I Am Wikileaks (Open Letter / Petition)

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beans Haiti disappeared Metanoia

Posted in General, Urgent

Professional Scam Artists – part 77

“Why The World Needs a Google Detox” by Joseph Mercola (SOTT)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In this interview, Google whistleblower Zach Vorhies, who worked as a senior software engineer at Google and YouTube for over eight years, shares his inside knowledge of this global monopoly, revealing why Google is not a reliable source of information anymore…

The point of sharing this information is that Google is manipulating search results to reflect its views, and to influence our social behavior while denying this is happening.

The Wall Street Journal just published a thorough investigation covering these same points.

Vorhies recently released about 950 pages of internal Google documents that paint a comprehensive picture of what’s really going on. You can find all of those documents on the Project Veritas website.

See the original, above, to access the links.

click on image for source

“Beyond Meat’s Run Up was as Artificial as Their Burgers” by Bert Dohmen (ZeroHedge)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

n mid-July this year I wrote an article on ZeroHedge about Beyond Meat (BYND) and fake meats and how their products (and the stock) are unhealthy for investors and their portfolios. Just one week after publishing my article, Beyond Meat topped out after hitting a record high. Since then, just under four months later, the stock has plummeted more than 68%.

Contrary to most analysts and investors, I was not thrilled about the firm’s products nor the stock. The IPO of the stock occurred in May and the mania was in full swing. I wrote that I missed it; I didn’t buy the stock of BYND the day it went public. Yup, I perhaps missed making a lot of money in a short time, assuming I had bought it on the IPO and sold it within a month or two, two timing events which are fraught with potential failure…

n regard to “fake meat” it is only a matter of time before health conscious consumers discover that some of the “fake meats” have questionable ingredients. In fact, I am a fanatic about reading food labels and know what I don’t want to put in my body.

I am all in favor of vegetable proteins in the imitation meats, but not when they add GMO (genetically modified) ingredients, especially when the FDA has not approved some of them.

Here is an excerpt from “GMO Science” about the ingredients in ‘Impossible Burger,’ now sold by numerous well-known restaurant chains”

‘Impossible Foods’ meatless burger is marketed as a healthy and environmentally responsible choice.

The key ingredient that gives the Impossible Burger its meaty taste and makes it bleed like meat when cut is soy leghemoglobin (SLH), derived from genetically engineered yeast.

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) refused to sign off on the safety of SLH, which has never been in the human food supply before.

The FDA is also concerned that SLH may be an allergen.

The Impossible Burger contains a number of other ingredients that are derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs).

The GM yeast must be grown in a nutrient-rich broth made of chemically synthesized ingredients that are themselves industrially manufactured.

The Impossible Burger represents the opposite of what today’s health-aware and environmentally conscious consumers want from their food: pure, natural, non-GMO ingredients that are transparently sourced.


I very much appreciated Bert’s examination. I wonder though; If he thought that Beyond Meat was a sure-fire investment success, instead of an investor-unfriendly fad, Would he have invested in it? He’s coming at the whole thing from a business, not moral, standpoint. That’s his call.

related: “Fake Food, Fake Meat: Big Food’s Desperate Attempt to Further the Industrialisation of Food” by Vanadana Shiva (Independent Science News)

Elizabeth Warren

“Elizabeth Warren endorses Trump’s economic war on Venezuela, then soft-pedals far-right Bolivia coup” by Ben Norton (The Grayzone)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In a nauseating interview on Pod Save America, Elizabeth Warren endorsed suffocating US sanctions on Venezuela, backing Trump’s strategy to stop its “ability to have an economy” while parroting neocon regime-change myths. She then whitewashed the far-right military coup in Bolivia.

Norton writes: “After praising the US government’s sanctions on Venezuela, which violate international law and have led to the preventable deaths of tens of thousands of civilians, Warren went on whitewash the far-right military coup in Bolivia, where the Trump administration has helped put racist Christian extremists and actual fascists in power.” This is something that leftists and rightists do. They mystify fascism. They talk about fashion when they should be talking about fascism. So, Is Luis Fernando Camacho no longer a fascist if he takes off his goofy, but scary, shirt sporting that Christian fascist symbol?

Graphic by Claudio Cabrera

“The New York Times’ Long History of Endorsing US-Backed Coups” by Alan McCleod (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Bolivian President Evo Morales was overthrown in a U.S.-backed military coup d’état earlier this month after Bolivian army generals appeared on television demanding his resignation. As Morales fled to Mexico, the army appointed right-wing Senator Jeanine Añez as his successor. Añez, a Christian conservative who has described Bolivia’s indigenous majority as “satanic”, arrived at the presidential palace holding an oversized Bible, declaring that Christianity was re-entering the government. She immediately announced she would “take all measures necessary” to “pacify” the indigenous resistance to her takeover.

This included pre-exonerating the country’s notorious security services of all future crimes in their “re-establishment of order,” leading to massacres of dozens of mostly indigenous people.

The New York Times, the United States’ most influential newspaper, immediately applauded the events, its editorial board refusing to use the word “coup” to describe the overthrow, claiming instead that Morales had “resigned,” leaving a “vacuum of power” into which Añez was forced to move. The Times presented the deposed president as an “arrogant” and “increasingly autocratic” populist tyrant “brazenly abusing” power, “stuffing” the Supreme Court with his loyalists, “crushing any institution” standing in his way, and presiding over a “highly fishy” vote.

Colin Kaepernick

“Colin Kaepernick Shows that American Innocence is a White Supremacist Sport” by Danny Haiphong (Black Agenda Report)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The Black struggle for dignity and self-determination will forever be criminalized as a problem by the white elite and their hirelings in the Black misleadership class…

Colin Kaepernick hasn’t played an NFL game in more than three seasons. The 32-year-old quarterback was vanquished from the NFL in 2016 for his protest of police brutality during the pre-game national anthem ceremony. In mid-November, Kaepernick was invited to a workout in Atlanta by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Goodell offered the workout in exchange for a signed waiver that would have prevented Kaepernick from taking future legal action against the NFL. The NFL further demanded that Kaepernick participate in the workout without the presence of the media.

Kaepernick understandably rejected the proposal. He instead opted to hold the workout at a self-selected location. Kaepernick invited the media to his workout and threw to receivers of his own choosing. Only a fraction of the owners invited to the NFL’s original workout showed up to the alternative arrangement. After a stellar workout performance, Kaepernick demanded that NFL ownership “stop running” from him.

The latest chapter in the ruling class effort to keep Kaepernick out of the NFL has opened the floodgates for mainly Black corporate sports analysts to carry the torch of white supremacy. FS1 and ESPN analysts condemned Kaepernick for the workout debacle. Pundits such as Stephen A. Smith claimed that Kaepernick’s actions have proven once and for all that he doesn’t want to play another game in the NFL. Other commentators such as Shannon Sharpe posited that Kaepernick did not handle the situation “professionally” and even mocked him for wearing a Kunta Kinte shirt. In lock-step unity, the corporate sports media slandered Kaepernick’s character and demonstrated why the presumed innocence of the American Empire is nothing but white supremacist sport.

related: “Don’t Let Colin Kaepernick’s Message Get Swamped by the Nike Swoosh” by David Zirin (Common Dreams)

David’s above linked-to article is a keeper for the info presented, which, in my view, doesn’t really justify the title of the article. Kaepernick is politicized enough to protest the way he did, but not to turn his back on an awful company like Nike. That’s how it goes.

From WSWS:
In this July 14, 2015, file photo, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO Sergio Marchionne, left, and United Auto Workers President Dennis Williams shake hands during a ceremony to mark the opening of contract negotiations in Detroit. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

“GM lawsuit: UAW engaged in criminal conspiracy with FCA to cut labor costs” by Eric London (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

On Wednesday, General Motors filed a 95-page federal lawsuit asserting that Fiat-Chrysler (FCA) and the UAW engaged in “a systematic and near decade-long conspiracy to bribe senior officials to corrupt the collective bargaining process,” “buy labor peace,” “slash labor costs,” and thereby “gain a wage advantage over its competitors.”

GM’s lawsuit was not filed on behalf of autoworkers. GM is demanding billions of dollars for itself on the grounds that the UAW gave billions more in concessions to FCA than it did to GM. And having just conspired with the UAW to starve out 50,000 striking autoworkers in the US, GM makes clear its gratitude for UAW collaboration. The first paragraph of the complaint reads: “The UAW and its officials are not Defendants to this lawsuit,” while GM stresses its aim to build a “stronger future” between the UAW and the company.

But the complaint includes critical and previously unknown details from court filings and internal GM-UAW deliberations that workers must know. These details expose the UAW as a legal arm of the corporations…

The Democratic Party, “socialist” publications like Jacobin magazine (which has not written a single article on the UAW corruption scandal in 2019) and self-described “reformers” claim the UAW can be “cleaned up” or changed from within. This has as much likelihood of success as efforts to transform the mafia into a charitable society.

The UAW is not a “workers’ organization” capable of reform, it is a labor contractor that functions as an arm of the corporation, as the GM complaint shows. It is legally indistinguishable from the corporations. They function, GM asserts, as a single legal entity.

The betrayal of the GM strike and the ramming through of a concession-ridden contract at Ford does not mean the fight is over. On the contrary. Industry publications have warned of growing opposition among FCA workers, and GM and Ford workers will quickly come into conflict with the companies and the UAW as the UAW seeks to impose the terms of its new agreements. This opposition must be mobilized against the illegitimate contracts and the union-company dictatorship in the factories.

Bernie Sanders

“Bernie Sanders dispenses with his “political revolution” at fifth Democratic presidential debate” by Niles Niemuth (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Wednesday night’s Democratic Party presidential debate in Atlanta, Georgia was largely unremarkable save for the degree to which the candidates sought to submit themselves to President Barack Obama’s declaration last week that the party must distance itself from “revolutionary” proposals if it hopes to defeat Trump in the 2020 elections.

The word has been sent down for the candidates to knock off the funny stuff about Medicare for All and other pie in the sky reforms and to get down to business.

Senator Bernie Sanders led the way Wednesday night with regards to political cravenness, walking back his own rhetoric about waging a “political revolution” and declaring that he agreed with Obama that it wasn’t necessary to “tear down the system and remake it.”

The purpose of Sanders’ campaign, in 2016 and again in 2020, is not to challenge the Democratic Party but to support it. His talk about reining in the billionaires is just that. His aim is to promote illusions among the millions of young people and workers who are hostile to capitalism and sympathetic to socialism that this party of Wall Street and war can be a vehicle for progressive change.

Sanders does not challenge the basic framework of the Democratic Party’s foreign policy and he supports the reactionary basis upon which it is seeking to impeach Trump. For his services up to this point, he has become a leading figure within the Democratic Party establishment.

In 2016, he campaigned for Hillary Clinton after it was exposed by WikiLeaks that the primary was rigged against him. In 2020, likewise, if he does not win the nomination Sanders will campaign for the eventual nominee, no matter how right-wing and militaristic. And in the unlikely event he does win the nomination and secure the presidency, once in office he will immediately bend the knee to the dictates of Wall Street and the “billionaire class.”

Niemuth mentions “the millions of young people and workers who are hostile to capitalism and sympathetic to socialism.” Are they millions? How many of those ‘millions’ can describe capitalism as it exists today? How many of them have a clue about what socialism is? Are they clamoring for the WSWS’s version of socialism or just fed up with being abused? I’m just asking.

