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John Ralston Saul’s “A Fair Country – Telling Truths About Canada”

John Ralston Saul (Chris So w Toronto Star)

I don’t agree with John Ralston Saul on many things. And I do not trust him, which is an issue because I haven’t read as much as he has and I don’t possess the intelligence and mental power that he possesses. (How can I be right and Saul be wrong therefore?) But I know what I know, and how I feel, which knowledge and feelings are as real as I am. And I pay attention.

I know for example that the Canadian military, which Saul perversely says was formed out of various influences, including First Nations thinking and practices, cut its teeth warring against those First Nations. Perhaps it’s true that First Nations thinking and pratices have had some influence on the Canadian military, but when so much that he says about the Canadian military is demonstrably untrue…

Saul states that “I’m not suggesting that we have consciously constructed the nation’s military strategy out of Aboriginal experience.” Then he tries to make the case that the Canadian military’s tendency to do minimal impairment and to negotiate rather than waste lives in war, speak to the proximity – out on the fringes of the modern world – of soldiers to First Nations and indicates that First Nations ways rubbed off on them. Yes, You are close to those you are killing, unless you’re a drone operator or puke General.

“What is our attitude toward war? Minimal impairment. What has it been for a century and a half? Minimal impairment. We are loath to be drawn in. We would rather talk and negotiate.” -pg 89

Saul says the two World Wars were expceptions to that, thus peddling the myth of Canada the peacekeeper. Indeed, Saul goes on to say good things about war criminal (Noam Chomsky’s description) Lester Pearson (1897-1972). Consider:

“To understand the unbroken line of Canadian foreign policy and military stretching back four centuries, it is enough to ask a simple question. Where did the concept of peacekeeping come from? As if pulling a mysterious solution out of a hat, Lester Pearson produced and sold a way to end the 1956 Suez Crisis that was dividing the West, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the North and the South, the Judeao-Christian and Islamic… The idea of a United Nations peacekeeping force and the sort of military diplomacy that surrounds it… was an expression of minimal impairment.” -pg 93 of “A Fair Country”

“Unlike The US during speaking trips in Canada major media would interview me. But, the discussion would invariably concern US foreign policy… The first time I was on CBC radio’s Morningside with longtime host Peter Gzowski… He seemed happy to hear criticism of the US. One time I decided to talk about Canada. After a question about flying in I said, “I landed at war criminal airport”. He said: “What do you mean?” I responded, “the Lester B. Pearson Airport”. Gzowski replied “war criminal?” So I detailed Pearson’s support for the war in Vietnam: the spying, weapons sales and complicity in the bombing of the North. Gzowski was infuriated.” -pg 8 of “Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping – The Truth Will Hurt,” by Yves Engler

Yves Engler (photo from this source: http://bit.ly/2nYVAh3)

“Pearson wholeheartedly supported NATO. In his Memoirs he described the “formation of NATO” as the “most important thing I participated in”. Canada and NATO explains: “There would not again be, in Canada, the enthusiasm for the North Atlantic alliance there was in that close to 9 years that Louis St. Laurent stood behind it as the country’s Prime Minister, and Lester Pearson as its Secretary of State for External Affairs.”

“Pearson was not above red-baiting those who criticized NATO policy. When the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (CCF) opposed a massive build-up of NATO troops in Europe in 1953, he claimed “the CCF seems to be moving towards that [Russian] position.” Pearson said the social democratic party’s statement would “play straight into the hands of communist propaganda” and “that is exactly how the Kremlin would describe them.”

“Officially, NATO was the West’s response to an aggressive Soviet Union. But, the Cold War can be traced back to Canada and its allies 1917 invasion of Russia, attempts to isolate that country throughout the 1920s and support for the Nazis anti-Bolshevik posture. To get a sense of Pearson’s hostility toward Russia, in 1938 he said he hoped the Nazis and Soviets would destroy each other.” -pgs 27 & 28 of “Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping”

Is such red-baiting and expressions of desire for slaughter your idea of dialog over war John?

Saul is very establishment. Along with all of our major political parties and even the Council of Canadians for gosh sake, he peddles the myth of Lester Pearson the peacekeeper, which figures, as there’s nothing Saul loves as much as establishment. But he’s a good talker, the way arch neoliberal Jeffrey Sachs is. Immerse yourself in the facts, or you’ll think Saul is on your side when he’s through casting spells.

“Forty years after his death the former external affairs minister still features regularly in foreign policy debates. In September 2009 Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said his government would “take global leadership that has made Canada’s reputation since the time of Lester B. Pearson. …A Canada that inspires, leads the world by example, and makes us all proud.” A few months later the head of the Greens, Elizabeth May, claimed “a Green Party approach to international issues will return Canada to the values of Lester B. Pearson.” For his part, the late NDP leader Jack Layton dropped his name during a June 2010 House of Commons debate. “Recently, we had the UN special advisor, Jeffrey Sachs, slamming our Minister and saying that Canada was failing to live up to the tradition of Lester Pearson by failling far short of his target for international aid.”

