they are taking the lead on issues facing the World Communist Movement; they are asking the hard questions that challenge old habits, easy assumptions, and unexamined positions. Yes, they challenge convenient beliefs that make for easy interaction with other left forces, but they do so from fidelity to the Communist tradition. Yes, they do not put consensus-for-the-sake-of-consensus ahead of principle. But those of us who want to restore vitality to the Communist movement must show a deep appreciation-- and not contempt-- for their selfless commitment to resurrecting a militant Communism based upon the foundations laid by Marx and Lenin.
For all its self-congratulatory bluster about escaping from dogmatism, sectarianism, and “alien” ideas, Sue Webb's Party is about to sink into oblivion. As with a sinking ship, the CPUSA 's leadership is jettisoning its deck chairs and cabin furniture as fast as the water rises. Gone are the Party archives, the Party newspaper, Party bookstores, Party organizations, education, and even Party meetings. Gone are the Party symbols, the organizational principles, the ideology, and even the greetings of comradeship. In their place are Facebook and Twitter communications, telephone and video conferences, and common cause with liberal groups between the mandatory efforts in support of Democratic Party election campaigns.
Sue Webb says: “The outlook and policies of our party fit well into the mainstream of the world communist movement as expressed at the Lisbon meeting last November.”
Would that it were so! The current CPUSA leadership rejects audacious approaches to reaching socialism while waiting passively for the second coming of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and The New Deal. They draw their strategic line from the desperate, defensive measures necessitated by the rise of fascism eighty years ago, a temporary front with non-working class forces that quickly betrayed that alliance after World War II and the fall of fascism. Sam Webb and his leadership coterie remain locked in the thinking of another time.
Well into the mainstream”? I think not. The World Communist Movement is growing again thanks, in part, to lively, frank conversations about the way forward, as occurred in Lisbon. While consensus remains illusive, the process of discussion is, nevertheless, clarifying and unifying. But for those captured in the web of opportunism, the future is bleak.


Zoltan Zigedy


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Palestinians in Israel: Squaring the circle

An interview with Jonathan Cook

Five Books – 25 February 2014
Interviewed by: Bethan Staton

Outside of the Middle East, many people understand Palestine to mean the West Bank and Gaza, and Palestinians as the people living in these areas. But Palestinians who remained in Israel after the creation of the state in 1948 – when some 700,000 were displaced in the Nakba or catastrophe – now make up around 20% of Israel’s population. Could you explain a bit more about this community, and why it has been overlooked?

The difficulty for Palestinians remaining in what becomes Israel after 1948 is that the Palestinian national movement develops in exile, in the occupied territories and the neighboring Arab states. Palestinians in Israel are excluded and shielded from these developments and left in what amounts to a political and social ghetto. Israel strictly circumscribes their understanding of who they are and anything to do with their history, heritage and culture. Israel controls the education system, for instance, and makes it effectively impossible to talk about Palestinian issues there: you can’t discuss what the PLO is or the nakba, for example. This is designed to erode a sense of Palestinian-ness.

For most of the Palestinian minority’s history inside Israel, there’s also a reliance on the Israeli media, which won’t allow discussion of Palestinian identity either. In the state’s early years, Israel does not even refer to Palestinians as Arabs; they are described as ‘the minorities’, purely in sectarian or tribal terms as Muslims, Christians, Druze and Bedouin. It’s an innovation later on that the state recognises them as generic “Arabs”.

Another thing to remember is that the urban, educated middle class is destroyed in 1948. The elites are almost completely expelled. Nazareth is the only city where an urban population survives in any significant numbers. What you are left with is a series of isolated rural peasant communities, and these are not likely to a be the vanguard of a Palestinian national movement. So after 1948 we are already looking at an isolated, severely weakened Palestinian community within Israel, and it is very easy to manipulate this community, to strip it of its identity.

But this system of control starts to break down, first with Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in 1967. That releases the ‘virus’, as some would see it, of Palestinian nationalism to the Palestinians inside Israel. They start to reconnect with people on the “other side” in places like Jenin, Nablus and Ramallah. Families are reunited. Palestinians in Israel begin to realise how much they have been held back, oppressed.

The shift is only reinforced later with Israel’s loss of control over the media. When Arabic satellite television comes along, for example, the state is no longer able to control what its Palestinian citizens hear and see. And Palestinians are provided with an external window both on the ugliness of the occupation and their own situation, and on the centrality of the Palestinian cause to the rest of the Arab world.

So in more recent decades have we seen an increase in the kind of literature that deals with these identity issues? And a change in how these issues are considered?

The greatest problem facing Palestinians inside Israel is how to respond to their situation. They are cut off, isolated, excluded from the centres of power and even from the self-declared identity of a Jewish state. They’re an alien, unwelcome presence within that state. So the question is: how do you respond?

There are two main possibilities: through resistance, whether violent or non-violent, whether military, political, social or literary; or through some form of accommodation. And herein lies the tension. And this is what is especially interesting about the Palestinians in Israel, because to remain sane in this environment they have to adopt both strategies at the same time.

You see this politically in the Israeli Communist Party, the most established of the non-Zionist parties Palestinians vote for. The Communist movement is a Jewish-Arab one, so its Palestinian members are especially exposed to this tension. It is no surprise that some of the leading figures of Palestinian literature and art in Israel have been very prominent in the Communist party. Emile Habiby, for instance, was the editor of the Communist newspaper Al-Ittihad. The tension is obvious in the philosophy of the Communist party, which supports the idea of Jewish-Arab equality but within the framework of a Jewish state. This is a very unusual kind of communism: one that still thinks it’s possible to ascribe an ethnic identity to the state and yet aspire to the principle of equality within it. Palestinian Communists have been struggling with this paradox for a long time.

How successful is the attempt at reconciliation? Is there continued belief in, and support for, a Jewish state?

A central tenet of the Israeli Communist Party is “two states for two peoples”. So who are the “peoples” being referred to? One is the Palestinian people. But what is the other? Is it the Israeli people or the Jewish people? For Israeli Jews at least, it is clearly the Jewish people. In fact, within Israel there is no formally recognised Israeli nationality – only a Jewish nationality and an Arab nationality. The idea of “two states for two peoples” is vague, and it’s meant to be vague to keep Palestinians comfortable within the Israeli Communist Party. But the implication is that we are talking about two states, one for the Palestinians and one for the Jews.

The Communist Party stands for elections as the Democratic Front for Peace and Equality (Hadash). The implication is that peace (a Jewish state) is reconcilable with equality. This is very problematic: the Palestinian intellectuals at the forefront of the party try to evade this contradiction. But you can’t really fudge it, you can’t square the circle.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, Emile Habiby ends up writing the quintessential character in Israeli Palestinian literature: Saeed the Pessoptimist. This character represents the tension the minority lives: pessimism imbued with optimism. The Jewish state is the situation you’re trapped in, that’s pessimistic; the optimism looks to the equality you think you can aspire to, despite the reality. Saeed is always trying to square the circle. This very much becomes a theme of Palestinian literature in Israel.

Somebody like the poet Mahmoud Darwish, on the other hand, chooses a side. He does not try to keep a foot in both camps. Darwish says ‘I’m with the resistance’, and he leaves.

Sabri Jiryis also left Israel, after the publication of his book The Arabs in Israel, which is on your list. Could you tell us a bit more about the book, which could perhaps serve as an introduction to the background to this context?

That’s right. The book came out in English in 1976, but in Hebrew it was published in 1966. That is a very important date: it marks the end of the military government, the first 18 years when Israel imposes a system of military rule over its Palestinian citizens, separate from the democratic system that governs the Jewish majority. It is rather like the system of military rule that operates in the occupied territories today. When Jiryis was writing, of course, he didn’t know the military government was about to end, but he produces the definitive book on that period.

Jiryis is a lawyer writing a largely academic book, and it’s the first of its type to be written by a Palestinian inside Israel. Interestingly, like several other prominent Palestinian writers, he chooses to write in Hebrew – as do, for example, Anton Shammas and Sayed Kashua. In resorting to the language of your oppressor, you accommodate. Jiryis is resisting through content, but the language he employs is an accommodation.

He is writing at the close of the military government, and giving a victim’s view of it. It tells the Palestinian side but it is accessible to the Jewish population. So the work is highly subversive. It is also a counterpoint to Jewish academics who are writing books about Palestinians inside Israel in this period, people like Ori Stendal, who works with the intelligence services. The Israeli ‘experts’ studying the minority, and this is true to this day, are mainly working within the security paradigm, trying to understand the threat posed by the ‘Arab Israelis’ and refining the system of control. Jiryis is doing the exact opposite: he is trying to expose and shame the system.

Many of the Palestinians in Israel who write of the horrors of this period end up leaving. We see this, for example, with Fauzi el-Asmar, a Palestinian poet and a contemporary of Jiryis, who is forced out. His writings and activism are subversive, and so the state jails him. In his book To Be an Arab in Israel, he recalls his interrogators telling him ‘We will only make your life easy once you sign this piece of paper to say you’re leaving’. The task here is to get him out of the country, because the last thing Israel wants is people who are defining and shaping an identity for Palestinians within Israel. El-Asmar ends up leaving and becomes an American academic. Jiryis, too, leaves and goes to Lebanon and joins the PLO there. Those who stay but want to keep their integrity keep trying to square the circle: accommodating on one level, while resisting on another.

And I guess this process has the effect of shaping the landscape of Palestinian literature and identity within Israel – making it more accommodating?

More pessoptimist! Nazareth and Haifa are the only two places where a Palestinian middle class, an intellectual elite survived. They had to find some way to be true to themselves as intellectuals, but they also had to find a way to accommodate with the oppressor. And the ways they accomodate are interesting: their subversion is subtle, ironic, and so on. Kashua ends up living among Jews, speaking Hebrew with his kids, half in the Jewish camp and half in the Arab camp, ashamed and proud of his Arabness at the same time. This is the eternal problem of the pessoptimist.

One also has to understand where this comes from: choice. Early figures like Jiryis end up leaving. The process of writing his book seems to resolve in his own mind his status. He confronts the problem of his half-citizenship and rejects it.

So the Jiryis book you have chosen is this book, the book he wrote in Israel before he left. What precisely does he produce before leaving?

He is like a political scientist examining a Kafkaesque situation. He is analysing these absurd laws that look like they are the foundations of a democracy while they are really the walls of a prison. He is trying to explain the paradoxes in the law, and in the wider concept of a Jewish and democratic state. The abuses of the military government simply clarify things.

Take, for example, the Fallow Lands Law, an Ottoman law adopted by Israel that requires landowners to farm their land. If they leave the land untended for more than three years, it can be taken by the ruler and reassigned to those who need it. Under the Ottomans, it is a piece of almost-socialist legislation.

Israel, however, totally subverts the law’s intent. Now the military governor has each Palestinian land owner in his malevolent grip. In this period, no Palestinian resident can leave his or her community without a permit from the military government. So the farmer who needs to get to his land to tend it must either accommodate with the military government (i.e. become a collaborator) or resist and lose his land. In short, he has two awful choices.

As a lawyer, Jiryis is trying to understand how these laws work, how they cohere, how they create a system of control. And he’s really the first Palestinian to try and do that. Another writer, Fauzi el-Asmar embodies the emotional, poetic, artistic response to the situation, but Jiryis grasps the dynamics of it and breaks down the complexity. Really he is describing Israel’s version of Apartheid.

As you said, the book documents the period of military rule, which came to an end in the 1960s. How do you think a reader coming to the book should understand those details in relation to what has happened since, and what the situation is today?

This is one of the things I find interesting about Jiryis. The book is an act of resistance: he was trying to produce a road map that would allow Palestinians to understand the nature of their oppression, so they could be better equipped to fight it. If you don’t understand a problem you can’t fix it, and what Jiryis is trying to do is make the hidden and veiled visible: he’s taking apart the clock to see how all the mechanisms fit. When people understand the system, they can challenge it, try to remake it.

What may not be clear to him when he is writing is whether the system is reformable or needs overthrowing. In the end, Jiryis sides with the military resistance: he goes off and joins the PLO in exile. Although he’s not a fighter, he takes a side. He’s no longer a Palestinian Israeli: he’s simply a Palestinian.

At the same time, though, he’s rooted to the idea of steadfastness, or sumud – this is another feature of Palestinian literature. As soon as Oslo is signed, he returns. In fact, he is the first of the PLO exiles to apply and come back to Israel under the terms of the Oslo Accords. But when he returns, he chooses to live in Fassuta, his ancestral village way up in the north, next to Lebanon. The place is really out in the sticks. But this is where he wants to be: it is his home, his village, his land.