POTUS visit the Western Wall, accompanied by the Western Wall’s rabbi, Shmuel Rabinovitz and Mordechai “Solly” Eliav, Director General of the Western Wall Heritage Foundation. Jerusalem, May 22, 2017
Photo credit: Matty Stern/U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv

“Trump Goes to Israel: Another Settler from the United States?” by Philip Giraldi (American Herald Tribune)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

President Donald Trump’s lack of any precision when he speaks or tweets sometimes means that multiple meanings can be construed from what he chooses to say or write. At a private gathering last week in which he was wooing potential Orthodox Jewish donors, he responded to a blessing from a rabbi with what he thought to be a joke. Fighting for his political life in the middle of an impeachment process, he observed that if things do no go well in the United States, he could always move to Israel and run for office, saying “if anything happens here, I’m taking a trip over to Israel. I’ll be prime minister.”

The fund-raiser at the Intercontinental Hotel in Manhattan was arranged by the America First Super PAC. Trump’s son-in-law and principal adviser Jared Kushner and his special representative for international negotiations Avi Berkowitz, both Orthodox Jews, also were in attendance. Numerous Trump supporters were present in the ballroom and began shouting out “Four more years!” when the president rose to speak. Rabbi Y.Y. Jacobson offered a blessing, saying “Blessed are you, our Lord, King of the universe, that you have shared of your glory and love and compassion with a human being who maintains the honor of every innocent person and Jew. Thank you, amen.”

Also, in a statement that should offend and serve as a wake-up call for all of America’s remaining Arab friends, Trump described how he was able to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. He claimed that when he received calls from Arab leaders objecting to the proposed shift, he refused to speak to them, saying to his aides “Just tell them I’m very busy, I’ll call them back. And then I did it, we got it done, it’s done. And then I announced it, and then I went into the office, I made about 25 calls…. I said, ‘Don’t worry about it, it’s done already; there’s nothing I could do about it.’ It’s much easier. I say, ‘I’m sorry, I wish I could have gotten back to you sooner.’”

Norman Finkelstein

“Norman Finkelstein: Fatou Bensouda Has Done Everything in Her Power to Prevent an Investigation of the Israeli Crimes by the ICC” by Slava Zilber (American Herald Tribune)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Slava Zilber: I would like to interview you about your new book. Could you please explain the title: “I Accuse!: Herewith A Proof Beyond Reasonable Doubt That ICC Chief Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda Whitewashed Israel”

Norman Finkelstein: As you know, Israel has been occupying Gaza since 1967, which is more now than a half-century. Israel has imposed an illegal, immoral, and inhumane blockade on Gaza since January 2006, and Gaza is rapidly becoming – it might have already become – physically an unlivable space. Now, it’s important to keep in mind that the population of Gaza is more than half children. And 70 percent of the population consists of refugees and children of refugees and successive generations of refugees.

So you have a population more than half of which is children, 70 percent of which is refugees and successive generations which for more than half a century has been living under a brutal Israeli occupation and since 2006 has been living under an illegal, an immoral, an inhuman blockade that has rendered Gaza, in effect, physicallyunlivable.

Now, in the course of the occupation and the blockade, there have been several incidents as they are called in international law jargon. They have been referred to the International Criminal Court, the ICC. And the chief prosecutor is named Fatou Bensouda. And Fatou Bensouda has been desperately trying to quash these complaints – the technical term is referrals – to the ICC.

And on one of the two complaints, there have been proceedings that have gone on since 2013, which is more than six years ago now. A complaint was filed with her office. And Bensouda has repeatedly declared that she will not launch an investigation of the complaint filed with the ICC. And the case is closed. She said that twice now…

So I think part of the reason Bensouda has been lying, fabricating, falsifying is the fear that she will become the target of the very same agencies that brought down Richard Goldstone. And also the US has made plain under the Trump administration – they have said literally, in no subtle language: If the ICC investigates the United States or Israel, the US will destroy the ICC.

So there are both personal motives, the fear that the many skeletons in Bensouda’s closet will be exposed to public view, and the institutional fear that the ICC itself will be under attack. On both those grounds, she has done everything in her power to prevent an investigation of the Israeli crimes by the ICC…

One could argue that this whitewashing by Ms. Bensouda and her predecessors is basically the function of this court. It’s fulfilling its function as International Caucasian Court.

I know a very good jurist, one of the leading international law jurists in the world. He is very respected. And I talk to him privately. He says the ICC is not a court; it’s a joke. It’s so corrupt. It’s so contemptible, just put into power to prosecute war criminals, for sure, but criminals in the great scheme of things who don’t really compare to, say, a Tony Blair, a George Bush or any of the others who are culpable for massive war crimes and crimes against humanity.

When Slava Zilber asks Norman what’s next for him, his response is seriously alarming (not in a good way). He says: “I don’t know. It depends on what happens in the world. For the moment, I am focused on the Bernie Sanders candidacy. If he wins, it’s a game changer. We will be living in a new country. I should amend that. We will be living in a country in which the left will have the potential to exercise serious institutional power and that would be a very good change. So let’s wait and see what happens.” How could a good man like Norman Finkelstein suggest that, if the ‘right’ candidate – the ‘least’ bloodstained?!! – wins the Democratic Party nomination then he will support that Party?!!

“Big Telecom wants to make lower internet prices in Canada virtually impossible” by Marie Aspiazu (OpenMedia via Rabble)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Back in August, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) significantly lowered the rates Big Telecom can charge small internet providers for access to their networks.

As a result, a handful of small internet providers like Teksavvy, Start.ca, Oricom and Distributel passed the savings of lower wholesale rates on to their customers in the form of lower internet bills and faster speeds, and reaffirmed their commitment to invest in rural broadband.

The CRTC’s decision also ruled that the final wholesale rates were going to be applied retroactively to the date the interim rates were set in 2016. This meant smaller providers would receive a three-year refund for being grossly overcharged by Big Telecom for access to their network. As you can imagine, Big Telecom is not happy and is doing everything in its power to hike Canada’s internet prices by reversing this landmark CRTC decision.

Following the CRTC’s decision in August, Bell announced it would cut its investment in rural communities by 20 per cent as a result of lower wholesale rates. This move would leave up to 20,000 homes without an internet connection.

But their greed didn’t stop there. Big Telecom immediately filed to overturn the CRTC’s decision at the Federal Court of Appeal. Most recently, they’ve gone a step further and asked the newly minted cabinet to reverse this decision. Their efforts reek of desperation, and if they succeed, we will see our internet prices go back up and small providers would struggle to compete.

All well and good, except that OpenMedia, with whom Marie is associated, is not progressive. I stopped my donations to that org a few years back when I caught them jumping on the ‘Putin’ hacked the 2016 US election’ bandwagon. While I’m at it, Rabble is phony baloney too. While it still carries some good article by good writers (I’m thinking mainly of Yves Engler), they are awful, carrying articles by the pro-empire, Rwanda genocide propagandist Gerald Caplan. It doesn’t surprise me that they’ve never, in all the many years that they’ve been online pretending to be progressive, bothered to create a function discussion forum. They have one. If it was food, I would give it to my dog.

“Trudeau drives a stake through the heart of any hope for electoral reform” by Karl Nerenberg (Rabble)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

n one of his less-noticed cabinet changes, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has abolished the job of minister for democratic reform. He replaced what had been a key role in the Liberals’ first government with a new position bearing the Gilbert-and-Sullivan-ish title of minister of middle-class prosperity.

That change tells us a lot.

It says the Liberals have abandoned any pretence to an idealistic and aspirational spirit of reform that, at least rhetorically, informed their first mandate. Their new look is entirely managerial and practical. They want Canadians to know the 2019 Liberal government is focused on pocketbook issues and nothing else, certainly not such trivia as the health and effectiveness of our democratic institutions.

Ironically, three days after the cabinet announcement, the Angus Reid Institute came out with a poll showing a big spike in support for electoral reform, which was one of the main preoccupations of the now defunct democratic institutions ministry.

Karl Nerenberg is focussing on one hole in a dike that is riddle with more holes than you can count. One hole includes the actual choices that we have. If we had a democratic electoral system but no real choices in it, then we wouldn’t really have a democratic electoral system, Would we?

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The Avalanche – Snapshot 50 – Dec 2, ’19

An injured protestor is rushed to a hospital during a demonstration in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Oct. 26, 2019. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

“The bloodbath in Baghdad” by Bill Van Auken (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The death toll in the mass protests that have shaken Iraq for the last seven weeks has risen to over 330, with an estimated 15,000 wounded. Young Iraqis have continued to pour into the streets in defiance of fierce repression to press their demands for jobs, social equality and an end to the unspeakably corrupt political regime created by the US occupation that followed the criminal American invasion of 2003…

Forced disappearances have been reported, while families of victims shot to death by security forces have been compelled to sign statements acknowledging the deaths as “accidental” in order to receive the bodies of their loved ones…

Only in the predominantly Sunni northern areas of Anbar Province and Mosul, which were bombed into rubble during the so-called US war against ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria), has the protest movement failed to bring masses into the streets. This is not for any lack of sympathy, but rather the threat of a renewed military offensive against any sign of opposition. Even those in the region who have expressed their solidarity on Facebook have been rounded up by security forces, while the authorities have made it plain that anyone there who opposes the government will be treated as “terrorists” and ISIS sympathizers.

If anything approaching this level of both mass popular revolt and murderous repression were taking place in Russia, China, Venezuela or Iran, one can easily imagine the kind of wall-to-wall coverage they would receive from the corporate media in the US. Yet, the Iraqi events have been virtually ignored by the broadcast networks and the major print media…

The reaction of the American mass media is a guilty, shame-faced silence. The events in Iraq are a stark expression of the abject criminality and failure of the entire US imperialist project in that country, so the less said about them the better.

“Yellow Vests reach 1 year: The redemption of France’s revolutionary spirit” by Ramin Mazaheri (The Greanville Post)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

For many years to come France will be divided into two periods – before the Yellow Vests, and after the Yellow Vests. It’s widely believed in France that things can never go back to the way they were.

I’m not sure there can be a better yardstick of domestic success – a better gauge of sociocultural impact – than that?

Outside of France the Yellow Vests have given the world a precious gift, and at a huge sacrifice: nobody will ever view “French-style democracy” with the respect their government arrogantly demands as the alleged “birthplace of human rights”. For a generation or longer, “What about the Yellow Vests?”, will be a conversation-ending question to anyone who claims the moral superiority of the “Western-style” political system…

France is not England, but 53 weeks ago I don’t think anyone imagined that the French could possibly muster the stamina, dedication and self-sacrifice to protest amid massive state-sponsored repression every weekend for one year.

It’s an amazing achievement, and only those full of spite and hate could deny them a modest present of honest recognition on their birthday.

But Western mainstream media coverage in English and French was just that – they claimed the Yellow Vests achieved nothing…

Quickly, here are a few tangible victories of the Yellow Vests: they prevented Emmanuel Macron from presenting a 10th consecutive annual austerity budget, they prevented Macron from de-nationalising the three airports of Paris, and the 10 billion euros in so-called “concessions” was credited with keeping French economic growth in the positive in the last quarter…

What did the Occupy Movement “achieve”, after all? They prevented no bailouts, they folded after infinitely less state repression and there is no direct movement linked with them today. However, only a Burkean conservative would insist that the Occupy Movement didn’t wake many people up to the struggles of class warfare, and of egalitarian right and greedy wrong. It’s never mentioned in the Western media – which only adores far-right, nativist, anti-socialist movements like in Hong Kong – but Algerians have protested for 39 consecutive weekends as well.

The Yellow Vests have not failed – they have much to celebrate on their birthday, and this article serves as a rare reminder of that reality.

