The freedom of the press and the freedom of religion are two of the most important elements of a free society. These were so important to America’s Founding Fathers that they were protected in the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. A free and independent press serves as watchdogs for liberty, while a free and independent church serves as watchmen for liberty. Sadly, both watchdog and watchman are, for the most part, missing in today’s America.
Just about everyone knows that the vast majority of the national press corps has a strong liberal bias. That’s a given. But, it’s actually worse than that. Instead of being watchdogs on the government, the mainstream media has become little more than lap dogs for the government. Instead of reporting the truth, most of the media is actually more concerned with covering up the truth. With precious few exceptions, investigative reporting is dead in the national news media.
Oh, sure. Republican administrations are depicted more negatively by the mainstream media than are Democrat administrations. No doubt about that. Can anyone recall the media hoopla over Vice President Dan Quayle’s misspelling of the word “potato”? The liberal media talked about that almost nonstop for months. But did you hear much of anything when President Barack Obama recently misspelled the word “respect”? I mean from media sources outside of FOX News? Nope. Nary a word.
But when it comes to investigating the truth behind what government spokesmen tell us, it doesn’t matter to a tinker’s dam whether it is a Republican or Democrat administration: about the only thing national newscasters know to do is to report whatever the official story of the government is. Once in a blue moon, a mainstream newspaper, such as the New York Times, will dare to print a report that questions an official government story, but not very often. And when such a report is printed, it digs only so deep. For the last several years, about the only major newspaper that has had the guts to actually do some real investigative reporting is the London Guardian. Even the Washington Times prints mostly milquetoast exposés.
CBS reporter, Sharly Attkisson, recently left the network due to its liberal bias and aversion to investigative reporting. Politico said this about Attkisson’s leaving: “Attkisson, who has been with CBS News for two decades, had grown frustrated with what she saw as the network’s liberal bias, an outsize influence by the network’s corporate partners and a lack of dedication to investigative reporting, several sources said. She increasingly felt that her work was no longer supported and that it was a struggle to get her reporting on air.”
See the Politico report here:
In an interview with the CBS affiliate in Philadelphia, Chris Stigall reported, “Responding to comments regarding a Phoenix television reporter yesterday who initially claimed that the White House pre-screens questions from reporters, Attkisson said, ‘I wouldn’t [be] surprised if sometimes there is that level of cooperation with some questions. If I need something answered from the White House and they won’t tell me, I’ll call our White House Correspondent. They’re friendlier with the White House Correspondents in general. So the White House Correspondent may ask Jay Carney or one of his folks about an issue and they will be told “ask that at the briefing and we’ll answer it.” They want to answer it in front of everybody. They do know it’s coming and they’ll call on you. There’s that kind of coordination sometimes. I wouldn’t be shocked if there’s sometimes more coordination. I don’t think it’s everybody on every briefing, every day. I’m pretty sure it’s not. But I think people would be surprised at the level of cooperation reporters have in general with politicians.’”
See Stigall’s report here:
Attkisson was putting it very mildly. There is more than just coordination going on between the federal government and the national news media; it’s more like coziness and calculated manipulation.
Since when has the major media dared to investigate and report the truth regarding any of the major events that have transpired in this country? The last time there was even a semblance of genuine investigative reporting seen in the national press corps was during the Watergate scandal when Richard Nixon was President–and that was politically-motivated from start to finish.
The mainstream media didn’t bother to seriously investigate Ruby Ridge or Waco or the Oklahoma City bombing or TWA Flight 800 or the Sandy Hook shootings or (and especially) the attacks which occurred on 9/11/01. These events took place with both Republicans and Democrats at the helm: it didn’t matter. Government spokesmen gave the media the official story, and the media repeatedly regurgitated the official story until anyone who dared to question the official story was turned into a conspiracy nut. That’s not reporting the news, folks. That is manipulating the news to disseminate propaganda. Joseph Goebbels had nothing on the major media in America today.
Again, the modern American media are not watchdogs over government; they are lap dogs for government. Reporters who try to truly dig and investigate are seldom rewarded–just the opposite. Their stories are buried–if published at all. They are disinvited from interviewing notable dignitaries. They are passed over for promotions–or even dismissed. It doesn’t take people in the news business long to get the message that if they want to go anywhere, they must toe the line and become good little puppets. The First Amendment freedom of the press has been negated by the press itself.
Likewise, the First Amendment freedom of religion has also been negated. A free and independent clergy is essential to the maintenance of liberty. But, for the most part, America has not had a free and independent clergy in decades.
The IRS 501c3 designation for churches, along with State incorporation, has turned America’s watchmen into little more than glorified CEOs. The average pulpit is just as politically correct as the national news media. Plus, the average church is as much about the bottom line as news shows.
Did you know that there used to be a time when the major television networks expected that their news shows would not operate in the black financially? It’s true. Back then, it was more important that news shows reported and investigated the news than turn a profit. Therefore, corporate donations and government chagrin had little impact upon newscasters and reporters. Those days are long gone.
By the same token, did you know that there used to be a time in this country when most of our pastors and ministers (regardless of denomination) were more concerned about being Biblically correct than being politically correct? For example, so prominent was the role that Presbyterian pastors played in the American Revolution that as news of the rebellion spread throughout England, Horace Walpole told his fellow members of the British Parliament, “There is no use crying about it. Cousin America has run off with a Presbyterian parson, and that is the end of it.” Of course, Presbyterians were not the only clergymen in Colonial America to champion the cause of liberty and independence from behind their pulpits.
In truth, if it wasn’t for clergymen such as John Leland (along with political statesmen such as Patrick Henry, of course), it is doubtful that there would even be a First Amendment–or the rest of the Bill of Rights, for that matter.
But, back then, pastors were not motivated by the desire to build big buildings or impress political potentates or climb ecclesiastical elevators. They were motivated by courage and commitment. And you could tell it every time you went to church. They didn’t mince words; and their sermons seldom concluded in less than an hour. They were watchmen.
Sadly, in the same manner in which the national news media have abandoned their responsibility as America’s watchdogs, so, too, the vast majority of pastors have abandoned their responsibility as America’s watchmen. The First Amendment protection of the freedom of the press and religion is not enough to protect the freedom of the press and religion from themselves.
To be sure, many of our pastors and ministers today are sincere, compassionate, and honorable men. But they have never been taught the Biblical principles of liberty; they have never been taught how to apply the liberty principles of Scripture to our everyday lives–including our political lives; they have never been taught the true meaning of Biblical submission in general and Romans 13 in particular. However, more and more of these men are coming awake to these things. Of course, others stubbornly refuse to even consider the truth of these matters.
But, listen up, folks! Truth will always find a way to reveal itself: the dear Lord will make sure of that. As the mainstream media became toadies of Big Government, along came independent radio talk shows, newspapers, and the Internet. And in all likelihood, more people are getting their news and information from online sources today than from network or cable news shows. As a result, more and more people are awakening to the truth every day.
And, by the same token, as many establishment churches and pastors have become toadies of the IRS and political correctness, new, independent, unorganized, non-501c3 churches and fellowships are sprouting up all over America. Some of these groups are led by ministers whom God has led out of the establishment church. Others are led by laymen who have likewise left the establishment church. I hear from these people every day. And, by the grace of God, I hope to be more personally involved in helping Christian people around the country form liberty-oriented churches. More on that soon.
The First Amendment was designed to protect America’s watchdogs and watchmen. And it is a truism that there can never be a revival of liberty in this land without a resurrection of our watchdogs and watchmen. The good news is that resurrection is already taking place.
The psychopathic propaganda power brokers are inciting hysteria over expanding their Ukrainian coup operation. Pushing Russia to accept a hostile empire on their border is irrational. Belligerence and intimidation makes indefensible foreign affairs relationships. Those who swallow the “wag the dog” script that circulates in the Western mainstream media, deceived or brainwashed, are incapable of any independent thought. The forces that seek unremitting interventionist intrusions that thrive on self-induced chaos are the true threats to world peace.
