Greek Anarchists Claim Arson Attack Against Italian Diplomat in Athens
ATHENS (Reuters) – A Greek anarchist group claimed responsibility on Thursday for an arson attack on cars at a senior Italian diplomat’s home in Athens this month, saying it was in solidarity with a jailed anarchist in Italy.
At least one car was destroyed and another one was damaged during the attack at the home of Italian deputy ambassador Susanna Schlein in the early hours of Dec. 2.
The anarchist group Cell of Revenge “Carlo Giuliani” said it staged the attack over Alfredo Cospito, a 55-year-old Italian anarchist convicted for a non-fatal shooting against a nuclear energy manager in 2012 and a 2016 bomb attack.
Cospito is jailed under a strict isolation regime, known in Italy as 41 bis, and normally reserved for Mafia members.
“We decided to send our own signal of solidarity to the comrade and his struggle against the 41 bis,” the group said in a statement on an anarchist website often used by groups to claim responsibility for attacks.
Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni had expressed her “deep concern” and sympathy to Schlein, sister of a prominent Italian politician.
Greek and Italian foreign ministries had also condemned the attack staged days before the 14th anniversary of the police killing of a student in Athens that led to Greece’s worst riots in decades.
Greece has a decades-old history of political violence and more anarchist groups have emerged since the police shooting of Alexis Grigoropoulos in 2008, just before its debt crisis began.
(Reporting by Renee Maltezou in Athens and Alvise Armellini in Rome; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)
As the Moscow, Idaho murder investigation continues, more and more theories have started to crop up online as the slow feed of information keeps the general public in the dark.
In the early hours of November 13, four University of Idaho students, Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were brutally murdered in their off-campus home.
As time moves on, the families of those involved have become more and more outspoken as well — especially Steve Goncalves, Kaylee’s father.
Online, people following the case have alleged that the young man seen near a food truck where Kaylee and Madison ordered food before their murder is a student named Jack Showalter.
Who is Jack Showalter, the alleged hoodie guy from the food truck video?
Showalter is suspected to be the man seen in the video taken outside Grub Truckers food truck with Kaylee and Madison — though officials have not confirmed the man’s identity.
Idaho police previously confirmed that the man in the video has been ruled out, but didn’t reveal his name.
After assuming his identity, followers of the case have started digging through Showalter’s social media accounts, mentions, tags, and anything that might give them a clue into who the guy is and what his potential involvement in the case might be.
Showalter is suspected to have been kicked out of a University of Idaho fraternity before the murders.
Reddit users claim Showalter was recently kicked out of his fraternity chapter of Delta Tau Delta at the University of Idaho for inappropriate behavior towards women at parties began popping up everywhere on forums discussing the crimes — without an official source, it would seem.
They did, however, uncover photos from Showalter’s mother’s Facebook in 2015 that shows him in the process of hunting — standing in front of a torn-apart animal’s carcass with various hunting knives littered across the ground.
Many believe that one of the hunting knives on the ground was a Ka-Bar style knife — Moscow Police Department has reportedly been asking local businesses if they sold the same blade. [Others have noted that the knife is a discontinued military weapon that someone may have kept over the decades and handed down.]
“Is that a 10″ fixed blade knife he is holding?!” read one of the comments in a post on the subreddit “r/idahomurders.”
A TikTok crime account titled “@crimeamongus” compiled various unconfirmed reports on the man, claiming that his alibi for the night of the crime was that he had immediately left the area the night of to drive to his parents’ cabin five hours away. It was also reported that he was at the Corner Club on the night of the murders —where Kaylee and Madison also were. He can be seen in the ‘food truck’ video walking into the frame with the two young women, almost elbow to elbow as if someone had just spoken. As the two young women order at the truck Showalter steps back and surveys the crowd and puts his hood up. When the women walk away without turning towards him or saying ‘goodbye’ he looks as they leave and slightly raised one hand. He then walked the other way.
Steve Goncalves believes the ‘food truck guy’ may be implicated as well.
Although it might not seem like a lot of solid evidence and hard investigative reporting, Kaylee’s father seems to be subscribed to the same notions. [The reporter writing this is going on Reddit to do her ‘hard hitting’ reporting, so, look in the mirror. Facts are facts, whoever digs them up and puts them wherever.]
During an exclusive interview with The Post, Steve revealed his beliefs that there was one individual he believed was ruled out too quickly.
“Some people came to us and said that he’s out of the country. He didn’t take a DNA test,” he said, referring to the man many believed to be Showalter.
“So we would like [police] to tell us what his alibi was,” he said, saying he would be able to move on if they could confirm it was “solid.”
Steve had said before that he believes that the alibis should be released to the families.
Let us start with the fact that Russia is firing 4 to 5 times more artillery shells than Ukraine every day:
Russia is firing a staggering 20,000 artillery rounds per day, a senior U.S. defense official estimated, while Ukraine is firing from 4,000 to 7,000 rounds daily.
The Ukrainians are quickly burning through their stockpiles of artillery rounds and other ammunition, including for their air defense systems, officials said.
So how is that working out? For starters, Ukraine is exhausting its stockpiles and the United States and NATO lack the industrial base to produce new supplies to fulfill Ukrainian needs and restore their own stockpiles.
Today we learn that the U.S. supplied howitzers are not very robust:
The war in Ukraine has a rate of artillery shelling not seen in a war since the Korean War. That intensity is so high that it’s putting a strain on the artillery pieces themselves, with a third out of commission at any point.
That’s according to the New York Times, which is reporting that a large portion of the approximately 350 howitzers provided by Western nations to Ukraine — including 142 American M777 howitzers — are damaged, destroyed or simply breaking down from overuse. Citing multiple U.S. defense officials, the report said that repeated use is wearing down the barrels. The artillery pieces have to be taken out of service and sent to a repair center outside of Ukraine.
Given the far higher rate of fire by Russian artillery pieces, logic suggests that Russia should be running into the same problem. It is not. Part of the explanation may be that Russia has far more artillery pieces than Ukraine and those systems are not being stressed to the same degree that the Ukrainian pieces are experiencing. It also is possible that the Russians are producing superior artillery pieces that withstand the stress of muliple fires.
I think one cause for the poor performance of the U.S. produced artillery pieces is a consequence of the U.S. defense procurement process. During the last 40 years the United States has not had to fight a peer that could fire back with comparable rates of fire. As a result, the standard of performance specified in the request for proposal submitted to the U.S. defense contractors did not envision the rate of fire that the artillery pieces are doing on a daily basis in Ukraine. The defense contractors produced an artillery piece that met the minimum standard. It would appear that the 155 mm artillery piece was not required to perform at a maximum level.
As I noted in a previous piece, just because the United States buys expensive weapons and spends billions more than Russia does not mean that the weapons are qualitatively better. The U.S. political system provides incentives to the U.S. Department of Defense to produce costly weapons as long as the systems approved by Congress provide tangible economic benefits to the constituents of those members of Congress. Financial contributions by those defense corporations to members of Congress provide a lubricant for getting programs produced that may not make tactical sense on the battlefield. The costly F-35 fighter is a prominent example.
If Ukraine falters in its ability to maintain its existing level of fire along the battle front, it will be forced to retreat. Artillery has been one of the few weapons that has kept Ukraine in the fight. Ukraine has no air power — i.e., fixed wing combat fighters and helicopters — to provide close air support and their supply of battle tanks is being reduced every day.
Ukraine’s situation is made more dire because neither the U.S. nor NATO have an ample supply of new howitzers to send to Kiev.
Don’t think of America as Uncle Sam. I think Old Mother Hubbard is a more apt comparison. The cupboard is bare.
Europe is destined to become an economic backwater. It has ‘lost’ Russia — and soon China. And is finding it has lost its standing in the world, too, Alastair Crooke writes.
Something odd is afoot in Europe. Britain recently has been ‘regime washed’, with a strongly pro-EU Finance Minister (Hunt) paving the passage to an election-free premiership by ‘globalist’ Rishi Sunak. Why so? Well, to impose swingeing cuts to public services, to normalise immigration running at 500,000 per annum and to raise taxes to the highest levels since the 1940s. And to open channels about a new relationship deal with Brussels.
A British Tory Party is content to do that? Slash social support and hike taxes into an already existent worldwide recession? On the face of it, it doesn’t seem to make sense. Shades of Greece 2008? Greek austerity for Britain — are we missing something? Is this setting the scene for the Remainer Establishment to point to an economy in crisis (blamed on Brexit failure), and to say there is no alternative (TINA) but a return to the EU in some form, (British ‘cap in hand’, and with head bowed)?
Simply put, forces behind the scenes seem to want the UK to resume its former role as US plenipotentiary inside Brussels — pushing the US primacy agenda (as Europe sinks into self-doubt).
Likewise odd — and significant – was that on 15 September, former German Chancellor Schroeder entered unannounced into Scholtz’s office where only the Chancellor, and Vice-Chancellor, Robert Habeck, were present. Schroeder slapped down a long-term gas supply proposal by Gazprom on the desk, directly under Scholtz’s eyes.
The Chancellor and his predecessor held each other’s gaze for a minute – without a word passing. Then Schroeder reached out, took back the unread document, turned his back and exited the office. Nothing was said.
On 26 September (11 days later), the Nordstream pipeline was sabotaged. Surprise (yes, or no)?
Many unanswered questions. The upshot: No gas for Germany. One Nordstream train (2B) however, survived the sabotage and remains pressurised and functional. Yet still no gas arrives in Germany (other than high price liquified gas). There are presently no EU sanctions on gas from Russia. Landing the Nordstream gas requires only a Regulatory go-ahead.
So then: Europe is to have austerity, loss of competitiveness, price and tax hikes? Yes — yet Scholtz did not even glance at the gas offer.
The Green Party of Habeck and Baerbock (and the EU Commission) is in close alignment with those in the Biden team insisting to maintain US hegemony, at all costs. This Euro-coalition is explicitly and viscerally malefic towards Russia; and in contrast, is as viscerally indulgent towards Ukraine.
The big picture? German Foreign Minister Baerbock in a speech in New York on 2 August 2022 sketched out a vision of a world dominated by the US and Germany. In 1989, George Bush famously had offered Germany a “partnership in leadership”, Baerbock claimed. “Now the moment has come when we have to create it: A joint partnership in leadership”. A German bid for explicit EU primacy, snaring US support. (The Anglos will not like that!)
Ensuring no backsliding on Russia sanctions and continuing EU financial support for the Ukraine war is a clear ‘Red Line’ for precisely those in the Biden team likely to be attentive to Baerbock’s Atlanticist bid — and who understand that Ukraine is the spider at the centre of a web. The Greens explicitly are playing this.
Why? Because Ukraine is still the global ‘pivot’: Geopolitics; geo-economics; commodity and energy supply chains — all revolve around where this Ukraine pivot finally settles. A Russian success in Ukraine would bring a new political bloc and monetary system into being, through its allies in the BRICS+, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the Eurasian Economic Union.
Is this European austerity binge then just about the German Green Party nailing down EU Russophobia? Or are Washington and its Atlanticist allies now prepping for something more? Prepping for China to get the ‘Russia treatment’ from Europe?
Earlier this week at Mansion House, PM Sunak changed gear. He ‘hat-tipped’ to Washington with the promise to stand by Ukraine ‘as long as it takes’, yet his primary foreign policy focus was firmly on China. The old ‘golden’ era of Sino-British relations ‘is over’: “The authoritarian regime [of China] poses a systemic challenge to our values and interests”, he said — citing the suppression of anti-zero-COVID protests and the arrest and beating of a BBC journalist on Sunday.
Over in the EU — belatedly panicking over unfolding widespread de-industrialisation — President Macron has been signalling that the EU might take a more hard-line China stance, though only were the US were to back-down on the subsidies in the Inflation Reduction Act, which entice EU companies to up-anchor, and sail off to America.
Yet, Macron’s ‘play’ is likely to meet a dead end, or at best, a cosmetic gesture — for the Act has already been legislated in the US. And the Brussels political class unsurprisingly already is waving the white flag: Europe has lost Russian energy and now stands to lose China’s tech, finance and market. It’s a ‘triple whammy’ — when taken together with European de-industrialisation.
There you have it — austerity is always the first tool in the US toolbox for exerting political pressure on US proxies: Washington is prepping the EU ruling élites to sever from China as fundamentally Europe has already done from Russia. Europe’s largest economies already are taking a harder line on Beijing. Washington will squeeze the UK and EU ‘til the pips squeak to get full compliance on a China cut-off.
The protests in China over Covid regulations could not have arrived at a more serendipitous time from the US’ ‘China hawks’ perspective: Washington whipped the EU into full propaganda mode on Iranian ‘demonstrations’ — and now the China protests offer the opportunity for Washington to go full court on China demonisation:
The ‘line’ used against Russia (Putin makes mistake after mistake; the system bumbles; the Russian economy is precariously perched on a knife edge and popular disaffection is soaring) – will be ‘cut and pasted’ to Xi and China.
Only, the inevitable EU moral lecturing will antagonise China even further: Hopes to keep a trade foothold in China will vanish, and effectively it will be China ‘washing its hands’ of Europe, rather than vice versa. European leaders have this blind spot — quite some Chinese may deplore the Covid lockdown practice, yet still will remain deeply Chinese and nationalist in sentiment. They will hate EU lecturing: ‘European values speak only for themselves — we have our own’.
Obviously, Europe has dug itself into a deep hole. Its adversaries grow bitter at EU moralising. But what exactly is going on?
Well, firstly, the EU is hugely over-invested in its Ukraine narrative. It seems incapable of reading the direction of travel that events in the war zone are taking. Or, if it does read it correctly (of which there is little sign), it appears incapable of being able to affect a course correction.
Recall that the war at the outset was never seen by Washington as likely ‘being decisive’. The military aspect was viewed as an adjunct — a pressure multiplier — to the political crisis in Moscow that sanctions were expected to unleash. The early concept was that financial war represented the front line — and the military conflict, the secondary front of attack.
It was only with the unexpected shock of sanctions not achieving ‘shock and awe’ in Moscow that priority switched from the financial to the military arena. The reason the ‘military’ was not firstly seen as ‘front-line’ was because Russia clearly had the potential for escalatory dominance (a factor which is now so evident).
So, here we are: The West has been humiliated in the financial war, and unless something changes (ie. dramatic escalation by the US) – it will lose militarily too — with the distinct possibility that Ukraine at some point, simply implodes as a state.
The actual situation on the battlefield today is almost completely at odds with the narrative. Yet, so heavily has the EU invested in its Ukraine narrative that it just doubles-down, rather than draw back, to re-assess the true situation.
And so doing — by doubling-down narratively, (standing by Ukraine ‘for as long as it takes’) — the strategic content to the ‘Ukraine’ pivot rotates 180 degrees: Rump ‘Ukraine’ will not be ‘Russia’s Afghan quagmire’. Rather, its’ rump is morphing into Europe’s long-term financial and military ‘quagmire’.
‘As long as it takes’ gives the conflict an indeterminate horizon — yet leaves Russia in control of the timetable. And ‘as long as it takes’ implies ever more exposure to NATO blind spots. The rest-of-world intelligence services will have observed NATO’s air defence and military-industrial lacunae. The pivot will show who is the true ‘paper tiger’.
‘As long as it takes’ — has the EU thought this through?
If Brussels imagines too, that such dogged adherence to narrative will impress the rest-of-the-world and bind these other states closer to the EU ‘ideal’, they will be wrong. Already there is a wide hostility to the notion that Europe’s ‘values’ or squabbles have any wider pertinence, beyond Europe’s borders. ‘Others’ will see the inflexibility as some bizarre compulsion by Europe to self-suicide – at the very moment that the end of ‘everything bubble’ already threatens a major downturn.
Why would Europe double-down on its ‘Ukraine’ project, at the expense of losing its standing abroad?
Perhaps, because the EU political class fears even more losing its domestic narrative. It needs to distract from that — it is a tactic called ‘survival’.
The EU, as with NATO, was always a US political project for the subjugation of Europe. It still is that.
Yet, the meta-EU narrative — for internal EU purposes — posits something diametrically different: that Europe is a strategic player; a political power in its own right; a market colossus, a monopsony with the power to impose its will over whomsoever trades with it.
Simply put, the EU narrative is that it has meaningful political agency. But Washington has just demonstrated it has none. It has trashed that narrative. So, Europe is destined to become an economic backwater. It has ‘lost’ Russia — and soon China. And is finding it has lost its standing in the world, too.
Again, the actual situation on the geo-political ‘battlefield’ is almost completely at odds with the EU narrative of itself as a geo-strategic player.
Its ‘friend’, the Biden Administration, is gone — whilst powerful enemies elsewhere accumulate. The EU political class never had a good grasp of its limitations — it was ‘heresy’ even to suggest there were limitations to EU power. Consequently, the EU has hugely overinvested in this narrative of its agency too.
Hanging EU flags from every official building will not cast a fig leaf over the nakedness, nor hide the disconnect between the Brussels ‘bubble’ and its deprecated European proletariat. French politicians now openly ask what can save Europe from complete vassalage. Good question. What does one do when a hyper-inflated power narrative bursts, at the same time as a financialised one?
• 3,900 WORDS •
Chances are, you started paying attention to Russia right around the time that the Euromaidan coup was pulled off and the rebellion in the East began. Or, you came in around the time that the Syria intervention kicked off.
During this period, people on the internet began looking for explanations to understand what was occurring. They started asking questions like: what does Russia stand for? What is Russia’s plan? Is Russia back on the world stage as a serious player? And, what alternative can Russia offer the world?
They quickly found that Russia’s government was as murky and opaque as their own, and they had little choice but to fall back on the tea-leaf analyses of self-styled Russia experts on the internet. Without any exception, the big name pro-Russia bloggers of this period did not live in Russia, had no real insight into Russian politics, and used the informational vacuum on the topic to get away with saying whatever they wanted.
But we’ve learned so much in recent months. The war has put so much of the bullshit that we’ve been hearing about Russia, the Kremlin, the 5D plans to test. So many truths have surfaced now that can give us some hindsight perspective on what was really going on in the lead-up to this war.
These revelations are worth jotting down here, now.
Also, I realize that I’ve been a rather dour blogger over the last couple of months. If its any justification, believe me, I’ve been far more measured in my doom-posting than a large chunk of Russia’s Telegram analyst community. Right-wingers, in particular, like to get together on livestreams to ritually tear their hair out and throw accusations of treason at government officials, despite the inherent risk of engaging in such behavior. It would not surprise me in the slightest to see the FSB make an example out of one of them soon.
But I don’t want to constantly dwell on Russia’s past mistakes obsessively. I want to learn from them and use them to inform my view of the internal political situation in Russia, nothing more. Furthermore, I don’t have a personal axe to grind against the kleptocrats that run Russia, and, hopefully after this post, I will simply put a bookmark on the long string of past failures of the Russian government leading up to the current situation and focus instead on what will come next.
This ought to at least make my writing a bit more upbeat. And, frankly, it just isn’t in my nature to constantly repeat the same talking points over and over again. I quickly get tired of doing that. If I were a propagandist trying to convince people to think a certain way and adopt a new worldview, then repetition, repetition, and yet more repetition would be the most powerful tool in my arsenal. But I realize now that I’m not really trying to convince anybody of anything when I write. I can’t even say that I’m working to hone my craft. My non-fiction writing serves the simple function for which it is intended: to inform and entertain somewhat. And that it enough for me. Most importantly, it is simply a tool for me to organize my own thoughts and keep track of my own progress in understanding the world and the hidden power processes that govern it.
With this post, I hope to provide a short and concise overview of what really was happening in Russia to get us where we are today that doesn’t rely on 5D chess theories and explains why it has been difficult to figure out just what exactly Russia stands for, what they were aiming to achieve, and why things worked out the way that they did so far in Ukraine. Once that’s done, we will be able to move on, together, to new topics with this general understanding under our belts.
Anyway, with that long preamble out of the way, we really should start our narrative in the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union to understand how we got to where we are today.
A sizable faction of the Soviet elite was well and truly working towards rapprochement with the West towards the end of the Soviet Union. As far as I am aware, it was Comrade Andropov who first said what had been left unsaid up until that point. He characterized the convergence of the elites as an inevitable and favorable goal for both the USSR and the USA. If effected, the world would converge into a new world order somewhat similar to the NWO that we see coming into shape now, but with the East and the West as equal partners in it.
Gorbachev continued with efforts to bring the West and the East into alignment with his reforms. Needless to say, they were disastrous. Often unmentioned by anyone except Western conspiracy theorists, the other part of the bargain was that the West would also begin reforming to become more compatible with the East. Seeing as the West went into steep cultural decline from the 60s onwards, it appears that as the East was Westernizing, the West was Easternizing as well.
By the time that Boris Yeltsin and his gang of Jewish gangsters came to power, the terms of the deal had well and truly been changed, even if many elites in Russia still clung to the false hope that the West would treat them as equals. By the time that Putin succeeds Boris, it becomes clear that the West will not treat the Eastern elites equally and will not give them a seat at the big boys’ table. Putin starts off his presidency with the same positions as Yeltsin — he wanted rapprochement with the West and did what he could to curry favor by playing nice. And it seems that he well and truly hit it off with George W. Bush — the two enjoyed amicable relations.
But around the time of the Obama presidency, we begin to see changes occur in Russia’s attitudes towards the West. NATO expansion East was almost certainly the largest determining factor in the newfound pessimistic viewpoint that the Kremlin adopted. Furthermore, it was becoming clearer and clearer that the neocons in the West were serious about implementing the American century-of-hegemony project. In the aftermath of the fall of Ghadaffi, Putin decided to start doing what he can to bring the West to the negotiation table. Russia began looking for cards to play and took a more active role in resisting the West.
Despite numerous warnings and all the tell-tale signs of a brewing CIA color coup, Russia still managed to lose Kiev to Western-backed revolutionaries. Worse, the Kremlin forbade Yanukovich from calling in the army or cracking down on the coup. The only ones left holding the line against the terrorists were police cadets, who got brutally savaged by armed thugs and left to fend for themselves while the actual Berkut was largely kept back.
Thankfully, not even the most hopeless 5D chess theorists can spin the loss of Kiev to Victoria Nuland’s cookie-coup as a clever Judo move by Putin.
The Kremlin most likely also prevented Yanukovich from heading to his strongholds in the East to raise support there. Chances are, he probably stole too much from Moscow’s oligarchs, and they were content to see him ousted. In time, the Kremlin no doubt surmised, Kiev would hold new elections and yet another Eastern Ukrainian mafia don would take power again. In the meantime, the oil and gas continued to flow across the territory, so the situation was by and large acceptable to the oligarchs interests.
So, for them, so long as the profits continued to flow, and Ukraine remained dominated by networks of Jewish oligarchs that had shown themselves to be open to accepting Moscow’s bribes in exchange for neutrality towards Russia, the new status quo could be tolerated. Plans for drastic and decisive action were tabled and such talk was vigorously clamped down on by Russia’s liberal private and state-run media. Only certain segments of the patriot blog sounded the alarm on their various blogs and social media accounts.
Concurrently with Euromaidan, the government of Lvov had been taken in a Maidan-type coup and the region proceeded to declare its intent to become independent of Kiev. When Kiev was taken, this was all forgotten. But, just as one separatist movement fizzled out, another one began. Furthermore, a precedent had been set in both Lvov and Kiev. Despite the Kremlin’s laissez-faire attitude to the events occurring in Ukraine, patriotic Russian nationalists like, most famously, Igor “Strelkov” Girkin, organized a populist uprising in the East. Rebels tried to take the government buildings in much the same way as was done in Kiev. In some regions, this action was successful, but in others, armed gangs and the SBU prevented the separatist coups. Regardless, these actions triggered a response from Kiev and the situation began to spiral out of control shortly after the Ukrainian army was sent in. Kiev’s ATO (anti-terrorist operation) began shortly after and bedlam ensued.
The separatist rebels enjoyed early successes against the unmotivated, disorganized and poorly-equipped Ukrainian army. But volunteer gangs of mercenaries sent in by Kiev and on the pay of the various Jewish oligarchs began to turn the tide against the rebellion. At long last, with defeat of the rebels imminent, Russia did a partial intervention in Debaltseve which got Kiev to back off. From then on, the Kremlin committed to providing a lifeline to the separatists, but also did everything in its power to prevent further escalation. No advances against Ukrainian positions were allowed. Volunteers, funds, equipment and weapons were routinely arrested at the border. Charismatic separatist militia commanders who were disliked by either Ukraine’s or Moscow’s oligarchs suddenly began dropping like flies. For 8 years, Kiev shelled the separatist cities while NATO re-armed and re-trained the Ukrainian army. As we now know, Russia largely did nothing during this time in way of military preparation. If anything, they downplayed the significance of Kiev’s attacks and provocations because it would jeopardize their precious Minsk I and II deals. These agreements were never honored by the Ukrainian side and never achieved the stated goals of the Kremlin.
Putin, in a moment of candor, ended up admitting that waiting for 8 years to do something was a bloody and costly mistake.
The Special Military Operation
For reasons that are still not readily apparent, possibly an imminent Ukrainian attack on Donetsk, Putin ordered a strike force to invade Ukraine on the 24th of February in an attempt to effect a coup d’etat in Kiev. This operation was almost certainly prepared based on intelligence provided by the so-called “5th Service” of the FSB and the network that they had set up in the country. With a few exceptions, this plan failed everywhere it was attempted. When the lightly-armed Russian soldiers reached Kiev, they found that there was no plan for the taking of the city, and that the gates of the city hadn’t been opened from within as was almost certainly what they had been led to expect would happen. The surrender of Kharkov then turned out to be a fake-out and it almost led to a repeat of Grozny i.e., an ambush of Russian columns entering the city along the main road. Cities like Mariuple that had been largely undefended 8 years ago, had been turned into fortresses. Operations to liberate them would prove to be costly and time-consuming.
Russia was forced to retreat soon after the initial strike to regroup and then launch a more conventional operation against entrenched Ukrainian positions in the East. Months of deadlock and grinding ensue. Eventually, it becomes clear that the Russians have committed far too few men and that, having failed to knock out Kiev, Ukraine’s army, equipped by the West, has had time to mobilize and can now go on the counter-attack against Russia. In quick succession, Russia loses Kharkov and then Kherson. During this time, the Kremlin finally accepts reality and gives the green-light to begin mobilizing more men. Problems ensue as it become clear that the military had largely been gutted by previous defense ministers leading to a deficit in officers, equipment and infrastructure. Furthermore, a growing awareness of the need to have a second and possibly a third wave of mobilization begins to dawn on many analysts. This conclusion, however, at the time of my writing up this summary is vociferously denied by the Kremlin and their various mouthpieces. It is unclear why.
We now wait to see if the first wave is enough to hold back the Ukrainian counterattack or whether more territories will have to be abandoned. Zaporozhiye is the most likely domino to fall next.
Then, having had time to reinforce, we wait to see if Russia will be able to stabilize the contact line. No serious commentator or analyst believes that a Russian advance is possible with the paltry numbers of soldiers that Russia is able to field now. The serious debate is about a) where exactly the Russians will try to hold a defensive line against Kiev’s larger army, and b) when exactly the second mobilization will be announced and how slow and effective it will be compared to the first one.
Should Russia be able to mobilize 1.5–2 million men quickly, then a counteroffensive becomes possible again. But, again, this depends largely on the political will of the Kremlin. It also depends on the power balance within the Kremlin. Finally, it depends, to a lesser extent, on the goodwill and trust of the Russian peasants in their own government. The prevailing sentiment in Russia is what you would expect: discounting the urban Liberal elite, the Russian people are far more patriotic than their own government.
The Great Russian Restoration
The beginning of the SMO caused a great convulsion in Russian society. The Liberal Opposition began to array itself for battle in the media and the streets against the “Fascist” Putinist government.
They found themselves pre-empted and swiftly shut down by the police.
It was a breathtaking spectacle to behold. The shutdown was so smooth and well-organized and uncompromising that the Liberal Opposition suffered the worst defeat it had ever experienced in the country’s history. Within a few weeks, major flagship liberal media projects were shut down and large media personalities and political figures found themselves fleeing for Israel, Latvia, Georgia and Turkey.
I wrote extensively and enthusiastically about all of this at the time.
You really should take the time to read my “Great Russian Restoration” series of essays if you haven’t already. I’ve reread them myself for this post and I think they hold up, even months later. Some of them are downright prescient, frankly.
I also gave an overview of the general state of the military. As well as the kvetching of the oligarchs. And how even the Orthodox Church was forced to clean up the subversives within its own ranks.
However, I had to abandon that series of essays, even though it was by far the most popular and widely-circulated writings that I produced. The series came to a premature end, but not because I lost steam or interest in the topic or anything like that though. I had to stop writing about it because there was simply nothing new to report by the start of summer. It seems that the changes were happening too fast and were too alarming for the Kremlin, so they dialed it all back. Or, perhaps, they themselves were surprised by the extent of the shake-up that had occurred and so decided to rein things in.
No prominent government officials lost their positions or their heads as was hoped for by many patriots in Russia. The same rogue’s gallery of crooks and cretins who seized power in the 90s and 00s occupy the same positions as before.
Furthermore, it seems that we have reached the limit of what the Kremlin is willing to consider in terms of internal reforms for now. Either the situation drastically worsens in some way, necessitating a swift reaction from the Kremlin, or internal forces like the largely unorganized, but massive patriot bloc does something to shake things up internally again. Many Russian bloggers, myself included, have come to believe that the Kremlin is largely bereft of any larger vision, strategic plan or any new ideas at all for the country. The only silver lining is that the old plan — integration with the globalist one world government — has been sabotaged. But if the positive process of “sovereignization” is to continue, the driver for it has to likely be forces within the country that are outside of the Kremlin or further pressure must be brought to bear on the country from external enemies. Barring that, the Kremlin will fight tooth and nail to keep the status quo as best they can. For people who want to see a revanchist, re-militarized and re-invigorated Russia retaking her place on the world stage and taking the fight to the globalist new world order, the current status quo is simply unacceptable.
In the meantime, Russia’s elites continue to make deals with the West on the sidelines and continue to try and prevent any further escalation in rhetoric or measures taken to combat the NWO. This is largely because most of Russia’s elites still desperately hope for a convergence of one kind or another. It’s one thing if Putin forces the West to come to the table to offer better terms for Russia’s elites with his brinkmanship. It’s quite another matter if an actual open conflict between the West and Russia begins, dashing plans for integration with the West for the foreseeable future.
The Russian Idea
We have seen a drastic escalation in rhetoric coming from people like President Putin, who now refers to the West as Satanic and fundamentally opposed to the continued existence of Russia as a sovereign state. Furthermore, pundits and even generals refer to the current conflict as an existential war against NATO and the NWO. Despite this, few measures are being taken domestically to reflect this new reality. There is no great economic mobilization going on. There is no “New Russia” idea being promoted by patriotic thinkers. No large populist movements take to the streets to wave flags and show their patriotic support for their troops and so on.
It appears that the Kremlin is afraid and wary of the very people that it rules over. It seems quite clear that they fear unleashing a patriot-populist movement because they know that the populace is far to the right of them on almost every social, political and economic issue. As a result, despite popular support for the war, the government has discouraged large-scale marches and other citizens’ initiatives to support the effort. In many ways, the situation is indeed comparable to the state of affairs in pre-Revolutionary Russia where the secret police spent most of its time rounding up Black Hundreds populist-patriots and turning a blind eye to organized Jewish terrorist cells in the country.
We are left asking the same questions that we began with almost a decade ago.
What does Russia stand for? What does Russia fight for? Why should Russians lay down their lives in the current war and the wars to come?
The government has provided no real answer to these questions. And, again, it appears that a large part of the nomenklatura is dragging its heels or actively in denial of the new reality that Russia faces. More effort is expended by the state media and the government on trying to mollify and calm the Russian people down than in trying to provide a coherent plan of action going forward. This is largely due to the fact that the Russian government is flying by the seat of its pants and has no plans whatsoever for what to do next or how to prevent further escalation. As a result, they cannot announce that an offensive will begin before Christmas or that a new 5-year plan to put the country on a solid military footing is being put into effect. All they can repeat over and over again is that everything is fine, that there is no cause for concern, and that there’s nothing to see here or there.
Now, my analysis flies in the face of what you have been hearing from all the large pro-Russia bloggers. This is because these other writers are simply dogmatic propagandists for a certain party line. Furthermore, they get their information from Russian government sources, which they trust blindly. Me, I am not a propagandist for any standing government anywhere. Instead, I see myself as an advocate for the Russia of the past that we lost and the Russia of the future that we must become again.
With all of this committed to virtual paper, I hope to be able to move on with my writing and my analyses. I don’t want to keep rehashing the same talking points over and over, and, going forward, I will simply link this post as my executive background primer on Russia and just move forward, whether people are ready to follow or not. We’re actually in uncharted territory now, and the only thing preventing us from boldly launching an expedition to explore it are these lingering preconceptions and narratives that blind us to the reality that we now face. In other words, a person who is still waiting for the other shoe to fall on Putin’s 5D Eurasian Judo-flip to checkmate NATO is not capable of soberly analyzing the fateful crossroads that Russia is standing at now.
Decisions are being made in key areas now that will determine the fate of Russia in the coming years.
Specifically, these are:
The scale and pace of the ongoing military mobilization;
The economic model going forward;
The adoption of a so-called “Russian Idea”;
The attitude of the authorities to the patriotic bloc;
The roster of the cadres of the Kremlin elite;
The expansion of the scope of the conflict.
Much depends on the developments in these key areas. It is my position that without drastic reforms, Russia simply won’t be able to hold out against NATO. It is also my position that the Kremlin won’t take the necessary measures unless forced at gunpoint to do so either by external or internal pressure. Furthermore, I assert that there is no 5D chess plan, only prevailing and countervailing forces exerting pressure on the Kremlin and the country at large. These forces and the pressure that they apply are only growing in intensity and you can almost hear the government apparatus groaning from the strain.
Russia is once again facing an existential threat to its continued survival as a sovereign state.
Either the country becomes strong enough to stand on its own two feet and put up a serious fight, or we will live to see a repeat of the 90s and another iteration of the Time of Troubles occur all over again.
(Republished from The Occidental Observer)
• 1,000 WORDS •
Iran’s parliament has just approved the accession of the Islamic Republic to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), previously enshrined at the Samarkand summit last September, marking the culmination of a process that lasted no less than 15 years.
Iran has already applied to become a member of the expanding BRICS+, which before 2025 will be inevitably configured as the alternative Global South G20 that really matters.
Iran is already part of the Quad that really matters – alongside BRICS members Russia, China and India. Iran is deepening its strategic partnership with both China and Russia and increasing bilateral cooperation with India.
Iran is a key Chinese partner in the New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). It is set to clinch a free trade agreement with the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) and is a key node of the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), alongside Russia and India.
All of the above configures the lightning-fast emergence of the Islamic Republic of Iran as a West Asia and Eurasia big power, with vast reach across the Global South.
That has left the whole set of imperial “policies” towards Tehran lying in the dust.
So it’s no wonder that previously accumulated strands of Iranophobia – fed by the Empire over four decades — have recently metastasized into yet another color revolution offensive, fully supported and disseminated by Anglo-American media.
The playbook is always the same. Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei actually came up with a concise definition. The problem is not bands of oblivious rioters and/or mercenaries: “the main confrontation”, he said, is with “global hegemony.”
Ayatollah Khamenei was somewhat echoed by American intellectual and author Noam Chomsky, who has remarked how an array of US sanctions over four decades have severely harmed the Iranian economy and “caused enormous suffering.”
Using Kurds as expendable assets
The latest color revolution overdrive overlaps with the manipulation of Kurds in both Syria and Iraq. From the imperial perspective, the proxy war in Syria, which is far from over, not only works as an additional front in the fight against Russia but also allows the instrumentalization of highly dependent Kurds against both Iran and Turkey.
Iran is currently being attacked according to a perverse variation of the scheme applied to Syria in 2011. A sort of “permanent protest” situation has been imposed across vast swathes of northwestern Iran.
What changed in mid-November is that armed gangs started to apply terrorist tactics in several towns close to the Iraqi border, and were even believed to be weaponized enough to take control of some of the towns.
Tehran inevitably had to send IRGC troops to contain the situation and beef up border security. They engaged in operations similar to what has been done before in Dara’a, in the Syrian southwest.
This military intervention was effective. But in a few latitudes, terror gangs continue to attack government infrastructure and even civilian property. The key fact is that Tehran prefers not to repress these unruly demonstrations using deadly force.
The really critical issue is not the protests per se: it’s the transfer of weapons by the Kurds from Iraq to Iran to bolster the color revolution scenario.
Tehran has issued a de facto ultimatum to Baghdad: get your act together with the Kurds, and make them understand the red lines.
As it stands, Iran is massively employing Fateh ballistic missiles and Shahed-131 and Shahed-136 kamikaze drones against selected Kurdish terrorist bases in northern Iraq.
It’s debatable whether that will be enough to control the situation. What is clear is that the “Kurdish card”, if not tamed, could be easily played by the usual suspects in other Iranian provinces, considering the solid financial, military and informational support offered by Iraqi Kurds to Iranian Kurds.
Turkey is facing a relatively similar problem with the Syrian Kurds instrumentalized by the US.
In northern Syria, they are mostly armed gangs posing as “Kurds”. So it’s quite possible that these Kurdish armed gangs, essentially played by Washington as useful idiots, may end up being decimated, simultaneously, in the short to medium term, by both Ankara and Tehran.
If all fails, pray for regime change
A geopolitical game-changer which was unthinkable until recently may soon be on the cards: a high-level meeting between Turkish President Recep Erdogan and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad (remember the decade-long refrain “Assad must go”?) in Russia, with mediation by none other than Russian president Vladimir Putin.
What would it take for Kurds to understand no state – be it Iran, Syria or Turkey – will offer them land for their own nation? Parameters could eventually change in case Iraqis in Baghdad finally manage to expel the US.
Before we get there, the fact is Iran has already turned West Asian geopolitics upside down – via its smart cruise missiles, extremely effective kamikaze drones, electronic warfare and even state-of-the-art hypersonic missiles.
Empire “planners” never saw this coming: a Russia-Iran strategic partnership that not only makes total sense geo-economically , but is also a military force multiplier.
Moreover, that is inscribed in the looming Big Picture on which the expanded BRICS+ is focusing: Eurasia (and beyond) integration via multimodal economic corridors such as the INTSC, pipelines and high-speed rail.
The Empire’s Plan A, on Iran, was a mere nuclear deal (JCPOA), devised by the Barack Obama administration as nothing but a crude containment scheme.
Trump actually blew it all up – and there’s nothing left: a JCPOA revival, which has been – in theory – attempted for months in Vienna, was always a non-starter because the Americans themselves don’t know anymore what they want from it.
So what’s left as Plan B for the Straussian neocon/neoliberal psychos in charge of US foreign policy is to hurl all manner of fall guys – from Kurds to the toxic MEK – into the Iran cauldron and, amplified 24/7 by hysterical mainstream media, pray for regime change.
Well, that’s not going to happen. Tehran just needs to wait, exercise restraint, and observe how so much color revolution virtue signaling will eventually fizzle out.
Pepe Escobar is an independent geopolitical analyst and author, focused on Eurasia integration. His latest book is Raging Twenties.
(Republished from PressTV)
Dear President Biden, Democratic Leaders Pelosi and Schumer, Republican Leaders McConnell and McCarthy, and all members of the United States Congress:
We are sending you this letter to urge you to rescind and reject President Biden’s proposal for Congress to force rail carriers and rail workers to accept a tentative contract agreement that has been rejected by four out of the twelve railroad unions. These four unions represent the majority of workers on the nation’s freight railroads, and by pushing through a tentative agreement that a majority of rank-and-file union members have declared completely unsatisfactory, President Biden and Congress would be overriding the democratically expressed will of railroad workers.
While the tentative agreement provides significant wage increases, workers on the railroads have stated clearly and repeatedly that their fight is not just about money. Railroad workers are fighting for the right to live—and have a life—outside of work.
The freight rail industry is structured as a non-competitive oligopoly that is dominated by seven rail carriers and operates at the behest of Wall Street, prioritizing the maximization of profit for rail executives and shareholders, even if it comes at the expense of endangering the broader public and irreparably damaging the supply chain. In the past few decades, the rail industry has adopted the Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) model, which has benefited investors at the cost of railroad workers and the public at large. As noted in the Presidential Emergency Board Report #250, because of the PSR model, railroad companies have reduced the workforce by about 30 percent in 6 years, have instituted attendance models which pressure workers to work through exhaustion, reduced safety and checking procedures, all in order to reduce costs and increase profits.
In fact, the railroad industry is the most profitable industry in the country. However, the billions of dollars of profit comes at the cost of railroaders being on call virtually 24/7, unable to access routine health care, missing the deaths of their loved ones and the birth of their children, and dying by the hundreds in work accidents. It has also come at the cost of the broader public, as PSR has created a situation where there are not enough working railroaders to service the demand which the rail industry faces, making it a direct cause for the current supply-chain crisis and a key contributor to inflation.
The central demand of railroad workers has been increased days of sick leave which has been wholly absent from the tentative agreement. It is for this that workers are willing to go on strike. Railroad workers have been without a contract for over 3 years, dealing with these issues without resolution and without support from the Congress and Presidency. Urgent action has only taken place after the urging of big business not of workers.
After a coalition of over 400 business groups sent a letter on Monday to Congress to call for immediate action to prevent a railroad strike, President Biden’s administration responded swiftly, urging members of Congress to override the will of the railroad workers, enshrine the tentative agreement into law, and force railroad workers back to work.
Senator Sanders has tweeted that he will “block consideration of the rail legislation until a roll call vote occurs on guaranteeing 7 paid sick days to rail workers in America”. We applaud this effort but we also note that rail workers are fighting for 15 days of sick leave and that the United States is the only country in the developed world that does not guarantee paid sick leave. Under the threat of a railroad strike, which will cripple the US economy if executed, the opportunity has opened up for all working people in the country to stand in solidarity with railroad workers and demand what we deserve, the right to live in dignity.
While we are stuck at an impasse in the railroads, almost 50 thousand graduate student workers in the UC system are striking for better pay and conditions, with a key demand being a Cost of Living Adjustment(COLA). They are joined by the thousands of Starbucks and Amazon workers who have unionized their workplace and are currently bargaining for a contract, by the Warrior Met Coal United Mine Workers who have been on strike for 19 months, by the thousands of tenants who have formed tenant unions and are fighting for better housing, by nurses and teachers and various segments of all working people in the country who are all fighting the same struggle, in different forms, for a better world.
As members of Congress debate amendments to the Tentative Agreement in order to avert a railroad strike, we urge Congress and the President to also take hold of this historic opportunity to empower all working people. As such we urge Congress to adopt the following demands:
- Public Ownership of the Railroads: To deal with the current supply chain crisis, Congress must take control of rail infrastructure as is done the world over and operate it under the public interest.
- Universal Paid Family and Sick Leave: The United States is the only developed country that does not guarantee paid leave. Our members of Congress have the privilege of enjoying paid family and sick leave which must be expanded to include all working people.
- Pass the PRO Act and Fund the NLRB: Congress must step up and ensure that the right to organize for working people is protected through the passage of the PRO Act and also ensure that the NLRB is properly funded to accommodate the sharp increase in unionization.
Railroad Workers United
The national political and military leaders who committed America to wars of choice in Vietnam, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq, did so as a rule because they were convinced the fighting would be short and decisive. American presidents, presidential advisors, and senior military leaders never stopped to consider that national strategy, if it exists at all, consists of avoiding conflict unless the nation is attacked and compelled to fight.
The latest victim of this mentality is Ukraine. In the absence of a critical root-and-branch analysis of Russia’s national power and strategic interests, American senior military leaders and their political bosses viewed Russia through a narrowly focused lens that magnified U.S. and Ukrainian strengths but ignored Russia’s strategic advantages—geographic depth, almost limitless natural resources, high social cohesion, and the military-industrial capacity to rapidly scale up its military power.
Ukraine is now a war zone subject to the same treatment the U.S. armed forces inflicted on Germany and Japan during the Second World War, on Vietnam in the 1960s, and on Iraq over decades. Power grids, transportation networks, communications infrastructure, fuel production, and ammunition storage sites are being systematically destroyed. Millions of Ukrainians continue to flee the war zone in pursuit of safety, with ominous consequences for Europe’s societies and economies.
Meanwhile, the Biden administration repeatedly commits the unpardonable sin in a democratic society of refusing to tell the American people the truth: contrary to the Western media’s popular “Ukrainian victory” narrative, which blocks any information that contradicts it, Ukraine is not winning and will not win this war. Months of heavy Ukrainian casualties, resulting from an endless series of pointless attacks against Russian defenses in Southern Ukraine, have dangerously weakened Ukrainian forces.
Predictably, NATO’s European members, which bear the brunt of the war’s impact on their societies and economies, are growing more disenchanted with Washington’s Ukrainian proxy war. European populations are openly questioning the veracity of claims in the press about the Russian state and American aims in Europe. The influx of millions of refugees from Ukraine, along with a combination of trade disputes, profiteering from U.S. arms sales, and high energy prices risks turning European public opinion against both Washington’s war and NATO.
Russia has also undergone a transformation. In the opening years of President Putin’s term of office, the Russian Armed Forces were organized, trained, and equipped for exclusively national territorial defense. But the conduct of the Special Military Operation (SMO) in Ukraine has demonstrated the inadequacy of this approach for Russia’s National Security in the 21st century.
The opening phase of the SMO was a limited operation with a narrow purpose and restricted goals. The critical point is that Moscow never intended to do more than persuade Kiev and Washington that Moscow would fight to prevent Ukraine from joining NATO, as well as the further mistreatment of Russians in Ukraine. The SMO was, however, based on invalid assumptions and was terminated. As it turned out, the limited nature of the SMO achieved the opposite of the outcome that Moscow desired, conveying the impression of weakness, rather than strength.
After concluding that the underpinning assumptions regarding Washington’s readiness to negotiate and compromise were invalid, Putin directed the STAVKA to develop new operational plans with new goals: first, to crush the Ukrainian enemy; second, to remove any doubt in Washington and European capitols that Russia will establish victory on its own terms; and, third, to create a new territorial status quo commensurate with Russia’s national security needs.
Once the new plan was submitted and approved, President Putin agreed to an economy of force operation to defend Russian territorial gains with minimal forces until the required resources, capabilities, and manpower were assembled for decisive operations. Putin also appointed a new theater commander, General Sergei Surovikin, a senior officer who understands the mission and possesses the mindset to deliver success.
The coming offensive phase of the conflict will provide a glimpse of the new Russian force that is emerging and its future capabilities. At this writing, 540,000 Russian combat forces are assembled in Southern Ukraine, Western Russia, and Belarus. The numbers continue to grow, but the numbers already include 1,000 rocket artillery systems, thousands of tactical ballistic missiles, cruise missiles, and drones, plus 5,000 armored fighting vehicles, including at least 1,500 tanks, hundreds of manned fixed-wing attack aircraft, helicopters, and bombers. This new force has little in common with the Russian army that intervened 9 months ago on February 24, 2022.
It is now possible to project that the new Russian armed forces that will evolve from the crucible of war in Ukraine will be designed to execute strategically decisive operations. The resulting Russian force will likely take its inspiration from the force design and operational framework recommended in Colonel General Makhmut Gareev’s work, If War Comes Tomorrow? The Contours of Future Armed Conflict. The new military establishment will consist of much larger forces-in-being that can conduct decisive operations on relatively short notice with minimal reinforcement and preparation.
Put differently, by the time the conflict ends, it appears Washington will have prompted the Russian State to build up its military power, the very opposite of the fatal weakening that Washington intended when it embarked on its course of military confrontation with Moscow.
But none of these developments should surprise anyone in Washington, D.C. Beginning with Biden’s speech in Warsaw effectively demanding regime change in Moscow, the Biden administration refused to see foreign policy in terms of strategy. Like a stupid general who insists on defending every inch of ground to the last man, President Biden confirmed the United States’s commitment to oppose Russia and, potentially, any nation state that fails to measure up to globalism’s hypocritical democratic standards, regardless of the cost to the American people, whether in terms of their security or prosperity.
Biden’s speech in Warsaw was hot with emotion and mired in the ideology of moralizing globalism that is popular in Washington, London, Paris, and Berlin. But for Moscow, the speech was tantamount to a Carthaginian Peace plan. Biden’s “take no prisoners” conduct of U.S. foreign policy means the outcome of the next phase of the Ukrainian War will not only destroy the Ukrainian state. It will also demolish the last vestiges of the postwar liberal order and produce a dramatic shift in power and influence across Europe, especially in Berlin, away from Washington to Moscow and, to a limited extent, to Beijing.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Douglas Macgregor, Col. (ret.) is a senior fellow with The American Conservative, the former advisor to the Secretary of Defense in the Trump administration, a decorated combat veteran, and the author of five books.
• 700 WORDS •
The Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU) is speeding up its design of a common payment system, which has been closely discussed for nearly a year with the Chinese under the stewardship of Sergei Glazyev, the EAEU’s minister in charge of Integration and Macro-economy.
Through its regulatory body, the Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC), the EAEU has just extended a very serious proposal to the BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) which, crucially, are already on the way to turning into BRICS+: a sort of G20 of the Global South.
The system will include a single payment card – in direct competition with Visa and Mastercard – merging the already existing Russian MIR, China’s UnionPay, India’s RuPay, Brazil’s Elo, and others.
That will represent a direct challenge to the western-designed (and enforced) monetary system, head on. And it comes on the heels of BRICS members already transacting their bilateral trade in local currencies, and bypassing the US dollar.
This EAEU-BRICS union was long in the making – and will now also move toward prefiguring a further geoeconomic merger with the member nations of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
The EAEU was established in 2015 as a customs union of Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus, joined a year later by Armenia and Kyrgyzstan. Vietnam is already an EAEU free trade partner, and recently enshrined SCO member Iran is also clinching a deal.
The EAEU is designed to implement free movement of goods, services, capital, and workers between member countries. Ukraine would have been an EAEU member if not for the Maidan coup in 2014 masterminded by the Barack Obama administration.
Vladimir Kovalyov, adviser to the chairman of the EEC, summed it all up to Russian newspaper Izvestia. The focus is to establish a joint financial market, and the priority is to develop a common “exchange space:” “We’ve made substantial progress and now the work is focused on such sectors as banking, insurance, and the stock market.”
A new regulatory body for the proposed joint EEU-BRICS financial system will soon be established.
Meanwhile, trade and economic cooperation between the EAEU and BRICS have increased 1.5 times in the first half of 2022 alone.
The BRICS share in the total external trade turnover of the EAEU has reached 30 percent, Kovalyov revealed at the BRICS International Business Forum this past Monday in Moscow:
“It is advisable to combine the potentials of the BRICS and EAEU macro-financial development institutions, in particular the BRICS New Development Bank, the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), as well as national development institutions. This will make it possible to achieve a synergistic effect and ensure synchronous investments in sustainable infrastructure, innovative production, and renewable energy sources.”
Here we once again see the advancing convergence of not only BRICS and EAEU but also the financial institutions deeply involved in projects under the China-led New Silk Roads, or Belt and Road Initiative (BRI).
Halting the Age of Plunder
As if all that was not game-changing enough, Russian President Vladimir Putin is raising the stakes by calling for a new international payment system based on blockchain and digital currencies.
The project for such a system was recently presented at the 1st Eurasian Economic Forum in Bishkek.
At the forum, the EAEU approved a draft agreement on cross-border placement and circulation of securities in member states, and amended technical regulations.
The next big step is to organize the agenda of a crucial meeting of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council on 14 December in Moscow. Putin will be there – in person. And there’s nothing he would love more than to make a game-changing announcement.
All of these moves acquire even more importance as they connect to fast increasing, interlocking trade between Russia, China, India, and Iran: from Russia’s drive to build new pipelines serving its Chinese market – to Russia, Kazakhstan, and Uzbekistan discussing a gas union for both domestic supplies and exports, especially to main client China.
Slowly but surely, what is emerging is the Big Picture of an irretrievably fractured world featuring a dual trade/circulation system: one will be revolving around the remnants of the dollar system, the other is being built centered on the association of BRICS, EAEU, and SCO.
Pushing further on down the road, the recent pathetic metaphor coined by a tawdry Eurocrat boss: the “jungle” is breaking away from the “garden” with a vengeance. May the fracture persist, as a new international payment system – and then a new currency – will aim to halt for good the western-centric Age of Plunder.
(Republished from The Cradle)
• 2,000 WORDS •
“Ukraine’s unquestioned strategic center of gravity is its western corridors to the Polish border where the vast majority of its war support enters the country. Their operational center of gravity is their resupply lines emanating eastwards from Kyiv to Ukraine’s various frontline positions. Without those two corridors, it would be nearly impossible for Kyiv to sustain wartime operations for more than a few weeks. Putin, therefore, may calculate the best use of those 218,000 additional troops will be to launch a three-pronged axis to cut both of those supply routes.” Lt. Colonel Daniel L. Davis, Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and Contributing Editor at 1945
“I want to emphasize again that all tasks of the special military operation… will be unconditionally fulfilled.” Russian President Vladimir Putin
Another day of large-scale missile attacks on Ukraine’s hobbled energy infrastructure has plunged much of the country into darkness. The relentless attacks—which continued through the night and into the early morning hours—have intensified dramatically as Russian combat troops continue to join their units along the perimeter in preparation for a major winter offensive. Russian President Vladimir Putin has waited patiently for the Zelensky regime to grasp the gravity of their situation and press for bilateral negotiations. But the Ukrainian president has stubbornly rejected diplomacy at every turn opting instead to fight til the bitter end. He is fully supported in that decision by his backers in Washington who see the conflict as an opportunity to weaken Russia so it cannot obstruct US plans to “pivot” to Asia. The transformation of Ukraine into a frigid, uninhabitable wastelands is largely the result of Washington’s voracious geopolitical ambitions. This is from a post at the website Moon of Alabama:
Previous attacks had limited the distribution capacity to some 50% of demand. Controlled blackouts over several hours per day allowed to give some electricity for a few hours to most parts of the country. The attack today created a much larger problem. Not only were distribution networks attacked but also so the elements that connect Ukraine’s electricity production facilities to the distribution network. All four nuclear power stations of Ukraine with their 15 reactors are now in shutdown mode. Kiev along with most other cities of Ukraine no longer has electricity.” Ukraine – Lights Out, No Water And Soon No Heat”, Moon of Alabama
Ukraine Plunged Into Darkness—As of the morning of November 24, more than 70% of Kiev remains without electricity. There is no water in half of the capital. Power outages continue in all regions throughout the country….”Kiev goes Dark as NATO Sacrifices Ukraine”,Southfront
The widespread power outages are accompanied by freezing temperatures that will inevitably lead to an unprecedented humanitarian crisis. Millions of Ukrainians will be forced to flee across the border seeking refuge in Europe. Others will be left to hunker-down in makeshift emergency shelters that are sporadically heated by diesel-powered generators. There is no prospect that Ukraine’s dilapidated power-system will be fixed quickly if ever. And even if it could be cobbled-back together in some improvised capacity, it would only be a short-term fix. The fact is, the Russians have identified the main substations, terminals and auto-transformers across Ukraine and are picking them off one-by-one. Unable to defend itself against the daily barrage of precision-guided missiles, Ukraine is gradually being bombed into the Stone Age.
