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Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Psychology of Ideology and Religion

The Psychology of Ideology and Religion

Two of the drivers of world affairs that manifest in the daily decisions that affect our lives are ideology and religion.

Ideology is the term widely used to describe the underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization. This organization might be a political party, government, multinational corporation, terrorist group, non-government organization, community or activist group.

Religion usually describes the belief in a superhuman controlling power involving a God or gods; it entails a system of faith and worship as well as, like ideology, an underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization.

At the macro level, there are worldwide or regional ideologies such as capitalism, fascism, conservatism, communism, socialism, feminism, pacifism and environmentalism as well as religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. There are also variations of these major ideologies and religions. But even at the micro level, the local service club, neighborhood charity and sporting club operates in accordance with an ideology or religion that is shared by its members too.

Frequently, a shared ideology or religion is a functional way for like-minded people to find each other and to work together to achieve a shared aim. When this helps to achieve a desirable social outcome, the shared ideology or religion has a valuable purpose.
Unfortunately, however, often enough the shared ideology or religion has a dysfunctional basis and the outcome is detrimental both individually and socially with the (violent) consequences sometimes reverberating throughout a national or even global society. This is why it is useful to understand the psychology of ideology and religion.

When a child is very young, they start to learn from the people around them. Predominantly, they learn by being participants, one way or another, in the events in which they are involved. That is, when their parents, other significant adults (such as relatives, school teachers and religious figures) or an older sibling involve the child in an activity, the child is taught and copies the mental responses and behaviours of those around them. This is what is called ‘socialization’.

However, it is important to identify the ideological/religious elements in this process too. First, there are ideological and religious imperatives around raising children. These imperatives are sometimes deliberately shaped by an ideology or a religion but, often enough, they are simply copied on the advice of, or by observing the behavior of, other nearby adults.

Second, and more importantly however, the child unconsciously acquires a set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine (in relation to social, cultural, political, economic, religious, sporting and ecological issues) that are approved by the adults in the child’s life.

There is much that is functional about this process and, historically, it can explain a great deal about human behavior, including in particular cultural contexts.

But I would like to discuss the dysfunctional aspects of this process which arise from the way in which the child’s fear is deliberately played upon so that, consciously or unconsciously, they copy the ideology or religion of the adults around them. And the reason that the child does this is so that the ideology or religion that they acquire, together with the behavioral outcomes that arise from this, does not scare these same adults.

In an ideal world, a child would be socialized in an environment devoid of fear and in which they are loved, there is no ‘visible’, ‘invisible’ or ‘utterly invisible’ violence – see ‘Why Violence?‘  – damaging them in any way, they have their needs met and they are utterly free to choose (and later change if they wish) the values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine by which they will live their life, preferably with the benefit of substantial aware listening from adults while they work this out for themselves. Needless to say, this never happens.

In fact, the typical child is endlessly terrorized into adopting some version of the individual ideologies and religions, which are sometimes bizarrely conflicting, of the people around them.
This means that a fixed set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine – including those in relation to violence – become fearfully and unconsciously embedded in the child’s mind and they cease to be values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that are easily and consciously accessible for review and reconsideration in light of new information or evidence. Let me briefly illustrate this point.

For some people, it is easy to laugh at or be outraged by the absurd statements they hear uttered by a very conservative politician, especially if they display a pronounced bias against a particular racial or religious group or a class of people. But to a conservative, their ideology is imperative and it reflects a childhood of being terrorized into believing certain things. There is no conscious awareness of this unconscious terror and even if asked, they would readily proclaim that they are not terrified (because they have been terrorized into suppressing their awareness of this terror, which is why it is now unconscious to them).

Similarly, most socialists are very attached to the ideology that puts class (based on the production relations of capitalism) predominantly at the centre of their analysis, feminists usually believe that gender relations under patriarchy are the primary problem in society, many people who combat racism view white domination as the core issue in social oppression, and religious fundamentalists believe that they know the one truth to the exclusion of people of other faiths. Irrespective of the proclaimed original basis of the ideology or religion, often enough, at least some of its adherents also learn to believe that violence is the appropriate behavior for achieving some or all of their aims.

The issue in this context, however, is not whether any of these people is right or wrong but why they hold so tenaciously to a worldview that they do not willingly and fearlessly subject to ongoing scrutiny. And that is why the psychology of ideology and religion is so important.

If any person is willing to fearlessly and open-mindedly consider other worldviews and analyses of society’s social relationships and problems, as well as how to tackle these problems, then it is likely that their ideology or religion is one that has been genuinely and intelligently acquired of their own free will and their mind will be capable of analysis and reconsideration if compelling evidence of the merits of an alternative worldview or explanation is made available. They are also likely to be highly tolerant of other worldviews as some religions, for example, specifically teach.

But if someone, whatever their ideology or religion, is dogmatically insistent on their own worldview, then their fear of further analysis and reconsideration will be readily apparent and it is a straightforward conclusion that they were terrorized out of the capacity to think fearlessly for themselves when they were a child. They are also more likely to behave violently.

If you would like to read a detailed explanation of how a child is terrorized, to a greater or lesser extent, into unconsciously absorbing a version of the ideologies and/or religions of the adults around them, you can do so in ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice.’  These documents explain the visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence to which children are subjected throughout childhood and which few survive. Moreover, it is this adult violence against children that leads to all other manifestations of violence.

Now, you might well ask: Is this simply my ideology? Well perhaps it is. But five decades of research, which included substantial reading and thoughtful consideration of many ideologies and religions, led me to this conclusion. Nevertheless, I remain happy to review my beliefs in this matter if someone offers me compelling evidence in support of another explanation.

Even better, when I witness Christian parents raising children who have chosen to be Muslims and conservative parents raising children who have chosen to be anarchists and… I will have all of the evidence I need to know that I am wrong.

If you would like to work towards creating a world in which fear does not shape every single outcome of human endeavor, you might like to sign the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World‘.

In essence, most children are terrorized into believing what the adults around them want them to think. This is because most adults are far too (unconsciously) frightened to let children think for themselves and to then let them believe and behave as they choose.
Consequently, therefore, it is fear, often mediated through ideology and religion, that drives most human behavior.

Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address isflametree@riseup.net  
The Psychology of Ideology and Religion

Two of the drivers of world affairs that manifest in the daily decisions that affect our lives are ideology and religion.

Ideology is the term widely used to describe the underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization. This organization might be a political party, government, multinational corporation, terrorist group, non-government organization, community or activist group.

Religion usually describes the belief in a superhuman controlling power involving a God or gods; it entails a system of faith and worship as well as, like ideology, an underlying set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that shape the behavioral approach to political, economic, social, cultural and/or ecological activities of an individual or organization.

At the macro level, there are worldwide or regional ideologies such as capitalism, fascism, conservatism, communism, socialism, feminism, pacifism and environmentalism as well as religions including Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam and Judaism. There are also variations of these major ideologies and religions. But even at the micro level, the local service club, neighborhood charity and sporting club operates in accordance with an ideology or religion that is shared by its members too.

Frequently, a shared ideology or religion is a functional way for like-minded people to find each other and to work together to achieve a shared aim. When this helps to achieve a desirable social outcome, the shared ideology or religion has a valuable purpose.
Unfortunately, however, often enough the shared ideology or religion has a dysfunctional basis and the outcome is detrimental both individually and socially with the (violent) consequences sometimes reverberating throughout a national or even global society. This is why it is useful to understand the psychology of ideology and religion.

When a child is very young, they start to learn from the people around them. Predominantly, they learn by being participants, one way or another, in the events in which they are involved. That is, when their parents, other significant adults (such as relatives, school teachers and religious figures) or an older sibling involve the child in an activity, the child is taught and copies the mental responses and behaviours of those around them. This is what is called ‘socialization’.

However, it is important to identify the ideological/religious elements in this process too. First, there are ideological and religious imperatives around raising children. These imperatives are sometimes deliberately shaped by an ideology or a religion but, often enough, they are simply copied on the advice of, or by observing the behavior of, other nearby adults.

Second, and more importantly however, the child unconsciously acquires a set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine (in relation to social, cultural, political, economic, religious, sporting and ecological issues) that are approved by the adults in the child’s life.

There is much that is functional about this process and, historically, it can explain a great deal about human behavior, including in particular cultural contexts.

But I would like to discuss the dysfunctional aspects of this process which arise from the way in which the child’s fear is deliberately played upon so that, consciously or unconsciously, they copy the ideology or religion of the adults around them. And the reason that the child does this is so that the ideology or religion that they acquire, together with the behavioral outcomes that arise from this, does not scare these same adults.

In an ideal world, a child would be socialized in an environment devoid of fear and in which they are loved, there is no ‘visible’, ‘invisible’ or ‘utterly invisible’ violence – see ‘Why Violence?‘  – damaging them in any way, they have their needs met and they are utterly free to choose (and later change if they wish) the values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine by which they will live their life, preferably with the benefit of substantial aware listening from adults while they work this out for themselves. Needless to say, this never happens.

In fact, the typical child is endlessly terrorized into adopting some version of the individual ideologies and religions, which are sometimes bizarrely conflicting, of the people around them.
This means that a fixed set of values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine – including those in relation to violence – become fearfully and unconsciously embedded in the child’s mind and they cease to be values, myths, ideas, attitudes, beliefs and doctrine that are easily and consciously accessible for review and reconsideration in light of new information or evidence. Let me briefly illustrate this point.

For some people, it is easy to laugh at or be outraged by the absurd statements they hear uttered by a very conservative politician, especially if they display a pronounced bias against a particular racial or religious group or a class of people. But to a conservative, their ideology is imperative and it reflects a childhood of being terrorized into believing certain things. There is no conscious awareness of this unconscious terror and even if asked, they would readily proclaim that they are not terrified (because they have been terrorized into suppressing their awareness of this terror, which is why it is now unconscious to them).

Similarly, most socialists are very attached to the ideology that puts class (based on the production relations of capitalism) predominantly at the centre of their analysis, feminists usually believe that gender relations under patriarchy are the primary problem in society, many people who combat racism view white domination as the core issue in social oppression, and religious fundamentalists believe that they know the one truth to the exclusion of people of other faiths. Irrespective of the proclaimed original basis of the ideology or religion, often enough, at least some of its adherents also learn to believe that violence is the appropriate behavior for achieving some or all of their aims.

The issue in this context, however, is not whether any of these people is right or wrong but why they hold so tenaciously to a worldview that they do not willingly and fearlessly subject to ongoing scrutiny. And that is why the psychology of ideology and religion is so important.

If any person is willing to fearlessly and open-mindedly consider other worldviews and analyses of society’s social relationships and problems, as well as how to tackle these problems, then it is likely that their ideology or religion is one that has been genuinely and intelligently acquired of their own free will and their mind will be capable of analysis and reconsideration if compelling evidence of the merits of an alternative worldview or explanation is made available. They are also likely to be highly tolerant of other worldviews as some religions, for example, specifically teach.

But if someone, whatever their ideology or religion, is dogmatically insistent on their own worldview, then their fear of further analysis and reconsideration will be readily apparent and it is a straightforward conclusion that they were terrorized out of the capacity to think fearlessly for themselves when they were a child. They are also more likely to behave violently.

If you would like to read a detailed explanation of how a child is terrorized, to a greater or lesser extent, into unconsciously absorbing a version of the ideologies and/or religions of the adults around them, you can do so in ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice.’  These documents explain the visible, invisible and utterly invisible violence to which children are subjected throughout childhood and which few survive. Moreover, it is this adult violence against children that leads to all other manifestations of violence.

Now, you might well ask: Is this simply my ideology? Well perhaps it is. But five decades of research, which included substantial reading and thoughtful consideration of many ideologies and religions, led me to this conclusion. Nevertheless, I remain happy to review my beliefs in this matter if someone offers me compelling evidence in support of another explanation.

