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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

WHY A CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT TO END CITIZENS UNITED IS INEVITABLE





It is amazing how hard some people will work to convince others that doing what is absolutely necessary is impossible. Imagine if most people chose to believe that it is too late to do anything about climate change. Even if they were right, doing nothing due to widespread acceptance of the idea would amount to humanity turning its back on its children, dooming them to live through the collapse of human civilization.  As another example, the biggest obstacle to global peace is arguably the widespread acceptance of the self-fulfilling prophecy that war is inevitable. What if it became commonly understood that war is always a choice and they only benefit the corporations of the military-industrial complex that essentially dictates foreign policy to decision-makers in Washington? It is possible that war would become unthinkable, if we are willing to make that happen.

Global climate change and global peace, like nearly every issue that Congress and the White House have failed to address, are problems for all but the few who pay for the elections of our representatives in Washington. Congress and the White House routinely put the immediate interests of corporations over those of the rest of us. The short-sighted approach of the Wall Street criminals who dominate the government is setting the US and global economies up for a fall that will make 2008 look like a mild downturn. The economic devastation would leave us woefully unprepared to deal with the human crisis that would result. Well-respected experts like Helen Brown are warning us to prepare for a state of permanent martial law in the wake of the coming economic collapse.

The problem then is that until we change the US system of campaign finance, there is little hope for human civilization. There is a large and growing movement to do so through the only means that a corrupt Supreme Court has left us, a constitutional amendment. You would think that the recent 54-42 vote in the Senate would have caused naysayers some pause, but that does not seem to be the case. A recent article in Alternet made the claim that this meant the movement “collapsed with a predictable thud,” overlooking the fact that the vote itself was a historic milestone on the path to the inevitable enactment of an amendment that will be the first giant step toward establishing democracy in the US since the constitution itself.

What casual observers of the amendment movement consistently fail to recognize is that there is a specific path to passage that should be obvious to anyone who thinks through the problem of getting a corrupt Congress to pass an amendment that will undercut the very system that got most of its members into office.  Any solution will clearly need to involve making support for an amendment a crucial campaign issue in Congressional elections. If voters can be made to use this issue as a litmus test for their support, we can and will elect a Congress that will pass an amendment. Such a Congress will have proven that it is willing to put the interests of its constituents over those of the corporate patrons of the current occupants of Congress. Then, they can get on to dealing with other aspects of corruption that critics of the amendment complain it would not address.

Movement leaders can take much of the blame for the failure of recognition of this clear path to victory. The idea has been floating around since before Citizens United was decided, as the Roberts Court’s call for briefs that would expand the original question to gut campaign finance reform made it obvious which way it was going to come down. After the decision, some of us immediately got to work promoting not just wider awareness of the problem, but recognition of the solution. Unfortunately, early supporters gave up on the strategy after the 2010 election failed to yield results. This was surprising, given that the lack of success in electing candidates pledged to support an amendment was predictable. Not only was the idea new, but organizers failed to achieve buy-in from many groups working on the issue. Move to Amend, which had the most boots on the ground early in the battle, rejected the idea outright and refused to work with any group that did not support the amendment they wrote or their strategy to see it passed.

In 2010, Public Citizen issued a call for pledges to support an amendment that would overrule Citizens United. I was one of dozens of candidates for the House and Senate who answered the call. We will never know how many more candidates might have been willing to take the pledge had it received wider publicity through other groups working on the issue and the “alternative” media that treated it as just one issue among many rather than the central problem halting progress on addressing the rest. People for the American Way was Public Citizens’ only partner. Its role was confined to mentioning the campaign on its website and listing candidates who had made a pledge. Despite an effort to revive interest in the idea in 2012 and the ease with which pledges were obtained, another four years passed before the idea finally began to catch on.

In 2012, both Public Citizen and People for the American Way declined to continue what came to be most widely known as the Pledge to Amend campaign, despite the obvious fact that it was a strategy that could only succeed over several election cycles. The same was true for other groups that were approached. Most of them did not seem to appreciate the significance of the idea. Although Pledge to Amend is the name of the same strategy recently adopted by Move to Amend, its steering committee explicitly rejected the idea in 2012 as premature whenever the question came up. Move to Amend is now calling for people to solicit pledges of support for an amendment that would reform campaign finance and abolish corporate constitutional rights (corporate personhood), but there is little evidence that their local affiliates around the country have responded. As a result, it appears that another election cycle is likely to be wasted.

The earliest serious effort to organize a movement around the idea of making support for an amendment a campaign issue seems to have started in Oregon in 2014. In 2013, various groups around the state came together in a successful effort to get an amendment resolution passed in the state legislature. By 2014, they were looking for another project. At that time, the national steering committee of Move to Amend had failed to provide strong leadership in giving local affiliates around the country a new objective once those who had worked passed amendments in their communities had succeeded. They suggested working on getting pledges from state legislators, seemingly ignoring the fact that the amendment had to pass Congress first. The Oregon Democracy Coalition decided to pursue what they call the Ask the Candidate strategy, first suggested by Public Citizen in 2010.