The objective of the Russian operation is to undermine Ukraine’s ability to wage war. The attacks on Ukraine’s power-grid, railway hubs, fuel deports, bridges and command-and-control centers are merely Phase 1 of a 2-phase operation that is designed to defeat the enemy and bring the war to swift end. Russia has gathered roughly 500,000 troops in a combat Strike-Force that will traverse the country along three main axes annihilating Ukrainian Forces wherever they are encountered and seizing key cities along the way. Critical supply-lines from Poland will be blocked, leaving troops at the front cut-off and vulnerable to attack. Eventually, the regime and their Right-bloc security forces will be killed or captured. Moscow will not allow a government that is openly hostile towards Russia to rule the country. This is from an interview with Colonel Douglas MacGregor:
There are now 540,000 Russian troops stationed around the outskirts of Ukraine preparing to launch a major offensive that I think will probably end the war in Ukraine. 540,000 Russian troops, 1,000 rocket artillery systems, 5000 armored fighting vehicles including at least 1,5000 tanks, hundreds and hundreds of tactical ballistic missiles. Ukraine is now going to experience war on a scale we haven’t seen since 1945.” Colonel Douglas MacGregor, Rumble
MacGregor again—Everything has now changed… the large probability of offensives beginning in the next few weeks, whenever the ground freezes completely and the Russians judge their forces to be ready. and they will move in and they will finish off this Ukrainian state, let’s not kid ourselves, The regime in Kiev is likely to be annihilated along with the remainder of its armed forces….
The biggest mistake we in the west could make is to involve ourselves. We’ve done enough damage….and I think what we are going to see…. is the total destruction of this rump Ukrainian state. Now, what happens afterwards, I don’t know. I’m quite confident that Russians do not want to remain in western Ukraine …Russia is now treating Ukraine as a real enemy. Previously they were not. and this is not understood in the west.” “Ukraine is about to be annihilated”, Colonel Douglas MacGregor, youtubehttps://www.hookube.com/watch?v=dfgF4x7TCmM
(Question—Is there any chance that US combat troops will be sent to fight in Ukraine?)
MacGregor—We’re in no position to go to war with Russia, and anything we would do on the ground would fail miserably and we’d be embarrassed. But obviously no one in Washington is listening…There’s no real understanding of how desperate the situation is in western Ukraine. So what we can look forward to along with this massive (Russian) offensive is the migration of millions of more Ukrainians into Europe because they have no place else to go….. The Ukrainians know what’s coming. There’s not much they do about it at this point, but instead of throwing them a lifeline, we’ve essentially told them to sink with the ship that they’re on.” Col. Douglas Macgregor, “Ukraine is about to be annihilated”, youtube; 6:35 min
Note—So, when the missile strikes end and the ground freezes, the Russian offensive will begin. But what is the plan? How will the Russians deploy their troops and what tactical objectives will they seek to achieve?
While no one can say with certainty how the offensive will evolve, two recent posts at the military website 1945 provide a compelling and detailed explanation of what might take place if Putin decides to deliver the knockout punch to the Ukrainian armed forces and the political leadership in Kiev. The articles were written by 1945 “Contributing Editor, Daniel L. Davis who is a Senior Fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lt. Col. in the U.S. Army who deployed into combat zones four times.” Here are a few excerpts from the two pieces:
If Putin orders an all-out attack, it will most likely start with a massive air, missile and drone attack to complete the destruction of the Ukrainian electric grids, substations, fuel storage facilities, rail yards, diesel locomotives, and communication facilities. Intent will be to make it intensely difficult to support the UAF, complicate communications, make intra-country movement of troops much harder, diminish their capacity to logistically support troops in disparate fronts with food, water, medicine, ammunition, and spare parts.
By increasing the burden on Kyiv to take care of the civil population throughout the country, there will be yet fewer resources to allocate to supporting the war. If Kyiv prioritizes supplying the combat units, civilians could freeze to death or starve as a result, putting the government in a terrible no-win situation….
The key to understanding what Putin’s objectives may be is to assess what an additional 200,000 troops could reasonably accomplish in Ukraine: a three-pronged axis of advance designed to sever Ukraine’s life blood – the supply corridor from the Polish border through which all NATO supply and equipment enters Ukraine.“ (“Putin could launch an all-out attack on Ukraine but it could be his downfall” Daniel Davis, 1945)
Much of what Davis anticipates has already taken place, so we will move on to his more stunning scenarios. The post below was published just one day after the article above. Here’s what he says:
In this final edition, I will lay out what I contend is the most dangerous course of action Ukraine could face: a ground campaign to deprive Ukraine of its lifeblood from the West…. What I represent in this analysis…. represents the gravest danger to Ukraine ...
In this scenario, Putin recognizes that the number of troops he has for the task remains insufficient to capture large cities – and that he doesn’t need to capture major cities to succeed. Instead, what he may seek to do is identify and then take out the Ukrainian center of gravity. (which) military theorist Carl von Clausewitz. (defined as.. “the hub of all power and movement (of the enemy), on which everything depends.”
Meaning, in war, the overall objective should be to deprive the enemy of the one thing he must maintain to win the war..
In my assessment, Ukraine’s unquestioned strategic center of gravity is its western corridors to the Polish border where the vast majority of its war support enters the country. Their operational center of gravity is their resupply lines emanating eastwards from Kyiv to Ukraine’s various frontline positions. Without those two corridors, it would be nearly impossible for Kyiv to sustain wartime operations for more than a few weeks.
Putin, therefore, may calculate the best use of those 218,000 additional troops will be to launch a three-pronged axis to cut both of those supply routes: the priority effort in the west out of Belarus with the objective of Lviv, a supporting effort to the northeast in the Sumy direction, and supporting axis from the east to reinforce the current offensive in the Donbas.
A Russian attack out of southeast Belorussia with the objective of Lviv would represent the greatest strategic threat to the Ukrainian Armed Forces (UAF). Virtually all of the UAF’s weapons, ammunition, and repair parts enter the country from Poland through several land routes towards Kyiv. If Russia were to cut these routes off by attacking along the Polish/Ukraine border down to Lviv, Russia could cut off the majority of the shipments of war material from the West, without which Kyiv would not long be able to sustain its forces at the frontlines in the eastern part of Ukraine. …
If Russia employs a three-axes advance with its newly mobilized combat forces, added to the roughly 200,000 troops already engaged – and critically, avoids trying to invest cities – they will have a chance to focus their combat power where Ukraine is weakest, and in ways that are mutually reinforcing to other axes. This course of action would represent great risk for Zelensky’s troops, but it isn’t without significant risk for the Russians either. … (“Putin Could Launch a Big Winter Offensive in Ukraine to Cut Off Weapons“, Daniel Davis, 1945)
There is, of course, no way of knowing whether the war will actually play out in-line with Davis’s scenario. It does seem likely, however, that Russian strategists have already figured out that the war cannot be won without cutting off vital supply-lines to Poland. That is the main artery that sustains the conflict and allows Zelensky to avoid negotiations. For Putin, attempting such a move would be a risky gambit that could precipitate his political downfall, but if he fails to seize the opportunity to force Kiev to the bargaining table, the war could drag on forever. There are no easy choices but—in this case—it appears the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.
• 1,600 WORDS •
“It seems probable that Russia will impose a solution. If, as expected, it becomes clear that the West can’t or won’t negotiate, it will behoove Russia to implement a maximalist solution. Or alternatively, Russia “bargains” by showing that it can create a dead zone in Western Ukraine as big as it likes. If Ukraine and its US minders don’t come to their senses, that dead zone will be awfully big.” Yves Smith, Naked Capitalism
How does this end?
How does Russia create a “neutral” Ukraine that isn’t armed-to-the-teeth by Moscow’s enemies? How do they prevent Kiev from conducting joint-military drills with NATO or placing missile sites on Russia’s border? How do they stop the Ukrainian Army from shelling ethnic Russians in the east or training far-right paramilitaries to kill as many Russians as possible? How does Putin change Ukraine into a good neighbor that doesn’t pose a security threat and that doesn’t fuel anti-Russian hatred and bigotry? And, finally, how does one resolve the conflict peacefully if one side refuses to negotiate with the other? Check out this clip from an article at Mint News:
“Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday signed a decree formally announcing the “impossible” prospect of peace negotiations between Ukraine and Russian President Vladimir Putin…
“He (Putin) does not know what dignity and honesty are. Therefore, we are ready for dialogue with Russia, but with another president of Russia,” Zelensky said on Friday. (Mint News)
The fact that Zelensky will not negotiate with Putin does not mean there will be no settlement. It just means that Zelensky will have no voice in the outcome. As the more powerful country, it has always been within Russia’s ability to impose a settlement that achieves its basic national security objectives, and that is precisely what Putin will do. The settlement will not be ideal nor will it completely end the hostilities, but it will provide a layer of protection from Russia’s enemies which is the best that can be hoped for given the circumstances. Regrettably, the settlement will also terminate Ukraine’s existence as a viable, contiguous state. And– after Russia has finished its special military operation– Ukraine will face a dismal future as a deindustrialized wastelands that is entirely dependent on its allies in the west for its survival.
Here is an excerpt from an article by Moscow-based journalist John Helmer who thinks the Russian army will clear a vast area of central Ukraine in its upcoming winter offensive, and that much of that land will become part of a 100 kilometer-wide Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that will protect Russia from Ukrainian missile and artillery attacks. As Helmer notes, the model for this military-imposed settlement is “the armistice of Panmunjom of July 27, 1953, which ended the Korean War…. On the ground inside the UDZ (Ukraine Demilitarized Zone) there may be no electricity, no people, nothing except for the means to monitor and enforce the terms of the armistice.” Here’s more from Helmer:
Military source:…. Once the destruction of these targets has been completed, the remnants of the infrastructure will be mined, and the area planted with sensing devices. The armies will then begin a rapid, staged withdrawal behind Russian lines where the process of fortification and entrenchment has already begun.”
“Civilians and disarmed Ukrainian troops – except for the Ukro-Nazi units — will be allotted one or two corridors through which they will be permitted to leave the zone. They’d better not dawdle.”…
The sources agree there will be a new military demarcation line before the thaw next spring; they differ on how it is being drawn now, and how it will look next April. “For now the line will be on the Dnieper with the zone extending from the west bank into the rump Ukraine – my guess is at a depth of not less than 100km. This will put Russian territory out of the range of most Ukrainian artillery. A 100km-deep zone will also give the Russian forces time to detect and intercept anything in flight…
“In the northern sector – that’s from Kramatorsk and Slovyansk to Kharkov… these are garrisons and staging areas of hate on or near to Russia’s borders; they will not be spared ….(and) have qualified them for de-electrification, de-population, and de-nazification.”
“The point to emphasize, especially in the Russian operations in the north… will not seize and hold territory. … The idea won’t be to occupy the territory, let alone administer it, for any length of time. The goal will be to destroy enemies who raise their heads and the infrastructure they rely on; lay mines and sensors; and then withdraw.”
“Once the assigned transportation and logistics nodes have been taken, the job of destroying them by engineer units will begin. Bridges, roads, railroads, marshalling yards, rolling stock, airfields, fuel storage and dispensaries, electrical substations, transmission and communications towers, central offices, warehouses, laydown areas, agricultural equipment – anything that could possibly be used to support the Ukrainian-NATO effort east of the zone’s western border will be destroyed. That will be also be the ground forces’ job – more comprehensive and thorough than missile and drone strikes can achieve.”
“Civilians and disarmed fighters, without their motorized equipment, will be permitted to walk out of the zone to specially prepared buses (as Surovikin supervised in Syria) with whatever they can carry on their backs…. Anyone who chooses to stay inside the zone will be informed explicitly via radio, flyers, and loudspeaker that they are considered enemy combatants and will be targeted accordingly. After a prescribed amount of time, the ‘golden bridges’ for the exiting population will be destroyed. For those remaining they will have had no power, sanitation, or communications …”(“Ukraine Armistice– How the UDZ of 2023 will separate the Armies like the Korean DMZ of 1953”, John Helmer, Dances With Bears
Helmer sums it up perfectly. Putin is going to create a vast, uninhabitable no-man’s-land in the center of Ukraine that will separate east from west and end Ukraine’s existence as a viable, contiguous state. This is what a military-imposed settlement looks like. It’s not ideal and it doesn’t necessarily stop all the fighting, but it does address Russia’s basic security requirements which Washington chose to ignore.
Rest assured, that Washington will not like this settlement and will never agree to the new borders. But the United States will not have the final say-so in this matter and that is extremely important, because Washington’s role as the “guarantor of global security” is now a thing of the past. Russia is going to decide Ukraine’s borders and that’s just the way it’s going to be. So, yes, we can expect to hear the gnashing of teeth at NATO Headquarters and the UN and at the White House, but to little effect. The matter is settled unless, of course, the US and NATO want to commit ground forces to the conflict which, we think, will precipitate a split in NATO that will inevitably lead to its collapse. Either way, Ukraine’s fate is going to be decided in Moscow not Washington, and that reality is going to have a significant impact of the distribution of global power. There’s a new sheriff in town and he is definitely not an American.
Bottom line: We think Helmer’s analysis is the most probable scenario going forward. Putin has showed admirable restraint to this point, but after 9 months of pointless drudgery and carnage, it’s time to wrap this thing up. Moscow has always had a sledgehammer in its toolkit and now it’s going to use it. We would have preferred that it didn’t end this way, but there’s no sense in crying over spilt milk. Washington wanted to stretch this war out for as long as possible to bleed Russia dry so it couldn’t project power beyond its borders or obstruct US plans to “pivot to Asia”. But Putin foiled that plan. He didn’t step into Washington’s trap and he’s not going to pump blood and money down a black hole. He’s going to settle this matter once-and-for-all and be done with it. This is from an interview with Colonel Douglas MacGregor:
“This entire conflict could have been avoided had we simply recognized Moscow’s legitimate interests in what happens in Ukraine…. What happens in Ukraine is important to Russians…. So, we could have intervened early on and said, ‘Let’s have a ceasefire and talk’, in fact, we could have listened to the Russians for the last 10 or 20 years about their concerns about what was happening inside Ukraine. And, I think now we see with the Zelensky regime– a very dangerous government that is incurably hostile to Russia (and) that responds exclusively to instructions from Washington– that has decided that it wants to fatally weaken Russia in any way possible… The solution to this is –not to join this futile and pointlessly destructive war with Moscow– (but) to get some sense into peoples’ minds in the government in Kiev.” Colonel Douglas MacGregor, “Ukraine is about to be Annihilated”, You Tube; 2:10 minute-mark
IMO, the decision has already been made. Ukraine is going to be split in two whether Washington likes it or not. That’s just the way it is.
• 1,400 WORDS •
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has his sights on Syria. Photo: Ramil Sitdikov / Sputnik
(From Asia Times)
There’s another Special Military Operation on the market. No, it’s not Russia “denazifying” and “demilitarizing” Ukraine – and, therefore, it’s no wonder that this other operation is not ruffling feathers across the collective West.
Operation Claw-Sword was launched by Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan as revenge – highly emotional and concerted – for Kurdish terrorist attacks against Turkish citizens. Some of the missiles that Ankara launched in this aerial campaign carried the names of Turkish victims.
The official Ankara spin is that the Turkish Armed Forces fully achieved their “air operation objectives” in the north of Syria and in Iraqi Kurdistan, and made those responsible for the terror attack against civilians in Istanbul’s Istiklal pedestrian street pay in “multitudes.”
And this is supposed to be just the first stage. For the third time in 2022, Sultan Erdogan is also promising a ground invasion of Kurdish-held territories in Syria.
However, according to diplomatic sources, that’s not going to happen – even as scores of Turkish experts are adamant that the invasion is needed sooner rather than later.
The wily Sultan is caught between his electorate, which favors an invasion, and his extremely nuanced relations with Russia – which encompass a large geopolitical and geo-economic arc.
He well knows that Moscow can apply all manner of pressure levers to dissuade him. For instance, Russia at the last minute annulled the weekly dispatch of a joint Russo-Turkish patrol in Ain al Arab that was taking place on Mondays.
Ain al Arab is a highly strategic territory: the missing link, east of the Euphrates, capable of offering continuity between Idlib and Ras al Ayn, occupied by dodgy Turkish-aligned gangs near the Turkish border.
Erdogan knows he can’t jeopardize his positioning as potential EU-Russia mediator while obtaining maximum profit from bypassing the anti-Russian embargo-sanctions combo.
The Sultan, juggling multiple serious dossiers, is deeply convinced that he’s got what it takes to bring Russia and NATO to the negotiating table and, ultimately, end the war in Ukraine.
In parallel, he thinks he may stay on top of Turkey-Israel relations; a rapprochement with Damascus; the sensitive internal situation in Iran; Turkey-Azerbaijan relations; the non-stop metamorphoses across the Mediterranean; and the drive towards Eurasia integration.
He’s hedging all his bets between NATO and Eurasia.
‘Close down all of our southern borders’
The green light for Claw-Sword came from Erdogan while he was on his presidential plane, returning from the G20 in Bali. That happened only one day after he had met US President Joe Biden where, according to a presidential Erdogan statement, the subject had not come up.
“We held no meeting with Mr Biden or [Russian President Vladimir] Putin regarding the operation. They both already know that we can do such things at any moment in this region,” the statement said.
Washington not getting briefed on Claw-Sword mirrored Erdogan not getting invited to an extraordinary G7-NATO meeting in Bali, on the sidelines of the G20.
Then-US vice president Joe Biden (L) speaks with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at Beylerbeyi Palace in Istanbul. Photo: AFP / Bulent Kilic
That meeting was called by the White House to deal with the by-now notorious Ukrainian S-300 missile that fell in Polish territory. At the time, no one at the table had any conclusive evidence about what happened. And Turkey was not even invited to the table – which profoundly incensed the Sultan.
So it’s no wonder Erdogan, mid-week, said that Claw-Sword was “just the beginning.” Addressing AKP party lawmakers in Parliament, he said Turkey is determined to “close down all of our southern borders … with a security corridor that will prevent the possibility of attacks on our country.”
The ground invasion promise remains: It will begin “at the most convenient time for us” and will target the regions of Tel Rifaat, Mambij and Kobane, which the Sultan called “sources of trouble.”
Ankara has already wreaked havoc, using drones, on the main headquarters of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, whose commanders believe the main target of a potential Turkish ground invasion would be Kobane.
Significantly, this is the first time a Turkish drone targeted an area extremely close to a US base. And Kobane is highly symbolic: the place where the Americans sealed a collaboration with Syrian Kurds to – in theory – fight ISIS.
And that explains why the Syrian Kurds are appalled by the American non-response to the Turkish strikes. They blame – who else? – the Sultan for stoking “nationalist sentiments” ahead of the 2023 elections, which Erdogan now stands a great chance to win despite the catastrophic state of the Turkish economy.
As it stands, there is no Turkish troop buildup near Kobane – just airstrikes. Which brings us to the all-important Russian factor.
Manbij and Tel Rifaat, west of the Euphrates, are much more important for Russia than Kobane, because they are both vital for the defense of Aleppo against possible Salafi-jihadi attacks.
What may potentially happen in the near future makes the situation even murkier. Ankara intel may use Hayat Tahrir al-Sham jihadis – which have already taken over parts of Afrin – as a sort of “vanguard” in a ground invasion of Syrian Kurd territory.
Selling stolen Syrian oil to Turkey
The current fog of war includes the notion that the Russians may have sold out the Kurds by leaving them exposed to Turkish bombing. That does not hold – because Russia’s influence over Syrian Kurd territory is negligible compared with the US’s. Only the Americans could “sell out” the Kurds.
The more things change, the more they remain the same in Syria. It could all be summarized as a monumental impasse. This gets even more surrealist because, in effect, Ankara and Moscow have already found the solution for the Syrian tragedy.
The problem is the presence of American forces – essentially protecting those shabby convoys stealing Syrian oil. Russians and Syrians always discuss it. The conclusion is that the Americans are staying by inertia. They do it because they can. And Damascus is powerless to expel them.
The Sultan plays the whole thing with consummate cynicism – in geopolitics and geo-economics. Most of what is unresolved in Syria revolves around territories occupied by de facto gangs that call themselves Kurds, protected by the US. They traffic Syrian oil to resell it mostly to … Turkey.
And then, in a flash, armed gangs that call themselves Kurds may simply abandon their “anti-terrorist” fight by … releasing the terrorists they apprehended, thus increasing the “terrorist threat” all over northeast Syria. They blame – who else? – Turkey. In parallel, the Americans increase financial aid to these armed gangs under the pretext of a “war on terror.”
The distinction between “armed gangs” and “terrorists” is of course razor thin. What matters most of all to Erdogan is that he can use the Kurds as a currency in trade negotiations linked to bypassing anti-Russian embargoes and sanctions.
And that explains why the Sultan may decide to bomb Syrian territory whenever he sees fit, despite any condemnation by Washington or Moscow. The Russians once in a while retake the initiative on the ground – as happened during the Idlib campaign in 2020 when Russians bombed the Turkish military forces that were providing “assistance” to Salafi-jihadis.
A view of the site after attacks carried out by Assad regime in Syria on the city center of Idlib on September 7, 2021. Photo: Izzeddin Kasim / Anadolu Agency
Now a game-changer may be on the cards. The Turkish Army bombed the al-Omar oilfield north of Deir ez-Zor. What this means in practice is that Ankara is now destroying no less than the oil infrastructure of the much-lauded “Kurdish autonomy.”
This infrastructure has been cynically exploited by the US when it comes to the oil that reaches the border with Iraq in Iraqi Kurdistan. So in a sense, Ankara is striking against Syrian Kurds and simultaneously against American robbery of Syrian oil.
The definitive game-changer may be approaching. That will be the meeting between Erdogan and Bashar al-Assad, (Remember the decade-long refrain “Assad must go”?)
Location: Russia. Mediator: Vladimir Putin, in person. It’s not far-fetched to imagine this meeting paving the way for those Kurdish armed gangs, essentially played by Washington as useful idiots, to end up being decimated by Ankara.
(Republished from Asia Times)
The US trade and tech wars against China continued under President Joe Biden, who escalated export controls related to technology. The US wants to cut China’s access to advanced semiconductors and the equipment used to manufacture them in order to prevent their use for military purposes. The restrictions follow the CHIPS and Science Act, passed in August 2022 which showers $52 billion in subsidies on the US chip industry and grants over $200 billion in additional research and development (R&D) and science funding.
The alleged purpose of the US protectionist moves is to strengthen “national security” as revealed by the recent strategy, which singles out China as the main challenger to the world order upheld by the US. President Biden warned that the US faces a “decisive decade” in its rivalry with China in order to preserve a long-term competitive edge. Yet, a deeper analysis shows that the US policy is rather meant to contain China’s overall technological and economic progress. It also reveals the US government intentions to depart further from free-market solutions to bolster its economy, which reduces economic welfare and stokes the risk of military confrontation down the road.
US Dominates the Global Semiconductor Value Chains
Alarmist views that the US semiconductor industry is in need of subsidies and trade protection are not supported by facts. The US has remained the global semiconductor market leader, with almost 50 percent of annual sales since the late 1990s, despite a gradual decline in its share of chips manufacturing (graph 1). Most important, manufacturing represents less than one fifth of the semiconductor production chain and the US dominates the top end of the overall supply chain.
Graph 1: Semiconductor global market share, 2020
Source: Semiconductor Industry Association.
The US managed to control the overall market for semiconductors because it specialized in activities that are both R&D intensive and most profitable, such as the design of chips and production of manufacturing equipment. By contrast, the US’s Asian competitors focus mostly on capital- and labor-intensive stages of the value chain, such as supplying raw materials and manufacturing, assembling, testing, and packaging chips (graph 2).
Graph 2: Semiconductor value added by activity and region in 2019 (%)
Source: Semiconductor Industry Association.
About 75 percent of the world’s total semiconductor manufacturing capacity is located in Asia now, primarily in US allies like Taiwan, Korea, and Japan. But, more than 40 percent of the US semiconductor manufacturers’ capacity, which represents a nonnegligible 12 percent of the global output, is still located at home. Moreover, by controlling the top end of the value supply chain, the US could easily build up additional manufacturing capacity if needed. As the global chips market surged almost five times during the last two decades to an estimated $630 billion this year, US companies moved up the value chain by massively investing in R&D. American firms spent about $44 billion on R&D in 2020, more as a percent of sales than any other country’s semiconductor industry (graph 3). By these metrics, the US chips sector is definitely not an “infant industry” that could arguably need protection from foreign competition.
Graph 3: Semiconductor R&D expenditures, 2019 (% sales by country)
Source: Semiconductor Industry Association.
Industrial Policy Does Not Bolster Competitiveness
Industrial policy is traditionally justified by the “infant industry” argument that newly established “strategic” domestic industries or companies may need protection until they are able to catch up with more efficient foreign rivals. Critics of industrial policy emphasize that one cannot know in advance whether a particular industry will be profitable or not. If banks, capital markets, and domestic and foreign entrepreneurs cannot select the most promising investments, why should government officials and politicians do better? The latter are not omniscient either and take similar entrepreneurial risks, but with other people’s money. This invites less accountability, pork-barrel politics and rent seeking.
The historic experience with industrial policy is largely underwhelming in the United States, and has been riddled with “performance underruns and cost overruns.” Countless failures of industrial policy can be found also in Latin America, the UK, Europe, and India, whereas the “successes” of countries like Japan, Taiwan, Singapore, and South Korea appear to be exaggerated. Several studies show that Asian nations’ impressive economic growth was not driven by industrial policy and, may have been actually slowed by it. For example, more than 80 percent of budget subsidies in Japan went into agriculture, forestry, and fisheries and very little went into R&D at the peak of Japan’s industrial policy efforts during 1955–80. Moreover, import protection seems to have decreased sectoral total factor productivity growth both in Japan and Korea because it made intermediate inputs more expensive and reduced domestic competition.
The industrial policy conundrum ultimately boils down to whether the government can successfully engage in economic central planning. The proven failure of large-scale socialist economic planning suggests that also partial planning of a few sectors or companies is not likely to fare much better. What is certain is that industrial policy redistributes benefits from productive companies to less efficient ones which is not Pareto optimal.
In the case of semiconductors, the US government is coercing the rest of the US economy to subsidize an already highly profitable sector to undertake lower-value-added activities. This nonmarket transfer of resources was obviously well received by the semiconductor industry, which nevertheless had a defensive reaction to the later announcement of export controls to China. US companies understood very well that it would most likely harm their profits and their capacity to innovate and maintain long-term global leadership.
China’s Technological Progress Accelerated
The US does not need protectionist measures to improve its national security because it already controls the most advanced semiconductor technologies in the world. But the US government hopes to benefit indirectly by curtailing China military’s access to high-end chips and contain China’s technological progress in general.
Experience shows that both China and other emerging countries are capable to go to great lengths to supply their military with advanced technologies. China managed to build advanced fighter jets while it still struggles to develop a domestic civil plane. Despite being under heavy international sanctions for many years, Iran produced performant combat drones using Western dual technology, while North Korea continued its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests. International restrictions can also be circumvented, as illustrated by Iran’s dodging of oil sanctions or Chinese companies’ working around the US tech sanctions.
Most important, China can invent technical solutions to overcome the chips blockade, even if commercial production processes may be less efficient and more expensive. For example, China’s top logic chips foundry, SMIC can only produce fourteen-nanometer chips on a large scale, trailing the industry leaders by about five years. Although subject to US sanctions and blocked from acquiring advanced EUV chip producing machines since 2020, SMIC has reportedly innovated its way into producing advanced seven-nanometer chips by using older technology. Huawei, the blacklisted Chinese telecoms giant, struggled to salvage its mobile and 5G equipment business by innovating in the “advanced packaging” of chips to increase their performance.
US export restrictions are unlikely to prevent China from building up its military and their real purpose remains a general economic containment of China. Top US officials have not been shy about their efforts to maintain “as large a lead as possible” in technology, because China’s advance in production and innovation capabilities has accelerated recently. Chinese companies have become very competitive in consumer electronics and market leaders in renewable energy equipment like solar photovoltaics, wind turbines, and high-capacity batteries, used also to produce electric vehicles (EVs). China is now both the world’s leading market for EVs and the largest EV producer with increasingly homegrown technological progress. At present, China remains highly dependent on the West in only two major sectors—i.e., semiconductors and civil aviation.
It is understandable that China’s rapid catch-up has unsettled the US political establishment, but believing that industrial protection and trade restrictions are the solution represents a serious intellectual error. China’s economic and technological advance took place concomitantly in so many different domains, that it could not have been the result of forced redistribution of resources from productive to less productive sectors on such a large scale. It is rather the outcome of domestic and foreign companies taking advantage of a more friendly business environment and dynamic markets. There is no coincidence that a multitude of Western companies continue to rely heavily on China despite its harmful zero-covid policy and Western governments’ decoupling efforts.
The US government interventions in the semiconductors market are not only detrimental to the industry itself and consumer welfare, but also show that American leaders have lost confidence in the power of markets to drive economic success. This can be very dangerous because, as explained by George Reisman, only free-market competition increases labor productivity and the benefits of the international division of labor, whereas restriction of international exchanges very often contributes to future wars.
If wrong economic policies undermine the US competitive position and global hegemonic ambitions, US leaders may be increasingly tempted to escalate the commercial and technological confrontation with China into a political and military one. And if China sees its economic opportunities and strategic interests severely harmed may get more belligerent too. Such a major risk to global peace, prosperity, and individual freedom should not be taken lightly.
Dr. Mihai Macovei (firstname.lastname@example.org) is an associated researcher at the Ludwig von Mises Institute Romania.
An investigation into British and American collusion with the terror groups that kidnapped and murdered western hostages in Syria.
On 19 August, 2014, ISIS released a video of the beheading of American journalist James Foley who was kidnapped by the terrorist organization in 2012 while reporting on the conflict in Syria.
Foley’s shocking execution became one of the most widely followed news stories of the Syrian war. Foley’s killer, Mohammed Emwazi, popularly known as “Jihadi John” by the western media, was a Kuwaiti-born Brit from West London. In the Foley execution video, Emwazi’s unmistakable London accent can be heard.
James Foley execution video
However, what is less known about the notorious ISIS member, was that he travelled to Syria as part of a “terror-funnel” established by British intelligence, and abducted Foley while fighting for an armed group known as Katibat al-Muhajireen – or the Emigrants Brigade – which enjoyed direct support from British intelligence. Many members of al-Muhajireen, including Emwazi, then helped lay the foundation for the rise of ISIS by joining the terror group with its establishment in April 2013.
Further, for a period of Foley’s captivity he was being held in a prison jointly controlled by another armed group, Liwa al-Tawhid, or the Monotheism Brigade, which operated under the Free Syrian Army (FSA) umbrella and received aid directly from US intelligence. Some of this included arms being sold onto ISIS, including to the group leader holding James Foley.
In other words, although James Foley’s murder occurred in the deserts of Raqqa, it arguably began in more familiar places, namely London and Washington.
In 2009, former French Foreign Minister Roland Dumas was told by top UK officials that “Britain was organizing an invasion of rebels into Syria.”
Roland Dumas, former French Foreign Minister
This involved sending British jihadis to Syria through a pipeline established by UK intelligence decades before, to fight in Bosnia and Kosovo against Serbia. According to former US federal prosecutor John Loftus, British intelligence had used the London-based Al-Muhajireen Movement to recruit Islamist militants with British passports for the war against the Serbs.
The Al-Muhajireen, later known as al-Ghurabaa and Islam4UK was a Salafist religious movement established in Britain in 1996 by exiled Syrian cleric Omar Bakri Mohammed, who, as journalist Nafeez Ahmed details, was a long-time informant for UK intelligence, meeting regularly with MI5 agents throughout the 1990s.
Bakri himself acknowledged his role in training jihadists to be dispatched abroad, in an interview with The Guardian in May 2000.
A month after the 7 July, 2005 attacks in London, in which suicide bombers targeted the city’s transport system, killing 52, Bakri left the UK for Lebanon. Although former Muhajireen members participated in the attack, the British Home Office did not prevent Bakri from leaving the country but did ban him from ever returning.
By 2009, Lebanese security forces were accusing Bakri of training Al-Qaeda members, while Bakri himself boasted: “Today, angry Lebanese Sunnis ask me to organize their jihad against the Shi’ites … Al-Qaeda in Lebanon … are the only ones who can defeat Hezbollah.”
But who was Mohammed Emwazi? As the Guardian reported, Emwazi came to Britain with his family from his native Kuwait as a young boy. After attending the University of Westminster to study Information Technology, Emwazi became politically active as part of a group of West Londoners who followed an Islamic preacher named Hani al-Sibai. Some members of the group took part in jihadi training camps in Northern England and Scotland and were being monitored by M15.
In 2009, Emwazi traveled to Tanzania with two friends from the group, Bilal el-Berjawi and Mohamed Sakr. Assumed to be traveling to Somalia to join Al-Qaeda affiliate Al-Shabab, MI5 had the men detained in Dar es Salaam and subjected them to lengthy interrogations before forcing them to return to the UK. Both Berjawi and Sakr later succeeded in traveling to Somalia and were killed in US drone strikes.
Emwazi continued to be monitored by MI5 and was prevented from traveling to his native Kuwait in 2010, where he allegedly wished to marry. Emwazi claimed he was interrogated and harassed at Heathrow Airport by MI5, and complained of his treatment to CAGE, a London-based advocacy group led by former Guantanamo detainee Moazem Begg which focuses on Muslim detainees. CAGE then began an advocacy campaign on Emwazi’s behalf.
Yet Emwazi was then somehow later able to travel to Syria. The Daily Beast reported that this seemed odd, given that Emwazi had been “described as a core member of an extremist network linked to the al Shabab group in Somalia during a court hearing as far back as 2010” and had been tracked by MI5 for at least five years. “His links to terror networks were well known—and yet, he was released by the authorities” to travel to Syria.
Journalist Nafeez Ahmed reports that according to former British counterterrorism intelligence officer Charles Shoebridge, British authorities “turned a blind eye to the travelling of its own jihadists to Syria, notwithstanding ample video and other evidence of their crimes there,” because it “suited the US and UK’s anti-Assad foreign policy.”
Ahmed notes this “terror-funnel is what enabled people like Emwazi to travel to Syria and join up with [the Islamic State] – despite being on an MI5 terror watch-list. He had been blocked by the security services from traveling to Kuwait in 2010: why not Syria?”
Upon arriving in Syria in August 2012, Emwazi joined an armed group known as Katibat al-Muhajireen. Journalist James Harkin reports that according to Jejoen Bontinck, a Belgian jihadi that fell out with his brigade and was imprisoned for a time with Foley, most British jihadis traveling to Syria joined Katibat al-Muhajireen.
A “deep embarrassment”
Crucially, Katibat al-Muhajireen enjoyed support from UK intelligence services. This is evidenced by the terror trial of Swedish citizen Bherlin Gildo, who according to the Daily Mail fought for Katibat al-Muhajireen as well.
The Guardian reports that Gildo was detained while transiting through Heathrow Airport having been accused by British authorities of attending a terrorist training camp and receiving weapons training between 31 August, 2012, and 1 March, 2013 – as well as possessing information likely to be useful to a terrorist.
However, the terror trial collapsed “after fears of deep embarrassment” to the British security services. This was because, as Gildo’s lawyer explained: “British intelligence agencies were supporting the same Syrian opposition groups as he [Gildo] was.”
British intelligence support for Katibat al-Muhajireen was further confirmed when former Guantanamo detainee Begg of CAGE was also tried on terror charges. Begg had also traveled to Syria several times in 2012 and provided physical training to foreign fighters from Katibat al-Muhajireen in Aleppo, as reported by Foreign Policy. Begg made his latest trip to Syria in December 2012.
As a result, Begg was later detained by British authorities and accused of attending a terrorist training camp. The Guardian reported, however, that Begg was freed after MI5 “belatedly gave police and prosecutors a series of documents that detailed the agency’s extensive contacts with him before and after his trips to Syria,” and which showed that MI5 told Begg he could continue his work for the so-called opposition in Syria “unhindered.”
In short, Emwazi traveled to Syria through a pipeline established by UK intelligence, and then joined an armed group, Katibat al-Muhajireen, that was supported by British intelligence, but which was viewed as a terrorist organization by the British police.
“Kidnapped by the one who killed him”
James Foley was an American freelance journalist who reported from Iraq and Afghanistan before traveling to Libya in 2011 to cover the NATO-led war on Muammar Gaddafi’s Libyan government. While in Libya, a close colleague of Foley’s was shot and killed by Libyan security forces, who also detained and imprisoned Foley for 44 days.
In 2012, Foley began making trips to Syria to report on the conflict for the Global Post and AFP, including in July when armed opposition groups, the Al Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front and the FSA’s Liwa al-Tawhid, invaded the city.
In October 2012, Foley published an article from his time in Aleppo suggesting that the opposition armed groups enjoyed little popularity among the city’s residents. Foley noted that “many civilians here are losing patience with the increasingly violent and unrecognizable opposition,” which was “deeply infiltrated by both foreign fighters and terrorist groups.”
This ran contrary to mainstream narratives about the Syria conflict, which suggested the armed opposition groups were comprised of army defectors fighting for democracy and enjoying strong popular support.
In November 2012, Foley was returning to Turkey after a reporting trip with British journalist John Cantlie. After stopping at an internet café in the town of Binnish, the pair’s taxi began heading for the border when it was overtaken on the road and forced to stop by a van full of armed men. Among them was Muhammad Emwazi.
James Harkin explains that according to two European hostages who had been held with Foley but later freed, the kidnapping gang that took Foley and Cantlie was led by Emwazi. “[Foley] was kidnapped by the one who killed him,” one of the freed Europeans told Harkin: “I am sure of that.”
Emwazi participated in Foley’s abduction just two months after arriving in Syria. Note that this was during the period Katibat al-Muhajireen was receiving support from British intelligence, as shown by the periods when Gildo and Begg attended Katibat al-Muhajireen training camps.
According to a US Department of Justice indictment, Emwazi was joined by two of his fellow Brits, Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, in the operation to abduct Foley. Emwazi, Kotey, Elsheikh, and one other Brit, Aine Davis, were later collectively known as the “Beatles,” initially by their captives due to their British accents, and later by western media.
Foley’s critical coverage of the US and UK-backed armed groups occupying Aleppo, coupled with the British Foreign Office effort to control the narrative of the war in the media – including by “waging information warfare in Syria by funding media operations for some rebel fighting groups” – raises the question of whether UK intelligence officials ordered the Muhajireen militants to kidnap Foley. On this point we can of course only speculate.
Collaborations with ISIS
According to the Belgian jihadi Bontinck, Emwazi and his fellow Beatles continued serving as Foley’s guards at various times, and passed him to Aleppo’s ISIS leader, Abu Athir, sometime in the late spring or early summer of 2013. By this time, they had pledged allegiance to ISIS.
This raises the question of whether Emwazi, and the other British Muhajireen fighters continued to enjoy support from UK intelligence after joining ISIS as well.
By August 2013, Foley was being held by ISIS in a prison in the basement of the Aleppo Children’s Hospital, along with several other foreign hostages.
Another American journalist, Theo Padnos, had previously been held in the same prison, but as a captive of the Nusra Front. As the Washington Post reported, Nusra had established a headquarters at the Aleppo Children’s Hospital in 2012, which it shared with Liwa al-Tawhid, the US-backed FSA faction.
According to the New York Times, after ISIS “caliph” Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi announced the creation of ISIS, the Nusra brigade sharing the children’s hospital headquarters with Liwa al-Tawhid pledged loyalty to ISIS.
Liwa al-Tawhid then continued to share the headquarters with ISIS, and its leader, Abd al-Qader al-Salah was criticized for his cooperation with ISIS. Killed by a Syrian government airstrike in November 2013, the New York Times noted that Salah “ultimately made accommodations with ISIS that, to some of his allies, were at best disappointing and at worst ugly. Though he had welcomed journalists and aid workers, when Islamist groups began kidnapping them, even holding hostages at a compound he shared with ISIS in Aleppo, he made no public moves to stop it.”
Liwa al-Tawhid’s collaboration with ISIS had come into the spot-light in August 2013, while Foley was languishing in prison in the two groups’ Aleppo headquarters.
On 4 August, Tawhid commander Abd al-Jabbar al-Okaidi, who also served as the head of the FSA’s Aleppo Military Council, was filmed celebrating the capture of the Menagh Air Base in the Aleppo countryside with ISIS commander Abu Jandal. Okaidi praised the ISIS fighters and referred to them as “brothers” for their help in capturing the airbase.
The video of Okaidi celebrating with the ISIS commander proved embarrassing to the Obama administration, because US ambassador to Syria Robert Ford had crossed the border to Syria to meet with Okaidi a few months before, in May 2013 – and because Okaidi was considered the main conduit for US–provided non-lethal aid to armed opposition groups in northern Syria.
McClatchy reports that in response to the Menagh video, Ford called Okaidi directly to complain, saying that it had created “a public relations nightmare for the Obama administration, which was trying to show Congress and the American public that it was boosting moderates and isolating extremists on the battlefield.” However, as McClatchy notes, “When the importance of the jihadis became undeniable, Obama administration officials were irate.”
Okaidi had also previously spoken openly of his collaboration with ISIS, again referring to ISIS commanders as “brothers” and indicating that he communicated with them daily in an interview with pro-opposition Orient TV.
Buying weapons from the FSA
Abu Athir, the ISIS leader in Aleppo holding Foley, had similarly kind words for Okaidi’s FSA. Al-Jazeera quoted Abu Athir as stating in July 2013 that, “We are buying weapons from the FSA. We bought 200 anti-aircraft missiles and Koncourse anti-tank weapons. We have good relations with our brothers in the FSA.”
The Koncourse missiles had in turn been provided to Okaidi’s Liwa al-Tawhid courtesy of the CIA. According to reporting by the Los Angeles Times, Koncourse missiles were provided to FSA groups such as Tawhid via the CIA’s regional allies, while CIA officers trained FSA fighters in the use of these weapons in Jordan and Turkey starting in November 2012.
In August 2013, a month after ISIS leader Abu Athir boasted of buying Koncourse missiles from the FSA, a video emerged of Okaidi’s Liwa al-Tawhid fighters also using Koncourse anti-tank missiles in the fight at Menagh airbase.
This suggests that Okaidi was receiving Koncourse missiles from his CIA handlers, and was then selling some of them to his ISIS counterpart, Abu Athir.
Ambassador Ford had himself been involved in the CIA effort to provide these weapons to Okaidi and the FSA. According to journalist Michael Gordon of the New York Times, Ford traveled to Langley, Virginia in 2012 to meet with then-CIA director David Petraeus to plan providing weapons covertly to the Syrian opposition.
Recall that US-favorite Okaidi was the FSA leader in Aleppo and claimed to communicate daily with his ISIS counterparts during this time. If pressed by Ambassador Ford, Okaidi could have therefore inquired with Abu Athir about Foley and the other foreign hostages held by ISIS in August 2013.
Dragging their feet
In January 2014, a civil war broke out between ISIS on the one hand, and Nusra, Liwa al-Tawhid, and other opposition factions on the other, in which ISIS was expelled from Aleppo city but took full control of Raqqa, which would go on to serve as its de-facto Syrian capital. Foley and other foreign hostages were then moved to Raqqa, while ISIS massacred most of the Syrian prisoners it had held in Aleppo before evacuating.
In the following months, ISIS freed 15 European hostages after receiving ransoms averaging some two million euros, whether from the captives’ governments, families, or insurers. However, the US government refused to pay a ransom for Foley.
Further, Ambassador Ford’s State Department threatened to prosecute Foley’s parents if they paid a ransom, which deterred them from raising funds for that purpose.
ISIS pointed to this in their English-language magazine, Dabiq, explaining that “As the American government was dragging its feet, reluctant to save James’s life,” other hostages had been spared after ransoms were paid.
On 19 August, 2014, Foley was beheaded by Emwazi, who shortly thereafter also executed journalist Steven Sotloff, and aid workers David Haines, Alan Henning, and Peter Kassig, as well as 22 Syrian soldiers. John Cantlie’s fate is still unknown.
Emwazi was killed in a US airstrike in Raqqa on in November 2015. However, two of his fellow Beatles, Alexanda Amon Kotey and El Shafee Elsheikh, were later captured alive, and stood trial in the US. Both were convicted of participating in Foley’s abduction and killing and sentenced to life in prison.
It is no coincidence that Kotey and Elsheikh were tried in US courts. Any effort to prosecute them in the UK would have quickly collapsed, because British intelligence were supporting the very same armed group – Katibat al-Muhajireen – in which they and Emwazi were members when they abducted Foley. A UK trial would have proved a “deep embarrassment” for British intelligence, just as the attempted prosecutions of Bherlin Gildo and Moazem Begg had been.
In short, James Foley was abducted, held captive, and later murdered by militants from an armed group that received direct support from British intelligence. These militants fought in a dirty war to topple the Syrian government orchestrated by US planners, including Ambassador Ford.
Weapons sent by Ford and his CIA counterparts were given to another armed group, Liwa al-Tawhid, which shared a prison with ISIS during the time Foley was held there, and which sold some of these weapons to the ISIS commander then holding Foley.
Not only Foley but hundreds of thousands of Syrians have been killed as a result of the US and UK-led dirty war on Syria. The murder of James Foley is just one atrocity among countless others for which both Washington and London are responsible as a result of their effort to effect regime change in Syria.
The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.
The 2022 midterms were not a “red wave” of socialism — we don’t win by shoehorning capitalist politicians into a leftist mold.
Image: Patrick Semansky/Associated Press
After the results of the U.S. midterms rolled in, the Democratic Party collectively breathed a sigh of relief. The predicted Republican “red wave” turned into a trickle as Democrats won key races across the country, retaining their Senate majority and losing the House by a smaller-than-expected margin.
Democrats’ elation is understandable. But something curious is also happening: some on the Left are claiming that there was a different kind of red wave — of socialism, that is. Jacobin proclaimed that “the elections were one of the best the Left has had in memory,” and DSA claimed the organization — and the progressive movement — had “racked up wins.”
To be sure, progressive ideas and ballot measures found support across the country, and it’s clear that many sectors of the U.S. electorate are further to the left than the two parties. But to claim that November 8 was a victory for the Left is a distortion of reality, and an attempt to bolster the failed strategy of building working-class power in a capitalist party.
Victories for “Leftist” Candidates?
Writing in Jacobin, Branko Marcetic claims, “Centrists were wrong: Left-Wing candidates won.” Accompanying the article was a picture of John Fetterman, the candidate from Pennsylvania who beat out Dr. Oz for a Senate seat.
Fetterman may hold progressive views on certain issues, like cannabis legalization, but let’s be clear: he is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a leftist, and he moved right throughout his campaign. He chauvinistically said he will be “tough on China,” boasting that he was the only Senate candidate from Pennsylvania who hadn’t done business in or praised the country. He has emphasized his support for police and said the movement to defund them was “always absurd.” And his support for fracking shows his allegiances lie with fossil capital, not with people or the planet.
Even on issues where Fetterman is not just a middle-of-the-road Democrat, the leftist bar is on the floor. Marcetic writes that Fetterman is “moving toward universal healthcare” and cites the politician’s support for a $15 minimum wage as a leftist credential. But Fetterman has moved away from supporting Medicare for All, the previous litmus test for progressives, and even politicians like Joe Biden and Chuck Schumer support a $15 wage — an unacceptably low goal amid historic inflation.
Fetterman is not alone in being forcefully shoehorned into leftism in order to fit in Jacobin’s success narrative. Jacobin also praises Pennsylvania’s pro-cop governor-elect, Josh Shapiro, as well as incoming Vermont senator Peter Welch who traded healthcare stocks while fighting to pass a bill favorable to these same companies. Branko Marcetic even claims that Tim Ryan, who increasingly moved to the right (and lost) in his race against Republican JD Vance in Ohio, “borrowed somewhat from the Left’s playbook.”
These politicians are not leftists, and the 2022 midterms were not a leftist wave, but don’t take our word for it — just read the bourgeois press, which is touting November 8 as a victory for centrism. A New York Times article states that, “In battleground states and swing districts across the country, voters voiced their support for moderation.” The same publication muses about how the Democratic Party can build “John Fetterman 2.0” to secure more victories in Pennsylvania and beyond. An article in The Atlantic titled “How Moderates Won the Midterms” emphasizes the winning strategy of “Democrats who focused on the economy, eschewed the party’s progressive wing, and reached out to traditional Republican voters.”
Clearly, neither the politicians themselves nor the Democratic Party see the midterms as a win for leftism. So why are some on the Left, like Jacobin and DSA, pushing this narrative?
These leftist sectors’ strategy hinges on supporting candidates in the Democratic Party and trying to move these politicians leftward. Whether pushing for a “dirty break” with the Democrats or for a realignment of the Party, success is measured by the electoral wins of nominally progressive candidates running on the Democratic Party line. By their logic, socialism can be won through the ballot box if politicians merely adopt enough progressive policy positions.
Framing John Fetterman, Josh Shapiro, and others as victories for the Left helps vindicate Jacobin and DSA’s strategy. But as history has shown, time and time again, this strategy is a losing bet — even when it comes to more progressive candidates like members of the “Squad” in the House.
More Squad = More Socialism?
Centrist candidates aside, it’s true that the Squad expanded its ranks. Maxwell Frost — Congress’s first Generation Z lawmaker — won his race in Florida, and will be joined in the House by Texas’s Greg Casar, Illinois’s Delia Ramirez, and Summer Lee, Pennsylvania’s first Black female congressperson. These individuals espouse progressive positions on many issues, and their election shows that progressive ideas are gaining steam. But do more Squad members mean that congress can be turned into a vehicle for leftist change?
The records of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and other Squad members show that when push comes to shove, these representatives almost always fall in line behind the capitalist establishment. They repeatedly vote for big military budgets and even for increasing police budgets, and support imperialist intervention abroad. Jamaal Bowman is a staunch ally of Israel and, together with AOC, voted to give more military aid to the apartheid regime. And as their unanimous vote to renominate Nancy Pelosi as House Speaker shows, they will never fundamentally oppose the pillars of U.S. capitalism. Meanwhile, progressives’ policy goals, when they are not defeated outright, are increasingly watered down to make them palatable to the defenders of the status quo on both sides of the aisle.
Nonetheless, many on the Left believe that every new member of the Squad, and even the addition of one or two slightly more progressive senators, means we’re one step closer to winning progressive victories in areas like climate change, healthcare, and poverty. The argument goes something like this: if we only had more “democratic socialist” votes in Congress, we would finally be able to pass legislation like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All.
As Tempest highlighted after the 2020 election, this idea that the Left is gradually winning stems from “an electoralist perspective that equates winning elections with ‘building power’ and that uses electoral victories as a gauge of strength.”
But this strategy misses a key point: these politicians are funneling progressive energy into a racist, imperialist, capitalist party. Once in power, they provide left cover for the Democratic Party’s politics and rightward shifts, and end up upholding the very systems they speak out against.
We’ve seen how the Democrats de-fanged and co-opted the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement, with politicians who two years ago wore kente cloth and decried George Floyd’s death now positioning themselves as pro-cop and “tough on crime” after the biggest social uprising in the country’s history. Democrats are doing the same with reproductive rights, using abortion as a pawn to win elections. On imperialism and the economy, Democrats hardly diverge from Republicans at all beyond supporting more state-interventionist approaches to social spending. And yet Congress’s “democratic socialists” have repeatedly worked tirelessly to get out the vote for these politicians, like AOC hitting the campaign trail with New York governor Kathy Hochul.
Elections Can be a Socialist Tactic
November 8 was less of a victory for Democrats and progressives than it was a repudiation of the extreme Right and GOP, and the records of progressives in Congress show that running as Democrats does not guarantee progressive wins — these candidates water down their program and betray the working class at every turn.
History has shown, time and time again, that the reformist Left’s project of building socialism within the Democratic Party is failing. As a result, sectors like Jacobin have to revise their goals downwards, shifting to the right alongside the party they claim they can to reform, to the point that they claim that even politicians who are pro-police, support fracking, and trade healthcare stocks are victories for the Left.
This does not mean, however, that leftists should reject the electoral arena: elections are a powerful tool in leftists’ arsenal, but not through the Democratic Party.
Socialists need to organize independently of capitalist parties, and run for elections as part of our own party with an openly socialist program. Running in elections allows us to popularize our ideas, denounce capitalist oppression and exploitation, and indict capitalist democracy. A presence on the political stage helps us engage with those who are looking for alternatives to this wretched system that has nothing to offer the working class and oppressed.
The 2022 midterms were not a “red wave” of socialism, and it sets back our struggle to pretend that they were. We don’t win by shoehorning patently un-leftist politicians into a leftist mold. We don’t win by voting for these politicians, and, above all, we don’t win by working inside a party that’s inherently opposed to our class interests. We win by fighting independently of the two parties of capital, with our own revolutionary party, uncompromising on issues of exploitation, oppression, and imperialism.
WINDHOEK (Reuters) – A large crane lifted a colonial-era statue of German official Curt von Francois in Namibian capital Windhoek on Wednesday, as a crowd that gathered nearby clapped and hooted in delight.
