It Is Your Human Duty To Stand Unapologetically In Your Own Authority

“Trusting in any authority but your own is shirking your most important existential responsibility”.

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By Caitlin Johnstone

November 30, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – I just got done reading an unintentionally hilarious article in The Guardian whose author Tim Dowling shared it under the billing “I watched RT for a week so you don’t have to.” The whole thing is a story by a man immersed in mainstream narratives who spent a week perpetually aghast at how “surreal” it is to suddenly be hearing stories outside his echo chamber. Even while conceding that some of the programming was downright enlightening, Dowling just couldn’t get over the fact that he was seeing different things on RT than he was on BBC News and ended up writing about the experience in the way one might speak about their trip to a furry convention.

“The annoying thing about RT is that some of the reporting is very good and genuine,” Misha Glenny is quoted as saying…

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Russiagate Explained

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By Caitlin Johnstone

November 28, 2017 “Information Clearing House” – Michael Flynn is in the news again. Russiagaters are gushing with excitement at the revelation that Flynn’s lawyers are no longer sharing information with the president’s legal team now that Robert Mueller’s investigation is looking more closely at the former National Security Advisor’s involvement in the production of a film about an exiled cleric from Turkey. The story goes that this separation means that Flynn has struck a deal with Mueller, which Mueller wouldn’t permit him to do if he didn’t have damning information on Trump.

Of course this excitement is dependent on the false belief that Mueller’s job is to get the president impeached, and that he would only cut deals toward that ultimate end. It is also dependent on thefalse belief that there is any evidence to be found that Trump illegally colluded with…

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Why Hasn’t Britain’s Finest Journalist Received a Knighthood?

“What we need is a Fifth Estate: a journalism that monitors, deconstructs and counters propaganda and teaches the young to be agents of people, not power”. John Pilger

The winner of multiple awards including a BAFTA, the reportage and filmmaking of Australian journalist John Pilger have highlighted injustices around the world. His latest works, Utopia (2013) and The Coming War on China (2016), respectively highlight the racist policies against indigenous Australia and the growing prospect of nuclear war between America and China.

Based in London, UK since 1962, Pilger first came to prominence with The Quiet Mutiny, a World in Action special that exposed the disintegration of the US army in Vietnam. From then, he made a string of World in Action specials. His prime was when he highlighted the Pol Pot genocide in 1970s Cambodia, which raised $45m in aid.

He went on to highlight two more genocides: the Western-armed Indonesian occupation of East Timor, wiping out 25-33% of the population, and the horrendous US-UK economic embargo on Iraq that, according to UNICEF, killed half a million children under the age of 5.

With his 2004 ITV special Stealing A Nation, Pilger broad to light British Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s depopulation of Diego Garcia – British citizens – to turn it into an American base in the 1960s, a crime the BBC failed to mention in its program about Wilson’s chief accomplice Defence Secretary Denis Healey following his passing a couple of years ago. Those complicit in the cover-up of this atrocity against British citizens were knighted by the Queen, “standard for that kind of behaviour” (Pilger).

His first cinema documentary, The War on Democracy (2007), highlighted the social justice movements sweeping Latin America, a victim of endless US-backed coups that installed ruthless Cold War dictators, centering on the remarkable social reforms of late Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

The film discusses what is sometimes called ‘the first 9/11’: the CIA-backed overthrow of the democratically elected President of Chile Salvador Allende. This coup installed a fascist tyrant, General Pinochet, who butchered tens of thousands of dissidents as he turned the Chilean economy into the first ‘free market’ guinea pig. “You helped bring democracy to Chile”, Thatcher praised him when she intervened to prevent the mass murderer’s deportation from Britain in 1998. A speciality of Pinochet’s ‘democratic’ rape gangs was vaginal electrocution. A lifelong friend, Thatcher attended his deathbed.

In his second cinema documentary, The War You Don’t See (2010), Pilger highlighted the role of the Anglo-American media in uncritically promoting the Bush/Blair propaganda that led to the Iraq War, in which former CBS anchor Dan Rather confessed to having perhaps made the war possible by his and the rest of the media’s role as “stenographers”.

“In other words”, says Pilger, “had journalists done their job, had they questioned and investigated the propaganda instead of amplifying it, hundreds of thousands of men, women and children might be alive today; and millions might not have fled their homes; the sectarian war between Sunni and Shia might not have ignited, and the infamous Islamic State might not now exist”.