Until the perception and experience of the intrepid Michael Scheuer becomes universally accepted, the failed foreign policy mistakes will continue as seen in Russia annexing Crimea is the cost of U.S.-EU intervention in Ukraine.
“Overall, U.S. and Western leaders should be lining up to thank Vladimir Putin for a painful but thorough lesson in how the adult leader of a nation protects his country’s genuine national interests. And, it must be noted, Putin is not teaching rocket science. Had Western leaders received a decent education — especially in the fields of history and human nature — they would have been absolutely certain from the start that any destabilizing Western intervention in Ukraine that even remotely threatened Russia’s assured access to its Crimean naval bases would provoke precisely the kind of Russian response that occurred. They also would have known that West and the UN could bleat forever about the requirements of various treaties and international law, but that a nation acting to protect what it perceives to be life-or-death national interests — as is Putin’s Russia — is both insane and suicidal if it refrains from acting because of a raft of documents designed to address Cold War conditions that no longer exist.
The lesson of the Ukraine crisis — if it ends without war — for the U.S. and the EU will be crystal clear: Hoe your own row, and mind your own business. If it ends in a civil or European war, they will have only themselves to blame.”
With the results from the Crimean referendum in hand the Guardian newspaper reports:
The referendum ballot itself, as posted a few days ago to the parliament’s website, doesn’t exactly give voters an option to say “No”. The two choices are:
“Do you support joining Crimea with the Russian Federation as a subject of Russia?”
“Do you support restoration of the 1992 Crimean constitution, and Crimea’s status as part of Ukraine?
This second option is somewhat contradictory: the 1992 constitution asserts Crimea is an independent state and not part of Ukraine (reference to autonomy within Ukraine was inserted at a later date). By “supporting the restoration of the 1992 constitution” voters will actually support enhanced autonomy. No matter what, voters are ticking a box for independence from Ukraine.
In the inimitable and immortal words of that heroine of all transgender sociopaths, the former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton sums up the double standard: What Difference Does It Make? The bipartisan support for an unbalanced death wish to jump-start the DEFCON alert level, reflected in the comments of General Dempsey: US ready for military response to Russia if Crimean conflict escalates, should alarm everyone. “We do have treaty obligations with our NATO allies. And I have assured them that if that treaty obligation is triggered [in Europe], we would respond.”
For a listing of reports on Lessons of the Ukrainian Coup, examine the latest BATR RealPolitik Newsletter – March 13, 2014. Especially appreciate the Robert Parry article, Neocons and the Ukraine Coup, which targets the perverse mentality of the NeoCon influence.
“Now, you have Assistant Secretary of State Nuland, the wife of prominent neocon Robert Kagan, acting as a leading instigator in the Ukrainian unrest, explicitly seeking to pry the country out of the Russian orbit. Last December, she reminded Ukrainian business leaders that, to help Ukraine achieve “its European aspirations, we have invested more than $5 billion.” She said the U.S. goal was to take “Ukraine into the future that it deserves.”
Any attempt to establish sanity in foreign policy must recognize that the betrayers within have sold out America for the last century. Foggy Bottom is the depository of dual loyalists as explained in the Totalitarian Collectivism essay, The State Department’s New World Order Agenda.
Just who are the maniacal lunatics that drive this insatiable need to threaten continuous war to achieve global imperium? One needs not be a Putin booster to recognize that the post 911 expansions of a garrison mentality guarantees further military expeditions into the internal affairs of any country that bucks the “international community” New World Order goals.
Author of the book “The New American Empire”, Rodrigue Tremblay exposes the lunacy behind The Bush-Obama’s Neocon Foreign Policy of Isolating Russia and of Expanding NATO is a Dismal Failure.
“President Barack Obama was candid in admitting it on Monday March 3, 2014, when he said that “we are indicating to the Russians [that] if in fact they continue on the current trajectory they’re on, then we are examining a whole series of steps — economic, diplomatic— that will isolate Russia.”
Well, it is precisely this desire to expand NATO and to isolate Russia by incorporating all the countries bordering Russia into NATO, i.e. a strategy of geopolitical and military encirclement of Russia, which has provoked that country when it felt threatened in its national security.
The truth is that NATO should have been disbanded after the collapse of the Soviet empire in 1991, and especially after the Warsaw Pact was itself dismantled . . . But no! The United States wanted to take advantage of the situation and demanded that everything fell into the military-financial U.S. Empire.”
The Global Gulag essay, NATO a Dinosaur Overdue for Extinction, amplifies upon this conclusion.
“If the breakdown in NATO is destined to avail an opportunity to curtail the Yankee Hyperpower, the alternative need not be the formation of another suspect alliance. It is not unpatriotic to advocate the wisdom in an America First policy. NATO doesn’t secure an advance for our country, but only provides the military command and enforcement that imposes the will of global masters. Resistance and opposition against an independent EU rapid defense force, comes not from the nations of Europe, but from the elites that control the mechanisms of global power. NATO is one of their tools. Alliances are one of their methods. And suppression of viable self determination is their cherished goal.”
Just think what the response would be if Putin reacted to the bellicose threats from EU/NATO/US to intervene into whatever geographic Ukraine composition remains, by re-creating Russian bases in the Western hemisphere? Venezuela becoming the 21th Century Cuba cannot stand. You can hear the cries – no Russian Guantánamo Bay bases in our backyard.
The impotency of superpower status means that the nuclear option becomes executable. This attitude is pure madness, and leads to unilateral imperialism.
When the formidable voice of moral authority, Paul Craig Roberts, warns about World War 1 All Over Again, the nation must come to grips with the fact that the establishment political class is hell bent on running the world by whatever means they decide as they undertake to eliminate any and all opposition to their brinkmanship of NWO jingoism.
“Did US Secretary of State John Kerry ask you before he delivered an all or nothing ultimatum to Russia? Did he ask Congress? Did he ask the countries of western and eastern Europe–NATO members who Kerry has committed to whatever the consequences will be of Washington’s inflexible, arrogant, aggressive provocation of Russia, a well-armed nuclear power? Did Kerry ask Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, New Zealand, Australia, Canada, Mexico, South America, Africa, China, Central Asia, all of whom would be adversely affected by a world war provoked by the crazed criminals in Washington?”
Absent from a sober and balanced national policy, on what is truly best for the American people, is recognition that the internationalism fostered by Woodrow Wilson has destroyed the Republic. America First requires the acceptance and courage to admit that the globalist coup d’état, which actually took over and now rules our own country, is the definitive enemy of all humanity.
The treason of the NeoCons and International Libs promote a satanic cosmology, which seeks to destroy any traditional institutional legacy that George Washington elaborated in his Farewell Address. Risking World War III over Ukraine, especially when the forces of globalism initiated the unrest, is sheer folly.
If there are any real Patriots left in positions of authority within the Federal government, is it now time to enlist in the much-needed second American Revolution? Liberate our own country before starting conflicts that will only result in an existential demise of our nation. The American holocaust planned from within and exercised by commands from traitors is the real reign of terror that faces every truehearted citizen.
An empire necessitates the elimination of the Republic. If Crimea can hold a referendum, only the NWO Jacobins deny the same option for us.
At the onset of the derivatives collapse in 2007/2008 it would have been easy to assume that most of America was receiving a valuable education in normalcy bias.
In 2006, the amount of ego on display surrounding mortgage investment was so disturbingly grotesque anyone with any true understanding of the situation felt like projectile vomiting. To watch the smug righteousness of MSNBC and FOX economic pundits as they predicted the infinite rise of American property markets despite all evidence to the contrary was truly mind blowing. When the whole system imploded, it was difficult to know whether one should laugh, or cry.
The saddest aspect of the credit crisis of 2008 was not the massive chain reaction of bankruptcies or the threat of institutional insolvency. Rather, it was the delusional assumptions of the public that the grand mortgage casino was going to go on forever. There is nothing worse than witnessing the victim of a Ponzi scheme defend the lie which has ultimately destroyed him. As much as I am for people waking up to the nature of the crisis, there comes a point when those who are going to figure it out will figure it out, and the rest are essentially hopeless.
