Lawlessness / Ruined – part 60

“10 Ways We Pretend War Is Not a Crime and How to Change Them” by David Swanson (David Swanson)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

A long time back I was asked for a title for this speech, which I hadn’t yet written, and I replied “10 Ways We Pretend War Is Not a Crime and How to Change Them.” More recently I sat down with the hope that I could think of 10 such ways. Unfortunately, far more than 10 items immediately occurred to me. So, the following are 10 greatest hits and broad categories of the ways in which we pretend that war is not a crime — plus how to change them…

Number 10. Laws like the Kellogg-Briand Pact are ignored. The pact, which bans all war, is a treaty to which the U.S. government is a party. That makes it the supreme law of the land under the U.S. Constitution. It is a treaty that has not been ended or abolished or withdrawn from…

And the Number 1 way in which we pretend that war is not a crime is . . . normalization. Our entertainment, our education, our mass media, and our politics treat violence, often extreme and sadistic violence, as normal and unremarkable, and participation in war as an admirable and praiseworthy “service” completely regardless of whether the war participated in is an evil murderous catastrophe. It’s gotten so bad that many people can’t imagine a world beyond war.

“Advocate for Charters and Vouchers and Scourge of Teachers’ Unions” by Diane Ravitch (Diane Ravitch’s blog)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

What do you know about the American Legislative Exchange Council or ALEC?

It is right now the single most influential private organization in the nation.

This article, though three years old, gives a good overview of the ALEC education goals, mainly to privatize public funding for schools and to eliminate teachers’ unions. This is not surprising, because the DeVos Foundations and the Koch Foundation are among its most important funders.

ALEC opposes any regulation. It opposes gun control and regulation of the oil and gas industry. It opposes the public sector having any power over corporations.

ALEC is a rightwing “bill mill.” Its staff drafts model state legislation.

About 2,000 state legislators belong to ALEC.

They attend its posh meetings at elegant resorts and return home with fully developed bills that they can introduce in their own states, simply writing in the name of their state on an ALEC bill…

The rightwing oligarchs are not interested in poor children or in education; they are interested in power and in killing the public sector that belongs to all of us.

“Roger Waters and John Pilger make powerful defence of Julian Assange in London” by ? (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

Up to 1,000 people gathered last night in central London to hear internationally acclaimed musician Roger Waters deliver a musical tribute to imprisoned WikiLeaks’ publisher Julian Assange.

Performing outside the UK Home Office, just miles from Belmarsh Prison where Assange is being held as a Category A prisoner, Waters sang Pink Floyd’s iconic song “Wish You Were Here.” He was accompanied by guitarist Andrew Fairweather Low…

The meaning of Assange’s extradition could not be clearer, Pilger said, “no matter who you are or where you are, if you expose the crimes of governments you will be hunted down, kidnapped and sent to the US as a spy.”

Pilger concluded: “Seventeen out of the 18 charges that Julian faces in America refer to the routine work of an investigative journalist, which is protected under the First Amendment of the US Constitution…. The whole thing is a sham. The US prosecutors know it’s a sham, the British government know it’s a sham, the Australian government know it’s a sham.

“That’s why Julian is locked up for 21 hours a day in a maximum-security prison and treated worse than a murderer. He is to be made an example of. What happens to Julian Assange and to Chelsea Manning is meant to intimidate us, to frighten us into silence.

“Trump’s bid for Greenland and the imperialist redivision of the world” by Bill Van Auken (WSWS)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The US corporate media initially treated the controversy surrounding Donald Trump’s public bid to buy Greenland from Denmark as another laughable example of the US president’s posturing as the peerless deal-maker-in-chief who viewed the proposal, in his own words, as just another “large real estate” deal.

The coverage shifted somewhat after Trump announced that he was canceling a state visit to Denmark set for the beginning of September because the country’s Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen had dismissed the public proposal as “absurd.” Trump described this response as “nasty,” adding, “You don’t talk to the United States that way, at least under me.”

Trump came under criticism for snubbing Denmark, a NATO ally which has functioned as a slavish supporter of US imperialism around the globe, sending troops into Washington’s wars of aggression in both Afghanistan and Iraq…

While the operations at Thule were scaled down following the dissolution of the USSR, Greenland has once again become a focal point for US strategic interests in the context of a “scramble for the Arctic” that is part and parcel of the preparations for another world war.

Climate change has turned Greenland into a new front line. The melting of the region’s ice sheet, while threatening rising sea levels and a global catastrophe, has begun to open up new sea routes linking Europe, Asia and North America. It has also created the possibility for exploiting the Arctic’s resources, which are estimated to include 30 percent of the world’s unexplored natural gas reserves and 13 percent of its undiscovered oil, as well major mineral deposits, including rare earth minerals, strategic materials whose production is currently dominated by China.