This is what defines Pilger’s greatness as a journalist. He was one of only a few journalists who critically investigated the lies and propaganda concerning Saddam’s fabricated WMDs. Indeed, to the extent that investigation is a core journalistic prerogative, it is arguable that most journalists are now, to borrow Pilger’s term, “anti-journalists”: establishment propagandists in a corporate media system that distorts, omits and lies in the service of the 1%.

“The most effective propaganda is found not in the Sun or on Fox News”, Pilger insists, “but beneath a liberal halo. When the New York Times published claims that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, its fake evidence was believed, because it wasn’t Fox News; it was the New York Times. The same is true of the Washington Post and the Guardian…”.

It should be obvious why John Pilger, unlike Trevor McDonald with his sycophantic series on the Queen, has never received a knighthood. In spite of your deeds (good or bad), the Queen insists on conformity. In retrospect, his failure to receive one is a badge of honour.

To read and watch Pilger’s articles and films, go to johnpilger.com

Nuclear Apocalypse: A True Possibility

WeatherEye

On August 6 1945, the United States dropped the world’s first atomic bomb on Japan. The subsequent Cold War between the West and Soviet Russia witnessed the most dangerous flashpoints in human history.

Today, as NATO carries out the biggest military buildup on Russia’s borders since Hitler’s invasion of the USSR in 1941, the spectre of an accidental nuclear war has returned with a vengeance.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the U.S. conducts a parallel encirclement strategy against China, whose economic and military rise marks the end of American dominance in the Asia Pacific.

Author Jimmy Colwill journeys through the genesis of the nuclear age and the string of dangerous historical flashpoints ever since 1945, culminating in today’s Eurasian tinderbox.

Order the book for just $3.01 at visit 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. See Colwill’s explosive NATO/Russia Documentary ‘Flashpoints’ for free at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T1vEqhVf618

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Two Occupations: Why Are We Silent on Kashmir?

Beneath our silence lies India’s enduring occupation

With its 700,000+ security forces, the Indian occupation of Kashmir is the densest and oldest in the world. With her population of 5.5 million, the ratio is one Indian soldier for eight Kashmiris.

Kashmir, says the Indian constitution, is “an integral part of India”. In reality, both India and Pakistan are “an integral part” of the common subcontinent, which was partitioned in 1947 into what were hence wholly artificial constructs at inception: Hindu-majority ‘India’ and Muslim-majority ‘Pakistan’. Such reactionary origins underscore the futility imbuing their disastrous petty-nationalist rivalry.

When the Kashmiris took up arms against Indian occupation in the 1990s, they were met with horrifying repression. Homes were set alight, women were raped and civilians were sadistically tortured and mutilated by Indian troops. In total, 50,000 innocent men, women and children are believed to have perished during this bloody period of the 90s.

This had some degree of coverage in the West, but beneath our silence lies an enduring occupation of which even the left has spoken little in comparison to Palestine.

History is replete with injustices that acquire an international symbolism. In this regard, Palestine has been rightly compared to Apartheid South Africa. Like the latter, Palestine is becoming a symbol for the world’s oppressed and their plight, whose endurance no longer remains a source for pessimism (apartheid was almost a century-old before it ended). Slowly but surely, the movement for international solidarity with Palestine is growing daily.

The sheer infamy of Apartheid as an historic injustice that was reversed by an international solidarity movement may well justify the standard comparison by the Free Palestine movement. Yet, on purely theoretical grounds, Kashmir is a far more apt comparison to Palestine. As such, we should strive for the liberation of both with equal tenacity and solidarity.

The anti-war left linked the struggle for the liberation of Palestine with that of Iraq and Afghanistan. So why are there no corresponding calls for the liberation of Kashmir among antiwar activists/commentators?

“We Were This Close to Nuclear War”

Excerpt from “Eurasian Tinderbox: The U.S. Buildup Against Russia and China”, Jimmy Colwill. To purchase the entire eBook for just $3.01, visit 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

Kennedy’s strategy to ‘reverse’ the gap – in reality, aggressively expand America’s strategic advantage over the Soviets even further than it had already been – included what became, according to the preeminent international relations theorist Kenneth Waltz, “the largest strategic and conventional peacetime build-up the world has yet seen…even as Khrushchev was trying at once to carry through a major reduction in the conventional forces and to follow a strategy of minimum deterrence, and…even though the balance of strategic weapons greatly favored the United States”[4].