The cultism surrounding the U.S. economy and the U.S. dollar is truly mind boggling, and by “cultism” I mean a blind faith in the fiat currency mechanism that goes beyond all logic, reason and evidence.
In recent weeks it has become more visible as global financiers play both sides of the Ukrainian conflict, luring Americans into a frenzy of false patriotism and an anti-Russo-sports-team-mentality. My personal distaste for Vladimir Putin revolves around my understanding that he is just as much a puppet of the International Monetary Fund and international banks as Barack Obama, but many Americans hate him simply because the mainstream media has designated him the next villain in the fantasy tale of U.S. foreign policy.
Open threats from Russia that they will dump U.S. treasury bond holdings and the dollar’s world reserve status if NATO interferes in the Ukraine have been met with wildly naive chest beating from dollar cultists. I am beginning to see the talking points everywhere.
“Let them dump the dollar, Russia’s holdings are minimal!” Or, “Let them throw out Treasuries, they’ll just be shooting themselves in the foot!” are the battle cries heard across the web. I wish I could convey how insane this viewpoint is, especially in light of the fact that many alternative economic analysts, including myself, have been predicting just such a scenario for years.
Despite the childish boastings of the dollar devout, there is an extraordinarily good possibility that the life of the greenback will be snuffed out in the near term. Here are the facts…
1) Russia will not be alone in its decouple from the dollar system. China, our largest foreign creditor, and India (a supposed ally) have clearly sided with Russia on the Ukranian issue. China has stated that it will back Russia’s play in the event that sanctions are brought to bear by NATO, or if a shooting conflict erupts.
2) China has already been slowly dumping the dollar as a world reserve currency using bilateral trade agreements with numerous countries, including Russia, India, Australia, Brazil, Germany, Japan, etc. These agreements allow FOREX currency swaps and export/import purchases to be made with China without the use of the dollar. China has been preparing itself for a divorce from U.S. economic dependence for at least a decade. The idea that they would actually follow through over political tensions should NOT surprise anyone if they have beenpaying attention.
3) A total drop of the dollar or U.S. treasury bonds by Russia and China would send shock waves through global markets. Russia is a major energy supplier for most of Europe. China is the largest export/import nation in the world. If they refuse to accept dollars as a trade mechanism, numerous countries will fall in line to abandon the greenback as well. The fact that so many Americans refuse to acknowledge this reality is a recipe for disaster.
The only advantage the U.S. has traditionally offered in terms of international trade has been the American consumer, whose unchecked debt spending partly fueled the rise of the industrialized East, not to mention the biggest credit bubble in history. The role of America as a consumer market is collapsing today, however. The mainstream media and the Federal Reserve can blame the steady decline in retail sales on the “weather” all they want, but negative indicators in global manufacturing often take many months to register in the statistics, meaning, this destabilization began long before the days turned cold.
4) China has been shifting away from export dependency since at least 2008, calling for a larger consumer based market at home. This process of enriching the Chinese consumer has almost been completed. The lie that China “needs the U.S.” in order to survive economically needs to be thrown out like the utter propaganda it is.
5) China (and most of the world) has ended new dollar purchases for their FOREX reserves, and has no plans to make new purchases in the future.
6) China executed the second largest dump of U.S. Treasury bonds in history in the past month.
7) Russia, China, and numerous other countries, including U.S. “allies”, have been calling for the end of the dollar’s world reserve status and the institution of a new global basket currencyusing the IMF’s Special Drawing Rights (SDR). Even Putin has suggested that the IMF take over administration of the global economy and issue the SDR as a world currency system. This flies in the face of those who argue that the IMF is somehow “American run”. The truth is, the IMF is run by global banks and no more answers to the U.S. government than the Federal Reserve answers to the U.S. government.
8) The Federal Reserve has been creating trillions of dollars in fiat just to prop up U.S. markets since 2008, and we are still seeing a considerable decline in global manufacturing, retail, personal home sales, and a general malaise in consumer demand. Without a full audit, there is no way to know exactly how much currency has been generated or how much is floating around in foreign markets. Any loss of world reserve status would send that flood of dollars back into the U.S., most likely ending in a hyperinflationary environment.
9) Another rather dubious argument I see often is the claim that the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury could simply “negate” a Treasury dump by refusing to acknowledge creditor liabilities. Or, that they could simply print what they need to snap up the bonds, much like the German government tried to do during the Weimar collapse. Unfortunately, this plan did not work out so well for the Germans, nor has it worked for any other nation in history, so I’m not sure why people think the U.S. could pull it off. However, this is the kind of cultism we are surrounded by. These folks think the U.S. economy and the dollar are untouchable.
Yes, the Fed and the Treasury could hypothetically erase existing liabilities, but what dollar cultists do not seem to grasp is that the dollar’s value is not built on Treasury purchases. The dollar’s value is built on faith and reputation. If a nation refuses to pay out on its debts, this is called default. A default by the U.S. would immediately damage the reputation of bonds and dollars as a good investment. Global markets will refuse to purchase or hold any mechanism that they think will not earn them a profit. How many investors today are anxious to jump into Greek treasury bonds, for instance?
Finally, it is unwise to operate on the assumption that foreign creditors will accept dollars as payment on U.S. Treasury bonds if they believe the Federal Reserve is monetizing the debt. When Weimar imploded under the weight of currency devaluation, many foreign governments refused to accept the German mark as payment. Instead, they demanded payment in raw commodities, like coal, lumber and ore. Expect that China and other debt holders will demand payment in U.S. goods, infrastructure, or perhaps even land.
10) Most treasury holdings in foreign coffers are not long term bonds. Rather, they are short term bonds which mature in weeks or months, instead of years. Dollar proponents constantly cite the continued accumulation of treasury bonds by other governments as a sign that the dollar is still desirable as ever. Unfortunately, they have failed to look at the nature of these bond purchases. When China rolls over millions in short term bonds and replaces them with other short term bonds, this does not suggest they have much faith in America’s long term ability to service its debt. It would also make sense that if China had plans to remove itself from the dollar system, they would move into short term bonds which can be liquidated quickly.
11) China is on the fast track to becoming the largest holder of physical gold in the world. Russia has also greatly expanded its gold purchases. Whatever losses they might suffer from a dump of their Treasury bond investments; it will be more than made up in the incredible explosion in precious metals prices that would follow.
12) The most common argument against the dollar losing world reserve status has been that such a shift would be “impossible” because no other currency in the world has the adequate liquidity needed to replace the dollar in global trade. These people have apparently not been paying attention to the Chinese yuan. China has been quietly issuing trillions in yuan denominated bonds, securities and currency around the world. Current estimates calculate around $24 trillion created by the PBOC and the banks under its control.
Mainstream talking heads are calling this a “debt bubble.” However, this debt creation makes perfect sense if China’s plan is to create enough liquidity in its currency in order to offer a viable alternative to the U.S. dollar. Linking the yuan to the IMF’s basket currency would complete the picture, forming a perfect dollar replacement while dollar cheerleading-economists stand dumbstruck.
13) China’s retreat away from dollar denominated investments has left a hole in the U.S. bond market. Recently, that negative space was filled by an unexpected source; namely Belgium. A country whose GDP represents less than 1% of total global GDP buying more U.S. bonds than China? The whole concept sounds bizarre. Here is the capital coming from?
Think about it this way – Belgium is the political center of the European Union and a haven for international financiers. There are more corporate cronies, lobbyists, bureaucrats, and foreign dignitaries in Belgium than in all of Washington D.C. But more importantly, Belgium struck a deal with the IMF in 2012 to begin pumping SDR denominated funds into “low income economies”. I would suggest that this funding flows both ways, and that now, the IMF is feeding capital into Belgium in order to buy U.S. Treasury Bonds. That is to say, the IMF is going to start using smaller member countries with limited savings as proxies to purchase U.S. debt using IMF money.
The ultimate danger of the IMF (run by internationalists, not the U.S. government) pre-positioning itself as the primary buyer of U.S. debt is that when the U.S. finally defaults (and it will), the IMF is likely to become the “guardian angel” of the U.S. economy, offering aid in exchange for total administrative control of our financial system, and the institution of the SDR as a world reserve replacement for the dollar.