“It’s not only politicians who sing his praise; many leftwing commentators echo this view. In a May 2008 Toronto Star column titled “Keep Pearson out of it” Linda McQuaig took exception with “[former Liberal minister] John Manley, head of the government’s advisory panel on Afghanistan, defend[ing] the mission by invoking the name of Canadian peacekeeping hero Lester Pearson.” Author of a 2007 book that covered his foreign policy, McQuaig quoted an academic who called this a “real desecration of [Pearson’s] memory and his monumental achievement for world peace.”

“The president of the Rideau Institute, Ottawa’s most left-wing foreign policy think tank, has made similar statements. Steven Staples co-authored a 2008 article explaining “Pearson’s vision of the Canadian military supporting the United Nations in negotiating solutions has been replaced by an Americanized vision of militaristic solutions imposed by force of arms.” Left wing author Naomi Klein also dabbled in the mythmaking. In a 2000 Globe and Mail piece she referred to a Liberal Party campaign focused on “Lester Pearson’s legacy of international compassion.”” -pgs 14 & 15 of “Lester Pearson’s Peacekeeping”

Todd Gordon (photo by Miles Howe)

Todd Gordon notes that “…there is no meaningful evidence that peacekeeping has any substantive bearing on Canadian foreign policy today. The mainstream left, such as the NDP and NGOs like the Council of Canadians, do the opposition to the war in Afghanistan a disservice by continuously repeating the unsustainable assertion that Canada is a peacekeeping nation with a history as a benign international force to which it should return.” (pg 402 of “Imperialist Canada”) John Ralston Saul also performs that disservice. So do other lefties, like the Rideau Institute’s Steven Staples, Linda McQuaig and Naomi Klein, whose book “This Changes Everything – Capitalism vs The Climate” blames all of the world’s woes on God and Christianity, which is fashionable on the Left, as is praising and recommending First Nations spirituality.

Like Saul, who’s fond of the fancy term “Judeo-Christian,” The Christianity Naomi Klein knows is not mine. It’s her’s. And Saul’s. No, They aren’t Christians (I don’t know what Saul claims to be in that regard.), but the (which is what I mean by ‘their’) Christianity, which they know and attack, is not mine. Are they ignorant of my Christianity? I don’t think so. I think it’s something darker. They seek to make me disappear entirely, while they both yammer on about the exclusion of some by those with power and privilege. They can’t function, the way they want to function, namely as part of the establishment, by acknowledging and defending the few Christians whose behavior isn’t worldly. We few Christians who denounce Christendom (false Christians – who twist God’s word and add pagan customs and ideas into their Christian thinking and behavior – and their worldly churches) are those spoken of by the prophet Ezekiel (chapters 38 & 39), who possess neither bars nor doors (worldly allies) and are seen by Gog (Satan) as being easy pickings. Gog means ‘darkness’.

“For starters, the Canadian military has historically always been more than a peacekeeping force. As I discussed earlier in the chapter, the military’s response to indigenous uprisings in the Northwest Territories in 1885 or at Oka in 1990 were certainly not peacekeeping missions. Since the Second World War, the Canadian military has participated in at least five imperialist interventions in foreign countries: Korea (1950-1953), Iraq (1991), Yugoslavia (1999), Haiti (2004) and Afghanistan (since 2002). Canada did not participate in the Vietnam War. But it did sell billions of dollars of war materials to the U.S. at the time, and used its seat on the International Commission of Control and Supervision – the international force established in 1954 to oversee the implementation of the Geneva Accords that ended the First Indochina War – to support the America war effort. Canada sent two naval destroyers to the region near the end of the U.S. war to back up Canadian soldiers serving with it. And while Canada did not officially participate in the 2003 Iraq War, Canadian soldiers and officers on exchange programs have nevertheless been fighting with the America military and taking command positions in the occupying forces.” -pg 305 of “Imperialist Canada,” by Todd Gordon.

Elsewhere in “Imperialist Canada,” Gordon notes that “Military and paramilitary assaults against indigenous nations have been a formative part of Canada’s development. The military and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) (in a previous incarnation the Northwest Mounted Police [NWMP]) cut their teeth fighting First Nations for their land, resources and political and economic sovereignty.” -pgs 278 & 279

Howard Zinn (source for photo: HowardZinn.org)

Saul peddles the myth of statesman Lester Pearson, which Yves Engler debunks nicely in his book “Lester Pearson’s Peackeeping – The Truth Will Hurt.” And Howard Zinn has a very different take on the “brilliant language” of the American Revolution which Saul refers to on page 252. Saul acknowledges that there was a gap between the language and the reality of that language that didn’t even begin to be addressed until the assault on segregation in 1960, but Zinn talks about the founding fathers’ language itself and how phony the words were, deriving as they did from highly class conscious men of wealth and privilege. Then again, Zinn can get into the nitty gritty of the “brilliant language” of America’s founding fathers because he isn’t pro class war nor anti (any) people.

