Forty years since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan

A genocidal war that lead to the creation of Al Qaeda

This month marks the fortieth anniversary of the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, which led to a brutal neocolonialist war and the creation of Al Qaeda.

The Soviets invaded Afghanistan on December 24 1979 in defence of a fledgling satellite regime in Kabul. After the 1978 pro-Soviet coup, a disastrous land reform programme and secular modernisation measures drew mass opposition from the traditional Muslim countryside. The ensuing decade of repression spelt the death and disappearance of 50-100,000 people. Villagers would often be massacred outright, while 000s more were tortured and executed by the communist regime1.

On July 3 1979, US President Jimmy Carter authorised the CIA to provide $500,000 to the Mujahideen (as the armed resistance to the regime was known). Though the intelligence consensus was that Moscow would not intervene even if the regime collapsed, national security advisor Zbniew Brzezinski advised Carter that in his estimation this fund “was going to induce a Soviet military intervention”2. Sure enough, six months after Carter’s decision, the Soviets invaded.

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Brzezinski (left) and President Carter (right)

The next ten years spelt genocide for the Afghan people: the Red Army and its proxies subjected entire provinces to depopulation programmes. In 1987, a Fallujah-type campaign in Kandahar reduced the city’s population by 87.5%. Indiscriminate bombing of the population, including the use of chemical weapons, was designed to neutralise and isolate popular support for the resistance3. By the war’s end, 1-2 million Afghan civilians had perished.

Operation Cyclone

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President Reagan with Mujahideen leaders in the White House

The biggest covert operation since the Second World War, the CIA’s Operation Cyclone armed, trained and funded the Mujahideen with the assistance of the Gulf states and the British and Pakistani intelligence services4. At the border with Pakistan, to whose pursuit of nuclear weapons the White House turned a blind eye, Brzezinski rallied the Mujahideen: “…your cause is right”, he told them, “and God is on your side”. A similar performance was given by Britain’s Margaret Thatcher, while Carter’s successor Ronald Reagan personally welcomed Mujahideen leaders to the White House for a photo-op. They were, he said, “the moral equivalents of our founding fathers”.

The most enduring Cyclone myth is that, like many a later foe of the United States, Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden was directly supported by the CIA. In fact Cyclone only involved the 250,000-odd Mujahideen, not the 2000-odd non-Afghan volunteers, known as the Afghan Arabs, from across the Muslim world4.

Nonetheless, had the Russians not invaded, there’d have been no Afghan Arabs, and hence no bin Laden. And Carter’s fund, to quote Brzezinski, “knowingly increased the probability that they (Russians) would invade (Afghanistan)”2.

Blowback’

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Lower Manhattan on September 11 2001

When asked in 1997 if he regretted the blowback of global jihadism from Carter’s original 0.5m dollar fund for the Mujahideen, Brzezinski replied: “Regret what? That…was a great idea. It had the effect of drawing the Soviets into the Afghan trap, and you want me to regret it?…What’s more important to world history: a few stirred up Moslems, or the collapse of communism?”2. Three years later, Al Qaeda struck the twin towers.

The Afghan people have since endured another brutal foreign occupation, this time by the Western imperialists. And like so many former invaders of the ‘graveyard of empires’, the combined might of the world’s most powerful armies have yet to subdue this proud nation.

Citations

1. UN Conflict Mapping Report 1978-2005 as cited by https://www.afghanistan-analysts.org/death-list-published-families-of-disappeared-end-a-30-year-wait-for-news/

2. Bruce Riedel; William Blum

3.

4. See Steve Coll, “Ghost Wars”; 911myths.com; for Britain’s role, see Mark Curtis, “Secret Affairs”

Top Five Worst US-Supported Dictators

With friends like these, who needs democracy?

1. Suharto

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Between 1965-6, Indonesian dictator Suharto carried out mass anti-“communist”pogroms that cost over a million Indonesian lives, mostly landless peasants. The CIA had a ‘kill list’ of some 5000 PKR leaders, ticking off their names as they were murdered. The American press welcomed what had happened. While accurately describing the horrific slaughter, Time Magazine insisted that it was “the West’s best news for years in Asia”. The New York Times called the bloodbath “a gleam of light in Asia”.

With Suharto’s nationalist predecessor Sukarno finally out of the way, capitalism was restored to the former Dutch colony: Western corporations and the IMF & World Bank swept in, literally redesigning Indonesia’s economy at a conference held in Switzerland.

In 1975, US President Ford gave a green light for Suharto to invade the small neighbour of East Timor. By the occupation’s end in 1999, 25-33% (125,000-200,000) of Timorese had been extinguished under the genocidal military occupation. When the Indonesians started running out of arms in 1978, the Carter administration began an annual $200 million arms flow to Suharto. In the 1980s, Reagan escalated the arms sales. Four years after the 1991 Dili massacre, Clinton proposed the sale of twenty F-15s to “our kind of guy” Suharto, continuing his predecessor Bush I’s illegal training of Indonesia’s Red Berets, behind some of the worst Timor atrocities.

2. Saddam Hussein

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Originally a Soviet client, Saddam Hussein was courted by the West following his aggression against post-revolutionary Iran in 1979, leading to a ten-year conflict that killed 1m+ on both sides. Hussein was armed to the teeth by the US, Britain, France and other Western countries.