14) The serious prospect of regional conflict or world war over tensions between the Ukraine and Russia, Japan and China, the U.S. and Syria, the U.S. and Iran, the U.S. and North Korea, etc., could make the effort of exposing the plan to shift economic power into a one world system centralized under the IMF almost meaningless. How many people will truly care about the financial power grab by banking elites if it drifts under the surface of catastrophic engineered wars? They’ll be too busy hating and fighting artificially created boogeymen to pay attention to the real globalist culprits.
I have been pointing out for quite a long time that globalists need a “cover event”; a disaster, an economic war or a shooting war, in order to provide a smokescreen for the collapse of the dollar. Alternative analysts have been consistently correct in predicting the trend towards the dump of the dollar. Years ago, we were laughed at for suggesting China would shift towards a consumer based economy and away from U.S. dependence. Today, it is mainstream news. We were laughed at for suggesting that nations like Russia and China would drop the dollar as a reserve currency. Today, they are already in the process of doing it. And, we were laughed at for suggesting that Russia or China would use their debt holdings as leverage against the U.S. in the event of a geopolitical conflict. Today, they are openly making threats.
I have to say, I’ve grown tired of the dollar cultists. How many times can a group of people be wrong and still argue with those who have been consistently right? The answer is that zealots never actually escape their own delusions, even when their delusions lead them and those around them to ruin. I suspect that in the face of complete dollar collapse, they will still be rationalizing the chaos and pontificating on our “lack of understanding” while the theater burns down around them.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
When it gets complicated and confusing, when you’re overwhelmed with too much information, changing daily; too many explanations, some contradictory … try putting it into some kind of context by stepping back and looking at the larger, long-term picture.
The United States strives for world domination, hegemony wherever possible, their main occupation for over a century, it’s what they do for a living. The United States, NATO and the European Union form The Holy Triumvirate. The Holy Triumvirate has subsidiaries, chiefly The International Monetary Fund, World Bank, World Trade Organization, International Criminal Court … all help to keep in line those governments lacking the Holy Triumvirate Seal Of Approval: the IMF, WB, and WTO impose market fundamentalism, while foreign leaders who act too independent are threatened with being handed over to the ICC for heavy punishment, as the United States imposes sanctions on governments and their leaders as only the King of Sanctions can, lacking any sense of hypocrisy or irony.
And who threatens United States domination? Who can challenge The Holy Triumvirate’s hegemony? Only Russia and China, if they were as imperialistic as the Western powers. (No, the Soviet Union wasn’t imperialistic; that was self-defense; Eastern Europe was a highway twice used by the West to invade; tens of millions of Russians killed or wounded.)
Since the end of the Cold War the United States has been surrounding Russia, building one base after another, ceaselessly looking for new ones, including in Ukraine; one missile site after another, with Moscow in range; NATO has grabbed one former Soviet Republic after another. The White House, and the unquestioning American mainstream media, have assured us that such operations have nothing to do with Russia. And Russia has been told the same, much to Moscow’s continuous skepticism. “Look,” said Russian president Vladimir Putin about NATO some years ago, “is this is a military organization? Yes, it’s military. … Is it moving towards our border? It’s moving towards our border. Why?”
The Holy Triumvirate would love to rip Ukraine from the Moscow bosom, evict the Russian Black Sea Fleet, and establish a US military and/or NATO presence on Russia’s border. (In case you were wondering what prompted the Russian military action.) Kiev’s membership in the EU would then not be far off; after which the country could embrace the joys of neo-conservatism, receiving the benefits of the standard privatization-deregulation-austerity package and join Portugal, Ireland, Greece, and Spain as an impoverished orphan of the family; but no price is too great to pay to for being part of glorious Europe and the West!
The Ukrainian insurgents and their Western-power supporters didn’t care who their Ukrainian allies were in carrying out their coup against President Viktor Yanukovych last month … thugs who set policemen on fire head to toe … all manner of extreme right-wingers, including Chechnyan Islamic militants … a deputy of the ultra-right Svoboda Party, part of the new government, who threatens to rebuild Ukraine’s nukes in three to six months. … the snipers firing on the protestors who apparently were not what they appeared to be – A bugged phone conversation between Urmas Paet, the Estonian foreign minister, and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, reveals Paet saying: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” … neo-Nazi protestors in Kiev who have openly denounced Jews, hoisting a banner honoring Stepan Bandera, the infamous Ukrainian nationalist who collaborated with the German Nazis during World War II and whose militias participated in atrocities against Jews and Poles.
The Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on February 24 that Ukrainian Rabbi Moshe Reuven Azman advised “Kiev’s Jews to leave the city and even the country.” Edward Dolinsky, head of an umbrella organization of Ukrainian Jews, described the situation for Ukrainian Jews as “dire” and requested Israel’s help.
All in all a questionable gang of allies for a dubious cause; reminiscent of the Kosovo Liberation Army thugs Washington put into power for an earlier regime change, and has kept in power since 1999.
The now-famous recorded phone conversation between top US State Department official Victoria Nuland and the US ambassador to the Ukraine, wherein they discuss which Ukrainians would be to Washington’s liking in a new government, and which not, is an example of this regime-change mentality. Nuland’s choice, Arseniy Yatseniuk, emerged as interim prime minister.
The National Endowment for Democracy, an agency created by the Reagan administration in 1983 to promote political action and psychological warfare against states not in love with US foreign policy, is Washington’s foremost non-military tool for effecting regime change. The NED website lists 65 projects that it has supported financially in recent years in Ukraine. The descriptions NED gives to the projects don’t reveal the fact that generally their programs impart the basic philosophy that working people and other citizens are best served under a system of free enterprise, class cooperation, collective bargaining, minimal government intervention in the economy, and opposition to socialism in any shape or form. A free-market economy is equated with democracy, reform, and growth; and the merits of foreign investment in their economy are emphasized.
The idea was that the NED would do somewhat overtly what the CIA had been doing covertly for decades, and thus, hopefully, eliminate the stigma associated with CIA covert activities. Allen Weinstein, who helped draft the legislation establishing NED, declared in 1991: “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.”
NED, receives virtually all its financing from the US government ($5 billion in total since 1991 ), but it likes to refer to itself as an NGO (Non-governmental organization) because this helps to maintain a certain credibility abroad that an official US government agency might not have. But NGO is the wrong category. NED is a GO. Its long-time intervention in Ukraine is as supra-legal as the Russian military deployment there. Journalist Robert Parry has observed:
For NED and American neocons, Yanukovych’s electoral legitimacy lasted only as long as he accepted European demands for new “trade agreements” and stern economic “reforms” required by the International Monetary Fund. When Yanukovych was negotiating those pacts, he won praise, but when he judged the price too high for Ukraine and opted for a more generous deal from Russia, he immediately became a target for “regime change.”
Thus, we have to ask, as Mr. Putin asked – “Why?” Why has NED been funding 65 projects in one foreign country? Why were Washington officials grooming a replacement for President Yanukovych, legally and democratically elected in 2010, who, in the face of protests, moved elections up so he could have been voted out of office – not thrown out by a mob? Yanukovych made repeated important concessions, including amnesty for those arrested and offering, on January 25, to make two of his adversaries prime minister and deputy prime minister; all to no avail; key elements of the protestors, and those behind them, wanted their putsch.
Carl Gershman, president of NED, wrote last September that “Ukraine is the biggest prize”. The man knows whereof he speaks. He has presided over NED since its beginning, overseeing the Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004), the Cedar Revolution in Lebanon (2005), the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005), the Green Revolution in Iran (2009), and now Ukraine once again. It’s as if the Cold War never ended.
The current unbridled animosity of the American media toward Putin also reflects an old practice. The United States is so accustomed to world leaders holding their tongue and not voicing criticism of Washington’s policies appropriate to the criminality of those policies, that when a Vladimir Putin comes along and expresses even a relatively mild condemnation he is labeled Public Enemy Number One and his words are accordingly ridiculed or ignored.