“In Virginia, it seemed clear to the educated gentry that something needed to be done to persuade the lower orders to join the revolutionary cause, to deflect their anger against England… It was a problem for which the rhetorical talents of Patrick Henry were superbly fitted. He was, as Rhys Isaac puts it, “firmly attached to the world of the gentry,” but he spoke in words that the poorer whites of the Virginia could understand… Tom Paine’s Common Sense, which appeared in early 1776 and became the most popular pamphlet in the American colonies, did this. It made the first bold argument for independence, in words that any fairly literate person could understand: “Society in every state is a blessing, but Government even in its best state is but a necessary evil…”

“Common Sense went through twenty-five editions in 1776 and sold hundreds of thousands of copies….

“Paine’s pamphlet appealed to a wide range of colonial opinion angered by England. But it caused some tremors in aristocrats like John Adams, who were with the patriot cause but wanted to make sure it didn’t go too far in the direction of democracy…

“…But his great concern seems to have been to speak for a middle group…

“Once the Revolution was under way, Paine more and more made it clear that he was not for the crowd action of lower-class people – like those militia who in 1779 attacked the house of James Wilson. Wilson was a Revolutionary leader who opposed price controls and wanted a more conservative government than was given by the Pennsylvania Constitution of 1776. Paine became an associate of one of the wealthiest men in Pennsylvania, Robert Morris, and a supporter of Morris’s creation, the Bank of North America.

“Later, during the controversy over adopting the Constitution, Paine would once again represent urban artisans, who favored a strong central government. He seemed to believe that such a government could represent some great common interest. In this sense, he lent himself perfectly to the myth of the Revolution – that it was on behalf of a united people.

“The Declaration of Independence brought that myth to its peak of eloquence…

“Some Americans were clearly omitted from this circle of united interest drawn by the Declaration of Independence: Indians, black slaves, women…

“When the Declaration of Independence was read, with all its flaming radical language, from the town hall balcony in Boston, it was read by Thomas Crafts, a member of the Loyal Nine group, conservatives who had opposed militant action against the British. Four days after the reading, the Boston Committee of Correspondence ordered the townsmen to show up on the Common for a military draft. The rich, it turned out, could avoid the draft by paying for substitutes; the poor had to serve. This led to rioting, and shouting: “Tyranny is Tyranny let it come from whom it may.”” – from chapter 4 of Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History Of The United States”

Speaking of language, What Saul points to as Pearson’s noble goals aren’t even noble. Pearson’s concerns around Suez weren’t for the rights and lives of Egyptians, as Engler notes (pgs 85 & 86), but for the partnership between two of the world’s bloodiest, cruelest empires, the British and the American, always with a view to how he could position Canada so that it got favor in the eyes of what Pearson recognized was the world’s rising hegemon, the United States. As for the ‘welfare’ of NATO, You have to be particularly messed up, or establishment, to view that as an important goal.

Saul writes that “And if our economic and social system exists in denial of our physical reality, then our society simply won’t function.” Considering the lengths Saul goes to make the case, the way Naomi Klein does, that Christianity – the Judeo-Christian tradition (pg 280) – is the root of all our problems, without acknowledging, as I’m sure the knowledgeable and imaginative Saul (and Klein) is capable of doing, that that tradition is only a part of the whole of Christianity, then I’m not sure that he can be taken seriously. The Christianity that Saul knows may be the larger part – which partly explains why people like Saul give it this treatment (rebels can be ignored, unless they are Saul’s rebels) – but it isn’t the only part. By far, Most of those who profess to be Christians are found within Christendom, which is depicted in the Christian Bible as a harlot, for obvious reasons. Christians collectively are supposed to be in a special bride relationship to their Lord, Jesus Christ (Matthew 25:1-13). To the extent that they stay within Jesus’s ‘word’ and in that way defend God’s standards and do not allow the world’s darkness to swallow up their light, they demonstrate their faithfulness to Jesus and by extension Jehovah God. However, As Jesus himself prophesied, “Many will say to me in that day: ‘Lord, Lord. Did we not prophesy in your name and expel demons in your name and perform many powerful works in your name?’ And then I will declare to them: ‘I never knew you! Get away from me you workers of lawlessness!'” (Matthew 7:22,23) Note the word “many” in Jesus’s above statement. And note Saul’s “our society.” I don’t actually want Saul’s godless, class-divided, bloody society to work.