The effort is off to a slow start, but is likely to serve as a model for groups around the US by the time of the 2016 election. It is based on the idea of forming local groups in every community and empowering them to raise awareness of the issue of corruption and the way to address it in ways of their own choosing. The coalition has quickly grown from its original six members (considering all of the Move to Amend locals in the state as one group) to 29.  It is reaching out to public interest organizations in the environmental, peace, economic justice, labor and other movements that have largely been working in isolation. All of these groups are realizing that their efforts will be fruitless until we have a government that puts our interests over the corporate patrons of our so-called representatives. While there have been dozens of other strategies proposed that merit support, none have the momentum of the movement to amend the constitution.

As the alternative media and activists nationwide increasingly become aware of the central role of reforming campaign finance in moving America forward, the model used by the Oregon Democracy Coalition is likely to become the nucleus of a truly grassroots movement for an amendment in communities around the country. It might even just become the way that we finally build the fabled “progressive movement” that cynics have written off as impossible to achieve.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

USING CONSPIRACY THEORIES TO CONTROL THE MASSES




                                                                         


The CIA has been using propaganda to control public perception of covert operations overseas since at least the early 50s, when it was officially given this role under Operation Mockingbird.  Although this authority was given only with regard to manipulating foreign media, it quickly morphed into a means ofcontrolling US public opinion about the imperialist actions of its government. Failure to understand this is one of the main reasons that the American public has no idea what the government is actually doing in its name in other countries. Understanding how those who determine US foreign policies use conspiracy theories to control conversation about US policies abroad is crucial to understanding how to challenge their propaganda.

The most important deception of the US government is masking its imperialist policies, from Guatemala and Iran in the early 50s to the Ukrainian coup earlier this year. It took nearly 60 years before Americans were officially informed about the CIA-engineered overthrow of the democratically electedIranian government of Mossadeghin 1953. To many Americans, that is ancient history even though it has changed the course of US-Iranian relations from then until today.  They still ask “why do they hate us?” when the answer is a matter of public record. Corporate pundits play their part by never making this point when commenting on the long-standing enmity between Iran and the US. Instead, they repeat without question the CIA-vetted conspiracy theory that Iran is secretly developing nuclear weapons, in the complete absence of credible evidence. Today, this lie is repeated in public statements by both proponents and opponents of engagement with Iran

American imperialism beyond its present borders had its modest beginnings in the Spanish-American War. This was a war heavily promoted by much of the corporate media of the time, following the lead of William Randolph Hearst. The conspiracy theory of the time was that the USS Maine was sunk in Havana harbor by a Spanish mine, a lie that was repeated enough that it came to be regarded as a matter of common knowledge. This led to an initially reluctant McKinley to embrace imperialism. The story of the rise of American influence from then is one of imperialist expansion to serve the interests of international corporations. As the US grew into the most powerful military, economic and diplomatic power in world history, it eventually gave up trying to justify its aggression on the basis of false claims that it was defending itself from direct attacks.

At the end of WWII, the US adopted a new policy of making war against anyone it perceived as a possible enemy. Based on the assertion that the national interest included waging war anywhere where communism tried to take hold, Truman chose to go to war with Korea. As importantly, he did not seek Congressional approval to launch the assault. The US-controlled UN endorsed the Korean War despite the fact that it was not defensive nor intended to stop genocide, the only two exceptions to laws stating that national sovereignty is inviolable, This is a doctrine going back centuries to the Treaty of Westphalia after the 30 Years War. It served as a founding principle of the UN charter.  Since then, any offensive war against a sovereign nation is against the law. However, under policies based on the notion of American exceptionalism, violation of national sovereignty is no longer considered by the US government as an impediment to involving itself in civil wars or starting wars of choice. The UN has become irrelevant except for the cover it provides NATO and its allies, especially Israel.

The Korean War was immensely unpopular, especially after it resulted in what millions of Americans considered the country’s first defeat. Although the USSR, China and communism itself were regarded by most as real threats to US security, the nation was tired of war. During the Eisenhower administration foreign intervention was mostly covert, with the CIA providing cover under policies established by Operation Mockingbird.  In his final days in office, Eisenhower warned Americans about the threats posed by the growing power and economic influence of the military-industrial complex. According to James Douglass, author of JFK and the Unspeakable, the MIC was referred to as the military-industrial-government complex in the first draft of his speech. The original term was much more descriptive of the power that these corporations had come to wield over the American government, but perhaps he felt that Americans were not ready for the truth. At any rate, he was no longer in a position to do anything about the threat.

Douglass makes a compelling argument that it was Kennedy’s efforts to change America’s imperialist policies that led to his murder by what he calls “the national security state.” Kennedy was shot five months after declaring his intention to end the Cold War. This was after declaring a unilateral ban on atmospheric nuclear testing leading to a partial nuclear test ban treaty with the USSR, secretly opening discussions with Kruschev, beginning to establish a backdoor dialogue with Castro and signing three orders to develop a plan to withdraw from Vietnam beginning in 1963.