On March 2 US Secretary of State John Kerry condemned Russia’s “incredible act of aggression” in Ukraine (Crimea) and threatened economic sanctions. “You just don’t in the 21st century behave in 19th century fashion by invading another country on completely trumped up pre-text.”
Iraq was in the 21st century. Senator John Kerry voted for it. Hypocrisy of this magnitude has to be respected.
POSTSCRIPT: Ukraine’s interim prime minister announced March 7 that he has invited the NATO Council to hold a meeting in Kiev over the recent developments in the country. “I invited the North Atlantic Council to visit Kiev and hold a meeting there,” Arseny Yatsenyuk said during a visit to Brussels, where he met with NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen and EU officials. “We believe that it will strengthen our cooperation.”
- Guardian Weekly (London), June 27, 2001
- RT television (RT.com, Moscow/Washington, DC), March 1, 2014
- Deputy Mikhail Golovko, RT, March 1, 2014
- RT, March 5, 2014, “The EU’s Ukraine policy and moral bankruptcy”; the phone conversation is believed to have taken place February 26.
- NED 2012 Annual Report
- Washington Post, September 22, 1991
- Victoria Nuland, speaking at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, December 13, 2013
- Washington Post, September 26, 2013
- “Face the Nation”, CBS, March 2, 2014
Has Russia Invaded Ukraine?
Gerald Celente calls the Western media “presstitutes,” an ingenuous term that I often use. Presstitutes sell themselves to Washington for access and government sources and to keep their jobs. Ever since the corrupt Clinton regime permitted the concentration of the US media, there has been no journalistic independence in the United States except for some Internet sites.
Glenn Greenwald points out the independence that RT, a Russian media organization, permits Abby Martin who denounced Russia’s alleged invasion of Ukraine, compared to the fates of Phil Donahue (MSNBC) and Peter Arnett (NBC), both of whom were fired for expressing opposition to the Bush regime’s illegal attack on Iraq. The fact that Donahue had NBC’s highest rated program did not give him journalistic independence. Anyone who speaks the truth in the American print or TV media or on NPR is immediately fired.
Russia’s RT seems actually to believe and observe the values that Americans profess but do not honor.
I agree with Greenwald. You can read his article here:http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37842.htm Greenwald is entirely admirable. He has intelligence, integrity, and courage. He is one of the brave to whom my just published book,How America Was Lost, is dedicated. As for RT’s Abby Martin, I admire her and have been a guest on her program a number of times.
My criticism of Greenwald and Martin has nothing to do with their integrity or their character. I doubt the claims that Abby Martin grandstanded on “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine” in order to boost her chances of moving into the more lucrative “mainstream media.” My point is quite different. Even Abby Martin and Greenwald, both of whom bring us much light, cannot fully escape Western propaganda.
For example, Martin’s denunciation of Russia for “invading” Ukraine is based on Western propaganda that Russia sent 16,000 troops to occupy Crimea. The fact of the matter is that those 16,000 Russian troops have been in Crimea since the 1990s. Under the Russian-Ukrainian agreement, Russia has the right to base 25,000 troops in Crimea.
Apparently, neither Abby Martin nor Glenn Greenwald, two intelligent and aware people, knew this fact. Washington’s propaganda is so pervasive that two of our best reporters were victimized by it.
As I have written several times in my columns, Washington organized the coup in Ukraine in order to promote its world hegemony by capturing Ukraine for NATO and putting US missile bases on Russia’s border in order to degrade Russia’s nuclear deterrent and force Russia to accept Washington’s hegemony.
Russia has done nothing but respond in a very low-key way to a major strategic threat orchestrated by Washington.
It is not only Martin and Greenwald who have fallen under Washington’s propaganda. They are joined by Patrick J. Buchanan. Pat’s column calling on readers to “resist the war party on Crimea” opens with Washington’s propagandistic claim: “With Vladimir Putin’s dispatch of Russian Troops into Crimea.” http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article37847.htm
No such dispatch has occurred. Putin has been granted authority by the Russian Duma to send troops to Ukraine, but Putin has stated publicly that sending troops would be a last resort to protect Crimean Russians from invasions by the ultra-nationalist neo-nazis who stole Washington’s coup and established themselves as the power in Kiev and western Ukraine.
So, here we have three of the smartest and most independent journalists of our time, and all three are under the impression created by Western propaganda that Russia has invaded Ukraine.
It appears that the power of Washington’s propaganda is so great that not even the best and most independent journalists can escape its influence.
What chance does truth have when Abby Martin gets kudos from Glenn Greenwald for denouncing Russia for an alleged “invasion” that has not taken place, and when independent Pat Buchanan opens his column dissenting from the blame-Russia-crowd by accepting that an invasion has taken place?
The entire story that the presstitutes have told about the Ukraine is a propaganda production. The presstitutes told us that the deposed president, Viktor Yanukovych, ordered snipers to shoot protesters. On the basis of these false reports, Washington’s stooges, who comprise the existing non-government in Kiev, have issued arrest orders for Yanukovych and intend for him to be tried in an international court. In an intercepted telephone call between EU foreign affairs minister Catherine Ashton and Estonian foreign affairs minister Urmas Paet who had just returned from Kiev, Paet reports: “There is now stronger and stronger understanding that behind the snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new coalition.” Paet goes on to report that “all the evidence shows that the people who were killed by snipers from both sides, among policemen and then people from the streets, that they were the same snipers killing people from both sides . . . and it’s really disturbing that now the new coalition, that they don’t want to investigate what exactly happened.” Ashton, absorbed with EU plans to guide reforms in Ukraine and to prepare the way for the IMF to gain control over economic policy, was not particularly pleased to hear Paet’s report that the killings were an orchestrated provocation. You can listen to the conversation between Paet and Ashton here: http://rt.com/news/ashton-maidan-snipers-estonia-946/
What has happened in Ukraine is that Washington plotted against and overthrew an elected legitimate government and then lost control to neo-nazis who are threatening the large Russian population in southern and eastern Ukraine, provinces that formerly were part of Russia. These threatened Russians have appealed for Russia’s help, and just like the Russians in South Ossetia, they will receive Russia’s help.
The Obama regime and its presstitutes will continue to lie about everything.
Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest books are, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and How America Was Lost. http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/
Source: Paul Craig Roberts
I am a great fan of Kiev, an affable city of pleasing bourgeois character, with its plentiful small restaurants, clean tree-lined streets, and bonhomie of its beer gardens. A hundred years ago Kiev was predominantly a Russian resort, and some central areas have retained this flavour. Now Kiev is patrolled by armed thugs from the Western Ukraine, by fighters from the neo-Nazi -Right Sector, descendants of Stepan Bandera, the Ukrainian Quisling’s troopers, and by their local comrades-in-arms of nationalist persuasion.
After a month of confrontation, President Viktor Yanukovych gave in, signed the EC-prepared surrender and escaped their rough revolutionary justice by the skin of his teeth. The ruling party MPs were beaten and dispersed, the communists almost lynched, the opposition have the parliament all to themselves, and they’ve appointed new ministers and taken over the Ukraine. The Brown Revolution has won in the Ukraine. This big East European country of fifty million inhabitants has gone the way of Libya. The US and the EU won this round, and pushed Russia back eastwards, just as they intended.
It remains to be seen whether the neo-Nazi thugs who won the battle will agree to surrender the sweet fruits of victory to politicians, who are, God knows, nasty enough. And more importantly, it remains to be seen whether the Russian-speaking East and South East of the country will accept the Brown rule of Kiev, or split off and go their own way, as the people of Israel (so relates the Bible) after King Solomon’s death rebelled against his heir saying “To your tents, o Israel!” and proclaimed independence of their fief (I Kings 12:16). Meanwhile it seems that the Easterners’ desire to preserve Ukrainian state integrity is stronger than their dislike for the victorious Browns. Though they assembled their representatives for what could be a declaration of independence, they did not dare to claim power. These peaceful people have little stamina for strife.