His WMD components came from American, British and German firms. When 20,000 Kurds were gassed to death by Iraqi forces at Halabja, US President Reagan blamed the Iranians. When the Kurds rose up against Saddam following the Gulf War, Washington supported the tyrant again, reasoning that there was no opposition to replace him that “the free world” favoured.

At the height of friendly Iraq-US relations, Hussein wiped out 300,000 people in the Al-Anfal campaign. In addition to bogus WMDs, this was used to justify the 2003 invasion, long after the campaign had finished.

3. Shah of Iran

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Installed by a 1953 CIA coup that ousted Iran’s secular democratic government after it threatened to nationalise the country’s oil in accordance with popular aspirations, Pahveli ran a corrupt family dynasty while his CIA/Mossad-trained “SAVAK” police ran torture chambers and death squads. By 1975, Amnesty International described Iran as having “the highest rate of death penalties in the world…and a history of torture which is beyond belief”.

His opponents were sodomised by cattle prods and made to sit on hot grills, or in the electric chair; others were raped, pissed on, had their nails torn out, and subjected to near-drownings and mock executions. In 1979, US President Jimmy “human rights” Carter praised the Shah for transforming Iran into “an island of stability”. Months later, he was overthrow by the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

4. Rios Montt

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After seizing power in Guatemala through a military coup in March 1982, the Christian televangelist launched a savage counterinsurgency campaign that soon became wholesale genocide of tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans in the northwest highlands.

Five months into the slaughter, US President Ronald Reagan warmly greeted Montt and praised him as “a man of great personal integrity and commitment”, while decrying the “bum rap” he was receiving from Amnesty International and other human rights groups reporting his massacres. Reagan’s spin doctor Elliot Abrams, currently Trump’s coup manager for Venezuela, rationalised and whitewashed this Indian holocaust.

In 2013, Montt was finally tried for crimes against humanity and genocide.

5. Batista

imageAfter presiding over 20,000 deaths, the US-backed thug was overthrown by Fidel Castro’s revolution in 1959. During his brutal reign, Cuba became a playground for the American mafia while 40% of the economy was controlled by U.S. corporations. Castro’s reversal of this colonial relationship by nationalising US assets led to Cuba’s seemingly endless punishment by Uncle Sam.

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The West and Islam

Both imperialism AND religion behind Western mideast policy

The Ancient Roots of Zionism

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Although the return of the Jews to the Promised Land did not become an active struggle until the late nineteenth century (and even then had the support of only a minority of world Jewry[]), it has always been part-and-parcel of Judeo-Christian belief: in the Bible, God commands the Israelites to seize the land of Canaan (i.e. Palestine) through the depopulation and resettlement of its indigenous “heathen” population (Deut. 7:1-3):

When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are entering to possess and drives out before you many nations—the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites,Hivites and Jebusites, seven nations larger and stronger than you—  and when the Lord your God has delivered them over to you and you have defeated them, then you must destroythem totally. Make no treaty with them, and show them no mercy.

Later on, God sends the Jews into exile for their “sins”, while predicting that the Messiah will one day come and lead them back to the Holy Land.

Thus, unless David Ben Gurion was the Messiah, the creation of Israel in 1948 seems to be a little premature. Nonetheless, the Zionist conquest of Palestine remains a matter of doctrine in the Judea-Christian tradition. Attempts to distinguish between the Judeo-Christian tradition and Zionism are thus fundamentally flawed.

Outside of the Jewish historical record, we find “zionism” reflected in centuries of Western Christendom. In 1649 for example, Amsterdam-based Ebenezer and Joanna Cartwright petitioned Oliver Cromwell to readmit Jews into England and to help transport them to Palestine. Similarly, Denmark’s Holger Paulli wrote to William III of England and Dauphin of France urging them to return the Jews to Palestine2.

Other early Christian Zionists include Michael Servetus and Francis Kett, theologians Isaac de La Peyrere and Thomas Brightman, Sir Henry Finch, Joseph Eyre, American theologian Increase Mather, Isaac Newton and theologian John Milton. Even France’s Napoleon Bonaparte delved into a bit of early zionism3:

During his invasion of Egypt and Palestine (1798-99), and anticipating the capture of Jerusalem (something that did not happen), Napoleon prepared a Proclamation promising the Holy Land to the Jews, whom he characterised as “the rightful heirs of Palestine”.

The notion of Jewish restoration in Palestine was thus already widely circulated among Western Christians long before the formal Jewish Zionist movement emerged in the 19th century: the “divine promise” prophesied in the Old Testament.

The Creation of the State of Israel

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Lord Shaftesbury

In 1839, Lord Shaftesbury delivered the first proposal by a British politician to return the Jews to the “Holy Land”. The following year, he forwarded his proposal to Europe’s Protestant monarchs in a memorandum1. After getting a British vice-consul and bishopric set up in Jerusalem, Shaftesbury co-founded the Palestine Exploration Fund. Balfourproject.org describes this pioneer of early Zionism1:

As both a committed Christian and a loyal Englishman, Shaftesbury argued for a Jewish return to Palestine because of what he saw as the political and economic advantages to England and because he believed that it was God’s will. He saw the conversion of the Jews as a means of bringing the whole world to faith before Christ returned.