Many Americans have forgotten that it was Johnson who used the manufactured incident in the Gulf of Tonkin to escalate a war that Kennedy tried to end. A mere 10 years after the end of the Korean War, American empire builders used this ruse to gain public support for a war of corporate imperialist expansion.  The failure of Americans to accept the fact that they are routinely lied to by leaders of both parties has had disastrous consequences.

In the aftermath of the JFK murder, there was a widespread belief that he was the victim of a conspiracy that the government was covering up. This led to a little-known CIA program to discredit critics of the Warren Commission report as “conspiracy theorists”while simultaneously conducting a campaign to erase from the American consciousness any awareness of everything Kennedy had done to challenge the military-industrial-government complex. The program was and continues to be a success, with the public growing increasingly skeptical of any alternative theory of JFK’s murder, despite the fact that the House Select Committee on Assassinations declared in 1977 that he was murdered as the result of a "probable conspiracy" that Congress has yet to seriously investigate..

With few exceptions, the resistance to traditional power structures in the US that escalated in the wake of the assassinations of the Kennedys, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X has dissipated. The influence of the Vietnam antiwar movement is often overstated. The war continued until it became politically expedient to end it. The growing opposition to the war after 10 years and tens of thousands of American dead was only one consideration. What the movement did show is that Americans are capable of standing together against the government when it becomes oppressive. Occupy tried to recreate this but failed because itwas so worried about “cooption” that it refused to work with establishedorganizations and rejected calls to create a focused strategy for advancing itsobjectives.

The abdication of Congress during the Korean War of its role in deciding when the nation goes to war has been a major factor in subsequent US wars of imperial expansion. The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution was another example of giving away congressional war powers to the President. The Authorization for the Useof Military Force formally gave Bush almost complete authority to start wars of corporate conquest and to restrict civil liberties. That power has now devolved to Obama. To his credit, he sought congressional authorization for a directattack on Syria and may seek authorization to strike at ISIS.  This does not of course excuse the fact that he continues to use the AUMF to support proxy wars in Syria as he did in Libya, commit extrajudicial executions of both foreign nationals and US citizens around the world and to extend his power to suspend civil liberties through provisions of the 2012 NDAA that gave him the power to determine Americans enemycombatants, subject to military law until the “cessation of hostilities.” The question is, if Obama truly believes that War of Terror cannot go on forever, how and when does he think it will end?

Only after Americans have a basic grasp of the imperialist nature of its government and whose interests it serves will they be prepared to understand just how ruthless the puppet masters of Congress and the White House can be. It is the nature of Empires to crush all opposition, both foreign and domestic. The means to establish a permanent police state in the US are in place to respond to any organized resistance to imperialist policies, and effective antiwar organizations are closely monitored. If Americans fail to come together as part of a grassroots united international front against fascism and war, they too will become victims of the Empire in more than just the economic sense that they already are.

This brings us to the greatest conspiracy theory ever concocted by the US government; the official explanation of 9/11. The story should not be hard to debunk, since the report has been repudiated by both co-chairs and the Chief Counsel of the 9/11 Commission. The major obstacle to the 9/11 Truth movement is the successful use of the label “conspiracy theory” to inoculate against dissent. The majority of Americans still believe that 19 Saudis with box cutters managed to fly planes into the twin towers and the Pentagon in a way that professional pilots say they cannot. They are willing to accept the story that the failure to follow up on at least three independent lines of investigation that would have revealed the plot was due to incompetence and confusion by government agencies whose job it is to protect us. The alternative is unthinkable, so they reject any more logical explanation that forces them to question the nature and intentions of their “protectors.”

The most effective way to challenge those who blindly accept the lies of their government is to tell them about a conspiracy to overthrow the government that is no theory, but established fact. Smedley Butler was a highly decorated Marine general who testified before Congress in 1933 about an plot by wealthy industrialists to stage a military coup and overthrow Roosevelt.  It was the most important event in US history that most Americans have never heard of. Congress took the testimony, videos of which are stillavailable online, but did nothing to pursue the plotters.  This left them free to subvert the government is less obvious ways, and to raise their children to do the same. If this is not enough to persuade doubters that the government is and has been in the hands of corporate puppet masters for decades, nothing will. If and when America is free from their influence, it is a cautionary tale we will teach our children forever after.

The next time someone calls you a “conspiracy theorist,” ask him if he has heard about Smedley Butler.  Once he understand the implications of the plot Butler revealed, ask him if he knows that a third building fell on 9/11. If enough of us are willing to speak about the “unspeakable,” we can change the national conversation about what is wrong with America and what needs to be done to create a true representative democracy in the United States.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

ENDING THE TYRANNY OF THE BANKSTERS


                                                                           
                                                                   



Ellen Brown recently wrote an article in which she laid out the options for essential changes in the American economic system that will be necessary to survive the coming economic collapse. She sees this as inevitable given the pernicious effects of a shadow banking system that is using wealth sucked up by bankers to create a massive pool of debt that cannot be repaid when the Ponzi scheme inevitably collapses. Many of the proposals she lays out would repair some aspects of the broken system, while others would be transformative, creating a system that could be stable indefinitely.