The 2.4 metre (7-foot, 9-inch) bronze statue of von Francois was unveiled in 1965 during the 75-year anniversary celebrations of Windhoek.
The controversial statue was seen as a symbol of colonial oppression in the southern African nation, and is the latest to be taken down as activists around the world mount campaigns for their removals.
Germany has a troubled past with Namibia. The country apologised in 2021 for its role in the massacre of Herero and Nama tribespeople in Namibia more than a century ago and officially described it as a genocide for the first time.
(Writing by Bhargav Acharya; Editing by Bill Berkrot)
Removal of German Colonial-Era Statue Met With Cheers in Namibia
Nov. 23, 2022, at 11:40 a.m.SaveMore
Removal of German Colonial-Era Statue Met With Cheers in Namibia
Current Russian tactics are the absolute opposite of the military theory of concentrated force developed by Napoleon, Pepe Escobar writes.
Footfalls echo in the memory
Down the passage which we did not take
Towards the door we never opened
Into the rose-garden. My words echo
Thus, in your mind.
But to what purpose
Disturbing the dust on a bowl of rose-leaves
I do not know.
T.S. Eliot, Burnt Norton
Spare a thought to the Polish farmer snapping pics of a missile wreckage – later indicated to belong to a Ukrainian S-300. So a Polish farmer, his footfalls echoing in our collective memory, may have saved the world from WWIII – unleashed via a tawdry plot concocted by Anglo-American “intelligence”.
Such tawdriness was compounded by a ridiculous cover-up: the Ukrainians were firing on Russian missiles from a direction that they could not possibly be coming from. That is: Poland. And then the U.S. Secretary of Defense, weapons peddler Lloyd “Raytheon” Austin, sentenced Russia was to blame anyway, because his Kiev vassals were shooting at Russian missiles that should not have been in the air (and they were not).
Call it the Pentagon elevating bald lying into a rather shabby art.
The Anglo-American purpose of this racket was to generate a “world crisis” against Russia. It’s been exposed – this time. That does not mean the usual suspects won’t try it again. Soon.
The main reason is panic. Collective West intel sees how Moscow is finally mobilizing their army – ready to hit the ground next month – while knocking out Ukraine’s electricity infrastructure as a form of Chinese torture.
Those February days of sending only 100,000 troops – and having the DPR and LPR militias plus Wagner commandos and Kadyrov’s Chechens do most of the heavy lifting – are long gone. Overall, Russians and Russophones were facing hordes of Ukrainian military – perhaps as many as 1 million. The “miracle” of it all is that Russians did quite well.
Every military analyst knows the basic rule: an invasion force should number three times the defending force. The Russian Army at the start of the SMO was at a small fraction of that rule. The Russian Armed Forces arguably have a standing army of 1.3 million troops. Surely they could have spared a few tens of thousands more than the initial 100,000. But they did not. It was a political decision.
But now SMO is over: this is CTO (Counter-Terrorist Operation) territory. A sequence of terrorist attacks – targeting the Nord Streams, the Crimea Bridge, the Black Sea Fleet – finally demonstrated the inevitability of going beyond a mere “military operation”.
And that brings us to Electric War.
Paving the way to a DMZ
The Electric War is being handled essentially as a tactic – leading to the eventual imposition of Russia’s terms in a possible armistice (which neither Anglo-American intel and vassal NATO want).
Even if there was an armistice – widely touted for a few weeks now – that would not end the war. Because the deeper, tacit Russian terms – end of NATO expansion and “indivisibility of security” – were fully spelled out to both Washington and Brussels last December, and subsequently dismissed.
As nothing – conceptually – has changed since then, coupled with the Western weaponization of Ukraine reaching a frenzy, the Putin-era Stavka could not but expand the initial SMO mandate, which remains denazification and demilitarization. Yet now the mandate will have to encompass Kiev and Lviv.
And that starts with the current de-electrification campaign – which goes way beyond the east of the Dnieper and along the Black Sea coast towards Odessa.
That brings us to the key issue of reach and depth of Electric War, in terms of setting up what would be a DMZ – complete with no man’s land – west of the Dnieper to protect Russian areas from NATO artillery, HIMARS and missile attacks.
How deep? 100 km? Not enough. Rather 300 km – as Kiev has already requested artillery with that kind of range.
What’s crucial is that way back in July this was already being extensively discussed in Moscow at the highest Stavka levels.
In an extensive July interview, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov let the cat – diplomatically – out of the bag:
“This process continues, consistently and persistently. It will continue as long as the West, in its impotent rage, desperate to aggravate the situation as much as possible, continues to flood Ukraine with more and more long-range weapons. Take the HIMARS. Defense Minister Alexey Reznikov boasts that they have already received 300-kilometre ammunition. This means our geographic objectives will move even further from the current line. We cannot allow the part of Ukraine that Vladimir Zelensky, or whoever replaces him, will control to have weapons that pose a direct threat to our territory or to the republics that have declared their independence and want to determine their own future.”
The implications are clear.
As much as Washington and NATO are even more “desperate to aggravate the situation as much as possible” (and that’s Plan A: there’s no Plan B), geoeconomically the Americans are intensifying the New Great Game: desperation here applies to trying to control energy corridors and setting their price.
Russia remains unfazed – as it continues to invest in Pipelineistan (towards Asia); solidify the multimodal International North South Transportation Corridor (INTSC), with key partners India and Iran; and is setting the price of energy via OPEC+.
A paradise for oligarchic looters
The Straussians/neo-cons and neoliberal-cons permeating the Anglo-American intel/security apparatus – de facto weaponized viruses – won’t relent. They simply cannot afford losing yet another NATO war – and on top of it against “existential threat” Russia.
As the news from the Ukraine battlefields promise to be even grimmer under General Winter, solace at least may be found in the cultural sphere. The Green transition racket, seasoned in a toxic mixed salad with the eugenist Silicon Valley ethos, continues to be a side dish offered with the main course: the Davos “Great Narrative”, former Great Reset, which reared its ugly head, once again, at the G20 in Bali.
That translates as everything going swell as far as the Destruction of Europe project is concerned. De-industrialize and be happy; rainbow-dance to every woke tune on the market; and freeze and burn wood while blessing “renewables” in the altar of European values.
A quick flashback to contextualize where we are is always helpful.
Ukraine was part of Russia for nearly four centuries. The very idea of its independence was invented in Austria during WWI for the purpose of undermining the Russian Army – and that certainly happened. The present “independence” was set up so local Trotskyite oligarchs could loot the nation as a Russia-aligned government was about to move against those oligarchs.
The 2014 Kiev coup was essentially set up by Zbig “Grand Chessboard” Brzezinski to draw Russia into a new partisan war – as in Afghanistan – and was followed by orders to the Gulf oil haciendas to crash the oil price. Moscow had to protect Russophones in Crimea and Donbass – and that led to more Western sanctions. All of it was a setup.
For 8 years, Moscow refused to send its armies even to Donbass east of the Dnieper (historically part of Mother Russia). The reason: not to be bogged down in another partisan war. The rest of Ukraine, meanwhile, was being looted by oligarchs supported by the West, and plunged into a financial black hole.
The collective West deliberately chose not to finance the black hole. Most of the IMF injections were simply stolen by the oligarchs, and the loot transferred out of the country. These oligarchic looters were of course “protected” by the usual suspects.
It’s always crucial to remember that between 1991 and 1999 the equivalent of the present entire household wealth of Russia was stolen and transferred overseas, mostly to London. Now the same usual suspects are trying to ruin Russia with sanctions, as “new Hitler” Putin stopped the looting.
The difference is that the plan of using Ukraine as just a pawn in their game is not working.
On the ground, what has been going on so far are mostly skirmishes, and a few real battles. But with Moscow massing fresh troops for a winter offensive, the Ukrainian Army may end up completely routed.
Russia didn’t look so bad – considering the effectiveness of its mincing machine artillery strikes against Ukrainian fortified positions, and recent planned retreats or positional warfare, keeping casualties down while smashing Ukrainian withering firepower.
The collective West believes it holds the Ukraine proxy war card. Russia bets on reality, where economic cards are food, energy, resources, resource security and a stable economy.
Meanwhile, as if the energy-suicide EU did not have to face a pyramid of ordeals, they can surely expect to have knocking on their door at least 15 million desperate Ukrainians escaping from villages and cities with zero electrical power.
The railway station in – temporarily occupied – Kherson is a graphic example: people show up constantly to warm up and charge their smartphones. The city has no electricity, no heat, and no water.
Current Russian tactics are the absolute opposite of the military theory of concentrated force developed by Napoleon. That’s why Russia is accumulating serious advantages while “disturbing the dust in a bowl of rose-leaves”.
And of course, “we haven’t even started yet.”
• 1,300 WORDS •
One week ago, the Ukrainian government may have deliberately attacked neighbor Poland in an attempt to draw the NATO alliance into its war with Russia. The incident involved a missile that hit a grain processing site inside Poland and killed two farmers. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately blamed Russia for the incident even though he surely must have known that the missile had been fired from Ukraine, meaning that he may have been using a so-called “false flag” to create a false narrative of what had occurred. He also immediately called upon NATO to intervene, citing Article 5 of the NATO treaty which requires all members of the alliance to come to the aid of any individual member that is attacked. An attack on one is an attack on all. Poland is a NATO member and it currently hosts a permanent US military base.
The US mainstream media, most particularly the Associated Press and NBC News, immediately repeated the tale being told by Zelensky, but the “blame the Russians” narrative began to unravel. The remains of the missile revealed that it was of a type used for air defense that is in the Ukrainian arsenal, but not currently used by the Russians, and both Moscow and Washington surely had access to satellite imagery that would demonstrate the actual flight path of the missile that struck Poland.
Those in government and the media who wanted to be supportive of Zelensky began to suggest that the Ukrainian missile must have somehow malfunctioned to land in Poland, making it an unfortunate accident. But others more familiar with the performance characteristics of the weapon were skeptical, seeing something possibly more sinister in the tale.
By last Thursday the story had effectively disappeared in much of the mainstream media as it no longer conformed to the acceptable narrative that it was a Russian-launched missile, which Zelensky has since continued to insist to be the case. President Joe Biden, who was at the G-20 Summit conference in Indonesia at the time, to his credit, responded to the news by stating that there was no intelligence to confirm that the missile had come from Russia and that its apparent trajectory did not support that view. Ironically, Biden had authorized an additional $37 billion in aid for Ukraine the day before the incident in Poland took place.
Biden’s message seeking to deescalate the potential crisis was repeated by Pentagon and intelligence personnel during the day, though Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin emphasized that the US would continue to support Ukraine “for as long as it takes.” He also added that even though the missile was Ukrainian, the incident was Russia’s fault. He did not explain why that was so. NATO’s secretary general Jens Stoltenberg also promoted the same line as Austin, commenting that the incident was “likely caused by a Ukrainian air defense missile fired to defend Ukrainian territory… This is not Ukraine’s fault. Russia bears responsibility for what happened in Poland yesterday because this is a direct result of the ongoing war.”
Given the fact that Zelensky has been saying and doing everything possible to draw the US and NATO into fighting Russia on his behalf, I believe that the missile strike was quite plausibly a deliberate “false flag” attempt to start a much broader war. That such a war could easily turn nuclear reveals just how reckless Zelensky can be. One NATO country foreign diplomat based in Kiev told the Financial Times that “This is getting ridiculous. The Ukrainians are destroying [our] confidence in them. Nobody is blaming Ukraine and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”
To be sure, Zelensky is capable of anything and no lie is too mendacious for the former comedy actor who is now basking in the glow of his celebrity. Hollywood personalities like Sean Penn and Ben Stiller are increasingly making the pilgrimage to Kiev to shake hands, embrace and do photo ops. And Zelensky’s calendar is also featuring some trips to the United States. On November 30th, he will reportedly be in New York City at a “live event” hosted by the New York Times with Sam Bankman-Fried, Larry Fink (CEO of Blackrock), and US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as the main speakers.
Yes, Zelensky will be side-by-side with THAT Sam Bankman-Fried, if he shows up, who has also been much in the news lately for his having pulled off the largest currency fraud in history, creating losses for investors totaling multi-billions of dollars as a consequence of the collapse of his exchange-trading company FTX! And it just might be that Zelensky and Bankman-Fried already know each other. Bankman-Fried has been a major financial supporter of Democratic Party politicians, having donated $40 million for “get out the vote” projects in the recently completed election cycle. He is second only to George Soros as a Democratic Party funder, and also has separated donated to causes like unconditionally supporting Ukraine that the Democrats overwhelmingly favor. In April he hosted a conference at his $40 million home in the Bahamas which featured appearances by Tony Blair and Bill Clinton and he has also been a generous supporter of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
There has been considerable speculation that the unregulated and unmonitored flow of billions of dollars of US taxpayer provided money through Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government provided a perfect mechanism for large scale money laundering. Former CIA analyst Larry Johnson has been following the FTX-Ukraine story closely and observes that “The financial collapse of FTX… is exposing evidence that the Democrats, some Republicans, the Ukrainians and FTX organized an elaborate financial kickback scheme. The scheme involved promising members of Congress who sent money to Ukraine a hefty contribution from a Democrat benefactor. In this case, the owner of FTX [Sam Bankman-Fried]. Once the US dollars were credited to Ukraine’s account, President Zelensky and his partners diverted some of the proceeds to purchase crypto currency from FTX. FTX, in turn, sent some of those funds back to the cooperating members of Congress and the Democrat National Committee.”
Other reporting reveals that Bankman-Fried had established a crypto donation “partnership” with the Ukrainian government which provided an estimated $60 million in “assistance” to Zelensky. The Ukrainian government website that reported some details of the arrangement mysteriously was “disappeared” two days before the FTX disaster was made public. The FTX tale, if it turns out to be largely verifiable, underlines just how corrupt a “money pit” called Ukraine is. Hunter Biden gets a well-paid sinecure place on a company board to get to his father and now Ukraine may be directly involved in a massive financial fraud. And Joe Biden obligingly is sending billions of dollars more to that crook Zelensky.
But the real issue is the war. Even assuming that the Ukrainian missile strike on Poland was due to some malfunction, Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true. He is using his contrived narrative to dramatically expand the war by creating a situation which would bring NATO directly into the conflict and which could easily go nuclear. Indeed, he is attempting to compel NATO participation. But potentially far worse, if it was a deliberate “false flag” provocation to bring about that end, his tactics should be harshly condemned by all the parties that are currently supporting Ukraine. Beyond that, the US and NATO, burdened with such an “ally,” should take immediate steps to disengage from supporting the fighting and call for a negotiated settlement of the conflict. Joe Biden, if he has any integrity left, and whoever is pulling his strings should not hesitate to take that step.
Philip M. Giraldi, Ph.D., is Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest, a 501(c)3 tax deductible educational foundation (Federal ID Number #52-1739023) that seeks a more interests-based U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. Website is councilforthenationalinterest.org, address is P.O. Box 2157, Purcellville VA 20134 and its email is email@example.com.
• 2,700 WORDS •
Why do Americans hate Putin?
Tucker Carlson thinks he knows. Here’s what he said:
“… Democrats in Washington have told you it’s your patriotic duty to hate Vladimir Putin. It’s not a suggestion. It’s a mandate. Anything less than hatred for Putin is treason.
Many Americans have obeyed this directive. They now dutifully hate Vladimir Putin. Maybe you’re one of them. Hating Putin has become the central purpose of America’s foreign policy. It’s the main thing that we talk about. Entire cable channels are now devoted to it. Very soon, that hatred of Vladimir Putin could bring the United States into a conflict in Eastern Europe.
Before that happens, it might be worth asking yourself: What is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much? Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? Has he shipped every middle-class job in my town to Russia? Did he manufacture a worldwide pandemic that wrecked my business and kept me indoors for two years? Is he teaching my children to embrace racial discrimination? Is he making fentanyl?” (Tucker Carlson,”Americans have been trained to hate Putin, and will suffer because of it“, Fox News)
Is Carlson right, do Americans hate Putin because the media and the political class in Washington have told them to do so?
Yes and no. Yes, the media and the politicians have played a big role in the demonization of Putin. But, no, they’re not the main drivers of this smear campaign. That designation belongs to the plutocrats behind-the-scenes who use the media to attack Putin in order to promote their own globalist agenda. That’s what’s really going on; the news is being shaped to advance the interests of elites.
After all, what do the American people really know about Putin? Have they ever listened his speeches or read his statements following meetings with other world leaders? Have they ever tuned-in to his marathon 4-hour “ask-anything” Q&A sessions? Have they ever read transcripts of his interviews where he speaks candidly on critical policy issues, culture or religion?
No, of course, not. Everything Americans know about Putin they read in the media. And that’s the problem, because media despises Putin. And they despise him for the same reason they despise Trump, because the media’s wealthy owners see him as a threat to their political agenda. That’s the whole deal in a nutshell. Putin is not hated because he is a “KGB thug” or a “new Hitler”; that’s just public relations gibberish. He’s hated because he is an obstacle to the globalists achieving their geopolitical objectives. That’s the motive that drives this smear campaign. Putin has blocked them in Chechnya, South Ossetia, Syria and now Ukraine. He has derailed their grand plan to “pivot to Asia” and to encircle China with US military bases. He has been a thorn in their side for the better part of two decades and he has thrown a wrench in their loony plan to crush emerging centers of power and rule the world for the next century. That’s why they hate him, and that’s why they use their media to make you hate him, too. Check out this chart from a recent report at Pew Research:
A line graph showing that a record high share of Americans say they have no confidence in Putin
Pew Research: “Russian President Vladimir Putin receives dismal ratings, with only 6% of U.S. adults expressing confidence in him following his decision to invade Ukraine – an all-time low in surveys going back nearly two decades. The vast majority of Americans (92%) have little or no confidence in Putin’s handling of world affairs, including 77% who have none at all.” (“Zelenskyy inspires widespread confidence from U.S. public as views of Putin hit new low”, Pew Research Center)
Are you surprised?
Probably not, after all, the Pew survey just confirms what we already know, that Putin is widely reviled in the US and across the west. But what the report fails to mention is the extent to which Putin is admired in Russia and the rest of the world. Check it out:
“According to Statista Putin holds a very favorable approval rating among Russians averaging between 84% in August, 2022, to 79% approval by Russian citizens and Dual Nationals holding both Russian and United States Passports despite the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.” (Wikipedia)
84% is in the nose-bleed section! No other leader in the world today can claim 84% public approval. And what’s more incredible, is that — after 20 years in office– the overwhelming majority of Russians still support him. How does that happen? How does a modest, self-effacing bureaucrat become the most widely-admired and popular Russian leader of all time?
Here’s more from the same article:
Observers see Putin’s high approval ratings as a consequence of the significant improvements in living standards and Russia’s reassertion of itself on the world scene that has occurred during his period of office….
A joint poll by World Public Opinion in the US and Levada Center in Russia around June–July 2006 stated that “neither the Russian nor the American publics are convinced Russia is headed in an anti-democratic direction” and “Russians generally support Putin’s concentration of political power and strongly support the re-nationalization of Russia’s oil and gas industry.” Russians generally support the political course of Putin and his team. A 2005 survey showed that three times as many Russians felt the country was “more democratic” under Putin than it was during the Yeltsin or Gorbachev years, and the same proportion thought human rights were better under Putin than Yeltsin.” (Wikipedia)
So, according to the Russian people, Putin is largely responsible for Russia’s economic prosperity, the higher living standards, the sharing of oil revenues, the better human rights record and the stronger democracy. They also overwhelmingly support Putin’s military operation in Ukraine. (87%) So, how do we explain the huge disparity between the Russian peoples’ opinion of Putin (over 80% approval) and that of the American people? (92% have little or no confidence in him) Either the Russians are extremely dim-witted and gullible or the Americans are the most weak-minded, brainwashed sheeple on earth? Which is it?
For roughly 17 years, the media has been spewing the same slanderous claptrap (aimed at Putin) they settled on in 2005 and 2006. Did you know that? Did you know that– at one time– western elites and their lapdog media actually liked Putin and thought he was a leader “they could work with”? In other words, they figured Putin would be another compliant stooge like the perennially-inebriated Yeltsin who thrust the country into “shock therapy” and allowed western economists to raffle-off the nation’s most valuable assets, industries and resources to bloodsucking oligarchs who bought them for pennies-on-the-dollar. That’s what they were hoping for, another spineless toady that was willing to sell-out his country to ingratiate himself with Uncle Sam. Instead, they got Putin; a devout Christian, an unwavering conservative and a ferocious Russian patriot.
Can you see why they hated him?
And because they hated him, they ordered their media to make you hate him, too; just like they did with Saddam, and Qaddafi, and Kim Yong Un, and anyone who gets in their way. We all know the drill by now, and it always begins with character assassination; the requisite smear campaign that is designed to persuade the public to hate the enemies of the elites.
But here’s something you probably didn’t know. You probably didn’t know that the demonizing of Putin can be traced back to a precise time and place.
It’s true. Years ago, I looked into it and here’s what I found.
Former senator John Edwards and Congressman Jack Kemp were appointed to lead a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) task force to determine whether a “strategic partnership” with Russia was still possible in light of policies Putin had enacted that conflicted with Washington’s broader geopolitical aims. When Kemp and Edwards returned from Moscow they published an article titled “Russia’s Wrong Direction” (March 2006)
The authors decided that a “strategic partnership” with Russia was no longer possible because the government under Putin had become increasingly “authoritarian” and Russian society was growing less “open and pluralistic”. The irony of these observations was not lost on analysts who realized that the US has no problem jumping-into-bed with the most authoritarian countries in the world including Saudi Arabia that conducted the mass execution of 81 men in one weekend alone (in 2022) That is an impressive achievement even by Saudi standards. And we should also note that all 81 men were beheaded which further underscores the barbarity of the leaders that Washington regards as their best friends.
The point we are making is that ‘Putin hatred’ and character assassination can be traced back to a particular time and place when US foreign policy elites decided that Putin was not going to be the “responsible stakeholder” they had hoped for. He was not going to click his heels and fall in line like many of the other allies. In fact, Putin had shown his willingness to commit –what the globalists regard as the one unforgivable crime– that is, he put his own country’s national interests above those of the international banking cabal. That, of course, is the biggest “No-No” of all. Here’s a short clip from “Russia’s Wrong Direction”:
Fifteen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, “U.S.-Russia relations are clearly headed in the wrong direction,” finds an Independent Task Force on U.S. policy toward Russia sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. “Contention is crowding out consensus. The very idea of a ‘strategic partnership’ no longer seems realistic,” it concludes…
…when President Bush has made democracy a goal of American foreign policy, Russia’s political system is becoming steadily more authoritarian, the Task Force charges. “The political balance sheet of the past five years is extremely negative……
“U.S.-Russia cooperation can help the United States handle some of the most difficult issues we face,” said Edwards. “Yet regrettably, cooperation is becoming the exception, not the norm. This report is a wake-up call that we need to get U.S.-Russia relations back on track to meet the challenges that face both of our countries.”
Consistent with this, the report argues, “Although President Putin is presiding over the rollback of Russian democracy, the United States should work with him to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to keep terrorists from attacking either his country or ours.”..
“Since the end of the Cold War, successive American administrations have sought to create a relationship with Russia that they called a ‘partnership.’ This is the right long-term goal, but it is unfortunately not a realistic prospect for U.S.-Russia relations over the next several years,” says the report.
In the short run, the United States needs to see Russia for what it is now. “The real question that the United States faces in this period is not how to make a partnership with Russia work, it is how to make selective cooperation—and in some cases selective opposition—serve important international goals,” concludes the report.” (“Russia’s Wrong Direction”, Council on Foreign Relations)
The report indicates the precise time that western elites gave up on Putin and, (basically) threw him under the bus. And the reason they gave up on him, is because they could see that he was a true Russian patriot. Patriotism is the mortal enemy of globalism, because patriots can’t be “flipped” and the elites know it. They know that you cannot fundamentally change a man who loves his country. These men are not ‘for sale’ and they are incorruptible. Anyone who puts country above the globalist agenda– including MAGA Americans– is the mortal enemy of the globalists. And that is why elites always enlist foppish girlie-men like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron to do their bidding, because the job requires weak, unprincipled men who are willing to debase themselves in order to serve their masters.
But what was it in particular that convinced the elites that Putin was a lost cause who would always be a threat to their agenda?
Fortunately, we know the answer to that question because the authors listed their objections under four main headings. Here’s they are:
- De-democratization: The report finds that Russian political institutions are becoming “corrupt and brittle.” As a result, “Russia’s capacity to address security concerns of fundamental importance to the United States and its allies is reduced. And many kinds of cooperation—from securing nuclear materials to intelligence sharing—are undermined.” (My comment– In other words, Putin was unwilling to impose additional sanctions on Iran, would not support Kosovo independence (which never gained UN approval) and refused to support the Iraq War. Bottom line: He refused to go along with Washington’s genocidal wars and arbitrary redivision of the Middle East. That’s why he was he was dubbed an “unreliable ally.”)
- Energy supplies: “Russia has used energy exports as a foreign policy weapon: intervening in Ukraine’s politics, putting pressure on its foreign policy choices, and curtailing supplies to the rest of Europe. The reassertion of government control over the Russian energy sector increases the risk this weapon will be used again.” (My comment– This is true, Putin seized control of Russia’s greatest public asset –oil– and used it to raise standards of living across the board. Privatization is the Holy Grail of western capitalism so, naturally, Putin was condemned for errant behavior. He was also blasted for “curtailing supplies to the rest of Europe” which is also true. He cut off Ukraine’s gas supplies after Ukraine repeatedly siphoned gas from the pipelines and refused to pay for the gas it had already consumed. The authors seem to think that Russia should give away its gas for free but that’s not how capitalist economies work.)
- The war on terror: The Task Force finds “a seeming Russian effort to curtail U.S. and NATO military access to Central Asian bases,” a sign that Russia is retreating from the idea that “success in Afghanistan serves a common interest.” (My comment– Putin was extremely accommodating in allowing US troops and weaponry to pass through Russia on their way to Afghanistan. What he opposed was the CIA-backed color revolutions that Washington supported across Central Asia in order to install their own puppet governments that were openly hostile towards Russia. He also opposed Washington’s covert support for Chechen terrorists. Was that unreasonable?
- Russia hosting the G8: “A country that has in the space of a single year supported massive fraud in the elections of its largest European neighbor and then punished it for voting wrong by turning off its gas supply has to be at least on informal probation at a meeting of the world’s industrial democracies.” (My comment– Russia follows a strict policy of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other countries. None of the allegations of electoral interference have ever been proven. Quite the contrary, in the 3 year-long investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Robert Mueller was unable to find a scintilla of evidence to support the bogus claims. In contrast, Washington’s clandestine interventions, coup d’etats, targeted assassinations and full-scale military invasions have been widely documented and substantiated. No country in the world has ever interfered in the affairs of other sovereign governments more than the United States.
These are largely the issues upon which the authors decided that Putin was headed in “the wrong direction.” He wouldn’t support their reckless military interventions, he wouldn’t hand Russia’s oil over to rapacious oligarchs, he wouldn’t look the other way while governments in his neighborhood were toppled by Washington one-by-one, and he wouldn’t snap a salute and click his heels when he got his marching orders from Washington. These are the reasons he is viciously attacked in the media and regarded as Washington’s blood enemy. He simply refused to be their lackey, which is why they’ve spent the last 17 years trying to destroy him.
Vladimir Putin; Washington’s Blood Enemy
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The purpose of this essay is threefold: (1) to bring to the attention of readers the existence of a long-standing conspiracy about the identification of “The Richest Man in the World”, (2) to dismiss from contention the current list of candidates, and (3) to document that a small number of Jewish banking families operating out of the City of London have for generations held these wealth records with fortunes that are orders of magnitude above anything we might have imagined. I will address these points in reverse order, and deal with the current crop of wunderkind at the end.
I do not profess to be able to irrefutably document all the assertions made in this essay, nor to definitively substantiate all the inferences made. The topic is such that too much of the necessary legal evidence is irretrievably hidden from public view and accessibility, and we must in many cases rely on logic and circumstantial evidence to support our assertions and inferences. While the proofs are not as complete as one would desire, this level of evidentiary support is often sufficient, especially when our cases follow an established pattern and we have such reasoning and evidence in bulk. The descriptions and evidence in this essay will serve at least to provide a reasonable basis for understanding and to “draw attention to some of the great forces which have been molding our world”. The figures presented in this essay are not meant as precise calculations, but to impress upon readers the magnitude of the numbers and amounts with which we are dealing.
The Power of Compound Interest
Much of this essay is primarily dependent on only one simple thesis: that those with enormous wealth do not leave it idle but put it to a constant good use; the money is always at work. It is lent out to finance wars and colonisation, to purchase legitimate businesses, to establish control of governments and national economies, and more.
As to interest rates for long-term accumulation, we tend to think of historical interest rates as being very low, perhaps only 1% or 2%, but that was seldom the case. The reason Abraham Lincoln resorted to printing his “Greenbacks” as currency was because Rothschild demanded a 24% interest rate to fund the Union in the US civil war. There are many other such examples, as war financing in particular carried high interest rates. Dutch perpetual bonds issued by Jews were at rates of 10% and 12% in the 1500s and 1600s; Genoa issued much of its debt at 9% in the 1600s. I have used a rate of 5% for the compound interest calculations in this essay, a selection that is admittedly arbitrary but that appears reasonable and conservative in the overall context. The accompanying charts from the Bank of England appear to justify this choice.
Some Background on Corporations
A great many of the world’s largest corporations are owned and controlled by Jews, many of these by the select few in the City of London, but also very many outside this small group. The world’s major oil companies are controlled by Jewish interests, as are the major pharmaceutical companies, many of the weapons manufacturers and the world’s airlines, a preponderant amount of the world’s shipping capacity, and many other industries that might not normally come to mind. It is impossible to obtain access to all the information required to even hazard a guess at the value of the corporate asset ownership of these people, but consider that virtually all of the media in the West, and a great deal of the prime media outlets in the rest of the world, including movies and book publishing, are owned or controlled by Jews. There are international companies worth in total many trillions of dollars that are entirely Jewish; Nestle, Sanofi, Monsanto, being a few among hundreds such. We cannot easily know what part of this reverts to our handful of Jewish bankers in the City of London, how much of that was financed by, and is controlled from, that center, but it isn’t negligible.
Things are not always what they seem. Many of the world’s large fortunes were financed by Rothschild or others from that inner circle and thus there is a hidden ownership that will never be revealed. Trolling through historical records, we sometimes discover that a very wealthy man left an estate of only a few million dollars. It isn’t a secret although apparently not widely-known, that one of the Rothschilds financed Rockefeller’s creation of Standard Oil, and did the same with Andrew Carnegie’s steel empire and the Harriman railroad fortune in the US, among others. The financing was usually done through J. P. Morgan, who was a Rothschild agent for all of his career, and in fact Morgan’s banking interests themselves were much more European Jewish than they were American. It is worthy to bring this to the attention of readers since it appears that much of the wealth of the famous American and European families may not have been really theirs but belonged instead to the ultimate Jewish financiers in the background. Today, Google, Facebook, Tesla, Amazon, Starbucks, and many others are in this category, firms that could not possibly have attained their extent of market control without both heavy financing and intense planning originating elsewhere.
A number of studies have been done on interlocking corporate ownership and control, with consistent conclusions that as few as 400 companies, and perhaps even as few as 250 companies, own outright or at least have control of, more than 40% of all the value listed on all stock exchanges everywhere.
But behind those 400 or 250 companies is that same number of men controlling those companies. Even though most large corporations are listed as public, with sometimes hundreds of millions of shares outstanding, we cannot know where the true control lies. Increasingly, many of the shares are held by proxies like Blackrock or Blackstone or other investment groups, and we have no information on share classifications or other restrictions on voting and control.
Nor does the general public have information on interlocking directors who have absolute day to day control, including over all financial decisions. More importantly, it isn’t necessary to own a plurality of shares if you control the Board of Directors or if they are reading from the same script. These people can empty a company’s treasury to pay unlimited dividends tax-free through a tax haven, and do so without even attracting unrest from the common shareholders who seldom have much understanding of these matters.
Many European banks fall into this category, most of these Jewish-owned and tightly-held. The few dozens of Europe’s largest banks like HSBC, BNP Paribas, Lloyd’s, have a market cap in the trillions and an asset base of over €30 trillion. The major North American banks, like Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, again owned by Jews, have a market cap of well over $1.5 trillion and assets to match. Plus, we have literally hundreds of Jewish-owned banks in Switzerland and other countries that appear on no list anywhere.
Many of the world’s largest insurance and reinsurance companies are owned by Jews, with a combined market cap in the trillions, and there is no way to place a value on Lloyd’s of London, a worldwide insurance platform that is virtually priceless. Then there are the oil companies; Royal Dutch Shell alone has a market cap of over $200 billion, and there are many of these, Jewish-controlled, sufficient to control the world’s price of oil as we will see.
The two major FMCG companies, Unilever and P&G, both Jewish, have a combined market cap of over half a trillion dollars. Internet-related firms like Google, Meta, Amazon, Dell, Oracle, again all Jewish, have a combined market cap of nearly $5 trillion. The world’s fashion houses and jewelry firms, mostly Jewish-owned or controlled, firms like Swarovski, YSL, LVMH, Cartier, Hermès, Estee Lauder, L’Oréal, have a market cap of more than $1 trillion, and there are hundreds of jewelry firms, diamond cutters and merchants, gold dealers, operating behind the scenes that are also owned by Jews and worth a combined trillions of dollars.
The major armaments and weapons manufacturers, which have always had a high percentage of Jewish ownership and control, again have a market cap in the vicinity of $1 trillion. The world’s major food companies, again mostly owned by Jews, is another example. Nestlé, an entirely Jewish company, owns more than 2,000 food brands with a market cap of about 1/3 of a trillion dollars by itself. Pepsico is the second-largest food company in the world, owning hundreds of major brands, and many others like Kraft Heinz, Mondelez, Danone, Anheuser-Busch Inbev, Coca-Cola, Diageo, Starbucks, have a combined market cap of at least $1.5 trillion. The world’s largest pharmaceutical companies are all Jewish-owned, with a combined market cap of around $4 trillion.
The main North American media companies (all owned by Jews) have a market cap of over $1 trillion, with larger numbers for the European media that are also largely Jewish-owned and virtually all Jewish-controlled. And this ignores their media holdings in Latin America, Asia and Africa. And there are literally hundreds of Jewish-owned companies that don’t fit easily into the above categories, including everything from H&R Block to Mattel and Hasbro, Monsanto, Ben and Jerry’s. The list is almost endless. Collectively, their value and influence are enormous.
The Real Power: Family Dynasties
When we read of a Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, we tend to think in simple terms of someone starting a company with a good idea and over a lifetime building a huge enterprise that today is worth many billions. But this reasoning is simplistic because we are confining our thoughts to only one generation. The people with whom we are concerned here, are family dynasties that have been accumulating their fortunes for perhaps ten or even twenty generations. With the Rothschilds, Sassoons, and so many others, we are going back to the 1600s and 1700s, with family dynasties that have expanded enormously over the centuries and maintained control over their increasingly vast wealth through avoidance of inheritance taxes, rigid intermarriage, and shared intentions.
The greatest of all family dynasties are hidden from view, expunged from the media, deleted from the history books, and almost never attract public attention. All of these are Jewish – Rothschild, Sassoon, Sebag-Montefiori, Warburg, Lehman, Goldman, and so many names you may have never heard of. Here is a listing of a few of the Jewish bankers, representing perhaps only 25% of them, most having begun banking, financing and industrial operations in the early to mid-1800s, so an average of nearly 200 years, and many resulting in Jewish family dynasties that continue to this day, entirely out of the public eye.
Rothschild, Sassoon, Warburg, Moses Montefiori, Sebag-Montefiori, Kadoorie, Lehman, Israel Moses Seif, Kuhn Loeb, Goldman Sachs, Salomon, Schiff, Joseph Hambro, J. Henry Schroder, Samuel Montagu, Emile and Isaac Péreire, Lazard Brothers, Speyer brothers, Seligman brothers, Stern brothers, Barnato Brothers, Ernest Oppenheimer, Abraham Oppenheim, Carl Fuerstenberg, Jacob Goldschmidt, Oskar Wassermann, Hirsch, Raphael Jonathan Bischoffsheim, Hambro, Isaac Glückstadt, Levy Martin, Markus Rubin, Goldsmid, Rosenthal, A. Dunkelsbueler, Eugen Gutmann, Herbert Gutman, Wagg and Co, Mèdici family, Speyer, Speyer-Elissen, Emile Erlanger, S. Japhet, Ernest Cassel, Carl Meyer, Achille Fould, Luigi Luzzatti, Wertheimer and Gompertz, Lippman.
I have a graphic on my computer that displays the holdings of the Rothschild dynasty, displayed rather like an organisation chart with small boxes indicating holdings and lines everywhere indicating ownership and control. It is so large that to print it in the smallest readable type would require a sheet of paper half a meter in size. Rothschild recently created a new bank just to manage his land holdings confiscated from poor countries. It is difficult to obtain hard information because so much of this is done through no-name banks, agents, related companies, and run through innumerable tax havens. Rothschild owns, among other things, Sanofi Pharma with a capitalisation of $125 billion, the Economist, and IHS which is the largest mobile tower operator in Africa.
Anglo American was founded by Ernest Oppenheimer, a German Jew. Headquartered in the City of London, this is one of the 250 largest companies in the world, producing gold, diamonds, other metals, and nearly half of all the world’s platinum. Their subsidiaries and investments are too many to list. When Ernest died, he was succeeded by his son Harry, who also became chairman of De Beers, so you can see how the families integrate and rationalise their holdings.
The Jewish Wallenbergs in Sweden have been in business for 200 years, where today they own most large Swedish industrial groups like Enskilda Bank, Ericsson, Electrolux, ABB, SAAB, SAS Group, SKF, Atlas Copco, and Nasdaq. As far back as 50 years ago, the Wallenberg family businesses employed 40% of Sweden’s industrial workforce and represented 40% of the total worth of the Stockholm stock market. The market capitalisation of only ten of their companies is nearly $350 billion, and much has been buried in trusts and hidden in tax havens. Swarovski, with their fake “crystal” is another 150-year-old Jewish dynasty.
For this essay, I will ignore much of the past history of these Jewish families and begin from the early 1800s, but it should be noted that these Khazar “family fortunes” began hundreds of years before this. We had the (Jewish) Dutch Tulip bubble, the (Jewish) South Seas bubble, the (Jewish) British and Dutch East India Companies and many similar. There were the centuries of slave trading, of tax farming and so much more. I will omit all of that.
India was at one time almost certainly the richest nation in the world, with stocks of gold, silver and precious gems worthy of fable and legend. The British East India Company which was eventually led by one of the Rothschilds, was unquestionably the greatest criminal enterprise in the history of the world, and the vehicle used to loot India to the bones.
Sassoon ben Salih was the chief treasurer to the pashas of Baghdad.
Exposed in an immense fraud in the early 1800s that must have involved hundreds of billions in today’s dollars, he was lucky to escape with his life (and the money). He and his two sons David and Joseph fled to India where they teamed up with one of the Rothschilds and hatched their infernal plan to force Indian peasants to grow opium for sale in China.
From the early days, they already had the young Queen Victoria firmly in their grasp. She not only supported their efforts to the extent of allocating the British military as the Jews’ enforcers of the opium, giving David Sassoon the exclusive franchise for selling opium in all of China, seizing Hong Kong for his distribution base and giving him the charter to form the HSBC. To say that the British Royal Family profited heavily from this personally, would be an understatement of some magnitude. This is where we will begin our story.
From their wholesale looting of India and the thefts from Iraq, followed by growing and selling of opium in China, Rothschild and Sassoon were reliably estimated to have accumulated wealth of more than $5 billion each, by 1835. Actually, the calculated estimates I have seen were of $6 billion and $7 billion,
and these were my estimates as well. I reduced this to $5 billion to be conservative, but the totals are still staggering. $5 billion accumulated at only 5% for the intervening 185 years, accumulates to a total in 2022, of more than $40 trillion each for Rothschild and Sassoon. And there were at least a dozen or more Jewish banking families that were not so very far behind Rothschild and Sassoon, as well as many dozens more that were very wealthy but not in this same league. That $40 trillion may seem shocking and too fantastic to be real, but reserve your judgment until the end. As you will see, that $40 trillion is almost irrelevant in the overall picture.
Leger Entry: Rothschild: $40 trillion in today’s dollars
Leger Entry: Sassoon: $40 trillion in today’s dollars
(1) Slavery and Forced Labor
Jews have always been heavily involved in slave trading, including both the white slaves that depopulated Ireland and much of England and the more recent black slaves, but I will ignore that part of the past and deal only with the more recent events in China. Slave trading by these same richest Jews – Rothschild, Sassoon, Kadoorie and many others, stopped only because the First World War put an end to it. We haven’t precise numbers, but the historical record tells us that many millions of Chinese were kidnapped and sold as slave labor. Countless tens of thousands of Chinese were kidnapped and shipped as slave labor to North America to build the railroads and work the gold mines, to build the Panama Railway and the Panama Canal, to work the guano mines in Peru, and in many other instances. This is why we have Chinese all over the world; even today the population of Panama is more than 10% Chinese because of this.
In many cases, the Chinese were not actually sold to others but used by the Jews as slave labor for their own projects. As late as 1904, Rothschild had around 65,000 Chinese kidnapped from Fujian Province to work his gold mines in South Africa.
When these same Jews financed the building of the North American railroads and the Panama Canal, for example, kidnapped Chinese were the supply of free (and disposable) labor. Harsh conditions resulting in tens of thousands of deaths were irrelevant because the supply was inexhaustible. As well, there is credible evidence that Easter Island was almost totally depopulated by these same Jews who kidnapped most of the people to work the guano mines in Peru. There are letters from officials in the UK demanding that these Jews return the Easter Islanders to their home.
At this distance in time, it isn’t possible to construct a comprehensive tally of the totals of Chinese slave laborers conscripted by these Jews for their projects, nor to estimate the “value” of all this slave labor, but it was certainly substantial and carried on in great volume from about 1800 to 1920 and, as I mentioned above, it was only the First World War that put a stop to it. I list this because it is an important contributing aspect to the accumulated wealth of these Jewish banking families, but I do not provide a leger entry for it.
Leger Entry: $0 trillion in today’s dollars
It’s not a secret that DeBeers controls the diamond production of South Africa, and also in Zaire, nor that DeBeers is a Rothschild company. Let’s not forget the origin and purpose of the Boer Wars. Diamond production statistics seem scattered, with South Africa claiming around 650 million carats of total production,
while Statista claims twice this amount. South Africa places a value on this production (at $100 per carat) at about $60 billion, but with no allowance for the compounding an average of $300 million per year over 150 years: (average of 3 million carats per year at $100 per carat). If we allow for compounding at 5%, this accumulates to about $10 trillion. To keep things simple, I have excluded all other countries from this calculation; the addition of these and other Rothschild and Jewish-owned production would at least double the total. It should also be noted that the Jewish enclave of Holland is still the center of the world’s diamond trade, the great majority of which is firmly in Jewish hands.
Leger Entry: $10 trillion in today’s dollars
It is difficult to find comprehensive and reliable statistics on the actual annual production of gold from the Rothschild-controlled mines, but production apparently reached more than 1,000 tonnes per year 50 years ago. With 32,000 ounces in a tonne of gold, and gold selling at $1,700 an ounce, that represents many billions of dollars per year, compounded at 5% for nearly 150 years, about ten times the value of the diamond production listed above. The picture is clouded by fluctuations in both production amounts and gold prices, so definitive results are impossible to calculate.
I have assumed what I believe is a conservative estimate of only twice the diamond production and value.
Leger Entry: $20 trillion in today’s dollars
(4) Canals: Panama and the Suez
It is universally-known that the US built the Panama Canal – after “liberating” the Province of Panama from Columbia, but not so widely-known that it was Jewish money that paid for the canal.
We can reasonably assume that the profits from the canal for about 120 years would have accrued to those who financed it. The Suez Canal was also built with Jewish money and existed as a privately-held corporation. However, since the revenues from these two amount to only a few mere billions of dollars per year, I will omit them from the totals.
Leger Entry: $0 trillion in today’s dollars
(5) Cash Management
It isn’t widely-known but, as part of America’s Monroe Doctrine, the US used not only its powerful bullying “diplomacy” but also the CIA and the full force of its military to arrange for a few Jewish bankers (and the US FED) to obtain the position of “investment managers” of all the cash assets and central bank holdings of the countries under its control. This included Latin America, but also countries like the Philippines and the 50+ countries where the US overthrew a government and installed a compliant dictatorship.
The scheme was simple. These nations were forced to turn over all their liquid assets to the Jewish bankers in the US who would “prudently manage” all that cash for the benefit of these smaller nations. In practice, the Jewish bankers invested the money in New York real estate and profited in the billions while paying those nations 3% on their money. This practice was coupled with a bad American habit of invading, then forcing open and emptying, the vaults of the central banks of these same nations of all their gold. These practices are sufficiently documented to withstand challenge and, having existed for about 150 years, I think we could reasonably attach a total compounded to today of at least $1 trillion dollars, but the historical records are insufficient and so I make no leger entry for this item.
Leger Entry: $0 trillion in today’s dollars
(6) Germany’s Hyperinflation
It is widely accepted today that Germany was set up for this precise circumstance from the provisions of the Treaty of Versailles and the corresponding restrictions enacted by Jews to prevent Germany’s recovery. Regardless, the inflation rate was so extreme that money became literally worthless, permitting the Jewish bankers to buy up much of Germany for virtually nothing. This was one of the deep resentments harbored by Hitler toward the Jews, knowing they were behind the treaty and other restrictions that could have had only the bankruptcy and subjugation of Germany as the one possible purpose. We needn’t go into details here, but it was Hitler’s eviction of the Jews from Germany’s banking system and taking over the country’s central bank that resulted in the “miracle” of Germany’s economic recovery which, unfortunately, was not to last. There is no way to estimate the value of the looting of Germany that took place at this time, and I attribute no definitive value to it although the present value would surely be in the many trillions of dollars, all to the benefit of these same few bankers.
Leger Entry: $0 trillion in today’s dollars
(7) Central Banks
European Jewish banking families, led by the Rothschilds, own or control the central banks of at least 30 nations, including the FED in the US. There are several very nasty results of this ownership, one of which is that these nations cannot print their own money but must borrow it from the (privately-owned) central banks – and pay interest on it. This is of enormous magnitude. Until the late 1970s, Canada owned its own central bank and paid little to no interest to foreigners. But then-Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau (Justin Trudeau’s father) committed an astonishing act of treason – on his own account, without even the knowledge of his own cabinet or Parliament – and committed Canada to foregoing its financial birthright to print its own currency and from then on borrowing from the European Jewish bankers. The result is that in the past 30 or 40 years little Canada has paid these bankers more than $1.1 trillion in interest for borrowing its own money.
You might especially want to watch item 22, a video of Canada’s former Cabinet Minister commenting on Banking in America.
But Rothschild and a handful of other Jewish banking families have owned the central banks of the European nations, and others including the US FED, for well over 100 years. If little Canada has paid more than $1 trillion in interest in a relatively short time, the governments of countries like England, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Japan, South Africa, have paid much more during the past century. As one example, Italy’s debt is several times that of Canada, and many other countries are in the same position.
I have no accurate record of total interest the US has paid to the FED, but its current debt is more than $13 trillion – an amount which will never be paid off.
Working from Canada as a baseline, and counting only 30 countries, an excessively conservative estimate would be $30 trillion paid out in interest to these bankers. If we then allow for only 100 years, we can multiply this by more than three times and arrive at around $100 trillion paid in interest – entirely without need or justification. And this doesn’t allow for the US FED which could increase the total by half again. It should also be noted that those 50+ nations where the US military and CIA overthrew a government, the Jewish bankers were right behind them to take over ownership of all those central banks. In every case where information has escaped – Iraq, Libya, South Africa, the Balkans, this has been their priority and simple logic dictates that it would be very high on their list in every country where they had access. I have not included this item in my estimates. Considering all of the above, my leger entry is arguably conservative by 75% or more, but there is insufficient detail. My estimate below makes no allowance for the compounding of interest for even 100 years; to do so would multiply the total to a truly astronomical figure, and yet the real-world situation is that this amount would indeed be compounded, and for more than 100 years, to the many hundreds of trillions.
Leger Entry: $100 trillion in today’s dollars
(8) Recessions and Depressions
One of the nastier advantages of the foreign ownership of a country’s central bank is that the Jews have total control over those economies.
Since they control both the money supply and the interest rates, they have easily the power to whipsaw economies and profit immensely at every cycle. They do it the same way every time – by lowering interest rates to zero or nearly so, while hugely inflating the money supply, thereby creating large bubbles in debt, in the stock and housing markets, and so on. Then, they severely contract the money supply and all credit while simultaneously raising interest rates, thus bankrupting countless thousands of banks, businesses and families, and buying up for pennies on the dollar every manner of assets when the blood is running in the streets. After accomplishing their task of relieving a nation of a significant portion of its assets, they again expand the money supply and open the credit taps while reducing interest rates to give economies time to recover, then rinse and repeat. It is not a secret that all such recessions have been deliberately inflicted on Western economies by these Jewish bankers for the past 200 years or more.
The 1929 Great Depression was one such, with euphoria based on the Jewish owners of the FED expanding an almost unlimited money supply and easy credit with low interest rates, building a huge bubble which was then burst. Thousands of banks, tens of thousands of companies, and millions of families, all went bankrupt, with all those assets mostly flowing eventually to the Jewish owners of the US FED and their closest friends. This was done many times prior to 1929, and has been done many times since. The bitterly savage recession in 1983 was similarly created by the US FED – on orders from the City of London, with Volcker even boasting openly about what he was doing. The 2008 housing and financial crisis in the US was identical, and in no way accidental. It was so bad that an executive of Goldman Sachs said at the time, “Things will never return to normal after what they have done.”
The collapsing of the industrial economies in 2022 is the same. A sudden and deliberately-contrived “energy shortage”, created in large part by the sabotage of Nordstream II, a reduction in the money supply, and the stiff raising of interest rates “to combat inflation” (which was entirely self-induced), and soon blood will be once again running in the streets. And an almost unlimited number of industrial corporations, especially in Germany but also in the weaker European nations, will be facing bankruptcy and takeovers, the news of which will never reach the public thanks to the almost-total media control by these same people.
There is no accurate way to definitively calculate the looting that takes place during these contrived “recessions”. 1929 was certainly in the trillions of dollars, as was 1983, which were perhaps the two worst, but the others weren’t so far behind. 2008 was also in this category, the housing losses alone being in the trillions, which I have included elsewhere. Given the lack of detailed data, I won’t try to isolate and estimate the financial result of each contrived financial recession, and will ignore the smaller ones, but that still leaves us with 1929 and 1983 being worth a very conservative $3 trillion each. It seems unreasonable for our purposes to not compound these two amounts with interest for the 90 years and 40 years respectively, but the totals become fantastic and almost incomprehensibly large, and thus very difficult to accept as rational. At 5%, $3 trillion in 90 years (since 1929) will accumulate to $240 trillion, and even over 40 years (1983) will become $21 trillion.
Senator Robert Owen, a co-author of the Federal Reserve Act, testified before a Congressional Committee that the bank he owned received from the National Bankers’ Association the “Panic Circular of 1893.” It stated: “You will at once retire one-third of your circulation and call in one-half of your loans.” And that is how these central bankers create the recessions: an instant reduction of 35% or more in the nation’s money supply and a 50% reduction in total credit.
The inevitable result is the bankruptcies of thousands of corporations and banks, and an enormous plunge in stock market values and corporate assets of every description which are now available for pennies on the dollar. Wait ten years, and repeat. The purpose is the immense transfer of wealth available in each such cycle, and not only from small banks and corporations but from the general public as well, many of whom also lose everything they had, those assets eventually filtering up to the few oligarchy bankers who planned the events.
Leger Entry: $6 trillion in today’s dollars
(9) Looting the Oil Industry in 1983
As a detailed example, let’s look at the FED-induced 1983 recession and its effect on only the oil industry in North America. To begin, let’s assume we have an oil well with a constant steady production (which many are), but in this case of only one barrel per year for 40 years, with the oil price at $100 per barrel. That gives us a total value of $4,000. However, since $1 next year is worth less than $1 this year, we discount our future production at some interest rate, with this result in terms of value (if we want to sell our oil well):
- 0% – $4,000
- 3% – $2,500
- 6% – $1,500
- 10% – $1,000
- 25% – $400
Immediately prior to the 1983 recession, The New York Times proclaimed that a sudden and inexplicable “oil glut” had arrived, such that oil became nearly worthless, prices dropping from US$40 to less than $10 almost overnight. Of course, if the price of oil drops by 75%, the value of our oil well drops by 75% as well, so our $4,000 oil well is now worth only $1,000. But we had a double whammy, because the FED wasn’t idle during this period. After causing a massive burst of inflation in the 1970s to prepare for this eventual result, the FED suddenly felt a need to “fight inflation” by driving interest rates up to 20% and even 25%. The result was that oil wells were then selling at a discount of 25% on cash flow, and I know because at the time I was in the oil business and was buying and selling oil properties, some quite large, at this discount rate. This means that our $4,000 oil well, which was now worth only $1,000 due the collapse in the price of oil, was then hit with the FED’s interest rate sting, and was now worth only $100. And, with the blood running in the streets, this was when our Jewish Khazar bankers in the City of London sent in their agents to buy.
Then, the “oil glut” somehow miraculously evaporated and it seems we actually had a shortage, pushing the oil price back to its original $40, and quickly on its way to $100. And then, just as miraculously, inflation seemed to have been “tamed”, and interest rates declined from 25% back down to the 6% and 3% where they had been before. And our “$100 oil well” was back up to $2,500 and on its way to $5,000. And that means that a mere handful of people purchased producing oil and gas properties for almost pennies, and then watched their “investment” multiply by maybe 50 times. That’s not bad. There are few places where we can obtain a return of 5,000% on an investment in only a few years, and with no risk whatever. When you have the power to control the price of oil, and when you have the FED controlling interest rates, you can work miracles. There is no way to calculate accurate totals, but countless thousands of small and medium-sized oil companies either went bankrupt or were taken over, and the purchases in North America alone would have been in the trillions of dollars. I have ignored the rest of the world, and assumed a conservative $2 trillion for only North America, adjusted at a growth of 5% for 40 years from 1983.