Mark Zuckerberg

“Facebook Bans All Content On Vaccine Awareness, Including Facts About Vaccine Ingredients” by ? (Natural News via ZeroHedge)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Just as we warned would happen, the tech giants are now moving aggressively to ban all speech that contradicts whatever “official” position is decided to be “the truth” by the corrupt establishment. This week, Facebook announced it would block all content on Facebook that questions the official dogma on vaccines, which falsely insists that vaccines have never harmed anyone (a hilarious lie), that vaccines contain only safe ingredients (a blatant deception) and that vaccines always work on everyone (another laughable lie).

Tyler Durden (not his real name) gets a lot right. But now and then, he fails. I would say that his recent article about Chinese re-education camps is a fail. It relies on a corrupt organization called “International Consortium of Investigative Journalists” for its central assertion. There’s any number of articles that look at that organization and find it not right. There’s “Pierre Omidyar’s Funding of Pro-Regime-Change Networks and Partnerships with CIA Cutouts” by Alexander Rubinstein and Max Blumenthal and there’s “The ‘Panama Papers’ and ‘Regime Change’: Who is Behind ‘The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists’ (ICIJ)?” by Timothy Alexander Guzman and there’s “Why the new Silk Roads Terrify Washington” by Pepe Escobar. See also “No, the UN did not report China has ‘massive internment camps’ for Uighur Muslims” by Ben Norton and Ajit Singh.

From WSWS:
Podemos party leader Pablo Iglesias speaks as Spain’s caretaker Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez looks on after signing an agreement at the parliament in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, Nov. 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Paul White)

“Podemos party backs Spanish internet censorship law” by Alejandro Lopez and Alex Lantier (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

As part of its agreement to form a government with the Spanish Socialist Party (PSOE) after the November 10 elections, the Podemos party has decided not to oppose the caretaker PSOE government’s internet censorship law, the so-called “Digital Security Law.” It is yet another lesson in the treachery of this petty-bourgeois, “left populist” party.

On Wednesday, Podemos deputies suddenly reversed their public position against the law and declined to oppose it in Congress. They abstained in the vote as PSOE, Popular Party (PP) and Citizens deputies approved the law, which imposes far-reaching attacks on the Internet and on basic democratic rights.

Julian Assanage | photo by AP

“Australian Labor Party shuts down parliamentary discussion on Assange” by Oscar Grenfell (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

In a highly revealing incident, the Labor Party’s manager of opposition business, Tony Burke, shut-down a discussion in the federal parliament’s House of Representatives on the plight of persecuted WikiLeaks publisher Julian Assange on Tuesday evening.

Burke interrupted a speech by Nationals MP Barnaby Joyce calling for Assange to be defended as an Australian citizen and journalist. Using provisions that allow for speeches to be ended if they extend beyond allotted time, or if the majority of the parliament wishes that they conclude, Burke “moved that the speaker no longer be heard.”

The motion was carried by a voice vote, silencing Joyce and preventing any further discussion. Burke’s motion was doubtless supported by Liberal-National Coalition MPs, who have rejected calls for their government to uphold its responsibility to intervene on Assange’s behalf.

You may react to reports like this by thinking that those gangster, fascist politicians will regret their actions at election time. They would – if electoral systems were free. They aren’t. They’ve been captured by powerful special interests. If they worked, the deep State would find a way to cripple them. Fascism (which is capitalism on steroids, as Christopher Black reminds us, and is the system that we all live under) cannot tolerate democracy. You can have democracy that doesn’t interfere with the fascist global capitalist system, such as you get a garage sales or farmers’ markets. But that’s about it.

“The clear US role in Bolivia’s tragic hard-right coup” by Fiona Edwards (The Canary)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

====== =
With the backing of the US government, a highly sophisticated and well-resourced coup has succeeded in overthrowing Bolivia’s legitimate and democratically elected president Evo Morales. This massive blow against democracy and social progress comes after more than a decade of US intervention aimed at destabilising Bolivia and overthrowing its successful socialist government.

A wave of fascist violence

On 10 November, Morales resigned after escalating violent attacks from the right and the Bolivian military’s demand that he step down. Under threat of being illegally arrested by the organisers of the coup, and with serious concerns that he would be assassinated by fascist thugs, Morales left Bolivia for Mexico. What the US-backed right-wing opposition could not achieve at the ballot box, they had finally attained through violence and military pressure.

The fascist groups that took the lead in overthrowing Morales’s government did so by unleashing a wave of racist violence. As the coup plot unfolded, there was a large-scale, coordinated operation to kidnap relatives of prominent left-wing politicians to force them to resign their positions. At the same time, the homes of some members of the ruling Movement For Socialism (MAS) were burnt as arsonists went on the rampage. Hours after Morales stepped down, his own home was invaded and vandalised. The Bolivian police did nothing to prevent this lawlessness, giving a clear green-light to the coup.

Around 24 hours before the Bolivian military made the decisive ‘request’ that Morales resign, the coup plotters shut down Bolivia TV and Nueva Patria Radio. The director of the radio station, José Aramayo, was even tied to a tree by right-wing activists. As a result, there has been a media blackout of progressive TV channels in the country since 9 November. Freedom of speech has been suppressed by the far right in order to prevent the truth from getting out to the population…

Donald Trump has enthusiastically welcomed the coup, applauding the role played by the Bolivian military. The pro-US mainstream Western media has also actively assisted the coup by spreading disinformation, outrageous lies, and slanders against Morales. The overwhelming majority of the press has failed to accurately report the situation in Bolivia, and has meticulously avoided characterising the events as a “coup”. And the role of US intervention in Bolivia has barely been mentioned at all.
= ======

This is what ruined people look like. And this is what the ruined American political class looks like. To the entertainment-military industrial complex: Thanks for helping to ruin American citizens and others. How’s that movie about the terrorist propaganda construct, the White Helmets, going George Clooney?

If you actually believe in democracy, and ‘free’ elections therefore, you’re a communist and evil and need to be destroyed. If you’re a fascist, racist, lying coward, and trained to murder and torture, then you’re Godly, pure and admirable. Those who want us to believe that will also call those fascists peace-loving and democratic. Darth Sidious thinks all of that is peachy.

related: “Evo Morales: How could you fail to defend yourself and your people from the coming coup?!!!”

Spirit Boom Cat | Shutterstock

“Social Media Censorship Reaches New Heights as Twitter Permanently Bans Dissent” by Mnar Muhawesh (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

It’s an open secret. The deep state is working hand in hand with Silicon Valley social media giants like Twitter, Facebook and Google to control the flow of information. That includes suppressing, censoring and sometimes outright purging dissenting voices – all under the guise of fighting fake news and Russian propaganda.

“The Organization of American States Has Deceived the Public, Terribly, on the Bolivian Election” by Mark Weisbrot (MarketWatch via Axis of Logic)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

What is the difference between an outright lie — stating something as a fact while knowing that it is false — and a deliberate material representation that accomplishes the same end? Here is an example that really pushes the boundary between the two, to the point where the distinction practically vanishes. And the consequences are quite serious; this misrepresentation (or lie) has already played a major role in a military coup in Bolivia last Sunday. This military coup overthrew the government of President Evo Morales before his current term was finished — a term to which nobody disputes that he was democratically elected in 2014. More violent repression and even a civil war could follow.

The Organization of American States (OAS) sent an Electoral Observation Mission to Bolivia, entrusted with monitoring the October 20 national election there. The day after the election, before all the votes were even counted, the mission put out a press release announcing its “deep concern and surprise at the drastic and hard-to-explain change in the trend of the preliminary results…”

Now, if you had any experience with elections or maybe even arithmetic, what is the first thing you would want to know about the votes that came in after the interruption? You might ask, were people in those areas any different from people in the average precinct in the first 84 percent? And was the change in Morales’s margin sudden, or was it a gradual trend that continued as more vote tally sheets were reported? You might even want to ask these questions before expressing “deep concern and surprise” about what happened, especially in a politically very polarized situation that was already turning violent.

The MAS-IPSP margin increased steadily through most of the quick count as more tally sheets were verified.

A look at that data shows that the change in Morales’s lead was actually gradual and continuous, and started rising many hours before the break in reporting of the quick count. You can see that in a graph of the results. Why did it happen? The answer is simple and not that uncommon: the people in later-reporting areas were more pro-MAS (Morales’s party, the Movement Toward Socialism) than those in areas that reported earlier. Hence the gradual and continuous rise in Morales’s lead, in which the votes after the interruption put him over the top…

It is difficult, almost impossible, to believe that this OAS mission, or those above them in the OAS Department of Electoral Cooperation and Observation, felt “deep concern and surprise” and yet were too incompetent to even look at this data. That is why I would say that they lied at least three times: in the first press release, the preliminary report, and the preliminary audit…

And the OAS isn’t all that independent at the moment, with the Trump administration actively promoting this military coup, and Washington having more right-wing allies in the OAS than they did just a few years ago. Not to mention that the US supplies 60 percent of its budget. But the OAS has horribly abused its mandate in election monitoring before, helping to reverse election results as the US and its allies wanted: most destructively, in 2000 in Haiti; and also in the same country in 2011.

More evidence: in the last three weeks, the OAS has refused to answer questions from journalists, on the record, about their statements or reports since the election.

Don Cherry

“CBC Had Employee Delete Tweet Critical Of Don Cherry” by Jonathan Goldsbie (Canadaland)

In the immediate aftermath of Don Cherry delivering his “you people…that come here” rant Saturday evening, many CBC employees were publicly circumspect.

After all, the public broadcaster had been chiefly responsible for cultivating the hockey commentator’s career, and continued to serve as the platform on which he could spout off on any subject, despite no longer controlling the program on which he appeared. Officially, he was Rogers’ problem, but CBC was still the home of Hockey Night in Canada.

And so initial reaction from network personalities tended to look something like this:

A notable exception, however, was a missive from Ahmar Khan, a reporter at CBC Manitoba…

“It [is] long due time for Don Cherry’s Coach’s Corner to be cancelled,” Khan tweeted late Saturday night. “His xenophobic comments being aired weekly are deplorable. You know why black and brown kids don’t enjoy hockey? Because of the deep-rooted racism, which we get to hear EVERY. SINGLE. WEEK. on national TV.” The tweet included a clip of Cherry’s comments, as shared by another user who’d observed that Cherry was “being a POS.”

The tweet went viral, racking up over a thousand retweets and 4,500 likes. But by Sunday afternoon, it had disappeared.

The CBC confirms it had Khan remove it.

The ‘actual’ offense, in the view of the fascists running the CBC, was someone objecting to the racist rants of a white supremacist pig.

“BBC News editing the audience reaction to Boris Johnson is really not okay” by Emily Apple (The Canary)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Boris Johnson’s appearance on the BBC Question Time (BBCQT) Leaders Debate didn’t exactly go well. From having to sneak into the studio while Jeremy Corbyn was greeted by crowds of supporters to refusing to apologise for his previous racist and homophobic comments, the PM was on the back foot.

But it was on the issue of trust that the audience really showed how much they despise Johnson. And their reaction explicitly showed the contempt they have for him on this issue.

This was, seemingly, too much for BBC News. Because it apparently edited the clip, removing the full audience response and editing it to only show applause for Johnson.