We cannot accomplish any of the goals Brown sets out in her article without electing a Congress that will put the needs of the People over the desires of corporations and the rich. That is why it is so important for Americans to join the growing movement to make a constitutional amendment to reform campaign finance and abolish corporate personhood a campaign issue. While this would not end the corruption of the US government by banks and other special interests, in electing a Congress that will pass such an amendment, we will put in place men and women who will clearly be willing to deal with the other sources of corruption.

The Populist movement starting in the late 1800s provides useful lessons, as enumerated in Lawrence Goodwyn’s seminal work The Populist Moment, outlined here. I believe that despite its limitations, it culminated in the New Deal because the ideas it introduced into American political thinking remained at the time of the Great Depression. The changes in the system of regulation of finance in response to the economic collapse were largely responsible for the United States entering the  to the greatest era of prosperity in its history. The key to the success was creating a new political consciousness that challenged the political orthodoxy that maintained a system that economically enslaved the vast bulk of Americans.

Most people regard the Populist movement as having failed because the revolution in political thought was insufficient to elect a Congress that would take on the banksters. There are two reasons I think we can overcome this at this point in history.
First, in America at that time people were used to poverty. Until they felt personally empowered and had specific political goals, they were unprepared to take collective action that would translate to political power. The goal of the Populist movement was to create a way for the working man to get credit and cash without depending on private banks who controlled the money supply. We are facing the same issues today. The difference is that Americans are not only seeing no progress in their economic well-being but for the first time since the New Deal, they are experiencing a decline in their standard of living.

Our other advantage is that we have an electronic system of mass communication that the Populists lacked. This will make the essential task of educating the public about what needs to be done to end much the corruption much simpler. The key here is for the leading voices in the modern progressive movement to focus American’s attention on the centrality of the issue of corruption and educate them about how to end it. At the same time, they must point out that since the power of the banksters is responsible for both the corruption of government and the destruction of the economy, we must institute the elements of Brown’s plan. The key reforms are to establish a national bank and take away the ability of private banks to control the money supply. While her other suggestions would put a patch on the broken economic system we have now, these would fundamentally transform the economy.

It may seem that the cause of waking up Americans is insurmountable, but we are on the edge of a great economic crash that will force us to remake our economic system. If we are prepared with a plan to elect a Congress that will do this and alternative media that will promote the idea, we can create a sea change in American politics, economics and society of a magnitude never seen before. That is our only hope for ending the economic slavery that Americans have known for most of their history and most of the world has endured throughout the history of the world.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

UKRAINE'S ROLE IN THE NEW WORLD ORDER: WILL EUROPE RESIST THE REEMERGENCE OF FASCISM?





                                                           
                                                                             
 



Ukraine is where continental Europe will have its last chance to dissociate from the Anglo-American-Israeli Empire before it is too late. The clear intent of the architects of the New World Order is to isolate and dominate Russia by labeling it a state sponsor of terrorism, using unsubstantiated and unsupportable allegations that Russia was responsible for shooting down the Malaysian jetliner.

It is not in the interests of EU nations or their peoples to continue to support the US-led effort to create a global corporate New World Order. In addition to chaining Europe to the Empire's efforts at military domination of the planet, the Trans Atlantic Partnership would be another nail in the coffin of national autonomy and economic liberty. These are the neoconservative and neoliberal sides of the same coin of neofascism.
Americans have lost control of their government. It will take time to unify its people to fight for the cause of representative government, without which peace is impossible. Will Europeans be able to provide a check on the Empire by making their governments act in their interest and say "no!" to the War of Terror and its new target, Russia? Having already lived through the horrors of the last attempt at fascist global conquest, Europe must stand against its revival.
Because of both its history and its economic relationship with Russia, Germany will play a critical role in helping take down the Empire before we are all enslaved in a permanent fascist New World Order.



The following is reposted from Oriental Review,

The US’ MH17 End Game: Shadow NATO in Ukraine and Russia as a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’