This is very much a response to the peculiarity of Israeli citizenship, which lacks a corresponding Israeli nationality. For most citizens their nationality is Jewish or Arab. That means for Palestinians there is no common nationality that connects them with the Jewish population. And unlike Jewish Israelis, those with Arab nationality have no national rights, only inferior individual rights. In other words, Palestinians in Israel have a very deprived form of citizenship, almost like a guest worker. That creates a very strong feeling of insecurity, impermanence, temporariness: the antithesis of sumud. So they root themselves to a place. Jiryis is a good example of this. I think it is incredible for a man who was such a central figure in the legal establishment of the PLO to come back to the anonymity of Fassuta the first chance he gets.

Perhaps that would be a good time to mention Sayed Kashua’s Let it be Morning?

Sayed Kashua is a great example of the pessoptimist, especially in terms of the way he writes and what he writes about. He has developed a semi-autobiographical character over many years in the Hebrew newspaper Haaretz. He also has the only sitcom on mainstream Israeli TV written by a Palestinian, in which the main character Amjad tries to square the circle: he aspires to live in a Jewish community, to live like a first-class citizen, while constantly fearing that the pretence on which he has constructed his life will be exposed and shattered. Fear of exposure and humiliation drives him. In other hands it would be tragedy, but because Kashua has a wicked sense of humour it is uproariously funny.

It is never quite clear how much Amjad or Kashua’s other characters are really him. He is always playing around with identities, and this is another interesting feature of Palestinian art inside Israel, especially cinema. When reality is so strange, a hybrid documentary style – fact merged with fiction – helps to capture the truth while also offering the protection of distance. Humour does the same. Good cinematic examples of this are films like Hany Abu Assad’s Ford Transit or Eli Suleiman’s Divine Intervention.

Palestinian identity in this context has to be very fluid. One weakness of Jewish academic studies of Palestinians in Israel is that they ascribe the population linear identities. One professor, Sami Smooha, is famous for identity surveys in which he tries to assess whether the minority is becoming ‘more Palestinian’ or ‘more Israeli’. That is really wrong-headed: for Palestinians in Israel there has to be a fluidity of identity to cope with these terribly complex legal, political, emotional situations. And that’s reflected in the character of the pessoptimist.

In Let it be Morning there’s definitely a sense of tension between what the narrator wishes to be the case, and the reality of what’s going on in his life. When he returns from Tel Aviv to the Arab village where he grew up it’s difficult to tell what reality is, and what is coloured by his needs and desires. And the sense of everything slipping out of control is very overwhelming.

Let It Be Morning is unusual for Kashua because it is a serious, nightmarish work – it is the pessoptimist at his very darkest. There is a reason for that: Kashua is writing in the early days of the second intifada when things reached a nadir for Palestinians in Israel. They were living in Israel, often under threat from suicide bombings just like Israeli Jews, but at the same time constantly under suspicion as terrorists themselves from the Jewish population. This is precisely the problem faced by the narrator, a journalist like Kashua working for a Hebrew newspaper and who feels increasingly alienated from his workplace and the Jewish city where he and his family live. He craves a sense of security and so decides to return to his Arab village, right next to the West Bank.

But the relocation offers him no real comfort. He has become too Jewish after a 10-year absence to fit back into the village, torn itself between lingering patriarchal Palestinian traditions and the faux-modernity and materialism its residents aspire to as “half-Israelis”. Their constant accommodations and dependence on their state, Israel, are simply vulgar reminders of the narrator’s own more sophisticated efforts at the same. So the narrator finds himself a “dancing Arab” – the title of his first, seemingly very autobiographical novel – trying to please everyone, and failing dismally.

Survival for Palestinians depends on creativity and adaptability, and a sense of communal cohesion. This is at the heart of the concept of sumud (or steadfastness). But the village is put to an extreme test in Kashua’s book when it is surrounded by tanks and its inhabitants find themselves cut off from the modern world, Israel, and from the old world, Palestine. This is a clear metaphor for the Palestinians inside Israel: they are cut off from both sides. Suddenly the villagers are isolated, and their society and sense of solidarity quickly break down. They stop being a community and become instead competing families, capable of cruelty and inhumanity.

Kashua is playing with a very familiar nightmare scenario for Palestinians inside Israel – the continuing fear of transfer, the threat of being expelled this time, of not holding on to what was kept in 1948. This is something I did not understand until I was living here. There really is a tangible fear that at any moment they and their families could be transferred, that the war of 1948 never finished. This is a large part of the incentive for accommodation: there is a huge sword hanging over your head. You could be expelled; if you put a foot wrong, you could be out the door; the trucks are waiting.

In the book, Kashua seems to communicate an unsureness about the extent to which he’s cooperating or collaborating. The mechanisms and institutions of society are always working towards strengthening themselves. Just by participating in society you are necessarily a part of that, contributing to it. I’ve spoken to many people about this sense, even in the West Bank.

The difference in the Occupied Territories is that for Palestinians there the Israelis are basically the Shin Bet, the army, the police and possibly the settlers – agents of the state. These people appear as unfamiliar, hostile beings. When Palestinians encounter them, it is clearly a master-slave relationship.

Inside Israel it is different. If you are a Palestinian taxi driver in Israel you spend all day speaking Hebrew to people in the back of your cab. You are constantly accommodating, performing as the Good Arab. For most Palestinian youth in Israel this experience arrives as a shock when they start a first job or go to university. They move from a familiar place where all the children around them are like them, speaking Arabic, and then suddenly they are in a world where they are seen as something alien. Often they face hostility, contempt, aggression, subtle or otherwise, from those they must spend time with.

So one thing you often see with Palestinians in Israel is a need to declare their separateness, to make a statement about their identity. That may not necessarily be as a Palestinian; it can be a sectarian identity. So, for example, you see many young Muslim women wearing the hijab, while Christian girls walk around with a cross around their neck. People don’t want to be caught in embarrassing or humiliating situations. It is a way to avoid the danger of being accepted and then rejected, revealed as the Other.

The next book on your list is Hatim Kanaaneh’s A Doctor in Galilee. I guess this gives a very human perspective on some very practical issues and material manifestations of the situation now and historically, obviously through the context of healthcare.

Hatim is a friend, and he sought my opinion on the book while he was drafting it. I find his story, again, illustrative of the problems we’ve been talking about. His family realises he has a talent and they make major sacrifices to send him to Harvard to get a medical degree. This is at the end of the military government, and a very difficult time for Palestinians inside Israel. They are a very isolated community, cut off from the world, barely connected to the transport infrastructure, living in a ghetto, and Hatim makes this incredible leap to go and train as a doctor at Harvard.

Hatim, I think, embodies the qualities of the pessoptimist, even if a very self aware one, one who understands early on that he is trying to square the circle. He has a set of impressive skills, ones denied to other Palestinians in Israel, and acquired because his family suffered to make this possible for him. It is both a huge burden and a considerable weapon. So he wants to put his new skills to good use, to the benefit of his society. The pessimist understands the disastrous circumstances of his community, but the optimist wants to believe his community – and the relationships between Jews and Arabs – can be improved.

He is not simply fixing broken bodies, he is trying to create an infrastructure of public health care for his community. He’s trying to create sewage systems and bring fresh water into the villages, to liberate the inhabitants from the prisons created for them by the state. Israel is a modern country, but it has left the Palestinian villages a hundred years behind. Kanaaneh comes with the tools of modernity to save these villages. The optimist wants to believe this can be done, and that once Israelis see what Palestinians are capable of they will warm to them, see them as human, as equals.

Hatim’s struggle is conducted through the Health Ministry, where he rises to the most senior position ever held by a Palestinian citizen. He assumes he is going to break down the stereotypes, that he will win over the Jews as friends, and that when they revise their opinion of him they will do the same with the rest of the Palestinian minority. He is a man with vision and optimism, but he is trapped in a world that demands pessimism. He starts to see himself more and more as an Uncle Tom and to lose faith in the Jewish colleagues around him. He identifies the racism as so entrenched that he doubts there is a way to circumvent it. He becomes deeply disillusioned. But despite all that he chooses sumud as his act of part-accomodation, part-resistance.

I think the sense of responsibility among people to give back to one’s community is quite common, but in this context the feeling of being ‘unwanted’ within a state structure, so to speak, adds an element of feeling the need to justify one’s own existence. And in the book everything seems pretty hopeless at points. You get a real sense of banging your head against a brick wall.

When Hatim finally quits the Health Ministry, he sets up the first real NGO for Palestinians inside Israel with an international perspective, the Galilee Society. This is an act of subversion. He is trying to bypass Israel and go directly to the international community, because he realises that otherwise no help will be forthcoming from his own state. But at the same time it is not a completely rejectionist stance: he also knows he must work with Jewish society. By reaching out to the international community, he hopes to shame Israel into action.

So the potential for the community to create alternative structures to serve itself is limited, and when it comes to things like infrastructure and healthcare, the state is very necessary. And this makes cooperating and working with the state necessary.

He is resisting by setting up the Galilee Society, but he is also doing it within the framework of accommodation. He’s got a foot in both camps because that is the only option for those who stay. Leaving is a defeat for sumud, for steadfastness. That is why Palestinians see the need to come back to the place where they started: that is the only thing that distinguishes them from other Palestinians, it is the only strength they have.

You’ve also selected So What by Taha Muhammad Ali. It’s a selection of his poetry from 1971-2005. How does this deal with ideas of longing and return?

Taha Muhammad Ali was an internal refugee, or a “present absentee”, this gloriously Orwellian term Israel assigns to those who after 1948 are still present in Israel but absent from their property. Safuriya, his village, which is right next to Nazareth, represents this tension acutely – of presence and absence. Many of the refugees, like Taha’s family, fled to Nazareth and set up their own neighborhood called Safafri that overlooks the old, destroyed village. So they wake up in the morning and open the curtains to look out on the land that they lived on before they were expelled in 1948. He is so present he is almost there, but at the same time he is always absent. This is not an untypical condition: one in four Palestinians in Israel are present absentees.

Here you have another way of looking at the pessoptimist: the present and the absent. The present person is the optimist, the absent person is the pessimist. Some of the best Palestinian poets, including Darwish, were internal refugees, always living with this tension in their being.

Poetry has a very important place in the Palestinians’ artistic pantheon, and it becomes particularly powerful as a vehicle for the Palestinians because it speaks to the whole Arab world. People set poems to music, so it was more than literature, it became part of a wider Arabic culture. It was a way to tell the Palestinian story, the Palestinian sense of loss to the whole Arab world; it was the best kind of newspaper you could have and at the same time gave a sense that the loss of the Palestinian homeland was also a loss for all Arabs, a loss of independence and a sense of self respect that they all shared.

Darwish, the most famous Palestinian poet, faces the tension and stays inside Israel for quite a while. But in the end he, like Jiryis, cannot live with it. Taha Muhammad Ali is a pessoptimist. He does not have the heart for pure resistance. He prefers to find the middle ground, some kind of accommodation.

And how is that expressed in the poetry?

Famously he said ‘There is no Israel and there is no Palestine’, which is something you could never imagine Darwish saying. In fact, invariably there is from Taha a rejection of posturing, self-importance and, above all, a deep disquiet at all-consuming hatred, however justified it might seem by circumstance. In one poem,’Twigs’, he focuses on the things he remembers – small things, details like the taste of bread and water. It ends with an assessment that at our death “hate will be / the first thing / to putrefy / within us”. But at the same happiness is never quite present either. One of his lines, used as the title of a great biography in English, is “My happiness bears no relation to happiness”.

There is also a poem, Revenge, where he talks about how he wants to kill the man who stole his family’s home in 1948, thereby “expelling me into a narrow country”. He says “if I were ready – / I would take my revenge!” So for a brief, deceptive moment it seems as though he has found an inner voice of resistance. But in true Taha style he then subverts it all. He recites all the reasons why he would not be able to kill him, such as if the man had loved ones, or friends or even casual acquaintances who might miss him. But even that is not enough of a concession. He also argues that he would leave the man be even if he had no one who cared for or loved him. “Instead I’d be content / to ignore him when I passed him by / on the street – as I / convinced myself / that paying him no attention / in itself was a kind of revenge.” So here is the pessoptimist; a man who starts with grand talk of resistance, but in the end despite himself recognises a need to accommodate, to live with others, to refuse to bow to their level.