“A Loud Whoompfing Sound”

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Lawlessness / Ruined – part 66

“UK Abuse of Assange Continues: Blocking Spanish Investigation, Caving to US Demands” by Nina Cross (21st Century Wire)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

By now, it has been well-documented how the UK police, prosecuting services, courts and prisons have squandered untold public resources on one individual who had skipped a police bail order seven years ago. Search a little deeper and we see countless precedents have been set in the wake of a hunting expedition that is now slowly killing a journalist who exposed the crimes of powerful states. The abuse of power continues, with the recent attempt to block a Spanish judge from interviewing Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, which clearly demonstrates that the United Kingdom Central Authority (UKCA) is continuing the state’s assault on Assange as he fights extradition to the United States for exposing its war crimes.

According to the Spanish daily newspaper El Pais, the UKCA has provisionally denied a request by a Spanish judge to question Assange about allegations that the Spanish security firm Undercover Global S.L spied on him while he was in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. Judge Jose de la Mata has asked to interview Assange via video link and has issued a European Investigation Order (EIO). The case concerns the role of David Morales, director of the security firm, accused of passing surveillance material, including surveillance of Assange’s confidential meetings with his lawyers, directly to the CIA…

Such a violation of Assange’s rights should be enough to end the US extradition attempt. The refusal by the UK to comply in what should be a standard procedure can therefore be viewed as an attempt to protect the ability of the US to extradite him. The dismissal by magistrate Vanessa Baraitser of Summers’ plea to allow more time to prepare for Assange’s February extradition hearing, given the significance of the Spanish case, is a further demonstration that the UK has a predetermined set agenda…

In contrast to its historical collaboration with the SPA, the UK authorities have so far blocked a request from Spain for Assange’s participation in a case that is undoubtedly crucial to his current US extradition fight. In other words, where Assange is concerned the UK authorities are applying procedures arbitrarily and exceptionally, all the while protecting US ability to extradite him, while closing down avenues to justice supposedly protected by human rights and UK law.

It is essential to recognise that inside Belmarsh prison Assange is being denied the very basic rights he is due under international law and UK legislation for prisoners; effectively denied access to justice.

Julian Assange

“Collapse of Swedish “sexual misconduct” frame-up exposes political conspiracy against Assange” by Oscar Grenfell (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Swedish prosecutors announced yesterday that, after almost 10 years, they were finally abandoning a “preliminary investigation” into allegations of “sexual misconduct” against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. Sweden’s deputy chief prosecutor, Eva-Marie Persson, told a press conference that there was “insufficient evidence” to proceed.

The ignominious collapse of the investigation—which, over the course of a decade, was dropped three times and never passed beyond the “preliminary” stage — brands it as a state frame-up and dirty tricks operation. It demonstrates that Assange has been the victim of an unprecedented international political conspiracy, spearheaded by the US, and aided and abetted by its allies, including Sweden, Britain and Australia…

After 10 years of sordid machinations and flagrant violations of international and domestic law, the Swedish investigation lies in tatters, while Assange is held in a maximum-security British prison awaiting proceedings for his extradition to the US, where he faces a sentence of up to 175 years imprisonment for exposing war crimes and global diplomatic conspiracies.

All the smears — endlessly trumpeted by the corporate press as proof that Assange was a “sex offender” or even a “rapist” — stand exposed as lies and fabrications, concocted to victimise, besmirch and persecute a courageous journalist and publisher.

The complete discrediting of the Swedish investigation, which played such a linchpin role in the US-led vendetta, exposes the utterly lawless character of the entire operation against Assange.

Crater left by the destruction of the al-Sawarka house on Nov. 14, 2019 in Gaza. Eight members of the family were killed. Photo by Ashraf Amra

“Sawarka relatives relate hellish destruction of family of 8 in what Israelis call a ‘mistake’” by Ahmad Kabariti (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Abdullah al-Sawarka sounded unconcerned about the Israeli military’s admission of “surprise” and a “mistake” over the killings of his relatives Thursday. The military has said it was “unaware” that his cousin’s Rasmi Sawarka’s two tin shack houses were inhabited when a warplane bombed the dwellings and buried eight family members under the rubble at dawn on Thursday in the Deir al-Balah refugee camp on the central Gaza Strip.

“What investigation could raise the dead?” Abdullah, 45, asks, while standing distraught at the edge of a 50-foot-wide, 20-foot-deep crater where the tin shacks once stood. The “smell of the eight charred bodies” including five children is still stuck to our hands, he said.

The Sawarka family members were sleeping when the raid took place, two days after the military escalation started with Israel assassinating a senior Islamic Jihad commander and his wife on Tuesday. The eight family members were among 34 Palestinians killed by Israeli air raids over the Gaza Strip…

Abdullah collected a shred of a child’s clothing from the rubble. “As if this shabby house was the house of the head of a rocket launching unit. Rasmi! The chicken farmer! What a poor life you have suffered.” Abdullah lamented.

One neighbor told me that the rescue of the impoverished shepherd’s family amid the chaos was slowed by the terror that the house would be hit again…

The relatives who died in the attack have been identified by the Gaza Ministry of Health as Rasmi al-Sawarka, 45; Yusra al-Sawarka, 43; Mariam al-Sawarka, 45; Waseem al-Sawarka, 13; Muhannad al-Sawarka, 12; Moaz al-Sawarka, 7; and at least two other children whose names and ages were not specified…

“We just had lunch together yesterday, and all what remain of my brother and his children are the good memories,” [Umm] Motaz said, looking through a window into the intensive care ward. “We are like hostages waiting our turn to be killed at any moment, with no international accountability for the crime.”

“Bolivia coup led by Christian fascist paramilitary leader and millionaire – with foreign support” by Max Blumenthal and Ben Norton (The Grayzone)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

When Luis Fernando Camacho stormed into Bolivia’s abandoned presidential palace in the hours after President Evo Morales’s sudden November 10 resignation, he revealed to the world a side of the country that stood at stark odds with the plurinational spirit its deposed socialist and Indigenous leader had put forward.

With a Bible in one hand and a national flag in the other, Camacho bowed his head in prayer above the presidential seal, fulfilling his vow to purge his country’s Native heritage from government and “return God to the burned palace.”

“Pachamama will never return to the palace,” declared the pastor to his side, referring to the Andean Mother Earth spirit. “Bolivia belongs to Christ.”

Virtually unknown outside his country, where he had never won a democratic election, Camacho stepped into the void. He is a powerful multi-millionaire named in the Panama Papers, and an ultra-conservative Christian fundamentalist groomed by a fascist paramilitary notorious for its racist violence, with a base in Bolivia’s wealthy separatist region of Santa Cruz.

Camacho hails from a family of corporate elites who have long profited from Bolivia’s plentiful natural gas reserves. And his family lost part of its wealth when Morales nationalized the country’s resources, in order to fund his vast social programs — which cut poverty by 42 percent and extreme poverty by 60 percent.

In the lead-up to the coup, Camacho met with leaders from right-wing governments in the region to discuss their plans to destabilize Morales. Two months before the putsch, he tweeted gratitude: “Thank you Colombia! Thank you Venezuela!” he exclaimed, tipping his hat to Juan Guaido’s coup operation. He also recognized the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro, declaring, “Thank you Brazil!”

The sign reads: “RESIGN self-proclaimed President, Jeanine Añez.” Photo: Olivia Arigho-Stiles.

“Protestors Massacred in Post-Coup Bolivia” by Olivia Arigho-Stiles (CounterPunch)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Eight are dead and hundreds injured in a week of bloodshed after Bolivia’s former President Evo Morales was forced to resign from power last Sunday.

In this slim window of time, an interim unelected president has been installed, anti-coup protesters have been shot dead by the police and hundreds of foreign citizens have been expelled from the country, including over 700 Cuban doctors and Venezuelan diplomats. In total, 24 have died in a month of protest and turmoil.

On Friday 15 November, eight cocaleros (coca growers) were massacred by state security forces as they protested against the new government in Sacaba, Cochabamba. Footage has emerged of bullets being fired by police from helicopters and police firing teargas into a fleeing crowd. A protestor at the scene said. “We ask for justice and that this self-proclaimed president leave. When there was comrade Evo [Morales], there was not a single person dead”…

In an extraordinary break with human rights protocol, the government has granted the military immunity from prosecution if they use force in ‘legitimate defense’, in a decree leaked on social media by the Interamerican Commission on Human Rights (CIDH)…

The refrain of anti-Morales protests last month was that under Morales had exceeded his term limits and was a dictator. As the words dictadura (dictatorship) newly graffitied outside the Mercado Lanza building in La Paz attest, now it appears they actually have one.

Not a single State-directed death under Morales, said the protester. And that’s how the monsters, who don’t help their case by blasphemy – inherent in the fact of their being Christian fascists – gain and keep power. They strategically break the rules (democracy for example, not to mention all that Christ taught) that all agree to. The sheep actually believe in and want social order and peace and security for all and so they don’t imitate the monsters in order to deal with them. But, I think, putting down monsters who are murdering you is not the same as being monsters who survive by sinning, by stealing the means of survival (‘riches for the strongest’) from others. And I don’t get how Morales (and Dilma Rousseff and Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva before him) could have been so blasé about the coup forming in front of his eyes over a period of years. See my blog post titled “Evo Morales: How could you fail to defend yourself and your people from the coming coup?!!!”

NSDAP means National Socialist German Workers’ Party or the Nazi Party

“Reclaiming Your Inner Fascist” by C.J. Hopkins (Dissident Voice)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

OK, we need to talk about fascism. Not just any kind of fascism. A particularly insidious kind of fascism. No, not the fascism of the early 20th Century. Not Mussolini’s National Fascist Party. Not Hitler’s NSDAP. Not Francoist fascism or any other kind of organized fascist movement or party. Not even the dreaded Tiki-torch Nazis.

It’s the other kind of fascism we need to talk about. The kind that doesn’t come goose-stepping up the street waving big neo-Nazi flags. The kind we don’t recognize when we’re looking right at it.

It’s like that joke about the fish and the water … we don’t recognize it because we’re swimming in it. We’re surrounded by it. We are inseparable from it. From the moment we are born, we breathe it in.

We are taught it by our parents, who were taught it by their parents. We are taught it again by our teachers in school. It is reinforced on a daily basis at work, in conversations with friends, in our families and our romantic relationships. We imbibe it in books, movies, TV shows, advertisements, pop songs, the nightly news, in our cars, at the mall, the stadium, the opera … everywhere, because it is literally everywhere.

It doesn’t look like fascism to us. Fascism only looks like fascism when you’re standing outside of it, or looking back at it. When you are in it, fascism just looks like “normality,” like “reality,” like “just the way it is.”

We (i.e., Americans, Brits, Europeans, and other citizens of the global capitalist empire) get up in the morning, go to work, shop, pay the interest on our debts, and otherwise obey the laws and conform to the mores of a system of power that has murdered countless millions of people in pursuit of global-hegemonic dominance. It has perpetrated numerous wars of aggression. Its military occupies most of the planet. Its Intelligence agencies (i.e., secret police) operate a worldwide surveillance apparatus that can identify, target, and eliminate anyone, anywhere, often by remote control. Its propaganda network never sleeps, nor is there any real way to escape its constant emotional and ideological conditioning.

C.J. Hopkins goes awry when he insists that we all possess an inner fascist. I can agree that we all possess imperfection, which allows for all kinds of folly (serious, like fascism, and not so serious). We all make mistakes. I can agree that adults don’t like to ‘be told’. I’m an adult (63 years of age) and I don’t like to be told. (If you’re conscious of that weakness, then you can choose to try to compensate for it. If you do, then you’ll reflect on that fact when analyzing a situation and when drawing conclusions.) But don’t endorse fascism by calling yourself a fascist and by insisting that we all possess an inner fascist. Ironically, C.J. Hopkins insists that ‘insisting’ is what reveals this inner fascist. In any case, ‘insisting’ isn’t exactly the same as crossing the line. I have to insist on that. But if you disagree with me, that’s fine. It’s a free universe.