China last year unveiled plans for a “Polar Silk Road” and has sought investment deals in Greenland, including in the construction of airports and seaports, against which the US has pushed back aggressively. Russia has also sought to develop its far north and asserted sovereignty over much of the region inside the Arctic Circle.

related: “A Message To China”

A US Army Bradley Fighting Vehicle waits to be driven into place in front of the Lincoln Memorial for President Donald Trump’s ‘Salute to America’ Fourth of July event. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

“Washington invokes “domestic terrorism” to justify police state rule” by Eric London (WSWS)

Behind the backs of the population, a bipartisan group of US lawmakers, military leaders and intelligence agents are engaged in a secret operation to endow the executive branch with dictatorial powers to suppress social opposition in the United States.

On July 27, Donald Trump offered a glimpse of this movement within the state apparatus, tweeting, “Consideration is being given to declaring ANTIFA … a major Organization of Terror (along with MS-13 & others). Would make it easier for police to do their job!” On August 17, Trump repeated the same threat.

Trump has seized upon the actions identified with ANTIFA, a loose amalgam that includes middle class protesters and, no doubt, police provocateurs, in order to label any form of left-wing opposition to fascism “terrorism,” a hallmark of police-state dictatorships from Hitler’s Third Reich to Pinochet’s Chile.

Trump is not merely expressing a personal opinion. In the face of growing strikes and protests and mounting social unrest internationally, the American ruling class is acknowledging that maintaining the flow of corporate profits and defending unprecedented levels of social inequality against the opposition of the broad masses of people requires dictatorial forms of rule. Under conditions in which three US billionaires control as much wealth as half the US population, even the worn-out forms of democratic rule have become untenable.

Trump increasingly legislates by “national emergency,” deploying troops on US soil, diverting Pentagon funds to build a border wall, threatening to end due process and constructing a network of concentration camps presently filled with desperate asylum seekers…

Trump’s July 27 and August 17 tweets to label Antifa a “major terrorist organization” are an expression of these police state plans, which can only be implemented through massive censorship and the silencing of dissent. These plans lie behind the international imperialist campaign to imprison and vilify WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and whistleblower Chelsea Manning, both of whom remain locked up for the “crime” of exposing such crimes to the world.

These plans are bipartisan.

Note: BIPARTISAN! The US is NOT democratic. Its fascist. If the people go along with its police State thinking and behavior, then that’s fascist, period, and not ‘sub-fascist’. The fascists can call us terrorists but the Left – fake and real (with exceptions) – balks at calling the fascists fascists. It reminds me of Dilma Rousseff (The Brazilian President who was ousted in a coup in 2016 by the criminal opposition). She was warned that the fascists could be targetting her and she just ignored the warning, as Pepe Escobar tells Joe Lauria, whose website, Consortium News, I can’t seem to leave comments on now, something I’ll be blogging about soon.

Jeffrey Epstein’s compound in the Virgin Islands. (YouTube)

“Long Before Epstein: Sex Traffickers & Spy Agencies” by Elizabeth Vos (Consortium News)

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

The alleged use of sexual blackmail by spy agencies is hardly unique to the case of Jeffrey Epstein. Although the agencies involved as well as their alleged motivations and methods differ with each case, the crime of child trafficking with ties to intelligence agencies or those protected by them has been around for decades.

Some cases include the 1950s -1970s Kincora scandal and the 1981 Peter Hayman affair, both in the U.K.; and the Finders’ cult and the Franklin scandal in the U.S. in the late 1980s. Just as these cases did not end in convictions, the pedophile and accused child-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein remained at arms’ length for years.

“For almost two decades, for some nebulous reason, whether to do with ties to foreign intelligence, his billions of dollars, or his social connections, Epstein, whose alleged sexual sickness and horrific assaults on women without means or ability to protect themselves… remained untouchable,” journalist Vicky Ward wrote in The Daily Beast in July.

The protection of sex traffickers by intelligence agencies is especially interesting in the wake of Epstein’s death. Like others, Epstein had long been purported to have links with spy agencies. Such allegations documented by Whitney Webb in her multi-part series were recently published in Mintpress News.

Webb states that Epstein was the current face of an extensive system of abuse with ties to both organized crime and intelligence interests. She told CNLive! that: “According to Nigel Rosser, a British journalist who wrote in the Evening Standard in 2001, Epstein apparently for much of the 1990s claimed that he used to work for the CIA.”