Even better, when I witness Christian parents raising children who have chosen to be Muslims and conservative parents raising children who have chosen to be anarchists and… I will have all of the evidence I need to know that I am wrong.

If you would like to work towards creating a world in which fear does not shape every single outcome of human endeavor, you might like to sign the online pledge of ‘The People’s Charter to Create a Nonviolent World‘.

In essence, most children are terrorized into believing what the adults around them want them to think. This is because most adults are far too (unconsciously) frightened to let children think for themselves and to then let them believe and behave as they choose.
Consequently, therefore, it is fear, often mediated through ideology and religion, that drives most human behavior.

Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address isflametree@riseup.net  


George Galloway The Truth Behind ISIS

George Galloway The Truth Behind ISIS
Video
"The words western Intervention and ISIS really ought to appear in the same sentence" -
"The west are responsible for ISIS"
Posted July 27, 2016

George Galloway The Truth Behind ISIS
Video
"The words western Intervention and ISIS really ought to appear in the same sentence" -
"The west are responsible for ISIS"
Posted July 27, 2016



Don’t Mention Gladio…

Don’t Mention Gladio…

 The alleged “terror attacks” are happening thick and fast in Europe right now. France has suspended its constitution for another several months as a response. Germany is in turmoil and may well follow suit. The media narrative is already set within a clearly defined paradigm that stipulates these attacks are being perpetrated by “radical Islam.” The debate centres solely on what this means. Is it “blowback” for the West’s policy of perpetual war in the Middle East, as the more liberal/left-inclined tend to say, or is it just Evil Extreme Islamics being Evil, as the more rightist-inclined aver?
There was a debate just like that on RT today. A Northern Irish white gentleman was looking severe and intolerant and claiming ISIS was basically Islam, (because – duh – they’re called “Islamic State”!), and an English non-white gentleman was looking embattled and pointing out (justifiably) that most of the ISIS terrorists identified were anything but devout Moslems and anyhow the history of colonial wars perpetrated by many of the countries currently suffering these attacks can’t simply be removed from the equation. He had a little pile of paper printed with the names of all the Moslem countries France had attacked in the last century – but neither the Scottish gent nor the RT anchor seemed much interested.

More attention was given to interviews with frightened French people from the small town that just saw a priest allegedly knifed to death by ISIS, all demanding “these people” be locked up asap. Some other person appeared briefly to say the “war” against these terrorists was “spiritual” (he didn’t amplify much about this terrifyingly absolutist concept, but did he need to?), and there was a segment of Hollande saying the (spiritual?) fight would be a long one (in other words, don’t expect to get your “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité back any time soon, people of France).
The message was clear: be afraid, and hand over your freedoms to the nice government employee who will be along to save you soon.
If this news item had been on the BBC or any of the Western media then it would be par and unremarkable. But this was RT, and therefore a bit more worthy of mention. RT, generally, questions the prevailing western narratives a little more, especially if that prevailing western narrative disadvantages Russia (which, let’s be honest, most of them do). In the past it’s even dared to openly accuse the BBC of faking the alleged “chemical attack” on the school in Syria that was the subject of a very questionablePanorama program. (RT was sanctioned by OfCom as a result of this brave piece, even though OfCom did not find that their allegations were false).

Yet currently, on this issue, RT is simply serving up a storyline that would get the stamp of approval from Langley or Downing Street. RT is, of course, a Russian state-sponsored outlet, and Russia clearly has its own reasons right now for playing along with Western attempts to promote the image of ISIS as bad guysdu jour. The Russian government must also be entirely aware that “ISIS” is backed – and possibly even created – by the West, and that it functions at least in part as an agent of NATO in Syria.

It must know that ISIS will be used to foment discord and terror in the Russian homeland if allowed to do so. Unlike the West, it therefore has a real reason to fear ISIS and a real motive to destroy it. So, when the ISIS brand name is attached to European terror attacks, Russia likely sees a chance to mobilise domestic and international opinion behind its own struggle, and therefore will play along. They see no advantage to them, at the moment, in digging into the hidden realities of what ISIS might be.

But the result of this superficial merging of Russian and western interests is not good or wise. Russia wants to big up ISIS in order to get a consensus for destroying it, but the West wants to big up ISIS as fear porn. The US/European leaders may join with Russia in condemning the violence. They may – will – use it as a pretext to clamp down even more on civil liberties and criminalise dissent. But we all know they will not do the one thing Russia wants them to do – and that is actually combat ISIS.

RT might be better serving Russian interests – as well as the greater cause of truth – if it dared to mention the possibility these attacks may have little or nothing to do with Islam at all, but are being produced by an outfit similar to the one that brought you the Bologna Massacre. It could even point out the most inadmissible thing of all, which is that if ISIS really is behind the recent spate of Euro-terror, then there’s a live probability NATO – or NATO elements – are too.  And that of course would mean Gladio is alive and kicking and morphed into Gladio B, just as the “conspiracy theorists” have been saying for quite a long time.

This sudden surge of “terror attacks”, whatever their origins, could finally bring the reality of a police state to large portions of Europe and beyond and needs to be interrogated, analysed and questioned, beyond the admissible paradigm, beyond our comfort zones, because a great deal may be dependent on how these events are to be spun for popular consumption.

The growing unanimity across the spectrum of reportage on this issue threatens us all very deeply, and if we allow ourselves to be manipulated into sterile binary discussions of blowback versus “evil meanies”, if we just help disseminate the disaster-porn and invite people to be afraid sans any context, then we might as well quit and take up gardening or some other nice restful pursuit, because we are just doing the corporate media’s job for them.

Addendum:  It may or may not  be significant to note that the  terrorist outfit known as  the Baader-Meinhof gang, who were active in the 1970s and allegedly heavily infiltrated/manipulated by Gladio have suddenly (allegedly)  come out of retirement in their late middle-age to start doing heists in the Netherlands.  If nothing else, there’s a movie in this.

By Catte
also see:
Operation Gladio (document collection)
Operation Northwoods (document collection)
Don’t Mention Gladio…

 The alleged “terror attacks” are happening thick and fast in Europe right now. France has suspended its constitution for another several months as a response. Germany is in turmoil and may well follow suit. The media narrative is already set within a clearly defined paradigm that stipulates these attacks are being perpetrated by “radical Islam.” The debate centres solely on what this means. Is it “blowback” for the West’s policy of perpetual war in the Middle East, as the more liberal/left-inclined tend to say, or is it just Evil Extreme Islamics being Evil, as the more rightist-inclined aver?
There was a debate just like that on RT today. A Northern Irish white gentleman was looking severe and intolerant and claiming ISIS was basically Islam, (because – duh – they’re called “Islamic State”!), and an English non-white gentleman was looking embattled and pointing out (justifiably) that most of the ISIS terrorists identified were anything but devout Moslems and anyhow the history of colonial wars perpetrated by many of the countries currently suffering these attacks can’t simply be removed from the equation. He had a little pile of paper printed with the names of all the Moslem countries France had attacked in the last century – but neither the Scottish gent nor the RT anchor seemed much interested.

More attention was given to interviews with frightened French people from the small town that just saw a priest allegedly knifed to death by ISIS, all demanding “these people” be locked up asap. Some other person appeared briefly to say the “war” against these terrorists was “spiritual” (he didn’t amplify much about this terrifyingly absolutist concept, but did he need to?), and there was a segment of Hollande saying the (spiritual?) fight would be a long one (in other words, don’t expect to get your “Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité back any time soon, people of France).
The message was clear: be afraid, and hand over your freedoms to the nice government employee who will be along to save you soon.
If this news item had been on the BBC or any of the Western media then it would be par and unremarkable. But this was RT, and therefore a bit more worthy of mention. RT, generally, questions the prevailing western narratives a little more, especially if that prevailing western narrative disadvantages Russia (which, let’s be honest, most of them do). In the past it’s even dared to openly accuse the BBC of faking the alleged “chemical attack” on the school in Syria that was the subject of a very questionablePanorama program. (RT was sanctioned by OfCom as a result of this brave piece, even though OfCom did not find that their allegations were false).

Yet currently, on this issue, RT is simply serving up a storyline that would get the stamp of approval from Langley or Downing Street. RT is, of course, a Russian state-sponsored outlet, and Russia clearly has its own reasons right now for playing along with Western attempts to promote the image of ISIS as bad guysdu jour. The Russian government must also be entirely aware that “ISIS” is backed – and possibly even created – by the West, and that it functions at least in part as an agent of NATO in Syria.

It must know that ISIS will be used to foment discord and terror in the Russian homeland if allowed to do so. Unlike the West, it therefore has a real reason to fear ISIS and a real motive to destroy it. So, when the ISIS brand name is attached to European terror attacks, Russia likely sees a chance to mobilise domestic and international opinion behind its own struggle, and therefore will play along. They see no advantage to them, at the moment, in digging into the hidden realities of what ISIS might be.

But the result of this superficial merging of Russian and western interests is not good or wise. Russia wants to big up ISIS in order to get a consensus for destroying it, but the West wants to big up ISIS as fear porn. The US/European leaders may join with Russia in condemning the violence. They may – will – use it as a pretext to clamp down even more on civil liberties and criminalise dissent. But we all know they will not do the one thing Russia wants them to do – and that is actually combat ISIS.

RT might be better serving Russian interests – as well as the greater cause of truth – if it dared to mention the possibility these attacks may have little or nothing to do with Islam at all, but are being produced by an outfit similar to the one that brought you the Bologna Massacre. It could even point out the most inadmissible thing of all, which is that if ISIS really is behind the recent spate of Euro-terror, then there’s a live probability NATO – or NATO elements – are too.  And that of course would mean Gladio is alive and kicking and morphed into Gladio B, just as the “conspiracy theorists” have been saying for quite a long time.

This sudden surge of “terror attacks”, whatever their origins, could finally bring the reality of a police state to large portions of Europe and beyond and needs to be interrogated, analysed and questioned, beyond the admissible paradigm, beyond our comfort zones, because a great deal may be dependent on how these events are to be spun for popular consumption.

The growing unanimity across the spectrum of reportage on this issue threatens us all very deeply, and if we allow ourselves to be manipulated into sterile binary discussions of blowback versus “evil meanies”, if we just help disseminate the disaster-porn and invite people to be afraid sans any context, then we might as well quit and take up gardening or some other nice restful pursuit, because we are just doing the corporate media’s job for them.

Addendum:  It may or may not  be significant to note that the  terrorist outfit known as  the Baader-Meinhof gang, who were active in the 1970s and allegedly heavily infiltrated/manipulated by Gladio have suddenly (allegedly)  come out of retirement in their late middle-age to start doing heists in the Netherlands.  If nothing else, there’s a movie in this.

By Catte
also see:
Operation Gladio (document collection)
Operation Northwoods (document collection)


We Love to Talk of Terror


We Love to Talk of Terror 


How come a Muslim can be a terrorist in Europe but a mere ‘attacker’ in south-west Asia?

 The frightful and bloody hours of Friday night and Saturday morning in Munich and Kabul – despite the 3,000 miles that separate the two cities – provided a highly instructive lesson in the semantics of horror and hypocrisy. I despair of that generic old hate-word, “terror”. It long ago became the punctuation mark and signature tune of every facile politician, policeman, journalist and think tank crank in the world.

Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. Or terrorist, terrorist, terrorist, terrorist, terrorist.

But from time to time, we trip up on this killer cliché, just as we did at the weekend. Here’s how it went. When first we heard that three armed men had gone on a “shooting spree” in Munich, the German cops and the lads and lassies of the BBC, CNN and Fox News fingered the “terror” lever. The Munich constabulary, we were informed, feared this was a “terrorist act”.  The local police, the BBC told us, were engaged in an “anti-terror manhunt”.