Their great neighbour, Russia, does not appear overtly concerned with this ominous development. Both Russian news agencies, TASS and RIA, didn’t even place the dire Ukrainian news at the top, as Reuters and BBC did: for them, the Olympics and the biathlon were of greater importance.
This “ostrich” attitude is quite typical of the Russian media: whenever they find themselves in an embarrassing position, they escape into showing the Swan Lake ballet on TV. That’s what they did when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. This time it was the Olympics instead of the ballet.
Anti-Putin opposition in Russia heartily approved of the Ukrainian coup.Yesterday Kiev, tomorrow Moscow, they chanted. Maidan (the main square of Kiev, the site of anti-government demos) equals Bolotnaya (a square in Moscow, the site of anti-government protests in December 2012) is another popular slogan.
The majority of Russians were upset but not surprised. Russia decided to minimise its involvement in the Ukraine some weeks ago as if they wished to demonstrate to the world their non-interference. Their behaviour bordered on recklessness. While foreign ministers of EC countries and their allies crowded Kiev, Putin sent Vladimir Lukin, a human rights emissary, an elder low-level politician of very little clout, to deal with the Ukrainian crisis. The Russian Ambassador Mr Zurabov, another non-entity, completely disappeared from public view. (Now he was recalled to Moscow). Putin made not a single public statement on the Ukraine, treating it as though it were Libya or Mali, not a neighbouring country quite close to the Russian hinterland.
This hands-off approach could have been expected: Russia did not interfere in the disastrous Ukrainian elections 2004, or in the Georgian elections that produced extremely anti-Russian governments. Russia gets involved only if there is a real battle on the ground, and a legitimate government asks for help, as in Ossetia in 2008 or in Syria in 2011. Russia supports those who fight for their cause, otherwise Russia, somewhat disappointingly, stands aside.
The West has no such inhibitions and its representatives were extremely active: the US State Department representative Victoria “Fuck EC’’ Nuland had spent days and weeks in Kiev, feeding the insurgents with cookies, delivering millions of smuggled greenbacks to them, meeting with their leaders, planning and plotting the coup. Kiev is awash with the newest US dollars fresh from its mint (of a kind yet unseen in Moscow, I’ve been told by Russian friends). The US embassy spread money around like a tipsy Texan in a night club. Every able-bodied young man willing to fight received five hundred dollar a week, a qualified fighter – up to a thousand, a platoon commander had two thousand dollars – good money by Ukrainian standards.
Money is not all. People are also needed for a successful coup. There was an opposition to Yanukovych who won democratic elections, and accordingly, three parties lost elections. Supporters of the three parties could field a lot of people for a peaceful demonstration, or for a sit-in. But would they fight when push comes to shove? Probably not. Ditto the recipients of generous US and EC grants (Nuland estimated the total sum of American investment in “democracy building” at five billion dollars). They could be called to come to the main square for a demo. However, the NGO beneficiaries are timid folk, not likely to risk their well-being. And the US needed a better fighting stock to remove the democratically elected president from power.
In the Western Ukraine, the serpent eggs hatched: children of Nazi collaborators who had imbibed hatred towards the Russians with their mothers’ milk. Their fathers had formed a network under Reinhard Gehlen, the German spymaster. In 1945, as Germany was defeated, Gehlen swore allegiance to the US and delivered his networks to the CIA. They continued their guerrilla war against the Soviets until 1956. Their cruelty was legendary, for they aimed to terrify the population into full compliance to their command. Notoriously, they strangulated the Ukrainians suspected of being friendly to Russians with their bare hands.
A horrifying confession of a participant tells of their activities in Volyn: “One night, we strangulated 84 men. We strangulated adults, as for little kids, we held their legs, swung and broke their heads at a doorpost. …Two nice kids, Stepa and Olya, 12 and 14 years old… we tore the younger one into two parts, and there was no need to strangulate her mother Julia, she died of a heart attack” and so on and so on. They slaughtered hundreds of thousands of Poles and Jews; even the dreadful Baby Yar massacre was done by them, with German connivance, somewhat similar to Israeli connivance in the Sabra and Chatila massacres of Palestinians by the Lebanese fascists of the Phalange.
The children of these Bandera murderers were brought up to hate Communism, Soviets and Russians, and in adoration of their fathers’ deeds. They formed the spearhead of the pro-US anti-government rebels in the Ukraine, the Right Sector led by out-and-out fascist Dmytro Yarosh. They were ready to fight, to die and kill. Such units attract potential rebels of differing backgrounds: their spokesman is young Russian -turned -Ukrainian -nationalist Artem Skoropadsky, a journalist with the mainstream oligarch-owned Kommersant-UA daily. There are similar young Russians who join Salafi networks and become suicide-bombers in the Caucasus mountains – young people whose desire for action and sacrifice could not be satisfied in the consumer society. This is a Slav al-Qaeda — real neo-Nazi storm troopers, a natural ally of the US.
And they did not fight only for association with EC and against joining a Russia-led TC. Their enemies were also the Russians in the Ukraine, and Russian-speaking ethnic Ukrainians. The difference between the twain is moot. Before independence in 1991, some three quarters of the population preferred to speak Russian. Since then, successive governments have tried to force people to use Ukrainian. For the Ukrainian neo-Nazis, anyone who speaks Russian is an enemy. You can compare this with Scotland, where people speak English, and nationalists would like to force them to speak the language of Burns.
Behind the spearhead of the Right Sector, with its fervent anti-communist and anti-Russian fighters, a larger organisation could be counted on: the neo-Nazi Freedom (Svoboda), of Tyagnibok. Some years ago Tyagnibokcalled for a fight against Russians and Jews, now he has become more cautious regarding the Jews. He is still as anti-Russian as John Foster Dulles. Tyagnibok was tolerated or even encouraged by Yanukovych, who wanted to take a leaf from the French president Jacques Chirac’s book. Chirac won the second round of elections against nationalist Le Pen, while probably he would have lost against any other opponent. In the same wise, Yanukovych wished Tyagnibok to become his defeatable opponent at the second round of presidential elections.
The parliamentary parties (the biggest one is the party of Julia Timoshenko with 25% of seats, the smaller one was the party of Klitschko the boxer with 15%) would support the turmoil as a way to gain power they lost at the elections.
Union of nationalists and liberals
Thus, a union of nationalists and liberals was formed. This union is the trademark of a new US policy in the Eastern Europe. It was tried in Russia two years ago, where enemies of Putin comprise of these two forces, of pro-Western liberals and of their new allies, Russian ethnic nationalists, soft and hard neo-Nazis. The liberals won’t fight, they are unpopular with the masses; they include an above-average percentage of Jews, gays, millionaires and liberal columnists; the nationalists can incite the great unwashed masses almost as well as the Bolsheviks, and will fight. This is the anti-Putin cocktail preferred by the US. This alliance actually took over 20% of vote in Moscow city elections, after their attempt to seize power by coup was beaten off by Putin. The Ukraine is their second, successful joint action.
Bear in mind: liberals do not have to support democracy. They do so only if they are certain democracy will deliver what they want. Otherwise, they can join forces with al Qaeda as now in Syria, with Islamic extremists as in Libya, with the Army as in Egypt, or with neo-Nazis, as now in Russia and the Ukraine. Historically, the liberal–Nazi alliance did not work because the old Nazis were enemies of bankers and financial capital, and therefore anti-Jewish. This hitch could be avoided: Mussolini was friendly to Jews and had a few Jewish ministers in his government; he objected to Hitler’s anti-Jewish attitude saying that “Jews are useful and friendly”. Hitler replied that if he were to allow that, thousands of Jews would join his party. Nowadays, this problem has vanished: modern neo-Nazis are friendly towards Jews, bankers and gays. The Norwegian killer Breivik is an exemplary sample of a Jew-friendly neo-Nazi. So are the Ukrainian and Russian neo-Nazis.