“Syria: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Accused of Evidence-Tampering by Its Own Inspectors” by Jonathan Steele (Axis of Logic via Information Clearing House & CounterPunch)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

====== =
Claims that President Bashar al-Assad’s forces have used chemical weapons are almost as old as the Syrian civil war itself. They have produced strong reactions, and none more so than in the case of the alleged attack in April last year on the opposition-controlled area of Douma near Damascus in which 43 people are said to have been killed by chlorine gas. The United States, Britain and France responded by launching airstrikes on targets in the Syrian capital.

Were the strikes justified? An inspector from the eight-member team sent to Douma has just come forward with disturbing allegations about the international watchdog, the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which was tasked with obtaining and examining evidence.

Involved in collecting samples as well as drafting the OPCW’s interim report, he claims his evidence was suppressed and a new report was written by senior managers with assertions that contradicted his findings.

The inspector went public with his allegations at a recent all-day briefing in Brussels for people from several countries working in disarmament, international law, military operations, medicine and intelligence. They included Richard Falk, former UN special rapporteur on Palestine and Major-General John Holmes, a distinguished former commander of Britain’s special forces. The session was organised by the Courage Foundation, a New York-based fund which supports whistle-blowers. I attended as an independent reporter.

The whistle-blower gave us his name but prefers to go under the pseudonym Alex out of concern, he says, for his safety.

He is the second member of the Douma Fact-Finding Mission to have alleged that scientific evidence was suppressed.
= ======

In a world where justice didn’t just happen infrequently, now and then and here and there, the fraudsters in the OPCW would be identified and charged with murder. Of course, the war-making State thinks that they are just fine people.

From Axis of Logic:
== =
David Holmes, a U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, leaves after testifying before the House Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)
= ==
David is on the left in the above photo.

“US, EU gave over $20 billion in military and economic aid to Ukraine since 2014” by Patrick Martin (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Testimony by two high-ranking US national security officials, on the final day of the public hearings on the impeachment of President Trump, has shed new light on the central issue in the impeachment crisis: the enormous and protracted effort by American and European imperialism to use Ukraine as a base of operations against Russia…

The key passage in Holmes’ testimony came in response to a question about the comparative scale of US and European security and economic assistance to Ukraine, and the significance of the $391 million in military aid Trump held back for 55 days. Holmes explained that this was only a fraction of the $1.5 billion in US military aid to Ukraine since 2014. He continued:

The United States has provided combined civilian and military assistance to Ukraine since 2014 of about $3 billion plus … three $1 billion loan guarantees—those get paid back, largely… The Europeans, at the level of the European Union plus the member states combined since 2014, my understanding have provided a combined $12 billion to Ukraine.

This would bring to $18 billion the combined imperialist backing for Ukraine since the ultra-right CIA-backed coup in 2014 (absurdly dubbed the “Revolution of Dignity” in official parlance). Other reports suggest that Holmes somewhat underestimated the EU contribution.

According to Carl Bildt, former prime minister of Sweden, co-chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations, the EU and its members states and related financial institutions have provided over 15 billion euros, or about $16.4 billion since 2014. An EU spokesperson told the press that this total “covers grants and loans from different sources/instruments within the EU budget and European Financial institutions.”

The $16.4 billion from the EU, combined with the $6 billion in loans and grants from Washington, would bring the combined total to some $22.4 billion over the past five years, for an annual average of nearly $4.5 billion—comparable to the US annual aid to Israel or Afghanistan…

What are the imperialist powers—the United States, Germany, France, Britain, etc.—getting for their money? Ukraine is being transformed into a front-line state against Russia, the spearhead of plans for an eventual NATO war against that country, for which advance forces have already been stationed in the Baltic states and Poland…

It is this massive imperialist military build-up that underlies the political crisis in Washington that has produced the impeachment inquiry…

They are responding because Trump’s actions in withholding military aid disrupted one of the most critical ongoing imperialist operations…

Every member of the House Intelligence Committee bows down before this political objective. Republican members sought to defend Trump by pointing to his greater willingness to send “lethal aid” to Ukraine, including Javelin anti-tank missiles, although he insisted on selling them to the Ukrainians for a profit.

Similarly, at the Democratic presidential debate on Wednesday night, every Democratic candidate endorsed the impeachment narrative, in which Trump is to be removed, not for his real crimes against immigrants and democratic rights, or his efforts to build a racist and fascist movement, but because he has come into conflict with powerful elements of the national-security apparatus.

According to Alexander Mercouris, who knows a thing or two, the aid that Trump’s government held back (unbeknownst to the Ukraine government; so much for quid pro quo in that instance) isn’t actually aid. It was a straight up business deal involving the sale of Javelin missiles. In the grand scheme of things (lots of aid and support that has done absolutely nothing to help the average Ukrainian), it’s piddly, as this report makes clear. The Ukrainian government never even noticed it. So, Patrick’s narrative is weak in some respects. But it’s far from wrong.

“Trump overrides Navy’s bid to evict war criminal from SEALS” by Bill Van Auken (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

President Donald Trump intervened via Twitter early Thursday to preempt an administrative hearing called to rule on kicking Chief Petty Officer Edward Gallagher, who was courtmartialed for war crimes, out of the US Navy’s elite SEAL special operations unit…

Trump’s tweet marks the fourth time that he has intervened in the Navy’s criminal and disciplinary proceedings against Gallagher, who was accused by fellow SEALs of deliberately shooting civilians as a sniper in Mosul and using a hunting knife to stab to death a wounded teenage fighter as he was being treated by a US medic. He was also accused of issuing death threats against those who had given evidence against him, calling them “traitors.” This led to his pre-court martial confinement in the Navy brig to prevent witness intimidation, or worse.

Last March, however, the US president ordered the Navy to release Gallagher from the Miramar brig in San Diego before his court martial. In August, he ordered prosecutors stripped of citations they had received after Gallagher’s trial. And last Friday, Trump overruled the military jury’s decision to demote the SEAL by one pay grade…

Gallagher’s crimes were only a drop in the bucket in terms of the mass slaughter carried out by the US military against the population of Mosul, once Iraq’s second city. According to the estimates of Iraqi Kurdish intelligence, as many as 40,000 civilians were massacred in unrelenting airstrikes and artillery bombardments, which reduced Mosul to rubble.

Together with the reversal of Gallagher’s demotion, Trump granted pardons to two Army soldiers convicted and jailed for war crimes in Afghanistan: Maj. Mathew Golsteyn, who summarily executed an alleged Taliban bomb maker, and Lt. Clint Lorance, who ordered soldiers under his command to open fire on three unarmed men, killing two of them.

Trump’s tweet that it’s time to “get back to business” is not only a blanket endorsement of these actions, but also a signal that all US military personnel may act with impunity in carrying out crimes, no matter how vicious, in countries subjected to American imperialist intervention…

Trump’s intervention in the war crimes cases, however, has provoked anger within the military brass. Criminality within the special operations forces, with cases involving murder of fellow soldiers, rape and drug trafficking, has become an increasing concern. Senior officers also see the defense of the kind of heinous crimes carried out by Gallagher as detrimental to both US overseas operations and military discipline.

For Trump, pardoning war crimes serves as a means of solidifying support within his extreme right-wing base, while simultaneously cultivating a fascistic layer within the military itself, with demagogic rhetoric identifying himself with the “warfighters”—and war criminals—in opposition to the Pentagon brass…

In response to Trump’s pardoning of US military personnel convicted of war crimes, the United Nations issued a restrained statement calling it a “disturbing signal” with global impact.

“These three cases involve serious violations of international humanitarian law, both proven and alleged, including the shooting of a group of civilians and execution of a captured member of an armed group,” UN rights office spokesperson Rupert Colville said, adding that such pardons were unprecedented in the US “since the Vietnam war.”

“Old People Can Start Infusing Children’s Blood Again” by Tyler Durden (ZeroHedge)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Less than a year after the FDA warned old people against infusing the blood of young people, Stanford graduate Jesse Karmazin says his company, Ambrosia, is back in business despite the agency issuing a ‘buyer beware,’ according to OneZero…

“We’re a company interested in making you young again,” he said at a 2017 conference. The company says that “experiments in mice called parabiosis provided the inspiration to deliver treatments with young plasma.”

That said, while plasma can help blood to clot or to manage excessive bleeding during surgeries, experts say there is no basis for using it to slow or reverse aging-related diseases as Karmazin has claimed.

“There is no proven clinical benefit of infusion of plasma from young donors to cure, mitigate, treat or prevent these conditions, and there are risks associated with the use of any plasma product,” read a February statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb and Peter Marks, who leads the agency’s biologics center.

“The reported uses of these products should not be assumed to be safe or effective,” the said. “We strongly discourage consumers from pursuing this therapy outside of clinical trials under appropriate institutional review board and regulatory oversight.”

“The the apostles and the elders, together with the whole congregation, decided to send chosen men from among them to Antioch, along with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas who was called Barsabbas and Silas, who were leading men among the brothers. They wrote this and sent it through them: “The apostles and the elders, your brothers, to those brothers in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia who are from the nations: Greetings! Since we have heard that some went out from among us and caused you trouble with what they have said, trying to subvert you, although we did not give them any instructions, we have come to a unanimous decision to choose men to send to you together with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, men who have given up their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. We are therefore sending Judas and Silas, so that they may report the same things by word of mouth. For the holy spirit and we ourselves have favored adding no further burden to you except these necessary things: to keep abstaining from things sacrificed to idols, from blood, from is strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you carefully keep yourselves from these things, you will prosper. Good health to you!” (Acts 15:22-29)

I question the genuineness of Paul and I wouldn’t have told those Christian ambassadors’ audiences, in effect, that prosperity was guaranteed by not engaging in the behaviors that they had prohibited. Other than that, If you call yourself Christian, then you have to heed what the Christian textbook lays out as the duties and obligations of a Christian. At least, You can’t argue that avoiding attempting to gain life from the use of blood is not Christian, right or wrong. Abstaining from blood is Christian. Anyone can call himself or herself Christian, but they either are or are not. The Christian’s textbook can’t be ignored in making that determination. That doesn’t mean that we can’t question what we honestly have concerns about or don’t believe.

American military convoy stops near the town of Tel Tamr, north Syria, Sunday, Oct. 20, 2019. Kurdish-led fighters and Turkish-backed forces clashed sporadically Sunday in northeastern Syria amid efforts to work out a Kurdish evacuation from a besieged border town, the first pull-back under the terms of a U.S.-brokered cease-fire. (AP Photo/Baderkhan Ahmad)

“Former British Ambassador to Syria: UK Complicit in Trump’s Syria Oil Grab” by Peter Ford (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The cat is out of the bag. The UK is potentially complicit in a war crime. With typical insouciance the U.S. military dropped this bombshell by tweet and apparently without realizing the implications for U.S. partners:

We are repositioning @CJTFOIR forces to Deir ez Zor #Syria to continue partnering w/ #SDF to defeat ISIS remnants, protect critical infrastructure, & deny ISIS access to revenue sources. Mechanized forces provide infantry, maneuver, and firepower.

OIR is Operation Inherent Resolve, which is the name behind which the Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS cloaks its military activities. (Think NATO wearing a thobe.) CJTFOIR is the Combined Joint Task Force for Operation Inherent Resolve.