And we knew what that meant: the three men were believed to be Muslims and therefore “terrorists”, and thus suspected of being members of (or at least inspired by) Isis.

Then it turned out that the three men were in fact only one man – a man who was obsessed with mass killing. He was born in Germany (albeit partly Iranian in origin). And all of a sudden, in every British media and on CNN, the “anti-terror manhunt” became a hunt for a lone “shooter”. 

One UK newspaper used the word “shooter” 14 times in a few paragraphs.  Somehow, “shooter” doesn’t sound as dangerous as “terrorist”, though the effect of his actions was most assuredly the same. “Shooter” is a code word. It meant: this particular mass killer is not a Muslim.

Now to Kabul, where Isis – yes, the real horrific Sunni Muslim Isis of fearful legend – sent suicide bombers into thousands of Shia Muslims who were protesting on Saturday morning at what appears to have been a pretty routine bit of official discrimination.  
The Afghan government had declined to route a new power line through the minority Hazara (Shia) district of the country – a smaller electric cable connection had failed to satisfy the crowds – and had warned the Shia men and women to cancel their protest. The crowds, many of them middle-class young men and women from the capital, ignored this ominous warning and turned up near the presidential palace to pitch tents upon which they had written in Dari “justice and light” and “death to discrimination”.

But death came to them instead, in the form of two Isis men – one of them apparently pushing an ice-cream cart – whose explosives literally blew apart 80 of the Shia Muslims and wounded at another 260. 

In a city in which elements of the Afghan government are sometimes called the Taliban government, and in which an Afghan version of the Sunni Muslim Islamic State is popularly supposed to reside like a bacillus within those same factions, it wasn’t long before the activists who organised the demonstration began to suspect that the authorities themselves were behind the massacre. Of course, we in the West did not hear this version of events. Reports from Kabul concentrated instead on those who denied or claimed the atrocity. The horrid Islamist Taliban denied it. The horrid Islamist Isis said they did it. And thus all reports centred on the Isis claim of responsibility.

But wait. Not a single report, not one newscast, referred to the Kabul slaughter as an act of “terror”. The Afghan government did. But we did not. We referred to the “suicide bombers” and the “attackers” in much the same way that we referred to the “shooter” in Munich.

Now this is very odd. How come a Muslim can be a terrorist in Europe but a mere “attacker” in south-west Asia? Because in Kabul the killers were not attacking Westerners? Or because they were attacking their fellow Muslims, albeit of the Shia Muslim variety? 
I suspect both answers are correct. I can find no other reason for this weird semantic game. For just as the terrorist identity faded away in Munich the moment Ali Sonboly turned out to have more interest in the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik than the Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of Mosul, so the real Isis murderers in Kabul completely avoided the stigma of being called terrorists in any shape or form.

This nonsensical nomenclature is going to be further warped – be sure of this – as more and more of the European victims of the attacks in EU nations turn out to be Muslims themselves. The large number of Muslims killed by Isis in Nice was noticed, but scarcely headlined. The four young Turks shot down by Ali Sonboly were subsumed into the story as an almost routine part of what is now, alas, the routine of mass killing in Europe as well as in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

The identity of Muslims in Europe is therefore fudged if they are victims but of vital political importance if they are killers. But in Kabul, where both victims and murderers were Muslim, their mutual crisis of religious identity is of no interest in the West; the bloodbath is described in anaemic terms. The two attackers “attacked” and the “attacked” were left with 80 dead – more like a football match than a war of terror.

It all comes down to the same thing in the end. If Muslims attack us, they are terrorists. If non-Muslims attack us, they are shooters. If Muslims attack other Muslims, they are attackers.
Scissor out this paragraph and keep it beside you when the killers next let loose – and you’ll be able to work out who the bad guys are before the cops tell you.

By Robert Fisk

We Love to Talk of Terror 


How come a Muslim can be a terrorist in Europe but a mere ‘attacker’ in south-west Asia?

 The frightful and bloody hours of Friday night and Saturday morning in Munich and Kabul – despite the 3,000 miles that separate the two cities – provided a highly instructive lesson in the semantics of horror and hypocrisy. I despair of that generic old hate-word, “terror”. It long ago became the punctuation mark and signature tune of every facile politician, policeman, journalist and think tank crank in the world.

Terror, terror, terror, terror, terror. Or terrorist, terrorist, terrorist, terrorist, terrorist.

But from time to time, we trip up on this killer cliché, just as we did at the weekend. Here’s how it went. When first we heard that three armed men had gone on a “shooting spree” in Munich, the German cops and the lads and lassies of the BBC, CNN and Fox News fingered the “terror” lever. The Munich constabulary, we were informed, feared this was a “terrorist act”.  The local police, the BBC told us, were engaged in an “anti-terror manhunt”.

And we knew what that meant: the three men were believed to be Muslims and therefore “terrorists”, and thus suspected of being members of (or at least inspired by) Isis.

Then it turned out that the three men were in fact only one man – a man who was obsessed with mass killing. He was born in Germany (albeit partly Iranian in origin). And all of a sudden, in every British media and on CNN, the “anti-terror manhunt” became a hunt for a lone “shooter”. 

One UK newspaper used the word “shooter” 14 times in a few paragraphs.  Somehow, “shooter” doesn’t sound as dangerous as “terrorist”, though the effect of his actions was most assuredly the same. “Shooter” is a code word. It meant: this particular mass killer is not a Muslim.

Now to Kabul, where Isis – yes, the real horrific Sunni Muslim Isis of fearful legend – sent suicide bombers into thousands of Shia Muslims who were protesting on Saturday morning at what appears to have been a pretty routine bit of official discrimination.  
The Afghan government had declined to route a new power line through the minority Hazara (Shia) district of the country – a smaller electric cable connection had failed to satisfy the crowds – and had warned the Shia men and women to cancel their protest. The crowds, many of them middle-class young men and women from the capital, ignored this ominous warning and turned up near the presidential palace to pitch tents upon which they had written in Dari “justice and light” and “death to discrimination”.

But death came to them instead, in the form of two Isis men – one of them apparently pushing an ice-cream cart – whose explosives literally blew apart 80 of the Shia Muslims and wounded at another 260. 

In a city in which elements of the Afghan government are sometimes called the Taliban government, and in which an Afghan version of the Sunni Muslim Islamic State is popularly supposed to reside like a bacillus within those same factions, it wasn’t long before the activists who organised the demonstration began to suspect that the authorities themselves were behind the massacre. Of course, we in the West did not hear this version of events. Reports from Kabul concentrated instead on those who denied or claimed the atrocity. The horrid Islamist Taliban denied it. The horrid Islamist Isis said they did it. And thus all reports centred on the Isis claim of responsibility.

But wait. Not a single report, not one newscast, referred to the Kabul slaughter as an act of “terror”. The Afghan government did. But we did not. We referred to the “suicide bombers” and the “attackers” in much the same way that we referred to the “shooter” in Munich.

Now this is very odd. How come a Muslim can be a terrorist in Europe but a mere “attacker” in south-west Asia? Because in Kabul the killers were not attacking Westerners? Or because they were attacking their fellow Muslims, albeit of the Shia Muslim variety? 
I suspect both answers are correct. I can find no other reason for this weird semantic game. For just as the terrorist identity faded away in Munich the moment Ali Sonboly turned out to have more interest in the Norwegian mass murderer Anders Breivik than the Caliph Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of Mosul, so the real Isis murderers in Kabul completely avoided the stigma of being called terrorists in any shape or form.

This nonsensical nomenclature is going to be further warped – be sure of this – as more and more of the European victims of the attacks in EU nations turn out to be Muslims themselves. The large number of Muslims killed by Isis in Nice was noticed, but scarcely headlined. The four young Turks shot down by Ali Sonboly were subsumed into the story as an almost routine part of what is now, alas, the routine of mass killing in Europe as well as in the Middle East and Afghanistan.

The identity of Muslims in Europe is therefore fudged if they are victims but of vital political importance if they are killers. But in Kabul, where both victims and murderers were Muslim, their mutual crisis of religious identity is of no interest in the West; the bloodbath is described in anaemic terms. The two attackers “attacked” and the “attacked” were left with 80 dead – more like a football match than a war of terror.

It all comes down to the same thing in the end. If Muslims attack us, they are terrorists. If non-Muslims attack us, they are shooters. If Muslims attack other Muslims, they are attackers.
Scissor out this paragraph and keep it beside you when the killers next let loose – and you’ll be able to work out who the bad guys are before the cops tell you.

By Robert Fisk


The Real Secret of the South China Sea

The Real Secret of the South China Sea


The South China Sea is and will continue to be the ultimate geopolitical flashpoint of the young 21st century – way ahead of the Middle East or Russia’s western borderlands. No less than the future of Asia – as well as the East-West balance of power – is at stake.

To understand the Big Picture, we need to go back to 1890 when Alfred Mahan, then president of the US Naval College, wrote the seminal The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Mahan’s central thesis is that the US should go global in search of new markets, and protect these new trade routes through a network of naval bases.

That is the embryo of the US Empire of Bases – which de facto started after the Spanish-American war, over a century ago, when the US graduated to Pacific power status by annexing the Philippines, Hawaii and Guam.

Western – American and European — colonialism is strictly responsible for the current, incendiary sovereignty battle in the South China Sea. It’s the West that came up with most land borders – and maritime borders — of these states. 
The roll call is quite impressive. Philippines and Indonesia were divided by Spain and Portugal in 1529. The division between Malaysia and Indonesia is owed to the British and the Dutch in 1842. The border between China and Vietnam was imposed to the Chinese by the French in 1887. The Philippines’s borders were concocted by the US and Spain in 1898. The border between Philippines and Malaysia was drawn by the US and the Brits in 1930.

We are talking about borders between different colonial possessions – and that implies intractable problems from the start, subsequently inherited by post-colonial nations. And to think that it had all started as a loose configuration. The best anthropological studies (Bill Solheim’s, for instance) define the semi-nomadic communities who really traveled and traded across the South China Sea from time immemorial as the Nusantao – an Austronesian compound word for “south island” and “people”.

The Nusantao were not a defined ethnic group; rather a maritime internet. Over the centuries, they had many key hubs, from the coastline between central Vietnam and Hong Kong to the Mekong Delta. They were not attached to any “state”, and the notion of “borders” didn’t even exist.

Only by the late 19th century the Westphalian system managed to freeze the South China Sea inside an immovable framework. Which brings us to why China is so sensitive about its borders; because they are directly linked to the “century of humiliation” – when internal Chinese corruption and weakness allowed Western barbarians to take possession of Chinese land.

Tension in the nine-dash line

The eminent Chinese geographer Bai Meichu was a fierce nationalist who drew his own version of what was called the “Chinese National Humiliation Map”. In 1936 he published a map including a “U-shaped line” gobbling up the South China Sea all the way down to James Shoal, which is 1,500 km south of China but only over 100 km off Borneo. Scores of maps copied Meichu’s. Most included the Spratly Islands, but not James Shoal.
The crucial fact is that Bai was the man who actually invented the “nine-dash line”, promoted by the Chinese government – then not yet Communist – as the letter of the law in terms of “historic” Chinese claims over islands in the South China Sea. 

Everything stopped when Japan invaded China in 1937. Japan had occupied Taiwan way back in 1895. Now imagine Americans surrendering to the Japanese in the Philippines in 1942. That meant virtually the entire coastline of the South China Sea being controlled by a single empire for the fist time in history. The South China Sea had become a Japanese lake.

Not for long; only until 1945. The Japanese did occupy Woody Island in the Paracels and Itu Aba (today Taiping) in the Spratlys. After the end of WWII and the US nuclear-bombing Japan, the Philippines became independent in 1946; the Spratlys immediately were declared Filipino territory.