Do you think it’s as if there’s a sense of humanity – both in the sense of practical needs and sympathy for others – getting in the way of taking any kind of action?

Taha died a couple of years ago, but there are videos of him on YouTube. You see when he talks, there is a wonderful boylike mischief in his face, a kind of perpetual smile even as he talks about very sad things, the losses endured by himself and his family, and his community. There is an eternal optimism in tiny things: he says “the best drink is water and the best food is bread”. The tiny things in life can give you a great deal of pleasure, and maybe you have to focus on the small things because the big things are too depressing, too overwhelming.

But the day to day is so important because it keeps people going, and it’s also what keeps people accommodating, in a sense.

Taha had four years of formal education because his whole schooling was brought to an end by the Nakba. In 1948 the present absentees lose everything – it is year zero. Taha and his brothers start to rebuild their lives in Nazareth, selling bread from a street trolley. Eventually he opens a souvenir shop next to the Basilica, selling trinkets to tourists, and probably regales them with his stories too. But most of the time there is nothing to do. You can see shop owners like him today, sitting there or dozing or listening to the radio. But you can imagine Taha reading loads of poetry, teaching himself because he understands that only through poetry can he reclaim his voice and reach out to people with his stories.

As a self-taught poet, he finds his own language. Unlike Darwish, he does not use classical Arabic, the heavy, serious Arabic. Instead he uses the street language. He talks to the ordinary man and woman. He does not want poetry to be this big, weighty thing. The subject for him is not the grand Palestinian drama, but the small, inconsequential things that have been lost or destroyed, the efforts to rebuild on the personal scale, to take pleasure in the tiny things that survive. He seeks the reasons for optimism, love and compassion over the urge for hatred and revenge. There is a bitterness too but it must never be allowed to trump what really matters.

Your final book choice is Sleeping on a Wire, by David Grossman.

I felt we should have one work from an Israeli Jew, because they have done so much to shape Palestinian identity inside Israel. There are some great books on Palestinians in Israel, as well as some truly awful ones. I see David Grossman’s book as interesting because it is really the first attempt to grapple with the Palestinian identity issue in Israel from a Jewish perspective. I do not think it is entirely successful, and I have a problem with his politics, but it is clear he is trying to do it honestly, that he is seeking to understand.

The problem is that he is a liberal Zionist, and there is a constant tension between his liberalism and his Zionism. So the liberal in Grossman wants to understand the trauma that befell the Palestinians in Israel, wants to reach out to them, wants to understand them. But at the same time the Zionist in him fears what their narrative represents. So what happens in each chapter, like a nervous tic, which I find fascinating, is Grossman immersing himself in their stories deeply, allowing them to speak unmediated, but then afterwards he can’t stop himself from interpreting for them, or judging them.

So what’s the structure of this, what form does this take in the book?

It is a very common liberal Zionist position: the need to have the last word, and to create the framework of the narrative. His book is subversive because he is an Israeli Jew giving Palestinians the chance to tell their story, to explain their situation in great depth. He’s very good about letting Palestinians speak clearly and honestly and transparently, you sense that he’s not manipulating the conversations and he’s not editing out stuff, he just wants to hear, he gives you it all. But the context for this act of generosity is a Zionist one. He and his subjects are in a Jewish state, and it has to be one as far as Grossman is concerned. So however much he sympathises with the Palestinians, and however much he understands, however much he feels their pain: sorry, but at the end of the day the Jewish State is more important.

I found the book very frustrating, because he has this great ability to tell his subjects’ stories, but then the narrator, himself, comes in at the end to tell us what we should make of what we have just heard. He cannot leave it to us to make up our own mind; he has to create for us a prism to see through.

This is an important point when we talk about the tension faced by Palestinian Israelis: that profound tensions exist for Israeli Jews too. It’s a hard thing to face, with honesty, the problematic realities of a state that one supports and is a part of. Perhaps this is a different kind of struggle, of individuals coming to terms with the structures of their own privilege, and trying to accommodate difficult truths into a particular vision.

And I think this is a general problem for Israeli Jews: that the narrative of Palestinians, including or maybe especially those inside Israel, is too overwhelming, too threatening, too disconcerting, too guilt-inducing to cope with. Which is why most Israeli Jews won’t really listen. What is interesting about Grossman is he has enough emotional strength to hear it, but then needs to package it up in a way that he and his readers can cope with.

So do you think the book is valuable as a document of the Palestinian story in Israel, or as an example of attitudes towards that, of Jewish Israeli considerations of the issue?

I think it’s useful as both. Grossman’s motive was probably to write something that, because it was written by an Israeli Jew, would be accessible to people who find it difficult to hear the Palestinian narrative. He hoped to bridge a kind of social divide and help heal wounds.

The book is also a fascinating historical document. One chapter is dedicated to the Islamic movement in its early years, a subject little written about apart from in Arabic. It’s very interesting to see how the Islamic movement saw its role in the early 1990s, caught in a certain moment, at the end of of the first Intifada and just before Oslo. Or the unrecognised villages and their struggle at that time to live in a twilight world of being present and absent in a different sense: on the ground but off the map. Visible to the eye but invisible to Israeli bureaucrats, at least in terms of public services.

Grossman was writing at a moment when Israeli Jews were very pessimistic. Soldiers had been told by their prime minister Yitzhak Rabin to break the bones of Palestinians in the occupied territories to crush the first intifada. It was a time when Israeli Jews were realising that there was serious and organised opposition to the occupation, that their supposed benevolent rule was rejected by Palestinians.

The question of who the Palestinians inside Israel were, and how they were connected to these events, becomes important. Grossman is trying to reach out to the Palestinians in Israel to find some common ground, in the hope of defining an Israeliness. Possibly there’s an element of the security mentality – ‘let’s understand the enemy’. But he is too intelligent and sensitive just to be doing that. He is genuinely trying to find out whether some kind of accommodation can be reached, to ask: are they going to move closer to us, or further away? Because from a Jewish Israeli perspective, the Palestinians inside Israel are seen as the Achilles’ heel of the Jewish state.

At the beginning you alluded to a relatively recent sense of changing and developing Palestinian identity in Israel, through literature, media and so on. How are these books, which explore that, being received? And are things changing in terms of their relationship in wider Israeli society?

It’s an interesting question. Where’s Israeli Jewish society heading? If you look at the Israeli Jewish books about Palestinians in Israel they date from certain periods. In the late 1970s there is a rash of books written as a result of Land Day, when Palestinians in Israel engaged in a major confrontation with the state to stop confiscations of their land. Six demonstrators are killed during the protests. It’s a crisis for both sides: the Palestinians realise their citizenship is not real citizenship; and Israeli Jews appreciate that their rule over this group is contested. The lens through which this is seen is chiefly then a security one. How do we control them better? More books emerge during the 1990s, the Oslo period, because the question then is: what kind of citizenship can a Jewish state concede to the Palestinian minority after a peace agreement? How is the state’s security to be defined? Nowadays it seems to me Israeli Jewish society is much less interested in understanding Palestinians inside Israel.

Why?

I think now they are seen as more of a threat, and the chief interest is how to separate from them, not how to live with them. They are seen as a demographic problem, framed in the language of security. The issue is about “us”: how to protect the Jewish majority. This is the material of policy papers, not books.

Aside from that do you think the issues facing Palestinians within Israel are becoming more important in terms of wider questions about Israel and Palestine, and the possibility of a final settlement?

It is becoming clearer to Israel that Palestinians inside Israel are a key fault line in the peace process. Netanyahu has made the Palestinians’ recognition of Israel as a Jewish state a precondition for an agreement. So in terms of the peace process, Palestinians inside Israel are now a – if not, the – core issue.

During 1948 Israel created a demographic structure – through mass expulsions, and through laws to ensure that only Jews could immigrate – to guarantee that the state was and would remain incontestably Jewish. Now in the current peace talks, what Israel wants from the Palestinian leadership is for them to sign up to this, saying, we’re fine with it. And this is supposed to close the 1948 file, which is still an open file for the Palestinians. And this is why I think Palestinians inside Israel are seen increasingly less as a community in themselves and more as another one of the final status issues. The Palestinians’ fight inside Israel for equality and democracy ultimately risks creating a right of return – because real equality requires that Palestinians have the same rights of naturalisation as Jews enjoy under the Law of Return. And then you would have refugees returning and Israel’s Jewish majority being eroded.

And this puts another layer onto what you mentioned about accommodation: that’s a very big question resting on the shoulders of Palestinians in Israel. Yet as I mentioned earlier, I have the sense the reality of Palestinians living within Israel is not really recognised widely. When outsiders are introduced to the reality for the first time, they tend to find it puts everything in a very new perspective.

And it’s overwhelming. It’s overwhelming for everybody. The reason Grossman is reframing all the time is because it is overwhelming. The reason Sabri Jiryis and Mahmoud Darwish leave is because it’s overwhelming. The reason Taha Muhammad Ali and Sayed Kashua adopt the pessoptimist worldview is because it’s overwhelming. The reason Hatim Kanaaneh digs in his roots as deep as he can is because it’s overwhelming. And for outsiders it is overwhelming too; the reality is more complex and more paradoxical and more entrenched and more irreconcilable than anyone could have imagined.

It’s not just a case of drawing a better border. It’s much more complicated than that. It’s redressing decades and decades of injustice, and in doing so maybe creating new injustices. Because so many Jewish immigrants came and settled here and gave up lives elsewhere. What happens to them? You can’t just create a new set of injustices. How do you reconcile these problems? How do you square all these circles?

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Beyond the Bubble, Beyond Fukushima: Reconsidering the History of Postwar Japan

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Fascism’s Ugly Face in Ukraine

Fascism's Ugly Face in Ukraine

by Stephen Lendman

Far-right Ukrainian ultranationalists are fascist extremists. Washington provides support. Oleh Tyahnybok heads the neo-Nazi Svoboda party. It's allied with likeminded groups. 

They openly display Stepan Bandera's Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) red and black flag. 

He was a Nazi collaborator. He participated in mass executions and ethnic cleansing.

Svoboda's slogan is "Ukraine for the Ukrainians." Bandera said the same thing. He wanted Ukraine made ethnically pure. Mass extermination followed to do so.

Svoboda earlier called itself Socialist-Nationalists. It bears erie resemblance to Hitler's National Socialism. It reflects fascism writ large.

Hooliganism is longstanding fascist strategy. Blackshirt and Brownshirt violence helped elevate Mussolini and Hitler to power respectively. 

Communists, socialists, unionists and other opponents were attacked. El Duce's 1922 March on Rome coup made him Italy's youngest ever prime minister.

He took full advantage. He established a one-party state dictatorship. He eliminated competitors. Italy's business class, military and moderate right wing supported him.

In Weimar Germany's final years, economic and political crisis conditions existed. Ahead of 1932 parliamentary elections, Prussian authorities reported about 300 acts of politically motivated violence.

About two dozen were killed. Hundreds of others were injured. Brownshirt storm troopers enlisted working class support.

Goebbels provoked communists and social democrats. Propaganda highlighted Nazi martyrs killed or injured in street battles.

Hitler's Mein Kampf was a revolutionary manifesto. It denounced what he called the world's twin evils - communism and Judaism.

It openly said Germany's future "lie('s) in the acquisition of land in the East at the expense of Russia."

He blamed Weimar governance, communists, social democrats and Jews for Germany's crisis. He wanted an entirely new order established. 

He wanted absolute control. He eliminated all competitors. He transformed Germany into a one-party state dictatorship. He wanted Nazi hegemony over Europe.

Right-wing extremism dominates Western societies today. America more than ever resembles a police state. Duopoly power runs things.

Rule of law principles don't matter. Human and civil rights are disappearing in plain sight. Friendly US fascism is increasingly unfriendly. It's a short leap to tyrannical rule.

Ideological extremists threaten Europe. They're more subtle than earlier day fascists. They're just as dangerous. They want unchallenged power replacing democratic freedoms.

Neoliberalism replaced social justice. Right-wing politics dominates. US Republicans and Democrats are two sides of the same coin. 

Not a dime's worth of difference separates them. Most of Europe operates the same way. Societies are increasingly unfit to live in.

Hard line fascism is a short leap away. Con men like Obama and like-minded European counterparts take full advantage. Powerful interests are served at the expense of all others.

In summer 2013, months before violence erupted in Ukraine, Svoboda conducted paramilitary training.