Britain backed the Zionist project not only for strategic reasons3, but also because of rampant Christian Zionism among its key statesmen4. To quote Geoffrey Alderman in the Jewish Chronicle 8/11/12:

The Balfour Declaration was born out of religious sentiment. Arthur Balfour was a Christian mystic who believed that the Almighty had chosen him to be an instrument of the Divine Will, the purpose of which was to restore the Jews to their ancient homeland — perhaps as a precursor to the Second Coming of the Messiah. The Declaration was thus intended to assist in the fulfilment of biblical prophecy. This appealed to Lloyd George, whose private immorality did not prevent him from believing in the prophecies of a Bible he knew inside out.

Such fanaticism was by no means confined to Balfour. To quote Noam Chomsky5:

Christian Zionism is a very significant force. It goes back way before Jewish Zionism. It was an elite phenomenon. Lord Balfour, Lloyd George, Woodrow Wilson, Harry Truman read the Bible every morning. It says there, “God promised the land to the Jews.”…[It] is part of the demographic base of the Republican Party – extremely anti-Semitic, but pro-Israel…

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“Today the crusades have ended”. Britain’s General Allenby upon conquering Jerusalem

The majority of the British cabinet at the time was steeped in Calvinist evangelicalism6. Balfour’s mother, sister of thrice Prime Minister Lord Salisbury, gave her son daily Bible lessons and distributed Gospel tracts at the local railway station7.

Prime Minister Lloyd George, who oversaw the Zionist project, also had an evangelical upbringing. In 1925, he informed the Jewish Historical Society how his education had steeped him in Jewish history, boasting that he could name “all the kings of Israel”. Scott Anderson describes Mark Sykes’ motive for backing the Zionist project3:

A devout Catholic, he regarded a return of the ancient tribe of Israel to the Holy Land as a way to correct a nearly two-thousand-year-old wrong. That view had taken on new passion and urgency with the massacres of the Armenians. To Sykes, in that ongoing atrocity, the Ottoman Empire had proven it could never be trusted to protect its religious minority populations. At war’s end, the Christian and Jewish Holy Land of Palestine would be taken from it, and the failure of the Crusades made right.

Modern Day Crusades

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When Bush II used the term ‘crusade’ after 9/11, many claimed it was just a badly chosen word. But was it really poorly chosen? His administration was packed with Zionists. John Ashcroft attacked Islam after 9/11 while Italy’s Berlusconi characterised the ‘war on terror’ as a war between Western and Islamic civilisations.

Wesley Clark, bizarrely as an argument against Sam Huntington’s “clash of civilizations” thesis and for a peaceful resolution of “differences”, said the following during his 13/5/02 commencement speech at Seton Hall University:

…[others] recognize a civil war within Islam itself…we must influence the struggle where we can, by supporting greater attention to the secular structures in the Islamic world, and by encouraging our own American Islamic community to speak out in support of America’s democratic values.

As of 2005, 40% of the U.S. military were evangelical Christians, including 60% of chaplains. Military Ministry alone has converted thousands of troops, approved by Fort Sam Houston’s top commanders. Fort Jackson, meanwhile, is literally run by evangelical commanders. According to one senior military official cited by the Pentagon’s IG report (7/07): “Campus Crusade for Christ had become so embedded in the Pentagon’s day-to-day operations that he viewed the organization as a “quasi federal entity””8.

Drew Miller states9:

Evangelicalism wasn’t always this prevalent in the military. In fact, through World War II, religion was not a major source of contention at all…That changed with the Cold War. Suddenly, communism and godlessly were inexorably linked, meaning any good American soldier should declare devotion to a god, and preferably the Christian one…

  1. Balfourproject.org
  2. Graetz, Heinrich; Lowy, Bella (December 2009). Bella Lowy (ed.), History of the Jews, Vol. V (in Six Volumes): From the Chmielnicki Persecution of the Jews in Poland (1648 C.E.) to the Period of Emancipation in Central Europe (C. 1870 C.E.) (Cosimo, Inc. 2009), pages 176–7
  3. “With the advent of steam navigation in 1840, the Near East became very important along the route to India as steam ships required frequent reloading and the British ships used the Mediterranean-Red Sea route with transhipment at Suez rather than the long Cape route. In view of all this, British involvement in the Jewish question was no longer a matter of political option but of political necessity”Zionism: a racist and anti-Semitic ideology Lalkar.org; “By the Entente’s coming out in strong support of a Jewish homeland in Palestine, [Mark] Sykes believed, it would inevitably turn the opinion of international Jewry toward its side. In turn, the advocacy of American Jews – a small but powerful constituency – might finally provide the spur for bringing the United States into the war”. Scott Anderson, Lawrence in Arabia (Atlantic Books: London 2014), pages 229-30
  4. Tom Segev, One Palestine Complete (), page 33
  5. Noam Chomsky and Ilan Pappe, On Palestine (Penguin Books 2015), pages 61 and 83
  6. Donald M. Lewis, The Origins of Christian Zionism: Lord Shaftesbury And Evangelical Support For A Jewish Homeland (Cambridge University Press 2014), page 329
  7. ibid. 4
  8. Jason Leopold, Military Evangelism Deeper, Wider Than First Thought truth-out.org 21/12/07
  9. Drew Miller, Inside the Military’s Campaign to Make Its Soldiers Christian mic.com 4/9/13

How the West and Saudi Arabia Cultivated Islamist Terror

Of the estimated $50b Riyadh has spent exporting its extremist Wahabi brand of Islam around the world, 15-20% has been diverted to Al Qaeda and other terror groups[Source]. A leaked 2009 cable signed by then US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton identified Saudi Arabia as their top financial source, criticising its “limited action” against wealthy private donors.