In 1947 the Chinese went on overdrive to recover all the Paracels from colonial power France. In parallel, all the islands in the South China Sea got Chinese names. James Shoal was downgraded from a sandbank into a reef (it’s actually underwater; still Beijing sees is as the southernmost point of Chinese territory.)
In December 1947 all the islands were placed under the control of Hainan (itself an island in southern China.) New maps — based on Meichu’s — followed, but now with Chinese names for the islands (or reefs, or shoals). The key problem is that no one explained the meaning of the dashes (which were originally eleven.)

So in June 1947 the Republic of China claimed everything within the line – while proclaiming itself open to negotiate definitive maritime borders with other nations later on. But, for the moment, no borders; that was the birth of the much-maligned “strategic ambiguity” of the South China Sea that lasts to this day.  
“Red” China adopted all the maps — and all the decisions. Yet the final maritime border between China and Vietnam, for instance, was decided only in 1999. In 2009 China included a map of the “U-shaped” or “nine-dash line” in a presentation to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; that was the first time the line officially showed up on an international level.
No wonder other Southeast Asian players were furious. That was the apex of the millennia-old transition from the “maritime internet” of semi-nomadic peoples to the Westphalian system. The post-modern “war” for the South China Sea was on.

Gunboat freedom

In 2013 the Philippines – prodded by the US and Japan – decided to take its case about Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in the South China Sea to be judged according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Both China and Philippines ratified UNCLOS. The US did not. The Philippines aimed for UNCLOS – not “historical rights”, as the Chinese wanted — to decide what is an island, what is a rock, and who is entitled to claim territorial rights (and thus EEZs) in these surrounding waters. 

UNCLOS itself is the result of years of fierce legal battles. Still, key nations – including BRICS members China, India and Brazil, but also, significantly, Vietnam and Malaysia – have been struggling to change an absolutely key provision, making it mandatory for foreign warships to seek permission before sailing through their EEZs.

And here we plunge in truly, deeply troubled waters; the notion of “freedom of navigation”.
For the American empire, “freedom of navigation”, from the West Coast of the US to Asia – through the Pacific, the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean – is strictly subordinated to military strategy. Imagine if one day EEZs would be closed to the US Navy – or if “authorization” would have to be demanded every time; the Empire of Bases would lose “access” to…its own bases.

Add to it trademark Pentagon paranoia; what if a “hostile power” decided to block the global trade on which the US economy depends? (even though the premise — China contemplating such a move — is ludicrous). The Pentagon actually pursues a Freedom of Navigation (FON) program. For all practical purposes, it’s 21st century gunboat diplomacy, as in those aircraft carriers showboating on and off in the South China Sea. 

The Holy Grail, as far as the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is concerned, is to come up with a Code of Conduct to solve all maritime conflicts between Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and China. This has been dragging on for years now because mostly the Philippines wanted to frame the Chinese under a set of binding rules but was only ready to talk until all ten ASEAN members had agreed on them first.
Beijing’s strategy is the opposite; bilateral discussions to emphasize its formidable leverage. Thus China assuring the support of Cambodia – quite visible early this week when Cambodia prevented a condemnation of China regarding the South China Sea at a key summit in Laos; China and ASEAN settled for “self-restraint.” 

Watch Hillary pivoting

In 2011 the US State Department was absolutely terrified with the planned Obama administration withdrawals from both Iraq and Afghanistan; what would happen to superpower projection? That ended in November 2011, when then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coined the by now famous “pivot to Asia”.

“Six lines of action” were embedded in the “pivot”. Four of these Clinton nicked from a 2009 report by the Washington think tank CSIS; reinvigorating alliances; cultivating relationships with emerging powers; developing relationships with regional multilateral bodies; and working closely with South East Asian countries on economic issues. Clinton added two more: broad-based military presence in Asia, and the promotion of democracy and human rights.

It was clear from the start – and not only across the global South — that cutting across the rhetorical fog the “pivot” was code for a military offensive to contain China. Even more seriously, this was the geopolitical moment when a South East Asian dispute over maritime territory intersected with the across-the-globe confrontation between the hegemon and a “peer competitor”
What Clinton meant by “engaging emerging powers” was, in her own words, “join us in shaping and participating in a rules-based regional and global order”. This is code for rules coined by the hegemon – as in the whole apparatus of the Washington consensus.
No wonder the South China Sea is immensely strategic, as American hegemony intimately depends on ruling the waves (remember Mahan). That’s the core of the US National Military Strategy. The South China Sea is the crucial link connecting the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and ultimately Europe.

And so we finally discover Rosebud — the ultimate South China Sea “secret”. China under Clinton’s “rule-based regional and global order” effectively means that China must obey and keep the South China Sea open to the US Navy.
That spells out inevitable escalation further on down the sea lanes. China, slowly but surely, is developing an array of sophisticated weapons which could ultimately “deny” the South China Sea to the US Navy, as the Beltway is very much aware

What makes it even more serious is that we’re talking about irreconcilable imperatives. Beijing characterizes itself as an anti-imperialist power; and that necessarily includes recovering national territories usurped by colonial powers allied with internal Chinese traitors (those islands that The Hague has ruled are no more than “rocks” or even “low-tide elevations”).

The US, for its part, is all about Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny.  As it stands, more than Russia’s western borderlands, the Baltics or “Syraq”, this is where the hegemon “rules” are really being contested. And the stakes couldn't be higher. That’ll be the day when the US Navy is “denied” from the South China Sea; and that’ll be the end of its imperial hegemony.


By Pepe Escobar
The Real Secret of the South China Sea


The South China Sea is and will continue to be the ultimate geopolitical flashpoint of the young 21st century – way ahead of the Middle East or Russia’s western borderlands. No less than the future of Asia – as well as the East-West balance of power – is at stake.

To understand the Big Picture, we need to go back to 1890 when Alfred Mahan, then president of the US Naval College, wrote the seminal The Influence of Sea Power Upon History, 1660-1783. Mahan’s central thesis is that the US should go global in search of new markets, and protect these new trade routes through a network of naval bases.

That is the embryo of the US Empire of Bases – which de facto started after the Spanish-American war, over a century ago, when the US graduated to Pacific power status by annexing the Philippines, Hawaii and Guam.

Western – American and European — colonialism is strictly responsible for the current, incendiary sovereignty battle in the South China Sea. It’s the West that came up with most land borders – and maritime borders — of these states. 
The roll call is quite impressive. Philippines and Indonesia were divided by Spain and Portugal in 1529. The division between Malaysia and Indonesia is owed to the British and the Dutch in 1842. The border between China and Vietnam was imposed to the Chinese by the French in 1887. The Philippines’s borders were concocted by the US and Spain in 1898. The border between Philippines and Malaysia was drawn by the US and the Brits in 1930.

We are talking about borders between different colonial possessions – and that implies intractable problems from the start, subsequently inherited by post-colonial nations. And to think that it had all started as a loose configuration. The best anthropological studies (Bill Solheim’s, for instance) define the semi-nomadic communities who really traveled and traded across the South China Sea from time immemorial as the Nusantao – an Austronesian compound word for “south island” and “people”.

The Nusantao were not a defined ethnic group; rather a maritime internet. Over the centuries, they had many key hubs, from the coastline between central Vietnam and Hong Kong to the Mekong Delta. They were not attached to any “state”, and the notion of “borders” didn’t even exist.

Only by the late 19th century the Westphalian system managed to freeze the South China Sea inside an immovable framework. Which brings us to why China is so sensitive about its borders; because they are directly linked to the “century of humiliation” – when internal Chinese corruption and weakness allowed Western barbarians to take possession of Chinese land.

Tension in the nine-dash line

The eminent Chinese geographer Bai Meichu was a fierce nationalist who drew his own version of what was called the “Chinese National Humiliation Map”. In 1936 he published a map including a “U-shaped line” gobbling up the South China Sea all the way down to James Shoal, which is 1,500 km south of China but only over 100 km off Borneo. Scores of maps copied Meichu’s. Most included the Spratly Islands, but not James Shoal.
The crucial fact is that Bai was the man who actually invented the “nine-dash line”, promoted by the Chinese government – then not yet Communist – as the letter of the law in terms of “historic” Chinese claims over islands in the South China Sea. 

Everything stopped when Japan invaded China in 1937. Japan had occupied Taiwan way back in 1895. Now imagine Americans surrendering to the Japanese in the Philippines in 1942. That meant virtually the entire coastline of the South China Sea being controlled by a single empire for the fist time in history. The South China Sea had become a Japanese lake.

Not for long; only until 1945. The Japanese did occupy Woody Island in the Paracels and Itu Aba (today Taiping) in the Spratlys. After the end of WWII and the US nuclear-bombing Japan, the Philippines became independent in 1946; the Spratlys immediately were declared Filipino territory.

In 1947 the Chinese went on overdrive to recover all the Paracels from colonial power France. In parallel, all the islands in the South China Sea got Chinese names. James Shoal was downgraded from a sandbank into a reef (it’s actually underwater; still Beijing sees is as the southernmost point of Chinese territory.)
In December 1947 all the islands were placed under the control of Hainan (itself an island in southern China.) New maps — based on Meichu’s — followed, but now with Chinese names for the islands (or reefs, or shoals). The key problem is that no one explained the meaning of the dashes (which were originally eleven.)

So in June 1947 the Republic of China claimed everything within the line – while proclaiming itself open to negotiate definitive maritime borders with other nations later on. But, for the moment, no borders; that was the birth of the much-maligned “strategic ambiguity” of the South China Sea that lasts to this day.  
“Red” China adopted all the maps — and all the decisions. Yet the final maritime border between China and Vietnam, for instance, was decided only in 1999. In 2009 China included a map of the “U-shaped” or “nine-dash line” in a presentation to the UN Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf; that was the first time the line officially showed up on an international level.
No wonder other Southeast Asian players were furious. That was the apex of the millennia-old transition from the “maritime internet” of semi-nomadic peoples to the Westphalian system. The post-modern “war” for the South China Sea was on.

Gunboat freedom

In 2013 the Philippines – prodded by the US and Japan – decided to take its case about Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in the South China Sea to be judged according to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). Both China and Philippines ratified UNCLOS. The US did not. The Philippines aimed for UNCLOS – not “historical rights”, as the Chinese wanted — to decide what is an island, what is a rock, and who is entitled to claim territorial rights (and thus EEZs) in these surrounding waters. 

UNCLOS itself is the result of years of fierce legal battles. Still, key nations – including BRICS members China, India and Brazil, but also, significantly, Vietnam and Malaysia – have been struggling to change an absolutely key provision, making it mandatory for foreign warships to seek permission before sailing through their EEZs.

And here we plunge in truly, deeply troubled waters; the notion of “freedom of navigation”.
For the American empire, “freedom of navigation”, from the West Coast of the US to Asia – through the Pacific, the South China Sea, the Malacca Strait and the Indian Ocean – is strictly subordinated to military strategy. Imagine if one day EEZs would be closed to the US Navy – or if “authorization” would have to be demanded every time; the Empire of Bases would lose “access” to…its own bases.

Add to it trademark Pentagon paranoia; what if a “hostile power” decided to block the global trade on which the US economy depends? (even though the premise — China contemplating such a move — is ludicrous). The Pentagon actually pursues a Freedom of Navigation (FON) program. For all practical purposes, it’s 21st century gunboat diplomacy, as in those aircraft carriers showboating on and off in the South China Sea. 