Obama supports its extremism. So do key EU partners. Fascist elements operated openly in Ukraine since Washington's 2004 Orange Revolution.

Democratically elected Viktor Yanukovoych was ousted. Viktor Yushchenko replaced him. 

Soros money was involved. So were State Department funded organizations. In January 2010, Yanukovych was reelected.

He defeated Yushchenko. His last presidential act was naming Bandera a Hero of Ukraine. 

It's the highest national title award. It's given for "personal heroism and great labor achievements." Honoring Bandera caused uproar in Russia, Poland, Ukraine and elsewhere.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and other Jewish groups condemned it. His award was later revoked.

Post-war, he worked for West German intelligence. Washington-recruited Nazi General Reinhardt Gehlen headed it. In 1959, KGB assassins killed him. 

His close associates were CIA and MI6 operatives. Their past Nazi affiliation was no deterrent. 

Bandara's legacy thrives in Ukraine today. His present day counterparts get open US support. 

In late January, Ukrainian leaders, civic groups and religious organizations wrote Washington, EU officials and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

They condemned neo-Nazi support. They said in part:

"You should understand that in supporting the actions of the guerrillas in Ukraine…you...are directly protecting, inciting and egging on Ukrainian neo-Nazis and neo-fascists."

"None of these oppositionists (Yatsenyuk, Klitschko, and Tyahnybok) hide that they are continuing the ideology and the practices of the OUN-UPA." 

"Wherever the Euromaidan people go in Ukraine, they disseminate, besides the slogans mentioned above, neo-Nazi, racist symbols." 

"Also confirming the neo-Nazi nature of the Euromaidan is the constant use of portraits of the bloody executioners of our people, Bandera and Shukhevych - agents of the (Nazi military intelligence) Abwehr."

"Have the UN, the EU, and the USA ceased to recognize the Charter and Verdict of the International War Crimes Tribunal at Nuremburg, where the Hitlerite Nazis and their henchmen were convicted?" 

"Have human rights ceased to be a value for the countries of the EU and the world community?" 

"Is the Ukrainian nationalists' devotion to Hitler and his mass murders of civilians now considered democracy?"

Western-supported fascist elements are responsible for violent protests. They're terrorizing Ukrainians. They're murdering civilians. They're killing police.

They're occupying government buildings. They're setting others ablaze. Yanukovych defends his country responsibly. 

He's wrongfully blamed for their violence. He's battling fascism's ugly agenda.

Rogue elements support it. Others are duped to do so. Washington and EU partners fund it. Most Ukrainians have no idea what's going on.

Their futures are on the line. So is Ukraine's sovereignty. Eighty-one years ago this past January 30, Hitler rose to power.

He became Germany's chancellor. He did so with Western support. He kept it through much of the 1930s. 

He established a ruthless dictatorship. Mass slaughter, barbarism and anti-Semitism defined it. He ravaged most of Europe. He murdered millions.

He might have emerged victorious if he hadn't invaded Soviet Russia. Waging war on two major fronts defeated him. Imagine if things turned out the other way.

Fascism didn't die. It's alive and well. It resides in Europe. It thrives in America. US policy exceeds the worst of Nazi crimes.

Hitler's Third Reich lasted a dozen years. Post-WW II America wages war on humanity. It does so at home and abroad. 

Millions ruthlessly slaughtered attest to America's ruthlessness. Syria is in the eye of the storm. So is Ukraine. Both countries are US-instigated battlegrounds.

How many more will die before both conflicts end? What will happen in their aftermath? 

How many more countries will America attack? Venezuela is the top Western Hemisphere target. Iran tops the Middle East list.

Trotsky once wrote:

"Fascism is a particular governmental system based on the uprooting of all elements of proletarian democracy within bourgeois society." 

"The task of fascism lies not only in destroying the Communist vanguard but in holding the entire class in a state of forced disunity." 

"To this end, the physical annihilation of the most revolutionary section of the workers does not suffice." 

"It is also necessary to smash all independent and voluntary organizations, to demolish all the defensive bulwarks of the proletariat, and to uproot whatever has been achieved during three-quarters of a century by the Social Democracy and the trade unions." 

European Jews suffered most under Hitler. So did all other Third Reich enemies. 

Washington wants all challengers eliminated. It wants supreme global power. It's waging war on humanity to achieve it. 

It may end up destroying it altogether. How many wars are too many? How many more millions will suffer and die? How much more ravaging is too much?

When will Washington's imperial agenda be challenged? When will White House lies be universally denounced?

On February 20, an Office of the Press Secretary statement wrongfully blamed Yanukovych. It ignored months of US-instigated, manipulated, supported street violence. It lied said:

"We are outraged by the images of Ukrainian security forces firing automatic weapons on their own people."  

"We urge President Yanukovych to immediately withdraw his security forces from downtown Kyiv and to respect the right of peaceful protest, and we urge protesters to express themselves peacefully."  

"We urge the Ukrainian military not to get involved in a conflict that can and should be resolved by political means."   

"The use of force will not resolve the crisis - clear steps must be taken to stop the violence and initiate meaningful dialogue that reduces tension and addresses the grievances of the Ukrainian people."  

"The United States will work with our European allies to hold those responsible for violence accountable and to help the Ukrainian people get a unified and independent Ukraine back on the path to a better future."

It bears repeating. Washington bears full responsibility. Plans to topple Yanukovych were made well before violence erupted.

Obama chose when and how to initiate it. He's in league with Ukrainian fascist extremists. He wants another imperial trophy. He'll stop at nothing to get it.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected] 

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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Book Review: The Brothers– John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and Their Secret World War


In a different time, a time when we escape the cultural waste excreted by decadent capitalism, a time without Fast and Furious 23 and the abominable cable television mini-series Spartacus, some creative and capable filmmaker might make a fascinating bio-pic out of the lives of the Dulles brothers, Allen and John Foster. Until then, we must make do with a new biography of the important duo (The Brothers, Times Books, 2013) written by Stephen Kinzer, and another, hopefully soon-to-be-available book on the subject by David Talbot.
Kinzer's book gives a fascinating, but unsatisfying look at the lives of two public figures who wielded an unprecedented concentration of global power. For the better part of a decade-- from 1953 to 1959-- the two brothers together shaped nearly the entire US policy toward the rest of the world. As director of the Central Intelligence Agency, brother Allen decided the US clandestine activities toward friends and foes alike. At the same time, he shaped the extent and few limits of the newly founded agency.
Brother John Foster did the same for the US's overt role in the world. As President D. D. Eisenhower's Secretary of State from 1953 until Dulles's death in 1959, he served the same goals and interests as his brother.
The unusual circumstance of such complete and convergent power sharing was neither coincidental nor the result of a ruthless power grab. In fact, it was consensual.
But who gave the necessary consent? Certainly not the electorate, since neither brother held elected office. Nor was it the tacit consent of the public given Allen Dulles's secretive role and publicly unknown activities. The consent question can only be answered by positing the existence in the US of a mechanism capable of deciding questions of ultimate leadership, a mechanism that could entrust US foreign policy to these two long-groomed brothers. While we cannot be sure of who exactly operates this mechanism and how it specifically functions, we can be sure that it exists with the same certainty that we can affirm the unseen existence of gravity.
It should be equally obvious that the work of the Dulles brothers through their eight years of common leadership coincided broadly with the “interests” of the US as defined by the privately-held, corporately organized heights of the US economy. While their policies only occasionally directly benefited individual capitalists (usually former legal clients), their actions were decidedly intent on benefiting the capitalist class as a whole.
It is through this mechanism that the interests of the capitalist class are protected and promoted. It is, in the end, the way in which a ruling class rules. In the end, it constitutes the best Marxist evidence for the existence of a ruling class.
Ruling class-deniers are compelled to explain how the Dulles brothers came to enjoy such exceptional power precisely at a time when US elites felt most threatened by the specter of Communism. They must offer an alternative account that brings two imposing figures associated with power, wealth, and anti-Communism to the pinnacle of power outside of the bourgeois democratic process.
Kinzer, a reliable foot soldier in the New York Times corporate empire, does not hide the uniqueness and oddity of the ascent of the brothers. But he would certainly have nothing to do with the forbidden idea of a ruling class in the US.
Nonetheless, his account offers revealing hints about how the Dulles brothers were vetted and selected, how one qualifies to be trusted agents for ruling class interests.
As early as 1921, the Dulles brothers participated in the creation of an important part of the mechanism of capitalist class rule: The Council on Foreign Relations and its subsequent public discussion journal, Foreign Affairs. To this day, the Council and its publication remain essential elements in crafting and debating foreign policy options congruent with the interests of capital.
Armed with Ivy League, foreign policy and clandestine service credentials, the Dulles brothers easily passed through the filters of ruling class trust. For John Foster, this brought him to the law firm of Sullivan and Cromwell, perhaps the leading legal agent for the international interests of US capital at the time. While rising to the top of the firm, the elder Foster ensured that US corporations, especially financial firms, were advanced and protected overseas. Kinzer recounts how the law firm could always call on the US military to back up its deal making. Moreover, he doesn't hide the close, welcoming relationship of Sullivan and Cromwell with fascist regimes. Even in the inter-war period, Foster was obsessed with forging unity with any enemies of Communism. Like the Council on Foreign Affairs, Sullivan and Cromwell was another component of the ruling class mechanism. Allen worked for the firm as well.
With much of the history of the ruthless, violent, and undemocratic trajectory of US foreign policy in the 1950s now widely acknowledged, Kinzer cannot mask the devious and bloody role of the brothers in orchestrating it. Instead, he does a shrewd job of softening it by focusing on only six covert plots against foreign “monsters” perceived as standing in the way of US interests. The six-- Iran's Mossadegh, Guatemala's Arbenz, Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh, Indonesia's Sukharno, Congo's Lumumba, and Cuba's Fidel-- are specifically targeted by the Dulles brothers for having the audacity to defy the US. All six cases are well-documented independently, with the Sukharno case the least well-known (Kinzer fails to fully indict the CIA in its collaboration in assassinating a million Indonesian Communists and their allies).
This spin on CIA extra-legal killings, coups, and assassination attempts feeds a simple-minded psychological explanation of the Dulles disposition to rearrange the world to suit US capital. Drawing on a bizarre interpretation of the celebrated movie, High Noon, Kinzer paints the Dulles brothers as counterparts to the cowboy hero “...reluctant to fight, but moved to do so because otherwise good people will suffer.” What makes this particular allusion so twisted is that the screenwriter, Carl Foreman, intended the film to be a less-than-veiled attack on the cowardice of those lacking the spine to confront anti-Communist blacklisting and McCarthyism. What was meant as an attack on the Cold War mentality is converted by Kinzer into an excuse for that Cold War mentality. Oddly, many right wingers see High Noon as Kinzer does. But the old loud-mouthed red-baiter, John Wayne, knew better-- he refused the lead because he smelled an anti-blacklist allegory.
Kinzer postures his account as a study of an aberration, a time when well-meaning people did some now embarrassing things because they exaggerated the Soviet threat. But none of these postures are proven by Kinzer; they are merely stated as fact. There seems no good reason to view two Cold Warriors as well-meaning when they brought the world to the brink of nuclear war and caused the deaths of literally millions. There is no compelling reason to conclude that there really was a Soviet threat to the security of the US, unless one assumes the Soviet desire for world socialism was somehow more intrinsically aggressive than the US desire for a capitalist world. But posturing the Dulles's foreign policy as an aberration is preposterous. The aggressiveness of the CIA and the US military after the reign of the brothers only intensified. Kinzer surely can't be blind to the US interventions in Vietnam, Angola, Panama, Grenada, Chile, and right up to the more recent aggressions against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yugoslavia, and Syria. The Dulles brothers provided a blue print and not an aberration.
So why does a distinguished writer for The New York Times writing for Times Books choose to write a critical, but sympathetic biography of these two ruthless Cold Warriors?
One finds the answer in the final chapter. Kinzer quotes Senator William Fulbright, an often lonely critic of the Fosters and US foreign policy, as saying that John Foster “misleads public opinion, confuses it, [and] feeds it pap.” But if Dulles fed the public “pap,” he did it through the intermediary of the US news media, including The New York Times. It is transparently obvious that the media of the Dulles era not only failed to challenge the Dulles world view but actively promoted and disseminated it. In that regard, Kinzer's employer is complicit in fanning the flames of Cold War fervor and sanctioning the violence and lawlessness that emerged from it.
To escape this unpleasant judgment on the Cold War media, Kinzer finds a convenient, handy scapegoat: the US public. Amidst splashes of psycho-babble, Kinzer explains:
Part of the answer lies in their personal backgrounds, part in the realm of psychology. The most important explanation, however, may be: they did it because they are us. If they were shortsighted, open to violence, and blind to the subtle realities of the world, it was because these qualities help define American foreign policy and the United States itself.
The Dulles brothers personified ideals and traits that many Americans shared during the 1950s, and still share... they embodied the national ethos. What they wanted, Americans wanted.
In all of this, the Dulles brothers were one with their fellow Americans. Their attitudes were rooted in the American character. They were pure products of the United States.
Now this is a shabby, dishonest piece of writing. Their “fellow Americans”-- millions of ordinary people-- were not like the Dulles brothers. They were not privileged Ivy League graduates born in the midst of the elite of the elites. Nor is it fair to the millions of US citizens who never had the opportunity to walk the path or through the doors open to the brothers to say that these citizens were “shortsighted,” “open to violence,” or “blind to subtle realities.” Certainly millions of their fellow citizens unwisely trusted these pillars of high society to not succumb to these character flaws. They were betrayed, just as they were betrayed by a compliant, cowardly media.
In his tortured finale, Kinzer persists in excusing the brothers and their Cold War enablers, the media. To his credit, he recognizes some of the great harm incurred on their watch; to his shame, he places the blame at the doorstep of the US public: “The blame, however, does not end with them. To gaze at their portraits and think, 'They did it,' would be reassuring. It would also be unfair. Americans who seek to understand the roots of their country's trouble in the world should look not at Foster and Allen's portraits but in a mirror.”
Kinzer would like us to believe that we collectively bear the blame for despicable deeds that were done behind our backs and without our consent, deeds that a compliant media, including his patron, The New York Times, were only too eager to ignore, distort, and approve.
Following Kinzer's logic, the public is responsible for the hyper-spying of the NSA so recently revealed by Snowden. The fact that it was kept from public scrutiny by the government and the media matters not. If we are indignant over authorities collecting our phone calls and other electronic communications, we should look “in a mirror” and accept the blame.
Of course this is ridiculous.
Kinzer serves a cold dish of obfuscation and blame-deflection with his book, The Brothers: John Foster Dulles, Allen Dulles, and their Secret World War. Readers should be wary of this calculated apology for imperialism and its high commanders. There is little new in Kinzer's account apart from some anecdotal hi-jinks. And much of the ugly side of US foreign policy is omitted. There is no indictment of an enthusiastically collaborative Cold War media either, only an embarrassing silence about their role.
Stephen Kinzer's patrons will be happy.