The Christianity that Naomi Klein and John Ralston Saul ‘know’ is not mine. And they ‘know’ no other, willingly and knowingly. And in that way, they disappear me and those who, like me, have no use for a thoroughly deviant Judaism and a thoroughly disloyal and bloodstained Christendom. And, I might add, That anti God attitude, made especially poignant by being attended by a latching onto religiosity that is demon-inspired, is fashionable on the Left. (In other words, “It’s not religion we have a problem with, God. It’s just you.” I call that sort of perversity calling to God to “Bring it!”) What was it Saul wrote? “The arrival of more conscious voices at the public tables, voices less likely to be swayed by fashion, is a step toward the ethic of fairness.” -pg 319. Perhaps Saul should take his own advice and ‘rebel’ against the leftwing fashion of disappearing the few Christians who are loyal to God and who endeavor to uphold his standards, which the Christians who Saul ‘knows’ have rebelled against. -pg 318.

So much of what Christendom calls Christianity is paganism. Christmas and Easter, based on Bible information, are both derived mostly from pagan practices and riddled with lies. Take for example, the Christian legend of the 3 wise men. The Bible doesn’t give a number for the ‘wise’ men who went, they seemed to think, to show obeisance to the infant Jesus, but the faithless Churches, and those who unhelpfully criticize them, go along with the made up fact (of German origin) that there were three wise men. German tradition even gave them names! None of it is in the Bible. As for those so-called wise men, They are the only ones who saw the star that they saw and which was leading them to the infant Jesus. When Herod, who wanted to kill Jesus, learned about the visitors’ goal, he asked those astrologers from Babylon, a pagan hotbed and longtime enemy of ancient Israel, to let him know where the infant is once they found him. They would have done so had God not warned them off in a dream (Matthew chapter 2). The star that John is following? I don’t see it, thankfully. Does any of that sound like anything taught in Christendom’s unholy churches? Do any of the above facts make it into Christmas carols? And neither Saul nor Klein condemn Christianity for that sort of behavior. That’s because they simply hate anything connected with the Christian Bible, whether it’s decent or indecent.

Then there’s the evil of Christendom’s representatives calling the League of Nations (which became the United Nations) the political expression of the Kingom of God on earth.

I think imagination is wonderful. But it looks to me like John Ralston Saul’s “imagination” is rebelliousness. He just wants to break free from all ethical constraints. (I can see how he might choose to use as examples of good capitalists people like Peter Munk, who poohed poohed the rapes his mining employees committed, claiming that that’s their culture.) But I don’t know that I would have done so, without qualification. Does that make me timid? Or does that make Saul incautious? Or is it an indication of something darker?) And he’s good at making that seem reasonable, by omitting inconvient facts and twisting the truth. The wide gate onto the spacious road that leads to destruction (Mattew 7:13,14) is that way because there are no rules. Or, There are no rules, written and unwritten, that can’t be broken. The road that leads to life (success) is cramped and narrow. Rules make it thus. You can’t do this and you can’t do that. Depending on who explains that, the restrictions can be an oppressive thing or a liberating thing. If I told my young son that in order to get home safely, if he should ever somehow get separated from me in a crowd, he needed to find someone in authority – a store owner, a policeman or anyone in a uniform – and ask for help and to be careful crossing the street and to wait for the green light before crossing the street and to not cross the street without looking around just to be sure cars aren’t going through the green light, Would that be an act of oppression?

I believe that rules should be ‘for’ the people, not ‘against’ them. (pro NATO, pro Canadian military, Pearson the peacekeeper myth purveyor John Saul says he’s against the state’s pursuit of “order” over “welfare.”) And I believe that they shoud be for ‘all’ the people, not just the 1%. I also grasp Noam Chomsky’s common sense notion that when authority cannot justify its use of coercion, then that renders it, not illegal, but illegimitate. And he goes on to point out that such organizations and agencies should be destroyed. Those with power and influence think that because I am a Christian and choose to uphold Jehovah’s standards, I should be destroyed, after a fashion. ‘Disappeared’ if you like. Apparently, To be progressive, I must embrace paganism, either First Nations’s paganism or some other, depending on the agent of darkness you talk to. And note, I am not an enemy of First Nations. I have no use for their spirituality, which they tend to force on others (who usually don’t object because they don’t care or/and because it’s advantageous in some way). First Nations don’t have to embrace my Christianity in order for me to recognize their victimization at the hands of the imperial Canadian state. We will all soon be corrected. That correction will be extreme in some cases and not fatal in others. But there’s no escaping it.