Leger Entry: $14 trillion in today’s dollars
(10) Looting Americans 1975 to 2022
The situation is not different with the 2008 financial meltdown in the US. We had clearly deliberate attempts to inflate the housing market to almost atmospheric levels, with nearly zero interest rates and the removal of all restrictions and requirements – to the point where unemployed homeless people were buying $500,000 homes. This was again done with the full cooperation of the FED. Then, they simply collapsed the bubble, resulting in tens of millions of foreclosures. And again, when the blood was running in the streets, firms like Blackrock and their ilk were busy buying up these foreclosed homes at perhaps half price, as rental properties – often, to the same people who lost them. There is no accurate record of the total purchases, but the buying was almost frenzied. At one point, one agent in Florida for one “investment firm” alone, was bidding on more than 200 homes per week. With even conservative estimates, the transfer of housing assets alone from the American middle class to these same few people, would have been $7 or $8 trillion, all within two or three years.
It is a surprise to me that so few people seem to want to see such events as having been planned, and yet the evidence is overwhelming and irrefutable. There is no possibility that these events, and so many similar, could possibly have occurred “by accident”. There were simply too many threads all working together to accomplish this one result, and those threads could not possibly have been independent. And it is not possible that the US government itself was unaware of the eventual outcome. Economists working for the US government are not stupid, and so many private economists were describing the events and predicting the only possible outcome. The only thesis that fits all the facts is that the 2008 meltdown was planned and that the US government, so totally controlled from the City of London, knowingly permitted it to happen. Again, in summary, a relative handful of people profited to the tune of trillions of dollars in a few years, in this one enterprise alone.
And it wasn’t only homes, and not only in 2008. In an article titled Destroyers of US Democracy
, Chris Hedges quoted a RAND corporation report that stated: “These establishment politicians and their appointed judges promulgated laws that permitted the top 1 percent to loot $54 trillion from the bottom 90 percent, from 1975 to 2022, at a rate of $2.5 trillion a year, according to a study by the RAND corporation.”
For those who don’t know, RAND is a despicably Satanic corporation that spends most of its time on planning wars, designing torture regimes (Vietnam Phoenix, Guantanamo Bay, Baghram, Diego Garcia), and scheming for world political control. But the people at RAND do know how to calculate, especially considering they planned the methods for the looting they now boast about. Note that the euphemistically-named “top 1%” is not really the top 1% but a tiny group of Jewish bankers and industrialists, including the (Rothschild and other) owners of the US FED. A huge portion of this looting occurred in 2008 and subsequent years; I won’t bother accumulating this with interest.
Leger Entry: $54 trillion in today’s dollars
(11) The Great Gold Robbery – Part I – The US FED
In the early years after the creation of the Rothschild-owned FED, the US was still on a gold standard for its currency; new money could be issued by the FED only if it had at least 40% of that amount in gold. But, as the Jewish bankers have always done in every country, they issued paper currency far beyond the permitted limits, which was the prime cause of the 1929 Great Depression. By 1933, the FED had only about 6,000 metric tons of gold in its vaults, and was about 50,000 tonnes short for the paper currency it had issued. The public were aware generally of what was happening and, with concerns of US paper money becoming worthless, were spending the paper and hoarding the gold coins and bars, while small banks and companies were hoarding gold bullion. There was no way out of this trap. The FED needed a huge infusion of gold to prevent a collapse of the currency, but its owners had no intention of investing their own money to prevent the financial collapse of America. Their solution was to convince Roosevelt and Congress that the real problem was citizens preventing the economy from naturally prospering, by holding gold. On their advice, Roosevelt passed the famous 1602 provision which confiscated all the privately-held gold (in all forms) in the US, all citizens forced to turn over their gold to the FED, under penalty of a $10,000 fine plus a 10-year prison sentence. Note that the gold was not surrendered to the US Treasury Department, but to the privately-owned FED.
The gold was exchanged for paper money, meaning that the owners of the FED used the power of the US government to confiscate all the privately-held gold in the US, at only the cost of printing paper. According to available records, individual citizens surrendered nearly 3,000 metric tonnes of gold, mostly in coins. The amount of gold bars and bullion surrendered from the private sector is extremely difficult to determine accurately. All historical analyses focus on the gold coinage and ignore the bullion, yet this had to be by far the larger part since it was a standard clause in commercial contracts at the time that settlements would be made in gold and both companies and banks had to be in possession of large stocks of it. The historical studies go to great lengths to trace all the gold coinage produced, to estimate the amount remaining in circulation and thus the amount surrendered to the FED. It would seem the easier method would be to simply request of the FED the amount of coinage surrendered, but the FED apparently refuses to part with this information, and is dead silent on the matter of bars and bullion. My estimate for the bullion was around 6,000 or 7,000 tonnes as a minimum, for a total of about 10,000 tonnes, but Seagrave quotes credible sources claiming the FED purchased 18,000 tonnes so I will use that figure.
However, this was nowhere near sufficient to cover the 50,000-tonne shortfall, so the Jewish bankers – led by the Jew Morgenthau, who was then Secretary of the Treasury – devalued the US dollar by about 70% immediately after the gold had been confiscated, thus raising the gold price from $20 to $35, and substantially reducing the FED’s shortfall. But this was with the tragic result that Americans were not only cheated by the loss of their only real cash asset, but of the 70% loss in value. There were lawsuits of course, with the courts essentially determining that the government’s action was illegal and unconstitutional, but that citizens had no recourse.
In summary, to bail out the FED, Rothschild (or his colleagues) convinced Roosevelt to pass a law permitting Rothschild to confiscate all the privately-held gold in America and to devalue by 70% the paper given to Americans in return for that gold. Those 18,000 metric tonnes of gold had a value then of about $20 billion*, taken from the people in the middle of the worst recession in living memory, surely one of the cruelest and most inhumane acts possible at the time. A gold run on the Federal Reserve bank was imminent, and this entire act was simply to prevent the financial collapse of the FED – at the cost of further impoverishing the population and extending the Great Depression by years.
* 32,150 oz. per metric tonne @ $35/oz. (roughly $1 million per tonne) times 18,000 metric tonnes. Today, that gold is worth around $1,700 per oz., or about $50 million per tonne, times 18,000 tonnes = approximately $1 trillion.
Leger Entry: $1 trillion in today’s dollars
(12) US Silver Purchase Act of 1934
They didn’t stop there. The next year, 1934, President Roosevelt implemented yet another Executive Order, number 6814, The Silver Purchase Act, that specified the seizure of all silver in the US and a huge program to purchase silver on the open market at almost three times the then market price. From any rational standpoint, this action was bizarre. The US government did indeed nationalise the US silver stocks, but by purchasing that silver from Americans at the old price of $0.45. This action vacuumed up billions of scarce government funds at the depth of the Great Depression when most Americans were struggling to survive and avoid starvation and bankruptcy.
Having accomplished this, Roosevelt then even more bizarrely enforced the second part of the act which directed the Treasury to purchase silver at a price of at least US$1.29 per ounce, which was nearly three times the then market price which American citizens received. The legislation primarily authorised the Treasury to purchase silver “from foreign countries” on the open market – on the New York Futures Exchange. But this Act was totally bizarre because such purchases had never occurred, nor would they. Not even a crazy person would spend money buying something at $1.29 when that commodity was widely available on world markets everywhere at $0.45. So, what really was driving this new policy?
To this time, China had been on a silver standard for its currency for hundreds of years, the only currency in the world fully backed by precious metal, and responsible for creating a solid and stable economic base, permitting China to escape altogether the Great Depression that was ravaging the rest of the world. The American silver policy of course dealt a devastating blow to this centuries-old stability because the Americans were not purchasing silver from foreign countries on the open market, but only in China through the American banks like Citibank, Morgan and Chase because they were immune to Chinese export regulations. These US agents offered Chinese three times the market price for their silver, naturally resulting in a flood of silver flowing into these banks and from there to be shipped to the US on American military vessels. I have seen statements by historians that China had about 1 billion ounces of silver which at the time was 1/3 of the world stocks, but that is clearly untrue since Shanghai alone was losing half a billion ounces a month, and Chinese banks that normally had their currency backed 60% with silver were down to about 4%.
A careful reader should have noticed that the most important piece of this puzzle is missing. Let’s recap: (1) The US government bought up all the gold existing in private hands in the US, then gave all that gold free as a gift to Rothschild and the other Jewish owners of the FED. (2) The US government then bought all the silver in the US and also gave that to Rothschild’s FED as a gift. (3) It then instituted a policy of the US Treasury buying all the silver in China at three times the world market price and gifting all that silver to Rothschild’s FED. The part that’s missing is the money. This was in the middle of most severe depression in living memory, people were starving, the US government had no money and the currency as well as the FED were in danger of collapsing. How could Roosevelt afford to buy up all that precious metal and gift it to a few Jewish bankers? Easy. They lent him the money by printing paper, and collecting not only the principal but the interest. Roosevelt didn’t have the money to buy Rothschild a Christmas gift, so Rothschild lent Roosevelt the money – at interest, to buy his gift. And that’s how the US went $33 billion into debt 1n 1933.
It isn’t possible to accurately estimate the total value of the silver extracted from the US or China, so I make no leger entry here.
Leger Entry: $0 billion in today’s dollars
It may occur to you to wonder why the Jewish bankers at the FED didn’t also try to buy up all the gold in China. They didn’t need to, because some of their closest friends were already on this path. See Citibank, below.
(13) Citibank – The Great Gold Robbery
The Chinese have always hoarded gold, individually, as security, and they were certainly doing so in 1902 when Citibank came into China on the verge of bankruptcy and needing a clever way to rebuild its asset base. Citi found it. The bank advertised throughout the nation the insecurity of keeping gold bars in a sock under the bed, and managed to convince at least 100 million Chinese to deposit their gold in Citibank’s vaults where it would be safe. After more than 40 years of this, when war clouds were gathering, Citi loaded literally dozens of US military vessels with all that Chinese gold and closed its doors without even saying good-bye. The gold, of course, would all have been turned over to the FED in return for paper. People today are still trying to recover their gold from Citibank. Since the documentation is irrefutable, US courts have permitted lawsuits, but on the stipulation that the claimants must appear in person at the trials. No problem, but the American consulates in China refuse to issue visas for these people to travel to the US. No travel visas, no court claims against Citibank, no recovery of Chinese gold. The gold was of course turned over to the US FED in return for paper.
There is much more to this story, since Citibank pulled the same stunt in perhaps a dozen countries. If it works in one place, it should work everywhere. At the same time, in 1902, that Citi (International Banking Corporation) registered itself in China, it also opened banking operations in Manila, Calcutta, Singapore, Yokohama, Brazil, Argentina, and in other countries. In Argentina, Citibank was so hated for these gold thefts that in 1927 a group of victimised “customers” retaliated by blowing up both Citibank’s headquarters and that of the Bank of Boston, and they so hated the US government (and Americans generally) for protecting Citibank that they also bombed the US Embassy and the Ford Motor company. Ignoring the thefts from all the other countries, the amount of gold stolen by Citibank (and Chase and Morgan) from Chinese citizens alone was in the tens of billions, spanning the period from 1902 to 1949, but it is almost impossible to calculate accurately, and I will make no leger entry for this.
Leger Entry: $0 trillion in today’s dollars
(14) The Great Gold Robbery – Part 2 – The US FED
This is one of the most staggering frauds ever perpetrated in the history of the world, one that seems to have been expunged from all our history books, to the point where I doubt one person in a million has any knowledge of it. Like all good frauds, it was simple: From 1932 until the start of World War II, the US government and the Jewish media were extravagantly fear-mongering to the entire world that either Japan or Germany would be invading every nation and inevitably looting all their central and commercial banks. The solution offered was for all the banks in all the world’s nations to turn their entire gold reserves over to the US FED for safekeeping until the war was over. And they did. Every day, the New York Times faithfully recorded shipments of millions of dollars of gold from all these nations to the US. One NYT article claimed seven US naval destroyers laden with 125,000 metric tons of Chinese gold sailed to the US in 1938, one of many such. These “deposits” were evidenced by gold certificates issued by the US Treasury, although the gold actually went to the US FED.
However, there doesn’t appear to be even a single credible instance of any of this gold ever having been returned to its owners. In every case, the FED stated that the certificates proffered were either forgeries with obvious spelling and other errors, or that they simply “could not confirm the issuance of certificates” with those serial numbers, and refused to redeem them. A journalist at the Financial Times claimed:
<BLOCKQUOTE>“It has now reached a point where you can go into one of the big banks in New York, London or Zurich, give them half a metric ton of gold in return for a certificate of ownership, walk around the block for 10 minutes, re-enter the same bank, and they’ll deny ever seeing you before, and have you arrested for presenting them with a counterfeit certificate.”</BLOCKQUOTE>
But then some very strange events. A CIA aircraft was discovered crashed in the jungle of the Philippines, containing trillions of dollars of these same certificates, and clearly originals and not forgeries. Upon that discovery, with the attendant publicity and the surfacing of redemption claims for these certificates, the FED panicked, leading to something truly bizarre: the FED suddenly decided to remelt and recast its entire holding of gold for the stated purpose of “preferring to have all their gold ingots in the same shape”. No explanation was offered, but then none was really necessary. Remelting tens of thousands of tons of gold is a huge undertaking, complicated and very expensive, and would never be done for the foolish reason of changing the shape of the bars. Whatever the FED’s stated purpose, the main result was that remelted gold no longer contains its original markings, which meant there was no longer any way to identify the original source of that gold. And that meant no one could ever prove the gold held by the FED was the gold that was – in real terms – stolen – from nearly every country in the world.
One famous instance was the gold stocks from China’s central bank. When Chiang Kai-Shek lost the Chinese civil war and fled to Taiwan, his last act was to loot all the gold from the central bank of Mainland China and the commercial banks, and take the tonnes of bullion with him to Taiwan – under the protection of the Americans. To further their protection, the US convinced Chiang to let them take the gold to the US “for safekeeping” in case China attacked Taiwan and stole “his” gold. This bullion was never returned. In fact, long after her husband’s death, and until the day she died, Mme. Chiang was arguing, fighting, begging, and suing, the US government and the FED for the return of “her” gold. She failed, and the matter died. Taiwan today has no knowledge of this.
There does not appear to exist any unified record of all the gold shipments delivered to the US FED under this scheme, but it had to have been at least in the high tens if not hundreds of billions, and this occurred in the 1930s, nearly 90 years ago now. If we assume a conservative total collected worldwide of only five times that confiscated in the US alone, that gives us around 100,000 metric tonnes, at around $50 million per tonne at today’s prices, or about $5 trillion. All of this gold went into the pockets of the few Jewish bankers who own the US FED.
To be sure this is perfectly clear; Rothschild and other Jewish bankers concocted a scheme to literally steal all the gold stocks from all the central banks and commercial banks in all countries of the world. These Jews were at the time in the process of instigating a second World War, and used the fear of this to support their plan. They employed the full fear-mongering propaganda influence of the Jewish media combined with the extensive bullying power of the US White House and State Department as well as the coercive power of the US military, to coerce all the world’s central banks and every nation’s commercial banks to turn over their gold stocks to the US FED for “safe-keeping”. There was never any intention to return any of that gold after the war. It should be obvious that the US government was into this criminal atrocity right up to its neck, acting as the enforcer and bag-man for the Jews, collecting and delivering all this gold not to the US Treasury but to the FED, and thus of no benefit whatever to the United States. The US government was simply obeying its master.
Leger Entry: $5 trillion in today’s dollars
How Much Gold is There in the World?
Warren Buffett says about 175,000 tonnes, but his estimate is worthless and few people agree with him, and in fact his estimate comes from the Jewish source of Thompson Reuters
and should be discounted on principle. Estimates range from this level to one by the Gold Standard Institute of more than 2.5 million tonnes. Part of the problem is that gold has been mined for millennia and nobody knows how much is out there. The identical problem exists in estimates of the total gold supply in various nations at various points in history. Shills for the US FED attempt to minimise the effects of their worldwide gold theft in the 1930s by grossly understating the amount of gold bullion in the US at that time, and have done the same for most other countries. We also have the problem in reverse where, according to accounts by some Jewish so-called “historians”, the Nazis looted from the Jews alone ten times the total volume of gold existing in those countries.
An Important Aside: the US FED
In 2013, there were media reports that were quickly buried and censored in the US, though not in Europe, about Germany’s quest to repatriate its gold holdings from the US FED. The German government had been storing about half of its gold supply in the NYC FED vaults. Germany’s central bank decided to bring home all its gold, but the FED refused the request, claiming such a move would be impossible, stating it would need until 2020 to be able to accomplish the transfer. The German government then asked to visit the FED vaults to inventory the gold and determine its actual existence, but the FED refused to permit Germany to examine its own gold. The reasons given were “security” and “no room for visitors”. Upon determined insistence at this strange turn of events, Germany did finally send some staff to the FED, who were permitted only into the vault’s anteroom where they were shown 5 or 6 gold bars as “representative of their holdings”, but were permitted to view nothing else. German officials returned a second time, with even more determination, at which time the FED apparently opened only one of 9 vaults and permitted the Germans look at the stack of gold from a considerable distance, but were not permitted to either enter or touch. After repeated insistence, Germany did recover a small portion of its gold holdings, but that was shipped from France’s central bank – owned by the same Jews who own the FED.
Speculation has been brewing for many years that the FED doesn’t actually have much gold, or even any gold, that it has either sold it off, lent it out, or used it as collateral for borrowings. There are repeated claims today that the gold supposedly being stored on behalf of many nations, doesn’t actually exist. Nobody, other than FED staff, have actually been permitted inside the vaults to see or inventory any of the gold, and there is no evidence that the gold actually exists.
Even worse, the situation is the same with the supposed gold depository at Fort Knox, the storage location of what is supposed to be the entire gold holdings of the US Treasury. Most people believe Ft. Knox is a government vault but, while it is built on government land, it is managed by the FED and the entire contents are the property of the FED, not of the US Treasury. It has been true since the creation of the Federal Reserve System in 1913 that the contents of Fort Knox have belonged to the FED but guarded by the US military. And nobody knows what is there.
The last audit, and the last public visit, was in 1953, just after Eisenhower took office. No outside experts were allowed during that audit, and the audit team tested only about 5% of gold there. There hasn’t been even an inventory, much less a comprehensive audit of Fort Knox in 70 years. In 1974 six Congressmen, one Senator and the press were allowed to enter Fort Knox to see for themselves if the gold was there or not. The tour showed that there was something in Fort Knox that looked like gold, but it sparked even more controversies. Only a small fraction of the gold was made available for viewing, and one Congressman published a report saying the gold bars held in the fort were less heavy than expected. During recent years, several US politicians have claimed that there is a high chance that neither Fort Knox nor the FED have any gold, and have demanded a full and public inventory and testing, but the FED have resolutely refused.
Given the near certainty of the US FED and Treasury having little gold, there has been much speculation about the location of the world’s gold holdings which exist at the FED on paper but not in reality. I do not know where the gold is, but if I had to guess, I would guess it is all sitting deep in the mountains in Switzerland, in the many hundreds of tunnels drilled deep into the rock underneath the new headquarters of the BIS – the Bank for International Settlements, which is in turn also owned by the same Rothschild who owns the FED and various other European Central Banks.
(15) The Spoils of War
This is a topic that seldom if ever comes to our attention – with the notable exception of the persistent stories about Germans confiscating art and other treasures from Jews. But the historical truth is rather quite different, and with much evidence that it is Jews who have done much or even most of the looting during wartime. We have been treated to about 85 years of non-stop accusations about Germans having looted Jews during two World Wars, but there has almost never been presented any credible evidence of this, and on examination the stories of Germans looting from Jews are in the same category as the tubs full of eyeballs and the melting of Jewish fat to make glycerin for explosives. No doubt some looting takes place by all sides during all wars but, as we shall see, it is the Jews who appear to have done most of the looting, covering their crimes through their control of the mass media.
As one recent example, Iraq has been accurately described as “a cradle of civilisation”. One result is that, prior to the American invasion, Iraq was full to the brim of archaeological artifacts, art treasures, scrolls and other items accumulated over the course of centuries, many of great financial value but also of immense historical significance. All have disappeared. American troops looted most of the country, with reports that all Iraqi museums today are completely empty. Valuables and historical artifacts were stolen not only from museums and libraries, but also from private homes. Iraq was looted in totality. Published estimates claimed that at least 200,000 items of art and culture, many of which were of inestimable value to the history of the world, were stolen from Iraqi museums in Baghdad, Mosul, and other cities. The US government claims these were only a few rogue actions of which it disapproved, but the facts tell us otherwise, and indeed many of these items have appeared in other museums and private Jewish collections – in Israel, among other places. There is no way to place a value on this, but the magnitude is considerable and this is only one of many such situations.
The Soviet Union insists that the US and various Jews still hold priceless collections of stolen Soviet art, seized by the Jews when they fled Russia after their failed revolution. The US and the Jews naturally dismissed this claim, but then were caught in a lie when researchers uncovered documents proving the US had indeed kept a huge amount of art treasures – which had by then disappeared into private collections by the usual group of suspects. There were also documented reports that at the end of the Second World War, the US military emptied a train of 24 cars filled with gold, silver and various expensive German art objects estimated to be worth many billions at the time, items the Germans were trying to protect from Jewish and Allied looting. As well, an additional many billions in gold disappeared from the Reichsbank at about the same time, and have never been accounted for.
The details of European treasure thefts are murky and very complicated, with claims and counterclaims, being easy and tempting to dismiss treasure-hunting stories about Germany as exaggerated tales of war. However, for the last 70 years we have been inundated with tales of the Germans looting precious metals and invaluable works of art throughout Europe, most particularly from the Jews, but there is a whole lot more to the story than this. For one thing, after the Jews completed their Bolshevik Revolution in Russia in 1917, they looted the entire country, beginning with all the gold in the central bank which was shipped to the US as payment to Jacob Schiff for financing the revolution. But Russia was looted of much more than gold, the relatively well-off middle class owning billions in precious metals, artifacts and invaluable works of art, as well as virtually the entire holdings of the Romanovs – the Russian Royal Family. Most of this was removed from the country, much of it to Germany and Austria, when the Bolshevik Jews fled Russia. Much of this looted treasure and gold would have almost certainly found its way entirely into the hands of the Jews in the City of London. And substantial documentation does exist to evidence claims that the US and the Jews did indeed loot Germany severely at the end of both wars. Given the facts of Operation Paperclip, this shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.
But in terms of looting and destruction, there was something far worse, two of the greatest acts of cultural genocide in the history of the world were both perpetrated by the Khazar Jews, and both in China, another piece of history they have managed to completely bury. The one that concerns us here is the looting and burning of China’s Summer Palace, the Yuanmingyuan, which contained more than ten million of the finest and most valuable historical treasures and scholarly works gathered in one place from 5,000 years of Chinese history.
The Jews decided to punish China for refusing their opium, so Rothschild and Sassoon obtained Queen Victoria’s permission and a commitment for the use of her troops to loot and destroy the entire complex
to, in their words, “open a wound that would never heal”. The complex was so vast (eight times the size of the Vatican City) it required 7,500 soldiers nearly three weeks to loot and burn it. What could not be looted was destroyed, and the entire massive palace burned to the ground. This wanton theft and utter destruction of one of the world’s greatest collections of historical treasure was engineered by the Rothschilds and Sassoons in retaliation for Chinese resistance to their opium. Upon hearing the news, China’s emperor vomited blood and died soon after. Repeatedly, some of the most prized artifacts appear at auction today, always by Jewish sellers. You can understand why not everyone feels sympathy for the Jews if indeed the Germans did loot some of their artworks. In all likelihood, most of those had been looted by the Jews from someone else.
Since we cannot obtain the necessary detail to document the looting performed by the Jews in all their revolutions from Russia onward to Egypt, China, Iraq, Libya, nor for the looting done by the Americans in their behalf, and especially including Germany, I will make no entry for this but simply state it to register the magnitude and to emphasise that much of what has been stolen by these Jews is priceless.
Leger Entry: $0 trillion in today’s dollars
(16) Japan’s Golden Lily
However, there is another matter of looting, this one involving Japan, that is a bit more sinister and in a league of its own in terms of victors claiming spoils of war. It seems that almost everyone is aware of the looting, mostly imaginary, committed by Germany, but almost no one seems aware of the vast catalogue of almost unbelievable looting committed by the Japanese. Japan indeed looted not only the central banks but every possible source of treasure during their sweep through China and across Asia. Gold, silver, jewels, works of art, anything and everything of value was looted, including from private homes, and shipped to Japan during the early stages of the invasion. This knowledge has been totally suppressed, never having entered the mass public mind, except for brief comments made in passing.
Few today are aware of the terms of Japan’s surrender to the US at the end of World War II. It is not widely known that when the Americans drafted the documents of Japan’s surrender, they specifically prohibited war reparations claims against Japan. Article 14(b) of the treaty stated:
“The Allied Powers waive all reparations claims of the Allied Powers, other claims of the Allied Powers and their nationals (my italics) arising out of any actions taken by Japan and its nationals in the course of the prosecution of the war, and claims of the Allied Powers for direct military costs of occupation”.
Then-US Secretary of State Allen Dulles bullied and coerced the other allies and all Asian countries to sign this surrender agreement. Only China and Russia refused to be bullied into signing.
But why the prevention of reparations? The US and the Jews used war reparations to strip Germany to the bones, leaving only the skeleton of the country. Japan was far worse than Germany in every way, so why the astonishing generosity toward Japan? The Japanese heavily looted all of Asia and shipped some of that loot home to Japan but, as the spoils of war were being looted increasingly farther from home, the Japanese began assembling and storing their loot in preparation for larger shipments later. Unfortunately, as the war progressed, Japan began losing control of the shipping lanes and transfer to Japan was no longer a safe option. Operating under an incorrect assumption that the US would permit them to keep the Philippines in exchange for a cease-fire, the Japanese elected to bury most of that looted gold and other assets in the Philippines. There exists today ample documentation that Japanese officers created dozens of deep storage depots in caves or excavated underground areas, filled them with the looted treasure and destroyed the entrances with explosives. It also appears to be true that all the individuals who worked on the transport, excavation and storage of all this loot were buried inside the caverns, apparently leaving only three or perhaps four people with knowledge of either the fact of storage or the locations. This was Japan’s Golden Lily project.
There has emerged substantial and irrefutable evidence that the Americans had learned of Golden Lily and had captured and tortured one of those individuals, who revealed the existence and locations of at least some of the sites. Since Japan could hardly make a claim to this loot after the war, and since the hidden billions were now essentially orphans, they were available for the Americans (and the Jews) to quietly spirit away. The problem was that this was a huge crime, even in American minds, since it was clearly a theft from friends rather than enemies, who would want their property returned. The Americans found the perfect solution – the provision for forfeiture of reparations in the treaty of Japan’s surrender would in fact mean these nations – and their nationals – renounced their claims to all treasure looted by Japan, thus serving to make the Americans’ actions “legal”, provided only that all parties signed the treaty. And all parties, save China and Russia were indeed bullied into signing.
General MacArthur, in charge of the occupation, reported finding “great hoards of gold, silver, precious stones, foreign postage stamps, engraving plates and . . . currency not legal in Japan”. There was also a US Army document containing a statement referring to “undeclared caches of these treasures [which are] known to exist”. The American occupation forces had apparently discovered at least some of Japan’s Golden Lily sites, containing billions in gold and other valuables. This much is without question, and there is documentation that MacArthur actually toured some of these opened sites and evaluated the contents.
The Japanese looted every nation to the bones and, to the maximum extent possible, every citizen, and there is no question the value had to be in the trillions of dollars. Since we don’t know the number of sites discovered nor the proportion of precious metals in each site, I will use a conservative estimate of only $500 billion recovered. And, since there is no evidence any of this loot ever entered the US, much less recorded in the US Treasury, we can safely assume it was collected on behalf of the FED. We can use one of two measures here. The gold price at the time was about $35 an ounce, with current prices (2022) around $1,700, or about 50 times, for a present value of about $25 trillion. The other method is to compound the $500 billion at 5% for 72 years from the war’s end, giving us a present value of about $15 trillion. I will use the lower figure. I must note here that the actual amount recovered is potentially many times greater than I have assumed here. Seagrave’s ‘Gold Warriors’ tells the entire story in exhaustive detail,
and should be considered mandatory reading.
Leger Entry: $15 trillion in today’s dollars
(17) Treasure Island
In 1999, Edward Michaud produced an excellent historical essay titled, “Corregidor The Treasure Island of WWII”,
in which he detailed the looting of the Philippines. It wasn’t called looting at the time, but that’s what it was. When the Japanese invaded the Philippines, MacArthur was forced to evacuate and take refuge in the island of Corregidor, prior to which he did two things. He ordered all munitions and war materials destroyed so as not to leave them for the Japanese, and he collected and shipped off the entire wealth of the Philippines’ central bank and all personal wealth that could be collected from local citizens, “to be sent to the US for safe-keeping” and prevent the inevitable looting by the Japanese.
According to Michaud’s report, “The Government securities alone consisted of over 51 tons of gold bullion, 32 tons of silver bullion, 140 tons of silver pesos & centavos, and millions of paper Treasury Notes, bonds and corporate stocks. The civilian property … consisted of approximately two tons of gold bullion in various sized ingots, along with an unknown amount of precious stones and foreign currency. When orders were received to evacuate the city the many paper inventories and records were still incomplete, with many private citizens not even being given receipts for their valuables. Much of it was stored in sections of the large underground complex known as Malinta Tunnel. The remaining 51 tons of government gold bullion, consisting of 2,542 ingots of 42lbs each, (20 kilos), along with the balance of the paper currency & securities, were stowed in several of the interior laterals of the Navy Tunnel on the South side of the Malinta tunnel complex.”
Virtually all of this was loaded onto whatever vessels, large or small, were available, and the entire lot transferred to Corregidor, where it was eventually loaded onto US submarines and removed to the US. Anything not able to be shipped out in time was loaded onto surplus vessels which were towed out into deeper water and sunk, this amounting to hundreds of tonnes of precious metals, some of which may have been later recovered by the Japanese but which was also recovered by the Americans. The submarines were loaded during the night when the Japanese aircraft could not attack, submerging during the daylight hours for safety. Michaud thought this Philippine treasure was transported to the US Mint, but it almost certainly ended up at the FED since the mint was almost a non-entity producing only cheap metal coins. He ended his essay by stating, “At the end of the war this securities shipment, “or at least its monetary equivalent”, was subsequently transferred back to the Philippine Government”, but the claim is nonsense. I have seen no evidence to support it, and no one is in a position to make such a claim since no accurate inventory was done in the panic to evacuate before the Japanese arrived, and nobody actually knows what was taken. In any case, from the few facts available, I have seen nothing to support statements that this wealth was ever returned to the Philippines. This was by no means the only, or the last, such event during the Second World War.
In this calculation, I have made no allowance for the “hundreds of tonnes” of gold and silver not loaded into the submarines at the first effort, and have ignored the value of all treasure other than the 53 tonnes of gold and 175 tonnes of silver bullion. Again, a relatively paltry amount in relation to the other crimes.
Leger Entry: $3.3 billion in today’s dollars
(18) Seizure of German Industrial Assets
It appears to be not at all known, totally expunged from the world’s history, that the US government and military have acted as hired thieves for the Khazar Jewish mafia in the City of London for at least the past 85 years, and are still doing so today. I am able to present here only a very brief summary of many very long criminal stories, those with sufficient documentation to survive in a court of law.
This topic is much too large to cover here. I have detailed the seizures of WWI and WWII at length in an E-book which is heavily annotated with references that I have not supplied here.
I urge you to read Chapter Five to appreciate the magnitude of what was done. All German industrial – and even personal – assets worldwide, were seized by the US military, primarily on behalf of these Jewish bankers although the US itself and its domestic corporations also benefited handsomely. Again, the totals would have been well into the trillions of dollars – in 1915 and 1945, not accounting for more than 100 years and 75 years of profit accumulation, but the landscape is so vast it isn’t possible to even attempt a credible estimate, and thus no leger entry for this item.
(a) World War I Seizures
It doesn’t appear widely-known, but these same Jewish bankers, again using the US as their “enforcer” literally plundered all German industrial assets – worldwide – after both World Wars. The extent of this was unimaginable. As one example, the entire Bayer company was sold – to a Jewish agent – for the sum of $5 million, in an “auction” conducted on the front steps of the Bayer head office. Bayer was at the time one of the largest companies in the world, producing not only chemicals but a vast assortment of medications including Aspirin which was at the time the world’s most popular drug and most valuable patent. The Jewish lawyer Seymour J. Rubin wrote that it was “clear and compelling that for reasons of justice” a victor or a conqueror should confiscate all the property and assets of the vanquished.
And confiscate, they did. They seized not only all German corporate assets worldwide, but virtually all personal assets, with listings like “three horses”, “some cedar logs”, “a few carpets”, and of course bank accounts, precious metals, artworks. It was all illegal of course, but the US passed a law permitting themselves to do it. There was a special law that “anyone of German descent” who had been imprisoned for any reason was classified as an enemy alien and subject to a total property seizure, and so they tossed nearly every German into jail on any trumped-up charge, often for only two or three days, just long enough to classify them and seize their assets. This was one of the main purposes of the war; to strip an entire race of people of all their assets, patents and property, to put down a nation that was becoming too powerful and too disobedient to the Jews.
There is no way to credibly estimate the total value of all the WWI seizures. The personal property seized in the USs alone would accumulate to about $60 billion in today’s dollars, but this was only personal property in only one country, and by far the smallest part of the seizures. The total value of Germany’s worldwide corporate assets seized would today almost certainly amount to many trillions, but the detail isn’t available to calculate, so no leger entry.
Leger Entry: $0 trillion in today’s dollars
(b) Operation Paperclip – WWII
This was without a doubt the second-most massive and far-reaching theft ever perpetrated in the history of the world, exceeded only by the Jews’ looting of India a century prior. As with WWI, all of Germany’s worldwide assets were again confiscated, but this time with years of planning that began even before the war.
The Jews who controlled the US government at the time, had arranged for thousands of teams with tens of thousands of individuals often only meters behind the troops entering Germany at the end of the war, and they took literally everything. They came in waves, and what one wave didn’t take, the next one did. They emptied every corporate library, every research installation, every patent office, every factory, and simply seized everything. Even the Library of Congress had its own Foreign Mission which was to locate and confiscate all books and journals published in Germany that might possibly be of interest to any part of corporate or scientific America.
In one case the German Patent Office put some of its most secret patents down a sixteen-hundred-foot mine shaft, but the Americans found it and confiscated the entire contents as US “war reparations”. The value of the more than 800,000 German patents seized was estimated at more than $30 billion, which would be well over $1 trillion in today’s dollars. As I mentioned above, American-registered firms profited handsomely from this, but many of those “American-registered” firms were owned or controlled by Jews, and the European Jewish bankers and industrialists took ownership of everything including chemical firms like I. G. Farben, auto firms like Volkswagen, major aircraft companies like Dornier and Messerschmitt, pharmaceutical firms like Hoescht. And this brief listing doesn’t include the personal seizures of art, gold and silver, precious stones and other valuables. Once again, an entire nation of people was stripped to the very bones, but this time much more viciously than in WWI and, in this case, between 12 million and 15 million Germans were killed by various means before, during, and long after, the looting. Dead Germans tell no tales of their victimisation, but live Jews have been telling stories for 75 years about how they were looted by the Germans. The truth is rather different.
The looting of Germany after WWII was so vast and so extensive, that this one category cannot be permitted to remain without a leger entry. I am therefore making an entry of $10 trillion in today’s dollars, a figure I believe is easily defensible and excessively conservative.
Leger Entry: $10 trillion in today’s dollars
(19) Hijacking Countries with Oil Production
It doesn’t seem widely understood or appreciated that Iraq and Libya were literally hijacked by the European Jews using the US military as the enforcer. Both countries have been taken over, with puppet governments installed, with new Jewish privately-owned central banks and, at least in the case of Iraq, virtually all the commercial enterprises featuring “new owners”. In the case of Iraq, the Jewish bankers allocated to themselves 65% of Iraq’s oil – at no charge, leaving Iraq with the revenue from only 35% of its own oil production. Moreover, much of the oil exported from Iraq is not metered, so nobody actually knows how much of Iraq’s oil is literally stolen by this method. It is only the metered amount that is shared 65/35. In the case of Libya, all of the oil is confiscated by these same Jewish bankers, again with the US military having a permanent enforcement presence. I have covered this is detail in an earlier article which I urge you to read.
With Syria, they weren’t able to hijack the entire country due to Russia’s presence, but the US military did succeed in taking full control of Syria’s oil fields on behalf of these same bankers. Syria today, like Libya, receives no revenue from the sale of its own oil.
More than this, the Jewish mafia from the City of London has installed its own privately-owned central banks in Iraq and Libya and, by this means, will loot these two countries to the extent of trillions more. Also in Iraq, much or even most of all profitable commercial activity has been taken over by these same people. There is no data source to estimate the extent of looting from these secondary sources.
It is of immense importance to note that the hijacking of Iraq and Libya and of Syria’s oil fields were done entirely by the US military acting as The Banker’s Private Army.
The US government absorbed the entire cost of the wars – with trillions of dollars borrowed at interest from these same Jews, took all the battlefield casualties, and has since acted as the full-time military enforcer of the Jews’ “proprietorship” of these nations – at no benefit whatever to the United States. All of the money and political advantage have gone to the Khazar Jews in the City of London. The US government is simply doing its master’s bidding.
Average oil prices are notoriously difficult to calculate but, for the recent periods involved here, I have taken an inflation-adjusted average of $80 per barrel. Iraq’s production was historically around 3.0 million barrels per day, now up to 3.5 million, so around $300 million per day, $200 million of which is taken by the Jewish bankers in the City of London. Around $1.5 trillion so far. Libya’s production dropped to zero after the invasion but has since averaged about 1.5 million barrels per day, or about $450 billion to date. Syria has been producing 500,000 barrels per day, of which the Jewish bankers take all. Around $150 billion so far. Adding these three, gives us about $2 trillion so far, or about $3 trillion if we account for compound interest at 5%.
Leger Entry: $3 trillion in today’s dollars
(20) Privatisation, Part 1
There are some who believe that turning over government services or assets to private enterprise is a wise move because, as we are told, governments are bloated and inefficient, and private companies can almost inevitably be far more efficient. In real life, I have not been able to uncover even one instance where this mythical theory has proven true. Instead, private enterprise inevitably follows the same path – that of maximising profit by raising prices and cutting services. Even worse, it seems impossible to locate an example of privatisation that wasn’t clouded with corruption and payoffs on the part of legislatures and government officials. Examples are not difficult to find.
In the UK, our Jewish banker friends arranged the privatisation of British Rail, after which point they bled it dry and ran it into the ground so that the UK government had to take it back and rebuild it. After they had reconstructed the rail system and had it operating steadily and profitably, our Jewish bankers got another kick at the can and had it privatised again. The cost to the British public was in the high billions.
Still with the UK, these same bankers arranged (or bribed) for the privatisation of the Royal Mail. However, immediately prior to negotiating the selling price, the unions at the Royal Mail became suddenly embittered at their management and proposed a long-term all-out strike, thus kicking the foundations out from under the selling price and making the Royal Mail nearly worthless in view of the serious labor strife ahead. But then, magically, as the sale took place at a much-reduced price, the unions were suddenly quite happy again and no strike ever took place. More disheartening was that somehow, inexplicably, the selling price seemed to have included only the value of the mail delivery service and omitted entirely the billions of dollars of prime property owned by the Royal Mail in downtown London. An “inexplicable oversight” but, in a democracy, nobody is to blame.
In Canada, in the province of Ontario, government officials sold off in a 99-year lease, the busiest highway in North America, for $2 billion. A few years later, the new owners sold off 10% of their investment to some friends for $10 billion, meaning that the government of Ontario sold off a $100-billion asset for $2 billion. Even worse, the new owners raised tolls so high that all motorists attempt to use other highways, creating such congestion that the province has no choice but to build new highways. Unfortunately, they are unable to do that since the terms of their initial sale prohibit the government from constructing new highways to “compete” with the old one, unless the new ones are also turned over to the “new owners”.
In the US, the prison system was costing $20 billion per year. After privatising only a portion of it, the same system is now costing American taxpayers more than $80 billion per year, with some of the prisons so inhuman in their conditions that courts are ordering them closed. And it isn’t only the prison system but the parole system and much more, all bleeding the nation. In all Western countries, these same Jewish bankers and their friends push incessantly for the privatisation of nearly anything where money could be made. They normally fire the majority of the staff to reduce costs, and also avoid all maintenance that isn’t critical. The theory, under these long-term “leases” is to cannibalise the asset itself so that at the end of the lease period when the asset is returned, its value is precisely zero. That is the theory of profit maximisation under privatisation.
In all Western countries, everything from airports to prisons to education to communications, transportation, and every manner of government services is slowly being “privatised”, producing literally trillions in profits for the new leaseholders, and slowly bankrupting the nations. This is such an enormous program involving so many countries, so many kinds of infrastructure, and so many types of government services, that any sensible estimate of the looting is impossible. I will therefore make no entry for it, but will state emphatically that the looting here – the transfer of sovereign assets into the hands of a few bankers – is in the tens of trillions of dollars.
Leger Entry: $0 trillion in today’s dollars
(20) Privatisation, Part 2
More than this, there are at least hundreds, and more likely thousands, of undercurrents in this business of privatisation which is more often than not conducted as outright theft. It should be emphatically noted that the 50+ nations where the US overthrew a legitimate government and installed a compliant dictator, would have very quickly undergone the same “privatisation” process, with the US military and State Department specifying to the new dictator the portions of his country’s infrastructure to be seized. None of this would have been paid for, and these occasions have occurred in many other nations. As one example, it was initially reported in the NYT, then quickly suppressed everywhere that, after the destruction of Yugoslavia, George Soros and Madeleine Albright were given “ownership” of the entire communications infrastructure of Kosovo – stated as having a value of $800 million. It is likely that all of the former Yugoslavia suffered the same fate, but the news blanket is total and no information is permitted to leak. All of Iraq and Libya have suffered this same consequence, and so many other nations are in the same position. Without a world map of this so-called “privatisation”, we can never know the true total but it must be immense.
Leger Entry: $0 trillion in today’s dollars
(21) The World Bank and the IMF. Infrastructure and Debt
This category is a bit easier than the one above. Typically, our Jewish bankers fund government loans privately or through the IMF or World Bank, and do so when US$ interest rates are at a low. They then push increasing debt on a country until it is past any sane level, then have the US FED raise interest rates and effectively place these nations into bankruptcy. Since the countries haven’t the cash to repay their loans, our Jewish bankers take infrastructure in lieu of payment. They will also take arable land, which is what has recently happened to Ukraine although the (Jewish-owned) media seem to have no knowledge of this. There was a recent media report that Rothschild had to form a new bank just to hold all the arable land that had been confiscated by these methods. The Khazar Jews are also after the water, the president of Nestle publicly claiming that “drinking water is not a right. It is a commodity and should be priced and sold like any other commodity”. A few years back, Jenna Bush, GW’s daughter, took over for a paltry sum the ownership of the largest water aquifer in South America – on behalf of her Jewish friends. There are countries where more than 70% of all infrastructure, including railways, airlines and airports, shipping ports, banking, arable land – and water – and much more are owned by these same Jewish bankers in the City of London.
A good current example is Greece.
The situation was so pitiful, and the bankers’ greed so powerful, that Greece was forced to place the country’s entire stock of infrastructure – everything – into a “privately-owned” Luxembourg trust that was “entirely outside the power or influence” of the Greek government. The value was about $3 trillion, and it is gone at whatever price the bankers choose to pay for its parts – if anything at all. I include only Greece in this account entry, and ignore the many dozens of other nations who were placed in this position as long ago as 100 years. The totals are most assuredly in the high tens of trillions, but we haven’t the detail on which to base an estimate.
Leger Entry: $3 trillion in today’s dollars
(22) War Financing
It is no longer much of a secret that these same Jewish bankers have typically financed both sides of most, if not all, wars in recent history. The general consensus is that the war in Iraq cost the US around $2 trillion,
and Forbes claims the cost in Libya at $2 billion per day,
all of which was borrowed from the FED. We cannot know how much money has been borrowed from the Jewish bankers in the City of London to finance all the military conflicts in recent history, and thus we cannot put a price on the interest paid, but it is of utmost importance to realise that these totals are not small. As one indication of the real cost, the British Empire was at one time the ruler of the world, an empire on which the sun never set, and “Britannia ruled the waves” for a very long time. But the Jews pushed England into two wars nobody wanted and, at the end, Britain was bankrupt and begging the US for loans to stave off “a financial Dunkirk”. England borrowed all the money to finance its part in WWI, and lost 40% of its empire to repay those loans. WWII cost Britain the remainder of its empire and left the nation in actual bankruptcy. WWI cost Britain about $7 trillion in today’s dollars, and WWII was much worse. Again, we cannot know precisely how much money was borrowed from the Jewish bankers, nor the amount of interest paid, but the magnitude of both would have been considerable since the estimated cost to all countries was nearly $50 trillion in today’s dollars.
We know that when the Civil War was unleashed on the US, the London Rothschilds were backing the Union and the French Rothschilds were backing the South. Everyone made a fortune and by 1861 the US was $100 million in debt. But we haven’t information about the total of interest paid. We know that Rothschild (through Jacob Schiff) lent Japan $200 million in 1905 to finance their war with Russia. That would be about $60 billion in today’s dollars, and another set of Jewish bankers financed Russia to the same extent, both sides selling weaponry from Rothschild’s armament factories in Germany. In this case, we know the amounts borrowed but no information on the interest repayment amounts nor on the revenue and profit from selling the weapons of war. There simply isn’t sufficient public detail to determine the increases in wealth by these bankers from instigating and financing all those wars. The totals must be well into the trillions, but we haven’t a sound basis for estimation, so no leger entry.
As WWII approached, these same bankers not only pushed the US into the war but lent the Americans the money to pay for it. By the end of WWII, the US went from $33 billion to $285 billion in debt, all to help out our Jewish banker friends to launch and fight a war that no one but them wanted. It’s even worse than you imagine. These bankers needed other countries in the war, but didn’t want to lend them the money because their economies weren’t considered sufficiently risk-free, and this applied to England itself. The solution was to lend the money to the US, then push the Americans to make all those war loans, to keep the Jews happy not only by keeping all countries in the war, but by having the US effectively guarantee all their debt. Hence, the $285 billion debt which, for your comparison, would be about $12 trillion in today’s dollars. The debt has never been paid off; there are insufficient records available to document the total interest paid to the Jewish bankers in war financing, neither for the US nor for all the world’s nations, so this item receives no leger entry. In terms of magnitude, however, the amount again is most assuredly well into the tens of trillions in today’s dollars.
Leger Entry: $0 trillion in today’s dollars
(12) My Currency, But Your Problem
After the end of the Second War, the world’s major nations arranged what we call the “Gold Standard”, which meant that a country could not print more money than it actually had in gold reserves. This was intended to maintain stability and to avoid any excess printing of money which would lead to inflation and could destroy the international monetary system – as the Jews had done repeatedly in the past. In theory, all international debts were to be settled in gold, but in practice this was cumbersome and inconvenient. Since the US dollar existed in large volume and was – in theory – fully guaranteed to be exchangeable for gold at any time, all nations simply settled their accounts in US dollars. But the faith in doing so was predicated on the promise that any nation could, at any time, exchange its holdings of US dollars for real gold.
The system worked well enough for about 20 years, until by early 1971 the US was under enormous financial pressure from the huge sums it had borrowed to finance its military atrocity in Vietnam. The final straw came when France, not blind to what was happening and concerned about the ability of the US to maintain the dollar’s value, insisted on exchanging all its dollar holdings for gold, as per the agreement. The US gold supply was insufficient to comply, and the FED faced the very real possibility of all nations demanding an exchange. Faced with this pressure, the Jewish bankers unilaterally declared the world’s financial agreement null and void, forced the US withdrawal from its participation in the gold standard, and the FED refused to convert any nation’s foreign dollar holdings into gold. This left all the world’s countries holding countless trillions of US dollars that no longer had any fixed or guaranteed value, but that were sure to depreciate since the US was indeed printing enormous volumes of dollars to finance its Vietnam war. At the time, US Treasury Secretary John Connally told the world, “It’s our currency but it’s your problem”.
Since all nations had accumulated US dollars on good faith but now had no way to dispose of them, they had no choice but to continue using the same US dollar, now of indeterminate value, for all international transactions. This one act of Jewish predatory capitalism imposed a stunning financial penalty upon the world, devastating the values of other nations’ currency reserves. After reneging on the Gold Standard (the Bretton Woods Agreement), the FED continued to print huge volumes of money, sending the Western world into an intense inflationary spiral. From the date of the US default in 1971 to 1981 or 1982, the US dollar depreciated by more than 95%, representing an almost unimaginably huge transfer of wealth from the entire world to the Jews in the FED because all nations holding US dollars suffered that degree of loss in their foreign exchange reserves while US debts remained in heavily-depreciated US dollars, thereby repaying foreign debt at 5¢ on the dollar. In 1971, a fine home in the US cost only $25,000. By 1976, that same home was over $100,000, and by 1983 the price was about $250,000. These prices accurately represent the depreciation of the US dollar during that decade.
The benefit to our favorite Jewish bankers? Well, the gold price in 1971 when they killed the Gold Standard, was about $40 per ounce. Today, that gold is worth $1,700 per ounce. On the other hand, the paper currency that all other governments had to then accept in lieu of their gold, has depreciated by about 95% since that time. There is no accurate way to assess this. The accumulated financial damage to the national economies of the world is at least in the hundreds of trillions of dollars, if not in the thousands of trillions. The damage is so vast, so wide-ranging, and so all-inclusive, that it is impossible to even contemplate a measurement.
But let’s not lose the main point. It wasn’t the “US government” or the “US Treasury” that made this decision. Rather, it was made for them by Rothschild and the other Jewish owners of the FED and the City of London to maintain their gold holdings and protect their value. It was simply another bail-out for the Jewish bankers, in this case to the great cost of the entire world. If only we could place a number on the cost. But we cannot.
Leger Entry: $0 trillion in today’s dollars
“The World’s Richest Man” Conspiracy
As can be deduced from the above, the real wealth in the world has never come from corporate ownership, but from financing wars, from owning the central banks of nations, and from theft and criminal activity on a vast international scale. The large amount of Jewish corporate ownership today is not the beginning of the accumulation of wealth but merely the last step in the process. As is true with all organised crime, the trillions of dollars involved in corporate ownership noted at the beginning are merely from the reinvestment of criminal profits into legitimate enterprises.
It should be obvious from the above that people like Gates, Buffett and Bezos are not contenders for the title of the World’s Richest Man. Elon Musk with his supposed $200 billion barely qualifies as pocket change, with people like George Soros and his paltry billions not even qualifying as pocket lint. The media have lied to us for decades and sent us looking in all the wrong places. Jewish publications today have many articles on “The world’s richest Jews”
or “The most influential Jews”,
but these are all nonsense, listing individuals like Zuckerberg or Soros, or Sheldon Adelson at the peak. None of this is accidental; it is merely a way to distract attention from the real sources of money and power, and perhaps not surprising that every newspaper and magazine touching on this topic will follow the same pattern. What is surprising is that people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett participate in this charade when they must so clearly know the truth of their own positions. None of these men can be so naive or ignorant, which definitely implies a conspiracy of silence.
As an aside, most every man who builds something of substance has an almost genetic urge to pass it on to his offspring, to perhaps create even a small family dynasty that could continue in time. But has anyone noticed that it is only people like Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who have no such urge and are determined to just give it all away at the end? Why are there no Rothschilds on this list, no Sassoons, no Kadoories, no Goldman Saches? Is this terminal philanthropy a defect only of the goyim? We can reasonably assume this tendency results from pressure, and my suspicion is that this pressure would result from obligations due to financing. That means Gates and Buffett didn’t create their empires entirely on their own; my guess is they were provided with ideas, planning, much financing, and much bullying Jewish diplomacy to have accomplished what they did. The price to be paid is that you don’t take it with you when you go. One thing Jews don’t finance, is competition for themselves.
The foundation and building of large corporate fortunes is not normally a quick process. There are always exceptions of course, but generally things take time. The conventional wisdom, which has proven true time and again, is that “it takes the first generation to make it, and the second generation to make it really big.” The Jews, functioning as an organic unit, can short-circuit this process. Consider Indigo Books & Music, begun by the Jewess Heather Reisman only about 25 years ago, it resulted in the financial bankruptcy of Canada’s largest independent bookseller and the takeover or elimination of all other competitors who suddenly encountered “financial difficulties”. Today, Indigo is Canada’s only major English-language bookstore chain and the country’s largest book, gift, and specialty toy retailer with annual revenue of more than $1 billion. Jews control the book publishing industry and can ensure your bookstore has no stock if you refuse to sell out. They collectively control much of the financing and distribution and can force takeovers or bankruptcies. There is no defense against a determined Jewish onslaught. These people operate as gangsters and have unlimited financing available to take over an industry sector almost at will.
The important point is that the planning for these sector take-overs seldom originates with the public face of the operation. Instead, these are often connected parts of a worldwide long-term plan for control of these sectors. I covered some of this in a prior article titled ‘Today’s Jewish Corporate Heroes – Virgin Births All’,
dealing with Google, Facebook and a few others. It is apparent that neither Zuckerberg nor the Google Twins were capable of creating almost instantly a world leader in their respective sectors. To accomplish such a result requires unlimited financing and the application of enormous amounts of financial and political pressure, plus determined planning and intense media support. This applies equally to others like Wikipedia, Amazon, Starbucks, and many others who seemed to come from almost nowhere to being world leaders in a very short time. The process has been the same in all cases, and it certainly applies today to the current “Richest Man in the World”, Elon Musk.