Zoltan Zigedy


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Ariel Sharon’s Criminal Legacy

Ariel Sharon's Criminal Legacy

by Stephen Lendman

Gilad Sharon chronicled his father's life. He wrote his biography. It's titled "Sharon: The Life of a Leader." It discusses his history from soldier to general to political leader.

According to Gilad, his father "was a much better prime minister" than Netanyahu. He was Sharon's finance minister. He claimed he "gave and gave and gave."

"Palestinians got and got and got, and my question is, what did we get? Nothing and nothing and nothing."

"What the public wants to know is when will it get a prime minister who stops putting wind in the sails of terrorists and begins to demand things in return for concessions."

Gilad calls Netanyahu "subversive." He's "coward(ly)," he added. He left unexplained his father's blood-drenched career. Evil best describes it.

He committed multiple high crimes against peace. A special place in hell awaits him.

Some call him Israel's most Nietzschean leader. Others consider him the devil incarnate.

He was 85 years old. He was in stroke-induced coma. He clung to vegetative life for eight years. He faded. He's gone.

Eulogies were ready to be published. Israel calls them havatzelets. They're prepared in advance obits.

They're written ahead of notable figures' deaths. Sharon's are now being published.

His vital signs were weak. His kidneys failed. He clung to life for eight years. He's gone.

He was a rogue figure writ large for decades. He's responsible for numerous crimes of war and against humanity. He was Machievellian. He was a terrorist turned statesman.

He never changed his ways. He was responsible for regional violence and instability for decades. More on this below.

Why Israelis admire him they'll have to explain. Haaretz contributor Rogel Alpher said they don't "judge him like other prime ministers..."

"(H)e made them feel good about themselves." His status "was reserved for him alone." He was considered "beyond good and evil."

He was "outside the realm of moral judgment." Criminality and corruption accusations didn't stick. They "enhanced his popularity." He was "above criticism."

Reagan was called America's teflon president. Sharon was above reproach. He belongs in prison, not high office. He got carte blanche to do what he wanted.

His highest of high crimes went unpunished. His rap sheet is one of the region's worst. According to Alpher, he had no concept of justice. He did what he wanted with impunity.

He was cold-blooded. He was ruthless. He deplored peace. Accolades he got were undeserving. His military and political agenda reflects mass slaughter and destruction.

He committed high crimes too grave to ignore. He waged war on Islam. He terrorized Palestinians and neighboring countries.

He represents the worst of Zionist extremism. He devoted his military and political career to working for a Greater Israel. He believed mass slaughter and destruction further it.

His family members were Jewish nationalists. His autobiography "Warrior" said so. His father Samuil and grandfather were "Jewish nationalist(s), pure and simple," he said.

They had "no political allegiances whatsoever, not to socialism or communism or anything else."

Samuil always wanted to emigrate to Palestine. In 1921, he did so. In 1928, Ariel was born.

When he was 13, his father gave him a dagger. It "was symbolic, to protect ourselves from our enemies," he said. It was a "lesson" he "never" forgot.

Prior to joining the Haganah (the IDF's forerunner), he became a Jewish Settlement Police member. He fought in Israel's so-called War of Independence.

He got firsthand combat experience. He later used it in other campaigns. He prioritized "strik(ing) first and hardest."

"(A)lways escalate," he said. He remained a soldier. He rose to the rank of general. He never became IDF chief of staff.

Arrogance, insubordination, recklessness, and going his own way denied him. His military and political superiors deplored his attitude.

He lied for self-serving reasons. He disobeyed orders freely. He did  often. Israel's Golani Brigade is one of its most ruthless.

In February 1948, David Ben-Gurion established it. He did so to ethnically cleanse Palestinians. Sharon was one of its first commanders.

Earlier he headed the notorious Alexandroni Brigade. Death squad killers filled its ranks.

Golanis operate the same way. They're responsible for numerous massacres. They committed them from inception to today.

In 1953, Sharon established Unit 101. It reigned terror on defenseless Palestinian civilians. It did so indiscriminately. It targeted young, old and helpless victims.

In August 1953, it attacked El-Bureig refugee camp in southern Gaza. Dozens of Palestinians were slaughtered.

In October 1953, Jordan's Qibya village was attacked. Then Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Sharett said the "stain would stick to us and not be washed away for many years."

Israeli historian Avi Shlaim described what happened as follows:

"Sharon’s order was to penetrate Qibya, blow up houses and inflict heavy casualties on its inhabitants."

"His success in carrying out the order surpassed all expectations. The full and macabre story of what happened at Qibya was revealed only during the morning after the attack."

"The village had been reduced to rubble: forty-five houses had been blown up, and sixty-nine civilians, two thirds of them women and children, had been killed."

"Sharon and his men claimed that they believed that all the inhabitants had run away and that they had no idea that anyone was hiding inside the houses."

A UN observer at the time explained otherwise, saying:

"One story was repeated time after time: the bullet splintered door, the body sprawled across the threshhold, indicating that the inhabitants had been forced by heavy fire to stay inside until their homes were blown up over them."

Sharon's forces went house to house. They systematically murdered their occupants. They did so in cold blood.

Sharon atrocities repeated for decades. In August 1971, his forces destroyed 2,000 Gaza homes. Doing so displaced 16,000 Palestinians.

Hundreds of Palestinian men were arrested. They were brutally treated. They were deported to Jordan and Lebanon.

Hundreds of relatives of suspected Palestinian freedom fighters were exiled to Sinai. Dozens of militants were murdered in cold blood.

In 1982, Sharon was Menachem Begin's defense minister. On June 6, Israel invaded Lebanon. Fighting lasted nearly a year.

An Israeli false flag was pretext. Arafat was falsely blamed for Abu Nidal militants' attempted assassination of Israeli UK ambassador Shlomo Argov.

Israel got the war it wanted. Sharon was called the "Butcher of Beirut." Up to 20,000 Palestinians were massacred. Southern Lebanon remained occupied until May 2000. Israel still illegally holds Sheba Farms.

It's a 14-square mile water-rich area. It's near Syria's Golan. It's been lawlessly occupied since 1967.

Sabra and Shatila remain symbols of Sharonian ruthlessness. Around 18,000 Palestinians were slaughtered.

It turned out the way he planned. He let Phalangist fascists do his dirty work. Palestinian civilians were massacred in cold blood. Women were raped multiple times before being killed. Children were murdered like adults.

Whole families were shot, stabbed, bludgeoned to death, or buried dead or alive under homes. Some were tortured before dying. Bodies were decapitated.

Corpses were charred and violated. Eyes were gouged out. Faces were unrecognizable.

Sharon maliciously planned it. He led it. He called it "ridding the world of the center of international terrorism." No one to this day was punished.

Yitzhak Kahan headed an Israeli commission of inquiry. Its findings damaged Sharon. It didn't go far enough. On September 16, 1982, Sharon-directed Philangist death squads entered the camps.

Killings began "almost immediately." Militiamen entered homes. They began "slitting throats, axing, shooting, and raping, often taking groups outside and lining them up for execution."

"There was virtually no resistance. Only a very few camp residents" had small arms for protection. Slaughter continued until around sunset September 18.

Kahan Commission findings fell short of damning. Sharon's reputation was damaged. He wasn't held accountable. His actions were called "blunders."

He "failed to take appropriate measures" to prevent what happened, commission members said.

Sharon ordered mass murder. He directed it. He led it. He unleashed its full ferocity. He's fully responsible. Accountability didn't follow.

He refused to resign. On February 14, 1983, he lost his defense minister portfolio. He remained an unpunished cabinet minister without one.

He was fanatically anti-peace. He opposed 1991 Madrid conference talks. He was against the 1993 Oslo Accords.

He abstained on peace with Jordan. He opposed other peace initiatives. He rejected the so-called Quartet's road map.

It was doomed straightaway. Israeli violence, land theft, and targeted assassinations accompanied it. Sharon had no intention to seek peace.

He deplored it from soldier to general to defense minister to prime minister to his grave. "There cannot be a situation where there are two states for one people," he said. Let's make the issue clear."

He repeatedly blamed Palestinians for Israeli crimes. "My paramount responsibility is the security of the people of Israel and the state of Israel," he stressed.

Peace won't happen "without the abandonment and elimination of terrorism, violence and incitement." Israel alone commits it. Palestinians are repeatedly victimized.

Sharon's autobiography explained, saying:

Attacking Arabs aims "to create (in their minds) a psychology of defeat, to beat them every time, and to beat them so decisively that they would develop the conviction that they could never win."

Sharon deplored surgical strikes. He "believe(d) that whenever we were forced to strike, we should do so with the aim of inflicting heavy losses on the enemy troops."

He urged Israeli's premeditated/preemptive 1967 Six Day War. It was planned long in advance.

In 1948, Israel stole 78% of historic Palestine. In June 1967, it got what remained.

Settlement construction began straightaway. From 1967 - 1977, around 30 were established.

They were mainly in Jordan Valley locations. Settlers numbered about 5,000.

Under Prime Minister Menachem Begin (1977 - 1983), things changed dramatically. A new pattern emerged.

Heartland/central ridge West Bank settlements were established. Construction tempo increased.

Dozens of new settlements were added. Increasing amounts of Palestinian land were stolen. Construction continues unabated.

Israel controls over 60% of West Bank land. It claims Jerusalem as its exclusive capital. It's settler population exceeds 600,000. Numbers increase daily. Sharon endorsed unlimited expansion.

In 1969, he learned his military contract wouldn't be renewed. He fell out of favor with then IDF chief Bar Lev. It was over defending Sinai.

He turned to politics instead. He allied with Menachem Begin's Herut party. It was militantly hardline. It was ideologically Revisionist. It was hardcore Zionist. In 1988, it merged into Likud.

During the 1973 Yom Kippur War, Sharon was called back to reserve duty. In elections that followed, he won a Knesset seat.