“Any kind of illegitimate authority that exists, whatever it may be, from interpersonal relations up to huge states and transnational corporations, every such form of authority has to demonstrate legitimacy. They have the burden of proof, and we should understand that usually, very often, almost always that burden can’t be met. When it can’t be met, it should simply be dismantled. And that’s the way to move more towards a free and just democratic society.” – Noam Chomsky interview with Tom Morello

Japhy Wilson (source of photo: http://bit.ly/2ntu4Hb)

John Saul likes brilliant language. He would have swooned to hear the following then:

“The epicentre of these protests was Occupy Wall Street in Zucotti Park… At some point around midday, a clean-cut middle aged man arrived in the park, and began to address the crowd. He started by critizing the Wall Street Journal for its dismissal of the Occupy movement, before attacking hedge fund managers, businessmen, and a series of banks and corporations… As they cheered him on, the man became increasingly agitated, gesticulating violently, his voice shaking with emotion:

This is a democracy! We are the 99 per cent! We have the votes! You [the corporations and the hedge funds] may have the money, but we have the votes … And across America they’re hearing this message…

“These words might seem unremarkable on a global Day of Rage. Similar things must have been shouted at many protest sites that day. Yet this man was not a typical grassroots agitator. This was Jeffrey Sachs – development guru and ‘rock star economist’. Sachs has advised the governments of over 40 countries… He is a friend of the stars, accompanying Bono, Madonna, and Angelina Jolie on high-profile journeys to Africa to publicize the plight of the continent…

“In short, Jeffrey Sachs is a man of considerable power and influence on the world stage. It was therefore rather suprising to find him making such a radical and impassioned speech at Occupy Wall Street. Surprising, you might say, but was it not all the more commendable for that? How uplifting, in these cynical times, to see a person of such status who is unafraid to take a principled stand. Perhaps… yet something doesn’t quite ring true. In the first place, Sach’s claim to represent the 99 per cent sounds rather strange, given that he earns over US$300,000 a year and lives in an US$8 million Manhattan townhouse. And his demonization of bankers, businessmen, and politicians who ‘sup with the rich and billionaires’ is also rather odd, considering his own close working relationships with billionaire financiers such as George Soros and Ray Chalmers. His attack on corporate power is equally suprising, in light of his collaborations with multinational corporations such as GlaxoSmithKline, Merck, Monsanto, Nike, Novartis, and Pfizer. It also seems rather peculiar that Sachs should attack the Wall Street Journal, given that he has written for it in the past, using it as a platform for his triumphant celebration of the demise of communism…

“In other words, Jeffrey Sachs played a central role in the contruction of the very same neoliberal system that he is now so vocally opposing.” – pgs 1-3 of “Jeffrey Sachs – The Strange Case Of Dr Shock And Mr Aid” by Japhy Wilson.

Remind you of anyone?

I have other issues with John Saul, but this post is long enough and makes my case that Saul is establishment to the core. He has some deluded idea that the EU is making progress and sets a good example, for example. I almost didn’t read the book, I was so put off by it. I don’t think I need to immerse myself in darkness in order to be enlightened. But it didn’t kill me, and I didn’t have to kill anyone else, to read the book which I had already bought. And that’s what exploring is. You don’t explore because you know that everything you discover will be awesome. Not in this world. You explore because you’re curious, because you seek things and places in life that will work for you. In this world, About 1% or 2% of what you discover will work for you. The rest you’ll say no thanks to. But you explore for that 1% of things and places that you want. The alternative is to curl up into a fetal position and die in fear and ignorance and isolation.

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“AFRICOM Spearheads Escalation Of US “Scramble For Africa”” Which We Should Not Aid And Abet

*edit, March 26 – I added a link to Axis Of Logic’s website to my blog yesterday which will come down soon if ‘awaiting moderation’ doesn’t come off their website where my comment, once accepted, was. They are fast enough to flag it, so What’s the hold up here? No wonder there’s no life in their comments section. They kill it.

Source: AFRICOM Spearheads Escalation Of US “Scramble For Africa” | Critical Analysis |Axisoflogic.com

An excerpt from the above-linked article by Eddie Haywood follows:

==== ==== == =
In his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, General Waldhauser warned that AFRICOM’s “inadequate surveillance, poor supply chain networks, and lack of personnel” are putting US interests at increased risk. “These constraints risk our soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, Coast Guardsmen, and civilians executing activities on the African continent.” General Waldhauser stated.

Waldhauser testified further that AFRICOM’s capability restraints are most grave in relation to its support for the Department of State-led mission to protect US personnel and facilities.

Waldhauser also stated that only 20-30 percent of the command’s intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance requirements are being met, due to a lack of resources. To offset this shortfall, AFRICOM has relied primarily on private security contractors (mercenaries).