In an email leaked in 2016, her election campaign organiser went further, accusing the Saudi and Qatari governments directly of having funded and logistically supported ISIS, the Iraq War’s ‘Frankenstein’s Monster’. Indeed, following the terror group’s capture of Mosul (Iraq) in June 2014, ex Saudi foreign minister Prince Saud al-Faisal told US Secretary of State John Kerry: “Daesh (ISIS) is our response to your support for the Da’wa (Shia government in Iraq)”.

Before its official ban on ISIS, Riyadh pummelled billions to Syrian rebels with the full knowledge of US and British officials[1]. General Jonathan Shaw, a former Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff, has described the Saudi-Qatari “wahabbisation of Sunni Islam” (Patrick Cockburn) as a “time bomb…that must stop.

Britain armed and funded Saudi Arabia’s founder Ibn Saud during WWI and, under a signed treaty in 1915, recognised his rule of Nejd. In his work “Secret Affairs: Britain’s Collusion with Radical Islam”, which documents the West’s utilisation of Islamist forces as a counterweight to secular/left nationalism in the Muslim world, British historian Mark Curtis writes:

Ibn Saud established ‘Saudi’ Arabia in an orgy of murder. In his exposé of the corruption of the Saudi ruling family, Said Aburish describes Ibn Saud as ‘a lecher and a bloodthirsty autocrat … whose savagery wreaked havoc across Arabia’, terrorising and mercilessly slaughtering his enemies. The conquest of Arabia cost the lives of around 400,000 people, since Saud’s forces did not take prisoners; over a million people fled to neighbouring countries. Numerous rebellions against the House of Saud subsequently took place, each put down in ‘mass killings of mostly innocent victims, including women and children’. By the mid-1920s most of Arabia had been subdued, 40,000 people had been publicly executed and some 350,000 had had limbs amputated; the territory was divided into districts under the control of Saud’s relatives, a situation which largely prevails today.

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In 1921, Colonial Secretary Winston Churchill described Ibn Saud’s Wahabi followers to the House of Commons[2]:

They hold it as an article of duty, as well as of faith, to kill all who do not share their opinions and to make slaves of their wives and children. Women have been put to death in Wahabi villages for simply appearing in the streets. It is a penal offence to wear a silk garment. Men have been killed for smoking a cigarette…the Wahabis are a distinct factor which must be taken into account, and they have been, and still are, very dangerous to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and to the whole institution of the pilgrimage, in which our Indian fellow-subjects are so deeply concerned.

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Despite this, he went on to provide a cynical defence for Britain’s continued support for Ibn Saud[2]:

The Emir Bin Saud has shown himself capable of leading and, within considerable limits, of controlling these formidable sectaries. He has always shown himself well disposed towards Great Britain and has long been in intimate relations with Sir Percy Cox. Under the advice of Sir Percy Cox, and of my counsellors here at home, we have arranged to continue the subsidy which Bin Saud has hitherto received from the British Government of £60,000 a year, together with a lump sum of £20,000.

…deprived of these funds, he would soon lose control of the nomadic and predatory tribes which are brought under what is after all a restraining influence…we desire to live on friendly and amicable terms with this potentate and not to be disturbed by him, particularly at a time when we are seeking to withdraw so large a proportion of our garrison from the country.

“…my admiration for him was deep”, Churchill later wrote, “because of his unfailing loyalty to us”. With help from the RAF and troops despatched from Iraq, Ibn Saud put down an internal anti-British rebellion in 1929[3].

One of Britain’s own diplomats Jonathon Allen told the UN Security Council that “the conflict creates ungoverned spaces in which terrorists can operate, poses security threats to countries in the region and international shipping, and fuels regional tensions”.

None of this seems to deter ongoing UK policy: it, after all, knowingly risked the blowback that materialised in Manchester last year by backing Al Qaeda-linked forces in Libya and Syria this past decade for the sake of regime changes in those countries. In this, they were following Washington’s lead, just as they did in 1980s Soviet-occupied Afghanistan when the CIA and MI6’s Operation Cyclone – the longest covert op since WWII – armed, trained and funded today’s generation of terrorists, including Al Qaeda founder Osama bin Laden.

Along with Pakistan’s then Islamist dictator Zia ul-Haq, Saudi Arabia was the financial conduit for Cyclone and, according to a classified section of the 9/11 Commission report, the September 11 2001 attacks. This role has been revitalised in Libya and Syria, contributing to the destruction of both nations, a European refugee crisis and a spawn of terror attacks in Europe.

The reaction – intensifying the very “war on ISIS” that ostensibly motivated said attacks to begin with – fits Einstein’s definition of insanity: doing the same over and over (bombing the terrorists, in the process spawning more of them), expecting different results.

1. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/article31034067.html
2. https://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1921/jun/14/middle-eastern-services
3. Mark Curtis, Secret Affairs

Seven Myths You’ve Been Told About Russia

A summary of New Cold War propaganda

1. Poisoned Alexander Litvivenko
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The UK Inquiry was a farce: the evidence was classified and witnesses all anonymous. The conclusion was clearly a politically predetermined one. It was, however, the same poison by which Israel assassinated Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.