While the original Bandera thugs killed every Jew (and Pole) that came their way, their modern heirs receive some valuable Jewish support. The oligarchs of Jewish origin (Kolomoysky, Pinchuk and Poroshenko) financed them, while a prominent Jewish leader, Chairman of the Association of Jewish Organizations and Communities of the Ukraine, Josef Zissels, supported them and justified them. There are many supporters of Bandera in Israel; they usually claim that Bandera was not an anti-Semite, as he had a Jewish doctor. (So did Hitler.) Jews do not mind Nazis who do not target them. The Russian neo-Nazis target Tajik gastarbeiters, and the Ukrainian neo-Nazis target Russian-speakers.
Revolution: the Outline
The revolution deserves to be described in a few lines: Yanukovych was not too bad a president, prudent though weak. Still the Ukraine came to the edge of financial abyss. (You can read more about it in my previous piece) He tried to save the situation by allying with the EC, but the EC had no money to spare. Then he tried to make a deal with Russia, and Putin offered him a way out, without even demanding from him that the Ukraine join the Russian-led TC. This triggered the violent response of the EC and the US, as they were worried it would strengthen Russia.
Yanuk, as people call him for short, had few friends. Powerful Ukrainian oligarchs weren’t enamoured with him. Besides the usual reasons, they did not like the raider habits of Yanuk’s son, who would steal other men’s businesses. Here they may have had a point, for the leader of Belarus, the doughty Lukashenko, said that Yanuk’s son’s unorthodox ways of acquiring businesses brought disaster.
Yanuk’s electorate, the Russian-speaking people of the Ukraine (and they are a majority in the land, like English-speaking Scots are majority in Scotland) were disappointed with him because he did not give them the right to speak Russian and teach their children in Russian. The followers of Julia Timoshenko disliked him for jailing their leader. (She richly deserved it: she hired assassins, stole billions of Ukrainian state money in cahoots with a former prime minister, made a crooked deal with Gazprom at the expense of Ukrainian consumers, and what not.) Extreme nationalists hated him for not eradicating the Russian language.
The US-orchestrated attack on the elected President followed Gene Sharp’s instructions to a tee, namely: (1) seize a central square and organise a mass peaceful sit-in, (2) speak endlessly of danger of violent dispersal, (3) if the authorities do nothing, provoke bloodshed, (4) yell bloody murder, (5) the authority is horrified and stupefied and (6) removed and (7) new powers take over.
The most important element of the scheme has never been voiced by the cunning Sharp, and that is why the Occupy Wall Street movement (who thumbed through the book) failed to achieve the desired result. You have to have the Masters of Discourse™ i.e., Western mainstream media, on your side. Otherwise, the government will squash you as they did with the Occupy and many other similar movements. But here, the Western media was fully on the rebels’ side, for the events were organised by the US embassy.
At first, they gathered for a sit-in on the Independence Square (aka “Maidan Square”) some people they knew: recipients of USAID grants via the NGO network, wrote a Ukrainian expert Andrey Vajra, networks of fugitive oligarch Khoroshkovski, neo-Nazis of the Right Sector and radicals of the Common Cause. The peaceful assembly was lavishly entertained by artists; food and drink were served for free, free sex was encouraged – it was a carnival in the centre of the capital, and it began to attract the masses, as would happen in every city in the known universe. This carnival was paid for by the oligarchs and by the US embassy.
But the carnival could not last forever. As per (2), rumours of violent dispersal were spread. People became scared and drifted away. Only a small crowd of activists remained on the square. Provocation as per (3) was supplied by a Western agent within the administration, Mr Sergey Levochkin. He wrote his resignation letter, posted it and ordered police to violently disperse the sit-in. Police moved in and dispersed the activists. Nobody was killed, nobody was seriously wounded, – today, after a hundredfold dead, it is ridiculous even to mention this thrashing, – but the opposition yelled bloody murder at the time. The world media, this powerful tool in the hands of Masters of Discourse, decried “Yanukovych massacred children”. The EC and the US slapped on sanctions, foreign diplomats moved in, all claiming they want to protect peaceful demonstrators, while at the same time beefing up the Maidan crowd with armed gunmen and Right Sector fighters.
We referred to Gene Sharp, but the Maidan had an additional influence, that of Guy Debord and his concept of Society of Spectacle. It was not a real thing, but a well-done make-believe, as was its predecessor, the August 1991 Moscow “coup”. Yanukovych did everything to build up the Maidan resistance: he would send his riot police to disperse the crowd, and after they did only half of the job, he would call them back, and he did this every day. After such treatment, even a very placid dog would bite.
The Spectacle-like unreal quality of Kiev events was emphasized by arrival of the imperial warmonger, the neocon philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy. He came to Maidan like he came to Libya and Bosnia, claiming human rights and threatening sanctions and bombing. Whenever he comes, war is following. I hope I shall be away from every country he plans to visit.
First victims of the Brown Revolution were the monuments – those of Lenin, for they do hate communism in every form, and those of the world war, because the revolutionaries solidarise with the lost side, with the German Nazis.
History will tell us to what extent Yanuk and his advisors understood what they were doing. Anyway, he encouraged the fire of Maidan by his inefficient raids by a weaponless police force. The neo-Nazis of Maidan used snipers against the police force, dozens of people were killed, but President Obama called upon Yanuk to desist, and he desisted. After renewed shooting, he would send the police in again. An EC diplomat would threaten him with the Hague tribunal dock, and he would call his police back. No government could function in such circumstances.
Eventually he collapsed, signed on the dotted line and departed for unknown destination. The rebels seized power, forbade the Russian language and began sacking Kiev and Lvov. Now the life of the placid people of Kiev has been turned into a living hell: daily robberies, beating, murder abound. The victors are preparing a military operation against the Russian-speaking areas in the South East of Ukraine. The spectacle of the revolution can yet turn really bloody.
Some Ukrainians hope that Julia Timoshenko, freshly released from jail, will be able to rein the rebels in. Others hope that President Putin will pay heed to the Ukrainian events, now that his Olympic games are, mercifully, finished. The spectacle is not over until the fat lady sings, but sing she will – her song still remains to be seen and heard.
English language editing by Ken Freeland.
“Bias in favor of the orthodox is frequently mistaken for ‘objectivity’. Departures from this ideological orthodoxy are themselves dismissed as ideological.” – Michael Parenti
An exchange in January with Paul Farhi, Washington Post columnist, about coverage of US foreign policy:
Dear Mr. Farhi,
Now that you’ve done a study of al-Jazeera’s political bias in supporting Mohamed Morsi in Egypt, is it perhaps now time for a study of the US mass media’s bias on US foreign policy? And if you doubt the extent and depth of this bias, consider this:
There are more than 1,400 daily newspapers in the United States. Can you name a single paper, or a single TV network, that was unequivocally opposed to the American wars carried out against Libya, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia, Panama, Grenada, and Vietnam? Or even opposed to any two of these wars? How about one? In 1968, six years into the Vietnam war, the Boston Globe surveyed the editorial positions of 39 leading US papers concerning the war and found that “none advocated a pull-out”.
Now, can you name an American daily newspaper or TV network that more or less gives any support to any US government ODE (Officially Designated Enemy)? Like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela or his successor, Nicolás Maduro; Fidel or Raúl Castro of Cuba; Bashar al-Assad of Syria; Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran; Rafael Correa of Ecuador; or Evo Morales of Bolivia? I mean that presents the ODE’s point of view in a reasonably fair manner most of the time? Or any ODE of the recent past like Slobodan Milosevic of Serbia, Moammar Gaddafi of Libya, Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, or Jean-Bertrand Aristide of Haiti?
Who in the mainstream media supports Hamas of Gaza? Or Hezbollah of Lebanon? Who in the mainstream media is outspokenly critical of Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians? And keeps his or her job?
Who in the mainstream media treats Julian Assange or Chelsea Manning as the heroes they are?
And this same mainstream media tell us that Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, et al. do not have a real opposition media.
The ideology of the American mainstream media is the belief that they don’t have any ideology; that they are instead what they call “objective”. I submit that there is something more important in journalism than objectivity. It is capturing the essence, or the truth, if you will, with the proper context and history. This can, as well, serve as “enlightenment”.