A year later he resigned. From June 1975 to March 1976, he was Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin's aide.

In 1977, he founded the Shlomtzion party. Months later, it merged into Likud. Sharon became Begin's agriculture minister.

He supported Gush Emunim (Block of the Faithful) extremists. It was militantly hardline. It was committed to unlimited settlement expansions. Israel's Yesha Council replaced it.

It's ideologically over-the-top. It's like Sharon. It wants Greater Israel exclusively Jewish. It wants Arabs ethnically cleansed.

Sharon expressed his settlement policy as follows:

"Everybody has to move, run and grab as many (Judean) hilltops as they can to enlarge the (Jewish) settlements because everything we take now will stay ours."

"Everything we don't grab will go to them." In 1981, Begin appointed Sharon defense minister. He took full advantage.

He held other ministerial portfolios. As Construction and Housing Minister, he was called "the Bulldozer."

It was for good reason. He ruthlessly destroyed Palestinian homes. Throughout his military and political career, Sharon's message was submit.

Abandon independence notions. Accept Palestine as Israel. You don't belong here. Leave or we'll uproot you.

Sharon's way was no-holds-barred ruthlessness. On September 28, 2000, he initiated Second Intifada violence.

He did so by provocatively visiting the Haram al-Sharif (the Nobel Sanctuary). Around 1,000 security forces accompanied him.

Resistance followed. He responded violently. He did so until February 2005. Nearly 4,200 Palestinians died. Included were 866 children and 271 women.

Many more were wounded. Over 3,500 were permanently disabled. Over 550 assassinations were committed. Around 8,600 Palestinians were imprisoned.

Over 2.3 million dunums of land were stolen. Another 73,600 were razed. Hundreds of thousands of trees were uprooted.

Over 7,700 homes were demolished. Another 94,000 were damaged. Sabra and Shatila slaughter reflected the worst of Sharonian evil.

So did Second Intifada viciousness. His Gaza disengagement plan had nothing to do with peace.

It was getting Israeli settlers out of harm's way. It was relocating them to stolen West Bank/East Jerusalem land. It was gaining US support for doing so.

He was prime minister from March 7, 2001 to April 14, 2006. He murdered Yasser Arafat. He poisoned him to death. Stroke-induced incapacitation ended his political career.

On December 18, 2005, minor ischemic stroke symptoms appeared. Doctors discovered heart trouble. It required surgery, they said.

Bed rest ahead of cardiac catheterization was prescribed. Sharon ignored medical advice. He returned to work immediately.

On January 4, 2006, hemorrhagic stroke followed. Two surgeries stopped bleeding in his brain. They didn't prevent stroke-induced coma.

Since November 6, 2006, he's been in longterm care. His cognitive abilities were destroyed.

In late 2013, his condition deteriorated. On January 1, he suffered renal failure. He's fading. He could anytime.

His legacy reflects horrendous high crimes. It bears repeating. A special place in hell awaits him. Perhaps he already arrived.

A Final Comment

Sharon believed the only good Arabs were dead ones. He spent  his entire military and political career slaughtering them. State terror was official policy on his watch.

World leaders paid him tribute on his death. They did so disgracefully. One war criminal remembered another. Obama issued a statement, saying:

"On behalf of the American people, Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to the family of former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon and to the people of Israel on the loss of a leader who dedicated his life to the State of Israel." 

"We reaffirm our unshakable commitment to Israel's security and our appreciation for the enduring friendship between our two countries and our two peoples." 

"We continue to strive for lasting peace and security for the people of Israel, including through our commitment to the goal of two states living side-by-side in peace and security."

"As Israel says goodbye to Prime Minister Sharon, we join with the Israeli people in honoring his commitment to his country."

Sharon was an unapologetic war criminal. His legacy reflects
decades of mass slaughter, destruction and human misery. 

Britain's David Cameron disgracefully said he made "brave and controversial decisions in pursuit of peace. Israel has today lost an important leader."

France's Francois Hollande called him "a major player in the history of his country. After a long military and political career, he choose to move toward dialogue with Palestine."

He did no such thing. He murdered Yasser Arafat. He deplored peace and reconciliation. He hated Arabs. His policies proved it.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon reacted as expected. He's a reliable imperial tool. He's complicit in Western war crimes. He said:

Sharon "will be remembered for his political courage and determination to carry through with the painful and historic decision to withdraw Israeli settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip."

He got them out of harm's way. Future aggression was planned. He relocated them on stolen West Bank Palestinian land. 

Gaza remains occupied. Suffocating siege continues. Ban ignores Palestinian suffering. He supports Israel's worst crimes.

Fatah official Jubril Rajoub said:

"Sharon was a criminal, responsible for the assassination of (Yasser) Arafat, and we would have hoped to see him appear before the International Criminal Court as a war criminal."

Hamas spokesman Salah el-Bardaweel added:

"We pray to Allah that Sharon and all the Zionist leaders who committed massacres against our people go to hell."

"When the Palestinian people remember Sharon, they only remember pain, blood, torture, displacement and crimes. We will never feel sorry for his death." 

Nor should anyone!

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at [email protected]

His new book is titled "Banker Occupation: Waging Financial War on Humanity."

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

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network.

It airs Fridays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.


http://www.progressiveradionetwork.com/the-progressive-news-hour

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By 2008, the US electorate was fed up with George Bush. In fact, the US ruling class was fed up, too. Internationally, US prestige was at a low point, thanks to the Bush administration's brazen and failed military aggressions. Domestically, the bottom had fallen out of the US economy. It was time for him to go. His failings cast a shadow over the system's legitimacy.
Anyone with even a passing understanding of US history understood that “regime change” was in the cards. That is, it was the moment for the two-party juggernaut to spit out a fresh face untainted by the previous administration, vigorous, and promising a new direction. It was essential that new leadership appear different, self-confident, and representative of policies contrasting with the old regime.
We saw this before.
Franklin Roosevelt was such a figure. He came forward as a clean, untainted alternative to the failed Hoover administration. Disgust with Hoover was so great, that merely by avoiding large, looming issues, FDR was able to capture the Presidency with a virtual carte blanche to rescue the sinking capitalist economy. Yet he was, as a leading commentator of the time, Walter Lippmann, observed before Roosevelt's election, “... an amiable man with many philanthropic impulses, but he is not the dangerous enemy of anything. He is too eager to please.... Franklin D. Roosevelt is no crusader. He is no tribune of the people. He is no enemy of entrenched privilege. He is a pleasant man who, without any important qualifications for the office, would very much like to be President." All historians agree that Roosevelt was, first and foremost, practical. If policies worked or were popular, he supported them.
Over time, a myth arose that Roosevelt was a savior, a messianic figure who arose and smote the rich and powerful. Those who organized the bonus marches, the unemployment councils, the general strikes, the tenant and share cropper actions of the Depression era, like those who built the industrial unions that made up the powerful CIO, were swept under the historical rug. Acknowledging that they were the source or driving force for New Deal reforms was an inconvenient truth. That said, Roosevelt's pragmatism, his respect for new ideas in desperate times, marked him as an uncommon political leader.
The New Deal myth sustained the Democratic Party for decades, even though Party leaders began a retreat from the New Deal upon Roosevelt's death. After 1944, the “New Deal” label fell into disuse as both political Parties rallied around anti-Communism and a relatively benign social compact. Political leaders willingly conceded a modest social contract with labor for cooperation in the anti-Communist campaign and business unionism.
Anti-Communist excesses (so-called “McCarthyism”), overt and institutional racism (segregation), setbacks in foreign policy (Cuba, the U-2) tarnished the US reputation internationally and stirred discontent at home by the end of the 1950s.
Once again, a new face, representing religious diversity, youth, cosmopolitan life style, and change, emerged as an alternative. John Kennedy, like FDR, injected vigor into a two-party landscape driven by the now dominant medium of television. Again regime change was in order and the appearance of regime change was achieved. Despite the mythology of the Kennedy Camelot-- and sealed by his assassination-- Kennedy's administration was ruled by the continuation of the Cold War and lip-service to domestic discontent. While some opportunistic adjustments were forced on his administration, Kennedy largely sought to construct a more compassionate, tolerant face to US capitalism; his assassination obviously shows that this was not acceptable to many important, powerful members of the old club.
Months after the Kennedy assassination, left pundit I.F. Stone captured Kennedy's role: “ ...Kennedy, when the tinsel was stripped away, was a conventional leader, no more than an enlightened conservative, cautious as an old man for all his youth, with a basic distrust of the people and an astringent view of the evangelical as a tool of leadership.”
Less than a decade later, with the criminal implosion of the Nixon administration, the credibility of the US political system was undermined. Resignations, criminal charges and Impeachment bred an unprecedented cynicism and challenge to two-party legitimacy.
A fresh face entered from the wings: Jimmy Carter, neither a Senator nor a corporate attorney, but an obscure Southern Governor and a peanut farmer. Like Roosevelt, Carter brought a fresh, unstained image to the political game, a much-needed contrast to the sleaze of his predecessors.
I wrote in 2008 of the 1976 election: “Most citizens looked to the then forthcoming elections with a profound desire for a new course. The Democrats chose a political outsider, Governor Jimmy Carter of Georgia. Carter promised to make the government 'as good as the people.' Pundits hailed Carter as a departure from the old politics and a fresh, honest voice for change (e.g. The Miracle of Jimmy Carter, Howard Norton and Bob Slosser, 1976).”
I went on to note that Carter proved to be a prophet of false hope and absent change. He quickly turned his back on the most progressive Democratic platform since the New Deal and ushered in economic policies that were soon to be dubbed “Reaganomics.
It was this historical backdrop that prompted me to suggest that candidate Barack Obama might well be another postured savior at a moment of crisis in the two-Party system, a carefully crafted, groomed alternative to a bumbling, embarrassing regime.
There are some striking and illuminating parallels between this election season and the Presidential election campaign of 1976... Like the eight years of the Bush administration, the eight years of Nixon/Ford produced an unparalleled collapse of support for the Republican Party. The Watergate scandal coupled with the failure of the US military in Vietnam and an economic crisis left the Republican Party wounded and regrouping.
Similar to 1976 Presidential candidate J. Carter, his presumptive 2008 counterpart, Barack Obama, is viewed as a Washington “outsider”. He has campaigned as a candidate of change. Pundits hail him as a fresh voice untainted by the vices of the establishment.
Obama must contend with similar issues: a brutal military adventure, collapsing mass living standards, and an economy exhibiting more and more of the symptoms of “stagflation.” Like Carter, his campaign is geared to appealing to the mass base of the Democratic Party: the working class, liberals, and African-Americans. His campaign strategists will likely recommend - as Carter’s advisors did - that the candidate tack to the right to garner center-right and independent votes going into the general election. Every Democratic Party Presidential candidate since has employed a similar strategy. Despite this maneuver, Carter managed to lose his huge lead in the polls and eke out a narrow victory in the November election. Nonetheless, this failed approach continues to seduce Democratic Party tacticians. (ZZ, 2008: A Reprise of 1976?Fall, 2008)
Obama represented a constant of modern US politics: political crisis or threat to legitimacy spawning a face-lift, cosmetic changes, and a re-kindling of “hope” and “change” in the form of a vigorous, youthful, well-spoken Democrat. And Obama, as an African American, had the special appeal of breaking through racial barriers and perhaps sharing some common sensibilities with diverse peoples outside of the US.
While contemporary history taught that appearance generally belied actual change, liberals and most of the US Left succumbed to the allure, putting aside their picket signs, marching shoes, and petitions to open their pocketbooks and enthusiasm to the Obama campaign.
With the November, 2008 victory under his belt, Obama's unprecedented campaign contributions from the financial sector, his lame, discredited cabinet appointees, and his blatant, shameless, scandalizing of his home-town pastor, Reverend Wright, left the adoring Left unfazed.
By fitting Obama with the mantle of progressive change, the leadership of the broad left - much of the peace movement, liberals, environmental social justice activists, etc. - surrendered their critical judgment, independence, and influence to a blind trust in a fictitious movement for change. In the history of social change in the US, every real advance was spurred by independent organization and struggle,unhampered by the niceties of bourgeois politics. From the Abolitionist movement to the Civil Rights movement, from the Populist movement to the Great Society, from the Anti-imperialist League to the Anti-Vietnam War movement, the initiative for change sprung from committed, independent activists who defied the caution and inertia of elected officials. Why have these lessons been ignored? (ZZ, Let Obama be Obama? December 29, 2008)
Yet everyone from the Hollywood liberal set to the Communist Party USA hailed Obama as the Second-coming of FDR, if not Lincoln.
Over the top, but representative of the self-delusional moment, one hopped-up “progressive” wrote in a widely disseminated 19-page homageto the election of Barack Obama: "...hundreds of millions-Black, Latino, Asian, Native-American and white, men and women, young and old, literally danced in the streets and wept with joy, celebrating an achievement of a dramatic milestone in a 400-year struggle, and anticipating a new period of hope and possibility."
Leaving aside the hyperbole (less than 130 million people voted for BOTH candidates and 400 years takes us back to well-before there was a USA), this screed correctly captured the unjustified euphoria that swept through the Left.
Seemingly, every generation of the Left surrenders to the false hope of the Democratic Party; every generation repeats the same mistake.
Tragedy? Farce?
Today, the Obama administration owns the betrayal of the EFCA promise to labor, an untenable healthcare system borrowed from Mitt Romney, 800 hundred deaths a month in the failed state of Iraq, an Afghani nation that may kick the US military out before it plans to leave, the destabilization of Libya and Syria, a broken promise on Guantanamo, widening income and wealth gaps, crumbling infrastructures, a host of unfulfilled promises, a legacy of corporate coddling, and cowardly and illegal (drone) murders. The shattering of a racial barrier-- the election of the first African American President-- has shamefully served to cover the criminal neglect and decline of the well-being of African Americans.
And everyone knows it. In 2013 alone, Obama's approval rating dropped nine points to 43%; the percentage believing that Obama is honest and straightforward has dropped ten points to 37%.
And this is the candidate embraced by the broad Left in 2008?
With three years left-- two years before the 2016 Presidential campaign begins in earnest-- Democratic Party influentials are pressing Obama to establish some kind of legacy to energize the base, to charge up the “respectable” Left and labor for future elections. As a lame-duck, he will likely make numerous gestures towards the social, life-style issues valued by the upper-middle strata-- the petty-bourgeoisie. There may even be a highly publicized, but feeble attempt to raise the minimum wage. But expect no serious changes in ruling class foreign or economic policy. Liberals have demonstrated that they will not hold elected Democrats to any promises on these questions.
Will this herd the sheep-like liberals and soft-Left back into the fold? Will they repeat again the slavish loyalty of the past? Will they drink the Kool-aid?
Or will people finally recognize the Democratic Party trap and begin to construct a movement towards independent politics, perhaps rallying around Jill Stein and the Green Party? Will there be a long overdue departure from bankrupt ideology and shameless opportunism? Will the idea of people power and the companion notion of socialism take root?
We have a new year to find out...