2. Started the 2008 Georgia-South Ossetia conflict
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An European Council investigation found that, despite excessive force by Russia during the course of the war, Georgia – led by a NATO-aspiring puppet of the Bush administration – had started it by attacking South Ossetia in an attempted Western-backed annexation. This contradicts the mass media narrative in the West and demonstrates the hypocrisy of the next lie.

3. Started the Ukraine crisis
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For 200 years, the Crimean port of Sebastopol has been home to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, which bears historical, cultural and strategic significance for Russia.

By treaty, Russia could keep a maximum of 25,000 troops at the naval base. The viciously anti-Russian regime in Kiev, brought to power by an illegal US-engineered coup the previous February, may well have canceled this lease and evicted the Russian fleet from Crimea, replacing it with a NATO base right on Russia’s doorstep. This prompted Putin’s “invasion”.

In a subsequent referendum overseen by international observers, the majority-Russian population of Crimea overwhelmingly voted for reunification with their Russian motherland, having previously sought to through earlier referendums without success.

4. Shot down MH17

The claim that Russia had supplied the eastern Ukraine rebels with the BUK missile system that ended up downing MH17 was never proven. It has not even been proven that the rebels did it: the Dutch Safety Board’s identification of the weapon as a Buk was flawed and witnesses interviewed by BBC Russia saw MH17 tailored by Ukrainian fighter jets (the real culprit according to analysis by a retired German commercial pilot) just minutes before it was downed. The Russian MoD corroborated this by disclosing radar data.

The Americans have never disclosed their alleged radar data proving separatist responsibility, while Kiev ATC’s decision to divert the low-flying jetliner over a war zone has never been adequately explained. Live Twitter feeds by ATCer “Carlos” say that Ukraine shot it down and subsequently took over the ATC tower.

There are many websites, blogs and Youtube videos forwarding both sides of the MH17 responsibility debate.

5. State-sponsored doping of Russian athletes
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The ban was based solely on the McLaren report, whose flaws are outlined by Consortium News’ Rick Sterling:

-It relied primarily on the testimony of one person, the former Director of Moscow Laboratory Grigory Rodchenkov, who was implicated in extorting Russian athletes for money and was the chief culprit with strong interest in casting blame somewhere else.

-It accused Russian authorities without considering their defense and contrary information.

-It excluded a written submission and documents provided by a Russian authority.

-It failed to identify individual athletes who bemefited but instead cast suspicion on the entire team.

-It ignored the statistical data compiled by WADA which show Russian violations to be NOT exceptional.

-It failed to provide the source for quantitative measurements.

-It claimed to have evidence but failed to reveal it.

Sterling further observes that the “whistleblowing” Stepanovs were themselves involved in doping and therefore had bias in pushing blame higher up the ladder to the Russian state. They now live in the US, suggesting possible political bias too.

6. Interfered in the US presidential election
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Perhaps the most outrageous allegation yet and the bogus pretext behind the so-called RussiaGate scandal, referred to by some as the New McCarthyism and whose realreal agenda is to solidify US elite and public opinion against Russia.

When it comes to hard evidence, the ludicrous claim that Putin put Trump in the White House is predictably lacking:
having reviewed one “bombshell” report after another, the House on US Intelligence finally concluded that there was no proof of Russian interference.

During the 2016 election campaign, Trump’s Democratic opponent Hilary Clinton claimed that all seventeen US intelligence agencies had concluded that Russia hacked into the DNC computer system. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper later clarified that this was only the conclusion of agents he had handpicked from the three umbrella agencies, not all seventeen. Clapper probably handpicked fellow Russiophobes: Russians, he believes, are “almost genetically” anti-Western!

For broader analysis debunking the RussiaGate story, go to consortiumnews.com

7. Poisoned the Skripals
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The UK High Court ruled that “the [blood] samples tested positive for the presence of Novichok class nerve agent, or a closely related agent“. The latter phrase could refer to literally any nerve agent, of which most were developed in Germany and the UK, not Russia.

The formula for Novichok has been in the public domain since 2008 and the nerve agent has been successfully developed by Cuba and Iran. Since 1992, the Americans have been assisting Uzbekistan shut down the old Soviet plant that allegedly produced it. London’s claim that only the Russians had access to Novichok is therefore a demonstrable lie.

Why Russia would poison this man eight years since his pardoning, much less on the eve of its presidential election and three months before hosting the World Cup, is anyone’s guess. Why the West would want to poison this man in order to convince the UN to authorise a US invasion of Syria, where its regime change operation is collapsing rapidly, is every thinking person’s strong suspicion. Russia and Damascus had just uncovered a chemical weapons factory in East Ghouta, the last stronghold of a fledging Western-backed terrorist insurgency.

For more critical analysis of the Skripal case, go to off-guardian.org

Why the West is against Russia and China

Purchase my ebook of the New Cold War at https://www.amazon.com/Eurasian-Tinderbox-Buildup-Against-Russia-ebook/dp/B076VVH3CR/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1509133426&sr=8-1&keywords=eurasian+tinderbox

Here’s more shit for your face.

Such is how former US President Bill Clinton recalled his relationship with Russia’s first post-Soviet President Boris Yeltsin, an unscrupulous drunk who oversaw his country’s shock transition to free market capitalism.