All you have to do is think. Using Elon Musk as an example, the man appeared to come from literally nowhere and yet suddenly “owns” the world’s largest auto manufacturer. Musk at the same time began an aggressive program of launching tens of thousands of communications satellites, and then SpaceX, “Elon Musk’s private spaceflight company”, the maker of the Starship, planning International Space Station missions, no less. Then we have Musk buying Twitter for $44 billion.
In the last 100 years, anyone attempting to create a new auto company and brand has met with disaster, but Musk apparently experienced not a hiccup with the Tesla that is suddenly a world favorite. This would have required perhaps ten years of planning and design, the planning of factories and production, the creation of supply lines, the testing and certification, and so much more, but with Tesla this apparently all occurred overnight in a vacuum. Are we to believe Elon Musk designed the Tesla? There is no evidence Musk has the ability to design even a dipstick, much less an entire car, so how did all this occur and what was the source of the background billions required to bring this project to fruition? Musk played no part in the creation of the Tesla. He just somehow showed up at the end, “owning” the company.
Similarly, the aggressive program of communication satellites that “Elon Musk” has launched; this as well would require many years of planning and design, to say nothing of arranging the launch facilities and obtaining the necessary thousands of paying customers. This again would require years and billions of dollars in financing but, like Bezos’ space flight program, this one suddenly appeared in full bloom, operating, launched, and ready to go. Who did the planning for this? It certainly wasn’t Musk, so who was behind it? And the money for all this came from where? “Musk’s” Tesla has never made a profit, so where would he obtain the billions for a pie-in-the-sky system of tens of thousands of communications satellites? Nothing like this can happen without a decade or more of intensive planning and an enormous investment, and obviously none of that came from Musk.
These would be enough challenge for any man, but then we had “Elon Musk” buying Twitter for $44 billion. How would that happen? We are told that Musk suddenly has wealth of – vaguely – $200 billion, with no detail, but presumably from stock holdings in “his” Tesla. But are we to assume that Musk has an extra $44 billion in loose cash sitting in the bank to purchase Twitter? That’s not possible, and Musk isn’t selling half his interest in Tesla shares to finance it, so what is the source of the money? The media confuse this by providing only a few sound bytes but no detail, and thus we have thoughts loosely in our minds that Musk is very wealthy and could somehow afford to purchase Twitter, but all we need to do is think to realise that is impossible.
The picture is clouded because the political ambitions of the Khazar Jews cannot be separated from their financial intentions. “Musk’s” satellite system is eventually to consist of 35,000 communication satellites – military, not civilian – some of which are already being used in Ukraine. The Khazar Jews in the City of London are desperate for World War III, but they have no military of their own and must depend on the US (as the Bankers’ Private Army) maintaining military supremacy. If it hasn’t already occurred to you, the reason for this development was that the Chinese proved they can shoot down US surveillance and communication satellites, thus presenting an existential threat to US warmongering with China and Russia. The solution is clever, and also obvious: you cannot shoot down 35,000 tiny communications satellites, thus maintaining US battlefield communication supremacy. The financing is interesting because normally the Jews push the US to make all these military investments, but the US no longer has the money for all these efforts and thus they had no choice but to finance this themselves – and channel it through Musk to disguise the origin. There is no other source for the financing of such a massive project. It is obvious the financing didn’t come from “Elon Musk”, since “his” Tesla still cannot turn a profit, so where would he obtain the money for satellite development? The Jewish bankers in the City of London are the only source.
This is the same as “Mark Zuckerberg” a few years ago buying and forming companies to manufacture military drones and high-altitude balloons, the latter because dear Mark wanted everyone in the world to have Internet access. Not quite. The high-altitude balloons were not for Internet access but for military communications with the drones that “Facebook” was manufacturing, drones carrying warheads that could communicate by means of the balloons if China destroyed all the US military communications satellites. So far as I could tell, nobody wondered why “Facebook” was manufacturing military drones and their communications systems. Again, not possible to push this cost onto the US military so the Jews in the City of London ran it through Facebook to disguise it as a civilian venture and hide the true source – and intention – from scrutiny.
Back to Tesla. lf you take the time to read Musk’s high-school level treatise on hyperloop transportation
or listen to his media blurbs, it’s obvious the man hasn’t the intelligence to have attained his position independently. It’s not apparent, at least not to me, that he knows anything about anything, and I would say the same for Zuckerberg and the Google twins. These people are merely fronts for someone who really does have all the money. And the plans. But we are supposed to believe that Elon “focus-on-my-cute-8-year-old-smile-and-my-adorable-3-year-old-sideways-looking-eyes-so-you-don’t-realise-how-stupid-I-am” Musk, is suddenly The Richest Man in The World from designing cars and satellites and space ships and heaven only knows what all. What rubbish.
That latter point deserves attention. Do you see Warren Buffett posing with a stupid smile and adorable sideways-looking eyes to seduce all the mothers into encouraging their daughters to buy his company shares? What kind of a man, apparently the CEO of trillion-dollar international companies, behaves in such a foolish fashion? A mental dwarf with serious emotional problems, no one else.
Similar arguments are true for Zuckerberg, Bezos, the Google Twins and others. None have the knowledge or ability, nor the enormous financing to do the things they are supposedly doing. Neither their fortunes nor their abilities can possibly be real. It is easier to accept a Bill Gates, starting with a small Microsoft and building over 40 years into a $50 billion prize, but to pretend that an Elon Musk who, out of the clear blue sky, goes from sleeping in his car and eating leaves from trees, suddenly is designing and producing electric autos and military communications satellites and space vehicles and so much more, is too ridiculous a prospect to bother refuting.
Some claim that Elon Musk is not a Jew. Elon (אֵילוֹן), or Alon (אַלוֹן) is a Hebrew masculine name that would not occur on a list of Gentile names. Musk attended Jewish schools in South Africa. His mother, Maye Haldeman, is Jewish but listed as “Canadian”, which is hardly an ethnic group. There are Jewish family and other relations (Elon’s brother married Jen Lewin), and more. Musk’s connections with Israel and powerful Jews have a long history, Tesla’s closet relationship with Israeli tech spanning many years and its self-driving technology is 100% Jewish, originating from the Israeli company Mobileye. Musk has close and high-level contacts in Israel, having met with Netanyahu (at his private residence) on more than one occasion.
In was in the news very recently that Evelyn de Rothschild died at an old age.
The NYT wrote a thoroughly fictional obituary notable primarily for the astonishing lies, as the NYT does for every Jewish criminal who departs this world. You might care to read the NYT’s loving treatise on Madeline Albright to refresh your memory of the criminal insanity of the NYT’s editors. According to them, this Rothschild “Initially showing little promise, he eventually joined the family firm and rose to chairman, wielding vast influence in Britain’s financial and political affairs.” That part is certainly true. The man had banks, investment banks, investment subsidiaries and much more in about 30 countries, and there was no question of his “vast influence in Britain’s financial and political affairs”, since he was the primary man involved in Margaret Thatcher’s selling off all the UK assets to Jewish bankers. But then the NYT told us that Evelyn de Rothschild was worth maybe a paltry $2 billion.
So, Evelyn de Rothschild, the scion and proprietor of the greatest criminal banking dynasty in the history of the world, one with assets harvested from hundreds of years of looting and plundering, a man owning literally hundreds of banks and financial companies all over the world was so dull, so slow and dim-witted, that even a little shit like Zuckerberg could come from nowhere and in only a few years be worth ten times as much. As Buddy Holly was so fond of telling us, “That’ll be the day.”
So, who really are the richest men in the world? Well, who has been financing both sides of every war for the past 300 years? Starbucks? Who has been looting South Africa of all its gold and diamonds for the past 150 years? The President of Victoria’s Secret Underpants? Is it Mark Zuckerberg stealing trillions of Iraq oil every year? I have no doubt that Jeff Bezos is a criminal, but it wasn’t Bezos who engineered the theft of all the gold from all the world’s banks in the 1930s. Who owns as many as 75 or 80 of the central banks of the world’s nations? Some goyim from Kansas?
I am told there are 13 families in control of the entire worldwide clan, operating from the City of London. The leaders in this list are unquestionably Rothschilds, probably beginning with Jacob Rothschild, “The King of the Jews”, followed by his kin. The list would most likely include a Sassoon, a Warburg, a Goldman, a Moses Seif, Kuhn, Loeb, Salomon, a Sebag-Montefiori, with this group sharing total assets in the hundreds of trillions of dollars. We can only guess about the others, but we can be very certain that neither Bill Gates nor Warren Buffett have ever been on this list, and Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos can be dismissed with deserved contempt.
The purpose of this essay was threefold: (1) to bring to the attention of readers the existence of a long-standing conspiracy about the identification of “The Richest Man in the World”, (2) to dismiss from contention the current list of candidates, and (3) to document that a small number of Jewish banking families operating out of the City of London have for generations held these wealth records with fortunes that are orders of magnitude above anything we might have imagined. I trust this has been accomplished to the satisfaction of readers.
Mr. Romanoff’s writing has been translated into 32 languages and his articles posted on more than 150 foreign-language news and politics websites in more than 30 countries, as well as more than 100 English language platforms. Larry Romanoff is a retired management consultant and businessman. He has held senior executive positions in international consulting firms, and owned an international import-export business. He has been a visiting professor at Shanghai’s Fudan University, presenting case studies in international affairs to senior EMBA classes. Mr. Romanoff lives in Shanghai and is currently writing a series of ten books generally related to China and the West. He is one of the contributing authors to Cynthia McKinney’s new anthology ‘When China Sneezes’. (Chapt. 2 — Dealing with Demons).
His full archive can be seen at
Calista Garcia – Cover – Good Moring Starshine (2:44 min) Audio Mp3
Wind – Audio Mp3
by Eva Bartlett
The author with Pyatnashka commanders at outpost near Avdeevka, Donetsk People’s Republic. [Source: Photo courtesy of Eva Bartlett]
America is widely understood to be a key instigator behind conflict in Ukraine that has pitted brother against brother
Smeared, stigmatized, and lied about in Western media propaganda, the mostly Russian-speaking people of the Donbass region were being slaughtered by the thousands in a brutal war of “ethnic cleansing” launched against them by the neo-Nazi regime in Kyiv, which the U.S. installed after the CIA overthrew Ukraine’s legally elected president in a 2014 coup.
Although the Donbass people had been pleading for Russian military aid to defend them against the increasingly murderous military assaults by the Ukraine government forces, which killed more than 14,000 of their people, Russian President Vladimir Putin declined to intervene. Instead, he tried to broker a peace agreement between the warring parties.
But the U.S. and Britain secretly colluded to sabotage peace negotiations, persuading president Zelenksy to ignore the Minsk III peace agreement that the Ukraine government had previously signed, and which had been countersigned by Russia, France and Germany.
Realizing that the U.S. and its NATO allies would never permit peace negotiations to succeed, Putin finally invaded Ukraine on February 24. Russian troops went in to support and reinforce the outnumbered and outgunned Donbass Special Forces who had been defending their land against attacks by the Kyiv government for nearly eight years.
Voices From the Frontlines of Eastern Ukraine
In the Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) in October, I went to a frontline outpost 70 meters from Ukrainian forces in Avdeevka (north and west of Donetsk), according to the Donbas commanders I spoke with there.
To reach that position, I went with two other journalists to a meeting point with two commanders of Pyatnashka—volunteer fighters, including Abkhazi, Slovak, Russian, Ossetian and other nationalities, including locals from Donbas.
From there, they drove us to a point as far as they could drive before walking the rest of the way, several minutes through brush and trenches, eventually coming to their sandbagged wood and cement fortified outpost.
It has changed hands over the years, Ukrainian forces sometimes occupying it, Donbas forces now controlling it.
One soldier, a unit commander who goes by the call sign “Vydra” (Otter), was formerly a miner from the DPR who had been living in Russia with his family. In 2014, he returned to the Donbas to defend his mother and relatives still there. He spoke of the outpost.
“We dug and built this with our hands. Several times over the years, the Ukrainians have taken these positions. We pushed them back, they stormed us…Well, we have been fighting each other for eight years.”
There, artillery fire is the biggest danger they face. “You can hide from a sniper, but not from artillery, and they’re using large caliber.”
His living quarters is a dank, cramped, room with a tiny improvised bed, with another small room and bed for others at the outpost.
A sign reads: “If shelling occurs, go to the shelter.” The kind of sign you see all over Donetsk and cities of the Donbas, due to Ukraine’s incessant shelling of civilian, residential areas. In a frontline outpost where incoming artillery is the norm, the sign is slightly absurd, clearly a joke.
An Orthodox icon sits atop the sign. Ukrainian nationalists hang and spray Nazi graffiti and slogans of death; these fighters revere their faith.
A poster, with the DPR flag, reads: “We have never known defeat, and it’s clear that this has been decided from above. Donbas has never been forced to its knees, and no one will ever be allowed to.”
The only things decorating the space are tins of tuna and canned meat, instant noodles, and washing powder. Their existence is bare minimum, nothing glamorous about it; they volunteer because, as they told me, this is their land and they will protect it.
Perhaps surprising to some, when Vydra was asked whether he hates Ukrainians, he replied emphatically no, he has friends and relatives in Ukraine.
“We have no hatred for Ukraine. We hate those nationalists who came to power. But ordinary Ukrainians? Why? Many of us speak Ukrainian. We understand them, they understand us. Many of them speak Russian.
I’ve been involved in sports a lot of time, wrestling. So, I’ve got a lot of friends in Dnepropetrovsk, Kharkov, Kirovograd, Odessa, Lvov, Ivano-Frankivsk, Transcarpathia.
I have relatives in western Ukraine, and we still communicate. Yes, they say one thing on the street, but when we talk to each other, they say, ‘Well, you have to, because the SBU is listening.’
Ukraine shouts about democracy, then puts people in handcuffs for no reason. My aunt got in trouble because they found my photo on her Skype.
And I’m on the Myrotvorets [kill list] website.” [As is the author, see this article.]
He spoke of Ukraine’s shelling from 2014, when the people of the Donbass were unarmed and not expecting to be bombed by their own country.
“When the artillery hit the city of Yenakievo, east of Gorlovka, we were defenseless. We went with hunting rifles and torches to fight them. Most of the weapons we had later were captured from them. We had to go to the battlefield without weapons in order to get the weapons.”
When asked if he was concerned that Ukrainian forces might take Donetsk he replied no, of course not, they didn’t succeed in 2014, they won’t now.
When asked whether he had a message for soldiers of the Ukrainian army, Vydra replied without hesitating, “Go home! We’ve been saying that since 2014: Go home. Unequivocally, we don’t want them here, but we don’t want to kill them. I’m not speaking about nationalists, I’m speaking about Ukrainian soldiers, who are drafted or forcefully employed in the Ukrainian army. Guys, go home, either surrender or go. This is our land. We’re not leaving, we’re not going anywhere.”
I asked how he felt to be treated and described as sub-human, to be called dehumanizing names, a part of the Ukrainian nationalists’ brainwashing propaganda. As I wrote previously:
“Ukrainian nationalists openly declare they view Russians as sub-human. School books teach this warped ideology. Videos show the extent of this mentality: Teaching children not only to also hate Russians and see them as not humans, but also brainwashing them to believe killing Donbas residents is acceptable. The Ukrainian government itself funds neo-Nazi-run indoctrination camps for youths.”
“It’s offensive,” Vydra said, “We are saddened: There are sick people. We need to heal them, slowly.”
I asked whether he thought friendship between Ukrainians and Russians would be possible.
“It will take years for any friendship. Take Chechnya, one region of Russia, it was at war. But slowly, slowly…We must all live together. We are one people.” Indeed, now Chechen fighters are one of the most effective forces fighting alongside Donbas and Russian soldiers to liberate Donbas areas from Ukrainian forces.
He opened a zippered trousers pocket and proudly brandished a small plastic sleeve containing children’s drawings, also containing icons of saints and Christ, and prayers…
“This is very personal, it’s like my guardian angel. I put it in plastic, I don’t even keep my ID in plastic. I’ve been carrying this one in my pocket since February. I’ve been in all sorts of hot spots. A child drew this, we receive letters from children. It’s very nice to look at them when it’s hard and we are under fire.”
He read one letter: “We are waiting for you. Thank you for risking your lives to defend Donbas. Yulia and Ira.”
“I don’t even know who are Yulia and Ira,” he said smiling.
Showing the icons, he said, “This is Saint Ushakov, our great commander. This is Jesus Christ, our Heavenly Protector. This Abkhazi icon was given to me by the guys. This is a prayer book. And here is a prayer,” he said of one page prayer.
“These words are to support when times are very hard. When there is heavy shelling, it can go on for hours. So, while you’re sitting there, you can read this.
Especially for the younger guys, 22, 23 years old, just finished college. This is new to them.”
Commanders Speak of Geopolitical Reasons for Ukraine’s War
Outside, sitting in front of an Orthodox banner and a collection of collected munitions—including Western ones—two platoon commanders, “Kabar” and “Kamaz,” spoke of the bigger geopolitical picture. [See video]
“America is running the show here,” Kabar said. “It builds foreign policy on the basis of how its domestic policy is built, which is through conflicts with external countries. They are accustomed to proving their power to their people through terrorism around the world, inciting fires in Syria, in the east. They played the card of radical Islam there.
And now they are playing the card of fascism. They do not see themselves on the other side of good. They need wars, blood, cruelty, and they signed Europe up for this.
However, they’ve missed one point: Russia, since the days of the Soviet Union, has never retreated in large scale wars. They took Europe and pushed it to slaughter Russia, and they put Russia in such a position that it must secure its national interests. Europe needs to understand this, to pay attention to history, to stop being led by the United States.”
When asked about his feeling regarding Ukrainians, “Kabar” replied similarly to Vydra.
“We don’t blame the whole Ukrainian people. Ukrainians are our friends, they are our relatives. They’ve been struck by evil, and it’s not their fault, ordinary people are not to blame for this. We will liberate them from fascism, we’ll show them brotherhood, and we’ll make friends.
This is a good opportunity for us to defeat evil. God has honored us with this right to fight evil.”
Kamaz, when asked why he is fighting, replied that this is his homeland, he was born here, and that he has a son who he doesn’t want to inherit Ukraine’s war on the Donbas.
“I myself am Greek by nationality. Ukrainians are Slavs, they are our brothers, their grandfathers fought together shoulder to shoulder with our grandfathers against Nazism and fascism. We are here to finish it, so that our children live a normal happy life. We are fighting for the future.”
He spoke of America’s continuous need for war.
“We’ve seen it in Syria and Yugoslavia, where they destroyed everything and then set everything up their own way, so the people must submit, almost like slaves.”
I asked whether he thought peace between Ukraine and Russia is possible.
“Yes, possibly, why not? But at the moment, the President of Ukraine said there will be no negotiations.
Negotiations are possible, but I think not with this president. When he comes to his senses, he will not be able to negotiate, because he took a lot of money.”
Before leaving the outpost, we chatted a bit with the commanders. A puppy sought the attention of a young soldier. Another puppy ran around our feet. The outpost commanders and soldiers take care of the dogs. Their presence added a somewhat surreal touch to the scene: an outpost which is routinely shelled, where life can cease to exist at any moment, and these happy, well-cared for puppies running around like dogs anywhere.
Western Media Inverted Reality, Lauding Nazis and Demonizing Defenders
While many in the West think that this conflict started in February 2022, those following events since 2014 are aware that, following the Maidan coup and Odessa massacre, and the rise of fascism in Ukraine against the Ukrainian people, the Donbas republics wanted to distance themselves from Ukraine’s Nazis and fascism.
The sacrifices which the people of the Donbas republics have endured, particularly those fighting to protect their families and loved ones, have been and continue to be immense.
Just as the heroes of the Syrian Arab Army were maligned, so too have Donbas forces have been maligned by Western media, though both are defending their homelands from terrorist forces trained and funded by the West. Terrorists given the freedom to commit endless atrocities against Donbas civilians.
These defenders, many living in dank trench conditions didn’t choose war, they responded to it, to protect their loved ones and their future. In spite of more than eight years of being warred upon by Ukraine, they retain their humanity.
Eva Karene Bartlett is a Canadian-American journalist who has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and Palestine (where she lived for nearly four years). She was a recipient of the 2017 International Journalism Award for International Reporting, granted by the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club (founded in 1951), and was the first recipient of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism. See her extended bio on her blog In Gaza. She tweets from @EvaKBartlett and has the Telegram Channel, Reality Theories. Eva can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donald Trump remains a potent political force despite the US midterm election results
The former president still stands the best chance of winning the Republican nomination
by Graham Hryce
Earlier this week, Donald Trump delivered a speech in which he announced that he is a candidate for the presidency in 2024, and it was something of a political tour de force.
In fact, it may well be the most important speech delivered by an American politician in decades – because it marked Trump’s resurgence as a political leader, in the aftermath of the Republican Party’s disastrous showing in the recent midterm elections.
In an era in which political speeches have been rendered virtually obsolete by social media, Trump has seemingly revived the traditional political address.
Not surprisingly, mainstream American media organizations have failed to appreciate the significance of Trump’s speech, and have written Trump off as a political force – on the basis of the dismal performances by Trump-endorsed candidates in the midterms.
Even Rupert Murdoch – once a keen Trump supporter – has now cast him aside.
The leading article on Trump’s speech in the New York Times this week was titled ‘Trump Announces 2024 Run, Repeating Lies and Exaggerating Record’ – and the ‘fact checkers’ at CNN and MSNBC have been working overtime to conclusively prove that Trump’s speech is full of false and misleading facts.
What utter nonsense! Since when have lies, exaggeration, and the misstatement of facts not been an integral component of American political discourse? Do Democrat politicians not engage in such practices?
Even more delusional are the conclusions that the mainstream media have drawn from the midterm election results – including the following:
- Trump’s standing as a political leader has been destroyed because some candidates endorsed by Trump, who made much of his ‘stolen election’ lie – aptly described by Republican election strategist Karl Rove as “knuckleheads” – failed to win office;
- Republican voters will no longer accept Trump as a credible presidential candidate;
- the Republican Party is certain to select Florida Governor Ron DeSantis as its candidate for president in 2024;
- because the ‘Trump era’ has now ended, American politics has ceased to be divisive and irrational, and American democracy has been miraculously ‘saved’.
Each of these conclusions is false and misguided.
This brings us to Trump’s remarkable Mar-a-Lago speech itself.
Trump’s speech has three components: A description of the current state of America’s decline; a critique of Joe Biden and the Democrats’ performance since 2020; and a messianic appeal for the restoration of what Trump called “America’s golden age.”
One notable aspect of Trump’s speech is that he does not refer at all to the ‘stolen election’. Trump has shrewdly discarded this politically damaging and untenable falsehood – which he has endlessly peddled for the past two years.
The importance of Trump abandoning the ‘stolen election’ lie cannot be overestimated.
It enables Trump to distance himself from the ‘knuckleheads’ who foolishly embraced the narrative in the recent midterm elections, together with the Republican Party’s poor overall electoral performance. Herschel Walker, Kari Lake, and others will now join the long list of people that Trump has cynically used and then discarded.
It also enables Trump to focus exclusively on attacking Biden and the Democrats.
In his speech, Trump paints a graphic picture of America as a nation in serious decline, one that has been “brought to its knees.”
He asserts that “our country is a laughing stock” and that America “is being destroyed before our very eyes.”
In Trump’s view, America is beset by serious social and economic problems at home, and besieged by potential enemies abroad – including China. In fact, Trump claims that “lots of nations want to destroy us.”
The embarrassing withdrawal from Afghanistan left the US “humiliated for all to see” and it now finds itself embroiled in a conflict in Ukraine that “would never have happened if I were president.”
And by 2024, Trump says, things will have become “much worse” – which is why “our country cannot take four more years of Joe Biden.”
Trump places the blame for America’s decline entirely on the Biden administration. It is no coincidence that the deterioration commenced in late 2020. During Trump’s presidency “the world was at peace and America was a great and glorious nation.”
This is self-serving claptrap, but the appeal of such a stance to the Republican base cannot be denied, and there is no one better than Trump at rewriting history.
Trump describes Joe Biden as “the face of left-wing failure and Washington corruption,” and claims that the Democrats’ program is one that has resulted in “national ruin.”
Under the Democrats, inflation and gas prices have risen; America has “surrendered its energy independence”; the southern border has been “erased” and the US has been “poisoned by illegal alien criminals”; cities have become “cesspools of violent crimes”; a “total breakdown of law and order” has occurred; industry has been crippled by the “socialist green new deal”; and drug addiction has increased.
Meanwhile, Biden “falls asleep at global conferences” and “is leading us to the brink of nuclear war.”
Trump’s cure for America’s decline is very simple.
Only he and “his movement” – which “is not about politics, it is about our love for this great country” – can restore “American glory,” “the spirit of the nation,” and “America’s golden age.”
Trump can achieve this because he is “a politician who is not a politician.”
Trump promises to “fight like no one has ever fought before” and asserts that only he can “defeat the radical-left Democrats.”
Trump pledges that he “will keep America out of foolish and unnecessary wars” and bring about “peace through strength” – because he is “not a warmonger.”
Trump promises to “unify people” and protect the interests of “workers and the middle class” – while opposing “the establishment, the media, special interests, Marxists, woke corporations, the deep state, the weaponized power of the federal government, the FBI and the Department of Justice.”
With Trump in charge, “America’s comeback starts right now” and “America’s golden age is just ahead.”
Trump has dealt himself back into the political game with this week’s powerful speech and, in my opinion, he will win the Republican nomination for president in 2024.
Why do I think that?
First, just cast a glance at those Republicans who have recently written Trump off as ‘electoral poison’ – they include Mitt Romney, Chris Christie, and Mike Pence. What a cabal of political losers – all of whom are seriously lacking in political judgment.
The judgment of most of the media is no better.
Second, Trump – whatever you may think of him – is a genuinely charismatic politician and an extremely effective campaigner.
Max Weber, at the beginning of the collapse of the Weimar Republic, noted that at times of economic, political, and cultural turbulence, voters seek charismatic leaders. Weber also pointed out that charisma, by definition, cannot be transferred. That, by the way, is the real lesson to be learned from the midterm elections.
DeSantis may be a competent politician, but he is not a charismatic leader.
In the 2024 primaries, I believe that Trump will wipe the floor with DeSantis and anyone else who runs – just as he did with Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and others in the primaries in the lead-up to the 2016 election.
Third, DeSantis’ policies are exactly the same as Trump’s. Why would the Republican base vote for a Trump clone when they can have the real thing?
Whether Trump will become president in 2024 is another matter.
Trump’s election loss in 2020 suggests that winning in 2024 will not be an easy task.
Even so, it is not difficult to envisage circumstances in which a Trump victory in 2024 appears possible.
Assume, for example, that America is in the throes of a serious economic recession; that inflation and energy prices have continued to rise; that the immigration crisis has intensified; that serious crime in American cities is out of control; that the conflict in Ukraine is continuing; that conflict with China over Taiwan appears likely; and that Joe Biden is too frail to run.
In such circumstances, can any intelligent observer of American politics deny that Trump would have a good chance of being elected president?
In fact, Trump’s ‘America First’ isolationism – which compels him to adopt a form of realpolitik foreign policy – may well be the key to his future political success.
Whatever happens in 2024, however, one thing is perfectly clear – with Trump now back firmly in the saddle thanks to this week’s speech, the endemic divisiveness that has plagued American politics for decades can only intensify over the next two years.
• 1,700 WORDS •
The redeeming quality of a tense G20 held in Bali – otherwise managed by laudable Indonesian graciousness – was to sharply define which way the geopolitical winds are blowing.
That was encapsulated in the Summit’s two highlights: the much anticipated China-US presidential meeting – representing the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century – and the final G20 statement.
The 3-hour, 30-minute-long face-to-face meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden – requested by the White House – took place at the Chinese delegation’s residence in Bali, and not at the G20 venue at the luxury Apurva Kempinski in Nusa Dua.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs concisely outlined what really mattered. Specifically, Xi told Biden that Taiwan independence is simply out of the question. Xi also expressed hope that NATO, the EU, and the US will engage in “comprehensive dialogue” with Russia. Instead of confrontation, the Chinese president chose to highlight the layers of common interest and cooperation.
Biden, according to the Chinese, made several points. The US does not seek a New Cold War; does not support “Taiwan independence;” does not support “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”; does not seek “decoupling” from China; and does not want to contain Beijing.
However, the recent record shows Xi has few reasons to take Biden at face value.
The final G20 statement was an even fuzzier matter: the result of arduous compromise.
As much as the G20 is self-described as “the premier forum for global economic cooperation,” engaged to “address the world’s major economic challenges,” the G7 inside the G20 in Bali had the summit de facto hijacked by war. “War” gets almost double the number of mentions in the statement compared to “food” after all.
The collective west, including the Japanese vassal state, was bent on including the war in Ukraine and its “economic impacts” – especially the food and energy crisis – in the statement. Yet without offering even a shade of context, related to NATO expansion. What mattered was to blame Russia – for everything.
The Global South effect
It was up to this year’s G20 host Indonesia – and the next host, India – to exercise trademark Asian politeness and consensus building. Jakarta and New Delhi worked extremely hard to find wording that would be acceptable to both Moscow and Beijing. Call it the Global South effect.
Still, China wanted changes in the wording. This was opposed by western states, while Russia did not review the last-minute wording because Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had already departed.
On point 3 out of 52, the statement “expresses its deepest regret over the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands the complete and unconditional withdrawal of armed forces from the territory of Ukraine.”
“Russian aggression” is the standard NATO mantra – not shared by virtually the whole Global South.
The statement draws a direct correlation between the war and a non-contextualized “aggravation of pressing problems in the global economy – slowing economic growth, rising inflation, disruption of supply chains, worsening energy, and food security, increased risks to financial stability.”
As for this passage, it could not be more self-evident: “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.”
This is ironic given that NATO and its public relations department, the EU, “represented” by the unelected eurocrats of the European Commission, don’t do “diplomacy and dialogue.”
Fixated with war
Instead the US, which controls NATO, has been weaponizing Ukraine, since March, by a whopping $91.3 billion, including the latest presidential request, this month, of $37.7 billion. That happens to be 33 percent more than Russia’s total (italics mine) military spending for 2022.
Extra evidence of the Bali Summit being hijacked by “war” was provided by the emergency meeting, called by the US, to debate what ended up being a Ukrainian S-300 missile falling on a Polish farm, and not the start of WWIII like some tabloids hysterically suggested.
Tellingly, there was absolutely no one from the Global South in the meeting – the sole Asian nation being the Japanese vassal, part of the G7.
Compounding the picture, we had the sinister Davos master Klaus Schwab once again impersonating a Bond villain at the B20 business forum, selling his Great Reset agenda of “rebuilding the world” through pandemics, famines, climate change, cyber attacks, and – of course – wars.
As if this was not ominous enough, Davos and its World Economic Forum are now ordering Africa – completely excluded from the G20 – to pay $2.8 trillion to “meet its obligations” under the Paris Agreement to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.
The demise of the G20 as we know it
The serious fracture between Global North and Global South, so evident in Bali, had already been suggested in Phnom Penh, as Cambodia hosted the East Asia Summit this past weekend.
The 10 members of ASEAN had made it very clear they remain unwilling to follow the US and the G7 in their collective demonization of Russia and in many aspects China.
The Southeast Asians are also not exactly excited by the US-concocted IPEF (Indo-Pacific Economic Framework), which will be irrelevant in terms of slowing down China’s extensive trade and connectivity across Southeast Asia.
And it gets worse. The self-described “leader of the free world” is shunning the extremely important APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Bangkok at the end of this week.
For very sensitive and sophisticated Asian cultures, this is seen as an affront. APEC, established way back in 1990s to promote trade across the Pacific Rim, is about serious Asia-Pacific business, not Americanized “Indo-Pacific” militarization.
The snub follows Biden’s latest blunder when he erroneously addressed Cambodia’s Hun Sen as “prime minister of Colombia” at the summit in Phnom Penh.
Lining up to join BRICS
It is safe to say that the G20 may have plunged into an irretrievable path toward irrelevancy. Even before the current Southeast Asian summit wave – in Phnom Penh, Bali and Bangkok – Lavrov had already signaled what comes next when he noted that “over a dozen countries” have applied to join BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).
Iran, Argentina, and Algeria have formally applied: Iran, alongside Russia, India, and China, is already part of the Eurasian Quad that really matters.
Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Afghanistan are extremely interested in becoming members. Indonesia just applied, in Bali. And then there’s the next wave: Kazakhstan, UAE, Thailand (possibly applying this weekend in Bangkok), Nigeria, Senegal, and Nicaragua.
It’s crucial to note that all of the above sent their Finance Ministers to a BRICS Expansion dialogue in May. A short but serious appraisal of the candidates reveals an astonishing unity in diversity.
Lavrov himself noted that it will take time for the current five BRICS to analyze the immense geopolitical and geoeconomic implications of expanding to the point of virtually reaching the size of the G20 – and without the collective west.
What unites the candidates above all is the possession of massive natural resources: oil and gas, precious metals, rare earths, rare minerals, coal, solar power, timber, agricultural land, fisheries, and fresh water. That’s the imperative when it comes to designing a new resource-based reserve currency to bypass the US dollar.
Let’s assume that it may take up to 2025 to have this new BRICS+ configuration up and running. That would represent roughly 45 percent of confirmed global oil reserves and over 60 percent of confirmed global gas reserves (and that will balloon if gas republic Turkmenistan later joins the group).
The combined GDP – in today’s figures – would be roughly $29.35 trillion; much larger than the US ($23 trillion) and at least double the EU ($14.5 trillion, and falling).
As it stands, BRICS account for 40 percent of the global population and 25 percent of GDP. BRICS+ would congregate 4.257 billion people: over 50 percent of the total global population as it stands.
BRI embraces BRICS+
BRICS+ will be striving towards interconnection with a maze of institutions: the most important are the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), itself featuring a list of players itching to become full members; strategic OPEC+, de facto led by Russia and Saudi Arabia; and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s overarching trade and foreign policy framework for the 21st century. It is worth pointing out that early all crucial Asian players have joined the BRI.
Then there are the close links of BRICS with a plethora of regional trade blocs: ASEAN, Mercosur, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), Arab Trade Zone, African Continental Free Trade Area, ALBA, SAARC, and last but not least the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the largest trade deal on the planet, which includes a majority of BRI partners.
BRICS+ and BRI is a match everywhere you look at it – from West Asia and Central Asia to the Southeast Asians (especially Indonesia and Thailand). The multiplier effect will be key – as BRI members will be inevitably attracting more candidates for BRICS+.
This will inevitably lead to a second wave of BRICS+ hopefuls including, most certainly, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, three more Central Asians (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and gas republic Turkmenistan), Pakistan, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka, and in Latin America, a hefty contingent featuring Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Venezuela.
Meanwhile, the role of the BRICS’s New Development Bank (NDB) as well as the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be enhanced – coordinating infrastructure loans across the spectrum, as BRICS+ will be increasingly shunning dictates imposed by the US-dominated IMF and the World Bank.
All of the above barely sketches the width and depth of the geopolitical and geoeconomic realignments further on down the road – affecting every nook and cranny of global trade and supply chain networks. The G7’s obsession in isolating and/or containing the top Eurasian players is turning on itself in the framework of the G20. In the end, it’s the G7 that may be isolated by the BRICS+ irresistible force.
(Republished from The Cradle)
• 1,500 WORDS •
(Courtesy of PressTV)
Southeast Asia is right at the center of international relations for a whole week viz a viz three consecutive summits: Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Phnom Penh, the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Bali, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok.
Eighteen nations accounting for roughly half of the global economy represented at the first in-person ASEAN summit since the Covid-19 pandemic in Cambodia: the ASEAN 10, Japan, South Korea, China, India, US, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand.
With characteristic Asian politeness, the summit chair, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (or “Colombian”, according to the so-called “leader of the free world”), said the plenary meeting was somewhat heated, but the atmosphere was not tense: “Leaders talked in a mature way, no one left.”
It was up to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to express what was really significant at the end of the summit.
While praising the “inclusive, open, equal structure of security and cooperation at ASEAN”, Lavrov stressed how Europe and NATO “want to militarize the region in order to contain Russia and China’s interests in the Indo-Pacific.”
A manifestation of this policy is how “AUKUS is openly aiming at confrontation in the South China Sea,” he said.
Lavrov also stressed how the West, via the NATO military alliance, is accepting ASEAN “only nominally” while promoting a completely “unclear” agenda.
What’s clear though is how NATO “has moved towards Russian borders several times and now declared at the Madrid summit that they have taken global responsibility.”
This leads us to the clincher: “NATO is moving their line of defense to the South China Sea.” And, Lavrov added, Beijing holds the same assessment.
Here, concisely, is the open “secret” of our current geopolitical incandescence. Washington’s number one priority is the containment of China. That implies blocking the EU from getting closer to the key Eurasia drivers – China, Russia, and Iran – engaged in building the world’s largest free trade/connectivity environment.
Adding to the decades-long hybrid war against Iran, the infinite weaponizing of the Ukrainian black hole fits into the initial stages of the battle.
For the Empire, Iran cannot profit from becoming a provider of cheap, quality energy to the EU. And in parallel, Russia must be cut off from the EU. The next step is to force the EU to cut itself off from China.
All that fits into the wildest, warped Straussian/neo-con wet dreams: to attack China, by emboldening Taiwan, first Russia must be weakened, via the instrumentalization (and destruction) of Ukraine.
And all along the scenario, Europe simply has no agency.
Putin, Raeisi and the Erdogan track
Real life across key Eurasia nodes reveals a completely different picture. Take the relaxed get-together in Tehran between Russia’s top security official Nikolai Patrushev and his Iranian counterpart Ali Shamkhani last week.
They discussed not only security matters but also serious business – as in turbo-charged trade.
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) will sign a $40 billion deal next month with Gazprom, bypassing US sanctions, and encompassing the development of two gas fields and six oilfields, swaps in natural gas and oil products, LNG projects, and the construction of gas pipelines.
Immediately after the Patrushev-Shamkhani meeting, President Putin called President Ebrahim Raeisi to keep up the “interaction in politics, trade and the economy, including transport and logistics,” according to the Kremlin.
Iranian president reportedly more than “welcomed” the “strengthening” of Moscow-Tehran ties.
Patrushev unequivocally supported Tehran over the latest color revolution adventure perpetrated under the framework of the Empire’s endless hybrid war.
Iran and the EAEU are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in parallel to the swap deals with Russian oil. Soon, SWIFT may be completely bypassed. The whole Global South is watching.
Simultaneous to Putin’s phone call, Turkiye’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan – conducting his own diplomatic overdrive, and just back from a summit of Turkic nations in Samarkand – stressed that the US and the collective West are attacking Russia “almost without limits”.
Erdogan made it clear that Russia is a “powerful” state and commended its “great resistance”.
The response came exactly 24 hours later. Turkish intelligence cut to the chase, pointing out that the terrorist bombing in the perpetually busy Istiklal pedestrian street in Istanbul was designed in Kobane in northern Syria, which essentially responds to the US.
That constitutes a de-facto act of war and may unleash serious consequences, including a profound revision of Turkiye’s presence inside NATO.
Iran’s multi-track strategy
A Russia-Iran strategic alliance manifests itself practically as a historical inevitability. It recalls the time when the erstwhile USSR helped Iran militarily via North Korea, after an enforced US/Europe blockade.
Putin and Raeisi are taking it to the next level. Moscow and Tehran are developing a joint strategy to defeat the weaponization of sanctions by the collective West.
Iran, after all, has an absolutely stellar record of smashing variants of “maximum pressure” to bits. Also, it is now linked to a strategic nuclear umbrella offered by the “RICs” in BRICS (Russia, India, China).
So, Tehran may now plan to develop its massive economic potential within the framework of BRI, SCO, INSTC, the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), and the Russian-led Greater Eurasia Partnership.
Moscow’s game is pure sophistication: engaging in a high-level strategic oil alliance with Saudi Arabia while deepening its strategic partnership with Iran.
Immediately after Patrushev’s visit, Tehran announced the development of an indigenously built hypersonic ballistic missile, quite similar to the Russian KH-47 M2 Khinzal.
And the other significant news was connectivity-wise: the completion of part of a railway from strategic Chabahar Port to the border with Turkmenistan. That means imminent direct rail connectivity to the Central Asian, Russian and Chinese spheres.
Add to it the predominant role of OPEC+, the development of BRICS+, and the pan-Eurasian drive to pricing trade, insurance, security, investments in the ruble, yuan, rial, etc.
There’s also the fact that Tehran could not care less about the endless collective West procrastination on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as Iran nuclear deal: what really matters now is the deepening relationship with the “RICs” in BRICS.
Tehran refused to sign a tampered-with EU draft nuclear deal in Vienna. Brussels was enraged; no Iranian oil will “save” Europe, replacing Russian oil under a nonsensical cap to be imposed next month.
And Washington was enraged because it was betting on internal tensions to split OPEC.
Considering all of the above, no wonder US ‘Think Tankland’ is behaving like a bunch of headless chickens.
The queue to join BRICS
During the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand last September, it was already tacit to all players how the Empire is cannibalizing its closest allies.
And how, simultaneously, the shrinking NATO-sphere is turning inwards, with a focus on The Enemy Within, relentlessly corralling average citizens to march in lockstep behind total compliance with a two-pronged war – hybrid and otherwise – against imperial peer competitors Russia and China.
Now compare it with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Samarkand presenting China and Russia, together, as the top “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity.
Samarkand also reaffirmed the strategic political partnership between Russia and India (Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it an unbreakable friendship).
That was corroborated by the meeting between Lavrov and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar last week in Moscow.
Lavrov praised the strategic partnership in every crucial area – politics, trade and economics, investment, and technology, as well as “closely coordinated actions” at the UN Security Council, BRICS, SCO and the G20.
On BRICS, crucially, Lavrov confirmed that “over a dozen countries” are lining up for membership, including Iran: “We expect the work on coordinating the criteria and principles that should underlie BRICS expansion to not take much time”.
But first, the five members need to analyze the ground-breaking repercussions of an expanded BRICS+.
Once again: contrast. What is the EU’s “response” to these developments? Coming up with yet another sanctions package against Iran, targeting officials and entities “connected with security affairs” as well as companies, for their alleged “violence and repressions”.
“Diplomacy”, collective West-style, barely registers as bullying.
Back to the real economy – as in the gas front – the national interests of Russia, Iran and Turkiye are increasingly intertwined; and that is bound to influence developments in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, and will be a key factor to facilitate Erdogan’s re-election next year.
As it stands, Riyadh for all practical purposes has performed a stunning 180-degree maneuver against Washington via OPEC+. That may signify, even in a twisted way, the onset of a process of unification of Arab interests, guided by Moscow.
Stranger things have happened in modern history. Now appears to be the time for the Arab world to be finally ready to join the Quad that really matters: Russia, India, China, and Iran.
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(Republished from PressTV )
• 1,100 WORDS •
The esthetic of UK band Niskala is reminiscent of Balinese musical sensibilities. Photo: Ethnomusicology Review – UCLA
(From Asia Times)
Balinese culture, a perpetual exercise in sophisticated subtlety, makes no distinction between the secular and the supernatural – sekala and niskala.
Sekala is what our senses may discern. As in the ritualized gestures of world leaders – real and minor – at a highly polarized G20.
Niskala is what cannot be sensed directly and can only be “suggested.” And that also applies to geopolitics.
The Balinese highlight may have featured an intersection of sekala and niskala: the much ballyhooed Xi-Biden face-to-face (or face to earpiece).
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs preferred to cut to the chase, selecting the Top Two highlights.
1. Xi told Biden – rather, his earpiece – that Taiwan independence is simply out of the question.
2. Xi also hopes that NATO, EU and US will engage in “comprehensive dialogue” with Moscow.
Asian cultures – be they Balinese or Confucianist – are non-confrontational. Xi laid out three layers of common interests:
- prevent conflict and confrontation, leading to peaceful coexistence;
- benefit from each other’s development; and
- promote post-COVID global recovery, tackle climate change and face regional problems via coordination.
Significantly, the three-and-a-half-hour meeting happened at the Chinese delegation’s residence in Bali, and not at the G20 venue. And it was requested by the White House.
Biden, according to the Chinese, affirmed that the US does not seek a New Cold War; does not support “Taiwan independence”; does not support “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”; does not seek “decoupling” from China; and does not want to contain China.
Now tell that to the Straussians/neo-cons/neoliberalcons bent on containing China. Reality spells out that Xi has few reasons to take “Biden” – rather the combo writing every script in the background – at face value. So, as it stands, we remain in niskala.
That zero-sum game
Indonesian President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo was dealt a terrible hand: how to hold a G20 to discuss food and energy security, sustainable development and climate issues when everything under the sun is polarized by the war in Ukraine.
Widodo did his best, urging all at the G20 to “end the war,” with a subtle hint that “being responsible means creating not-zero-sum situations.”
The problem is a great deal of the G20 arrived in Bali bent on zero-sum – seeking confrontation (with Russia) and hardly any diplomatic conversation.
The US and UK delegations avowedly wanted to snub Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov every step of the way. France and Germany were a different matter: Lavrov did speak briefly with both Macron and Scholz. And told them Kyiv wants no negotiation.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Bali. Photo: Sky News screenshot
Lavrov also revealed something quite significant for the Global South:
“US and the EU have given the UN Secretary General written promises that restrictions on the export of Russian grain and fertilizers will be lifted – let’s see how this is implemented.”
The traditional group photo ahead of the G20 – a staple of every summit in Asia – had to be delayed. Because – who else – “Biden” and Sunak, US and UK, refused to be in the same picture with Lavrov.
Such childish, un-diplomatic hysterics are profoundly disrespectful towards ritual Balinese graciousness, politeness and a non-confrontational ethos.
The Western spin is that “most G20 countries” wanted to condemn Russia in Ukraine. Nonsense. Diplomatic sources hinted it might be in fact a 50/50 split. Condemnation comes from Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, UK, US and EU. Non-condemnation from Argentina, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkiye and, of course, Russia.
Graphically: Global South against Global North.
So the joint statement will refer to the impacts of the “war in Ukraine” on the global economy, and not “Russia’s war in Ukraine.”
The collapse of the EU economy
What was not happening in Bali enveloped the island in an extra layer of niskala. Which brings us to Ankara.
The fog thickened because on the backdrop of the G20, the US and Russia were talking in Ankara, represented by CIA director William Burns and SVR (Foreign Intel) director Sergei Naryshkin.
No one knows what exactly was being negotiated. A ceasefire is only one among possible scenarios. And yet heated rhetoric from NATO in Brussels to Kyiv suggests escalation prevailing over some sort of reconciliation.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was adamant; de facto and de jure, Ukraine can’t and does not want to negotiate. So the special military operation will continue.
NATO is training fresh units. Next possible targets are the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the left bank of the Dnieper – or even more pressure in the north of Lugansk. For their part, Russian military channels advance the possibility of a winter offensive on Nikolaev: only 30 km away from Russian positions.
Serious Russian military analysts know what serious Pentagon analysts must also know: Russia has used at best only 10% of its military potential so far. No regular forces; most of them are DPR and LPR militias, Wagner commandos, Kadyrov’s Chechens and volunteers.
The Americans suddenly interested in talking, and Macron and Scholz approaching Lavrov, point to the heart of the matter: The EU and the UK may not survive next winter, 2023-2024, without Gazprom.
Next winter in Europe is looking cold due to Putin’s gas shutoff. Image: InsideGermany.co
The International Energy Agency has calculated that the overall deficit by then will approach 30 billion cubic meters. And that presupposes “ideal” circumstances this coming winter: mostly warm; China still under lockdowns; much lower gas consumption in Europe; even increased production (from Norway?).
The IEA ‘s models are working with two or three waves of price increases in the next 12 months. EU budgets are already on red alert – compensating for the losses caused by the current energy suicide. By the end of 2023, that may reach 1 trillion euros.
Any additional, unpredictable costs throughout 2023 mean that the EU economy will completely collapse: industry shutdown across the spectrum, euro in free fall, rise of inflation, debt corroding every latitude from the Club Med nations to France and Germany.
Dominatrix Ursula von der Leyen, leading the European Commission, of course should be discussing all that – in the interests of EU nations – with global players in Bali. Instead her only agenda, once again, was demonization of Russia. No niskala here; just tawdry cognitive dissonance.
(Republished from Asia Times)
Is there anything masking can’t do? Except for control COVID spread, of course.
A new study in the New England Journal of Medicine purports to show that mask policies in schools work to contain COVID. But that’s not all: The authors conclude, “We believe that universal masking may be especially useful for mitigating effects of structural racism in schools, including potential deepening of educational inequities.”
Sure, masks help fix structural racism. Why not? And the next study will show masking fights climate change.
No, what this study shows is that much of the medical establishment continues to be intensely woke — and deeply dishonest because of it. Just as the “experts” told us gathering in crowds wasn’t OK in spring of 2020, but just weeks later protesting for Black Lives Matter somehow was.
This dishonesty is going to hurt us all for a long time.
As for this study specifically: It does not prove what the authors intended to. It’s just the latest in a push by agenda-driven scientists, and the media who love them, to get people back in masks.
The study centers on two Massachusetts school districts that didn’t remove their mask mandates as soon as the state allowed, in March 2022, but kept them until June. A few months later, they saw slightly lower COVID rates than the other districts.
It’s amazing that COVID could lay in wait like that, ready to punish those who behaved badly months earlier. What’s even more startling: COVID rates in all the schools were higher before anyone took off their mask — but that uncomfortable fact goes unmentioned in the write-up.
Plus, the study doesn’t look at actual mask use, just the mandates. Nor does it account for any differences in behavior, income level, lifestyles and so on. (Which also means it can’t show a thing about masks and “structural racism,” whatever that is anyway.)
Oh, and: It’s an “observational” study — the kind the left dismissed as irrelevant when we’d point out that New Mexico and next-door Utah had very similar COVID trajectories despite very different masking policies. Or that Europe largely didn’t mask kids in school at all but had similar or lower rates than we did. None of that counted.
Which didn’t stop The New York Times’ Roni Caryn Rabin from promoting the new study as “a so-called natural experiment” and breathlessly concluding, “The bottom line: Masking mandates were linked with significantly reduced numbers of Covid cases in schools.”
This is full-on nonsense. The mask mandates did no such thing. New Mexico-Utah and Europe are just part of the avalanche of “natural experiments” that prove it.
It’s pathetic that in November 2022, we have to keep pointing out the obvious — and that garbage science like this destroys everyone’s confidence in the medical field.
Pre-COVID, trusting the medical establishment was the default for all of us, most conservatives included. I’m firmly on the right, but when the health agencies told me in the early days of the pandemic that masking worked, I believed them.
Yet things quickly stopped making sense. Masking outside seemed ludicrous right off the bat, yet it would be a long time before these same health agencies admitted it.
Not until April 25, 2021, did Dr. Anthony Fauci say, “It’s common sense to know that the risk when you are outdoors, which we have been saying all along, is extremely low, and if you are vaccinated it’s even lower.”
He had not, actually, been saying that all along — and those of us who had that “common sense” got targeted and ridiculed for being “anti-science.”
It wasn’t that we stopped “believing” in masking. It’s that we were lied to and then realized it.
And “common sense” did not prevail at all in blue areas. My family moved to Florida in January 2022 because our kids were still forced to mask at their New York City public schools, outdoors.
These bonkers policies destroyed the trust of so many people, and it will be far more difficult than it seems to restore it.
Again, the problem isn’t just with masking. It’s that the medical establishment has gone fully woke. Wokeness goes hand-in-hand with forced conformity.
No one is allowed to step out of the woke lines — though those lines are free to shift at any time. It’s very Soviet.
Under those rules, you can’t be critical of even this cockamamie study; you’re supposed to see that someone squiggled some lines on a graph and pretends it “proves” something it clearly doesn’t because you need to support your “side.”
Inside the woke echo chamber, you even have to embrace insane ideas like “masking fights racism.”
No one at the Times could write an article about how a study like this is gibberish. Medical professionals and journalists who point out the obvious, that the study makes no sense, will be quickly excommunicated.
It’s sick, and it has to stop. This isn’t science, it’s politics — and this woke cancer has to be fought until it’s defeated.
Jerry Lee Lewis, one of rock and roll’s trailblazers, died in late October at age 87. The singer had been in poor health, but no cause of death was given.
Nicknamed “the Killer,” Lewis epitomized rock and roll and rebellion in the late 1950s. He left an indelible mark with his hard-driving, boogie-woogie piano playing and forceful singing, both of which were prominent on hits such as “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” and “Great Balls of Fire.” He is perhaps equally known for having married his first cousin once removed when she was 13 years old. The marriage caused a scandal that nearly ended his career barely a year after it had begun.
In the 1960s, Lewis reinvented himself as a country singer and scored many more hits such as “Another Place, Another Time” and “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me).” Despite substance abuse, run-ins with the law and serious health problems, he remained musically active. His arresting musical presence and his reputation as a hellraiser have influenced generations of musicians.
Lewis was born in Ferriday, Louisiana, in 1935. His father Elmo was a carpenter, and his mother Mary Ethel (also known as Mamie) was a Pentecostal Christian who reportedly spoke in tongues. Lewis grew up listening to gospel and country music. He often went to a local dance hall to listen to blues musicians with his cousins Jimmy Swaggart, who later became an evangelist, and Mickey Gilley, who gained fame as a country singer.
From his mother, Lewis endured sermons about the evils of liquor and promiscuity. His father, however, encouraged his interest in piano. “The more he practiced, the surer the left hand and wilder the right hand became,” wrote Nick Tosches in Hellfire, his biography of Lewis. As a teenager, Lewis began performing locally and then in nearby Natchez, Mississippi.
His disapproving and worried mother sent Lewis to a Bible college. He was later thrown out for playing a boogie-woogie version of “My God Is Real.” School officials grumbled that he had played the hymn “like colored people.” He responded that they “might as well accept it, ’cause someday that’s how it’s gonna be.”
When Lewis went to Nashville, Tennessee, to make records, he met with one refusal after another from the labels in town. He kept performing, nevertheless, traveling from gig to gig with his father acting as roadie.