By Andrew KORYBKO (USA)
The US’ MH17 End Game: Shadow NATO in Ukraine and Russia as a ‘State Sponsor of Terrorism’
The Ukrainian Civil War took a violent and headline-grabbing international turn for the worst on 17 July following the downing of Flight MH17. Although it appears more and more likely that it was the Ukrainian Army that shot it down and not the anti-Kiev Resistance, pro-Western media has been aggressively pushing the narrative that Russia, specifically President Putin, was involved and has been suppressing evidence to the contrary. It has even gone as far as to infer that “Russian-backed separatists” carried out a “terrorist attack”, further upping the propaganda ante. The reason behind this massive information war is that the US wants to “isolate Russia” and expand NATO into Ukraine, something which it has largely been unable to successfully do up until this point. In fact, it appears as though the US is now readying to play its trump card – granting Ukraine major non-NATO ally status and declaring Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism”, both of which would in turn advance NATO interests and threateningly force the EU to choose whether its destiny lies with the Atlantic or the Continent.
“Operation: Isolation” before Flight MH17
Prior to the downing of MH17, US-led sanctions against Russia were unsuccessful in isolating Moscow. The EU refused to enact any meaningful sanctions that would endanger its $330 billion yearly trade with Russia, thereby mitigating the US’ economic bullying efforts. In fact, the verbal threat of sanctions was actually beneficial for Russia since it motivated the country to look outside of the West for future economic prospects. A historic gas deal with China was signed in May that was worth nearly half a trillion dollars, and in the same month, the Eurasian Economic Union was officially formed. Then, right before 17 July, Putin attended the BRICS conference in Brazil where he met with leaders representing nearly half of the world’s population, and they committed to creatingthe alternative BRICS Development Bank. Clearly, Russia wasn’t going to be isolated by the West.
© Collage: Voice of Russia
© Collage: Voice of Russia
All the while this was happening, the US kept trying to find a backdoor way for incorporating Kiev’s armed forces into NATO, and it found it through its local lackey, Poland. A plan was concocted by Ukraine to create a joint brigade between it, Lithuania, and Poland, with Poland being the key NATO partner involved (Lithuania on its own is almost insignificant in international and military affairs of any kind). The importance here is that Kiev has been institutionalizing the relationship it has with its new strategic partner, Poland, also inviting its former overlord and mercenary-in-arms into the east to assist with “creating new jobs” (read: plundering) in Donbass. What is happening here is that even if the West was unsuccessful in isolating Russia, it could at the very least move as much of its influence eastward to the Russian frontier as it can in order to enact maximum pressure on Moscow.
The “Terrorist” Label and Shadow NATO
Almost immediately after it happened, the MH17 catastrophe was seized upon by Western political opportunists as valuable capital for their geostrategic game. As was mentioned in the first paragraph, pro-Western media outlets immediately laid the blame squarely at Putin’s feet, and this wasn’t coincidental. The objective in doing so has been to generate enough anti-Russian sentiment in Europe so as to justify mutually disadvantageous sanctions (more so for the socially and politically fractured EU, many of whose members are still in recession, than for the economically resolute Russia). The EU, and especially Germany, will only “shoot itself in the kneecaps” as either an emotional or forced response, as to do so under any normal circumstances would be absolutely unreasonable.
Thus, the “terrorist” label entered the discourse.
Petro Poroshenko serving as the US insider even in the presidential position.
Petro Poroshenko serving as the US insider even in the presidential position.
It has now become popular for Western opinion makers to repeat the Kiev slur that the anti-coup Resistance are “terrorists”, emphasizing that they are “Russian-backed” and “supported by Putin”. It doesn’t matter that none of this is true – what is important is that it is repeated as loudly and as often as can be. The result is to acclimate the public into believing that Russia under Putin is a pariah state, much as Newsweek magazine tried to convince their audience with its last hate piece. Poroshenko has taken things even further, likening MH17 to Lockerbie and 9/11 and trying to get Donetsk and Lugansk’s governments on the international terrorist list.
It is only a short leap of “logic” to see the connection between Russia and Putin as terrorist sponsors and the US’ designation of state-sponsor-of-terrorism status onto the country. Such a step would lead to immediate US sanctions and intense pressure on the EU to cut off its major non-energy trade contacts with Russia and fiendishly move towards diversifying away from Russian gas (to say nothing of killing the South Stream project). The US will only take this extreme step if it is sure that it has more influence over Europe than Russia does and that Europe can be convinced to sacrifice its economic well-being for ideological and political reasons (which is not that far-off of a possibility for such an indoctrinated leadership).
Just as before the tragedy, it must be noted that the US is still pursuing the goal of shadow NATO integration with Ukraine parallel to isolating Russia. It is reported that it may be on the cusp of granting Ukraine major non-NATO ally status and even providing pinpoint precision intelligence for attacking anti-Kiev SAM sites. This could rapidly creep into something much more, per the Libya model, especially since US military advisors will be on the ground. Thus, in one fell swoop, by evoking the “terrorist” label, the US can ‘kill two birds with one stone’ – guilt/force the EU into “isolating Russia” (thereby isolating and harming itself as well) and swallow Ukraine into Shadow NATO.
Concluding Thoughts
The US has plainly demonstrated that it is salivating for a Cold War redux with Russia, and once more, Europe is caught in the middle. It is completely contrary to any of its interests for it to participate in this needless and aggressive geopolitical struggle, but as the EU seems wont to do nowadays, it may easily get sucked into it out of misguided ideological and political reasons dictated by the US. In fact, it may have little choice: the US could unilaterally declare Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and then force the EU, whose largest export market is the US and with whom it is negotiating the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (which European political elite naively believe will benefit them), into acquiescing to its military occupier’s demands. This wouldn’t “isolate” Russia, which has already made a strong push into the non-Western world since April, as much as it would isolate the EU, but ironically, this may even work in Washington’s favor by crippling its friendly economic rival and keeping it under its thumb for at least another decade.
Moreover, Russia as a “state sponsor of terrorism” would create a clear dividing line between the West and Russia and could give a renewed hybrid purpose to NATO. Whereas in the Cold War it was an anti-Russian organization and then in the “Global War on Terror” it nominally became an anti-terrorist organization, it may soon carry the new hybrid mission of containing a “terrorist-supporting” Russia. This would also provide enhanced justification to European populations for the deployment of even more US and NATO personnel in Eastern Europe, as well as deeper and faster Shadow NATO integration for Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova, thereby laying the framework for a Western battering ram into Russia’s Near Abroad. All of this would rightfully alarm Russia, which would then defensively ramp up its multivector cooperation with ‘The Rest’ and BRICS. This would be especially so for its prized strategic partner and fellow Western target, China, potentially creating an eventual de-facto alliance between the two giants out of shared security concerns and transforming the Eurasian strategic landscape.
Andrew Korybko is the American political correspondent of Voice of Russia who currently lives and studies in Moscow, exclusively for ORIENTAL REVIEW.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