Yeltsin’s imposition of the IMF’s “shock therapy” measures, assisted by Clinton-sponsored academics led by Harvard’s Jeffrey Sachs, spelt disaster for the Russian people: 30% were plunged into poverty, most of their savings were wiped out by hyperinflation sparked by the removal of price controls, the GDP halved and crime and corruption soared. As Clinton preached the wonders of capitalism during a speech in Moscow, people froze to death in the streets: American beneficence at its finest.

The Western press praised Yeltsin as Russia’s first democrat. Putin, by contrast, is given pariah status by the same press today, which never extends its self-righteous hysteria against Russia – by now bordering on the psychotic – to Western ally Saudi Arabia for its stoning of gays, much less its largely unreported slaughter of Yemeni women and children with American and British supplied weaponry.

Where in the West do you hear that Putin has presided over a record reduction in Russian poverty? Yeltsin did the opposite and was praised. Putin’s unforgivable sin has been to pull Russia from the chaos of the Yeltsin era and restore the country’s sovereignty.

Eurasia: The Grand Imperial Prize

With its huge geographic size and strategic location, a powerful and sovereign Russia poses a direct challenge to America’s dominance over Eurasia, home to much of the world’s markets and resources: the ‘Grand Chessboard’ concept developed during the 1990s by the late godfather of global jihadism Zbniew Brzezinski.

From the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation to the BRICS alliance to the Eurasian Economic Union, Russia has formed an eastern sphere of influence with China and Iran that undercuts America’s post-WWII hegemony. Like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein, Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, the aforementioned nations are poised to stop trading in the dollar. China has just announced the “petro-yuan”.

The US is determined to maintain its unipolar order and reverse the new multipolar dawn by a desperate gunpoint strategy: seizing on “Russian aggression” in Ukraine, NATO has carried out the biggest buildup on Russia’s borders since WWII, generating over sixty near-miss incidents with Russian forces. Any one of these incidents could have sparked a terminal nuclear war.

In response to China’s military and (enormous) economic rise, Washington’s “Pivot to Asia” has sought to redeploy 60% of US naval and air assets to the Asia Pacific by 2020. In the event of war, the Pentagon’s “AirSea Battle” plan envisages huge missile strikes on China and a naval blockade of her economic chokepoints in the South China Sea, where US incursions to challenge Beijing’s articial airstrips have raised the spectre of a devastating conflagration.

The Historic Crisis of Imperialism

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Fifteen years ago last month, the Middle East was plunged into chaos by the illegal invasion of Iraq. Like the Nazi attack on Poland in 1939, “Shock and Awe” was a textbook case of the crime of aggression, described at Nuremberg as the worst of all crimes because it is responsible for, and hence encompasses, all the evil consequences that follow.

A million deaths later, we have seen a failed Western regime change operation in Syria, where Assad’s ouster would isolate growing Russian and Iranian influence in the Middle East. Having failed to transform Iraq and Afghanistan into strategic outposts and reassert its control over the energy markets of the Middle East and Central Asia, the West is desperate to salvage its declining hegemony.

Impunity has emboldened the war criminals: today, fabricated WMD lies are directed not against defenceless Iraq but nuclear-armed Russia. Washington’s determination to sustain a dying unipolar order portends an even greater, perhaps terminal, calamity for the great mass of humanity. Unless, for its own sake and that of its children, it finally awakens from its long slumber.

A Broken Society: America and Gun Violence

The increasing regularity of American mass shootings is a measure of the ongoing breakdown of American society.

The US media has widely cited a study by Adam Lankford, professor at the University of Alabama, that solely blames Americans’ extraordinary share of international mass shootings between 1966 and 2012 (31%) on its international lead in gun ownership (42%).

Surveying a total of 171 countries, Lankford argues that the correlation between gun ownership and mass shootings, even when America is excluded from the equation, shows that guns are the only responsible factor.

But Lankford fails to explain why, for example, Canada’s comparable degree of rifle ownership does not have a corresponding degree of mass shootings. Nor when there is correlation (e.g. Yemen and Afghanistan, conflict zones in any case) is violence directed at schools and churches except out of religious extremism, as opposed to individual derangement.

By definition, gun massacres depend on guns. But without the guns, the killers would simply resort to other means. Guns are more deadly than knives, but not bombs.

A Society in Breakdown

The increasing regularity of these shootings is a measure of America’s societal breakdown. This breakdown being courtesy of the inequality and alienation engendered by the societal domination of the corporate-financial elite, it follows that the two-party political system that serves and defends said elite would not want to highlight this reality. Hence, the ‘political debate’ becomes conveniently polarised between pro-gun and anti-gun, deliberately evading broader questions.

More than 2.3 million Americans have died since 2000, most of them by suicide, drug overdoses, and lack of healthcare[1]. 85,000 of these deaths have occurred in the workplace, including multiple just last December. America’s militarised police forces have killed 12,000 since 2000 and, according to FBI statistics, are killing an average 1000 per year. Naturally, the US establishment is not calling for their disarmament, let alone the greatest violent force: the military.

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Perpetual War: US forces in Afghanistan (2001-)

Since becoming the dominant superpower after WWII (a preview of my film about the growing threat of a US-Russia Third World War, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dSkUOXArBTQ), America has been in an almost constant state of war[2]. This means that, despite censorship of the worst horrors, audiences of American media have been constantly subjected to images and sounds of war and the promotion and glorification of the most violent military on earth.