The Holy Grail, as far as the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) is concerned, is to come up with a Code of Conduct to solve all maritime conflicts between Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and China. This has been dragging on for years now because mostly the Philippines wanted to frame the Chinese under a set of binding rules but was only ready to talk until all ten ASEAN members had agreed on them first.
Beijing’s strategy is the opposite; bilateral discussions to emphasize its formidable leverage. Thus China assuring the support of Cambodia – quite visible early this week when Cambodia prevented a condemnation of China regarding the South China Sea at a key summit in Laos; China and ASEAN settled for “self-restraint.” 

Watch Hillary pivoting

In 2011 the US State Department was absolutely terrified with the planned Obama administration withdrawals from both Iraq and Afghanistan; what would happen to superpower projection? That ended in November 2011, when then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton coined the by now famous “pivot to Asia”.

“Six lines of action” were embedded in the “pivot”. Four of these Clinton nicked from a 2009 report by the Washington think tank CSIS; reinvigorating alliances; cultivating relationships with emerging powers; developing relationships with regional multilateral bodies; and working closely with South East Asian countries on economic issues. Clinton added two more: broad-based military presence in Asia, and the promotion of democracy and human rights.

It was clear from the start – and not only across the global South — that cutting across the rhetorical fog the “pivot” was code for a military offensive to contain China. Even more seriously, this was the geopolitical moment when a South East Asian dispute over maritime territory intersected with the across-the-globe confrontation between the hegemon and a “peer competitor”
What Clinton meant by “engaging emerging powers” was, in her own words, “join us in shaping and participating in a rules-based regional and global order”. This is code for rules coined by the hegemon – as in the whole apparatus of the Washington consensus.
No wonder the South China Sea is immensely strategic, as American hegemony intimately depends on ruling the waves (remember Mahan). That’s the core of the US National Military Strategy. The South China Sea is the crucial link connecting the Pacific to the Indian Ocean, the Persian Gulf and ultimately Europe.

And so we finally discover Rosebud — the ultimate South China Sea “secret”. China under Clinton’s “rule-based regional and global order” effectively means that China must obey and keep the South China Sea open to the US Navy.
That spells out inevitable escalation further on down the sea lanes. China, slowly but surely, is developing an array of sophisticated weapons which could ultimately “deny” the South China Sea to the US Navy, as the Beltway is very much aware

What makes it even more serious is that we’re talking about irreconcilable imperatives. Beijing characterizes itself as an anti-imperialist power; and that necessarily includes recovering national territories usurped by colonial powers allied with internal Chinese traitors (those islands that The Hague has ruled are no more than “rocks” or even “low-tide elevations”).

The US, for its part, is all about Exceptionalism and Manifest Destiny.  As it stands, more than Russia’s western borderlands, the Baltics or “Syraq”, this is where the hegemon “rules” are really being contested. And the stakes couldn't be higher. That’ll be the day when the US Navy is “denied” from the South China Sea; and that’ll be the end of its imperial hegemony.


By Pepe Escobar


Did Russian Intelligence Hack the DNC Servers?

Did Russian Intelligence Hack the DNC Servers?
Short answer: nobody knows, but the media is treating it as a fact based primarily on a single technical source employed by the Democratic National Committee. I read the source’s publicly available explanation. Here’s what I found.
A Quick Taste of Media Conclusions
Despite a line in paragraph five saying “Proving the source of a cyberattack is notoriously difficult,” the New York Times offers the following statements.
  • “researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies;”
  • “Though a hacker claimed responsibility for giving the emails to WikiLeaks, the same agencies are the prime suspects;”
  • “Whether the thefts were ordered by Mr. Putin, or just carried out by apparatchiks who thought they might please him, is anyone’s guess.”
  • “It is unclear how WikiLeaks obtained the email trove. But the presumption is that the intelligence agencies turned it over, either directly or through an intermediary. Moreover, the timing of the release, between the end of the Republican convention and the beginning of the Democratic one, seems too well planned to be coincidental.”
There’s more, but you get the picture. The article also quotes Clinton staffers citing unnamed experts and researchers.
Who Are These Experts?
The only experts cited work for a company hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the hack. There is no indication of any neutral third party investigation. The company, Crowdstrike, issued a publicly available report on what they found.
The report title makes clear the company’s conclusion: Bears in the Midst: Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee.
What Does the Report Say?
The report has some technical explanations, but focuses on conclusions that seem to be at best presumptions, despite the media treating them as fact.
  • The key presumptive conclusion seems to be that the sophistication of the hacks points to a nation-state actor. “Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of ‘living-off-the-land’ techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter. In particular, we identified advanced methods consistent with nation-state level capabilities.”
  • The hackers, two separate entities Crowdstrike says worked independently, used techniques known to be used by Russians. Better yet, with no evidence at all presented, Crowdstrike concludes, “Both adversaries engage in extensive political and economic espionage for the benefit of the government of the Russian Federation and are believed to be closely linked to the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services.” Also, for one of the alleged hackers, “Extensive targeting of defense ministries and other military victims has been observed, the profile of which closely mirrors the strategic interests of the Russian government.”
  • By the end of the report Crowdstrike is just plain out called the hackers “Russian espionage groups.”
FYI: Fidelis, another cybersecurity company, was hired by Crowdstrike to review the findings. Fidelis worked exclusively and only with data provided by Crowdstrike (as did several other companies.) Fidelis They concluded the same two hackers, COZY BEAR and FANCY BEAR APT, committed the intrusion, but made no comments on whether those two were linked to the Russian government.
Um, Valid Conclusions?
Despite the citing with certainty of experts and researchers by the media and the Clinton campaign, the only such expert who has made any findings public has basically thrown out little more than a bunch of presumptions and unsubstantiated conclusions.
Left undiscussed are:
  • the commonality of hackers using “false flags,” say where an Israeli hackers will purposely leave behind false clues to make it seem that a Hungarian did the work. As one commentator put it sarcastically “The malware was written in Russian? It was a Russian who attacked you.
    Chinese characters in the code? You’ve been hacked by the Peoples Liberation Army.”
  • the question of if the hackers were “Russians,” can anyone tie them to the Russian government? Joe Black Hat breaking into some system in Ireland may indeed be an American person, but it is quite a jump to claim he thus works for the American government.
  • there is also a significant question of motive. For Putin to be the bad guy here, we have to believe that Putin wants Trump in power, bad enough to risk near-war with the U.S. if caught in the hack, and bad enough to really p.o. Clinton who will be nominated this week anyway, and hoping of course that evidence of dirty tricks by the DNC released in July will be enough to defeat her in November. That’s a real s-t-r-e-t-c-h, Sparky.
  • other than those private persons who hack for their own entertainment or personal political beliefs, most work for money. They steal something and sell it. Information from the DNC system would find an easy buyer.
  • Who might be interested in buying these emails? Along the range of actors who would benefit from exposing these emails, why would the Russians come out on top? Perhaps the Republicans? China? Pretty much any of the many enemies the Clintons have amassed over the years? Hell, even Bernie Sanders, whose complaints about the DNC were validated by the email release. The suspects based on motive alone make up a very long list.
Learning More
For some intelligent analysis suspicious that the DNC hack was a Russian intelligence job, try this.
For some more technical information on one of the alleged DNC infiltrators, here you go.
Peter Van Buren, a 24-year veteran of the State Department, spent a year in Iraq. Following his book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, the Department of State began proceedings against him. Through the efforts of the Government Accountability Project and the ACLU, Van Buren instead retired from the State Department on his own terms.
His second book, Ghosts of Tom Joad, A Story of the #99Percent (2014) is fiction about the social and economic changes in America between WWII and the decline of the blue collar middle class in the 1980’s.
If Russian Intelligence Did Hack the DNC, the NSA Would Know, Snowden Says: It is vital to cast a skeptical eye over whatever evidence is presented to support the claim, made by Hillary Clinton’s aide Robby Mook, that this is all part of a Russian plot to sabotage the Democrats and help Donald Trump win the election.
'I don't want to use 4-letter words': Russian FM slams reporter over DNC leak claims

Did Russian Intelligence Hack the DNC Servers?
Short answer: nobody knows, but the media is treating it as a fact based primarily on a single technical source employed by the Democratic National Committee. I read the source’s publicly available explanation. Here’s what I found.
A Quick Taste of Media Conclusions
Despite a line in paragraph five saying “Proving the source of a cyberattack is notoriously difficult,” the New York Times offers the following statements.
  • “researchers have concluded that the national committee was breached by two Russian intelligence agencies;”
  • “Though a hacker claimed responsibility for giving the emails to WikiLeaks, the same agencies are the prime suspects;”
  • “Whether the thefts were ordered by Mr. Putin, or just carried out by apparatchiks who thought they might please him, is anyone’s guess.”
  • “It is unclear how WikiLeaks obtained the email trove. But the presumption is that the intelligence agencies turned it over, either directly or through an intermediary. Moreover, the timing of the release, between the end of the Republican convention and the beginning of the Democratic one, seems too well planned to be coincidental.”
There’s more, but you get the picture. The article also quotes Clinton staffers citing unnamed experts and researchers.
Who Are These Experts?
The only experts cited work for a company hired by the Democratic National Committee to investigate the hack. There is no indication of any neutral third party investigation. The company, Crowdstrike, issued a publicly available report on what they found.
The report title makes clear the company’s conclusion: Bears in the Midst: Intrusion into the Democratic National Committee.
What Does the Report Say?
The report has some technical explanations, but focuses on conclusions that seem to be at best presumptions, despite the media treating them as fact.
  • The key presumptive conclusion seems to be that the sophistication of the hacks points to a nation-state actor. “Their tradecraft is superb, operational security second to none and the extensive usage of ‘living-off-the-land’ techniques enables them to easily bypass many security solutions they encounter. In particular, we identified advanced methods consistent with nation-state level capabilities.”
  • The hackers, two separate entities Crowdstrike says worked independently, used techniques known to be used by Russians. Better yet, with no evidence at all presented, Crowdstrike concludes, “Both adversaries engage in extensive political and economic espionage for the benefit of the government of the Russian Federation and are believed to be closely linked to the Russian government’s powerful and highly capable intelligence services.” Also, for one of the alleged hackers, “Extensive targeting of defense ministries and other military victims has been observed, the profile of which closely mirrors the strategic interests of the Russian government.”
  • By the end of the report Crowdstrike is just plain out called the hackers “Russian espionage groups.”
FYI: Fidelis, another cybersecurity company, was hired by Crowdstrike to review the findings. Fidelis worked exclusively and only with data provided by Crowdstrike (as did several other companies.) Fidelis They concluded the same two hackers, COZY BEAR and FANCY BEAR APT, committed the intrusion, but made no comments on whether those two were linked to the Russian government.
Um, Valid Conclusions?
Despite the citing with certainty of experts and researchers by the media and the Clinton campaign, the only such expert who has made any findings public has basically thrown out little more than a bunch of presumptions and unsubstantiated conclusions.
Left undiscussed are:
  • the commonality of hackers using “false flags,” say where an Israeli hackers will purposely leave behind false clues to make it seem that a Hungarian did the work. As one commentator put it sarcastically “The malware was written in Russian? It was a Russian who attacked you.
    Chinese characters in the code? You’ve been hacked by the Peoples Liberation Army.”
  • the question of if the hackers were “Russians,” can anyone tie them to the Russian government? Joe Black Hat breaking into some system in Ireland may indeed be an American person, but it is quite a jump to claim he thus works for the American government.
  • there is also a significant question of motive. For Putin to be the bad guy here, we have to believe that Putin wants Trump in power, bad enough to risk near-war with the U.S. if caught in the hack, and bad enough to really p.o. Clinton who will be nominated this week anyway, and hoping of course that evidence of dirty tricks by the DNC released in July will be enough to defeat her in November. That’s a real s-t-r-e-t-c-h, Sparky.
  • other than those private persons who hack for their own entertainment or personal political beliefs, most work for money. They steal something and sell it. Information from the DNC system would find an easy buyer.
  • Who might be interested in buying these emails? Along the range of actors who would benefit from exposing these emails, why would the Russians come out on top? Perhaps the Republicans? China? Pretty much any of the many enemies the Clintons have amassed over the years? Hell, even Bernie Sanders, whose complaints about the DNC were validated by the email release. The suspects based on motive alone make up a very long list.
Learning More
For some intelligent analysis suspicious that the DNC hack was a Russian intelligence job, try this.
For some more technical information on one of the alleged DNC infiltrators, here you go.
Peter Van Buren, a 24-year veteran of the State Department, spent a year in Iraq. Following his book, We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, the Department of State began proceedings against him. Through the efforts of the Government Accountability Project and the ACLU, Van Buren instead retired from the State Department on his own terms.
His second book, Ghosts of Tom Joad, A Story of the #99Percent (2014) is fiction about the social and economic changes in America between WWII and the decline of the blue collar middle class in the 1980’s.
If Russian Intelligence Did Hack the DNC, the NSA Would Know, Snowden Says: It is vital to cast a skeptical eye over whatever evidence is presented to support the claim, made by Hillary Clinton’s aide Robby Mook, that this is all part of a Russian plot to sabotage the Democrats and help Donald Trump win the election.
'I don't want to use 4-letter words': Russian FM slams reporter over DNC leak claims