WE ARE ALL UKRAINIANS NOW




                                                                                   

Reading the opinions of so-called experts in the corporate media about what is going on in Ukraine guarantees you won’t have a clue as to what is really happening. Just as they did with the trumped-up case for war with Iraq, they are dutifully repeating the lies about the conflict long after the truth has been exposed. It is important to set the record straight. Until Americans realize that they are living in a nation that is building an empire through war, proxy wars, assassinations and engineered regime change such as in Ukraine, they will not understand why they have to demand an end to it. 

To recap: The US spent $5 billion laying the groundwork for “democratic” change in Ukraine that has resulted in self-proclaimed fascists violently overthrowing its elected government. We know this because of an intercepted phone conversation between Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and a subordinate. Nuland is the wife of a chief architect of the neocon agenda to remake the Mideast through violence, all for the benefit of the international corporations who profit from controlling other nations’ resources and from the military-industrial complex necessary to carry out their plans for global corporate empire.

The regime has been exceedingly violent, creating mobs of Brown shirts to enforce the rule of the coup government. It has used the military to attack and slaughter its own citizens in the east, where the majority are ethnically Russian. This is the same crime that the US condemned Assad for committing in Syria. Though Assad is defending Syria’s national sovereignty against hordes of US and Saudi-backed terrorists, the US casts the finger of blame on him while ignoring the same crimes of the illegitimate government of Ukraine, one that seized power by force with US assistance.

Citizens of nations whose media do not follow the agenda of the corporate empire builders are aghast at the willingness of Americans to accept whatever justification their government gives them for supporting violence from Libya to Syria to Ukraine and beyond. Having been told the truth at last about Hussein’s fictitious weapons of mass destruction, they nonetheless swallowed whole the since-disproven contention that the US “knew” that Syria had used chemical weapons on its own people. The claim made no sense, since Assad himself had called for a UN investigation of a previous claim of chemical weapons attack that almost certainly came from the “rebels.” As Seymour Hersh described in detail, the August attack was clearly a false flag intended to drag the US into attacking Syria directly. Thankfully, General Dempsey, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, convinced Obama not to fall for the ruse.

Now we have another neocon call for war, joined by so-called liberal pundits. The claim this time is that Russia or Russian-supported rebels shot down a civilian airliner. Just as in Syria, the government expects us to believe that Russia would invite a war even after showing remarkable restraint in failing to invade to protect ethnic Russians on its border. While our nation’s paper of record The New York Times continues to print without challenge the government’s claims, the truth is already out in foreign sources. The coup government hadweapons in place that could have launched the attack, and tweets by an airtraffic controller in Ukraine strongly suggest that the attack was ordered bythe Minister of the Interior.  Apparently, the NYT does not consider that news fit to print.

We have to step back and look at the pattern of misinformation we are being fed. It helps to realize that as documented in The Irregulars, a history of WWII collaboration between British intelligence and the OSS (predecessor of the CIA), US intelligence has long used its influence with major news sources and columnists to purvey its version of the “facts” on foreign affairs. Once you realize that this is still a sanctioned activity of the CIA, it is easy to see how the system of propaganda works. It is currently being used to whip up hysteria about Putin’s alleged plans for Russian world domination. This is an assertion that is preposterous on its face. Anyone who follows foreign affairs knows that the former Russian satellites are almost all working with some EU countries and the US to undermine Russian economically and militarily. Ukraine is the final prize that would allow NATO to place nuclear missiles on Russia’s doorstep.

Prior to WWII, Americans remembered the warning of Washington to “avoid foreign entanglements.” The price for forgetting that is that we too will become subjects of a global elite who are building an empire using our military and economic power. In the words of George Bush, “Fool me once, shame on me. Fool me twice….we won’t get fooled again.” Let’s hope for once he was right.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

STOP BITCHING AND START THE REVOLUTION






The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.
-Alice Walker


In his seminal work The Populist Moment, Lawrence Goodwyn outlines what it takes to build a genuine grassroots movement for democracy. The Populist movement began shortly after the Civil War, when farmers realized that they were doomed to enslavement by the corporate powers that arose in the aftermath of the war unless they united to use their collective power to defend their interests. After being rebuffed by the overlords of America and the merchants who defended the system for their own gain, they realized that the movement could only gain steam by creating a new political consciousness through educating Americans about how they had been systematically brainwashed into believing that the feudal system that had developed was democratic.