If, as per the spokesman’s statement, the forces being redeployed to Syria’s oil-producing areas are Inherent Resolve forces, it follows that those troops are doing so in the name and under the aegis of the Coalition. Simple. Ah yes, but awkward for the British government to admit – awkward for practical, political and legal reasons…

In practice, if this is a Joint Task Force Operation as we are told by the U.S. spokesman, it would be next to impossible for the deployment in Deir Ez Zor province to be taking place without some input from the senior UK officers embedded with the U.S. military in the Coalition Joint Task Force headquarters (the Deputy Commander is a British general) and active in carrying out Operation Inherent Resolve.

Politically this matters because hitherto all the opprobrium leveled at President Trump for allegedly ‘looting’ Syria’s oil has spared other participants in Inherent Resolve, including the UK, France, and Germany. How awkward it might be for Boris Johnson, facing an election, to find himself tarred with yet another Trump brush to put alongside Trump’s alleged grab for the UK National Health Service.

Legally this matters because if Trump puts into practice his promise to seize Syrian oil production, that will constitute, according to authoritative legal experts, a violation of international law against ‘pillaging’ enshrined in the Fourth Geneva Convention and thus constitute a war crime. Any party complicit in pillaging, and that would surely include other parties in the Joint Task Force, even if only headquarters staff and not boots on the ground, could also be culpable. The British government might find itself challenged in a UK court even if no international court could be found willing to act.

“For the Eleventh Straight Year, United States Votes “No” to UN Anti-Nazi Resolution” by Carla Stea (Global Research)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

It would appear ironic that most of the co-sponsors of Draft Resolution A/C.3/74/L.62: “Combating Glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and Other Practices that Contribute to Fuelling Contemporary Forms of Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance” are nations currently under sanction by the United States, and some by the United Nations Security Council: Belarus, China, Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela, Zimbabwe and others, not under sanction, including Israel. This resolution was introduced by the Russian Federation.

The Soviet Union, of which Russia was the largest nation, suffered approximately 30 million deaths as a result of Nazism during World War II, and, of course, the entire country was destroyed. Highly placed diplomatic sources involved in the discussions which led to this eleventh UN Resolution, confirmed that resistance to this resolution was very strong by the delegations of Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine and Poland, all of whom ultimately abstained. The abstention by the entire European Union is particularly bizarre, considering that theirs was the territory most barbarically subjugated by the Nazis, and whose occupied countries suffered heinous cruelties under nazi occupation.

Lithuania, of course, would oppose this resolution, as that country recently hosted secret CIA prisons which tortured political prisoners who had been “disappeared,” under “Rendition” to Lithuania’s willing hospitality. And, most notoriously, and disgracefully, Lithuania has for a shameful decade persecuted the brilliant politician, Algirdas Palescis (image on the right), who founded the organization, “Lithuania Without Nazism.” Lithuania persists in this vicious persecution of Mr. Paleckis, despite letters to the Lithuanian President and Minister of Justice written by former U.S. Congressman Dennis Kasinich and other eminent persons, in defense of the heroic Palescis’ right to freedom of expression. During my own visit to Vilnius, to attend one of the many court trials to which Mr. Palescis was subjected, he took me on a tour of Vilnius, and told me (a fact corroborated by numerous undisputed and impeccable sources), that prior to World War II there had been 200,000 Jews living in Lithuania. 195,000 Jews were murdered during the war by Lithuanian Nazis.

photo by Reuters

“Israel kills Islamic Jihad commander in Gaza, another targeted in Damascus” by ? (Reuters? SABC News?)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Israel killed a top commander from the Iranian-backed Palestinian militant group Islamic Jihad in a rare targeted strike in the Gaza Strip on Tuesday, while militants responded by firing rockets at Israeli cities, including Tel Aviv.

In the most serious escalation in months, an Israeli missile attack also targeted the home of an Islamic Jihad official in Damascus, killing two people including one of his sons, Syrian state media said.

Islamic Jihad said the target was the home of political leader Akram Al-Ajouri…

The slaying of Baha Abu Al-Atta in his Gaza home looked likely to pose a new challenge for Gaza’s ruling Hamas faction, which has mostly tried to maintain a truce with Israel since a 2014 war.

“Bogdasarov: A Russian response to a new US attack on Syria should include sinking the warships” by Tom Winter (RuEconomics via Fort Russ News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Russia must respond to US strikes against Syria by destroying not only missiles, but also the ships that launch them. This was stated by political scientist Semyon Bagdasarov.

According to the expert, the Americans want to organize a provocation with chemical weapons in Syria in order to justify a missile attack on government forces, since this is the only way to stop the Syrian army, which has almost freed the country from US-funded militants. The connection between the impending provocation and Washington can easily be traced from the concentration of serious military forces (destroyers, bombers and missiles) in the immediate vicinity of Syria.

Bagdasarov is convinced that it is time for Russia to move from indignation and exhibiting fragments of American made missiles to real action. The political scientist recalled that the key goal of the US sanctions is the destruction of the Russian Federation as a state, and Moscow should call things by their own names.

“How should we respond? We need to destroy the carriers and shoot down the missiles.” “We’ve already shot down rockets, but the carriers?” The destroyer has come up to the Mediterranean Sea, and we have enough anti-ship missiles there, I suspect there are “Bastions.” And if it does not get sunk, (US) impunity will continue,” Bagdasarov said.

Semyon is both right and wrong. Destroying the carriers that fire the missiles probably won’t stop the bloodthirsty, insane Americans and Israelis. But it is the right thing to do. It is right to murder the murderer who is trying to kill you. Here’s what is also right: This is a no-win situation that only Jehovah God can correct.


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Professional Scam Artists – part 76

“Why has El Salvador expelled diplomats from Venezuela?” by Les Blough (Quora via Axis of Logic)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Thanks for asking me this important question, Chris. El Salvador’s new government under president Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez expelled Venezuela’s diplomats for 2 reasons.

The first, to put it succinctly, is that Bukele is a US pawn doing his job for Washington. He’s the wealthy owner of Yamaha Motors El Salvador, touted as a successful entrepreneur – but really his wealth is inherited. He was expelled from the FMLN, El Salvador’s political party on the left, for “promoting internal division and performing defamatory acts” against the party which has the familiar ring of US/CIA intervention in many Latin American and Middle Eastern countries. Bukele then ran for president as an independent with US backing and won. Upon winning the election he stated,

“For us, the United States is not only a partner and an ally, but also a friend. And we’re going to show that friendship. That’s one of the reasons we signed the agreement – because we want to show the friendship to our most important ally, which is the United States.” (source: NPR).

The second reason El Salvador expelled Venezuela’s diplomats is the the US held a cocked pistol to the country’s head with one hand and a piece of cake to it’s mouth with the other.

Axis is one of the most genuine progressive sites out there. I visit frequently. The editors are absolutely not pretentious and, if you’re normal, they will welcome you and make you feel like you’ve known each other forever. I’m not sure that they’ve liked some of my recent comments having to do with the Green New Deal and with the coup in Bolivia. There’s nothing I can do about that. Best friends can disagree. Although there are limits. Promoting the GND, very clearly, involves promoting both capitalism and the capitalist exploiters behind the Green New Deal. Cory Morningstar has done extensive research on the Green New Deal. I have read much, but not all of it. She will leave you in no doubt about the nature of the Green New Deal.

A statue is covered in paint and donned with a mask of President Sebastian Pinera wearing horns, during an anti-government protest in Santiago, Chile, Friday, Nov. 1, 2019. Chile has been facing days of unrest, triggered by a relatively minor increase in subway fares. The protests have shaken a nation noted for economic stability over the past decades, which has seen steadily declining poverty despite persistent high rates of inequality. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

“Media Backs Billionaire President as Chileans Protest Privatization” by Mnar Muhawesh (Mint Press News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Chile’s right-wing President Sebastian Piñera recently declared war. He wasn’t referring to a foreign government, but to his own people. He even ordered tanks and the military to the streets.

An estimated 20 protesters have been killed and over 500 injured…

Since October 14th, millions of Chileans have taken to the streets, rocking what is normally one of Latin America’s most stable countries.

Chileans are in an uproar over rising taxes on public transportation, growing income inequality, and a broken pension system…

On average, a Chilean worker earns around $9,000 per year.

Chile’s President Piñera is worth 2.4 billion dollars.

Piñera is taking lessons from Chile’s former US-backed dictator Augusto Pinochet to hold onto his authority.

The state is behaving like a security force for the country’s privatized industries. Unarmed protesters are being met with brute military force. Soldiers and police are shooting at protests at point-blank range.

In addition to those killed or injured, over 5,000 have been detained.

Several detainees have formally reported being tortured by security forces.

American corporate media have described the protests as “riots” and “violent”.

“‘NY Times’ report on killing of Gaza family is part damage control for Israel’s military” by James North (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The Times article does start with a quick first-hand report from an eyewitness to the terrible Israeli midnight aerial attack on Deir-El-Balah, in Gaza. Ismail al-Swarka lost eight of his relatives, five of whom were children.

But then the paper detours into a joint damage control exercise with the Israeli military. The Times says the military explains that “civilian casualties are unavoidable in Gaza’s teeming neighborhoods.” It adds that “Israel accuses militants of using civilians, including their own relatives, as human shields. . .” And, hammering home the propaganda point, the paper says Israel “takes numerous precautions to prevent unnecessary civilian casualties.”

The paper also muddies the actual news, by insinuating that despite the civilian deaths, there might actually have been “an Islamic Jihad military infrastructure” in the area that Israel attacked. The reader is left confused, with the impression that Israel’s air force may have made a mistake, but maybe not, and in any case such mistakes are rare…

The Haaretz reporters, Yaniv Kubovich and Jack Khoury, continued to do actual reporting, instead of taking stenography from official Israeli military spokespeople. It turned out that:

“The building where the family [the 8 Gazans killed in the attack, including 5 kids] lived was on a list of potential targets, but Israeli defense officials confirmed to Haaretz that it had not been looked at over the past year or checked prior to the attack. . . Defense sources confirmed that at no stage was the area checked for the presence of civilians.”

So much for the Israeli military’s “numerous precautions” to avoid harming Palestinian civilians.

Please read the entire above article. It’s important. It’s not lengthy.

The enclosing quotation mark at the beginning of the Haaretz quote was missing, so I added it.

Screenshot from Deval Patrick’s campaign announcement video (From his Twitter)

“Deval Patrick has unequivocally supported Israel at the height of its worst human rights abuses” by Michael Arria (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

===== =
Former Massachusetts Governor (and managing director of private equity firm Bain Capital) Deval Patrick has announced that he’s officially entering the race for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020.

Patrick’s connections to the financial industry will presumably anger left-leaning voters, but his foreign policy record should also rankle progressives. Patrick has a long history of support for Israel and no record to show in terms of supporting Palestinian self-determination. The former governor has led delegations to Israel on numerous occasions. During a 2011 trip, Patrick met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and informed the press that his visit was one of “collaboration, friendship and steadfast support.”

In 2012, at the height of Israel’s Operation Pillar of Defense, Patrick spoke at a pro-Israel rally in the Boston area. He told the crowd:

I came here tonight to stand with my friends. To stand with my friends who are worried sick about their friends and their family, here and in Israel. … And to stand with all of those who, like me, yearn for peace. Israel will endure and survive this, as scared and worried as we all are at this moment. Israel is timeless, it was meant to be, and she will survive.