Vicky Ward, who wrote on Epstein for Vanity Fair before his first arrest, and claimed the magazine killed one of her pieces after Epstein intervened with editor Graydon Carter, said in a Tweet that one of Epstein’s clients was Adnan Khashoggi, an arms dealer who was pivotal in the Iran Contra scandal and was on the Mossad (the Israeli intelligence agency) payroll. This was also noted in a book “By Way of Deception” by former Mossad agent Victor Ostrovsky…

Given the history of child trafficking rings that were allegedly connected with or enjoyed the protection of intelligence services, it is possible that similar claims about Jeffrey Epstein are something the authorities, though unlikely, should investigate.

They’re good at investigating… and, apparently, murdering arrested alleged intel assets who have engaged in pedophilia and blackmail and all kinds of abuse.

“The demand for luxury shellfish is polluting the ocean with plastic” by Leah Bendell (The Conversation via The Narwhal)

The federal government has taken action recently to reduce the amount of plastic waste found on land and in oceans, rivers and lakes.

In June, for example, it said it would ban single-use plastics by 2021. “It is tough to explain to your children why dead whales are washing up on our beaches with their stomachs jammed packed with plastic bags,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau commented at the time.

Despite this progress, one of the main plastic polluters — shellfish aquaculture — continues to threaten marine ecosystems…

In 2017, the DFO gave the West Coast shellfish industry a green light to expand its farming practices to include the lucrative geoduck, a luxury protein used in sashimi, to meet the demand from Hong Kong and the rest of China.

Geoducks (pronounced “gooey ducks”) are large salt-water clams, found naturally along the Pacific coast. Sales of farmed geoduck to this select market netted close to $56 million in 2017.

Farming them involves placing juvenile geoducks into rows and rows of 18-inch long segments of PVC piping, planted vertically into the intertidal sediments, at a density of one pipe per square foot. Nets are secured with elastic bands over the pipe to protect the immature geoduck.

But the pipes become loose within days, especially after storm events, and the beach becomes littered with the plastic netting, elastics and pipes. Wave action and ultraviolet light from the sun degrade the pipes, creating fragments and then microplastics (items smaller than five millimetres in diametre) that further pollute the marine environment…

The government says it’s intent on protecting at least 10 per cent of our coastal ecosystems and reducing the threat of plastics to our marine environments. Yet the industry, which is managed by our federal government, has been given permission to introduce hazardous plastics into one of B.C.‘s most sensitive ecosystems.

An excerpt from the above linked-to article follows:

On September 1, US Vice President Mike Pence visited Poland to commemorate the 80th anniversary of the start of World War II in Europe as guests of Polish President Andrzej Duda. President Donald Trump himself planned to go but postponed his visit to be on hand when Hurricane Dorian made landfall in Florida. However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has not been invited.

In other words, even after 80 years, fools never learn.

Both in Poland and the West, the true history of the dark summer months of 1939 when world war and the destruction of almost all of Continental Europe finally became inevitable have become calcified in mythical legend. Once again, the grim, true story needs to be told.

The Soviet Union is in the West now blamed almost as much as Adolf Hitler, Nazi Germany’s ruling psychopath, for starting the war because in August 1939 it signed the fateful Nazi-Soviet Pact with Berlin. However, this simplistic picture willfully ignores, denies and buries the years of painful but vital history that went before.

Far from presciently seeking to oppose and block Nazi Germany, previous Polish dictator Josef Pilsudski and the military junta that succeeded him were Hitler’s first allies. They were the first nation to sign a non-aggression pact with Hitler on January 26, 1934. On October 1, 1938, they took advantage of the infamous Munich agreement when Britain and France sold out Czechoslovakia to Hitler to seize an area of that country with almost a quarter of a million people.

Yet even then, war was still far from inevitable. The two arguably most powerful men in the world, Soviet ruler Josef Stalin and President of the United States Franklin Roosevelt both wanted to prevent it.

However, so reluctant was British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain to talk to Stalin about anything he staffed his strategic talks delegation to Moscow with military nonentities and then sent them on a slow, cheap private ship around Norway and through the Arctic…

Duda and Poland’s other policymakers have made repeatedly clear that they back Washington’s super-hawks and armchair warrior heroes to the hilt every time.

But they would do well to remember how Poland could have been the Soviet Union’s ally in 1939, thereby deterring or successfully containing Nazi Germany. Instead, they isolated themselves, trusted in far off, militarily feeble Western allies who could not protect them and ignored or insulted the only nation that could have aided them against the Nazi predators.

Today, 21st century Russia is neither communist nor revolutionary: It has a long-established track-record of respecting its friends and allies and it is not in the business of regime change. It stands for and defends the right of sovereign nations to regulate their own immigration flows and foreign trade. These are policies that Poland claims to support too.


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