Significantly, the victims of these wars have been made invisible to popular memory: 2 million in Korea, 3 million in Vietnam, 1 million in Iraq… So voluminous is the death toll that, were it to be appended to the list recited at Ground Zero, listeners would no doubt fall asleep.

All of this serves to desensitize Americans to killing and to normalize it, as if slaughtering foreigners is as incidental and morally troublesome as undercooking an egg. But since Americans and foreigners alike are humans, such devaluation of human life inevitably self-generalizes.

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White supremacy on the rise: Charlottesville, West Virginia (2016)

On top of this psychopathic normalization of terrorism ‘so long as we do it’, American society is filled with bitterness and hateful division. With the help of the Democrats’ promotion of racial politics so as to distract from the class struggle (see my previous post), the Right are particularly bitter and hateful with their dehumanization of immigrants, Mexicans, Muslims and liberals. Both the political polarization and these extreme quasi-fascist sentiments have received maximal amplification with the ascendancy of Donald Trump to the White House.

What we have then is a society dominated by militarism, racism, police violence and political division. Whatever sense of solidarity emerged during the great postwar boom has given way to a country bitterly divided and atomized, of whom countless are deeply alienated and lonely, brainwashed, and psychologically disturbed. Until the 1% are unseated from their class domination of America and the world, this environment will continue to breed more and more tragedies of the Parkland variety.

1. A collective reckoning of statistics cited at http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2018/02/23/pers-f23.html
2. https://flashpointssite.wordpress.com/2018/02/06/us-foreign-policies-remain-unchanged-since-1948-counter-information-2/

The Rise and Fall of American Liberalism

Having sold out the working class since the neoliberal counter-revolution, the Democratic Party nowadays appeals to the privileged top 10% on the pitch of identity politics.

Fearing the prospect of revolution, the US ruling class – through the ‘New Deal’ policies of American liberalism’s pioneer President Franklin Roosevelt – granted the key concessions demanded by a restive labour movement during the Hungry 30s. Roosevelt, in his own words, sought to rescue capitalism: “I am capitalism’s best friend”, he boasted, “if they (1%) only knew”.

Roosevelt could appeal to the American people on a pitch of social justice and opportunity. But Ronald Reagan’s neoliberal counter-revolution in the 1980s killed the material basis for the realization of the American dream, in turn depriving Rooseveltian liberalism of the traditional pitch by which it appealed to the broad mass of the American working class.

Having sold out the working class since the neoliberal counter-revolution, the Democratic Party nowadays appeals to the privileged top 10% on the pitch of identity politics, be it of the racial, sexual or gender variety[1].

For the bottom 90%, these are obvious abstractions: their priority is to curb the historic decline in living standards and incomes since the 1970s, a struggle that the top 10% are far too privileged to identify with, preferring instead to prioritise the abstract nonsense that is identity politics.

Liberalism’s bankruptcy is evidenced by its tight embrace of an ultra-corrupt mass murderer (Hilary Clinton) for protection from the clutches of a quasi-fascistic buffoon (Donald Trump): as if the alienation of so many ‘white workers’ from the Democratic party – as expressed by the millions who welcomed and voted for Bernie Sanders before the DNC replaced him by Hilary for the presidential race, evidently preferring election defeat to the most minimal material improvements for the American people – did not already render Trump’s success a foregone conclusion. That the top 10% cannot perceive the obvious, namely that the Trump phenomena is rooted in the crisis of American society, underlines how cocooned they are from the real world.

Politically unable to admit the real causes of Trump and their involvement, lest they thereby expose the entire corporate two-party system and suicidally call for its overthrow, the Democrats now appeal to conspiracy-mongering tripe[2]: RUSSIA put Trump in the White House! The Trump Presidency is thus explained by a grand conspiracy led by Vladimir Putin, a new Stalin seeking to destroy the great American democracy.

Notice how this narrative serves to reinvigorate public support, currently at record lows, for a corrupt political system that is far more plutocratic than democratic. The narrative also reduces the complexity of the Trump phenomena to that of a grand attack by a foreign enemy, in turn serving to solidify both public and elite opinion (some sections of the latter instead deem China to be the main threat to US geo-dominance) behind the imperialist project against Russia initiated by Obama in the Ukraine. Like the environmental rape of global corporations, NATO’s unprecedented build-up on the borders of nuclear-armed Russia amounts to a gamble with the very future of the human race[3].

Capitalism has entered a truly moribund state since the 2008 financial crash, incapable of providing solutions for the planet. The objective conditions for revolutionary overthrow are thus becoming patent for the minority of Westerners willing to free their minds of the mainstream media. As the threat of environmental catastrophe and nuclear war looms, we would do well to recall Rosa Luxemberg’s remark on the eve of the First World War: the choice now is between socialist revolution or capitalist barbarism.

1. For brilliant analysis of this phenomena, see Wsws.org
2. See Consortiumnews.com for critical examination of RussiaGate’s so-called “evidence”
3. See my 2017 documentary Flashpoints on Youtube

Donald Trump and the Crisis of Imperial Decline

Above all, the Trump presidency expresses an entire US political and economic system in decline.

Mainstream commentary on Donald Trump invariably reduces him to an individual phenomenon. Be it a twitter comment or a public outburst, everything is about him.