In 2014, Patrick attended another pro-Israel rally, this one taking place during Israel’s Operation Protective Edge. According to the United Nations, at least 2,131 Palestinians were killed during the seven-week conflict. According to Palestinian Center for Human Rights statistics, 1660 of those killed were civilians. “I didn’t come here tonight for headlines, or for votes. I came here tonight to stand with my friends,” Patrick told the crowd.
= =====

Patrick is right where he belongs: in the Democratic Party. Those who are hankering for a replacement for the unhinged, bloodthirsty Hillary Clinton might want to give Deval (ha!) a look.

Bernie Sanders, Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, and Pete Buttigieg at the Democratic debate held in Westerville, OH in October 2019. (Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty)

“Nearly every Democratic candidate rushed to defend Israel’s attack on Gaza, Warren only one to acknowledge Palestinian deaths” by (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A ceasefire has been reached between Israel and groups in Gaza, after two days of violence that left 34 Palestinians dead. Many of the Democratic candidates have tweeted about the events, defending Israel’s actions while condemning rocket fire from Palestine. Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders expressed concern for Israelis and Palestinians, while Warren was the only candidate to acknowledge that multiple Palestinians have been killed.

Pete Buttigieg, on keyboards. From his Facebook page, June 11.

“Buttigieg supports Israel’s missile attacks on Gaza, but condemns Palestinians when they respond” by Michael Arria (Mondoweiss)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Israel’s military campaign against Gaza has entered its second day and so far it has left 24 Palestinians dead (including a 7-year-old boy) and at least 70 injured. The current round of violence began on Tuesday after Israeli strikes killed Palestinian Islamic Jihad commander Bahaa Abu el-Atta, his wife, and four others. The attack prompted retaliatory rocket fire from a number of Palestinian groups. Israel continues to attack the region…

South Bend Mayor and Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has tweeted his support for Israel’s actions and a condemnation of the rocket fire from Palestine…

“It’s ‘defending yourself’ when the overwhelmingly powerful side keeping the other population under siege surgically kill people, and ‘attacks’ when the far weaker, besieged side use less powerful and precise weapons, rarely killing anyone. Got it,” journalist Abi Wilkinson tweeted at the mayor.

Michael notes that “Buttigieg has positioned himself as one of the most pro-Israel Democratic candidates in the race, but he’s also declared that he would condition military aid to Israel if Netanyahu follows through with announced plans to annex the West Bank.” Frankly, I don’t believe him. I think he’s just looking for ways to hedge his bets in the campaign, totally siding with Israel and also throwing bone to supporters who waver and might like this little streak of humanity.

Evo Morales

“US and OAS help overthrow another government: Behind the coup against Bolivia’s Evo Morales” by Leonardo Flores (Codepink via The Grayzone)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The United States and the Organization of American States can add another coup to their scorecards, even if U.S. media refuses to recognize it as such.

This time it was in Bolivia, where President Evo Morales was forced to step down on November 10, following weeks of pressure and extremist violence.

Morales resigned under duress in order to avoid bloodshed, and emphasized that his “responsibility as an indigenous president of all Bolivians is to prevent the coup-mongers from persecuting my trade unionist brothers and sisters, abusing and kidnapping their families, burning the homes of governors, of legislators, of city councilors… to prevent them from continuing to harass and persecute my indigenous brothers and sisters and the leaders and authorities” of the MAS (Movement towards Socialism, Morales’ political party).

His resignation has yet to take effect, as it must be approved by the legislature. This did not stop opposition party member Jeanine Añez, the senate’s second vice president, from declaring herself interim president, further proving that what’s happened is a coup.

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Evo Morales: How could you fail to defend yourself and your people from the coming coup?!!!

Evo Morales

“Resignation of Bolivia’s Evo Morales was no victory for democracy, but a US-sponsored coup” by Eva Bartlett (In Gaza and beyond)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Evo Morales, an indigenous leader who bucked the IMF and condemned US imperialism, has been pressured by the military to resign after winning an election. Yet Washington calls this blatant coup in Bolivia a victory for democracy?

Morales was re-elected as Bolivia’s president on October 20. The coup-backing Organization of American States (OAS) wasn’t pleased and went ahead interfering in a sovereign nation – as the US itself does so well – issuing a report that the vote result wasn’t satisfactory to their desires.The heavy funding from the US surely has no influence on OAS policies…
In any case, on November 10, President Morales first announced a new election. Later that day, he announced his resignation, naming as reason the recent brutality of Bolivia’s right-wing opposition, including “kidnapping and mistreating” families of indigenous leaders and burning down the homes of public officials.

I resign from my position as president so that (Carlos) Mesa and (Luis Fernando) Camacho do not continue to persecute socialist leaders.

Morales was clear that his move was solely due to the violence incited opposition leaders. However, it soon became clear that this was a coup, not a resignation.

Former Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff tweeted her solidarity with the “legitimate president of Bolivia [Evo Morales] who was deposed by a military coup, had his house raided by the police and suffered an illegal arrest warrant. A very serious attack on democracy in Latin America and violence against the Bolivian people.”

Another Brazilian ex-president, Lula, likewise declared the “stepping down” a coup. And even before the events of November 10, Argentina’s Cristina Kirchner foresaw there would be pressure to force Morales out of office, as did Venezuela’s President Nicolás Maduro.

This is familiar territory. I remember listening to Pepe Escobar’s very interesting conversation with Joe Lauria about his interview with Lula (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva), the former president of Brazil and how, from what Pepe reports, Lula seemed relatively clueless about the coming coup against him and his government. (And the same thing can be said about Dilma Rousseff.) If you’re resisting absorption into the global dictatorship of the United States (even if you’re already a part of the world government that is an American-dominated Corporatocracy), then you automatically become a target of the US because the United States is a globe-straddling empire that seeks to rule the entire world, including every pocket of it.

“Morales’ resignation came hours after the head of the armed forces and the chief of Bolivia’s police “suggested” that he resign.

“The head of the army, General Williams Kalimán Romero, was Bolivia’s military attaché in Washington from 2013 to 2016. The chief of police, General Vladimir Calderón, was Bolivia’s police attaché in Washington until December 2018.

“As attachés they would have been in constant communication with the Pentagon and other agencies; it is no stretch of the imagination to wonder if they were still in contact with their U.S. counterparts as the overthrow of the Morales government unfolded.

“The coup was carried out over three weeks after the October 20 elections, but it was months, if not years in the making.

“The United States first began targeting Evo Morales in 2001 — five years before being elected president — when the US embassy in La Paz warned that his political base needed to be weakened.” – “US and OAS help overthrow another government: Behind the coup against Bolivia’s Evo Morales” by Leonardo Flores (Codepink via The Grayzone)

I created two excerpts from the video (linked to above) in which Pepe talks to Joe Lauria about his interviews of Lula and Dilma Rousseff. The first (not shown in this post) looked specifically at the Day Of Fire, the insane plot by some 70 rightwing, very wealthy, landowners in the Amazonian state of Para to burn down the Amazon in order make it easier to do mineral exploration and in order to show solidarity with Bolsonaro (exactly how, I don’t know) and, I thought I caught, in order to increase acreage for soya production, which is why the Brazilian port that ships that soya was expanded. (At the time of Pepe’s discussion with Joe, it had not been demonstrated that Jair Bolsonaro participated directly in that crime or even knew about it. But, as Pepe points out, Bolsonaro didn’t condemn it after the fact or allow help from various foreign firefighters to help with the fires. He also shut down the government organization charged with oversight of the Amazon. And the corporate media in Brazil never touched the story, of course.) The second excerpt deals with Escobar’s mention of Lula’s relative cluelessness about exactly how his government was undone. The following blurb is attached to my second excerpt which follows the blurb:

This is an excerpt of the very interesting discussion that Joe Lauria had with Pepe Escobar about Pepe’s interview of Lula (Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, former president of Brazil) when Lula was in the Federal Police building in Curitiba in southern Brazil. (Lula was president of Brazil from 2002 until 2010. He’s out now. That is very interesting. The corporate media is mentioning it but it is not talking about the circumstances surrounding Lula’s being framed, as Brian Mier points out in his FAIR article titled “As Lula Emerges From Prison, US Media Ignore How Washington Helped Put Him There.” I have issues with FAIR, and Consortium News, but will not go into that here.) It was quite a coup for Escobar to get this interview, which he talks about in the video. Escobar talks with Lula and with Dilma Rousseff, who was elected as President of Brazil in 2011 and was impeached in 2016. Lula (and Brazil’s labor leadership) doesn’t know what went wrong and how Lula could end up in prison. Really?!! And Escobar elicits the same sort of bewilderment from Dilma Rousseff about how she was impeached in 2016.

the excerpt:

The US is anti-democratic. Anti-democratic rulers can’t allow the people to have a say in matters affecting them because the people don’t want their survival to be dependent on the whims and needs of uncaring investors and would, if allowed to, take steps to ensure that their country become and remain democratic and not just a source of natural resources and slave labor for powerful Transnationals and investors. People can have limited self-determination as long as their government is a Corporatocracy government that takes its marching orders from Washington, which in turn protects and entrenches corporate rule, aka fascism. Bertolt Brecht and others are completely correct when they identify fascism with capitalism. And fakers like Stephen Cohen who mumble incoherently about Ukrainian quasi fascists are obscurantists. What enables capitalism and it’s final, or ripe, form to thrive is the freedom to self-modify that we all possess and the willingness of so many to make that choice. (Why people play around with their names, I’ll never know. Bertholt’s proper name is: Eugen Berthold Friedrich Brecht. Wikipedia notes that Berthold was “known professionally as Bertolt Brecht.”)

“But how can anyone tell the truth about Fascism, unless he is willing to speak out against capitalism, which brings it forth? What will be the practical results of such truth?

“The man who does not know the truth expresses himself in lofty, general, and imprecise terms. He shouts about “the” German, he complains about Evil in general, and whoever hears him cannot make out what to do. Shall he decide not to be a German? Will hell vanish if he himself is good? The silly talk about the barbarism that comes out of barbarism is also of this kind. The source of barbarism is barbarism, and it is combated by culture, which comes from education. All this is put in general terms; it is not meant to be a guide to action and is in reality addressed to no one.

“Such vague descriptions point to only a few links in the chain of causes. Their obscurantism conceals the real forces making for disaster. If light be thrown on the matter it promptly appears that disasters are caused by certain men. For we live in a time when the fate of man is determined by men. – Bertholt Brecht

And Christopher Black reminds us, essentially, of the same fact in his New Eastern Outlook article titled “The Whitewashing Of The Nazis”:

“And never are the people told that the Nazis were capitalists on a rampage, that they were and are the face of capitalism with the gloves off.” – Christopher Black

Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman say the thing, basically:

“Terror keeps the neo-colonial elites in power and the investment skies sunny.” – Edward Herman & Noam Chomsky, pg 67 of “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism”

The US, which created the global capitalist system, post World War Two, that all countries are dependent on, is ultra violent and ultra lawless. It is precisely via strategic rule-breaking that the powerful in this dark world acquire, and keep, power. (Those who abide by rules, laws and agreements lose in a world in which they have to live with wolves in sheep’s clothing. The neocon/neolibs among us – a crowd of self-modified individuals – have absolutely no use for democracy.) As Finian Cunningham pointed out, Trump babbled about pulling the troops out of Syria as a ploy to win the 2020 election. Smart people, like Alexander Mercouris, believe Trump’s lies. Is it any wonder that the many who are not as knowledgeable as Mercouris are taken in? Just look at what Donald Trump is doing in Syria. He’s going to steal Syria’s oil and kill any, including Syrians, who try to stop him. Why? Trump is self-modified like the rest of the twisted American ruling class. He’s jettisoned the golden rule of ‘do to others as you would have them do to you’ and has become a happy player in the Satanic game of ‘riches for the strongest’, an operating principle that those who inhabit this dark anti-God world allow to animate them, which principle was openly expressed so well by the psychopaths Benjamin Netanyahu and Narendra Modi. Therefore, those self-modified people now possess twisted needs and desires. Stealing the means of survival from those who the thieves feel sure they can steal from is how the self-modified crows survives. They like that way of surviving because when they can get away with killing and stealing from others it makes them feel strong and feeling strong, and godlike, is a twisted desire that they now possess.