Trump and Those Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Russians

Trump and Those Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Russians




 "Sputnik" -  In an amazing feat of American reality-inversion, this week saw revelations about how the US electoral system is rigged by the rich and powerful. Yet the story is flipped to outlandish allegations that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is a villain out to destroy Western democracy.
US media outlets from the august New York Times to various others were saturated with claims that Putin is trying to determine the forthcoming American presidential elections by damaging Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton in favor of Republican nominee Donald Trump.

In an article in Slate magazine, we are told: “Putin plan for destroying the West – and it looks a lot like Donald Trump”.

The billionaire property magnate is now being labelled as “Putin’s puppet” and the “Kremlin’s candidate”.

This is a re-run of American establishment paranoia that dominated the Cold War decades, when any political challenger for high office in the US could be blackballed by mere assertion that he was a fellow-traveller of the Soviet Union. Today, “communism” is replaced with allegations of being friends with Moscow “tyranny”.

But let’s deal with the facts here. What we know is that a huge leak of emails from the Democrat National Committee was released last week by Western-based whistleblower organization, Wikileaks, run by Australian journalist Julian Assange.
The emails are a devastating indictment of how the Democrat party leadership has from the outset sought to make sure Hillary Clinton becomes the presidential nominee by crushing her populist rival Bernie Sanders. Clinton is backed by big business, Wall Street and the Pentagon.

The Wikileaks email revelations on the eve of the Democrat convention this week in Philadelphia is proof that what passes for American democracy is a rigged system, ordained by the rich and powerful to elect their candidate to do their bidding when in office.

Sanders acknowledged how the political system was unfairly stacked against him and his supporters. Nevertheless, the Vermont senator has gone on to endorse Clinton, to the disgust of many of his supporters.

Rather than focusing on what is a teachable moment of corporate control of politics, the US media performed mental gymnastics by shifting this real story on to wild speculation that the Democrat email leaks were masterminded by Russian intelligence. The allegation was flatly denied by Wikileaks.

So now, instead of the public examining how powerful American interest prevail on their democratic choice, the narrative becomes one of accusing Vladimir Putin of subverting the US presidential elections.
The slander against Russia is only afforded a semblance of credibility because it is piled on a heap of previous slander, in which Moscow is accused of annexing and invading Ukrainian territory, posing a threat to Eastern Europe, assassinating political opponents, shooting down civilian airliners and sponsoring illicit drugs in Olympic sports.

One again, rumor, insinuation and vilification triumph over facts in the Western media’s so-called news services.

The story of Russian state-sponsored hackers breaking into the Democrat party’s email system first surfaced more than a month ago. As pointed out previously, the source of claims that it was Russian cyber-espionage was a private US security firm, CrowdStrike, which is closely linked to the Washington DC-based think tank Atlantic Council. The Atlantic Council is, in turn, tightly aligned with the US-led NATO military alliance.

The claims made against Russian state hackers are unverifiable. They are simply assertions from a partisan source, which are then amplified into seeming fact by the dutiful Western media.

Incredibly, this anti-Russian smear is then parlayed into a smear against Clinton’s Republican rival, Donald Trump.

Using stilted reasoning and scant regard for facts, the US media are charging that the Kremlin’s “hack” is “an effort to elect Donald Trump”.
The brash business mogul is now being portrayed as a Russian “fifth columnist” orchestrated by Vladimir Putin to undermine American world power.

This is a refrain of much-vaunted allegations that Putin is trying to wreck the European Union by financing anti-EU political parties; that Putin engineered Britain’s Brexit vote to quit the EU last month; or that the Russian leader is working a dastardly policy of sowing division among NATO members.

Trump has derided the “Putin puppet” allegations as ludicrous. It is true that Trump has previously spoken favorably about Putin, and that he has promised to improve relations between the US and Russia if elected in November.

As for Moscow, the Russian government has been careful not to make any public comments on the US elections that could be construed as favoring one candidate over another. Moscow has scrupulously kept out of US election affairs. Putin did refer once to Trump as being a “bright” and “talented” person. So what?

Underneath the mountain of hype and disinformation, one suspects that Trump’s comments last week dismissing NATO are the real bone of contention. Trump told the New York Times that he wouldn’t order US forces automatically to defend Eastern European NATO members if they were attacked.

The Republican candidate “overturned a cornerstone of US foreign policy since the Second World War” noted various Western media outlets.
In a refreshing use of independent reasoning, Trump in fell swoop rejected the whole Washington-led narrative of NATO defending Europe from Russian aggression. This narrative has been recklessly contrived and pushed by Washington over the last two years, which has heightened the danger of an all-out nuclear war with Russia.

Donald Trump may turn out a huge disappointment if elected to the White House. But at this stage, one has to acknowledge that his views, at least in regard to Russia, are significantly more welcome than Hillary Clinton’s, who is a Pentagon hawk in liberal clothing.

Trump’s refusal to sing from the same Pentagon hymn sheet of panning Russia as a global threat and calling for increased NATO militarism on Russia’s border is sheer anathema to the Washington establishment.

That is why the US powers-that-be are moving to discredit Trump as “a Russian puppet”.

And recall, the source of the Russian email hacker claims is a security firm linked with the Atlantic Council/NATO nexus.

Trump’s indifferent views on NATO and alleged Russian aggression in Europe are in total discord with the geopolitical interests of Washington and its drive for hegemony.

Since the Republican candidate gave his tepid views on NATO last week, there has been a parade of Western security pundits lambasting him as a patsy for Putin.

It is a disturbing sign of how brainwashed Western public discourse is that when someone questions Washington’s reckless war beat towards Moscow, then that person is summarily dismissed as a Kremlin tool.
This is the practice of a totalitarian system, ironically under the illusion of a free-thinking, independent media.

The real story here is how American democracy is bought and paid for by powerful elite interests within the country. The email hacking issue on how Clinton is being selected as the next president by powerful corporations and the military industrial complex should be focus.

But no. The public’s attention is diverted by fantasies over villainous Vlad and his comrade Trump.

American politics has long been scoffed at by international observers as a joke version of democracy. Now we know it is a joke, and it’s not funny.


By Finian Cunningham

Trump and Those Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Russians




 "Sputnik" -  In an amazing feat of American reality-inversion, this week saw revelations about how the US electoral system is rigged by the rich and powerful. Yet the story is flipped to outlandish allegations that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is a villain out to destroy Western democracy.
US media outlets from the august New York Times to various others were saturated with claims that Putin is trying to determine the forthcoming American presidential elections by damaging Democrat candidate Hillary Clinton in favor of Republican nominee Donald Trump.

In an article in Slate magazine, we are told: “Putin plan for destroying the West – and it looks a lot like Donald Trump”.

The billionaire property magnate is now being labelled as “Putin’s puppet” and the “Kremlin’s candidate”.

This is a re-run of American establishment paranoia that dominated the Cold War decades, when any political challenger for high office in the US could be blackballed by mere assertion that he was a fellow-traveller of the Soviet Union. Today, “communism” is replaced with allegations of being friends with Moscow “tyranny”.

But let’s deal with the facts here. What we know is that a huge leak of emails from the Democrat National Committee was released last week by Western-based whistleblower organization, Wikileaks, run by Australian journalist Julian Assange.
The emails are a devastating indictment of how the Democrat party leadership has from the outset sought to make sure Hillary Clinton becomes the presidential nominee by crushing her populist rival Bernie Sanders. Clinton is backed by big business, Wall Street and the Pentagon.

The Wikileaks email revelations on the eve of the Democrat convention this week in Philadelphia is proof that what passes for American democracy is a rigged system, ordained by the rich and powerful to elect their candidate to do their bidding when in office.

Sanders acknowledged how the political system was unfairly stacked against him and his supporters. Nevertheless, the Vermont senator has gone on to endorse Clinton, to the disgust of many of his supporters.

Rather than focusing on what is a teachable moment of corporate control of politics, the US media performed mental gymnastics by shifting this real story on to wild speculation that the Democrat email leaks were masterminded by Russian intelligence. The allegation was flatly denied by Wikileaks.

So now, instead of the public examining how powerful American interest prevail on their democratic choice, the narrative becomes one of accusing Vladimir Putin of subverting the US presidential elections.
The slander against Russia is only afforded a semblance of credibility because it is piled on a heap of previous slander, in which Moscow is accused of annexing and invading Ukrainian territory, posing a threat to Eastern Europe, assassinating political opponents, shooting down civilian airliners and sponsoring illicit drugs in Olympic sports.

One again, rumor, insinuation and vilification triumph over facts in the Western media’s so-called news services.

The story of Russian state-sponsored hackers breaking into the Democrat party’s email system first surfaced more than a month ago. As pointed out previously, the source of claims that it was Russian cyber-espionage was a private US security firm, CrowdStrike, which is closely linked to the Washington DC-based think tank Atlantic Council. The Atlantic Council is, in turn, tightly aligned with the US-led NATO military alliance.

The claims made against Russian state hackers are unverifiable. They are simply assertions from a partisan source, which are then amplified into seeming fact by the dutiful Western media.

Incredibly, this anti-Russian smear is then parlayed into a smear against Clinton’s Republican rival, Donald Trump.

Using stilted reasoning and scant regard for facts, the US media are charging that the Kremlin’s “hack” is “an effort to elect Donald Trump”.
The brash business mogul is now being portrayed as a Russian “fifth columnist” orchestrated by Vladimir Putin to undermine American world power.

This is a refrain of much-vaunted allegations that Putin is trying to wreck the European Union by financing anti-EU political parties; that Putin engineered Britain’s Brexit vote to quit the EU last month; or that the Russian leader is working a dastardly policy of sowing division among NATO members.

Trump has derided the “Putin puppet” allegations as ludicrous. It is true that Trump has previously spoken favorably about Putin, and that he has promised to improve relations between the US and Russia if elected in November.

As for Moscow, the Russian government has been careful not to make any public comments on the US elections that could be construed as favoring one candidate over another. Moscow has scrupulously kept out of US election affairs. Putin did refer once to Trump as being a “bright” and “talented” person. So what?

Underneath the mountain of hype and disinformation, one suspects that Trump’s comments last week dismissing NATO are the real bone of contention. Trump told the New York Times that he wouldn’t order US forces automatically to defend Eastern European NATO members if they were attacked.