Lacking modern means of communication, Populist leaders began to organize at the local level, empowering lecturers to represent the movement at the local, state and national level. They created an alternative media of newspapers and periodicals to spread their message. Eventually they succeeded at awakening a vast swath of America to the fact that true democracy starts at the grassroots level. It cannot be entrusted to elected representatives beholden to corporate interests who choose who the People get to vote for. The vote only matters when people are willing to abandon the notion that either of the corporate parties represent them and work to elect their own champions. The system cannot be overthrown. It must be changed from within by a People who have learned to question a system that has no resemblance to what they have been taught to believe it is.

Despite stunning success in recruiting farmers tired of being abused for the benefit of the economic elite of their day, creating a cooperative economy proved a daunting task for Populists. Their first goal was to establish a cooperative to sell goods to farmers at a fair rate of interest and to help them sell their products at market rate without extortionate middle men were resisted by the moneyed class. They were stymied when those who controlled the limited money supply refused to accept their collateral for credit necessary to establish their venture. This was when the prevailing political consciousness began to awaken to the degree to which America was in the grip of the bankers and the industries they increasingly controlled. The banksters of the day wielded that power through their control of the supply of both money and credit, just as they do now. This power was more complete than today because under the gold standard, the amount of money available was limited by the amount of gold held by the economic elite.

Today, most spokesmen for change on both the left and right content themselves with complaining about the problems millions of people elsewhere around the world are fighting. There are many more effective ways they could help promote efforts to effectively organize to form a united movement for peace, environmental and economic justice. Fortunately, there are some who are putting more of their efforts into solutions than complaining.

Adam Klugman directed publicity for the Mad As Hell Doctors national tour for single payer in 2009. In 2010, he became the host of Mad as Hell in America. It was perhaps the most radical show on the now-defunct Portland radio station KPOJ, which fell victim to the conservative scheme to take control of the corporate media. The difference between Klugman’s approach and that of more well-known media figures was that when a caller complained about a problem, he demanded that they propose a solution. While most ideas this offered were unrealistic, they did help focus listeners on how to prioritize and strategize for a real democratic revolution.

Most liberal spokespersons lack the vision to offer the truly radical ideas that became part of the Populist manifesto in the late 1880s. Populists realized that they could not escape economic bondage until the government controlled both banks and railroads, the industries that at that time extorted most of what little cash was available to farmers. They proposed that the government nationalize the banks and the railroads and take back the power to create fiat money that would provide the means for a growing population to prosper as America grew.

In the modern era, one of the chief economic spokesmen for the left proposed just this in the wake of the collapse of the American and world economies by the banksters. In little-remembered articles in Rolling Stone and his New York Times column, Paul Krugman called for nationalizing banks. Of course, just as he stopped advocating for single payer when the Democrats made it clear they would not challenge the interests of the Wall Street-controlled medical insurance industry, he retreated to a position supporting Democratic half-measures. There is little doubt that he feared stepping too far from the corporate line might further marginalize his limited influence on economic policy discussions.

The root of the problems we face is corruption of the US government. The most powerful of those who control it are those who control the money supply today. Wall Street criminals have been given a pass by the Department of Justice. The Attorney General is a former partner in the infamous corporate defense firm Covington and Burling, which represented many of the Wall Street types he is in charge of holdling responsible to the law. His priority remains protecting bankster interests while making a show of enforcing the law, levying fines that are considered a cost of doing business and prosecuting corporations instead of their CEOs. Banks and other financial institutions control essentially all the only industries that generate profits and are busy trying to privatize government and the commons. To deal with the problems their depredations have caused, Americans must end the corruption. That should be the focus of the efforts of both conservatives and liberals.  For every problem they bitch about, they should point out the solution: ending the power of corporations and the wealthy to determine who Americans can choose from to represent them.

There are many ways to approach the problem of cleaning up corruption. There is a movement coalescing around these ideas. Americans need to understand that fighting corruption is not just another issue on a list of thousands. It needs to be highlighted on every talk show and “alternative” news outlet remaining. We need a constitutional amendment establishing that money spent to influence politics is not speech and that corporations do not have constitutional rights of people. Such an amendment is favored by roughly 80% of both liberals and conservatives. This is only one of two essential steps. We also need a slate of reform legislation like that proposed in the American Anti-Corruption Act. To get them, Americans must make support for fighting bankster control of government a campaign issue in 2014 and beyond until they elect a Congress that will pass both.

This is the core of the global democratic revolution that is the only hope for liberty and justice for our children and their posterity. Let’s quit bitching and start the revolution.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

WE ARE ALL RUSSIANS NOW








Could a greater miracle take place than for us to look through each other’s eyes for an instant?
-Henry David Thoreau


Trapped by the inexorable logic of the Cold War into taking the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation during the Cuban missile crisis, John F Kennedy was transformed from Cold Warrior  to Soldier For Peace.  His journey started when Kruschev reached out to him in the aftermath of the crisis, seeking to find common ground through a personal relationship.  The two men came to understand that both were pawns in a deadly game whose rules were such that neither was able to dictate the moves.  Kruschev was under constant pressure from the hardliners in the military and the Politburo, while JFK was following a foreign policy that was dictated by his predecessors and the corporate interests they ultimately served. Kennedy came to realize that only by changing the rules of the game would peace ever become possible.

In JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why it Matters, James Douglass describes in detail the course of his transformation. Kennedy publically attacked the CIA after being lured into the Bay of Pigsfiasco, firing its Director and decreasing funding. He took on the banks by issuing an Executive Order authorizing the government to create money at no interest. He angered the barons of the steel industry by cutting them out oflucrative contracts when they reneged on a deal on price limits. Defense contractors and the hawks in government and the military were aghast at his unilateral atmospheric test ban treaty and his order to withdraw from Vietnam. All of these actions put him in direct conflict with the military-industrial complex. The empire builders and war profiteers saw danger in the growing sense of hope in America that world peace was possible.

During his successful campaign to get Senate ratification of a test ban treatywith Russia, he gave a speech that every American schoolchild should learn. On June 10, 1963 at American University, he directly challenged the military-industrial complex by declaring his intention of ending the Cold War. This was no doubt a key factor in the decision by power brokers in the US that he was a threat to “national security,” which they define as the interests of international corporations that profit from war and which dictate foreign policy to this day. In a key passage in the address, he said:

“…let us not be blind to our differences-but let us also direct attention to our common interests and to the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

Though the speech received relatively little attention in the US media, it was broadcast endlessly in Russia. As Kennedy noted in the speech, having lost over 30 million soldiers and civilians in WWII, Russians had a keen appreciation of the true costs of all-out war.  Although no living American had experienced war on their own soil, both sides had lived under a nuclear cloud so long that they shared a common relief in the prospect of calling a halt to the insanity of the arms race.  This was in all likelihood why Kennedy was silenced in what the House Select Committee on Assassinations would later determine was “most probably” a conspiracy, one that has never been fully investigated. To this day, thousands of documents in the Kennedy files remain classified. Meanwhile, the CIA continued its efforts to rewrite the history of JFK's attempts to end the Cold War that began shortly after his assassination. Following the House committee's report, the New York Times forced the CIA to reveal a document outlining its strategy to marginalize anyone who challenged the official theory of his murder by labeling them "conspiracy nuts," an effective tactic that is used today with anyone who challenges the government's official conspiracy theory of 9/11.

The Cold War raged on for years, ending only when the Soviet Union collapsed from the burden of supporting a military necessary to defend itself from aggression by its former allies and other costs imposed by the expanding Anglo-American empire and its compliant partners, including former enemies Germany and Japan. Once the communist government was surrendered by Yeltsin, American crony capitalists moved in to split its assets with Russian oligarchs, expanding the Mafia-like organization of “democratic” states. Unbeknownst to most of the world at the time, Russia remained the implacable enemy of the Empire, which sought to surround it with NATO bases and missiles until the time was right to attack. That time appears to be coming, as the Anglo-American empire moves to Russia’s doorstep, having bought the loyalty of the leaders of the great majority of former Soviet republics.

America has become the sole military superpower, with the greatest concentration of wealth, weaponry and political influence in human history. It is carefully preparing the American public to accept an attack on Russia by staging provocations in Syria, Iraq, Ian and Lebanon while demonizing Putin for acting as any responsible leader would. When he refuses to take the bait, as in Ukraine and Syria, the CIA and its partner in the State Department manufactures stories of its aggression and imperial ambitions.  Meanwhile, they use Saudi Arabia and its network of terrorists to undermine any nation that dares stand up to the Empire. As anyone who has been paying attention knows, the neocons and Israel are carrying out a longstanding plan to destabilize these nations. Iraq, Libya, Somalia and Sudan have fallen and Lebanon has been dangerously destabilized. The sights of the Empire are now fixed on Iran, the greatest remaining Soviet ally that is not already destabilized or under military siege.

China, whose economic rise has become dependent largely on investments by crony capitalists of the US and the West, has mostly stood on the sidelines as the Empire prepares to end the Russian threat to its hegemony once and for all. In its haste and hubris, the Empire has succeeded in making the oligarchy of the Chinese Communist Party finally awaken to the threat posed by the vipers who it has allowed to share their nest. The military buildup around China, the challenge to its interests in Africa and Asia and its increasing identification as the greatest threat to “American security interests” have made its leaders recognize at the 11th hour that it will be the next to fall if it does not stand with Russia to stem the expansion of the global empire of the international banking cartel. It has taken the first small steps toward weaning itself from Western capitalists by investing in the BRICS bank and making a massive deal for Russian natural gas that will help that nation weather the economic isolation of the West. It is a hopeful sign that Germany recognizes its interest in maintaining a trade relationship with Russia, despite the perfunctory protests of Angela Merkel against Russian “imperialism.”

It is far past time to finish the work that Kennedy began at the cost of his life. Americans, who are increasingly falling victim to the depredations of the banksters that control its government, must recognize that their interests are inextricably tied to those of the Russian people. The same is true for those around the world aspiring to economic justice and democracy. Every human at risk of being enslaved in a permanent fascist New World Order shares the same needs and aspirations. They can and must build a united international front against fascism and war if any of our children are to live free.

We are one People. We are all Russians now.

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