The truth, of course, is that Trump is not some other-worldly demon that crossed into this dimension out of nowhere. Above all, his presidency expresses an entire US political and economic system in crisis.

In the early 20th century, the major economic centres of the world were Germany, the US and Japan. Europe as a whole was secondary; Britain had been in decline since the Victorian era.

Except for the US, these economies were left in tatters by the Second World War. This transformed America from a traditional hemispheric power (e.g. Monroe Doctrine) into the global dominant superpower virtually overnight: after 1945, the US alone accounted for some 50% of world economic output.

By the early 1940s, US policy planners had seen this coming, as Hitler’s defeat on the Eastern Front – where, the West forgets, the Soviets inflicted 75% of all German WWII casualties – seemed only a matter of time. Accordingly, these planners developed what they called a ‘Grand Area’ in which US corporations could plunder the planet’s markets and resources to satisfy an unfettered drive for profits.

Everything seemed great for the American empire, until the late 60s. The economies smashed in WWII – esp. West Germany, Japan and the new Asian ‘tiger’ economies – had rebuilt themselves and became viable competitors in the international market.

This meant that world power became multipolar, notwithstanding the considerable clout US imperialism managed to retain. But to reverse this trend entirely, the Reagan Administration initiated its neoliberal offensive of financial deregulation, union busting and austerity: all designed to sustain the massive postwar profit rates of Corporate America.

The Empire Strikes Back
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The Bush I Administration saw the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 as an historic opportunity to reassert America’s political and strategic dominance in world affairs by brute military force, initiating a devastating air war against Iraq in order to tame a former ally, Saddam Hussein, after he disobeyed Washington’s diktats in the crucial oil-rich region.

Maintained by the Clinton and Bush II Administrations, the simultaneous economic embargo strengthened Saddam’s grip on the country rather than induce his overthrow. This strategic blunder was eventually recognised by the latter administration, whose solution became a war in 2003 with manufactured pretexts that proved even more futile: 1 million dead, 4 million displaced, and a Shia government friendly with Iran.

Then came the 2008 crash, sending the world capitalist economy into its biggest crisis since the Great Depression.

Since then, US decline has entered a heightened phase. China has now eclipsed America as the world’s biggest economy, prompting Obama’s ‘Pivot to Asia’ military buildup. On the other side of the Atlantic, he subjected America’s other chief rival in Eurasia and the Middle East (Syria), Russia, with the biggest military buildup on its borders since the Nazi invasion.

“Make America Great Again”

Donald Trump expresses a psychology of denialism within the US elite. Unlike Reagan and Bush, he has come to power within the context of a much more existential phase of American decline. He personifies a ruling class with no solution for reversing the new reality: the US is no longer top dog.

Those who want rid of Trump need to go beyond the individual. Trump would never have emerged in the 1950s. He expresses the crises of American capitalism. The struggle against Trump is invariably bound up with the struggle for socialism.

The Colossal Hypocrisy of Liberal America

#MeToo vs state terrorism

Has anyone managed to avoid vomiting at the epic hypocrisy of Liberal America’s #MeToo campaign?

Self-proclaimed liberals have spearheaded a hysterical pitchfork hunt worthy of Witchfinder General. Their redefinition of sexual assault threatens to take on a legislative form that can only serve to strengthen the very trend of authoritarianism they purport to oppose.

Those who backed Hilary Clinton have no issue with the fact that she butchered thousands of innocent children and women in Libya. Liberal America, from the media pundits to the public at large, blissfully acquiesce to state terrorism. Such is the moral insanity engendered by generations of corporate media brainwashing and value manipulation.

Take Katy Perry, who actively campaigned for Hilary in the 2016 presidential election: appalled by Trump’s ban on Muslims, deafly silent on his (and Hilary’s) slaughter of same. Her feminist hero advocated the nuclear genocide of the entire population of Iran and knowingly voted for an imperialist war for oil based on verifiable lies that produced 700,000 widows. And defended a rapist in court.

Clintonian feminism is the kind that uses identity politics to distract from the issue of class/plutocracy. The constituents of such politics are the top 10%, whose political engagement can hardly be expected to prioritise the working class majority. With nothing to fight for, they resort to the nonsense that is identity.

What are the liberals’ vision for the American people? Obama resumed his predecessor’s bank bailouts and concurred with his opponent John McCain that “we need to start going after” social security, medicaid and pensions. His takeover of the auto industry meant a 50% wage cut for new autoworkers. 90% of jobs created under his presidency were part-time and casual. Yet Meryl Streep thanked him for bringing change.

The bankruptcy of American liberalism – a historical phenomena that, like its right-wing counterpart embodied in Trump, is a product of the debased stage of late American capitalism – is evident in the reactionary form that its ‘opposition’ to Trump is taking: half-crazed hysteria about a mythical Russian election theft, designed to shift public anger off the two-party capitalist system and onto a perceived foreign enemy attacking the great democracy. Soon all social ills will be blamed on those pesky Russians as the masses are rallied behind the flag rather than against the social order it cloaks.

With the NATO buildup on Russia’s borders, unprecedented since Hitler, the Democrats and Republicans alike are playing nuclear roulette with the entire human race: proof of the utter insanity not of ‘the world’, but of the capitalist-imperialist order and the need to overthrow it.