The Republican candidate “overturned a cornerstone of US foreign policy since the Second World War” noted various Western media outlets.
In a refreshing use of independent reasoning, Trump in fell swoop rejected the whole Washington-led narrative of NATO defending Europe from Russian aggression. This narrative has been recklessly contrived and pushed by Washington over the last two years, which has heightened the danger of an all-out nuclear war with Russia.

Donald Trump may turn out a huge disappointment if elected to the White House. But at this stage, one has to acknowledge that his views, at least in regard to Russia, are significantly more welcome than Hillary Clinton’s, who is a Pentagon hawk in liberal clothing.

Trump’s refusal to sing from the same Pentagon hymn sheet of panning Russia as a global threat and calling for increased NATO militarism on Russia’s border is sheer anathema to the Washington establishment.

That is why the US powers-that-be are moving to discredit Trump as “a Russian puppet”.

And recall, the source of the Russian email hacker claims is a security firm linked with the Atlantic Council/NATO nexus.

Trump’s indifferent views on NATO and alleged Russian aggression in Europe are in total discord with the geopolitical interests of Washington and its drive for hegemony.

Since the Republican candidate gave his tepid views on NATO last week, there has been a parade of Western security pundits lambasting him as a patsy for Putin.

It is a disturbing sign of how brainwashed Western public discourse is that when someone questions Washington’s reckless war beat towards Moscow, then that person is summarily dismissed as a Kremlin tool.
This is the practice of a totalitarian system, ironically under the illusion of a free-thinking, independent media.

The real story here is how American democracy is bought and paid for by powerful elite interests within the country. The email hacking issue on how Clinton is being selected as the next president by powerful corporations and the military industrial complex should be focus.

But no. The public’s attention is diverted by fantasies over villainous Vlad and his comrade Trump.

American politics has long been scoffed at by international observers as a joke version of democracy. Now we know it is a joke, and it’s not funny.


By Finian Cunningham

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Putin's Warning


Putin's Warning 


Video

This candid conversation took place with representatives of various media outlets during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, in June 2016. Putin urged journalists to report genuinely on the impending danger that is a nuclear arms race.
Posted July 27, 2016


Putin's Warning 


Video

This candid conversation took place with representatives of various media outlets during the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, in June 2016. Putin urged journalists to report genuinely on the impending danger that is a nuclear arms race.
Posted July 27, 2016



The Power of “Nyet”

The Power of “Nyet”

July 27, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "ClubOrlov" - The way things are supposed to work on this planet is like this: in the United States, the power structures (public and private) decide what they want the rest of the world to do. They communicate their wishes through official and unofficial channels, expecting automatic cooperation. If cooperation is not immediately forthcoming, they apply political, financial and economic pressure. If that still doesn’t produce the intended effect, they attempt regime change through a color revolution or a military coup, or organize and finance an insurgency leading to terrorist attacks and civil war in the recalcitrant nation. If that still doesn’t work, they bomb the country back to the stone age. This is the way it worked in the 1990s and the 2000s, but as of late a new dynamic has emerged.

In the beginning it was centered on Russia, but the phenomenon has since spread around the world and is about to engulf the United States itself. It works like this: the United States decides what it wants Russia to do and communicates its wishes, expecting automatic cooperation. Russia says “Nyet.” The United States then runs through all of the above steps up to but not including the bombing campaign, from which it is deterred by Russia’s nuclear deterrent. The answer remains “Nyet.” One could perhaps imagine that some smart person within the US power structure would pipe up and say: “Based on the evidence before us, dictating our terms to Russia doesn’t work; let’s try negotiating with Russia in good faith as equals.” And then everybody else would slap their heads and say, "Wow! That's brilliant! Why didn't we think of that?" But instead that person would be fired that very same day because, you see, American global hegemony is nonnegotiable. And so what happens instead is that the Americans act baffled, regroup and try again, making for quite an amusing spectacle.

The whole Edward Snowden imbroglio was particularly fun to watch. The US demanded his extradition. The Russians said: “Nyet, our constitution forbids it.” And then, hilariously, some voices in the West demanded in response that Russia change its constitution! The response, requiring no translation, was “Xa-xa-xa-xa-xa!” Less funny is the impasse over Syria: the Americans have been continuously demanding that Russia go along with their plan to overthrow Bashar Assad. The unchanging Russian response has been: “Nyet, the Syrians get to decide on their leadership, not Russia, and not the US.” Each time they hear it, the Americans scratch their heads and… try again. John Kerry was just recently in Moscow, holding a marathon “negotiating session” with Putin and Lavrov. Above is a photo of Kerry talking to Putin and Lavrov in Moscow a week or so ago and their facial expressions are hard to misread. There’s Kerry, with his back to the camera, babbling away as per usual. Lavrov’s face says: “I can’t believe I have to sit here and listen to this nonsense again.” Putin’s face says: “Oh the poor idiot, he can’t bring himself to understand that we’re just going to say ‘nyet’ again.” Kerry flew home with yet another “nyet.”

What’s worse, other countries are now getting into the act. The Americans told the Brits exactly how to vote, and yet the Brits said “nyet” and voted for Brexit. The Americans told the Europeans to accept the horrendous corporate power grab that is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the French said “nyet, it shall not pass.” The US organized yet another military coup in Turkey to replace Erdoǧan with somebody who won’t try to play nice with Russia, and the Turks said “nyet” to that too. And now, horror of horrors, there is Donald Trump saying “nyet” to all sorts of things—NATO, offshoring American jobs, letting in a flood of migrants, globalization, weapons for Ukrainian Nazis, free trade…

The corrosive psychological effect of “nyet” on the American hegemonic psyche cannot be underestimated. If you are supposed to think and act like a hegemon, but only the thinking part still works, then the result is cognitive dissonance. If your job is to bully nations around, and the nations can no longer be bullied, then your job becomes a joke, and you turn into a mental patient. The resulting madness has recently produced quite an interesting symptom: some number of US State Department staffers signed a letter, which was promptly leaked, calling for a bombing campaign against Syria in order to overthrow Bashar Assad. These are diplomats. Diplomacy is the art of avoiding war by talking. Diplomats who call for war are not being exactly… diplomatic. You could say that they are incompetent diplomats, but that wouldn’t go far enough (most of the competent diplomats left the service during the second Bush administration, many of them in disgust over having to lie about the rationale for the Iraq war). The truth is, they are sick, deranged non-diplomatic warmongers. Such is the power of this one simple Russian word that they have quite literally lost their minds.

But it would be unfair to single out the State Department. It is as if the entire American body politic has been infected by a putrid miasma. It permeates all things and makes life miserable. In spite of the mounting problems, most other things in the US are still somewhat manageable, but this one thing—the draining away of the ability to bully the whole world—ruins everything. It’s mid-summer, the nation is at the beach. The beach blanket is moth-eaten and threadbare, the beach umbrella has holes in it, the soft drinks in the cooler are laced with nasty chemicals and the summer reading is boring… and then there is a dead whale decomposing nearby, whose name is “Nyet.” It just ruins the whole ambiance!

The media chattering heads and the establishment politicos are at this point painfully aware of this problem, and their predictable reaction is to blame it on what they perceive as its ultimate source: Russia, conveniently personified by Putin. “If you aren’t voting for Clinton, you are voting for Putin” is one recently minted political trope. Another is that Trump is Putin’s agent. Any public figure that declines to take a pro-establishment stance is automatically labeled “Putin’s useful idiot.” Taken at face value, such claims are preposterous. But there is a deeper explanation for them: what ties them all together is the power of “nyet.” A vote for Sanders is a “nyet” vote: the Democratic establishment produced a candidate and told people to vote for her, and most of the young people said “nyet.” Same thing with Trump: the Republican establishment trotted out its Seven Dwarfs and told people to vote for any one of them, and yet most of the disenfranchised working-class white people said “nyet” and voted for Snow White the outsider.

It is a hopeful sign that people throughout the Washington-dominated world are discovering the power of “nyet.” The establishment may still look spiffy on the outside, but under the shiny new paint there hides a rotten hull, with water coming in though every open seam. A sufficiently resounding “nyet” will probably be enough to cause it to founder, suddenly making room for some very necessary changes. When that happens, please remember to thank Russia… or, if you insist, Putin.

Dmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States in the 1970’s. He is the author of Reinventing Collapse, Hold Your Applause! and Absolutely Positive, and publishes weekly at the phenomenally popular blog www.ClubOrlov.com .
The Power of “Nyet”

July 27, 2016 "Information Clearing House" - "ClubOrlov" - The way things are supposed to work on this planet is like this: in the United States, the power structures (public and private) decide what they want the rest of the world to do. They communicate their wishes through official and unofficial channels, expecting automatic cooperation. If cooperation is not immediately forthcoming, they apply political, financial and economic pressure. If that still doesn’t produce the intended effect, they attempt regime change through a color revolution or a military coup, or organize and finance an insurgency leading to terrorist attacks and civil war in the recalcitrant nation. If that still doesn’t work, they bomb the country back to the stone age. This is the way it worked in the 1990s and the 2000s, but as of late a new dynamic has emerged.

In the beginning it was centered on Russia, but the phenomenon has since spread around the world and is about to engulf the United States itself. It works like this: the United States decides what it wants Russia to do and communicates its wishes, expecting automatic cooperation. Russia says “Nyet.” The United States then runs through all of the above steps up to but not including the bombing campaign, from which it is deterred by Russia’s nuclear deterrent. The answer remains “Nyet.” One could perhaps imagine that some smart person within the US power structure would pipe up and say: “Based on the evidence before us, dictating our terms to Russia doesn’t work; let’s try negotiating with Russia in good faith as equals.” And then everybody else would slap their heads and say, "Wow! That's brilliant! Why didn't we think of that?" But instead that person would be fired that very same day because, you see, American global hegemony is nonnegotiable. And so what happens instead is that the Americans act baffled, regroup and try again, making for quite an amusing spectacle.

The whole Edward Snowden imbroglio was particularly fun to watch. The US demanded his extradition. The Russians said: “Nyet, our constitution forbids it.” And then, hilariously, some voices in the West demanded in response that Russia change its constitution! The response, requiring no translation, was “Xa-xa-xa-xa-xa!” Less funny is the impasse over Syria: the Americans have been continuously demanding that Russia go along with their plan to overthrow Bashar Assad. The unchanging Russian response has been: “Nyet, the Syrians get to decide on their leadership, not Russia, and not the US.” Each time they hear it, the Americans scratch their heads and… try again. John Kerry was just recently in Moscow, holding a marathon “negotiating session” with Putin and Lavrov. Above is a photo of Kerry talking to Putin and Lavrov in Moscow a week or so ago and their facial expressions are hard to misread. There’s Kerry, with his back to the camera, babbling away as per usual. Lavrov’s face says: “I can’t believe I have to sit here and listen to this nonsense again.” Putin’s face says: “Oh the poor idiot, he can’t bring himself to understand that we’re just going to say ‘nyet’ again.” Kerry flew home with yet another “nyet.”

What’s worse, other countries are now getting into the act. The Americans told the Brits exactly how to vote, and yet the Brits said “nyet” and voted for Brexit. The Americans told the Europeans to accept the horrendous corporate power grab that is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the French said “nyet, it shall not pass.” The US organized yet another military coup in Turkey to replace Erdoǧan with somebody who won’t try to play nice with Russia, and the Turks said “nyet” to that too. And now, horror of horrors, there is Donald Trump saying “nyet” to all sorts of things—NATO, offshoring American jobs, letting in a flood of migrants, globalization, weapons for Ukrainian Nazis, free trade…

The corrosive psychological effect of “nyet” on the American hegemonic psyche cannot be underestimated. If you are supposed to think and act like a hegemon, but only the thinking part still works, then the result is cognitive dissonance. If your job is to bully nations around, and the nations can no longer be bullied, then your job becomes a joke, and you turn into a mental patient. The resulting madness has recently produced quite an interesting symptom: some number of US State Department staffers signed a letter, which was promptly leaked, calling for a bombing campaign against Syria in order to overthrow Bashar Assad. These are diplomats. Diplomacy is the art of avoiding war by talking. Diplomats who call for war are not being exactly… diplomatic. You could say that they are incompetent diplomats, but that wouldn’t go far enough (most of the competent diplomats left the service during the second Bush administration, many of them in disgust over having to lie about the rationale for the Iraq war). The truth is, they are sick, deranged non-diplomatic warmongers. Such is the power of this one simple Russian word that they have quite literally lost their minds.