In what might have been a last-ditch effort, Lewis walked into Sun Studio in November 1956 and demanded an audition. The now-legendary Sun was based in Memphis, Tennessee, and had released records by Elvis Presley. At the time, the label had contracts with Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison. Lewis presented himself as a country artist, but producer Jack Clement encouraged him to try rock and roll.
The result was “Crazy Arms,” a Ray Price song that earned Lewis regional success. His next single, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” was released in April 1957. At first, many stations refused to play the song because they considered it lewd. But after Lewis gave a barnstorming performance of the song on The Steve Allen Show, it reached Number 3 on the pop charts, and Lewis became a star. “Great Balls of Fire” followed in November, ultimately reaching Number 2.
Perhaps as much as Chuck Berry’s guitar, Lewis’s piano helped to define rock and roll. His left hand played crisp, jumping rhythms that rendered his bassists practically superfluous. With his right hand, Lewis pounded out minor thirds and threw in exuberant, cheeky glissandos. Though he seemed to play with abandon, he nevertheless demonstrated technique and control. His appreciation of dynamics was also apparent, particularly in his singing. Lewis whispered, crooned, switched to a mischievous falsetto and let loose full-throated shouts.
The influence of the singer’s religious upbringing was easy to see in his stage performance. He seemed not consumed by the Holy Spirit but possessed by the devil. He sang with fervor, as if at a revival meeting. He often kicked away the piano bench and attacked the piano while standing up. Sometimes he dragged a foot along the keys. As he bobbed with the rhythm, his slicked-back hair would come loose, flopping down in long, blond waves. Lewis represented a challenge to conventional morality and Jim Crow segregation. He embodied the teenagers who, increasingly encouraged by Madison Avenue to think of themselves as a distinct group, were becoming more confident and rebellious.
“Breathless” became a hit in 1958, and Lewis began a tour of the United Kingdom. Reporters discovered that Myra Gale Brown, a girl in his entourage, was not only 13 years old but also his wife and his first cousin once removed. In fact, Lewis had still been married to his previous wife when he wed Myra several months earlier. Scandal soon erupted, and Lewis ended the tour and returned home. His next single, “High School Confidential,” became a hit, but the following singles went nowhere.
Myra has occasionally spoken publicly about the marriage, which lasted for about 13 years. “I was the adult, and Jerry was the child,” she recently told the Los Angeles Times. “It was because of our marriage that his career hit the pavement. You know, you were judged for everything you did back then.”
For about a decade, Lewis struggled. Sun wouldn’t promote him, radio stations wouldn’t play his records, and he couldn’t book concert dates. He was too rebellious even for rock and roll. Yet during this period, he released Live at the Star Club, Hamburg (1964), which many critics consider one of the best rock albums ever.
Lewis then switched to country music, to which his resonant voice was equally well adapted. His single “Another Place, Another Time” reached Number 4 on the country charts in 1968. His next singles, “What’s Made Milwaukee Famous (Has Made a Loser Out of Me)” and “She Still Comes Around (to Love What’s Left of Me)” were also hits. Lewis recorded almost two dozen Top 10 country singles, and many Top 10 country albums, throughout the 1970s. He had another pop hit in 1972 with “Me and Bobby McGee,” the Kris Kristofferson song recorded memorably by Janis Joplin.
Though his singing was not as wild on these songs, it retained its confidence, authority and magnetism. By choice, he no longer blazed but smoldered.
Renewed success did not bring tranquility, however. Lewis ran afoul of the Internal Revenue Service, and his reckless impulsivity got him in trouble with the police. While aiming at a Coke bottle, he once shot his bassist in the chest. After being released from jail on a drunk driving charge, he once crashed his car into the gates at Graceland, brandished a gun and demanded to see Presley.
Lewis’ immense gifts were interwoven with social backwardness and other wounds inflicted by his background. For years, he abused alcohol, methadone, tranquilizers and other drugs. He also endured a litany of medical crises that included bleeding stomach ulcers, a collapsed lung, gall bladder removal and injuries resulting from a car crash.
Lewis’s religious upbringing and his chronic status as a pariah may well have influenced this behavior. “The man is tortured,” Myra once told People. “Jerry Lee thinks that Jerry Lee is too wicked to be saved.”
The singer put it slightly differently. “I’m dragging the audience to hell with me,” he said.
Lewis also suffered many personal tragedies. His son Steve drowned in his swimming pool at age three. Eleven years later, his son Jerry Lee Jr., died in a car crash at age 19. In 1982, Jaren Pate, his fourth wife, drowned while she was swimming. The following year, his fifth wife, Shawn Michelle Stephens, fatally overdosed on methadone.
Yet Lewis survived, continuing to record until recently. He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1986 and enjoyed renewed interest in his music when actor Dennis Quaid portrayed him in the film Great Balls of Fire!(1989). Earlier this year, Lewis was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame.
Because the singer had survived other early rock musicians such as Presley, Berry, Perkins and Eddie Cochran, he earned the nickname “the last man standing.” In a 1970 review, rock critic Robert Christgau described why the musical legacy of “the Killer” was sure to endure: “His drive, his timing, his offhand vocal power, his unmistakable boogie-plus piano and his absolute confidence in the face of the void make Jerry Lee the quintessential rock and roller.”
As you may have seen on Book Twitter today, the unionized workers of HarperCollins are striking to secure a fair contract, livable wages, and a more equitable publishing industry.
Some 250 employees—across the editorial, publicity, sales, marketing, legal and design departments—agreed to go on an indefinite strike after negotiations with the company stalled.
As reported by the New York Times early today:
Olga Brudastova, the president of Local 2110 of the U.A.W., which represents unionized HarperCollins employees, said that the union had decided to go on an indefinite strike after negotiations with the company stalled. The union is proposing that HarperCollins raise the minimum starting salary to $50,000, from $45,000. It has also demanded that the company address the lack of diversity in its work force.
Publishing has long been an underpaid, predominantly white industry, based in a city where the cost of living is prohibitive for many. HarperCollins made upwards of $2 billion in revenue last year, and is owned by NewsCorp, whose ghoulish nonagenarian overlord Rupert Murdoch is worth somewhere in the region of $17 billion. So there’s that.
The 250 striking workers represent only a small percentage of HarperCollins’s 4000-person global work force, so this is very much a David Vs. Goliath struggle, but the underdogs do have the support of a large number of prominent authors (as well as, it must be noted, an even larger number of agents, editors, and other industry professionals).
About 200 workers at the New York City office of HarperCollins, one of the Big Five English-language publishing companies, launched an indefinite strike on Thursday. The workers, who are members of United Auto Workers Local 2110, want wage increases to keep up with surging inflation in what is one of the most expensive cities in the world.
The HarperCollins workers include editors, designers, salespeople and marketing personnel. Their last negotiated contract expired at the end of 2020 and the UAW has extended it for almost two years. During this time, workers have not had any significant raises, even as prices of shelter and staple goods have risen steadily.
Negotiations began in January 2022, and the extended contract expired in April. Workers say that the company, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, is stonewalling and not taking negotiations seriously. Except for a one-day strike on July 20, which workers supported by a margin of 99.5 percent, the United Auto Workers (UAW) bureaucracy has kept workers on the job, allowing the company to beef up its financial war chest and prepare for a strike.
Reporters spoke to several HarperCollins workers on the first day of the strike. Parrish is an editorial assistant but also performs responsibilities related to acquisitions. He has been with the company for a year and estimates that he works on 30 or 40 books per year.
The publishing industry is notorious for underpaying its workers, and Parrish explained that wages at HarperCollins are at the low end of the scale. An entry-level worker at HarperCollins makes $45,000 per year. A few years ago, HarperCollins paid entry-level workers only $36,000 per year. “Lots of people have second jobs,” said Parrish. He is considering getting part-time, weekend work at a bookstore to make ends meet. Parrish estimated that his hourly wage at HarperCollins is only a few dollars more than what the bookstore pays. Yet the company claims that workers’ wage demands are “fanciful,” he said.
Another grievance of the HarperCollins workers is that the company does not guarantee a minimum raise. The last time that workers got a raise, it averaged 4 percent. Parrish got a 2 percent raise, which he pointed out was a pay cut, given the level of inflation.
Few workers can afford to live in Manhattan, where their office is located. Parrish lives in Brooklyn. “The HarperCollins workers who live in Manhattan are married to people in finance or tech,” he said. Because so many workers can’t afford to live near the office, they want to continue to work remotely, which they have done during the pandemic. The company is pressuring workers to return to the office, however.
Mireya, an assistant editor who has worked at the company for four years. “HarperCollins has a lot of work to do, in terms of protecting their employees,” she said. She cited the impossibility of living independently on the company’s entry-level wages. “The only reason I took this job was because I’m from New York City,” she said. “I lived with my parents for the first year and a half. We’re at our wit’s end.” She recently got a $7,000 per year raise and now shares an apartment with her partner.
Mireya also described the company’s rhetoric regarding wages. “They call cost of living adjustments ‘merit raises,’” she said. These raises range from 1 percent to 4 percent. The average is 4 percent, she said, although some workers get as much as 6 percent. “It’s less than the inflation rate,” Mireya pointed out. Moreover, managers can deny workers these raises. “We shouldn’t be at our managers’ mercy,” she said, adding that these raises should be guaranteed for all workers.
Mireya described negotiations as having been drawn out and unproductive. It has been “close to a year of nothing that is acceptable,” in terms of offers from HarperCollins, she said. “We came to the conclusion that they’re not willing to have the conversation.”
Like her coworkers, Mireya described how the company exploits workers’ love of literature. “They take advantage of the fact that we love our books and we love our authors.” But HarperCollins workers are exhausted, she said. “I’m tired of the phrase ‘That’s the way it is.’” Because of the publishing industry’s low wages, the saying among workers is “Marry rich or come from wealth,” Mireya said.
An assistant editor who has worked at HarperCollins for two years also spoke about working conditions. “Structural support is not there,” she said. “It’s disorganized from the top down.”
The worker described her experience at the company as a “cycle of misery and low pay.” Not only is pay too low to afford a comfortable retirement, but it also does not even encourage workers to stay at the company, she said. “A lot of people have partners to help them out,” she added, but the workers support each other.
HarperCollins workers can little afford leisure, as well. “I have not had a vacation since the pandemic, and it’s insulting to me when my manager asks me if I’m going to do anything fun,” said the assistant editor.
It is also difficult to advance within the company. “If you’re at a certain level, jobs are created for you because of your experience and because of the people you know,” she said. “If you’re at the lower level, it’s hard to make a lateral move.”
HarperCollins has not been coming to the negotiating table, said the worker. Rather, the human resources department, which the company ironically calls “the People’s Team,” has been canceling meetings or rescheduling them at the last minute. They are not taking negotiations seriously, she confirmed.
Like her coworkers, the assistant editor described how HarperCollins takes advantage of its workers’ selfless dedication to literature. “I like to read. I like to write,” she said, adding that she appreciates the fact that the job stimulates her brain. But this advantage is not sufficient; workers have many other needs. “Passion doesn’t pay,” said the worker. “Unfortunately, wealth does affect my mental health.”
Although HarperCollins is the only publisher with a union, the assistant editor confirmed that workers’ wages were at the low end of the industry scale.
As of this writing, no information about the strike or the union’s demands is available on the website of Local 2110 or on the main UAW website. The UAW bureaucracy’s decision to keep workers on the job for nearly two years after the original contract expired has only helped the company boost its profits. Revenue for HarperCollins was $1.98 billion in fiscal 2021 and $2.19 billion in 2022. While the company has prepared for and dug in for a protracted fight, the union bureaucracy has shown no such determination.
On the contrary, the UAW is only paying $400 a week in strike pay, guaranteeing that workers will soon face serious economic pressure. Rather than providing workers with sufficient resources from the union’s massive strike fund—which is paid for by workers’ dues money—supporters of incumbent UAW President Ray Curry rescinded a $100 increase in strike pay at the last UAW Constitutional Convention while voting to increase the salaries of top UAW executives.
Ukraine War: IG Goes All In for Russia
When the polemic against the Internationalist Group (IG) on the war in Ukraine was published in Spartacist (English edition No. 67, August 2022), the IG had a contradiction. They advocated revolutionary defeatism in the conflict, but their actual practice ran counter to this formally correct position. This is precisely what our article exposes. Since it was published, the IG has resolved their contradiction. Unfortunately, they have done so not by coming over to a truly revolutionary position but by going over to the overtly reactionary position of supporting Russia in the war.
In a 22 October article, the IG now claims that Russia is waging a just war of national defense against the imperialists. According to them, the conflict is no longer about who will dominate Ukraine—the Russians or the NATO/EU imperialist powers—but about the imperialists seeking to “defeat, destroy and dismember Russia.” The IG goes all the way with this position, equating the task of communists toward Russia’s “Special Military Operation” (SMO) with Trotsky’s opposition to the imperialist rape of China by Japan and the Italian invasion of Ethiopia. How does the IG justify this absurd position? They argue that the support by NATO to Ukraine “has reached the point where quantity turns into quality” and that the Ukrainian army has become “in reality an extension of NATO.”
These arguments shatter at first contact with reality. It is in fact fairly obvious that nothing fundamental has changed since the outbreak of the war. Ukraine has been a proxy for the imperialists going back to 2014. Imperialist weapons flooded Ukraine at the very outset of the conflict and military operations have been coordinated with NATO throughout. The IG goes into interminable detail over this or that weapons system, speech or act of military cooperation to “prove” that Ukraine’s offensive in September marked a qualitative change. But let’s be concrete. In the current context, what would a victory by Russia represent? Just as in February, it would mean the national oppression of Ukrainians by Russia. And a victory by Ukraine? It would mean the “freedom” for the imperialists to pillage Ukraine and the oppression of Russian minorities within Ukrainian borders. Again, the very same result as posed at the start of the war.
A “destruction” and “dismemberment” of Russia is simply not posed in the current context, no matter how successful Ukrainian forces are on the battlefield. This would become a real question only through a gigantic escalation by the imperialists, which would have to include direct military confrontation with Russian armed forces. If this happens it won’t be necessary to sieve through obscure diplomatic statements or defense agreements to understand that the nature of the conflict has changed. It will be very clear, and defense of Russia will be posed.
The central issue with the IG’s position isn’t, however, its flawed analysis but the reactionary programmatic conclusions that flow from it. According to the IG’s position, Ukrainian workers must fight for the victory of Russia and facilitate Russian advances in Ukrainian territory, i.e., fight for their own national oppression. And the Russian working class? It must mobilize in support of the war and fight the Russian ruling class for not waging total war in Ukraine. Instead of organizing the most advanced Russian workers—those who are opposed to the predatory aims of their ruling class in Ukraine—the IG’s position reinforces the extreme Russian chauvinist voices which criticize Putin for not having committed enough resources to the war.
Taking a Trotskyist stance on a given war does not mean simply opposing whatever side the imperialists are backing. One must approach the question starting from the struggle for international socialist revolution. The IG’s position is an obstacle to mobilizing the Russian and Ukrainian working class for a revolutionary outcome to the conflict. It is equally counterposed to fostering socialist revolution in the rest of the world. In countries oppressed by imperialism, it reinforces the illusion that anything done against U.S. interests is necessarily progressive, even reactionary military interventions such as Russia’s SMO. In the imperialist countries, it fundamentally undermines the argument for opposing the aims and actions of NATO and the EU in the war. For example, the IG’s argument as to why workers should oppose weapons shipments to Ukraine are based not on the true crimes of the imperialists but on the blatantly false claim that the national sovereignty of Russia is under attack. Whether in Ukraine, Russia or the rest of the world, the IG’s position does not drive a wedge between the objective interest of the working class and the social-chauvinist program of its leadership. Rather, in each case it can only cement the subordination of the working class to the bourgeoisie.
We can only speculate as to what prompted the IG to change its position. One thing for certain is that this line change was not provoked by a “qualitative” change in the situation in Ukraine. Far from our minds is the assumption that the modest polemic we wrote this summer might have influenced the IG toward taking a more consistent position. We do, however, note that the IG’s line change article touches on many of the very questions over which we criticized the IG in our recent Spartacist, without ever answering our arguments. Certainly, a coincidence.
Not Bourgeois Nationalism But International Proletarian Revolution
HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) supplied to Ukraine by the Pentagon, firing at Russian forces on the southern front. U.S. officials precheck every missile strike, and can veto any target. Delivery of massive amounts of weaponry by the United States and NATO to their client regime in Kiev, while maintaining operational control of advanced systems, were key elements in changing the conflict into an imperialist “proxy war” against Russia. (Photo: Adrienne Surprenant / MYOP for The Wall Street Journal)
On October 15, the Executive Committee of the League for the Fourth International voted that “as quantity has turned into quality, it is now necessary to take a position of revolutionary defensism toward Russia and defeatism toward the U.S./NATO proxy Ukraine regime.”
OCTOBER 22 – The war between Russia and Ukraine has been waged with white-hot intensity for eight months, dominating world politics and economics, with no end in sight. In fact, there may be no end in the near future. There are no “peace negotiations,” as there is no outcome that both sides could live with. Washington and its allies of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization vow to “make Russia’s war on Ukraine a strategic failure,”1 insisting that Russia must be defeated and forced to withdraw from all of what used to be eastern Ukraine, including Crimea and the Donetsk and Lugansk “people’s republics” that broke from the fascist-infested Kiev coup regime in 2014. Many imperialist strategists want to go further and break up Russia, in order to destroy what they see as a geopolitical rival and to seize its resources.
For Moscow, this poses an existential threat, particularly now that the breakaway republics in the east and the southern regions of Zaporozhye and Kherson voted on September 23-27 by large majorities to join the Russian Federation. Contrary to Western propaganda about the population being forced to vote “at gunpoint,” support was massive and often celebratory, with many voters saying “we have waited for eight years for this.” The only reason they didn’t join Russia in 2014 was that President Vladimir Putin sought an impossible regional “autonomy” within Ukraine in the Minsk I and II agreements. The referendums exercised the right to self-determination, which the imperialists deny and now seek to undo, and their joining the Russian Federation must be upheld by class-conscious workers and defenders of democratic rights everywhere.
Voting in Lugansk on referendum on incorporation into the Russian Federation, September 24. A “sham referendum”? Hardly. Over 4.75 million voted to join Russia in the two eastern breakaway republics and the two southern regions, with turnout rates of over 90%, far higher than in any Western election. This was a legitimate exercise of the right to self-determination, which must be upheld by all defenders of democratic rights. (Photo: AP)
From the beginning of the Russian military operation in Ukraine, the League for the Fourth International declared that the war was provoked by the imperialists, and called for revolutionary defeatism on both sides in the reactionary nationalist conflict, as part of the overall struggle to defeat the U.S./NATO war drive against Russia and China. We continued to defend self-rule in the breakaway republics, calling for the right of self-determination in Russian-speaking eastern and southern Ukraine, and to permanently stop the Ukrainian fascists and smash their program of ethnic cleansing. At the same time, our February 23 LFI statement prior to the start of the war noted that “if it turned into a war by Ukraine’s imperialist backers against Russia that would be a very different matter.”2 If the Ukrainian army became in reality an extension of NATO, it would be no longer be just a Russia-Ukraine war but a war with NATO via its client regime in Kiev.
That has now happened. While this process has been under way for months, it has reached the point where quantity turns into quality. The transition was marked by Ukraine’s lightning offensive in the northeastern Kharkov region in early September, which from planning to weaponry and command, was a U.S./NATO operation throughout. The conflict has been turned into an imperialist “proxy war” in which the Ukrainian government and army are essentially acting on behalf of and under the control of the NATO imperialists. U.S. imperialism has long fostered such wars, notably in Afghanistan in the 1980s where it sponsored, armed and directed the Islamist mujahedin (holy warriors) against Soviet forces that the U.S. provoked into intervening in support of the embattled Afghan reform government allied with the USSR.3
In response to the Kharkov blitz, Russian president Putin ordered a partial mobilization of military reserves, noting (accurately) that Russia is now “fighting not only against neo-Nazi units but actually the entire military machine of the collective West.” In recognition of the cumulative and now qualitative change in the character of the war, the League for the Fourth International states that in the present situation, proletarian revolutionaries’ call to defeat the imperialists’ war drive against Russia and China (a bureaucratically deformed workers state) means standing for the defeat of the U.S./NATO proxy regime in Ukraine, and for military defense of Russia (a regional capitalist power) while giving no political support to, and calling for workers struggle against, the reactionary bourgeois nationalist Putin government.
Bloodbath in Donetsk, March 14: 23 civilians were killed in the center of the capital of the pro-Russia Donetsk People’s Republic by a Ukrainian Tochka-U missile. There was virtually no coverage in the Western media, and the few mentions repeated the Kiev government’s absurd claim that it was a Russian rocket. In the eight years of Ukraine’s war, spearheaded by fascists, against the Donbass republics, over 14,000 were killed. (Photo: ura.ru)
The changed nature of the conflict is expressed in many areas. The vast amounts of more-or-less sophisticated weapons and munitions being poured into Ukraine from the United States and other Western countries (and East European client states) have reached unprecedented levels: at least $65 billion authorized by the U.S. alone, just in 2022. (In comparison the total amount of U.S. military aid to Taiwan over the last 45 years is $90 billion.) With that has come control. Not only are the U.S. and its allies deeply involved in training, planning and executing Ukrainian military strikes, not only is Ukraine crawling with CIA operatives and commandos of “retired” and currently serving special forces, plus several thousand foreign “volunteers” (mercenaries) in fascist-led Ukrainian units, U.S. officials precheck every strike by HIMARS rockets.
Questioned by the London Telegraph (1 August) as to how these systems “have so precisely targeted Russian fuel and ammunition depots, as well as battlefield headquarters in eastern Ukraine,” the acting head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Major General Vadym Skibitsky, replied that “we use real-time information.” He added, “I can’t tell you whether [we are directly tasking] British and American satellites, but we have very good satellite imagery.” The account continued: “he suggested there was a level of consultation between intelligence officials of both countries prior to launching missiles that would allow Washington to stop any potential attacks if they were unhappy with the intended target.” That means that the U.S. has effectively signed off on their use against civilians in Donetsk and against the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.
Ukraine defense minister Oleksii Reznikov (left) thanks NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg for support and says that Ukraine has “de facto joined the alliance.” (Screenshot from Twitter)
This degree of control was institutionalized at October 12-13 NATO meetings in Brussels. Ukraine’s air defense system is being integrated into a German-led “Joint Air Defense Initiative” coordinating the air defense systems of 14 NATO countries. On October 1, Ukraine asked for NATO membership on an expedited “fast track,” and on October 12 Ukraine’s defense minister Oleksii Reznikov tweeted from Brussels thanking NATO general secretary Jens Stoltenberg, saying “we” (Ukraine) “have de facto joined the Alliance.” Meanwhile, President Joe Biden has declared (September 19) that the U.S. will keep pumping in military supplies to Ukraine “as long as it takes.” Stoltenberg chimed in (October 13), “as long as it takes,” adding that “Russia’s victory in the war against Ukraine will be a defeat of NATO.” As we say in Berlin, alles klar (got it).
Today, Ukraine’s weaponry is being supplied by the U.S. and NATO, including munitions for its Soviet- and Russian-style arms. Major Ukrainian offensives are conceived, discussed and war gamed by the Pentagon with Ukrainian officials. U.S. officials precheck every use of the sophisticated rocket systems that have turned the tide in the fighting. Ukrainian officers receive “real-time” geolocation information on Russian forces from U.S. satellites, on tablets supplied by the Pentagon via Elon Musk’s Starlink system, of which 20,000 devices have been sent to Ukraine. The Ukrainian military is increasingly integrated into NATO machinery, more so than many NATO member countries, with a degree of U.S./NATO operational control that exceeds that in most other countries of this imperialist military alliance. In short, the Kiev regime and its army have become the operatives of “a war by Ukraine’s imperialist backers against Russia.”
Meanwhile, the imperialists’ determination to “punish Putin” for refusing to abide by the “rules-based” U.S.-dominated “New World Order” (proclaimed upon the counterrevolutionary destruction of the Soviet Union) led them to impose brutal sanctions that amount to all-out economic war on Russia. This backfired, as cutting off Russian oil and natural gas exports sent world prices skyrocketing, bringing in more money to Moscow than ever before. European capitalist governments have ordered drastic cuts in energy use that mean that people will be freezing this winter, while around the globe the rising cost of food means that millions are already starving. And European imperialist rulers have gone along with this program which would lead to the destruction of key sections of their economy, beginning with the steel industry.
Adding it up, the rapidly escalating war drive against Russia and China is hurtling toward a thermonuclear World War III – unless the imperialists are stopped by workers revolution.
The Evolution of the War in Ukraine
U.S. imperialism was intimately involved in planning, advising and financing the 2014 Kiev coup. See articles in The Internationalist No. 37 (May-June 2014) for a detailed account. (click on image to go to pdf
The Ukraine war actually began in 2014, when a coup d’état by Ukrainian fascists and ultra-nationalists – instigated, financed and advised by European and particularly U.S. imperialists – overthrew the elected government in Kiev and instituted a virulently Russophobic regime.4 In the years since, fascist-led forces incorporated into Ukraine’s military and police waged a relentless war against the Russian-speaking east that killed over 14,000.5 Meanwhile, NATO expanded to Russia’s borders, incorporating 13 former Soviet-bloc countries, despite the U.S.’ 1990 promise not to spread NATO “one inch” eastwards. NATO has held ever-larger annual war games with dozens of countries, hundreds of aircraft and ships and thousands of military personnel, all practicing war with Russia. Then, with the election of Democratic U.S. president Joe Biden, starting in early 2021, Ukraine began a new anti-Russian offensive, on the Donbass border and internally.6
In the face of this escalating threat, Putin ordered large-scale maneuvers by the Russian military and demanded security guarantees from the U.S. and NATO. When Western leaders flatly and repeatedly refused to rule out Ukrainian membership in NATO, the Russian president launched his “special military operation” (SMO), which he is now calling a “preemptive” strike. In the weeks before Moscow’s move, Ukrainian attacks on the Donbass multiplied manyfold, and in the early days of the war, Russian forces found and published documents from the command of Ukraine’s National Guard detailing plans for a full-scale attack on breakaway republics beginning March 8. Biden & Co. constantly refer to “Russia’s unprovoked war,” but it was clearly instigated and provoked by the U.S./NATO imperialists and their Ukrainian client.
In a February 21 speech Putin recognized the independence of the two breakaway republics and focused on their defense. But on February 24 he launched the “special military operation” which, contrary to our expectations and those of many others, quickly became a full-blown war with Ukraine. In a February 28 article7 we called “for revolutionary defeatism on both sides in this reactionary nationalist war, for internationalist proletarian struggle against both capitalist regimes and, above all, against the U.S. and European rulers who set off this conflagration.” Unlike the fake-leftists who sided with the imperialist-backed Ukrainian coup regime and condemned the Russian invasion, we called to “Oppose Imperialist-Provoked Russia-Ukraine War” and headlined: “Behind the War: U.S./NATO War Drive Against Russia, China.”
In April, we detailed how fascists such as the Azov Brigade permeate Ukraine’s repressive apparatus, its command and shock troops, and the ties of these neo-Nazis to U.S. imperialism.8 In May we noted that, “Together with its allies in the imperialist North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Washington is sending increasingly heavy offensive weaponry to the fascist-infested Ukrainian military. But the U.S. has set its broader sights on Russian downfall as a dramatic example of U.S./NATO military prowess and an implied threat to China. The U.S. vows to defeat Russia and degrade its military so it will be ‘weakened’ for years to come.”9 The threat to China has been made increasingly explicit over the past period.
U.S. ex-Marine training Ukrainian soldiers near front line in Soledar in the Donbass. As the battlefield has been transformed into a U.S./NATO “proxy war” against Russia, Ukraine is awash in imperialist military trainers, advisers, CIA operatives, NATO commandos, mercenaries, foreign “volunteers” for fascist-led forces, and others. (Photo: Laura Boushnak for The New York Times)
Since then, Pentagon and NATO “aid” to Ukraine has increased exponentially, particularly with the provision of highly accurate satellite-guided missiles and other more advanced equipment. It was known long before the war broke out, as we have documented, that ever since 2014 the U.S. and NATO imperialists were working with Ukraine’s military forces, and particularly its fascist and ultra-nationalist components. Despite the talk of Western military trainers pulling out of the country on the outbreak of the war, the presence of U.S. and NATO military and intelligence personnel in the Ukrainian forces became so notorious that the media felt compelled to mention it, albeit briefly and buried under their mountains of obscenely pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia war propaganda and outright lies.
The New York Times (26 June) published an article, “Allied Commandos in Ukraine Secretly Funnel Aid to Troops,” confirming that “C.I.A. personnel have continued to operate in the country secretly,” particularly “directing much of the vast amounts of intelligence the United States is sharing with Ukrainian forces.” It noted that “commandos from other NATO countries, including Britain, France, Canada and Lithuania, also have been working inside Ukraine,” and that the U.S. Army’s 10th Special Forces Group had set up a cell, “modeled after a structure used in Afghanistan” against Soviet forces, that is part of a “broader set of operational and intelligence coordination cells run by the Pentagon’s European Command,” while “a U.S. Air Force and Air National Guard team called Grey Wolf” provides “support” to the Ukrainian air force.
A month later, articles appeared about the elaborate military supply chain funneling vast quantities of weapons and munitions to Ukraine via a “little known group,” the International Donor Coordination Center, located in U.S. European Command headquarters in Ramstein, Germany (“Special Military Cell Flows Weapons and Equipment into Ukraine,” New York Times, 28 July). This outfit works closely with the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, “a Pentagon-led coalition of about 50 nations” providing aid to the Kiev military. In addition, tens of billions of dollars in economic support have been supplied to prop up the Kiev regime, from the U.S., NATO, World Bank, European Union and other sources. This goes beyond simple military aid: by this point almost the entirety of Ukrainian weapons and munition come from the West. Without that, Ukraine would have been defeated months ago.
U.S./NATO Imperialists Take Control
U.S. defense secretary Lloyd Austin and secretary of state Antony Blinken meet with the head of the NATO proxy regime, Vlodymyr Zelensky, in Kiev on April 24. The former actor now in the role of Ukraine president grabs the media spotlight, but his imperialist sponsors ultimately call the shots. (Photo: Ukraine Presidential Press Service)
Now, escalating in recent weeks, the conflict has become a war by the Western imperialist powers themselves, acting through their proxy regime in Kiev, against Russia. The U.S. has increasingly taken control of military operations in Ukraine, particularly in the offensive beginning September 6 that forced Russian to withdraw from the entire Kharkov region.
According to a New York Times (14 September) account, “The strategy behind Ukraine’s rapid military gains in recent days began to take shape months ago during a series of intense conversations between Ukrainian and U.S. officials about the way forward in the war against Russia.” The account, “based on interviews with multiple senior American officials” and others in the know, said Ukrainian military leaders, under orders from the puppet president Zelensky, had planned a broad offensive in the south. But a U.S. war game indicated that it would fail, while intelligence feeds indicated that Moscow was overstretched in the north. As the U.S. military attaché “began having daily sessions with Ukraine’s top officers,” “Britain, the United States and Ukraine conducted an assessment of the new plan,” for an offensive near Kharkov, “trying to war game it once more.” The plan, said a top officer in Kiev, “depended entirely on the size and pace of additional military aid from the United States.” So the U.S. sent HIMARS, satellite-guided rockets and the rest. From planning to weaponry and command, the Kharkov offensive was a U.S./NATO operation.
On September 26, big explosions ripped holes in the Nord Stream 1 and 2 pipelines in the Baltic Sea, with multiple indications of involvement of the U.S. and NATO. Whoever did it wanted the pipelines carrying natural gas from Russia to Germany stopped for good. Imperialist media and politicians have tried to float the absurd claim that Russia might have blown up the pipelines, which makes no sense as (a) they are the property of the Russian state-owned energy company Gazprom, (b) the flow of natural gas in the Nord Stream 1 pipeline had already been stopped for repairs, (c) the German government (under pressure from the U.S.) had indefinitely shelved Nord Stream 2, and (d) the pipelines would be key to eventually resuming economic relations with European Union (EU) countries.
Former Polish defense minister Radek Sikorski tweeted the day after the Nord Stream pipeline explosions. (Screenshot from Twitter)
When, however, one asks cui bono, who benefits, the immediate answers are: (1) the Polish government, which opposed both pipelines from the beginning and was about to open a pipeline bringing Norwegian natural gas to Poland; and (2) Washington, which likewise opposed the Nord Stream pipelines, and stands to gain from the cutoff of Russian gas, forcing Europeans to buy more expensive U.S. liquid natural gas. In February, U.S. president Biden vowed that if Russia invaded, “there will be no longer a Nord Stream 2,” adding, “We will bring an end to it.” After the leaks, U.S. secretary of state Antony Blinken declared that “this is also a tremendous opportunity.” And (3) the Ukrainian regime would, of course, benefit.
As for evidence, flight radar data show U.S. helicopters from September 22 to 25 spending hours over the area off the Danish island of Bornholm where the September 26 explosions occurred. The day after the explosions, the former Polish defense minister tweeted “Thank you, USA” next to a photo of the bubbling water from the leak. When Columbia University professor Jeffrey Sachs opined in a TV interview with the Bloomberg business site that he “would bet that this [the explosion] was a U.S. action, perhaps U.S. and Poland,” he was yanked off the air. To be clear, Sachs is no friend of Russia, having designed the economic “shock therapy” program that impoverished millions of Russians after the counterrevolution that destroyed the Soviet Union.
On October 8, a truck bomb exploded on the bridge over the Kerch Strait connecting Crimea with mainland Russia, collapsing one lane of the roadway and setting some oil tank cars aflame. While the terrorist action was clearly carried out by the Ukrainians, British intelligence operatives had been working for months on a detailed plan to blow up the bridge, a vital link for resupply of Russian forces in the south. Russian engineers and emergency reprair crews were able to resume passenger car and rail traffic by the afternoon. (Photo: AFP)
Meanwhile, the October 8 bomb attack on the bridge connecting Crimea with the rest of Russia came after months of planning by NATO operatives to destroy that vital corridor. An exposé by the Grayzone (10 October) investigative journalism internet site reported that, while the operation was overseen by the Ukrainian political police, the SBU, “Before Ukraine blew up Kerch Bridge, British spies plotted it.” An April 2022 presentation drafted at the request of a senior British intelligence operative (and high-level NATO advisor) laid out an elaborate plan with detailed diagrams on how to blow the bridge. The actual operation differed from that plan (instead involving a truck bomb) and the Russians were able to resume rail and car traffic the same afternoon. But the extensive planning for this operation that threatened to disrupt Russia’s resupply of its forces in the south highlights the intimate involvement of the Western imperialists in Ukrainian military operations.
In short, in weaponry, munitions, planning and control, the war in Ukraine has become a war between Russia and a regime that is not only a client of and proxy for the Western powers but in many operational aspects is directly subordinated to the U.S. and NATO imperialists.
Inter-Imperialist Conflicts Brewing
European imperialists are not necessarily all on the same page as Joe Biden. Travelling on the night train to Kiev in mid-June: from left, Italy’s then-premier Mario Draghi, French president Emmanuel Macron and German chancellor Olaf Scholz. Draghi is now out, Macron and Scholz face brewing social unrest as NATO/EU imperialist sanctions against Russia begin to bite on the home front. (Photo: Ludovic Marin / AFP)
Although they are currently marching more or less in lockstep, serious tensions are brewing among the Western imperialist rulers. From the outset, Germany and France have been less than enthusiastic in calling for Ukrainian “victory” in the war, preferring to talk of “peace” and an end to the fighting. There are objective reasons behind this. While in the U.S., the sanctions against Russia have produced windfall profits for American energy giants (through higher oil and gas prices) and no serious shortages, in Europe the sanctions are causing sharp price hikes for fuel and utility rates, will mean severe cutbacks in electricity usage and heating in the approaching winter, and could bankrupt key sectors of industry. Germany’s economic success has depended on cheap Russian energy supplies. While the U.S. is booming, the European economy is teetering.
Remarkably, the European imperialist bourgeoisies have gone along with this program that could cripple their economies.10 How long they can keep this up is an open question, as popular discontent is growing, and the political consequences will not be long in coming. In early September and again at the end of the month, tens of thousands swelled protests called by right-wingers in the Czech capital of Prague against high energy costs, NATO and the European Union. In Germany, fascistic ultra-rightists and outright fascists held pro-Russian demonstrations calling to open Nord Stream 2 immediately to lower fuel and electricity prices. In France, President Emmanuel Macron has used executive powers to order oil refinery workers striking for higher wages back to work, sparking a general strike on October 18.
In Prague, 70,000 came out on September 4 to rightist-led demonstration protesting high energy costs, NATO and the European Union. (Photo: Martin Divisek / EPA)
Across Europe, as people are being told to sacrifice for Ukraine, protests over economic hardship have largely benefitted right-wing parties. The mainstream social-democratic and bourgeois “left” parties are so bound up with the capitalist state and NATO that they cannot lead any kind of popular revolt (even if they desired to, which of course they do not). The far-right immigrant-bashing Sweden Democrats saw their vote in the September elections increase to 20% of the total, making them the second-largest party in parliament. Two weeks later, the fascist Fratelli d’Italia (Fd’I, Brothers of Italy) party took first place with 26% of the vote, and is now on the verge of leading the Italian government, 100 years after fascist dictator Benito Mussolini’s October 1922 March on Rome. (The Fd’I is pro-Ukraine, voting for arms to Ukraine, while its main ideologue has repeatedly praised the fascist Azov Battalion.)
Proletarian revolutionaries calling to defend Russia against the imperialist war and to defeat the U.S./NATO proxy regime in Ukraine will directly confront capitalist governments, bourgeois liberals, social democrats in and out of office, and “NATO socialists” on the supposed “far left.” They must sharply politically oppose “peace” movements that are in fact appendages of the imperialist war drive, whether explicitly or implicitly pro-Ukraine. And they cannot, of course, make common cause with pro-Russia rightists, who are some of the most virulent – and deadly – anti-communists around. At the present time, class-struggle opposition seeking to defeat the imperialists “at home” will be largely through workers actions linking protests against the high cost of living and anti-labor attacks to the imperialist war and sanctions.
Imperialists complain of China’s “zero COVID” policies, which with the resources of its socialized economy were able to contain the virus and save lives while in the entire capitalist world it became an uncontrolled deadly plague. Figures are from January 2022: since then the number of officially recorded COVID deaths in the U.S. have soared to over 1 million (actual numbers are likely much higher), while in China only 5,226 have died.
The current imperialist proxy war to defeat, destroy and dismember Russia is a direct consequence of the counterrevolution that brought down the Soviet Union and the Soviet-bloc deformed workers states in 1989-92. Ever since, the would-be masters of the world in Washington and Wall Street have sought to nail down their global hegemony, even as their economic power has declined, particularly during the decade-long economic depression after the financial crash of 2007-08, and more recently in the COVID pandemic which killed more people in the United States than any other country. Today, the overriding aim of the U.S./NATO war drive is to bring about capitalist counterrevolution in the People’s Republic of China, against which the U.S. imperialists are already waging economic war. This was underscored in the U.S. National Defense Strategy issued by the Biden White House in October 2022, which declared:
“Russia poses an immediate threat to the free and open international system, recklessly flouting the basic laws of the international order today…. The PRC, by contrast, is the only competitor with both the intent to reshape the international order and, increasingly, the economic, diplomatic, military, and technological power to advance that objective.”11
The same perspective was put forward in the “Strategic Concept” adopted by the NATO summit at the end of June, where, as we have written, “the U.S. was able to strong-arm its European allies into denouncing Chinese actions as ‘malicious’ and declaring that the PRC’s ‘stated ambitions and coercive policies challenge our interests, security and values’.”12 But, we added, “any practical application of NATO’s ‘strategic concept’ will be hard for European imperialists to swallow,” as leading EU companies derive a large part of their profits from the Chinese market. The Biden “Strategy” document more or less admits this, stating that “allies and partners may have distinct perspectives on the PRC” and that a key to “competing” with China is to “align our efforts with our network of allies and partners.”
The League for the Fourth International has uniquely insisted on the centrality of defending China – as well as the other deformed workers states, Cuba, North Korea and Vietnam – against the imperialist war drive, in Ukraine and elsewhere. Most of the left has bought the bourgeois lie that China is capitalist – even “imperialist” – and refuses to defend it against counterrevolution pushed by the real imperialists. Yet even as the Stalinist bureaucracy undermines the gains of the Chinese Revolution with huge capitalist inroads, it was able to contain the COVID pandemic because of the socialized planned economy, with a little over 5,000 deaths compared to 6.5 million in the capitalist world. This enrages U.S. rulers, who are constantly denouncing China’s “zero COVID” policy, a complaint echoed by many leftist camp followers of imperialism.
Likewise, the bulk of the left has chimed in on the imperialist refrain denouncing “Russian imperialism,” a convenient justification for backing Ukraine in the present war. For some, heirs of the anti-Trotskyist renegades Tony Cliff and Max Shachtman, this continues their smears of “Soviet imperialism” during the anti-Soviet Cold War. Even among those uncomfortable with defending the fascist-ridden coup regime in Kiev, several tendencies have been squirming to explain that Russian “imperialism” is not like U.S. and NATO imperialism, etc. Already in 2014, the LFI explained in a detailed analysis13 that, based on the criteria in V.I. Lenin’s fundamental work, Imperialism: The Highest Stage of Capitalism (1916), despite Putin’s imperial ambitions, post-Soviet Russia is not imperialist but an intermediate capitalist power (as is Ukraine).
Putin’s Russian Nationalism Undermines Struggle Against U.S./NATO Imperialists
Russian president Vladimir Putin at exhibition celebrating the 350th anniversary of the birth of Peter the Great. In a speech there Putin compared the former eastern and southern Ukraine regions joining the Russian Federation to the tsar’s retaking of lands occupied by Sweden. (Photo: Mikhail Metzel / Sputnik)
The bottom line is that a genuinely communist opposition to the imperialist “proxy war” on Russia is only possible on the basis of Trotskyism, notably Trotsky’s analysis of the Stalinist betrayal of the revolution. That betrayal paved the way to the counterrevolution, led by the imperialists, that destroyed the Soviet Union, and thus to today’s imperialist proxy war against capitalist Russia. Trotsky stood for defense of the Soviet bureaucratically degenerated workers state against imperialism and counterrevolution. Yet among the various social democrats who today talk of “Russian imperialism,” to justify capitulation to their “own” imperialist rulers, there are a number who falsely lay claim to the heritage of Trotskyism and refused to defend the Soviet Union against imperialism in the CIA “proxy war” in Afghanistan, against CIA-financed counterrevolution led by the nationalist Solidarność in Poland, against capitalist reunification in Germany in 1989-90, or at the time of the Yeltsin-Bush countercoup in Moscow in August 1991.
Without the understanding that, contrary to Stalin’s anti-Marxist dogma, building “socialism in one country” is not possible, as all Bolsheviks – Lenin, Trotsky, even Stalin – held at the time of the 1917 October Revolution, many people on both sides of the class divide put the blame or credit for the destruction of the Soviet Union simply on the pro-capitalist perestroika economic reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev, as many have done in recent retrospective analyses of the counterrevolution. Putin repudiates the entire basis of the former Soviet Union, but it is not possible on the basis of Russian nationalism to defeat U.S./NATO imperialism and its merciless drive to dominate every part of the planet. That requires an international struggle for socialist revolution through the joint efforts of the proletariat of Russia, Ukraine and the entire world.
As we noted on the eve of the war, Putin wants to undo the legacy of the Bolsheviks, who he blames for “inventing” Ukraine.14 As a Great Russian chauvinist, he launched a nationalist war against Ukraine, whose ultranationalist rulers – admirers of the Nazi collaborator Stepan Bandera – have, since seizing power in 2014, have been waging a racist war against the Russian-speaking population of what was eastern and southern Ukraine. Even as the reactionary nationalist Russia-Ukraine war has been transformed into a war by the U.S./NATO imperialists threatening Russia’s survival, Putin wages it on a nationalist basis, corresponding to the class nature of his regime, making “traditional values” his battle flag and quoting the tsarist ideologue Ivan Ilyin hailing the “spiritual strength” of the Russians.
Armored column of the militia of the People’s Republic of Donetsk (DNR, from its initials in Russian) in Mariupol, April 2022. The brunt of the fighting in Mariupol was borne by DNR forces. The League for the Fourth International has called for defense of self-rule in Donetsk and Lugansk against the genocidal Ukrainian fascists and ultra-nationalists since 2014, and has continued to do so throughout the present war. (Photo: Reuters)
As a bourgeois nationalist, Putin is incapable of a real struggle against imperialism. Rather, he has long sought cooperation with the imperialists, in vain. This was summed up in his suggestion to U.S. president Bill Clinton in 2000 that Russia might like to join NATO. It was behind Putin’s support for the Minsk Accords, brokered by France and Germany, for illusory regional autonomy of the Donbass region within Ukraine. It was expressed in illusions that the imperialists might actually agree to and abide by security guarantees against Ukraine joining NATO which the Russian president demanded in December 2021. And contrary to Western claims that he was out to seize Kiev, his clear aim at the outset of the war was to pressure Ukraine into agreeing to such guarantees. None of this saw fruition, because the unregenerate Cold Warriors in Washington and Brussels vetoed it.
Putin has evidently inherited from Stalin the illusion of achieving “peaceful coexistence” with imperialism.15 This was behind major miscalculations in the “special military operation” (SMO). The plan to carry out a military operation with limited forces misjudged the response of the Ukrainian nationalists – and above all of their imperialist overlords, bent on destroying Russia. Underlying Russia’s forced withdrawal in the face of the Ukrainian blitz in the Kharkov region in September is the fact that its forces were greatly overextended. While some Russian hard-liners ascribe this to particular commanders, it was inherent in the nature of the SMO. Only around 200,000 Russian troops were deployed (plus 35,000 from the Donbass republics) to cover a front line extending for 1,500 kilometers. Those force levels were not increased until now.
Imperialist war propaganda today is surpassing even the invented stories of Saddam Hussein ordering Kuwaiti babies to be thrown out of incubators in the first Iraq war, and of amassing weapons of mass destruction in the second. Along with the relentless barrage of atrocity stories (one after another of which have been shown to be invented) the media portray Russian forces as losing every day in every way, right up until they take another key city (Mariupol, Severodonetsk, Lisichansk). In fact, militarily Russia succeeded in occupying (and now incorporating) most of the Russian-speaking areas in the east and south of pre-2014 Ukraine and establishing a land bridge to Crimea. Politically and geopolitically, however, the balance sheet is quite different. The goals of the SMO were declared to be the “demilitarization” and “denazification” of Ukraine. Yet Ukraine is far more militarized today than in February 2022, and functionally integrated into NATO, while the fascists are portrayed as national heroes. And then Putin exchanged fascist Azov Battalion leaders for a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch!
Leaders of the Azov Battalion, taken prisoner at the Azovstal plant in Mariupol, were released by Putin in a prisoner exchange on September 22. They are genocidal terrorists who should have been tried by a court of their victims, the people of Donetsk, who for eight years were subjected to a murderous siege by Azov and other fascist military units. Their freeing was a betrayal of those Putin claimed to defend. (Photo: Ministry of the Interior of Ukraine)
Calling for military defense of Russia against the U.S./NATO imperialist onslaught in no way implies one iota of political support to the country’s bourgeois government. In the lead-up to the imperialist World War II, the Trotskyists defended Ethiopia, ruled over by the slave-owning emperor Haile Selassie, against Italian imperialism which sought to turn the only independent African country into a colony. In 1939, Trotsky called on Chinese communists to defend China, ruled over by Chiang Kai-shek, the butcher of Shanghai, against Japanese imperialism. And of course, Trotsky’s Fourth International defended the Soviet Union, as the first workers state in history, despite the betrayals and crimes of Stalin, including murdering the Trotskyists (and eventually Trotsky himself). In short, the Fourth Internationalists, upholding the program of the Bolshevik Revolution, have always been the most resolute fighters against imperialism.
Throughout the present war, the LFI has, uniquely, called to defeat the imperialist war drive against Russia and China with internationalist class struggle leading to proletarian revolution. Even as the nationalist Russia-Ukraine war has been transformed into an imperialist proxy war against Russia, and our policy has shifted accordingly from revolutionary defeatism on both sides to revolutionary defensism of Russia, we have called and continue to call for revolutionary struggle against the capitalist rulers in Moscow and Kiev.
The Fight for International Proletarian Revolution
Workers of the ArcelorMittal steel plant in Kryvyi Rih on strike in May 2018. The possibility of united class struggle of Ukrainian and Donbass workers was undercut by nationalist war. Yet attacks on labor rights by capitalist bosses continue, and class-struggle union militants would respond by fighting for international workers solidarity. (Photo: Industriall)
Accompanying the escalation of the war in Ukraine, the imperialist rulers and their proxies in Kiev are making use of this “tremendous opportunity” to intensify the attacks on working people, from Ukraine to Europe and beyond. Ukrainian workers are used as cannon fodder, the European masses are impoverished with runaway inflation, deprived of heat and fuel as the energy monopolies rake in record profits – once again, it’s “dividends rising, proletarians falling,” as the German-Polish communist Rosa Luxemburg wrote of World War I. The anti-worker attacks also lay the basis for powerful class struggle against the exploiters who would make the exploited bear the brunt of the war. But to wage that struggle requires a leadership forged on a revolutionary internationalist program, like the Bolsheviks under Lenin and Trotsky.
Provoked by the U.S. and NATO into taking military action against Ukraine, the Russian nationalist Putin naturally waged a nationalist war – cutting off the possibility of common struggle between Russian and Ukrainian workers against the nationalist and fascist rulers of Ukraine. Yet there was and is a real basis for united class struggle: in 2018 the (Russian-speaking) steel workers in Kryvyi Rih in central Ukraine struck the giant mill owned by the German subsidiary of ArcelorMittal, demanding EU-level pay. Now the free-marketeer government in Kiev has used the war as an excuse to ram through laws letting employers rip up labor contracts, increase the workweek to 60 hours, fire union workers at will and ignore workplace safety laws. Russian-speaking workers in the Donbass could have joined in protesting these attacks.
There is also a basis for international workers action against the capitalist union-busters and imperialist warmongers. On September 2, ArcelorMittal announced it was closing plants and departments in Spain and Germany, and may shut down the Kryvyi Rih plant entirely, as all are now deemed “uncompetitive” producers due to the high price of natural gas. The huge increases in the cost of fuel are, of course, a direct result of the sanctions imposed on Russia by the U.S., NATO and EU imperialists. Class-conscious militants could call for worker occupation of the plants (and not just those slated for closure) and for expropriation of the profit-gouging energy monopolies while unions and plant committees impose workers control of production. But that will not be successful unless the struggle directly opposes the imperialist war.
Demonstrators in Paris during October 18 “general strike.” Union leaders have kept demands strictly limited to economic issues rather than opposing the imperialist war and sanctions against Russia which triggered the economic crisis. (Photo: Jeff Pachoud / Agence France-Presse)
Currently, protests and strikes are spreading around Europe, so far confined by the pro-capitalist labor and left leaders to economic demands. In France, a strike by refinery workers demanding wage increases to keep pace with the rising cost of living and for a share of the windfall profits of the energy giants led to closure of many gas stations for lack of fuel. On October 16, tens of thousands marched in Paris to protest the high cost of living, and on October 18, there was a “general strike” demanding wage increases on a par with inflation and defending the right to strike. This is “the kind of unrest [NATO government] leaders fear as they struggle to keep a united front against Russia,” says the New York Times (15 October). Yet the protests have avoided opposing the sanctions and war on Russia that are behind the economic crisis, and are being diverted into a “popular front” around the bourgeois populist Jean-Luc Mélenchon.
In the early months of the war there were some isolated workers actions, in Italy and northern Greece, seeking to block the transport of weapons, tanks, munitions and other war materiel to Ukraine. Such actions should be generalized and explicitly directed against the imperialist war on Russia. In the U.S. on October 3 an open letter by members and retirees of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) criticizing the union’s pro-Ukraine, anti-Russia stand was published under the title, “ILWU Must Stand in Opposition to the U.S./NATO Provoked War!” The letter appealed for port actions, calling on the International Dockworkers Council and International Transport Workers Federation to lead dockworkers around the world to “refuse to handle military cargo.”
Dock workers in the harbor city of Le Havre, France, march in October 18 “general strike.” For port workers action to stop military cargo for NATO’s imperialist war on Russia! (Photo: Lou Benoist / Agence France-Presse)
Any such actions would likely be against military materiel to Ukraine, but in not explicitly opposing transport of NATO war cargo, this dodges the key issue of which side are you on. Many mainstream union federations in Italy, Germany, Britain, U.S. and elsewhere openly and emphatically support the imperialist war drive. To effectively combat them requires taking on the all-encompassing hysterical pro-Ukraine war propaganda. Pacifist appeals of “No to war” and “stop the war” would in practice likely be used by those waving the blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flag to call for a stop to the Russian war. And while some leftists try to disguise their support to Ukraine by tacking on a call to “stop NATO expansion to the east” (it’s a little late for that), to “break with/leave NATO” or even to “vote on NATO” (!), what’s needed is a struggle to defeat NATO and smash imperialism through socialist revolution.
There is much talk of a “hot autumn” of workers struggle and a “winter of discontent” across the continent. Inflation in Europe is already at the highest levels in decades – 10.9% annual price rise in September, even higher for food (16%) and energy (40%) – and increasing. Capitalist governments are “shuddering” at the prospect of “a period of social and labor unrest not seen since at least the 1970s” (New York Times, 21 October). The middle class is worried about their savings evaporating, while poor and working people struggle to feed their families. In France, bourgeois politicians recall that the high cost of bread sparked the French Revolution of 1789 … and the Russian Revolution of 1917. Once the reality of electricity and fuel shortages hits and the population is ordered to shiver and freeze for Ukraine, there could be hell to pay.