Further highlighting AFRICOM’s resource constraints, the US maintains one military base overseeing the entire continent, Camp Lemonnier, a base shared jointly with France in the tiny nation of Dijibouti on the Horn of Africa. Washington is keen to upscale its military presence on the continent.
= == ==== ====

U.S. military outposts, port facilities, and other areas of access in Africa, 2002-2015. Nick Turse w TomDispatch

Nick Turse (photo by Dale Robbins) and Thomas Waldhauser (photo by National Guard Bureau CC-BY-2.0)

My online response to the above linked-to article follows:

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“So how many U.S. military bases are there in Africa? It’s a simple question with a simple answer. For years, U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) gave a stock response: one. Camp Lemonnier in the tiny, sun-bleached nation of Djibouti was
America’s only acknowledged “base” on the continent. It wasn’t true, of course, because there were camps, compounds, installations, and facilities elsewhere, but the military leaned hard on semantics,” writes Nick Turse (“Does Eleven Plus One Equal Sixty?” – http://bit.ly/1TG76Gc).

And has Eddie Haywood been take in by those semantics? It’s unfathomable to me that an investigative journalist, especially one on the (real) Left who would be familiar with sites like TomDispatch (where we find articles by Nick Turse and David Vine and other informed people) would pass on the idea that the US has one base in Africa. It makes me wonder about other elements of his article.

Nick continues:

“Indeed, U.S. staging areas, cooperative security locations, forward operating locations (FOLs), and other outposts – many of them involved in intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance activities and Special Operations missions – have been built (or built up) in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, the Central African Republic, Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mali, Niger, Senegal, the Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, and Uganda. A 2011 report by Lauren Ploch, an analyst in African affairs with the Congressional Research Service, also mentioned U.S. military access to locations in Algeria, Botswana, Namibia, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Tunisia, and Zambia. AFRICOM failed to respond to scores of requests by this reporter for further information about its outposts and related matters, but an analysis of open source information, documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Act, and other records show a persistent, enduring, and growing U.S. presence on the continent.”

Turse notes the sensitivity of US officials to the phrase ‘building boom’ in connection with Africom’s activities in Africa. But then again, Nick isn’t passing on, without qualification, Thomas Waldhauser’s plea for more support and funds. One might be forgiven for thinking that if Waldhauser, and those who he can enlist in his propaganda efforts, is pleading for more funds and support, then that must mean that he needs them. It must also mean that the US military hasn’t got an effective presence in Africa.
—:::::===========

WSWS stands for World Socialist Web Site.

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Aroma Stinks!

Aroma Espresso Bar and, a few doors further east, Rooster Coffee Shop, on King St East in downtown Toronto

Well, I’ve been meaning to look into Aroma’s status for a while. I only got around to doing so last night. Today, as I sit in the Rooster in the above photo (both taken by myself), I’m typing up my findings, which I now present.

This Rooster is Shawn Andrews and her partner Dave Watsons’ second Rooster. They now own and manage 3. I happen to work not too far away and just happen to find this shop well located in that I can chill here before heading on to work (for a company I detest and which happens to also be a target of BDS). It’s on the 504 streetcar line, a great line for getting to a good variety of coffee shops, chains and indies. I came to Toronto in ’93 and watched the indy coffee scene explode. There was virtually nothing on the 504 line (east of Yonge St, which is where I am most of the time), which begins at Broadview station at Danforth & Broadview and eventually makes its way down to King and then runs across the city for a long way. I forget exactly where it turns around.

The coffee here is okay, but coffee elsewhere is often awful. There’s not a lot of great coffee out there, for whatever reasons. Rooster has its positives and no short of negatives. The cold drink selection is crap. The eats are awful. The communal table is too high. Then there are issues with their wifi, which is on and off. But, as far as I know, Shawn and Dave aren’t down with murdering and oppressing people in order to steal their land. They aren’t racists and would never support those, like Aroma’s owner and founder, Sahar Shefa, who are.

I wandered into Aroma when it finally opened, knowing nothing about it. The coffee is awful. I can only choke it down as a macchiato. But the eats are stellar, as is the service. When I learned that Aroma is an Israeli chain, I wondered just what that meant. Israel’s an absolute mess, made so by its religious and political and military ‘leadership’. Israeli leadership, over the years, has gradually completely ruined, mentally and spiritually, the minds of its citizens. Pretty much the entire population is now racist, twisted and violent. So when I learn that something is Israeli, I don’t have a warm, fuzzy feeling, such as a good cup of coffee might produce.