In geopolitical terms, stealing Syria’s oil also allows the US to weaken Syria and is one step closer to being in the strongest position that it can be in in order to terrorize Russia into auto-regime change. (That’s sort of a contradiction terms. The goal, any way you look at it, is regime change for absolutely every resistant State and, after that, maintenance of the American-led Corporatocracy, which would include regime change of already regime changed States that might be weakening in their resolve to betray their people.) And elements within the US ruling class – the Pentagon and defense contractor sector – wouldn’t mind war with Russia, because war is the business of the uncaring, twisted weapons makers who the US military is in bed with. That Russia could inflict incredible damage on the US and its allies if pushed into a corner doesn’t seem to bother the ruined minds who run and ruin the world.

From pages 53 & 54 of Noam Chomsky & Edward Herman’s book titled “The Washington Connection And Third World Fascism,” the following:

Military training and supply, the build-up and cultivation of the military and intelligence establishments, as well as CIA surveillance and destabilization, have been key elements of the “Washington connection,” employed to protect U.S. interests in its client states in the post World War II era. The United States trains client military personnel in some 150 bases and training schools, and sends mobile units and advisors to serve on an in-country basis. This training has placed great weight on ideological conditioning and has “steeped young Latin officers in the early 1950s anti-Communist dogma that subversive infiltrators could be anywhere.” In addition to the ideological cement of this world view, U.S. military training has purposely helped build a network of personal relationships between United States and Latin American military cadres. This tie has been further consolidated by military aid from the wealthier power as well as cooperative maneuvers and logistical planning. Over 200,000 Latin American military personnel have been trained in the U.S., and since 1949 over 35,000 Latin American officers have trained in the School for the Americas alone; a school identified in Latin America by its historic function as the “school of coups.”

In testimony before Congress, there has been a pretense by spokesmen for the military and foreign policy establishment that our training and contacts will have a “pro-democratic” impact and will serve to bring more “humane” methods to the Latin American police and military. Precisely the opposite effects have occurred. Our training and aid have enhanced the power of the military, and our ideological and moral support and training have encouraged them to assert themselves politically. They have become more “pro-American,” any spinoff of democratic values is as yet undetectable.

See the original of the above quote for details related to the authors’ quotes.

young Bolivian fascists

A few thoughts about that: It’s obviously going to easier for the US to get its hands on military and police personnel of client regimes than regimes that are holding out against the dictatorship of the United States. (This would constitute maintenance. We can’t win the regime change war and then leave the ruined country to go its own way. It could revert to a democracy.) This doesn’t mean that police and military of ‘unfriendly’ regimes aren’t targetted. Ben Norton’s and Max Blumenthal’s article for the Grayzone, titled “Bolivia coup led by Christian fascist paramilitary leader and millionaire – with foreign support,” and Jeb Sprague’s article for the Grayzone titled “Top Bolivian coup plotters trained by US military’s School of the Americas, served as attachés in FBI police programs” makes that clear.

Jeb Sprague, Ben Norton, Max Blumenthal

“Bolivia coup led by Christian fascist paramilitary leader and millionaire – with foreign support” by Max Blunethal and Ben Norton

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

When Luis Fernando Camacho stormed into Bolivia’s abandoned presidential palace in the hours after President Evo Morales’s sudden November 10 resignation, he revealed to the world a side of the country that stood at stark odds with the plurinational spirit its deposed socialist and Indigenous leader had put forward…

With a Bible in one hand and a national flag in the other, Camacho bowed his head in prayer above the presidential seal, fulfilling his vow to purge his country’s Native heritage from government and “return God to the burned palace.”

Camacho hails from a family of corporate elites who have long profited from Bolivia’s plentiful natural gas reserves. And his family lost part of its wealth when Morales nationalized the country’s resources, in order to fund his vast social programs — which cut poverty by 42 percent and extreme poverty by 60 percent.

In the lead-up to the coup, Camacho met with leaders from right-wing governments in the region to discuss their plans to destabilize Morales…

The Organization of American States, a pro-US organization founded by Washington during the Cold War as an alliance of right-wing anti-communist countries in Latin America, helped rubber stamp the Bolivian coup…

It was not until after the election that Camacho was thrust into the limelight and transformed into a celebrity by corporate media conglomerates like the local right-wing network Unitel, Telemundo, and CNN en Español.

All of a sudden, Camacho’s tweets calling for Morales to resign were lighting up with thousands of retweets. The coup machinery had been activated.

Mainstream outlets like the New York Times and Reuters followed by anointing the unelected Camacho as the “leader” of Bolivia’s opposition. But even as he lapped up international attention, key portions of the far-right activist’s background were omitted.

Left unmentioned were Camacho’s deep and well-established connections to Christian extremist paramilitaries notorious for racist violence and local business cartels, as well as the right-wing governments across the region…

Luis Fernando Camacho was groomed by the Unión Juvenil Cruceñista, or Santa Cruz Youth Union (UJC), a fascist paramilitary organization that has been linked to assassination plots against Morales. The group is notorious for assaulting leftists, Indigenous peasants, and journalists, all while espousing a deeply racist, homophobic ideology…

In August, Camacho tweeted a photo with his “great friend,” Marinkovic. This friendship was crucial to establishing the rightist activist’s credentials and forging the basis of the coup that would take form three months later…

Branko Marinkovic is a major landowner who ramped up his support for the right-wing opposition after some of his land was nationalized by the Evo Morales government. As chairman of the Pro-Santa Cruz Committee, he oversaw the operations of the main engine of separatism in Bolivia…

In 2013, journalist Matt Kennard reported that the US government was working closely with the Pro-Santa Cruz Committee to encourage the balkanization of Bolivia and to undermine Morales. “What they [the US] put across was how they could strengthen channels of communication,” the vice president of the committee told Kennard. “The embassy said that they would help us in our communication work and they have a series of publications where they were putting forward their ideas.”

“Top Bolivian coup plotters trained by US military’s School of the Americas, served as attachés in FBI police programs” by Jeb Sprague (The Grayzone)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The United States played a key role in the military coup in Bolivia, and in a direct way that has scarcely been acknowledged in accounts of the events that forced the country’s elected president, Evo Morales, to resign on November 10.

Just prior to Morales’ resignation, the commander of Bolivia’s armed forces Williams Kaliman “suggested” that the president step down. A day earlier, sectors of the country’s police force had rebelled.

Though Kaliman appears to have feigned loyalty to Morales over the years, his true colors showed as soon as the moment of opportunity arrived. He was not only an actor in the coup, he had his own history in Washington, where he had briefly served as the military attaché of Bolivia’s embassy in the US capital.

Kaliman sat at the top of a military and police command structure that has been substantially cultivated by the US through WHINSEC, the military training school in Fort Benning, Georgia known in the past as the School of the Americas. Kaliman himself attended a course called “Comando y Estado Mayor” at the SOA in 2003.

At least six of the key coup plotters are alumni of the infamous School of the Americas, while Kaliman and another figure served in the past as Bolivia’s military and police attachés in Washington…

As I found from the more than 11,000 FOIA documents I obtained while writing my book on the paramilitary campaign waged in the lead up to the February 2004 ouster of Haiti’s elected government and the post-coup repression, U.S. officials worked for years to ingratiate themselves and establish connections with Haitian police, army, and ex-army officials. These connections as well as the recruitment and information gathering efforts eventually paid off.

In Bolivia, too, the role of military and police officials trained by the US was pivotal in forcing regime change. U.S. government agencies such as USAID have openly financed anti-Morales groups in the country for many years. But the way that the country’s security forces were used as a Trojan Horse by US intelligence services is less understood. With Morales’s forced departure, however, it became impossible to deny how critical a factor this was…

The November 10 coup d’état did not materialize out of thin air. Events that have transpired inside Bolivia are intimately connected to U.S. efforts to influence military and police forces abroad through programs like SOA and APALA.

While U.S. President Donald Trump cheers on a “a significant moment for democracy in the Western Hemisphere,” Bolivians are suddenly under the control of a de facto military regime.

From pages 106 & 107 of Michael Klare’s “War Without End – American Planning for the Next Vietnams,” the following:

The United States has also attmpted on various occasions to obtain the cooperation of various minority groups in a target population which, for various historical, economic, or political reasons, are alienated from the majority group and thus vulnerable to U.S. psychological operations. In Vietnam, for instance, we have recruited montagnard tribesmen and other ethnic minority groups for CIA-financed mercenary armies…

Before the process of mercenarization can begin, the American foreign policy apparatus must have complete data on the history, religion, culture, and social composition of a given society in order to select the appropriate levers for cooptation. This work involves the production of anthropological and sociological studies of the social underpinnings of the target culture – the values, social relations, and communications institutions that lend themselves to external manipulation. In particular, the Pentagon seeks to know which subgroups in the population can most readily be made to serve U.S. interests. Such research, which usually falls under the headings of elite or minority studies, is routinely performed by academic social scientists in the normal course of their work; it has only been necessary for the Pentagon to channel this research in the desired direction by awarding substantial contracts for investigations of a target culture, and to maintain a clearinghouse – the Center for Research in Social Systems – for the collection, storage, and retrieval of such information.

Because of its pivotal role in U.S. counterinsurgency planning, the social grouping of greatest interest to Washington is the officer class of the native armed forces. The Pentagon must know if the indigenous military can be persuaded to engage in combat against guerilla movements, if they will accept the strategic leadership of the American “advisers,” and if they are capable of performing a “modernizing” role in their society by introducing new technological and managerial skills.

I’ve long said that South Americans are more politicized than North Americans – not that corporate media and it’s cousin, social media, there doesn’t try hard to counter that, as Pepe in the above linked-to CN show makes clear – for they have had the direct experience of being victims of uncle Sam’s aggression, repeatedly. Which is why I’m baffled by the failure of leaders like Lula, Rousseff and now Morales, to see the coups against them and their governments coming. That they know that the US is nasty and will do regime change at the drop of a hat only makes it all the more strange that they didn’t take steps, the way Hugo Chavez did, to prepare for the inevitable. But can anyone point me to an example of a targetted country having explicit rules that disallow their militaries’ soldiers and officers and their police forces’ personnel from serving ‘if they are getting training from foreign agents’? I didn’t think so. I also think that there needs to be good rules about NGOs. (Alexander Mercouris, in a mostly balanced and measured analysis of the Bolivian coup, linked to below, talks about the flood of money going to NGOs crawling all over Bolivia leading up to the coup. Also, he uses a phrase similar to one used by Chris Hedges [“radical Left”], namely ‘radical socialism’, that makes me scratch my head, but set that aside here.) And there’s no question in my mind, as it has now been amply demonstrated, that corporate media is a threat to national security (in a normal sense, in which the ‘entire’ nation is threatened and not just its capitalist parasites) and measures need to be taken to ensure that it shares air time, at most equally with pro State and/or State media, but never greater than State and/or pro State media.

The Critical Difference Between Venezuela And Bolivia:

See the link below for the entire Duran episode from which the above excerpt was taken:

“Coup d’état in Bolivia topples President Evo Morales” (The Duran)

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