For bread and revolution! Women workers and soldiers’ wives marched on International Women’s Day during World War I, igniting the 1917 Russian Revolution. Demonstrators chanted, “Down with high prices! Down with hunger! Bread for the workers!” Wars can be the mother of revolutions, but that requires a genuinely revolutionary communist leadership. (Photo: K. Bulla / Central State Archive of Kino-Photo-Phono Documents)
But, again, that requires a revolutionary leadership fighting on the program of class war against the imperialists and their war. Limiting demands to economic issues or calling for a generic “antiwar” movement while papering over fundamental differences over the nature of the war only covers for the parliamentary and “moderate” left, which has overwhelmingly joined the “stand with Ukraine” war party, openly or tacitly. It would be misleading the masses, since in reality there is no solution to the privations besetting working people unless the imperialist war and anti-Russia sanctions – which these “social-imperialists” support and which have caused and exacerbated the economic crisis – are defeated as part of the struggle for workers revolution.
A transitional program addressing the desperate situation of working people would include: Against escalating inflation, union militants should fight for indexation of wages (automatic cost of living adjustment) – a sliding scale wages, including huge increases in the minimum wage – and form labor-led committees to control prices and supplies. Against unemployment, demand a sharp reduction in the workweek with no loss in pay, to provide jobs for all. Against xenophobic attacks and the fascist threat, build workers defense groups and demand full citizenship rights for all immigrants. These issues will not be resolved in the bourgeois parliaments, but by workers action on the streets and in the plants. Above all, this requires a fight to overthrow the capitalist order itself, for a workers government and Socialist United States of Europe, based on workers councils.
As Lenin wrote during the first imperialist world war:
“This revolutionary mass struggle of the proletariat for socialism will arise out of the struggle of the masses against the misfortunes and burdens brought about by the epoch of imperialism and against increased prices, unemployment, increased burdens of taxation, colonial adventures, and national oppression…. All these types of struggle will unite into one strong current of struggle for political power, a struggle for socialism and for the unification of socialist peoples.”
–V. I. Lenin, “Social Democracy and the Question of Peace” (June 1916)
Wars can be the mother of revolution, and with imperialist war the “choice” is between socialist revolution or descent into barbarism. As Lenin insisted, all talk of “peace” without mass revolutionary struggle is hoodwinking the masses, as the decaying capitalist system – imperialism – generates endless war. That has been demonstrated anew over the three decades since the destruction of the Soviet Union, as the so-called “New World Order” has produced one war after another. As soon as the U.S. and NATO flee Kabul, defeated in their 20-year war in Afghanistan, they provoke a new war with Russia. To halt the imperialists’ mad rush toward WWIII aiming at counterrevolution in China, revolutionaries, class-conscious workers and all defenders of the oppressed must fight to defeat the present U.S./NATO proxy war on Russia.
At March 5 NYC “No War on Russia” protest. The Democratic Party in particular has been pushing the anti-Russia war drive leading to world war. Smash U.S./NATO imperialism with international socialist revolution! (Internationalist photo)
In their all-sided propaganda war against the Russian bogeyman, the imperialist rulers and media spinmeisters claim that “Putin is isolated from the world,” that the Kremlin leader is universally despised, that Russia has become a pariah state. Really? Let’s look. A grand total of 45 countries have imposed sanctions on Russia – including Liechtenstein, Monaco and Montenegro. Yet not one country in Latin America has joined the boycott. Not one country in Africa has signed onto sanctions. In Asia, only Japan, Singapore and South Korea have joined the anti-Russia campaign. In Brazil, both contenders in the upcoming second-round election, Lula and Bolsonaro, court Russia and China, the former for supplying fertilizer imports, the latter as a major buyer of Brazilian exports, while both countries have supplied anti-COVID vaccines to Brazil. So who, exactly, is isolated?
The latest scaremongering ploy is to accuse Putin of threatening nuclear war. How? By declaring that if the territorial integrity of Russia is threatened “we will certainly make use of all weapon systems available to us.”16 Biden said that this raises “the prospect of Armageddon,” the final battle between good and evil, while the media debate will he (Putin) or won’t he use tactical nuclear weapons. U.S. spy sources say Russia’s nuclear posture is unchanged, and using tactical nukes makes no sense in the Ukraine war.17 Meanwhile, NATO is right now (October 17-30) holding a huge nuclear exercise in Europe, Operation Steadfast Noon, including flying strategic bombers from North Dakota to the North Sea, simulating a nuclear bomb run. Have you read anything about it in the media? No you haven’t. So who is actually threatening whom? Kto kogo – who, whom – as Lenin put it.
In its demonology, the West portrays the Russian president as a satanic mad man, the latest in a long line of Russian villains – “Vlad the bad” as the reincarnation of Rasputin and Ivan the Terrible. Feeding a public that they are determined to keep “informed” only of “what [they decide] you need to know,” the media portray the war as a Manichaean battle of good vs. evil. Figuring that, by now, their brainwashed audience will swallow anything cooked up by the Ukrainian fascists’ Big Lie machine, no matter how illogical, they say maybe the Russians have been shelling the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant that they already control. The U.S. says it wants to find out where the Kremlin leader’s “red lines” are, and then keeps escalating. Many war hawks would even greet Putin using tactical nuclear weapons, as the Pentagon has certainly war-gamed using its own submarine-launched W76-2 “low-yield” nuclear warheads against Chinese atolls in the South China Sea.
The imperialists have their think tanks, tasked with “thinking the unthinkable” as they spin out their scenarios for counterrevolution.18 The job of genuine communists is to build a revolutionary workers party, based on the Bolshevik program of Lenin and Trotsky, to provide leadership for the working masses, the poor and oppressed in their struggles for survival, and to chart the way forward to sweep away the exploiters and oppressors who would turn the planet into a radioactive wasteland. On the eve of the military operations, the LFI laid out the possible course of the war, and the corresponding program for workers action. Today the nationalist Russia-Ukraine war has become a U.S./NATO proxy war against Russia, part of the war drive for imperialist world domination and a lead-up to a counterrevolutionary war on China. That drive, careening toward a thermonuclear World War III, can only be defeated by international proletarian revolution, led by a reforged, authentically Trotskyist Fourth International. ■
- 1. White House, National Security Strategy (October 2022).
- 2. “Defeat U.S./NATO War Drive and Sanctions Against Russia!” The Internationalist No. 66, January-April 2022.
- 3. At the time, the authentic Trotskyists of the then-revolutionary international Spartacist tendency called to “Hail Red Army in Afghanistan!” while much of the left echoed the imperialist hue and cry about “Soviet imperialism” and, directly or indirectly, supported the Islamist cutthroat gangs who murdered communist teachers for educating girls. Other examples of imperialist-sponsored “proxy wars” include the war of the U.S.-created “contra” terrorists against Sandinista Nicaragua and the war of the U.S.-financed and trained Salvadoran military against leftist guerrillas, in both cases with weakening the Soviet Union being a central purpose.
- 4. See “Down with the Imperialist-Backed Fascist/Nationalist Coup in Ukraine!” and “Fascist Pogrom in Odessa,
And the Aftermath,” in The Internationalist No. 37, April-May 2014. .
- 5. See the report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, “Conflict-related casualties in Ukraine” (22 January), which cites 14,200-14,400 killed and 37,000-39,000 injured, more than 80% of them in the areas of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics. Other estimates put the number of killed at 18,000 and wounded/injured at over 50,000.
- 6.From late January to March 2021, in addition to stepped-up shelling of the Donetsk and Lugansk republics and adoption of a new “Military Security Strategy of Ukraine” aimed at reconquering those regions “with the assistance of the international community on favorable terms for Ukraine,” the Zelensky government charged two pro-Russian members of parliament with treason, shut down all three Russian-language TV channels and implemented a law requiring the exclusive use of Ukrainian (i.e., banning Russian) in schools, government offices and commercial businesses.
- 7. “Behind the War: U.S./NATO War Drive Against Russia, China” (28 February), The Internationalist No. 66, (January-April 2022).
- 8. “The Truth About Ukraine’s Fascist Infestation” (4 April), The Internationalist No. 66.
- 9. “We Meet Dr. Strangelove Again in Washington,” The Internationalist, May 2022.
- 10. The imperialist European Union rulers have plenty of reasons to participate in the drive to pull Ukraine away from Russia. After all, what triggered the 2014 Kiev coup was when the elected government of Viktor Yanukovich backed off from signing an association treaty with the European Union. That treaty contains a series of clauses for privatizing state-owned industry, prohibiting government subsidies of companies and guaranteeing protection of foreign investors, allowing EU multinational giants to snap up Ukrainian industries (and farmland), which they have been eagerly doing since the treaty went into effect in 2017. See “Ukraine and Its Phony Friends” (in French), Le Monde Diplomatique, October 2022. However, the anti-Russian sanctions are another matter altogether.
- 11. “In Long View, Biden Strategy Aims at China,” New York Times, 13 October.
- 12. See “U.S. Anti-China War Provocations Over Taiwan,” The Internationalist, September 2022.
- 13. See “The Bugbear of ‘Russian Imperialism’” (May 2014), reprinted in The Internationalist No. 40, Summer 2015.
- 14. See “Russian Nationalist Putin vs. Bolshevik Internationalist Lenin,” The Internationalist, 23 February 2022.
- 15. In the case of Stalin’s talk of peacefully coexisting with imperialism, this was impossible due to the fundamental incompatibility between capitalism and the very existence of the Soviet workers state. In the case of Putin’s Russia, it is due to the relative weakness of Russian capitalism and the frenzy of the U.S./NATO imperialists, who cannot tolerate a challenge to their global hegemony as the economic base of their world domination erodes.
- 16. “Address by the President of the Russian Federation,” 21 September, at kremlin.ru.
- 17. It is important to note that the United States was planning to use tactical nuclear weapons in Europe, in the late 1960s. See “NATO Approves Rules for Defensive Use of Tactical Nuclear Weapons,” New York Times (4 December 1969).
- 18. See “The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming,” particularly the section on “Nuclear Armageddon Made in USA,” and a box on “Mad Bombers on the Loose (in the White House): A Glimpse at the Record” in Revolution No. 19, September 2022.
• 1,200 WORDS •
Two guys are hanging out in a cozy room in Tehran with a tantalizing new map of the world in the background.
Nothing to see here? On the contrary. These two Eurasian security giants are no less than the – unusually relaxed – Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
And why are they so relaxed? Because the future prospects revolving around the main theme of their conversation – the Russia-Iran strategic partnership – could not be more exciting.
This was a very serious business affair: an official visit, at the invitation of Shamkhani.
Patrushev was in Tehran on the exact same day that Russian Minister of Defense Sergey Shoigu – following a recommendation from General Sergey Surovikin, the overall commander of the Special Military Operation – ordered a Russian retreat from Kherson.
Patrushev knew it for days – so he had no problem to step on a plane to take care of business in Tehran. After all, the Kherson drama is part of the Patrushev negotiations with US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on Ukraine, which have been going on for weeks, with Saudi Arabia as eventual go-between.
Besides Ukraine, the two discussed “information security, as well as measures to counter interference in the internal affairs of both countries by western special services,” according to a report by Russia’s TASS news agency.
Both countries, as we know, are particular targets of western information warfare and sabotage, with Iran currently the focus of one of these no-holds-barred, foreign-backed, destabilization campaign.
Patrushev was officially received by Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, who went straight to the point: “The cooperation of independent countries is the strongest response to the sanctions and destabilization policies of the US and its allies.”
Patrushev, for his part, assured Raisi that for the Russian Federation, strategic relations with Iran are essential for Russian national security.
So that goes way beyond Geranium-2 kamikaze drones – the Russian cousins of the Shahed-136 – wreaking havoc in the Ukrainian battlefield. Which, by the way, elicited a direct mention later on by Shamkhani: “Iran welcomes a peaceful settlement in Ukraine and is in favor of peace based on dialogue between Moscow and Kiev.”
Patrushev and Shamkhani of course discussed security issues and the proverbial “cooperation in the international arena.” But what may be more significant is that the Russian delegation included officials from several key economic agencies.
There were no leaks – but that suggests serious economic connectivity remains at the heart of the strategic partnership between the two top sanctioned nations in Eurasia.
Key in the discussions was the Iranian focus on fast expansion of bilateral trade in national currencies – ruble and rial. That happens to be at the center of the drive by both the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) and BRICS towards multipolarity. Iran is now a full SCO member – the only West Asian nation to be part of the Asian strategic behemoth – and will apply to become part of BRICS+.
Have swap, will travel
The Patrushev-Shamkhani get together happened ahead of the signing, next month, of a whopping $40 billion energy deal with Gazprom, as previously announced by Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Mahdi Safari.
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has already clinched an initial $6.5 billion deal. All that revolves around the development of two gas deposits and six oilfields; swaps in natural gas and oil products; LNG projects; and building more gas pipelines.
Last month, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Aleksandr Novak announced a swap of 5 million tons of oil and 10 billion cubic meters of gas, to be finished by the end of 2022. And he confirmed that “the amount of Russian investment in Iran’s oil fields will increase.”
Barter of course is ideal for Moscow and Tehran to jointly bypass interminably problematic sanctions and payment settlement issues – linked to the western financial system. On top of it, Russia and Iran are able to invest in direct trade links via the Caspian Sea.
At the recent Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) summit in Astana, Kazakhstan, Raisi forcefully proposed that a successful “new Asia” must necessarily develop an endogenous model for independent states.
As an SCO member, and playing a very important role, alongside Russia and India, in the International North-South Transportation Corridor (INSTC), Raisi is positioning Iran in a key vector of multilateralism.
Since Tehran entered the SCO, cooperation with both Russia and China, predictably, is on overdrive. Patrushev’s visit is part of that process. Tehran is leaving behind decades of Iranophobia and every possible declination of American “maximum pressure” – from sanctions to attempts at color revolution – to dynamically connect across Eurasia.
BRI, SCO, INSTC
Iran is a key Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) partner for China’s grand infrastructure project to connect Eurasia via road, sea, and train. In parallel, the multimodal Russian-led INSTC is essential to promote trade between the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia – at the same time solidifying Russia’s presence in the South Caucasus and the Caspian Sea region.
Iran and India have committed to offer part of Chabahar port in Iran to Central Asian nations, complete with access to exclusive economic zones.
At the recent SCO summit in Samarkand, both Russia and China made it quite clear – especially for the collective west – that Iran is no longer going to be treated as a pariah state.
So it is no wonder Iran that is entering a new business era with all members of the SCO under the sign of an emerging financial order being designed mostly by Russia, China and India. As far as strategic partnerships go, the ties between Russia and India (President Narendra Modi called it an unbreakable friendship) is as strong as those between Russia and China. And when it comes to Russia, that’s what Iran is aiming at.
The Patrushev-Shamkhani strategic meeting will hurl western hysteria to unseen levels – as it completely smashes Iranophobia and Russophobia in one fell swoop. Iran as a close ally is an unparalleled strategic asset for Russia in the drive towards multipolarity.
Iran and the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) are already negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in parallel to those swaps involving Russian oil. The west’s reliance on the SWIFT banking messaging system hardly makes any difference to Russia and Iran. The Global South is watching it closely, especially in Iran’s neighborhood where oil is commonly traded in US dollars.
It is starting to become clear to anyone in the west with an IQ above room temperature that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal), in the end, does not matter anymore. Iran’s future is directly connected to the success of three of the BRICS: Russia, China and India. Iran itself may soon become a BRICS+ member.
There’s more: Iran is even becoming a role model for the Persian Gulf: witness the lengthy queue of regional states aspiring toward gaining SCO membership. The Trumpian “Abraham Accords?” What’s that? BRICS/SCO/BRI is the only way to go in West Asia today.
(Republished from The Cradle )
• 1,000 WORDS •
The announcement of the Kherson Retreat may have signaled one of the gloomiest days of the Russian Federation since 1991.
Leaving the right bank of the Dnieper to set up a defense line on the left bank may spell out total military sense. General Armageddon himself, since his first day on the job, had hinted this might have been inevitable.
As it stands in the chessboard, Kherson is in the “wrong” side of the Dnieper. All residents of Kherson Oblast – 115,000 people in total – who wanted to be relocated to safer latitudes have been evacuated from the right bank.
General Armageddon knew that was inevitable for several reasons:
no mobilization after the initial SMO plans hit the dust; destruction of strategic bridges across the Dnieper – complete with a three-month methodical Ukrainian pounding of bridges, ferries, pontoons and piers; no second bridgehead to the north of Kherson or to the west (towards Odessa or Nikolaev) to conduct an offensive.
And then, the most important reason: massive weaponization coupled with NATO de facto running the war translated into enormous Western superiority in reconnaissance, communications and command and control.
In the end, the Kherson Retreat may be a relatively minor tactical loss. Yet politically, it’s an unmitigated disaster, a devastating embarrassment.
Kherson is a Russian city. Russians have lost – even if temporarily – the capital of a brand new territory attached to the Federation. Russian public opinion will have tremendous problems absorbing the news.
The list of negatives is considerable. Kiev forces secure their flank and may free up forces to go against Donbass. Weaponizing by the collective West gets a major boost. HIMARS can now potentially strike targets in Crimea.
The optics are horrendous. Russia’s image across the Global South is severely tarnished; after all, this move amounts to abandoning Russian territory – while serial Ukrainian war crimes instantly disappear from the major “narrative”.
At a minimum, the Russians a long time ago should have reinforced their major strategic advantage bridgehead on the west side of the Dnieper so that it could hold – short of a widely forecasted Kakhovka Dam flood. And yet the Russians also ignored the dam bombing threat for months. That spells out terrible planning.
Now Russian forces will have to conquer Kherson all over again. And in parallel stabilize the frontlines; draw definitive borders; and then strive to “demilitarize” Ukrainian offensives for good, either via negotiation or carpet bombing.
It’s quite revealing that an array of NATO intel types, from analysts to retired Generals, are suspicious of General Armageddon’s move: they see it as an elaborate trap, or as a French military analyst put it, “a massive deception operation”. Classic Sun Tzu. That has been duly incorporated as the official Ukrainian narrative.
So, to quote Twin Peaks, that American pop culture subversive classic, “the owls are not what they seem”. If that’s the case, General Armageddon would be looking to severely overstretch Ukrainian supply lines; seduce them into exposure; and then engage in a massive turkey shoot.
So it’s either Sun Tzu; or a deal is in the wings, coinciding with the G20 next week in Bali.
The art of the deal
Well, some sort of deal seems to have been struck between Jake Sullivan and Patrushev.
No one really knows the details, even those with access to flamboyant 5th Column informants in Kiev. But yes – the deal seems to include Kherson. Russia would keep Donbass but not advance towards Kharkov and Odessa. And NATO expansion would be definitely frozen. A minimalist deal.
That would explain why Patrushev was able to board a plane to Tehran simultaneous to the announcement of the Kherson Retreat, and take care, quite relaxed, of very important strategic partnership business with Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council.
The deal may have also been the inbuilt “secret” in Maria Zakharova’s announcement that “we’re ready for negotiations”.
The Russians will leave the Dnieper riverbank in a managed military retreat. That would not be possible without managed military-to-military negotiations.
These back channel negotiations have been going on for weeks. The messenger is Saudi Arabia. The US aim, in the short term, would be towards a sort of Minsk 3 accord – with Istanbul/Riyadh attached.
No one is paying the slightest attention to coke clown Zelensky. Sullivan went to Kiev to present a fait accompli – of sorts.
The Dnieper will be – in thesis – the settled and negotiated frontline.
Kiev would have to swallow a frozen line of contact in Zaporizhye, Donetsk and Lugansk – with Kiev receiving electricity from Zaporozhye, hence cease shelling its infrastructure.
The US would come up with a loan of $50 billion plus part of the confiscated – i.e. stolen – Russian assets to “rebuild” Ukraine. Kiev would receive modern air defense systems.
There’s no doubt Moscow will not go along with any of these provisions.
Note that all this coincides with the outcome of the US elections – where the Dems did not exactly lose.
Meanwhile Russia is accumulating more and more gains in the battle for Bakhmut.
There are no illusions whatsoever in Moscow that this crypto-Minsk 3 would be respected by the “non-agreement capable” Empire.
Jake Sullivan is a 45-year-old lawyer with zero strategic background and “experience” amounting to campaigning for Hillary Clinton. Patrushev can eat him for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night snack – and vaguely “agree” to anything.
So why are the Americans desperate to offer a deal? Because they may be sensing the next Russian move with the arrival of General Winter should be capable of conclusively winning the war on Moscow’s terms. That would include slamming the Polish border shut via a long arrow move from Belarus downwards. With weaponizing supply lines cut, Kiev’s fate is sealed.
Deal or no deal, General Winter is coming to town – ready to entertain his guest of honor Sun Tzu with so many new dishes at their dinner table.
(Republished from Strategic Culture Foundation)
• 1,600 WORDS •
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang will head Beijing’s delegation in Cambodia for regional meetings. Photo: CCTV screen grab
(From Asia Times)
The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is monopolizing the Asian and Global South spotlight for no fewer than 10 days, this week and the next, across a flurry of regional and international summits.
First stop is Phnom Penh for the 25th China-ASEAN summit, the 25th ASEAN Plus Three (APT) summit, and the 17th East Asia Summit, all the way to Sunday.
Next week will be Bali for the Group of Twenty, followed by Bangkok for the APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit.
No wonder the diplomatic spin across Southeast Asia is all about global governance entering the “Asia moment” – as coined by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. It’s a moment that may be set to last a century – and beyond.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Photo: Wikimedia Commons
In parallel, Chinese diplomacy is also predictably on a roll. Premier Li Keqiang – who will step down next March, after two terms in office – heads Beijing’s delegation in Cambodia after two key Southeast Asian interactions: the visit by Vietnamese leader Nguyen Phu Trong to China and Chinese Vice-Premier Han Zheng’s visit to Singapore.
All that fits the pattern of increasing China-Southeast Asia integration. Since 2020, ASEAN has been China’s largest trading partner. China has been ASEAN’s top trading partner since 2009. Total China-ASEAN trade reached $878 billion in 2021, up from $686 billion in 2020. It had been $9 billion in 1991. China-ASEAN investment was more than US$340 billion by last July, according to the Ministry of Commerce in Beijing.
Interests particularly converge on deepening RCEP – the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the largest trade deal on the planet. That translates in practice as closer integration of supply chains, infrastructure connectivity and the building of a new international land-sea trade corridor.
So it’s no wonder all the slogans for these 10 days of summits reflect closer integration. The ASEAN 2022 theme is “ASEAN A C T: Addressing Challenges Together.” The Indonesians defined the G20 as “Recover Together, Recover Stronger.” And the Thais defined APEC as “Open. Connect. Balance.”
Now bend that bamboo
Timing is everything. After the Communist Party Congress defined the parameters of “peaceful modernization” and how Beijing will develop globalization 2.0 with Chinese characteristics, diplomacy was ready to go on the offensive. And not only across Southeast Asia.
On South Asia, Beijing hosted Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif. Regardless of who holds power in Islamabad, Pakistan remains strategically crucial, with the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) connecting to the Western Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea and beyond toward Europe.
Pakistan cannot be left to implode under severe financial constraints. So it’s no wonder that Xi Jinping promised that “China will continue to do its best to support Pakistan in stabilizing its financial situation.”
Pakistani PM Shehbaz Sharif visited Beijing. Photo: Creative Commons
They were very specific on CPEC: Priorities are the construction of auxiliary infrastructure for Gwadar port in the Arabian Sea and to upgrade the Karachi Circular Railway project.
On Africa, Beijing hosted Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu.
Beijing is constantly inviting African leaders to discuss trade and investment in a “South-South” format. So it’s no wonder the Chinese find receptivity to their ideas and necessities to an extent that’s absolutely out of the question in the West.
China-Tanzania is now a “comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.” This is quite significant, because now Tanzania is on the same level as Vietnam and Cambodia, as well as Kenya, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, in China’s ultra-complex “friendship” hierarchy. Tanzania, incidentally, is a crucial source of soybeans.
On Europe, Beijing received German Chancellor Olof Scholz for a lightning-fast visit, leading a caravan of business executives. Beijing may not “save” Berlin from its current self-enforced predicament; at least it’s clear that German business will not go for “decoupling” from China.
It’s crucial to remember that Vietnam, Pakistan and Tanzania are all key partners in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). And the same applies to Germany: The Ruhr Valley is the privileged Belt and Road terminal in the European Union.
All that leaves the Quad, AUKUS, the “Indo-Pacific Framework” and the “Partners for a Blue Pacific” – different denominations of isolation/demonization of China – trailing in the dust. Not to mention the imperial drive to impose “decoupling.”
Beijing knows full well Singapore’s role as the essential Southeast Asian finance/tech node. Hence the signing of 19 bilateral deals, some related to high tech.
But as far as optics go, the key visitor may have been Vietnam. Forget about their South China Sea tensions. For Beijing, what matters is that Nguyen Phu Trong came to visit immediately after the Communist Party conference – somehow echoing the centuries-old tribute system. Hanoi may have no interest whatsoever in being strategically dominated by Beijing. But demonstrating respect – and neutrality – is the Asian diplomatic way to go.
Trong made a point to note that “Vietnam considers its friendly cooperation with China the first priority of its foreign policy.”
That may not necessarily mean that Hanoi is privileging Beijing over Washington. The meaning of “first priority” seems to be clear: China and Vietnam agreed to turbocharge work on the Code of Conduct for the South China Sea. That also happens to be a key Chinese priority – as it keeps the process as an inter-Asian matter without the predictable “foreign interference.”
It was Trong himself who first came up with the fascinating idea of “bamboo diplomacy“: soft, clever, persistent and resolute. The concept may be easily applied to the whole of China-Southeast Asian relations.
Nguyen Phu Trong meets Xi Jinping on an earlier visit. Photo: VNA
Round up the jargon
This week in Phnom Penh, there are serious discussions on deepening the RCEP; problems on the food and energy front; and speeding up the negotiation of what is billed as the 3.0 version of the China-ASEAN Free Trade Area.
All that involves a key issue: the interconnection of BRI projects and ASEAN’s so-called Outlook on the Indo-Pacific – a series of ASEAN development strategies.
A good example is the endless high-speed-rail saga related to connecting Yunnan province in southern China to Singapore.
The building of the Thai section was proposed even ahead of the Laos section. Yet Kunming-Vientiane was ready in record time – and is rolling – while the Thais have been endlessly haggling and lost in corruption and internal infighting: Only part of their section at best will be finished by 2028.
The same applies to Malaysia and Singapore still not finding an agreement. This is the case of a key connectivity corridor across Southeast Asia hobbled by internal and bilateral trouble. In parallel, the construction of the Jakarta-Bandung high-speed railway has proceeded with only a few bumps.
As much as China and ASEAN established an official comprehensive strategic partnership in 2021, several key BRI projects are intimately connected to Southeast Asia. After all, Xi Jinping launched the Maritime Silk Road concept in Jakarta more than nine years ago.
The same applies to solving the seemingly intractable issues of the South China Sea. The Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea was signed by Beijing and ASEAN 20 years ago.
In geopolitical terms, the 10-headed ASEAN hydra is a unique beast: a living lab of peaceful – civilizational – co-existence.
Trade has always been the secret weapon. It has always been a two-way road between China and Southeast Asia. History tells us that the willingness of Southeast Asian rulers to submit – even if symbolically – to China explains the predominant Make Trade Not War ethos.
The main exception was Vietnam, occupied by China from 111 BC until AD 963-979. But even as Vietnam became independent from China a millennium ago, it always remained deeply influenced by Chinese culture. In contrast, the Chinese who were assimilated into Thai culture gave up Confucianism and ended up adopting Indian court rituals.
In parallel, as Professor Wang Gungwu in Singapore always noted, paying tribute and requesting protection from the Chinese imperial dynasties never meant that Beijing could do what it wanted across Southeast Asia.
In the current incandescent geopolitical juncture, China is definitely not interested in playing divide and rule in Southeast Asia. Chinese strategic planners seem to understand that ASEAN carries a lot of soft power smoothing the big power play across Southeast Asia, offering a platform for all to engage with each other.
No one seems to mistrust ASEAN. That also explains why the Southeast Asians have come up with an acronym fest that basically hails cooperation – from ASEM and ASEAN+3 to APEC.
So it’s enlightening to remember that “China is prepared to open itself to ASEAN countries,” as Xi himself said when he launched the Maritime Silk Road in Jakarta in 2013. “China is committed to greater connectivity with ASEAN countries” – and “China will propose the establishment of an Asian infrastructure investment bank that would give priority to ASEAN countries’ needs.”
The bilateral relationships between China and each of the 10 members of ASEAN may carry their own particular complications. But there seems to be a consensus that no bilateral will determine the future of China-Southeast Asian relations.
The discussions this week in Phnom Penh and next week in Bali and Bangkok suggest that Southeast Asia has ruled out either extreme: paying tribute or demonizing China.
Across Southeast Asia the Chinese diaspora has been informally referred to for decades as “the bamboo internet.” The same metaphor would apply to China-Southeast Asia diplomacy: Gotta go the bamboo way. Soft, clever, persistent – and enduring.
(Republished from Asia Times)
• 1,500 WORDS •
As of a few years ago, Glenn Greenwald was probably the most famous journalist in the world. And actually, given the striking decline in that mainstream profession, he might still be so today, since few other obvious names come to mind.
Meanwhile, I’d never heard of Dan Bongino until I read something about him in the New York Times earlier this year. Apparently, he’s a former Secret Service agent and right-wing pro-Trump pundit, with a strong following on the Internet.
But both these individuals were prominently mentioned in a March Times article on the rise of Rumble, a rapidly-growing video platform competing with Youtube.
Capitalizing on its relative lack of censorship, Rumble has become popular among the sorts of content-creators whose views have earned them strikes or shadow-bans on Youtube, or fear that would happen in the future. Such a group obviously leans heavily to the pro-Trump right, but not exclusively so. Indeed, the Times highlighted Greenwald’s official partnership with Rumble, a partnership that recently led him to announce plans for a one-hour nightly news program.
Meanwhile, according to the Times, Bongino had gained national stature as the host who had replaced Rush Limbaugh in some radio markets. After suffering from Youtube restrictions during the fall of 2020, he had shifted to Rumble, even taking an equity stake in that company. As of March, he’d accumulated more than 2 million subscribers on that platform and was streaming his live daily show, apparently becoming Rumble’s top broadcast star.
According to a follow-up Times article from last week, other developments may soon further bolster Rumble’s position. Earlier this year, Donald Trump had launched his own social network, Truth Social, but it has encountered a long series of severe business problems, and therefore has a clouded future. Although the Times obviously hates Trump with a vengeance and wishes him ill, the objective facts they cite do seem considerable, including the angry departure of various executives and ongoing federal investigations that putt his planned financing at risk.
So if these problems persist and Trump can’t obtain his funding, a possible solution might be to merge his company with Rumble, which already shares many of the same ideological supporters. Indeed, the Times story even claims that half the people currently working at Trump’s Internet company are actually Rumble employees, who handle his back office operation. Although the traffic to Trump’s network dwarfs that of its other alternative social network competitors such as Gab or Parler, those monthly numbers are less than one-tenth Rumble’s total, and apparently have been stagnating during most of this past year. Meanwhile, Rumble has been rapidly growing, more than doubling its monthly visits since March. So a merger with Rumble would certainly create the leading alternative media challenger to the established Tech giants.
Yet despite Rumble’s recent growth, its viewership is still merely a tiny sliver of that possessed by its giant video rival. According to SimilarWeb, Rumble had around 100 million visits in August, while Youtube had 33 billion, a figure more than 300 times larger. Given such a vastly larger potential audience, its easy to understand why Youtube remains the home of Max Blumenthal’s Grayzone and why Tulsi Gabbard selected it as the primary location of the new video channel that she recently established.
However, content-creators remain fearful of dreaded Youtube Strikes, and are sometimes cautious about what they will display on that platform. For example, Gabbard recently had a long and important interview with Prof. Jeffrey Sachs on the serious risks of World War III, yet she only chose to release it on her Rumble channel, perhaps fearing a dreaded Youtube strike. The video attracted well over 100,000 views there, but if not shadow-banned might surely have attained an enormously larger audience on Youtube.
My own experience with Rumble has certainly been very favorable. Earlier this year, I did several lengthy podcast interviews presenting my case that the global Covid epidemic was the result of an American biowarfare attack against China (and Iran), and I’ve regularly promoted and highlighted these in my subsequent articles and columns. But although they were released on a variety of different video platforms, only their performance on Rumble has made waves. For example, my hour-long Geopolitics & Empire video has attracted nearly 600,000 views on Rumble, but only 9,000 on Youtube, presumably due to shadow-banning. A couple of my other podcasts have done even better on Rumble, with my two hour Red Ice TV interview reaching 650,000 views and the much shorter “Smoking Gun” presentation with Kevin Barrett breaking 850,000 views.
Although these latter numbers might seem impressive on Youtube, given Rumble’s much smaller potential audience, I consider them truly astonishing in that venue. For example, Dan Bongino’s top-rated Rumble channel contains hundreds of his videos, but only a half-dozen of these have broken 600,000 views, and the same is true for Glenn Greenwald’s channel, while only two of Rand Paul’s videos have reached that mark. After Alex Jones was driven from Youtube, he also moved to Rumble, but only one of his many hundreds of videos has even broken 100,000 views, and except for RT‘s ongoing livestream, only a handful of its huge number of Rumble videos have reached the 100,000 view mark.
Obviously, this comparison is hardly a fair one since my viewership represents the sustained, accumulated interest on a single issue, while a pundit like Bongino mines the news headlines for a different topical story every day or two. But on the other hand, his video channel obviously benefits from his nationwide radio broadcast audience, while Glenn Greenwald’s regular appearances on the Tucker Carlson show provides a similar boost.
By contrast, for over two years I have stood almost alone on the Internet in pointing to the obvious evidence that more than a million Americans probably died from the blowback of a biowarfare attack by elements of their own government, a prospect so unspeakably horrifying that virtually no one else has been willing to acknowledge it as a mere possibility, let alone seriously discuss the evidence. But although it’s been nearly impossible to find others even willing to mention my hypothesis, my podcast video interviews have now attracted nearly 2.2 million views, so at least a few people somewhere do seem to be watching them.
Solid estimates are difficult to make, but based upon the viewership of the videos on those highest-profile Rumble channels mentioned above, I’d guess that my interviews have become more popular than 99.9% of the other videos on Rumble, with the true figure quite possibly being as high as 99.99% or even 99.999%. There are obvious benefits in saying important things that others won’t touch, even if those presentations can only be done on a video platform possessing merely a sliver of Youtube’s global reach.
I’d like to think that at some point, the crucial facts that I’ve been presenting will finally break though into a broader audience and at least force the journalists of the alternative media to take notice and discuss them even if they remain forbidden within mainstream circles.
I keep in mind the example of Prof. John Mearsheimer’s prescient hour-long lecture on the dangers of a Ukraine war. His video languished for six or seven years on Youtube before it suddenly exploded into worldwide attention in February, with its 28 million views having now probably set an all-time record for any academic presentation on the Internet. As an obvious consequence of that popular breakthrough, the ultra-establishmentarian Foreign Affairs recently solicited a lengthy article from him, as did the front page of the Wall Street Journal‘s weekly Review section. So despite suffering from a near-total media blackout for well over two years, I’d still like to remain hopeful.
Later this month marks the tenth anniversary of my major article “The Myth of American Meritocracy.” By providing very strong evidence of the existence of Asian Quotas in the Ivy League, my analysis played an important role in launching the Harvard admissions lawsuit now before the Supreme Court. If as many believe, the justices will soon strike down the constitutionality of Affirmative Action after more than four decades, I’ll be very pleased with the result. But ten years is a long time to wait, and I do hope my Covid/Biowarfare analysis gains greater traction much more quickly than that.
Meanwhile, I continue my efforts. My Covid/Biowarfare EBook has been downloaded over 13,000 times and my individual articles have accumulated more than 900,000 pageviews on the Internet. And if anyone would like to see the three videos that have now broken two million total views on Rumble, they’re easily at your fingertips.
- Covid/Biowarfare Series
Ron Unz • The Unz Review • April 2020-December 2021 • 60,000 Words
“I have never voted in my life… I have always known and understood that the idiots are in a majority so it’s certain they will win.”
~ Louis-Ferdinand Céline
Voting for masters to rule over you is the epitome of consensual enslavement. It is nothing more than a state coup pretending to allow you to choose which possessed and predetermined contestants will become the next enforcers of the totalitarian agenda of power and control over the people who voluntarily accept each and every surrogate master as legitimate. This is especially true of presidential elections, and those of the higher positions in government, but all elections of politicians fits this description. Nothing could be more asinine, more ignorant, or more pathetic, than such a display as this, and yet this deceitful trickery is not only fully sanctioned by the masses, but is held sacred, and considered a glorified right. How could such a state of unintelligent and unconscious lunacy capture the minds of so many for so long? Has voting improved this country, made it more free, stopped tyranny and war, or saved it from brutal rule? Of course not! Just the opposite has occurred.
The very idea of any ‘choosing’ of a ruler, one to control not only your life, but the life of others, runs completely contrary to any aspect of freedom or right. The entire process is antagonistic to liberty and free choice, and is the embodiment of voluntary servitude. I do realize that such a pronouncement as this is blasphemy to most of society; that in and of itself, this truth is disturbing beyond imagination to the herd, because to be blind to the reality of voluntary, universal, and collective slavery, is to be blind to the essence of life itself.
In the U.S., the midterm elections are upon us, and the mainstream, and even much, if not most, of the alternative and ‘libertarian’ coverage, will be all-consuming, and therefore an acknowledgment, acceptance, and justification of this horrendous process. Win or lose matters not, (we all lose) as the game must be played in order to forever fool the fools. Whether intended or not, this reporting on the importance of who won and who lost, who gained power and who did not, who will become the ruling majority and minority, simply will be used to legitimize the rule of government over all, regardless of the inherent tyranny that continues to embrace entirely this society. It grows and grows, and is everlasting; a tragedy to be sure.
If the Republicans win, the Democrats will claim that the Republicans will destroy the country, and if the Democrats win, the Republicans will claim that the Democrats will do the same, and both will be correct, because neither can function in any ruling capacity without destroying the country and its people. In fact, they work completely together as one, and the outcome is always that the people give up all, while the ruling class only takes. That is the nature of government, and it is also the nature of rulers and politicians involved in that government. There will be absolutely no difference in outcome regardless of the results of this ‘election,’ and regardless of who claims or gains power. If our long history of war and tyranny, loss of freedom, consuming surveillance of the citizenry, destruction of the economy, censorship, mandates, and total regulation and restriction of everything we do, cannot expose this clearly enough, the only conclusion to reach is that mass ignorance is at such a high level, that no hope of understanding our problems will ever be known or accepted by this dumbed-down society.
The first election held in the Americas was probably in 1607 in Jamestown, Virginia. That election happened almost immediately after what is referred to as “landing in the New World.” Interesting language to be sure, as we are still in the throes of the dastardly plot to build a ‘New World Order’ by those in the ruling class. The election to choose a president of Great Britain’s first permanent settlement in the Americas was held, and “although the nominees were ‘predetermined’ and only a select, privileged few—just 6% of the colonists—were allowed to vote, the stage had been set for the birth of democracy in what would become America. For the first time, leaders were chosen by those they would govern—or at least by some of them.”
Not much has changed since the birth of tyranny in this country, as even the first vote was a political scam, and should have been recognized as such at the time. I am aware that more are allowed to vote today than in that first selection of predetermined ‘nominees,’ but in reality, the structure today is as corrupt, criminal, and predetermined, if not more so, than it was in the beginning. It is just more hidden. Voting is and has always been, a way of deceit; claiming that one vote for each of the multitude of citizens, determines a say in the running of the country for each individual. How ridiculous, but it is even more absurd than is realized. Voting is not only meant to fool the people into believing they have a say when they do not, it is a way of guaranteeing the loyalty of the majority of commoners to the state, as they are tricked into believing that they can petition those who they elect to do their bidding. This usually results in extortion; state stealing by force the assets of some to benefit others, restrictive legislation, protectionist practices, monopoly, and mandates, and this was planned all along. This causes extreme division, and simply gives ammunition to the governing tyrants, so that they can more easily control the herd. It is just a heinous ruse and nothing more.
At this juncture, it is necessary to point out to those staunch constitutionalists, and believers in government, that there is little if any difference in a democracy, a republic, or a socialist, fascist, or communist state; as all are bent on achieving the exact same outcome. All of these claimed political structures, are based on a governing system ruling over the people. Any differences are only at the margin, as every political system of rule is meant only to lead to more and more power and control, which can then only conclude with a system of totalitarian domination. Voting propaganda has been used to fool the people into believing that they control the outcome, when they have never been in any position of complete control over their own lives when any governing system was present. When government exists, real freedom does not, and the concept of government is that of governing, not serving. This is not hidden from any who have the intellect to search for honest answers. The very meaning of the word govern, as the Latin root of our language undoubtedly reveals, is rule or control, and that is all that government, any government, desires.
It is thought by the majority, this due to brainwashing and indoctrination since birth, that voting is a sacred right. This is nonsense, and a very incorrect and imbecilic way of thinking. Because of this hypnotic state of confusion that consumes most in this country, and the completely irrational behavior and voting propaganda commonly accepted, most think those who choose not to vote do not have a say in their own lives. This is of course asinine and completely backward, as those who vote to choose masters to rule over them, condone and legitimize slavery at the hands of the state, and are therefore the problem. Those who choose not to vote on the other hand, are negating the government and its system of brutal rule, and are not complicit in placing the evil criminal rulers into power. Therefore, they are the only ones who do have a right to complain, and the only ones who attempt to minimize the system of rule.
Voting has occurred in this country for 415 years, and we now live in the least free era of this country’s entire history. Why do so many continue to participate, and therefore authorize, this abhorrent rule by continuing to support this election madness by voting? Once again, I must refer to a popular quote that is obviously true, but mostly ignored, and it is this: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.”
Supporting the state in any of its efforts to claim power is an act of cowardice in the face of tyranny, and voting for your political masters is the epitome of that state support. Shun the state at every opportunity, never comply with its mandates, never show or sing praise to it or its corrupt institutions, and never allow it to own and control you. If no one voted, no one would be elected, and that is a better way forward.
“Tear down that flaunting lie,
Half-mast the starry flag,
Insult no sunny sky
With hate’s polluted rag.”
As noted about the American Flag by Admiral Raphael Semmes–CSN, Captain of the ALABAMA: “Memoirs of Service Afloat” (p.90)
Gary D. Barnett [send him mail] is a retired investment professional that has been writing about freedom and liberty matters, politics, and history for two decades. He is against all war and aggression, and against the state. He recently finished a collaboration with former U.S. Congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney, and was a contributor to her new book, “When China Sneezes” From the Coronavirus Lockdown to the Global Political-Economic Crisis.” Currently, he lives in Montana with his wife and son. Visit his website.
Or a waste of useful and scarce guided munitions better used to support the army?
Russian strikes on Ukrainian electricity infrastructure after the Russian shock defeat in the Izyum-Kupyansk offensive fizzled out after a few days. But the Russian strikes on the power grid in the wake of the Ukrainian attack on the Crimea bridge have persisted.
When the attacks started South Front proclaimed “Russia Starts to Fight for Real”. It has now been four weeks of such attacks. They have led to rolling blackouts that have affected millions, particularly around Kiev.
In light of that, let us try to think about the Russian strategic bombing campaign. Do these sustained strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure mean that Russia is now “fighting for real”? Do they mean that Russia has now reached for a potent, game-changing tool in its arsenal that it hitherto refused to touch? Can a Russian strategic strikes campaign affect the outcome of the war? Can it affect the situation at the front?
Let us consider some factors that may influence the answer. These are:
- Ukraine’s economy is not heavily mobilized for war
- Much of Ukraine’s industrial rear is abroad
- Russia does not possess a machinery of mass conventional destruction
- Nobody really knows how to disable an economy
Ukraine’s Economy Is Not Heavily Mobilized for War
In a state that is on a total war footing like Germany or the Soviet Union in WW2 there are only three areas of production. Sustenance like food and heating. Military production like shells and fortifications. And industrial investment like the expansion of military plants and mines.
There is no production of civilian consumer goods. If there is, it is only for export. To be traded for military goods from abroad. And there is absolutely no importation of civilian goods beyond sustenance.
Ukraine is very far from that. You can waltz into any Ukrainian shopping mall and buy yourself a Korean cellphone or a domestically-produced sofa.
This means that numerous Ukrainian workers, as well as vast quantities of energy and material, remain tied up in the production of goods irrelevant to the war. And in the production of exports to finance the import of consumer goods from abroad.
Against a total-war state, any damage to its production will deal direct damage to its war no matter how belated. Even something as insignificant as burning a wheat field can mean that a couple of slave laborers will starve down the line affecting this project or that, and killing X workers in an urban raid guarantees X workers are taken out of the military-industrial workforce.
By contrast, when you’re shutting down industries of a state like Ukraine that economically remains on a peace footing, you’re naturally by and large shutting down production that had next to no effect on the war to start with.
If a Ukrainian is making a living assembling musical instruments and setting aside his salary to buy a used car in Poland, and the power outages mean he goes a month without work, where is the blow to anything war-related in that?
He had been making only the most indirect and the most partial contribution to the war effort to start with. He pays some taxes, some of which go to pay the military and buy arms. That’s it.
So when Russia plunges a region of Ukraine into darkness this looks impressive on a map but as a matter of practicality, little military production is being shut down in this way because only a small portion of production is war-related to start with.
Another thing to appreciate is that when you’re not mobilized you have a great deal of redundancy.
This is not Russia’s first strategic bombing campaign in Ukraine. You might recall that throughout spring Russia was hitting fuel depots and oil refineries. This led to a visible fuel crunch for the civilian sector exemplified by the kilometers-long lines for gas in many regions of Ukraine.
This fuel campaign has been since all but abandoned. As to the reasons why we can only speculate, but the most likely explanation is that it was deemed ineffective.
The most likely cause of that is redundancy. If Russian strikes cut fuel availability in Ukraine by 30% that spells havoc for some, but the military and military production need not be affected. As long as war needs are prioritized and get their share it matters very little how much is left over for civilian needs, and spending expensive cruise missiles so that a taxi driver or a farmer don’t get fuel doesn’t win wars.
When the power grid is under attack routing electricity in this way to priority consumers is more difficult, which may be the reason Russia has switched from hitting fuel to hitting power, but it can be done to an extent. Kiev going dark gives an appearance of a bombing campaign that is “working” but it could just as easily be a Ukrainian measure to preserve what power is available locally for the priority military industries and the railway.
Ukraine’s lack of industrial mobilization for the war is advantageous for Russia, but it also means that what military production exists is more resilient. Even if Russia can successfully limit inputs such as fuel, power, labor, steel to the industry as a whole as long as Kiev is clever enough to prioritize war-related production this needn’t have any effect on the war fought on the front.
Much of Ukraine’s Industrial Rear Is Abroad
Most of new Ukrainian armor and shells are supplied from abroad. Foreign countries even repair damaged and de-activated Ukrainian tanks. Without this foreign support Ukraine might by now have an all-infantry army.
Most of that aid came from pre-existing stocks but they’re also already building weapons specifically for Ukraine (or to rebuild the stocks which is the same thing), and even making some minor investments in expanding production capacity.
Striking a factory in Bulgaria making 152mm shells (which NATO then purchases for Ukraine) would have a greater (temporary) effect on the war than plunging any number of Ukrainian pensioners into darkness. Yet this considerable productive capacity in places like Bulgaria, Poland, Germany, and the US remains out of bounds of Russian strategic bombing.
The situation is somewhat similar to the Korean war. In that conflict, the US leveled every urban and semi-urban settlement in North Korea, yet this had very little effect on the war since by then the industrial rear of the Communist side was in China and the Soviet Union.
Russia Doesn’t Have a Machinery of Mass Conventional Destruction
Some people I’ve talked to have the impression that Russia can dial-in any level of destruction on Ukrainian infrastructure it desires. Supposedly if Russia only didn’t care about collateral damage it could “carpet bomb” Ukraine into oblivion. I wonder where this impression comes from.
Yes, Russia has the capability to rain any amount of destruction if it reaches for atomic weapons. But if those are off the table then its capability for conventional destruction is anything but grand.
The Allied strategic bombing campaign was famously destructive for German cities, but what is less well remembered is the gargantuan human and industrial undertaking this required. At its height, the Allied bomber force in Europe commanded 27,000 aircraft and 1.3 million personnel. Millions more were tied down in industrial processes required to equip them. In the course of the war, it dropped 2.7 million tons of bombs (the equivalent of 10 million standard 250-kg bombs) in 1.5 million bomber sorties escorted by 2.7 million fighter sorties, losing 160,000 airmen and 38,000 aircraft.
The Allied bomber force of WW2 required a gigantic investment of resources which Russia simply never undertook. To the Allies’ 14,000 bomber planes in 1945 Russia can boast 60 Tu-95, 60 Tu-22M and 20 Tu-160 and very little ability to replace them if they are lost. (Only the Tu-160 is in small-scale production.)
It is very rare for Russia to expend more than twenty cruise or ballistic missiles (air, sea, or ground-launched) per night. (Increasingly supplemented by Iranian flying bomblets.) 250 days into the war this then has to be considered the upper limit of sustainable Russian expenditure for the foreseeable future. No matter how accurate, some 10 tons of explosives daily simply isn’t that much and doesn’t come close to Allied strategic firepower of WW2. (2500 tons daily in 1944.)
And yet even this much greater Allied firepower in WW2 coupled with zero qualms about collateral damage is estimated to have suppressed the German armaments output in 1944 by no more than 11% of what it would have been otherwise. (Richard Overy, The Bombing War)
Even much more potent strategic campaigns than that waged by Russia in Ukraine seem to be no war winners. (Yes, the bombing of the 1940s was gravely hampered by abysmal accuracy, but the tonnage more than made up for it compared to Russia today. Especially when you consider that many attacks were incendiary and did not need accuracy.)
Nobody Really Knows How to Disable an Economy
The Anglo-American bomber force spent the entire WW2 constantly shifting its priorities. It was in a constant search of a “bottleneck” target that would leverage the effectiveness of its bombing beyond the immediate damage inflicted. (Ball bearings were famously a particular obsession.)
As a rule, even when it found such targets it hit them too late to matter (after they had stopped being bottlenecks), or didn’t stick with hitting them for long enough to really make a dent.
This reveals another problem. In strategic bombing it is difficult enough to know what to hit, and it is even more difficult to know what effect — if any — is your bombing having.
That there are countless competing targets each with their own advocates is an additional challenge.
Fundamental problems are two. Complexity and dynamism. First of all, industrial processes these days are so complex that nobody knows how anything is made anymore. Everything goes through so many stages, involves so many inputs, and the work of so many people, as well as so much barter, that fully comprehending how a war industry runs is the amount of information that can not fit inside a human brain.
Because nobody can know how it all runs, nobody can possibly know for certain what are the key inputs that removed will best paralyze the entire enterprise.
The second problem is that bombing is acting against a complex system that is continuously reacting and adapting. There is virtually nothing in industry that is done because it is the only way of doing something. Virtually everything is done a particular way because it is marginally more efficient than a variety of other ways that are marginally less profitable but which are also viable.
So in fact there are no silver bullets and any success is temporary. Short of cataclysmic levels of firepower and destruction, bombing is just as likely to cause targeted industries to increasingly bomb-proof their processes (at a hit to efficiency) as it is to gravely hamper them.
What solutions precisely they will implement I can not tell you, because nobody can. Nobody can know this in advance any more than anybody can know how it all runs right now. But create some hole anywhere in a complex system like this and numerous actors downstream from the problem with intimate know-how of their particular process get an incentive to mitigate and work around it, which eventually has to result in at least a partial solution. Usually one that had not been previously foreseen.
In light of that, the Russian focus on energy — first fuel, now power — rather than going after some specific component or even directly for military production is almost Solomonic. Everything needs energy and you can’t go wrong by hitting energy. (But of course, there are ways to mitigate even this.)
However, as discussed above, this comes with a great deal of collateral damage. The very first to feel the energy crunch will be the civilians and then the civilian industries. Military industries and the military will be the last.
In fact, we can not say for certain that the current electricity crunch is affecting the military, military transport, or military production at all.
And the abortive nature of the strikes, the abandonment of the campaign against fuel, and the first series of strikes against the power grid, probably testify to the fact that Russians themselves have doubts as to them being a sensible use of a resource as scarce and as useful as a precision-guided missile.
If this text reads like that of someone who harbors a bias against strategic bombing that is so. But I was not born with such a bias. If I hold it in low regard it is because I read about wars and I didn’t learn of a single example where it actually made sense.
The results of 20th-century strategic bombing campaigns seem to range from counter-productive, to ineffectual, to superfluous, to campaigns that were effectual but that consumed resources that would have been far better used elsewhere. (If the Russian strikes in Ukraine turn out to be different I will adjust accordingly but so far there is no sign albeit admittedly four weeks is also too early for one.)
The bombing of Japan probably comes the closest to a campaign that produced results, but even in this case, the industries that were burned at the tail-end of the war were already suffering from shortages of inputs caused by the US submarine blockade conducted at a lower cost that also immobilized the Japanese Navy (no oil could get out of SE Asia) and hampered the communication with its armies in China.
The US effort against Japan — even the strategic effort — would have been better served with an earlier and more aggressive submarine campaign which accomplished grand things on a shoestring (just 1400 patrols by 260 ships at 4000 dead), but the submariners had nowhere the political clout of the Bomber Mafia.
Similarly Russia is facing an opponent that suffers from a critical geographical weakness of being bisected by a mega river, but insists on lobbing scarce and valuable cruise missiles against electric installations in strikes that may or may not pay off and then only in some roundabout indeterminate way in some distant future.
Use the same missile against a railway running over a Dnieper bridge and the payoff is immediate, direct and assured.
The supply of the enemy military at the front will be interrupted for a few days — no ifs and buts. As the rail gets repaired strike it again and eventually the bridge itself will crumble. Then the opponent is reduced to having to supply its force with barges and pontoons, which as the Russians have discovered in Kherson isn’t easy.
Every conceivable problem the Russians have, from Bulgarian 152mm to American HIMARS to Polish T-72s to Ukraine’s own production is mitigated if the Ukrainians don’t have an efficient way of getting this stuff across the Dnieper.