Zoltan Zigedy



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The Election of Matteo Renzi and the Future of Italian Trade Unions

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Italy’s Left-Wing Movement

Photo by framino
Since the political earthquake of the early 1990s the Italian Left has undergone a number of evolutions (and leaders). For starters social democracy was chosen over communism with the Partito Comunista Italiana becoming the Partito Democratico di Sinistra. Absorbing a number of smaller parties the latter then became the Democratici di Sinistra(DS). Again further steps were taken to distance the party from its communist past with the removal of the hammer and sickle as the official party emblem. In 2007 the DS morphed once again and dropped the sinistra from the party name to become the currently named Partito Democratico. The colours of the national flag were adopted as the party logo.
     
Renzi has been recognized as a proponent of Third Way politics. Stylistically, he has the charismatic attributes that were associated with Blair in the mid-1990s. His speeches are delivered with gusto and often accompanied with visuals in the background. His energy and enthusiasm is reminiscent of Berlusconi twenty-years ago and Renzi will undoubtedly appeal to disaffected voters of the centre-right which too is undergoing its own identity crisis. He has become popular by declaring war on the ‘old guard’ of the political party. In his sights are the likes of D’Alema. Dismay with the current PD prime minister, Enrico Letta, has also been expressed. There is, however, another twist in the Italian saga.

Upon the election of Renzi, the likelihood of snap elections being called was not entirely implausible. Whatever hopes of an early election might have been dashed by a finding by the Constitutional Court which declared the Italian electoral law unconstitutional. This means that parliament needs to pass a new electoral law before elections can take place. Given the political nature of such a law, its formulation might take some time. Meanwhile the impatience of Italians is starting to show (see below).   

I am, however, more concerned with the substance rather than style of Matteo Renzi. Amongst other things Renzi has mentioned re-writing the Italian constitution. He has mooted pension and public sector reform as well as tax reductions. According to Renzi, labour policy needs to be ‘emancipated’ from the grip of the trade unions. On the bigger economic questions Renzi remains ambiguous. He has, however, mentioned that he will take the European Commission to task on its policy of competitive austerity.


Renzi and the Unions

The election of Renzi over the CGIL-backed candidate, Cuperlo, as general secretary of the PD does not bode well for the relationship between the party and the Italian unions, especially the CGIL. The CGIL leadership has been critical of Renzi since his first failed attempt at becoming party leader over a year ago. This is down primarily to Renzi’s proposals which include the need for greater labour market flexibility. He has also stated that labour market policy needs to be ‘emancipated’ from the grip of the trade unions. “The trade union is dead, if it doesn’t change”, Renzi exclaimed. 


Matteo Renzi, Photo by Il Fatto Quotidiano

Leader of the CGIL, Susanna Camusso, too has recently spoken of the need for change. Nevertheless, the change she has in mind is more likely to set the CGIL and Renzi on a collision course rather than ameliorate relations. At a recent conference in Bologna, Camusso declared that general strikes are no longer effective, which might be interpreted as saying that more radical actions are required. Should this prove to be the case then the leadership of the PD and the CGIL are on an inevitably confrontational course. The latter, however, are not without their woes. Internally the Camusso leadership has been criticised by the leader of the metalworkers’ federation (FIOM), Maurizio Landini.

Writing in the pages of La Repubblica Landini has slated the CGIL leadership for signing social pacts with the employers’ association Confindustria. “A pact with Confindustria”, he writes, “would be a choice dictated by fear, an escape from reality. We should have the courage not to sign pacts with no sense but look for innovative agreements based on mediation and exchange.” Perhaps Camusso’s recent statement is one of intent more along the lines of Landini? Another alternative, albeit an ambitious and complicated one, is an agreed agenda between the three trade union confederations on questions of political economy.

Although the CGIL and the PD are not formally affiliated there are strong historical links between the two. Upon Renzi’s election, Camusso commented on the “need for dialogue, but in the spirit of mutual autonomy.”  The term ‘autonomy’ has been a much (ab)used term in trade union circles. With Renzi’s appointment the term might regain some of its authenticity again more along the lines of FIOM and Landini. Such approaches, however, raise an important question: How much can a trade union achieve without political support? Again there are similarities with Blair’s strategy in the UK to put clear water between the Labour Party and the unions. What lessons can we learn from this?


The Future of Italian Democracy

Italian democracy and politics are in crisis. The centre-right party has split. Supporters of Berlusconi exited from the governing coalition. Nevertheless, the coalition, led by Enrico Letta, survived as thirty senators refused to follow Berlusconi’s order. One of the thirty included Berlusconi’s protégé Alfano, who was being primed to replace Berlusconi as leader. Currently, the leaders of the main Italian political parties are not members of parliament. Renzi (PD), Berlusconi (neo-Forza Italia), Grillo (Movimento 5 Stelle) and Salvini of Lega Nord are all extra-parliamentary leaders. What implications does this have for parliamentary democracy? Renzi aside, the other leaders are vociferously critical of the European Union.

Currently, waves of protests are taking place in numerous cities up and down the Italian peninsula. Spearheaded by transporters and farmers against the increasing price of petrol the composition of the protest groups is becoming increasingly varied. Dubbed the Forconi or pitchfork movement the protests have brought together students, the unemployed, farmers, truckers, neo-fascists, ‘ultra’ football fans and alter-globalists.  

Photo by mtmsphoto
While these protests might not come as any great surprise, given Italy’s anaemic economic performance and a paucity of political leadership to introduce political reforms, there remain a number of unanswered questions. It seems clear that the various groups are united when it comes to the Italian political class and political system. Nevertheless, questions regarding the origins, true agenda and leadership remain unanswered. Despite these open questions, some politicians, such as Beppe Grillo (M5S) and Lega Nord, have been quick to piggyback on the unrest. The former has constructed his 5-Star Movement against political patronage and the political class writ large. Neither Matteo Renzi nor the trade unions are exempt from Grillo’s critique.

Contextual conditions are important and it is in times of crisis that alliances are formed or divisions are crystallised. Should an anti-EU right-wing mobilization emerge as a powerful force, the new leadership of the PD might be more reluctant to distance itself from the trade union movement. This remains to be seen, but what seems clear is that the Italian peninsula is in turmoil.


Darragh Golden is a Ph.D. student at University College Dublin (UCD) and currently a member of the Transnational Labour Project at the Centre for Advanced Study in Oslo. His research is focused on the assessment of the positions of Italian and Irish unions on European integration since the mid-1980s.

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Blowback and the “Great Game”: When Secret Plans Go Bad