But it would be unfair to single out the State Department. It is as if the entire American body politic has been infected by a putrid miasma. It permeates all things and makes life miserable. In spite of the mounting problems, most other things in the US are still somewhat manageable, but this one thing—the draining away of the ability to bully the whole world—ruins everything. It’s mid-summer, the nation is at the beach. The beach blanket is moth-eaten and threadbare, the beach umbrella has holes in it, the soft drinks in the cooler are laced with nasty chemicals and the summer reading is boring… and then there is a dead whale decomposing nearby, whose name is “Nyet.” It just ruins the whole ambiance!

The media chattering heads and the establishment politicos are at this point painfully aware of this problem, and their predictable reaction is to blame it on what they perceive as its ultimate source: Russia, conveniently personified by Putin. “If you aren’t voting for Clinton, you are voting for Putin” is one recently minted political trope. Another is that Trump is Putin’s agent. Any public figure that declines to take a pro-establishment stance is automatically labeled “Putin’s useful idiot.” Taken at face value, such claims are preposterous. But there is a deeper explanation for them: what ties them all together is the power of “nyet.” A vote for Sanders is a “nyet” vote: the Democratic establishment produced a candidate and told people to vote for her, and most of the young people said “nyet.” Same thing with Trump: the Republican establishment trotted out its Seven Dwarfs and told people to vote for any one of them, and yet most of the disenfranchised working-class white people said “nyet” and voted for Snow White the outsider.

It is a hopeful sign that people throughout the Washington-dominated world are discovering the power of “nyet.” The establishment may still look spiffy on the outside, but under the shiny new paint there hides a rotten hull, with water coming in though every open seam. A sufficiently resounding “nyet” will probably be enough to cause it to founder, suddenly making room for some very necessary changes. When that happens, please remember to thank Russia… or, if you insist, Putin.

Dmitry Orlov was born in Leningrad and immigrated to the United States in the 1970’s. He is the author of Reinventing Collapse, Hold Your Applause! and Absolutely Positive, and publishes weekly at the phenomenally popular blog www.ClubOrlov.com .


Democrats are Funny


While the Democrat convention itself may be a hilarious parody perfectly suited to modern American politics, we need to keep in mind that it masks a melancholy possibility which cannot be allowed to become reality


Democrats are Funny



Ray Tomlinson must the most hated man in Philadelphia right now.

For those who don’t remember, Tomlinson was the man who sent the first email message ever, back in 1971, thereby providing American politicians with a whole new way in which to embarrass themselves, as well as the country at large.  And here we are in 2016, having a huge laugh at the expense of the Democrats as they hold their national convention, which isn’t even over and has already turned into a massive clown show.

There’s nothing that sets the tone for a political convention like the release of thousands of embarrassing emails sent by national committee members that openly show just how low the average IQ in your party really is.  Seriously, it’s like senior Democrats still haven’t clued in to the fact that emails are recorded on servers, and servers – which store those emails for long period of time – can be hacked by sufficiently skilled and motivated people.  For a party supposedly driven by hip young technologically savvy millennials, they still haven’t gotten down the concept of treating email like it’s being recorded (which it, in fact, most likely is), so you need to be discreet when sending them.  It’s as if they took their clues from their standard bearer and stored the servers unsecured in a private bathroom where any Romanian kid with a laptop could get at them.

Oh what fun the Wikileaks email release was, too.  In their own words, we saw senior Democrats collude with Hillary’s people to steal the election from Bernie Sanders.  Then there was the proof positive that the media and the Democrats very much collude with each other to present a fraudulent narrative to the American people, which validates every accusation in recent years that the media are just an arm of the DNC.  We also got to see senior Democrats make fun of gays, blacks, and Hispanics, referring to gays as “homos” and describing fundraising pitches to Latino groups as “taco bowl outreach.”

But the funniest part – the absolutely most hilarious, amusing, rollicking stream of entertainment – was seeing all the corruption being put out in the open, all of the illegal fundraising arrangements and the like which top-level Democrat officials were using to launder funds to Hillary’s campaign.  Nothing says “ha ha funny” like political parties flagrantly breaking the same kind of campaign laws that they routinely demand for everyone else.

But wait, there’s more.

How funny is that former chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (who wasn’t even allowed to speak at her own convention) was forced to step down because of obvious, proven corruption…and was immediately picked up by the Hillary campaign?  I have to admit, the Democrats don’t seem to be working very hard to dispel the whole “crooked Hillary” theme with which Trump has been hammering them.

But what about the convention itself?  I mean, surely we can all appreciate the irony of seeing the Democrats – who constantly screech about how horrible walls and photo ID are – building a wall around their convention site and requiring all entrants to produce photo ID before they can pass the gate?  Remember when the Democrats told us that photo IDs were racist because black Americans were simply unable to obtain them for some obscure, generally disarticulated reason not really understandable to people with IQs above room temperature?  Even though black Americans routinely use photo IDs to drive, cash checks, buy lottery tickets, open bank accounts, buy cigarettes and alcohol, get medical treatment, and a great deal else?

And there is so much else.  No American flags, but Palestinian flags all over the place?  Really?  And then you had half the convention walking out during Clinton’s speech.  Nothing says “party unity” quite like that.  I doubt Clinton’s campaign will be very quick to grab “Lock her up!” as their new bumper sticker slogan, either.  Major Democrats like Wasserman-Schulz and Nancy Pelosi have been getting booed by their own state delegations and you have the open, very public feud between two Democrat candidates for the senate seat from California (one black and one Hispanic), each wildly accusing the other of racism while competing for Obama’s imprimatur on their candidacies.  The whole thing is in disarray, a messy self-immolation being played out before the American people in real time.


The Democratic National Convention of 2016 serves to highlight what has long been known about Democrats in general, and their leadership in particular, which is that they are boorish, incompetent, entitled buffoons who couldn’t make a hotdog stand profitable if it were sitting outside of a stadium hosting the world championship of Starvation Ball.  The thoughtful observer can see what is going on inside the doors at Philadelphia, and immediately understand why Detroit, Oakland, Baltimore, and every other city which Democrats have controlled for decades are in shambles.  Democrats have the anti-Midas touch – everything they lay a finger on turns to garbage.

Unfortunately, the only not funny thing to come out of all this is that Hillary still has a better than decent chance of winning this election, through a combination of low-information voters who want to keep the welfare flowing and sore loser establishment Republicans who can’t stand that their career politicians of choice didn’t win the GOP nomination.  While the Democrat convention itself may be a hilarious parody perfectly suited to modern American politics, we need to keep in mind that it masks a melancholy possibility which cannot be allowed to become reality.




By Tim Dunkin
While the Democrat convention itself may be a hilarious parody perfectly suited to modern American politics, we need to keep in mind that it masks a melancholy possibility which cannot be allowed to become reality


Democrats are Funny



Ray Tomlinson must the most hated man in Philadelphia right now.

For those who don’t remember, Tomlinson was the man who sent the first email message ever, back in 1971, thereby providing American politicians with a whole new way in which to embarrass themselves, as well as the country at large.  And here we are in 2016, having a huge laugh at the expense of the Democrats as they hold their national convention, which isn’t even over and has already turned into a massive clown show.

There’s nothing that sets the tone for a political convention like the release of thousands of embarrassing emails sent by national committee members that openly show just how low the average IQ in your party really is.  Seriously, it’s like senior Democrats still haven’t clued in to the fact that emails are recorded on servers, and servers – which store those emails for long period of time – can be hacked by sufficiently skilled and motivated people.  For a party supposedly driven by hip young technologically savvy millennials, they still haven’t gotten down the concept of treating email like it’s being recorded (which it, in fact, most likely is), so you need to be discreet when sending them.  It’s as if they took their clues from their standard bearer and stored the servers unsecured in a private bathroom where any Romanian kid with a laptop could get at them.

Oh what fun the Wikileaks email release was, too.  In their own words, we saw senior Democrats collude with Hillary’s people to steal the election from Bernie Sanders.  Then there was the proof positive that the media and the Democrats very much collude with each other to present a fraudulent narrative to the American people, which validates every accusation in recent years that the media are just an arm of the DNC.  We also got to see senior Democrats make fun of gays, blacks, and Hispanics, referring to gays as “homos” and describing fundraising pitches to Latino groups as “taco bowl outreach.”

But the funniest part – the absolutely most hilarious, amusing, rollicking stream of entertainment – was seeing all the corruption being put out in the open, all of the illegal fundraising arrangements and the like which top-level Democrat officials were using to launder funds to Hillary’s campaign.  Nothing says “ha ha funny” like political parties flagrantly breaking the same kind of campaign laws that they routinely demand for everyone else.

But wait, there’s more.

How funny is that former chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (who wasn’t even allowed to speak at her own convention) was forced to step down because of obvious, proven corruption…and was immediately picked up by the Hillary campaign?  I have to admit, the Democrats don’t seem to be working very hard to dispel the whole “crooked Hillary” theme with which Trump has been hammering them.

But what about the convention itself?  I mean, surely we can all appreciate the irony of seeing the Democrats – who constantly screech about how horrible walls and photo ID are – building a wall around their convention site and requiring all entrants to produce photo ID before they can pass the gate?  Remember when the Democrats told us that photo IDs were racist because black Americans were simply unable to obtain them for some obscure, generally disarticulated reason not really understandable to people with IQs above room temperature?  Even though black Americans routinely use photo IDs to drive, cash checks, buy lottery tickets, open bank accounts, buy cigarettes and alcohol, get medical treatment, and a great deal else?

And there is so much else.  No American flags, but Palestinian flags all over the place?  Really?  And then you had half the convention walking out during Clinton’s speech.  Nothing says “party unity” quite like that.  I doubt Clinton’s campaign will be very quick to grab “Lock her up!” as their new bumper sticker slogan, either.  Major Democrats like Wasserman-Schulz and Nancy Pelosi have been getting booed by their own state delegations and you have the open, very public feud between two Democrat candidates for the senate seat from California (one black and one Hispanic), each wildly accusing the other of racism while competing for Obama’s imprimatur on their candidacies.  The whole thing is in disarray, a messy self-immolation being played out before the American people in real time.


The Democratic National Convention of 2016 serves to highlight what has long been known about Democrats in general, and their leadership in particular, which is that they are boorish, incompetent, entitled buffoons who couldn’t make a hotdog stand profitable if it were sitting outside of a stadium hosting the world championship of Starvation Ball.  The thoughtful observer can see what is going on inside the doors at Philadelphia, and immediately understand why Detroit, Oakland, Baltimore, and every other city which Democrats have controlled for decades are in shambles.  Democrats have the anti-Midas touch – everything they lay a finger on turns to garbage.

Unfortunately, the only not funny thing to come out of all this is that Hillary still has a better than decent chance of winning this election, through a combination of low-information voters who want to keep the welfare flowing and sore loser establishment Republicans who can’t stand that their career politicians of choice didn’t win the GOP nomination.  While the Democrat convention itself may be a hilarious parody perfectly suited to modern American politics, we need to keep in mind that it masks a melancholy possibility which cannot be allowed to become reality.




By Tim Dunkin