Here’s what I found out last night:

1. Aroma’s Tel Aviv owner and founder, Sahar Shefa, came upon a colored (to what degree, I don’t know) Aroma employee (Mali Shalev) and, without provocation said this to her: “You see my skin color? I’m white and you’re black, I will screw you, this white guy is going to teach you a lesson, you are a black stain. You are a black and inferior woman. You are an idiot. You’re nothing and I make 800 dollars a minute.” Sure, He apologized to her, after being taken to court over it, and said all the right things. But the cat’s out the bag. As well, Actions speak as loudly as words…

2. “One of Aroma’s branches is in Ma’aleh Adumim, a large Israeli settlement in the occupied West Bank. Several Palestinian and Bedouin villages were destroyed so that it could be built. Only Jews are allowed to live there, not the indigenous Palestinian population. It is strategically situated just outside of Jerusalem on the road to Jericho, and is part of a clear plan by Israel to expand and annex East Jerusalem and beyond, driving out the Palestinians who have lived there for hundreds of years. Settlements like Ma’aleh Adumim, and there are many, are in clear violation of international law. They are made possible by continual ethnic cleansing and home demolitions.” – from “Why Boycott Aroma Espresso Bar?” at Connexions Online

See also the inminds articles on Aroma and BDS.

Don’t expect to get much information about Aroma Espresso Bar from Wikipedia. You won’t even find a mention of who found the chain. No mention of controversy (BDS). Nada. Call it ‘fake news’, because that, among other things, is what missing news is.

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The Deep State’s Denizens Probably Shouldn’t Be Expected To Expose The Deep State

Source: Republican insider: Trump is creating Deep State 2.0, but it might crash the economy (EXCLUSIVE) – INSURGE intelligence – Medium

An excerpt from the above linked-to interview of Mike Lofgren by Nafeez Ahmed follows:

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Insight: The Deep State is the overarching structure that overrides democratic process to determine policies, meaning that the two-party system offers little meaningful change of course from administration to administration.

So what is this structure that somehow makes decisions outside of the democratic process? What does the Deep State look like from inside?

“What I had described when I’d talked to you about the run up to the war in Iraq and so forth sounds like what Eisenhower was saying about the military industrial complex,” said Lofgren. “Nevertheless, I concluded further after the 2008 crash that there was more to it.”

For Lofgren, the Deep State is not just the national security apparatus. It also includes Wall Street, think tanks, and other interlocking agents of influence…

“And it struck me as the same sort of fear-mongering that went on in the financial sector, as we saw with Saddam’s alleged weapons of mass destruction: to stampede Congress into giving them carte blanche. So it’s not like how the Glenn Greenwalds of the world seem to define it – as the intelligence agencies. It’s a much bigger thing. It’s a public private partnership, among the principal government agencies mainly in national security and finance, with Wall Street, the defense contractors, Silicon Valley is very important because it’s the biggest source of new wealth — as well as the technology that the NSA would be totally lost without. NSA and CIA provide seed-funding for a lot of what Silicon Valley has done for decades through front companies and little venture capital shops.”

So would it be fair to say that the Deep State is kind of like a system, it’s not just a secret dimension to the state?

“It’s a series of coalitions of people and it’s not a conspiracy…
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My online responses to the above linked-to article follow:

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“The way forward is obvious: civil society has the opportunity to develop new strategies, cross-partisan coalitions and exploration spaces to disrupt the existing two-party structure, and either compel it to transform for the better, or be replaced by something better.” Being victims won’t automatically make abused citizens into caring activists. That’s an individual choice. And it doesn’t look good. People really have been mentally and spiritually ruined, owing to their own personal failing (not caring) and owing to the way society is designed. Work culture is barbaric. You work more for less and if you have children, How much energy will you have at the end of the day to inform yourself, via ‘active’ learning, rather than the passive learning that consists in turning a tv set on yourself and being blasted with corporatocracy propaganda?

And there are other issues.

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“These are people who in their own minds see themselves as patriotic custodians of the national interest.” I doubt it. They — which doesn’t mean absolutely everyone there — are gangsters and they know it, would be my view.

Activity isn’t the same as result, Mike notes. For sure. In this neoliberal era and the painful austerity that it brings, people are hurting and squawking. But noise isn’t fightback. Throwing a fist at a police officer or a chair through a Starbucks isn’t fightback. It’s shouting out “Ouch!” That’s all.

The fightback, which, I’m sorry to report, comes from 1% of the 99%, comes from those who have been paying attention (because they care) and have a better understanding of what’s going on. Caring is knowing. Without knowing the details, Mike’s daughter has her head down (but up) and into some political article, while there are thousands of idiot youngsters out there looking around for Pokemon monsters, heads down and buried in the screens of their overpriced (and utterly vulnerable) smartphones, oblivious of the fact that they are probably a part of a big experiment at predictive behavior, as Oliver Stone and James Corbett and others have pointed out. Which wouldn’t be so bad if the people here had good intentions.