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For two decades the US government claimed that its decision to work for the overthrow of Afghanistan's government in the final days of the 1970s was a response to the invasion of Soviet troops. But in January 1998, Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Carter's National Security Adviser at the time, finally admitted the truth: covert US intervention began months before the USSR sent in troops.
"That secret operation was an excellent idea," he bragged. "The effect was to draw the Russians into the Afghan trap."
During an interview with the French publication, Le Nouvel Observateur, which somehow never made it into US media, Brzezinski was grilled about the role he played in aiding the Mujahadeen. Former CIA Director Robert Gates had recently claimed in his memoir, From the Shadows, that US intelligence operations began six months before the Soviet intervention.
"According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980," Brzezinski noted, "that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise: Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention."
Seizing this opening, the interviewer suggested that perhaps Brzezinski intended to provoke the Soviets into war. "It isn't quite that," the former National Security Advisor replied cagily. "We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would." Nevertheless, when the Soviets tried to justify their invasion with the claim that they were responding to a secret war bankrolled by the US, few people believed them. 
Did he regret anything? "Regret what?" Brzezinski shot back. "That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet Empire."
But what about arming Islamic fundamentalists who might become future terrorists? Brzezinski's reply to that was brazen. "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?" The jury is out on such questions.
Brzezinski's strategy did net some obvious results. The 1980s conflict in Afghanistan, provoked by US leaders as a geopolitical move in the Great Game, led to almost two million deaths and sparked the Taliban’s rise. Afghanistan became open territory for drug traffickers and energy companies eager to build oil and gas pipelines. Meanwhile, millions of Afghanis, including many who once worked with the CIA, paid a price. Eventually, the country served as a base for Osama bin Laden's crusade against the US, Israel, and Arab regimes in the Middle East.
Another prime example of covert manipulation going drastically wrong is the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known as Zaire during the 37-year reign of Mobutu Sese Seko, and before that the Belgian Congo. In 1960, despite Belgian predictions that European rule would continue for another century, the Congo declared its independence, and out of a largely peaceful revolution emerged a charismatic leader, Patrice Lumumba, who became the nation's first Prime Minister. But US policy-makers considered Lumumba, actually militant nationalist, a communist sympathizer, and therefore a threat to vital interests.
Located in Africa's heartland, the Congo was vital for its vast mineral resources; one of the world's largest copper and industrial diamond producers, it also had gold, manganese, zinc, cobalt, and silver. To be blunt, it was a key source of raw materials for the emerging military-industrial complex. Its uranium, one of the only known sources during World War II, was used in the first atomic bombs.
Even today, it isn't completely clear what sealed Lumumba's fate; some say it was his attempt to have UN troops step in to deal with the violence breaking out between tribes and political parties. In the richest province, Katanga, Moise Tshombe had declared himself ruler, attempted to secede, and recruited Belgian, French and South African mercenaries to fight the new government. However it was decided, Lumumba became a target for removal in the CIA's "golden age" of destabilization campaigns. After less than a year in office, he was deposed in a coup led by Mobuto, an Israeli-trained paratrooper who had Belgian and US backing. Mobuto, then called Colonel, turned Lumumba over the Tshombe, his archenemy.
Some details of Lumumba's assassination remain mysterious to this day. But in 2000 evidence surfaced that President Dwight Eisenhower may have directly ordered the CIA to "eliminate" him. The evidence came from Robert Johnson, who took notes at an August 18, 1960, White House meeting between Eisenhower and his national security advisers on the Congo crisis. Johnson recalled the president turning to CIA Director Allen Dulles, "in the full hearing of all those in attendance, and saying something to the effect that Lumumba should be eliminated." Eisenhower had strict rules for reports filed on National Security Council meetings: no direct quotations. With Johnson's revelation, the reason became only too clear.
Questions also surround the precise chain of events. But according to Lugo de Witte, a Flemish expert on Africa, Belgian officers probably implemented the plan. A document signed in 1960 by Harold Aspremont Lynden, Belgium's minister for Africa, announced that "the main objective to pursue, in the interests of the Congo, Katanga and Belgium, is clearly the final elimination of Lumumba." After his arrest by Mobutu's forces on January 17, 1961, on orders from Belgium's foreign minister, Lumumba was transferred to Katanga, tortured in the presence of Belgian officials, and executed under the supervision of a Belgian captain.
The new nation, whose artificial boundaries had been set in negotiations between Belgium, Britain, France and Portugal, continued to hover at the edge of civil war for several more years.
The US stuck with Mobutu until the bitter end, propping him up as part of its Cold War strategy. As "president for life," he stashed a huge fortune in Swiss banks. It didn’t matter, as long as he was an anti-communist bulwark. His rapaciousness ultimately spread throughout the country's bureaucracy, especially the army. Still, no discouraging words from his overseers.
Much of his loot came from the US; he even pocketed CIA cash provided to support "contras" at work in Angola. None of this made any difference. Mobutu was a "friend," part of an elite club that included Noriega in Panama, Marcos in the Philippines, Diem and Thieu in Vietnam, Pinochet in Chile, Somoza in Nicaragua, Suharto in Indonesia, and the Shah in Iran.
And what did this ally do to his country? According to the World Bank, by the late 1990s the economy had shrunk to its 1958 level, despite a tripling of the population. Public finances were a mess, the national currency was worthless, and the State was insolvent. Upon its independence, the Congo had the highest literacy rate in Africa; by the time Mobutu was forced out in 1997, little more than half of all children were even attending schools. When open at all, they didn't have textbooks and the students often had to sit on the floor. Even the desks had been looted.
In the early 90s, Mobutu announced that he would end his one party state. But the transition never began, promised elections were canceled, and repression continued. Both the Bush and Clinton administrations looked the other way, while mainstream media continued a policy of self-imposed ignorance. Only after his departure did the news that Mobutu was a brutal tyrant begin to reach the general public. By this time, one of the continent's most promising nations was hobbled and deeply divided. A dictator had finally fallen, but the culprits who put him there, some even expressing belated outrage, escaped with impunity.
Iraq: Creating the next enemy
When pre-9/11 covert operations are discussed, officials and pundits are quick to claim that, as bad as things sound, that’s "ancient history." Things were different during the Cold War, when beating communism excused some extreme, often unsavory tactics. But the logic is also reversed to argue, things are different now, in order to excuse the same cynical manipulation and disregard for human life.
An instructive example followed the fall of the Soviet Union, when a credible new enemy was needed. US policy makers quickly turned their eyes toward Iraq, fresh from victory after an eight-year war with Iran and well-equipped with modern French and Soviet weapons. Saddam Hussein was at the peak of his regional popularity.
Based on the theory that domination of the Gulf region by a Hussein-led Iraq could jeopardize access to oil supplies, Colin Powell, then chairing the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called on General H. Norman Schwarzkopf in late 1989 to prepare a blueprint for combat. Schwartzkopf, who would lead Operation Desert Storm a year later, had just taken charge of the US Central Command (CENTCOM), an expanded version of the Rapid Deployment Force established under President Carter.
In May 1990, the National Security Council released a white paper that cited Iraq, and Hussein personally, as "the optimum contenders to replace the Warsaw Pact," using that claim as a justification for increased military spending. Meanwhile, at an emergency Arab summit held in Baghdad, Hussein called for a united front against outside aggression, more Arab coordination, and increased aid to the Jordan and the Palestinian Intifada. In the foreign policy establishment, these were interpreted as fighting words. Four months later Bush drew his line in the sand.
Hussein may well have been tricked into war by repeated assurances that the US felt no obligation to come to Kuwait's defense. It may sound like just one more conspiracy theory. However, this time there is a transcript to support the idea. On July 25, 1990, eight days before the outbreak of fighting between Iraq and Kuwait, US Ambassador April Glaspie held a taped meeting with Hussein, who apparently hoped to make sure the US would stay neutral and not intervene. Obviously, he understood that Saudi Arabia was Washington's key Arab ally, and hosted a significant US military presence in the Gulf. No credible evidence that Iraq planned to attack the Saudis has surfaced.
During their talk, Glaspie clearly suggested to Hussein that the Bush administration understood Iraq's point of view and did not want to meddle in an Arab dispute. At one point, she said, "We have no opinion on the Arab-Arab conflicts, like your border disagreement with Kuwait...we see the Iraqi point of view that the measures taken by the U.A.E. and Kuwait is, in the final analysis, parallel to military aggression against Iraq."
A week later, that proved to be very bad advice.
Protecting the cover story
One covert operation that sparked some outrage at the time was the US training of Indonesian commandos accused of torturing and killing civilians. Despite a congressional ban in the 1990s, the Pentagon exploited a legal loophole that allowed "human rights training" to provide instruction in demolition, sniper techniques, psychological operations, and "military operations in urban terrain." The targets included workers who had lost their jobs during Indonesia’s economic crisis, students opposing President Suharto's military-dominated regime, and East Timorese who wanted independence.
Until support for Suharto became completely untenable, the Clinton Administration defended this as "engagement with an important country" that served US national interests.
Less publicized but equally deadly was US involvement in low-intensity war in Mexico. Under the guise of anti-drug operations, the US provided hundreds of million to Mexico for arms and training beginning around 1995. This included the US training of the Air-Mobile Special Forces Group (GAFE), created in direct response to the Zapatista rebellion in Chiapas. After courses at Fort Bragg, GAFE units went on to kidnap, torture, and kill government opponents. Wearing hoods, they would enter homes in the middle of the night to surprise their targets, and raid hotels and restaurants without presenting search warrants.
Although responsibility for a massacre of 45 civilians in Acteal in December, 1997 couldn't be traced directly to GAFE, the incident clearly reflected counter-insurgency lessons learned at the School of the Americas (SOA) in Georgia and other US training centers. Roy Bourgeois, a Maryknoll priest who spent more than two decades trying to close the SOA, repeatedly pointed out that the insurgents under attack were usually reformers, human rights workers, and peasants who opposed repressive governments. Despite platitudes about human rights, the US continued to use the same tactics that had marked earlier interventions in Latin America and Southeast Asia.
What we hear about such "humanitarian" intervention is usually just the tip of the iceberg. Unfortunately, 24-hour news and social media promote the illusion that there are few secrets left. Reality is another matter. Assisting the CIA, front groups like the National Endowment for Democracy have funneled funds to countless so-called insurgencies for years. Since declaring Islamic fundamentalism the post-communist global menace, the Agency is known to have run covert operations in most Middle-East states, from Libya and Iran to the Sudan.
Not so safe or secret anymore
While visiting London to promote his memoirs, Henry Kissinger once stormed out of a widely heard radio interview when the questioning turned to his complicity in war crimes. Jeremy Paxman, host of a Radio 4 program, asked the former secretary of state whether he felt like a fraud for getting a Nobel Peace Prize after plotting a coup in Chile and orchestrating slaughter in Cambodia. Kissinger fumed and denied everything, of course, charging that his host was woefully misinformed. But later the same day, he declined to show up for a BBC roundtable discussion.
Kissinger isn't the only former leader who sometimes gets nervous about accountability. Back when former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet was fighting extradition to Spain, other potential defendants fretted about the precedent it might set. And the Clinton administration did not help. Instead, it released documents on Chile that not only confirmed what many suspected -- the US actively promoted the coup against Allende and sanctioned the subsequent repression -- but also sparked a hailstorm of related revelations.
The administration's motives were not exactly pure. Bowing to pressure from a Spanish judge, human rights groups, and the families of victims, Clinton had opted to "declassify what we can, so that we can say we did our share." That’s how a White House aide explained it. But the potential to embarrass political opponents didn't escape notice. With Texas Governor George W. Bush emerging as the Republican presidential front-runner, the thought was that his father's connection to Pinochet's crimes could become a factor, or at least a useful attack point, during the 2000 election. It didn’t turn out that way.
Questions persist about what the first President Bush knew and did while serving as CIA chief in the mid-1970s, a period during which Chilean foreign minister Orlando Letelier and his US co-worker Ronni Moffitt were assassinated in Washington. At the time suspicions pointed to Chile's intelligence arm, DINA, a sponsor of international terror.
According to declassified documents, however, we also know that Kissinger, Nixon, and CIA Director Richard Helms ordered a coup even before Allende assumed office. Kissinger and Alexander Haig worked out the details, described in an October 15, 1970, memo. "It is the firm and consistent policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup," wrote CIA Deputy Director of Plans Thomas Karamessines, who coordinated the operation. "We are to continue to generate maximum pressure toward this end utilizing every appropriate resource. It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG and American hand be well hidden."
Two years later, their goal was achieved. In a victory report, Naval attache Patrick Ryan called September 11, 1972, "our D-day," noting that the coup "was close to perfect." In subsequent years, the State Department received detailed reports on the escalating death toll under Pinochet. Yet, in another memo Kissinger tells the general that the US is "sympathetic with what you are trying to do here."
Years later, as Pinochet faced charges for murder, torture, disappearances, rape, and genocide, the question naturally arose: Why not Kissinger and those responsible for mass mayhem elsewhere? If more documents were declassified, the list of possible defendants would undoubtedly grow.
Even though he ultimately escaped punishment, the Chilean dictator's case did help peel away the facade of deniability, exposing high officials who provided weapons, training, financial support, and direct guidance for some of the worst modern violations of political and civil rights. Given that, is it any surprise the US backed out of an International Criminal Court (ICC), which was established in part to prosecute powerful individuals when domestic courts fail to act?
The treaty establishing the ICC was adopted in 1998, and subsequently ratified by many countries. At the time, human rights groups considered it the most important advance for the cause of international justice since the creation of the UN. But the US refused to sign at first, joining such notable naysayers as Russia, China, Israel, Iraq, and much of the Middle East.
Officially, the US objection was that, as the world's pre-eminent (and most resented) power, it might be subjected to "frivolous" prosecutions. There were also suspicions about the UN itself. By delaying, US officials hoped to obtain a guarantee that no US citizen accused of war crimes, genocide or crimes against humanity could ever be brought before the court. In a letter to European Union foreign ministers, Madeleine Albright, Secretary of State under Clinton, implied that if her country did not get its way, it might withdraw from international peace-keeping and humanitarian missions. Pentagon officials went further, threatening to pull forces out of Europe.
In December 2000, the US finally signed, leaving Libya as the only country officially antagonistic the ICC's creation. But shortly after taking office, Bush II revived the old objections, suggesting that the court could expose US soldiers and officials abroad to politically motivated war crimes prosecutions. After 9/11 and the military response in Afghanistan, that looked more like a possibility. Thus, plans proceeded to reshape US relations with the UN. In May 2002, the administration informed the world body that it was nullifying its treaty signature. It was an unprecedented step; no other nation had ever before voided a signature on a binding international treaty. For many countries, the decision was a clear early sign of resurgent US unilateralism.
On the bright side, Kissinger did squirm a bit. Even Bush I sensed that he might not be immune. Predictably, the ex-president called the case against Pinochet "a travesty of justice." Former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher also became edgy, making discreet inquiries to Britain's Interior Ministry on the likelihood of being arrested while traveling abroad. As an old friend of Pinochet, the Iron Lady was worried about being charged as a war criminal for her actions in Northern Ireland and the Falklands.
The exposure of war crimes by former high officials like Kissinger, although it usually comes decades late and rarely leads to prosecution, does suggest that it may one day be possible to get at the truth about covert schemes and schemers. For Bill Clinton, meddling in Mexico and the Sudan, not to mention in Iraq and Kosovo, could prove damning if more of those stories were revealed.
In May 2002, eight months after 9/11, Bush II almost faced that same problem: premature exposure, in this case of what he actually knew and did before the attacks, could have led to embarrassing revelations about how and why the "war on terror" was launched. But no such luck. It still takes at least a generation, plus political convenience, to get far beyond the veil of disinformation.

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