This included the stationing of more than a hundred Jupiter missiles in Italy and Turkey, the latter within striking range of the Russian capital of Moscow. In May 1962, faced with CIA terrorist campaign Operation Mongoose and the threat of imminent US invasion (following an initial US invasion attempt the previous year i.e. the infamous Bay of Pigs fiasco), Cuba’s Fidel Castro requested the stationing of Soviet missiles on the island – just 90 miles away from Florida – as a nuclear deterrent against American aggression.

Recognising this opportunity to strike a deal with Kennedy, who had earlier spurned his offer of a mutual weapons reduction treaty, and get the US missiles out of neighbouring Turkey[5], Khrushchev granted Cuba’s request the following July.

The following month, while on holiday, Kennedy read Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August, a classic account of the build-up to World War One. Tuchman had argued that none of the key political figures welcomed war and that, given the chance, they would not have repeated their mistakes that led to conflict.

After the resumption of U2 reconnaissance flights over Cuba in October, pilot Major Richard Heyser took 928 photographs recording the recently station Soviet missiles on the island. The CIA identified the missiles thanks to intelligence provided by double agent Oleg Penkovsky[6], notifying the State Department on October 15 at 8:30pm.

Following an initial briefing he received from Bundy the following morning[7], President Kennedy convened his national security council and other key advisors at 6:30pm. Kennedy secretly tape recorded the meetings (the ‘Excomm meetings’), some of which have been subsequently transcribed by the Kennedy Library’s Sheldon Stern. The Joint Chiefs of Staff unanimously recommended a military strike on Cuba to take out the missiles. An invasion was already scheduled, hence (partially) the stationing of the missiles on the island to begin with. But McNamara countered that, seeing as the US already had 5000 strategic warheads compared with the Russians’ 300, the balance of military power was still overwhelmingly in Washington’s favour[8].

In any event, the JSC’s apocalyptic recommendation held consensus, despite the fact that a diplomatic solution was the elephant in the room during the first Excomm meeting: answering Kennedy’s query about Khrushchev’s possible motive for stationing the missiles in Cuba, Dean Rusk pointed out that it may have something to do with the US Jupiter missiles in neighbouring Turkey, within striking range of Moscow.

On October 18, Kennedy met with Soviet Foreign Minister Andrei Gromyko in the Oval Office, the latter explaining the defensive nature of the missiles. Kennedy risked nuclear extinction by failing to offer US withdrawal of its Turkey missiles in exchange for a Soviet withdrawal of its Cuba missiles. The next day, Excomm agreed to a naval blockade of Cuba, to prevent any further Soviet missile shipments thereto.

In a televised address on the 22nd, Kennedy branded Soviet actions “a reckless and provocative threat to world peace”, stripping the crisis of its entire context: his missiles in Turkey, his brother Robert’s CIA terrorist campaign to raise “the terrors of the earth”[9] against the Castro regime, and (as it turns out, justified[10]) Soviet-Cuban fears of imminent US invasion of Cuba.

As Kennedy spoke, US forces were put on DEFCON 3. A quarter of a million US troops were on standby to invade Cuba. Nearly two hundred B47s, all armed with hydrogen bombs, dispersed to civilian airports across the United States. B52s on airborne alert increased more than fivefold, some 65 of them, each armed with thermonuclear warheads and 2-4 Hydrogen bombs, within striking range of the USSR[11]. On October 24, as the naval blockade began, Strategic Air Command was switched to DEFCON 2, the first time in its history.

On October 26, Kennedy received a letter from Khrushchev offering to withdraw the Soviet missiles from Cuba in exchange for US assurances that neither America nor its proxies would attack Cuba. Excomm agreed to the deal, but would respond the next morning after some shuteye. By radio, a frantic Khrushchev offered to publicly withdraw the missiles if the US publicly withdrew its Turkey missiles.

Naturally, the granting of both proposals would have guaranteed a definitive resolution to the most dangerous crisis in world history, pulling humanity back from the brink of nuclear annihilation. Within Excomm, the confusion caused by the second letter only intensified calls for an airstrike, which intensified even further after an American U2 was shot down (without Khrushchev’s authorisation) later that day.

Nonetheless, Kennedy only accepted the first offer (US pledge not to attack Cuba, quickly broken as Operation Mongoose resumed, lasting well into the 1970s at the cost of thousands of Cuban lives), insisting instead that the US secretly withdraw the missiles from Turkey, while Russia publicly withdraw its missiles.

Kennedy made this move despite his own guess that nuclear war was 33-50% probable, and having already ordered the withdrawal of the obsolete Jupiter missiles from Turkey for replacement by far more lethal Polaris submarines[12]. In other words, he risked nuclear extinction of humanity for sheer imperial prestige.