But the neoliberal neoconservatives who own and run the world are looking forward to the pushback (fightback and squawking) that will come when the change that heroes like Trump promise turns out to be a change in pace — acceleration — of the current abuse known as neoliberal capitalism. The kids, who are also not so young and do pay taxes, no doubt couldn’t care less that they pay taxes and then ‘their’ government turns around and subsidizes the advanced industry (dominated by the military intelligence industrial complex) that is behind nastiness like Pokemon Go, which will possibly one day lead to their being harshly dealt with should they try to step out of their imposed roles as consumers and zombies.

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As for Glen Greenwald et al, I lost my respect for that group of celeb progressive investigative journalists when I learned about just how nefarious their boss, who they defend, is. Pierre Omidyar is a nazi loving (enabling, at least) BILLIONAIRE who helped install the nazis in Ukraine. The Pando Daily writers look into it. And Glen’s attitude toward FBI whistleblower Sibel Edmonds is very revealing. It’s a shame, because I really admired those people — Glen, Jeremy — and learned so much from them. And I would have a hard time believing that most of what they did was useless. But it’s been one thing after another. The Intercept’s Murtaza Hussain penned a pro USAID, pro White Helmets piece that disgusted me. (And then Democracy Now did a show promoting the White Helmets. I couldn’t believe it.) I remember when it was announced that these journos would be working for Pierre, a billionaire. I was concerned, but knew nothing. Not now. As for the White Helmets operation, there’s any number of sources that can inform interested people about them: Vanessa Beeley, Patrick Henningsen, Eva Bartlett, the Off Guardian website for example.
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The Globe And Mail Requires That It’s Readers Be ‘Right’ Thinking

Sewer Urchin (from Nanozine)

Sewer Urchin (from Nanozine)

Before I talk to you, you have to take ‘my’ test in order for me to know whether you are right thinking. But it’s a free universe. You don’t have to take my test. And I don’t have to, and won’t, hear from you if you don’t take my test.

That’s the position, in this time when the resource-rich Right and the purveyors of fake news have been exposed for the exploiters and destroyers that they are, that the Globe And Mail has taken toward readers of it’s online content who want to comment in the comments sections. I have a folder in my Firefox bookmarks for ‘Alternative Media’ (and have had to mark much of that ‘fail’) and another folder for ‘Mainstream Media’. I also have a folder for ‘Selected Major Media’. In that folder resides links to some of the major media, including the Toronto Star, a fake friend of the people. The ‘democrats’ at The Star killed online commenting by its readers, with even leftie Rick Salutin supporting the move. Were some commenters abusive and disruptive? No question. Welcome to the world. We wouldn’t allow our children to go to school if we insisted on protecting them from what we decided were wrong views and words, Would we? (Different views aren’t the biggest problem in an imperfect world. When one group has the power to force others to accept them or else, That’s the problem.) We would still have to go out to shop and for entertainment purposes. And we would most definitely be exposed to people whose words and behavior we didn’t agree with. That’s life.

The Globe is a major newspaper here in Canada and, like all corporate-owned media, it purveys, overall, news and information that the corporatocracy, and corporatocracy governments like Canada, approve. And because it’s precisely because the ‘king’ or ‘ruling’ class, globally has made the world we all live in hell – because these are people who have self-modified (which we are all free to do, but not without consequences) into being believers in deception, violence and inequality – that there is a lot of bad news to report, which the media that is a part of the global ruling class tries, with less and less success as alternative media has arisen, to fool the people into thinking is other than the corporatocracy caused social and environmental destruction that it is. The latest assault, on top of the attacks on civil rights and free speech carried out by governments directly through legislation, see the major media conducting a war on what it calls ‘fake news’. Is it necessary? We have to understand the character of the players here. That extreme behavior isn’t really necessary. But the macho, violent, fascist Right loves a fight, especially when it is bigger and badder than any grouping of its victims. This is as much about the opportunity to power trip, to bully and to show attitude as it is about the actual protection of power and privilege for the 1% and its tools.

This isn’t a fight that the Right can win. It’s a fight against the light, against God’s standards (love, love for truth and justice) and ultimately, against God himself. The Right and its corporatocracy governments and propaganda organs known as major media, can shut down opposition (which, by definition, means anyone not in completely in agreement or not silent) voices even more so than we see and it will make no difference to its fate. It is due to be destroyed.

“The fourth one poured out his bowl on the sun, and to the sun it was granted to scorch the people with fire. And the people were scorched by the great heat, but they blasphemed the name of God, who has the authority over these plagues, and they did not repent and give glory to him.” – Revelation 16:8,9

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I refused to answer those questions and that was enough to block me from publishing my comment to the sorry article by Andrew Cohen. So be it.

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