Of course, for full effect an effort against the bridges has to be combined with a serious offensive on the left bank that first stresses Ukrainian supply capabilities to breaking point and then takes advantage of these not being able to keep up. But if the Ukrainians are on the contrary left unpressured for six months, then of course they will eventually build up vast supplies on the left-bank even if they have to carry them across on their backs as they swim. (In that case taking out the bridges becomes largely irrelevant since the supply dumps across the river now cushion against it.)
To be perfectly frank, it is impossible to know if the Russian campaign against the power grid actually has a strategic rationale. Is the purpose really to test if Ukrainian production and transport can be hampered in a way that ultimately makes it easier for the Russian military on the front?
Or is it perhaps a “coercive” campaign to show off what Russia can do to the Ukrainian economy and quality of life, and what Ukraine can be spared if it enters talks or a truce, or if it restricts its conduct of war in some way?
Can we be sure there is a grand rationale at all? We don’t even know if the Russian army, air force and navy aren’t all lobbing these missiles independently of one another. And if a unified cruise missile command body has been established it naturally has its own institutional incentives that are only tangentially related to those of “Russia” in the abstract.
Historically whenever such institutions are founded they immediately want to run their own wars, rather than having to support someone else’s. Even when the latter would be advantageous for the collective. Nobody wants the job of making someone else look good. Bombardiers hate interdiction that unquestionably makes the life of the ground army easier and love convoluted strategies whereby they can win wars by themselves via some roundabout foggy plan. Risking failure is better than risking success that will have your institutional competition as the primary beneficiary.
The Definitive Guide to Excess Death During the COVID Era
A summary of excess death from around the world. Spoiler alert – Sweden wins.
Giesecke was almost correct. But, the difference between the countries in the end was not quite small. Sweden did much, much better – ten times better than Chile, in fact, notorious for having the strictest lockdowns “despite” (😂😂😂) also having one of the most “successful” (🤣🤣🤣) vaccination campaigns.
As of reporting date 19-Jun-22, of all the countries analysed by the OECD, Sweden has the lowest overall cumulative excess deaths tally:
The somewhat less meaningful COVID death tally (per million population) does not have the same relative magnitude since different countries use different methods for recording what is and what isn’t a COVID death, on top of the fact, of course, that it’s a Pyrrhic victory to mitigate COVID deaths at the expense of higher excess non-COVID deaths. Take a look at Canada and Israel as prime examples of this – remarkably low COVID deaths relative to the rest of the world but very much in the worst half of the dataset in terms of overall excess mortality.
So, Sweden even beat neighbour Norway in the end. And, as you can see in the charts below, Norway is still heading in the wrong direction. So too are early successes, Australia and New Zealand. Their cumulative excess death tally has less COVID in it than other countries but they are getting their COVID add-ons now.
My analysis of each country leads me to three main conclusions:
- COVID exists and is deadly1. This is evident given the very strong and consistent correlations between weekly excess deaths and weekly reported COVID deaths. I think it is also important to accept this fact given that there is very little resistance now to the assertion that COVID was manufactured in a biolab. Those responsible for making it are responsible for the millions of deaths it has caused.
- Experimental attempts at mitigating the spread of the virus through various “social distancing” measures, including school and business closures, imprisoning healthy people in their homes, forced wearing of masks, etc. show very little evidence of benefit. Any specious evidence from prison islands (Australia and New Zealand) is ultimately proven futile as predicted by the world’s two best epidemiologists (Giesecke and Tegnell). The harms of these interventions are also apparent in the ultimate excess death numbers. Those responsible for implementing them should be held accountable for the deaths they have caused.
- The only thing that could have made COVID worse was to put the same people responsible for making it in charge of making the antidote. It’s a bit like putting the arsonists in charge of fire policy after they have burnt down the city. But that’s what happened with COVID. It is abundantly clear that there is no reduction in COVID deaths as a result of the mass administration of the experimental “vaccine”. Moreover, as we should logically expect deficits in periods after excess mortality such as occurred in the nine months prior to the medical experiment, and greater protection from herd immunity, and the natural selection of less virulent variants, it is difficult to argue against the allegation that the experiment has somehow contributed to the perpetuation of COVID rather than its demise. This is further supported by the fact that COVID and excess deaths both taper off in line with society’s final realisation that they should take no further part in the experiment.
Perhaps next time, we should all be a bit more like Sweden? You know, like our lives depended on it? Not the bit about hurried medical experimentation though, we can leave that bit out.
Just the bit about letting people decide for themselves what actions they should take when faced with life.
It might just be me but I don’t think stupid politicians, greedy pharmaceutical companies and academics whose careers depend on pharma funding are the best people for the job.
Here are all the charts, plotting cumulative excess deaths vs COVID deaths. I mean, just look at Czechia, Slovakia and Slovenia for some incredible correlations.
And here are all the charts plotting excess deaths against vaccinations. Note how excess deaths taper as vaccinations do. Just a coincidence or Bradford Hill criteria #10?
The commander of the US nuclear arsenal has stated unequivocally that the war in Ukraine is just a warmup exercise for a much larger conflict that’s already in the mail.
Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp reports:
The commander that oversees US nuclear forces delivered an ominous warning at a naval conference last week by calling the war in Ukraine a “warmup” for the “big one” that is to come.
“This Ukraine crisis that we’re in right now, this is just the warmup,” said Navy Adm. Charles Richard, the commander of US Strategic command. “The big one is coming. And it isn’t going to be very long before we’re going to get tested in ways that we haven’t been tested [in] a long time.”
Richard’s warning came after the US released its new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR), which reaffirms that the US doctrine allows for the first use of nuclear weapons. The review says that the purpose of the US nuclear arsenal is to “deter strategic attacks, assure allies and partners, and achieve US objectives if deterrence fails.”
Not only does Richard appear to believe that a hot war between major world powers is a foregone conclusion, he has also previously stated that a nuclear war with Russia or China is now “a very real possibility.”
Again, this is not some armchair warrior opining from his desk at a corporate newspaper or DC think tank, this is the head of STRATCOM. Richard would be personally overseeing the very warfare he is talking about.
What I find most striking about remarks like these is how passive they always make it sound. Richard talks about “The Big One” like other people talk about California earthquakes, as though a hot war with China would be some kind of natural disaster that just happened out of nowhere.
This type of rhetoric is becoming more and more common. Describing an Atomic Age world war as something that would happen to the US empire, rather than the direct result of concrete A-or-B decisions made by the empire, is becoming its own genre of foreign policy punditry.
This passive, oopsy-poopsy narrative overlay that’s placed atop the US empire’s militarism is nothing new. Back in 2017 Fair.org’s Adam Johnson documented the way western media are always describing the United States as “stumbling” into wars and getting “sucked in” to military interventions, like a cheating spouse making up bad excuses after getting caught:
This framing serves to flatter two sensibilities: one right and one vaguely left. It satisfies the right-wing nationalist idea that America only goes to war because it’s compelled to by forces outside of its own control; the reluctant warrior, the gentle giant who will only attack when provoked to do so. But it also plays to a nominally liberal, hipster notion that the US military is actually incompetent and boobish, and is generally bad at war-making.
This is expressed most clearly in the idea that the US is “drawn into” war despite its otherwise unwarlike intentions. “Will US Be Drawn Further Into Syrian Civil War?” asked Fox News (4/7/17). “How America Could Stumble Into War With Iran,” disclosed The Atlantic (2/9/17), “What It Would Take to Pull the US Into a War in Asia,” speculated Quartz (4/29/17). “Trump could easily get us sucked into Afghanistan again,” Slate predicted (5/11/17). The US is “stumbling into a wider war” in Syria, the New York Times editorial board (5/2/15) warned. “A Flexing Contest in Syria May Trap the US in an Endless Conflict,” Vice News (6/19/17) added.
So let’s get real clear about this here and now: if there is a hot war between the US and a major power, it will not be because that war was “stumbled into”. It will not be like an earthquake or other natural disaster. It will not be something that happens to or is inflicted upon the US empire while it just passively stands there in Bambi-eyed innocence.
It will be the result of specific choices made by the managers of empire. It will be the result of the US choosing escalation over de-escalation, brinkmanship over detente — not just once but over and over again, while declining off-ramp after off-ramp. It will be the result of real material decisions made by real material people who live in real material houses while collecting real material paychecks to make the choices they are making.
Another thing that strikes me about comments like those made by Charles Richard is how freakish and insane it is that everyone doesn’t respond to them with, “Okay, well, then let’s change all of the things we are doing, because that’s the worst thing that can possibly happen.”
And make no mistake: that absolutely is an option. The option to turn away from the collision course with potentially the most horrific war of all time is available right now, and it will remain available for some time into the future. This isn’t 1939 when war is already upon us; if anything it’s more like the early 20th century precursors to World War I and all the stupid aggressions and entanglements which ultimately gave rise to both world wars.
One of the many ways our cultural fascination with World War II has made us stupid and crazy is that it has caused us to forget that it was the worst single event in human history. Even if a hot war with Russia and/or China didn’t go nuclear, it would still unleash unspeakable horrors upon this Earth which would reverberate throughout our collective consciousness for generations.
That horror should be turned away from. And the time to start turning is now.
Art for Art’s Sake – 10cc – Extended (9:15 min) Audio Mp3
As we move into the endgame of the 2022 election, the Democrats face a familiar problem. America’s historical party of the working class keeps losing working-class support. And not just among white voters. Not only has the emerging Democratic majority I once predicted failed to materialize, but many of the nonwhite voters who were supposed to deliver it are instead voting for Republicans.
This year, Democrats have chosen to run a campaign focused on three things: abortion rights, gun control, and safeguarding democracy—issues with strong appeal to socially liberal, college-educated voters. But these issues have much less appeal to working-class voters. They are instead focused on the economy, inflation, and crime, and they are skeptical of the Democratic Party’s performance in all three realms.
This inattentiveness to working-class concerns is not peculiar to the present election. The roots of the Democrats’ struggles go back at least as far as Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2016, and, as important, to the way in which many Democrats chose to interpret her defeat. Those mistakes, compounded over subsequent election cycles and amplified by vocal activists, now threaten to deliver another stinging disappointment for the Democratic Party. But until Democrats are prepared to grapple honestly with the sources of their electoral struggles, that streak is unlikely to end.
From 2012 to 2020, the Democrats not only saw their support among white working-class voters—those without college degrees—crater, they also saw their advantage among nonwhite working-class voters fall by 18 points. And between 2016 and 2020 alone, the Democratic advantage among Hispanic voters declined by 16 points, overwhelmingly driven by the defection of working-class voters. In contrast, Democrats’ advantage among white college-educated voters improved by 16 points from 2012 to 2020, an edge that delivered Joe Biden the White House
Polling points to a continuation of these trends in 2022. Democrats are losing voters without college degrees while running up the score among college-educated voters. In the latest national New York Times/Siena poll, Democrats have a 15-point deficit among working-class voters but a 14-point advantage among college-educated voters. (The American Enterprise Institute’s demographic-group tracker averages poll results and confirms this yawning gap in Democratic support.)
In part, this results from further deterioration of Democratic support among white working-class voters. But nonwhite working-class voters—especially Hispanic voters—may be following suit. Democrats carried Hispanic voters by 35 points in 2018 and 25 points in 2020. Available data and reporting strongly suggest that this further decline is being driven by working-class voters, the overwhelming majority of this demographic.
In a proximate sense, it’s not hard to see how this might be happening, given America’s economic situation and Democrats’ campaigning choices. But these struggles tie back to the 2016 presidential election. Hillary Clinton’s campaign made two fateful decisions that decisively undercut her ability to beat Donald Trump. During the primaries, facing a stiffer-than-expected challenge from Bernie Sanders, Clinton elected to counter his class-oriented populist economics by flanking him to the left on identity-politics issues. This built on the party’s attribution of Barack Obama’s reelection in 2012 to mobilizing the “rising American electorate,” which ignored his relatively strong performance among working-class voters in the Midwest. For Clinton, turning to identity politics was a way of making Sanders seem out of touch.
After Sanders unexpectedly came close to tying Clinton in the Iowa caucus, she went on the offensive, seeking to characterize Sanders’s class-oriented pitch as racist and sexist. As NBC News reported at the time:
“Not everything is about an economic theory, right?” Clinton said, kicking off a long, interactive riff with the crowd at a union hall this afternoon.
“If we broke up the big banks tomorrow—and I will if they deserve it, if they pose a systemic risk, I will—would that end racism?”
“No!” the audience yelled back.
Clinton continued to list scenarios, asking: “Would that end sexism? Would that end discrimination against the LGBT community? Would that make people feel more welcoming to immigrants overnight?”
She continued that line of attack until the moment she secured the nomination. And once that was accomplished and her campaign launched in earnest, she made her second fateful decision, choosing to concentrate on Trump’s character and all the ways he was out of step with the rising American electorate. Studies of her campaign-ad spending reveal that the overwhelming majority of these ads had nothing to say about policy or even policy orientation, instead attacking Trump’s character and his many divisive and offensive statements. Her campaign slogan, “Stronger together,” was an implicit rebuke of Trump on these grounds.
Trump’s ads, by contrast, talked a great deal about policy, albeit not in the careful and detailed way Democrats tend to prefer, but rather discussing in broad strokes issues including trade, immigration, and the betrayal of elites.
The Clinton campaign believed that her strategy was working right up to Election Day, despite signs of softening support in Rust Belt states (though the polls, as we now know, were still overestimating Clinton’s support). The campaign just could not believe that it was possible to lose to a candidate who was so clearly on the wrong side of history.
But lose it did. While carrying the popular vote by two percentage points, Clinton lost three states—Florida, Iowa, and Ohio—that Obama had carried twice, and also narrowly lost Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, three Rust Belt states in the “Blue Wall” the Democrats had carried in every presidential election since 1992. That made for a 306–232 Electoral College victory for Trump (before faithless electors were factored in), despite Clinton’s popular-vote lead.
And, although Democrats did gain six House seats and two Senate seats in 2016, they fell short of flipping either chamber, giving the Republican Party control of both Congress and the White House. The GOP also emerged with complete control of 25 state governments, compared with a mere six for the Democrats. The Democrats had assumed they could capitalize on Trump’s unpopularity to produce a wave election, consolidating power at all levels of government. Instead, it was the Republicans who did so.
Trump’s victory was attributable, above all, to the shift of white working-class voters, including many who had voted for Obama, into the Republican column. In the country as a whole, the Republican advantage among white working-class voters went up by six points to a staggering 31-point margin. White college-educated voters went in exactly the opposite direction, increasing the Democratic advantage among these voters by six points.
But white working-class voters are far more numerous than their college-educated counterparts, particularly in certain areas of the country, such as the Midwest. And it was here that the death blow to Democratic aspirations was struck. In Iowa and Ohio, where Clinton got blown out, white working-class voters moved, respectively, 22 and 15 margin points toward the GOP. And in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, where Trump’s advantages were very narrow, Democratic support declined by eight, 11, and 13 points, respectively, among the white working class.
These are large shifts, and they were decisive. Simulations show that if Clinton’s white working-class support had matched Obama’s in 2012, she would have carried all these states easily. Indeed, if Clinton had simply managed to reduce her losses among these voters by a quarter, she would have been elected president.
As analysts sifted through the wreckage of Democratic performance, trying to understand where all the Trump votes had come from, some themes began to emerge. One was geographic. Across county-level studies, low levels of educational attainment among white voters were clearly a very robust predictor of shifts toward Trump. These studies also indicated that counties that swung in Trump’s direction tended to be dependent on low-skill jobs, to perform relatively poorly on a range of economic measures, and to have local economies particularly vulnerable to automation and offshoring. Finally, there was strong evidence that Trump-swinging counties tended to be literally sick, in the sense that their inhabitants had relatively poor physical health and high mortality due to alcoholism, drug abuse, and suicide.
The picture was more complicated when it came to the characteristics of individuals who voted for Trump, especially those who had previously voted for Obama. A number of views correlated with Trump voting, including some aspects of economic populism—opposition to cutting Social Security and Medicare, suspicion of free trade and trade agreements, taxing the rich—and traditional populist attitudes such as anti-elitism and mistrust of experts. But many Democrats paid the most attention to studies showing that “racial resentment” and “status threat” bore a strengthened relationship to Republican presidential voting in 2016.
A rigorous accounting of vote shifts toward Trump, however, shows that they were concentrated among white voters—particularly those without college degrees—with moderate views on race and immigration, and not among white voters with high levels of racial resentment. The political scientists Justin Grimmer and William Marble concluded that racial resentment simply could not explain the shifts that occurred in the 2016 election. In fact, Trump netted fewer votes from white voters with high levels of racial resentment than Mitt Romney did in 2012.
Clearly a much more complex explanation for Trump’s victory was—or should have been—in order. Trump’s supporters integrated hostility toward immigration, trade, and liberal elites with a sense of unfairness rooted in a conservative, race-neutral view of avenues to upward mobility. That is why voters in Trump-shifting counties, whose ways of life were being torn asunder by economic and social change, found his message so attractive.
Such understanding was nowhere to be found, however, in Democratic ranks. Instead, the party chose to see in Clinton’s defeat a validation of her message, that racism and xenophobia were the country’s defining forces.
Trump’s rhetoric and actions over his first two years in office provided plenty of evidence to support that interpretation. The growing cultural left linked this to its radical critique of American society as structurally racist, hostile to marginalized communities, and embedded in a rapacious capitalist system that will destroy the planet. In the left’s view, opposing Trump had to be joined to a struggle against all these aspects of oppression, and to social transformation. Otherwise, the oppression would remain even if Trump himself was removed.
This view spread through sympathetic cultural milieus where it already had a considerable presence—universities, media, the arts, nonprofits, advocacy groups, foundations, and the infrastructure of the Democratic Party itself—redefining what it meant to be progressive. In opposing Trump, who was himself so radical, it seemed only reasonable to be radical in return.
But that was not true outside these milieus, where many moderate-to-liberal voters simply wanted to foil the Republicans and get rid of Trump, whom they found profoundly distasteful. These were the voters who provided the shock troops for the #Resistance and powered the defeat of Republican candidates in 2018. These voters were not particularly interested in promoting a radical critique of American society and certainly didn’t see their organizing for Democratic candidates as having any higher basis of unity than wanting to beat Trump and the candidates who supported him.
The result, in 2018, was a very successful election for Democrats, who took full advantage of Trump’s unpopularity. In a historically high turnout for an off-year election, Democrats gained 41 House seats and carried the House popular vote by almost nine points. Those gains flipped the Republicans’ 241–194 House majority to a 235–199 Democratic one.
Democrats also gained seven governorships—including in the swing states of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Nevada—and more than 300 state legislative seats, which helped deliver control of half a dozen state legislative chambers. However, Republicans retained control of the U.S. Senate, actually gaining two seats. This happened because, ominously, they took out four Democratic incumbents in red-leaning states, outweighing the Democrats’ two flips of Republican seats in swing states.
Media analysis of the 2018 election results tended to emphasize suburban and college-educated voters’ shifts toward the Democrats relative to 2016, combined with these constituencies’ high turnout. These voters did indeed turn out at high levels, and there were strong shifts toward the Democrats among them. But detailed postelection analysis of the voter file and other data painted a much more complex—and interesting—picture.
To begin with, the shift toward the Democrats was actually larger in rural than in suburban areas and larger among rural white people than among suburban white people. There were also big pro-Democratic shifts among both white working-class and white college-educated voters—about seven points in each case.
Moreover, despite the election’s stellar turnout and a big surge in new voters, the big-data firm Catalist estimated that about 90 percent of the Democrats’ improved 2018 performance came from persuasion—from vote-switchers—not turnout.
The election also showed promising signs for the Democrats in the three Rust Belt states that delivered Trump’s 2016 victory: Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. Democratic victories in these states—and in Minnesota, which Trump lost by less than two points—were overwhelmingly driven by shifts among white voters away from Trump.
The Democrats who delivered the party’s gains in the House ran on health care, targeting the GOP’s attempts to eliminate popular Affordable Care Act reforms such as protecting people with preexisting conditions. Secondarily, they attacked the GOP Congress’s big tax bill, which primarily provided tax cuts to the affluent and had little noticeable benefit for ordinary voters. Criticism of Trump was generally implicit in those candidates’ stances rather than explicit.
This is a realistic picture of what happened in 2018—of the voters and the politics that delivered victory for the Democrats. But it did not become the dominant interpretation of the election in Democratic circles. Instead of highlighting their success in persuading many voters to switch sides, many Democrats looked at the high turnout of Democratic-leaning groups and credited victory to the mobilization energies unleashed by the rising left of the party.
This emerging conventional wisdom was greatly assisted by the media’s obsession with four new Democratic House representatives elected from deep-blue urban districts, two of whom got their party’s nomination by defeating liberal incumbents in primaries. None of these seats was a gain for the Democrats, but “The Squad,” as they came to be known—and especially the media-savvy Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez—captivated the press. Many in the party’s establishment concluded that it needed to respond to their youthful, radical energy by absorbing their cultural outlook and maximalist politics.
By the time the first Democratic presidential primary debates were held in late June 2019, leading candidates were seeking to outflank one another to the left. Many of these candidates endorsed a wide range of radical policy options: “Medicare for All” reforms that would eliminate private health insurance; a Green New Deal with an aggressive timeline for reducing reliance on fossil fuels; banning fracking; decriminalizing unauthorized migration over the Mexican border; providing health insurance to undocumented immigrants; allowing prisoners to vote; abolishing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement; and promising reparations to the descendants of slaves.
While candidates for the Democratic nomination were floating such ideas, the latter half of Trump’s term unfolded on ever more polarizing terms, leading to Trump’s impeachment by the newly Democratic House on December 18, 2019. Shortly thereafter, the coronavirus pandemic hit the United States, leading to a massive nationwide shutdown followed by a sharp economic contraction and skyrocketing unemployment. In the midst of this, Trump continued roiling the waters with bizarre theories about the coronavirus and how to treat it, leading to a stark politicization of the public-health emergency.
In this situation, Joe Biden was able to take advantage of both his primary opponents’ radical ideas and the chaos of Trump’s governance by striking a moderate note, promising to pursue progressive but sensible policies, restore the “soul of America,” provide the help Americans needed to get through the crisis, and, of course and above all, beat Donald Trump. This was a congenial message to the Democratic primary electorate, starting with Black voters in South Carolina on February 29 and running through every demographic on Super Tuesday and beyond. It turned out that, despite the strenuous appeals of many candidates to the party’s rising left, most Democratic primary voters had more pragmatic and moderate views than the media-anointed advocates for a more radical party. Other candidates’ failure to understand this emptied the field for Biden, who cruised to the nomination after Super Tuesday.
While Biden was wrapping up the nomination, cultural radicalism continued to gather force on the left of the party and among progressive elites. In these quarters, being progressive meant not just opposing Trump and the GOP and supporting Democratic policy priorities, but also a deep commitment to the beliefs and practices of identity politics. They argued that racism, sexism, transphobia, and other forms of oppression were everywhere in America, including within seemingly liberal institutions and the most minute interactions of daily life.
Then the egregious murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis by a police officer sparked an unprecedented surge of protests. Corporations and the entire nonprofit and arts world competed to offer the most ringing affirmations of the need to fight systemic racism. The potential public-health problems posed by mass protests in the midst of a public-health emergency were waved away. The violence that sometimes attended these protests was defended as an unavoidable feature of a righteous uprising and of little importance compared with racist police violence. The Democratic data wunderkind David Shor was fired from the Civis data-analytics firm simply for tweeting out an academic study indicating that such violent protests typically help the right.
Even when “Defund the police” became a popular slogan in protest circles, Democrats did not want to hear a critical word about the Black Lives Matter protests. The slogan—adjacent to, and frequently embracing, police and prison abolition—made its way into the discourse with only mild pushback in Democratic circles. There it was in 35-foot bright-yellow block letters on 16th Street in Washington, D.C., (with a helpful equal sign equating it to Black Lives Matter signage on the same street). Democrats struggled to thoroughly dissociate themselves from “Defund the police” while remaining supportive of the BLM movement.
Usually, candidates attempt to move toward the center in preparation for a general-election campaign. But Biden did the reverse. He formed six “unity task forces” jointly coordinated by Biden and Sanders campaign figures, covering climate change, criminal-justice reform, the economy, education, health care, and immigration. The co-chairs included such lions of the left as Ocasio-Cortez and Pramila Jayapal, now the chair of the House Progressive Caucus, and the task forces themselves were well stocked with Sanders (and Elizabeth Warren) supporters. The task forces produced a blizzard of positions and language considerably to the left of the “moderate, normie” politics upon which Biden had built his successful campaign. And these positions and language found their way into the Democratic Party platform, were incorporated into Biden’s campaign promises and, importantly, determined how the Biden administration made staffing and policy decisions. Despite Biden and his team’s initial insistence that the strenuous leftism found on Twitter wasn’t real life, by the end of the campaign they seemed to be quite happy to act as though it was.
If any in the Biden campaign had qualms about the campaign’s evolution to the left, they might have taken comfort from two facts. One, Biden was ahead by eight points nationally in the middle of September, and by 10 points in the middle of October. In FiveThirtyEight’s final forecast, Biden was projected to carry not only the three Rust Belt states that had handed the 2016 election to Trump (Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin) but also Arizona, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina. Ohio was projected to be close—within a point—and Iowa and Texas within two points. The projected victory margin for Biden in Michigan and Wisconsin was eight points, and in Pennsylvania, it was five points. Democrats were also projected to take back the Senate, attaining a three- or four-seat margin in the body, and to pad their lead in the House.
The campaign’s second comforting aspect was that the obvious contrast it wanted to draw—between the disruptive and chaotic Trump presidency, unable to manage the pandemic and the economy, and the reassuring approach of a moderate, trusted Biden, who would restore America to normality in both realms—appeared to be defining the contest. The stage seemed to be set for a resounding rejection of the incumbent administration and perhaps another wave election for the Democrats.
This made Biden’s decision to absorb the left in his campaign look like a winner, or at least harmless. A big victory was in the offing. But to the Democrats’ great shock, this was not the election they got. Once again, the polls had overestimated Democratic strength across the board.
Biden carried the national popular vote by a little more than four points, better than Clinton in 2016 but far off the gaudy margin that the campaign and political pundits had anticipated. Biden did carry Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, but they were much closer than projected. He won Michigan by less than three points, Pennsylvania by less than two points, and Wisconsin by less than a point. The breakthrough states for Biden—Arizona and Georgia—were taken by razor-thin margins of three-tenths and two-tenths of a percentage point, respectively. And Biden got blown out by eight points in both Iowa and Ohio, which were supposed to be so close.
Democrats, to their astonishment, managed to lose 13 seats in the House, reducing their majority to a narrow 222–213. And they managed to gain the Senate only by improbably winning two runoff elections in Georgia, as Trump prospectively declared the elections “illegal and invalid” and subverted his own party’s electoral chances by suppressing turnout among his supporters. That gave the Democrats a 50–50 tie in the Senate with newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker in their favor.
Majorities don’t get much narrower than that. In addition, at the state level, Democrats fell further behind in both governorships and control of state legislative chambers. This was hardly the wave election that Democrats had anticipated.
But Democrats did attain control of the House, the Senate, and the White House—albeit by the thinnest of margins—allowing most of them to ignore, or downplay, the many troubling signs from the election, especially their deteriorating working-class support. That has led them down the path to their current situation. The aftermath of the 2022 election will likely give them another opportunity to reexamine their approach. Will they return to their historical roots? Or will their long goodbye to the working class continue?
The Twitter Massacre
I am amusing myself with watching the panic some people express over Elon Musk’s cleanup of Twitter.
Yesterday 3,700 of its 7,500 workers were fired. That is not good, but the company was losing money and making money is at the core of the capitalist game.
Of interest is what functions were eliminated. The Guardian provides this list:
From news reports and terminated employees’ announcements, here’s what we know so far about the teams that have been hit by the layoffs of thousands of Twitter employees:
- The human rights team has been laid off, according to a now former employee, Shannon Raj Singh, who said the team worked to protect those at risk in global conflicts, including in Ukraine, Afghanistan and Ethiopia.
- The ML (machine learning) Ethics, Transparency and Accountability team is gone, according to a tweet of a laid-off manager.
- The “internet technology team”, which helps keep the site running, has been cut to “a skeleton crew”, two sources told the Times.
- An accessibly experience engineering team has been cut, according to a laid-off engineering manager.
- The curation team, responsible for the Moments feature on Twitter, has also been cut, former employees reported.
- Twitter’s communications department is almost entirely gone, according to the Verge.
- Other areas that have been heavily impacted, the Verge reported, include product trust and safety, policy, research and social good.
What were these teams actually doing?
Shannon Raj Singh @ShannonRSingh – 17:58 UTC · Nov 4, 2022
Yesterday was my last day at Twitter: the entire Human Rights team has been cut from the company.
I am enormously proud of the work we did to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights, to protect those at-risk in global conflicts & crises including Ethiopia, Afghanistan, and Ukraine, and to defend the needs of those particularly at risk of human rights abuse by virtue of their social media presence, such as journalists & human rights defenders.
The human rights team was the ‘regime change’ force on Twitter. It intervened in conflicts where the U.S. preferred a certain side.
Jerri ☮️ @JerusWorld – 20:42 UTC · Nov 4, 2022
Replying to @ShannonRSingh
So you are the one that was censoring pro-Ethiopian and Eritrean voices in order to help the rebel group from Tigray. May Karma pay you back for thousands of lives perished in US/West proxy war.
Shannon Raj Singh had previously meddled in Afghan and other countries’ cultures:
Shannon Raj Singh is a Legal Counsel for SAHR, advising a Kabul-based team on sexual violence litigation in Afghanistan, which aims to end the invasive and discriminatory practice of female virginity testing.
She is an international criminal law attorney focused on victim-centered responses to mass atrocities. Currently based in The Hague, she has experience working with the Special Tribunal for Lebanon, the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and a number of human rights NGOs in sub-Saharan Africa. She has also practiced as a litigator in the United States, appearing in both state and federal courts and assisting with overseas corruption investigations under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.
The machine learning ethics, transparency and accountability team was also fired. Machine learning, also glorified as ‘artificial intelligence’, is essentially an (often lousy) pattern recognition system. It can be trained with categorized data and, after that, can categorized other data it gets presented. All one needs to know about its ethics, transparency and accountability is is the old IT wisdom ‘garbage in garbage out’. If one trains the system with faulty categorized data it will fail to correctly categorize data. It does not need an extra team to learn that.
I do not know what the ‘Internet technology team’ was doing but the function obviously still exists. It was merely downsized.
The accessibly experience engineering team included at least five members. There task was to modify the Twitter app so it could be used better by people with disabilities. I find it weird that Twitter had a whole team for that. To teach designers to use colors that can be differentiated by color blind people takes about 90 minutes max. All other accessibility issues I can think of (fontsize, button size etc.) are an issue for the device and operation system, not for an application like Twitter that runs on top of those. Besides that, how big is the market of people with disabilities for a company like Twitter?
The ‘curation team’ ran the Twitter moments feature. It allows for blog posts about specific tweets. The feature never took off. I know of no one who has ever used it.
Many journalists are hostile to Musk’s takeover of their favorite hang out. The communications department was there to talk to the press. Why bother?
And the other functions? Product trust and safety, policy, research and social good? What were they actually doing? How has the ‘social good’ team helped the company to be successful?
The Washington Post laments that Twitter fired some people who were doing ‘election information’:
The mass layoffs Friday gutted teams devoted to combating election misinformation, adding context to misleading tweets and communicating with journalists, public officials and campaign staff.
The layoffs included a number of people who were scheduled to be on call this weekend and early next week to monitor for signs of foreign disinformation, spam and other problematic content around the election, one former employee told The Washington Post.
‘Foreign meddling’ is certainly an issue in U.S. elections as foreign money funneled through lobbyists can influence the votes. But ‘foreign meddling’ on social media is simply a myth promoted by Democrats as part of their great ‘Russiagate’ fake.
Twitter’s downfall into a ‘regime change’ outlet came in 2009 when it moved a maintenance window to help U.S. ‘regime change’ efforts in Iran:
The Obama administration says it has tried to avoid words or deeds that could be portrayed as American meddling in Iran’s presidential election and its tumultuous aftermath.
Yet on Monday afternoon, a 27-year-old State Department official, Jared Cohen, e-mailed the social-networking site Twitter with an unusual request: delay scheduled maintenance of its global network, which would have cut off service while Iranians were using Twitter to swap information and inform the outside world about the mushrooming protests around Tehran.
The request, made to a Twitter co-founder, Jack Dorsey, is yet another new-media milestone: the recognition by the United States government that an Internet blogging service that did not exist four years ago has the potential to change history in an ancient Islamic country.
Twitter complied with the request, saying in a blog post on Monday that it put off the upgrade until late Tuesday afternoon 1:30 a.m. Wednesday in Tehran because its partners recognized “the role Twitter is currently playing as an important communication tool in Iran.”
That was an expensive mistake. Shortly thereafter Twitter lost access to the Iranian market.
Back to ‘regime change’ assistant Shannon Raj Singh:
chinahand @chinahand – 18:55 UTC · Nov 4, 2022
Somebody should publish the pre Elon org chart. Judging by this twitter walked talked and quacked like an NGO which made it subject to banning in half the world
Twitter had become a ‘woke’ company that was mostly in the hands of the Democratic Party. By being ‘woke’ and by supporting ‘regime change’ efforts Twitter killed its own access to at least half of its potential market.
It Musk manages to make it a more neutral service, nationally and internationally, while keeping its original function alive, I am all for it.
Unfortunately that is unlikely to happen.
• 3,100 WORDS •
One of the biggest problems for the left, as it confronts what seems like humanity’s ever-more precarious relationship with the planet – from the climate emergency to a potential nuclear exchange – is that siren voices keeping luring it towards the rocks of political confusion and self-harm.
And one of the loudest sirens on the British left is the environmental activist George Monbiot.
Monbiot has carved out for himself a figurehead role on the mainstream British left because he is the only big-picture thinker allowed a regular platform in the establishment media: in his case, the liberal Guardian newspaper. It is a spot he covets and one that seems to have come with a big price tag: he is allowed to criticize the corporate elite’s capture of British domestic politics – he occasionally concedes that our political life has been stripped of all democratic content – but only, it seems, because he has become ever less willing to extend that same critique to British foreign policy.
As a result, Monbiot holds as a cherished piety what should be two entirely inconsistent positions: that British and Western elites are pillaging the planet for corporate gain, immune to the catastrophe they are wreaking on the environment and oblivious to the lives they are destroying at home and abroad; and that these same elites are fighting good, humanitarian wars to protect the interests of poor and oppressed peoples overseas, from Syria and Libya to Ukraine, peoples who coincidentally just happen to live in areas of geostrategic significance.
Because of the vice-like corporate hold on Britain’s political priorities, Monbiot avers, nothing the corporate media tells us should be believed – except when those priorities relate to protecting peoples facing down ruthless foreign dictators, from Syria’s Bashar al-Assad to Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Then the media should be believed absolutely.
Monbiot’s embrace of the narratives justifying Washington’s “humanitarian” interventions abroad has been incremental. Back in the late 1990s, while generally supporting the aims of NATO’s war on the former Yugoslavia, he called out its bombing of Serbia as a “dirty war”, highlighting the ecological and economic destruction it entailed. He would also sound the alarm – if ambivalently – over the Iraq war in 2003, and later become a leading proponent of jailing former UK prime minister Tony Blair as a war criminal for his involvement.
But as the ripples from the Iraq war spread to other parts of the Middle East and beyond, often in complicated ways, Monbiot took the good will he had earned among the anti-imperialist left and weaponized it to Washington’s advantage.
By 2007, he was swallowing wholesale the evidence-free narrative crafted in Washington and Tel Aviv that Iran was trying to acquire a nuclear bomb and needed to be stopped. In 2011, he was a reluctant supporter of the West’s campaign to violently depose Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, turning the country into a failed state of slave markets.
In 2017, he legitimized President Trump’s grounds for bombing Syria and minimized the significance of those air strikes, which were a gross violation of international law. Washington’s rationalizations for the attack – based on a claim that President Assad had gassed his own people – started to unravel when whistleblowers from the United Nations’ chemical weapons inspections agency, the OPCW, came forward. They revealed that US intimidation of the OPCW had led to the inspectors’ findings being distorted for political reasons: to put Assad in the frame rather than the more likely culprits of jihadists, who hoped a false-flag gas attack would pressure the West into removing the Syrian leader on their behalf.
In the case of the Ukraine war, Monbiot has insisted on adherence to the NATO narrative, decrying any dissent as “Westplaining”. Throughout this shift ever more firmly into the imperial NATO camp, Monbiot has besmirched prominent anti-war leftists, from the famed linguist Noam Chomsky to the journalist John Pilger, as “genocide deniers and belittlers”.
If this characterization of his position sounds unfair, watch this short video he recently made for Double Down News. According to Monbiot, the left’s slogan is a simple one: “Whatever the situation around the world is, you side against the oppressor, and with the oppressed. That is the fundamental guiding principle of justice, and that is the principle we on the left should stick with, regardless of the identity of the oppressor and the oppressed.”
As an abstract principle, this one is sound enough. But no one characterizing themselves as speaking for the anti-imperialist left should be using a simple rule of thumb to analyze and dictate foreign policy positions in the highly interconnected, complex and duplicitous world we currently inhabit.
As Monbiot knows only too well, we live in a world – one pillaged by a colonial West to generate unprecedented, short-term economic growth for some, and mire others in permanent poverty – where global resources are rapidly being exhausted, beginning the gradual erosion of Western privilege.
We live in a world where intelligence agencies have developed new technologies to spy on populations on an unprecedented scale, to meddle in other states’ politics, and to subject their own populations to ever more sophisticated propaganda narratives to conceal realities that might undermine their credibility or legitimacy.
We live in a world where transnational corporations – dependent for their success on continued resource plunder – effectively own leading politicians, even governments, through political funding, through control of the think-tanks that develop policy proposals, and through their ownership of the mass media. Here is a recent article by Monbiot explaining just that.
We live in a world where those same corporations are deeply entwined with state institutions in the very war and security industries that, first, sustain and rationalize the plunder and then “protect” our borders from any backlash from those whose resources are being plundered.
And we live in a world where the first shockwaves of climate collapse, combined with these resource wars, are fomenting mass migrations – and an ever greater urgency in Western states to turn themselves into fortresses to defend against a feared stampede.
Zealot for war
Monbiot knows this world only too well because he writes about it in such detail. He has won the hearts of many on the left because he describes so eloquently the capture of domestic politics by a shadowy cabal of Western corporations, politicians and media moguls. But he then concludes that this same psychopathic, planet-destroying cabal can be trusted when it explains – via its reliable mouthpieces in the right-wing press, the BBC and his own Guardian newspaper – what it is doing in Syria, Libya or Ukraine.
And worse, Monbiot lashes out at anyone who dissents, calling them apologists for dictators, or war crimes. And he brings many on the left with him, helping to divide and weaken the anti-war movement.
One might have assumed Monbiot would have entertained a little more doubt in his foreign policy prescriptions over the past decade, if only because they have so squarely chimed with United States and NATO narratives amplified by the establishment media. But not a bit of it. He is a zealot for the West’s wars when they can be presented either as humanitarian or as battling Russian imperialism. (For examples, see here, here and here.)
The problem with Monbiot, as it is with much of the British left, is that he treats the various modern, great-power imperialisms – American, Russian and Chinese – as though they operate in parallel to each other rather than, as they do, constantly intersect and conflict.
To see the world as one in which the US “does imperialism” in Afghanistan and Iraq, while Russia separately “does imperialism” in Syria and Ukraine may be satisfying to anyone with a desperate need to appear even-handed. But it does nothing to advance our understanding of world events.
The interests of great powers inevitably clash. They are fighting over the same finite resources to grow their economies; they are competing over the same key states to turn them into allies; they are waging conflicting narrative battles over the same events. And they are trying – always trying – to diminish or subvert their rivals.
To claim that the war in Ukraine somehow stands outside these great-power intrigues – and that the only justified response is a simple one of cheerleading the oppressed and reviling the oppressor, as Monbiot requires – is beyond preposterous.
To imagine that the UK and wider West are somehow on Ukraine’s side, are sending untold billions in arms even as recession bites, are opposed even to testing the seriousness of Russian offers of peace talks, and are blocking Russian oil even though the results are decimating European economies – and all because it is the right thing to do, or because Putin is a madman bent on world conquest – is to be entirely detached from joined-up thinking.
It is entirely possible, if we engage our critical faculties, to consider far more complex scenarios for which there are no good guys and no easy solutions.
It might – just might – be that Russia is both sinner in Ukraine and sinned against. Or that Ukrainian civilians are victims both of Russian militarism and of more covert US and NATO intrigues. Or that in a country like Ukraine, where a civil war has been raging for at least eight years between far-right (some of them exterminationist) Ukrainian ultra-nationalists and ethnic Russian communities, we would be better jettisoning our narrative premises of a single “Ukraine” or a single Ukrainian will. This kind of simple-mindedness may be obscuring far more than it illuminates.
Pointing this out does not make one a Putin apologist. It simply recognizes the lessons of history: that world events are rarely explicable through one narrative alone; that states have different, conflicting interests and that understanding the nature of those conflicts is the key to resolving them; and that what great powers say they are doing isn’t necessarily what they are actually doing.
And further, that elites – whether Russian, Ukrainian, European or American – usually have their own class-serving set of interests that have little to do with the ordinary populations they supposedly represent.
In such circumstances, Monbiot’s dictum that we must “side against the oppressor, and with the oppressed” starts to sound like nothing more than unhelpful sloganeering. It makes a complex situation that needs complex thinking and sophisticated problem-solving harder to understand and all but impossible to resolve.
Throw nuclear weapons into the mix, and Monbiot the environmentalist is playing games not only with the lives of Ukrainians, but the destruction of conditions for most life on Earth.
Western solipsism of the kind indulged by Monbiot ignores Russian concerns or, worse, subsumes them into a fanciful narrative that a Russian army that is struggling to subjugate Ukraine (assuming that is actually what it is trying to do) intends next to rampage across the rest of Europe.
In truth, Russia has good reasons not only to take an especial interest in what happens in neighboring Ukraine, but to see events there as posing a potential existential threat to it.
Historically, the lands that today we call Ukraine have been the gateway through which invading armies have attacked Russia. Long efforts by Washington, through NATO, to recruit Ukraine into its military fold were never likely to be viewed dispassionately in Moscow.
That was all the more so because Washington has been exploiting Russian vulnerabilities – economic and military – since the collapse of its empire, the Soviet Union, in 1991. The US has done so both by converting former Soviet states into a massively enlarged, unified bloc of NATO members on Russia’s doorstep and by brashly excluding Russia from European security arrangements.
The US moves looked overtly aggressive to Moscow, whether that was the way they were intended or not.
But Russia had good grounds to interpret these actions as hostile: because Washington has been not-so-covertly meddling in Ukraine over the past decade. That included its concealed role in fomenting protests in 2014 that overthrew an elected government in Kyiv sympathetic to Moscow, and its clandestine military role afterwards, in training the Ukrainian army under President Obama and arming it under President Trump, that readied Ukraine for a coming war with Moscow that Washington appeared to be doing everything in its power to make happen.
Then there was the problem of the Crimean Peninsula, hosting Moscow’s only warm-water naval port and viewed as critically important to Russia’s defenses. It had been Russian territory until the 1950s when the then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gifted it to Ukraine, at a time when national borders had been made largely redundant within the Soviet empire. The gift was supposed to symbolize the unbreakable bond between Russia and Ukraine. Khrushchev presumably never imagined that Ukraine might one day seek to become a forward base for a NATO openly hostile to Russia.
And of course, Ukraine is not simply a gateway for invaders. It is also Russia’s natural corridor into Europe. It is through Ukraine that Moscow has traditionally exported goods and its energy resources to the rest of Europe. Russia’s opening of the Nord Stream gas pipelines direct to Germany through the Baltic Sea, circumventing Ukraine, was a clear signal that Moscow saw a Kyiv under Washington’s spell as a threat to its vital energy interests.
Notably, those same Nord Stream pipelines were blown up last month after a long series of threats from Washington officials, from President Biden down, that the US would find a way to end Russian gas supplies to Germany.
Russia has been excluded by Germany, Sweden and Denmark – all US allies – from participation in the investigation into those explosions on its energy infrastructure. Even more suspiciously, Sweden is citing “national security” – code for avoiding embarrassing a key ally? – as grounds for refusing to publish findings from the investigations.
So where does all this leave Monbiot’s rule: “Whatever the situation around the world is, you side against the oppressor, and with the oppressed”?
Not only does his axiom fail to acknowledge the complex nature of global conflicts, especially between great powers, in which defining who is the oppressor and who is the oppressed may be no simple matter, but, worse, it disfigures our understanding of international power politics.
Russia and China may be great powers, but they are not – at least, not yet – close to being equal to the US super-power.
Neither can match the many hundreds of US military bases around the world – more than 800 of them. The US outspends both of its rivals many times over on its annual military budget. That means Washington can project lethal power around the globe on a scale unmatched by either Russia or China. The only deterrence either has against the military might of the US is a last-resort nuclear arsenal.
Overwhelming US military supremacy means that, unlike China or Russia, Washington does not need to win over allies with carrots. It can simply threaten, bully or bludgeon – directly or through proxies – any state that refuses to submit to its dictates. That way, it has gained control over most of the planet’s key resources, especially over its fossil fuels.
Similarly, the US enjoys the manifold benefits of having the world’s principal reserve currency, pegging prices – most importantly energy prices – to the dollar. That does not just help reduce the costs of international trade for the US and allow it to borrow money cheaply. It also makes other states and their currencies dependent on the stability of the dollar, as the UK has just found out when the value of the pound plunged against the dollar, threatening to decimate the business sector.
But there are other advantages for the US in dominating global trade and currency markets. Washington is well positioned to impose economic sanctions to isolate and immiserate states that oppose it, as it is doing to Afghanistan and Iran. And its control of the world’s main financial institutions, such as the IMF and World Bank, means they act as little more than enforcers of Washington foreign policy priorities before agreeing to lend money.
Both militarily and economically, the United States molds the world we live in. For those in the West, its grip on our material wellbeing and on our ideological horizons is almost complete. But the American shadow extends much further. All states, including Russia and China, operate within the framework of power relations, global institutions, state interests, and access to resources shaped by the US.
What distinguishes the status of Russia and China as great powers from the status of the US as a solitary super-power is the fact that their role on the international stage is necessarily more reactive and defensive. Neither can afford to antagonize the American behemoth unnecessarily. They must protect their interests, rather than project them as Washington does.
That means neither is likely to start invading neighbors that wish to ally with the US unless they feel existentially important state interests are being threatened by such an alliance. That is why Western narratives claiming to explain Russia’s invasion of Ukraine have to take as their starting points two improbable assumptions: that President Putin is solely responsible for launching the Ukraine war, over the heads of the Russian military; and that Putin himself is mad, evil or a megalomaniac.
To make such a case – the premise of all Western coverage of events in Ukraine – is already to concede that the only rational explanation for Russia invading Ukraine would be its perception that vital Russian interests were at stake – interests so vital that Moscow was prepared to defend them even if it meant incurring the wrath of the mighty American empire.
Instead, Monbiot and much of the left are throwing in their hand with the racist prescriptions of the apologists of US empire: that Washington’s great-power rivals act in ways decried by the US solely because they are irrational and evil.
This is a power-politics analysis of the playground. And yet it passes for neutral reporting and informed commentary in all establishment Western media. Catastrophically, Monbiot has played a crucial part in seeding these destructive ideas – ones that can only lead to intensified conflict and undermine peacemaking – into the anti-war movement.
(Republished from Jonathan Cook)
• 2,900 WORDS •
A MintPress study has found that hundreds of former agents of the notorious Israeli spying organization, Unit 8200, have attained positions of influence in many of the world’s biggest tech companies, including Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Amazon.
The Israeli Defense Forces’ (IDF) Unit 8200 is infamous for surveilling the indigenous Palestinian population, amassing kompromat on individuals for the purposes of blackmail and extortion. Spying on the world’s rich and famous, Unit 8200 hit the headlines last year, after the Pegasus scandal broke. Former Unit 8200 officers designed and implemented software that spied on tens of thousands of politicians and likely aided in the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
According to employment website LinkedIn, there are currently at least 99 former Unit 8200 veterans currently working for Google. This number almost certainly underestimates the scale of the collaboration between the two organizations, however. For one, this does not count former Google employees. Nor does it include those without a public LinkedIn account, or those who do have an account, but have not disclosed their previous affiliations with the high-tech Israeli surveillance unit. This is likely to be a considerable number, as agents are expressly prohibited from ever revealing their affiliation to Unit 8200. Thus, the figure of 99 only represents the number of current (or extremely recent) Google employees who are brazenly flouting Israeli military law by including the organization in their profiles.
Among these include:
Gavriel Goidel: Between 2010 and 2016, Goidel served in Unit 8200, rising to become Head of Learning at the organization, leading a large team of operatives who sifted through intelligence data to “understand patterns of hostile activists”, in his own words, transmitting that information to superiors. Whether this included any of the over 1000 Gazan civilians Israel killed during their 2014 bombardment of Gaza is unknown. Goidel was recently appointed Head of Strategy and Operations at Google.
Jonathan Cohen: Cohen was a team leader during his time in Unit 8200 (2000-2003). He has since spent more than 13 years working for Google in various senior positions, and is currently Head of Insights, Data and Measurement.
Ori Daniel: Between 2003 and 2006, Daniel was a technical operations specialist with Unit 8200. After a stint with Palantir, he joined Google in 2018, rising to become Head of Global Self-Service for Google Waze.
Ben Bariach: For nearly five years between 2007 and 2011, Bariach served as a cyber intelligence officer, where he “commanded strategic teams of elite officers and professionals.”Since 2016, he has worked for Google. Between 2018 and 2020, he concentrated on tackling “controversial content, disinformation and cyber-security”. Today, he is a product partnership manager for Google in London.
Notably, Google appears to not only accept former Unit 8200 agents with open arms, but to actively recruit current members of the controversial organization. For example, in October 2020, Gai Gutherz left his job as a project leader at Unit 8200 and walked into a full time job at Google as a software engineer. In 2018, Lior Liberman appears to have done the same thing, taking a position as a program manager at Google after 4 years in military intelligence. Earlier this year, she left Google and now works at Microsoft.
SPYING ON PALESTINIANS
Some might contend that all Israelis are compelled to complete military service, and so, therefore, what is the problem with young people using the tech skills they learned in the IDF in civilian life. In short, why is this Unit 8200-to-Silicon-Valley-pipeline a problem?
To begin with, Unit 8200 is not a run-of-the-mill regiment. Described as “Israel’s NSA” and located on a gigantic base near Beer Sheva in the Negev desert, Unit 8200 is the IDF’s largest unit – and one of its most exclusive. The brightest young minds in the country compete to be sent to serve at this Israeli Harvard. Although military service is compulsory for Jewish Israelis, Arab citizens are strongly discouraged from joining the military and are effectively blocked from Unit 8200. Indeed, they are the prime targets of the apartheid state’s surveillance operations.
The Financial Times called Unit 8200 “Israel at its best and worst” – the centerpiece of both its burgeoning high-tech industry and of its repressive state apparatus. Unit 8200 veterans have gone on to produce many of the world’s most downloaded apps, including maps service Waze, and communications app Viber. But in 2014, 43 reservists, including several officers, sent a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, informing him they would no longer serve in its ranks due to its involvement in the political persecution of Palestinians.
This consisted of using big data to compile dossiers on huge numbers of the indigenous domestic population, including their medical history, sex lives, and search histories, in order that it could be used for extortion later. If a certain individual needed to travel across checkpoints for crucial medical treatment, permission could be suspended until they complied. Information, such as if a person was cheating on their spouse or was homosexual, is also used as bait for blackmail. One former Unit 8200 man said that as part of his training, he was assigned to memorize different Arabic words for “gay” so that he could listen out for them in conversations.
An award handed out to the IDF’s Unit 8200 for clandestine operations, June 24, 2020. Photo | IDF
Perhaps most importantly, the dissenters noted, Palestinians as a whole are considered enemies of the state. “There’s no distinction between Palestinians who are, and are not, involved in violence,” the letter read. It also claims that much intelligence was gathered not in service of Israel, but for powerful local politicians, who used it as they saw fit.
The letter, despite being intentionally vague and not naming anyone, was considered such a threat that Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon announced that those who signed it would be “treated as criminals.”
In short, then, Unit 8200 is partially a spying and extortion organization that uses its access to data to blackmail and extort opponents of the apartheid state. That this organization has so many operatives (literally hundreds) in key positions in big tech companies that the world trusts with our most sensitive data (medical, financial, etc.) should be of serious concern. This is especially true as they do not appear to distinguish between “bad guys” and the rest of us. To Unit 8200, it seems, anyone is fair game.
Google already has a close relationship with the Israeli government. Last year, along with Amazon, it signed a $1.2 billion contract with Israel to provide military surveillance tech services – technology that will allow the IDF to further unlawfully spy on Palestinians, destroy their homes and expand illegal settlements.
The deal led to a staff revolt at both companies, with some 400 employees signing an open letter refusing to cooperate. Google forced one Jewish employee, Ariel Koren, out of the door for her part in resisting the deal. Koren later told MintPress that,
“Google systematically silences Palestinian, Jewish, Arab, and Muslim voices concerned about Google’s complicity in violations of Palestinian human rights – to the point of formally retaliating against workers and creating an environment of fear…in my experience, silencing dialogue and dissent in this way has helped Google protect its business interest with the Israeli military and government.”
Another link between Google and the Israeli security state comes in the form of cybersecurity group Team8, a collaboration between former Google CEO and chairman Eric Schmidt, and three ex-Unit 8200 officers, including its former leader, Nadav Zafrir. Team8’s mission, according to a press release, is, “To leverage the offensive and defensive skills of veterans of Israel’s cyberwar efforts to build new security startups.”
Meta – the company that owns Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp – has also recruited heavily from the ranks of Unit 8200.
Undoubtedly, one of the most influential people at Meta is Emi Palmor. Palmor is one of 23 individuals who sit on Facebook’s Oversight Board. Described by Mark Zuckerberg as Facebook’s “Supreme Court”, the Oversight Board collectively decides what content to accept and promote on the platform, and what should be censored, deleted, and suppressed.