“It is hard to think”, says Noam Chomsky, “of a more horrendous decision in history – and for this, he is still highly praised for his cool courage and statesmanship”[12]. As it happens, Khrushchev had already ordered the missiles’ withdrawal while awaiting a reply from Kennedy, delighted by the latter concession[13].

Graham Allison’s judgement is even more damning[14]:

Although he appreciated the dangers of his predicament, Kennedy repeatedly made choices he knew actually increased the risk of war, including nuclear war. He chose to confront Khrushchev publicly (rather than try to resolve the issue privately through diplomatic channels); to draw an unambiguous red line requiring the removal of Soviet missiles (rather than leave himself more wiggle room); to threaten air strikes to destroy the missiles (knowing this could trigger Soviet retaliation against Berlin); and finally, on the penultimate day of the crisis, to give Khrushchev a time-limited ultimatum (that, if rejected, would have required the US to fire the first shot). In each of these choices, Kennedy understood that he was raising the risk that further events and choices by others beyond his control could lead to nuclear bombs destroying American cities, including Washington DC (where his family stayed throughout the ordeal.

By far the most dangerous moment in the entire crisis (and, arguably, human history) was when, on the day of Kennedy’s gamble, one of the Soviet Foxtrot submarines approaching Cuba received US warning depth charges, which one of the submarines misinterpreted as an attack. Six hours later, the three commanders, authorised by Soviet protocol to launch a torpedo, made the decision to do so, except one: Visal Arkhipov, “the man who saved the world”.

Thus, Kennedy’s gamble was more like an unwitting 99%. Indeed, without his knowledge, and on the same day as the U2 shoot-down, an Atlas long-range missile test was carried out from Vandenberg Air Force Base. The Soviets could have easily misinterpreted this as the first firing shot. Meanwhile, another U2 was tailed by Soviet pilots after straying into Siberian airspace before being safely escorted back to Alaska by atomic-armed US warplanes which, under DEFCON 3, were authorised to shoot down Soviet aircraft[13]. Even this barely scratches the surface of the additional dangers involved.

Investigative journalist Eric Schlosser observes[13]:

Although Khrushchev never planned to move against Berlin during the crisis, the Joint Chiefs had greatly underestimated the strength of the Soviet military force based in Cuba. In addition to strategic weapons, the Soviet Union had almost one hundred tactical nuclear weapons on the island that would have been used by local commanders to repel an American attack. Some were as powerful as the bomb that destroyed Hiroshima. Had the likely targets of those weapons – the American fleet offshore the U.S. naval base at Guantanamo – been destroyed, an all-out nuclear war would have been hard to avoid.

At a Senate hearing following the merciful resolution of the crisis, McNamara adamantly denied that the Soviet missile withdrawal from Cuba was traded for the US missile withdrawal from Turkey: “Absolutely not…The Soviet government did raise the issue…[but the] President absolutely refused even to discuss it”. Off the record, officials even concocted that Kennedy had spurned a proposal by his UN ambassador to trade the Soviet missiles in Cuba for NATO missiles in Turkey, Italy and Britain[13].

Following the resolution of the crisis, a Moscow-Washington hotline was established, as well as the landmark Limited Test Ban Treaty, which prohibited nuclear detonations in the atmosphere, ocean and outer space. Nonetheless, over the next five years, US nukes would grow by more than 50% (as would tactical nukes deployed to Europe) from Eisenhower’s 19,000 to a total of 31,255[15]. And the progress in US-Soviet relations would be severely damaged by the reckless brinksmanship of the 1980s Reagan Administration, bringing us once again to the brink of catastrophe.

Never forget the “left” apologists for Serb genocide

Shiraz Socialist

The war criminal Ratko Mladic has finally tasted justice: today at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, he was sent down for life, having been found guilty of genocide for the massacre at Srebrenica in July 1995, when more than 7,000 Muslim men and boys were murdered.

Mladic was indicted in 1995, but went into hiding in Serbia where he was sheltered by the army. But it’s worth remembering that it wasn’t just Serb nationalists who supported and excused him, Karadzic and Milsosevic: a lot of the so-called “left” have some answering to do, as Stan Crooke explains below. The particular culprits here are the SWP, who a few years later started puffing themselves up as “fighters for Muslims”. At the time they refused to side with the Bosniac and Kosovar Muslims fighting Serb conquest, focusing their sympathies on Serbia as the victim of  NATO. They quietly went along with those who…

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