It’s been said that the political spectrum concerning US foreign policy in the America mainstream media “runs the gamut from A to B”.
Sincerely, William Blum, Washington, DC
(followed by some of my writing credentials)
Reply from Paul Farhi:
I think you’re conflating news coverage with editorial policy. They are not the same. What a newspaper advocates on its editorial page (the Vietnam example you cite) isn’t the same as what or how the story is covered in the news columns. News MAY have some advocacy in it, but it’s not supposed to, and not nearly as overt or blatant as an editorial or opinion column. Go back over all of your ODE examples and ask yourself if the news coverage was the same as the opinions about those ODEs. In most cases. I doubt it was.
Dear Mr. Farhi,
Thank you for your remarkably prompt answer.
Your point about the difference between news coverage and editorial policy is important, but the fact is, as a daily, and careful, reader of the Post for the past 20 years I can attest to the extensive bias in its foreign policy coverage in the areas I listed. Juan Ferrero in Latin America and Kathy Lally in the Mideast are but two prime examples. The bias, most commonly, is one of omission more than commission; which is to say it’s what they leave out that distorts the news more than any factual errors or out-and-out lies. My Anti-Empire Report contains many examples of these omissions, as well as some errors of commission.
Incidentally, since 1995 I have written dozens of letters to the Post pointing out errors in foreign-policy coverage. Not one has been printed.
Happy New Year
I present here an extreme example of bias by omission, in the entire American mainstream media: In my last report I wrote of the committee appointed by the president to study NSA abuses – Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies – which actually came up with a few unexpected recommendations in its report presented December 13, the most interesting of which perhaps are these two:
“Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry.”
“Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial systems.”
So what do we have here? The NSA being used to steal industrial secrets; nothing to do with fighting terrorism. And the NSA stealing money and otherwise sabotaging unnamed financial systems, which may also represent gaining industrial advantage for the United States.
Long-time readers of this report may have come to the realization that I’m not an ecstatic admirer of US foreign policy. But this stuff shocks even me. It’s the gross pettiness of “The World’s Only Superpower”.
A careful search of the extensive Lexis-Nexis database failed to turn up a single American mainstream media source, print or broadcast, that mentioned this revelation. I found it only on those websites which carried my report, plus three other sites: Techdirt, Lawfare, and Crikey (First Digital Media).
For another very interesting and extreme example of bias by omission, as well as commission, very typical of US foreign policy coverage in the mainstream media: First read the January 31, page one, Washington Post article making fun of socialism in Venezuela and Cuba.
Then read the response from two Americans who have spent a lot of time in Venezuela, are fluent in Spanish, and whose opinions about the article I solicited.
I lived in Chile during the 1972-73 period under Salvadore Allende and his Socialist Party. The conservative Chilean media’s sarcastic claims at the time about shortages and socialist incompetence were identical to what we’ve been seeing for years in the United States concerning Venezuela and Cuba. The Washington Post article on Venezuela referred to above could have been lifted out of Chile’s El Mercurio, 1973.
[Note to readers: Please do not send me the usual complaints about my using the name “America(n)” to refer to “The United States”. I find it to be a meaningless issue, if not plain silly.]
JFK, RFK, and some myths about US foreign policy
On April 30, 1964, five months after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, was interviewed by John B. Martin in one of a series of oral history sessions with RFK. Part of the interview appears in the book “JFK Conservative” by Ira Stoll, published three months ago. (pages 192-3)
RFK: The president … had a strong, overwhelming reason for being in Vietnam and that we should win the war in Vietnam.
MARTIN: What was the overwhelming reason?
RFK: Just the loss of all of Southeast Asia if you lost Vietnam. I think everybody was quite clear that the rest of Southeast Asia would fall.
MARTIN: What if it did?
RFK: Just have profound effects as far as our position throughout the world, and our position in a rather vital part of the world. Also it would affect what happened in India, of course, which in turn has an effect on the Middle East. Just as it would have, everybody felt, a very adverse effect. It would have an effect on Indonesia, hundred million population. All of those countries would be affected by the fall of Vietnam to the Communists.
MARTIN: There was never any consideration given to pulling out?
MARTIN: … The president was convinced that we had to keep, had to stay in there …
MARTIN: … And couldn’t lose it.
These remarks are rather instructive from several points of view:
- Robert Kennedy contradicts the many people who are convinced that, had he lived, JFK would have brought the US involvement in Vietnam to a fairly prompt end, instead of it continuing for ten more terrible years. The author, Stoll, quotes a few of these people. And these other statements are just as convincing as RFK’s statements presented here. And if that is not confusing enough, Stoll then quotes RFK himself in 1967 speaking unmistakably in support of the war.
It appears that we’ll never know with any kind of certainty what would have happened if JFK had not been assassinated, but I still go by his Cold War record in concluding that US foreign policy would have continued along its imperial, anti-communist path. In Kennedy’s short time in office the United States unleashed many different types of hostility, from attempts to overthrow governments and suppress political movements to assassination attempts against leaders and actual military combat; with one or more of these occurring in Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, British Guiana, Iraq, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Cuba and Brazil.
- “Just have profound effects as far as our position throughout the world, and our position in a rather vital part of the world.”
Ah yes, a vital part of the world. Has there ever been any part of the world, or any country, that the US has intervened in that was not vital? Vital to American interests? Vital to our national security? Of great strategic importance? Here’s President Carter in his 1980 State of the Union Address: “An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America”.
“What a country calls its vital economic interests are not the things which enable its citizens to live, but the things which enable it to make war.” – Simone Weil (1909-1943), French philosopher
- If the US lost Vietnam “everybody was quite clear that the rest of Southeast Asia would fall.”
As I once wrote:
Thus it was that the worst of Washington’s fears had come to pass: All of Indochina – Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos – had fallen to the Communists. During the initial period of US involvement in Indochina in the 1950s, John Foster Dulles, Dwight Eisenhower and other American officials regularly issued doomsday pronouncements of the type known as the “Domino Theory”, warning that if Indochina should fall, other nations in Asia would topple over as well. In one instance, President Eisenhower listed no less than Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand, the Philippines and Indonesia amongst the anticipated “falling dominos”.
Such warnings were repeated periodically over the next decade by succeeding administrations and other supporters of US policy in Indochina as a key argument in defense of such policy. The fact that these ominous predictions turned out to have no basis in reality did not deter Washington officialdom from promulgating the same dogma up until the 1990s about almost each new world “trouble-spot”, testimony to their unshakable faith in the existence and inter-workings of the International Communist Conspiracy.
Suicide bombers have become an international tragedy. One can not sit in a restaurant or wait for a bus or go for a walk downtown, in Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq or Russia or Syria and elsewhere without fearing for one’s life from a person walking innocently by or a car that just quietly parked nearby. The Pentagon has been working for years to devise a means of countering this powerful weapon.
As far as we know, they haven’t come up with anything. So I’d like to suggest a possible solution. Go to the very source. Flood selected Islamic societies with this message: “There is no heavenly reward for dying a martyr. There are no 72 beautiful virgins waiting to reward you for giving your life for jihad. No virgins at all. No sex at all.”
Using every means of communication, from Facebook to skywriting, from billboards to television, plant the seed of doubt, perhaps the very first such seed the young men have ever experienced. As some wise anonymous soul once wrote:
A person is unambivalent only with regard to those few beliefs, attitudes and characteristics which are truly universal in his experience. Thus a man might believe that the world is flat without really being aware that he did so – if everyone in his society shared the assumption. The flatness of the world would be simply a “self-evident” fact. But if he once became conscious of thinking that the world is flat, he would be capable of conceiving that it might be otherwise. He might then be spurred to invent elaborate proofs of its flatness, but he would have lost the innocence of absolute and unambivalent belief.
We have to capture the minds of these suicide bombers. At the same time we can work on our own soldiers. Making them fully conscious of their belief, their precious belief, that their government means well, that they’re fighting for freedom and democracy, and for that thing called “American exceptionalism”. It could save them from committing their own form of suicide.
Unless you’ve been in an underground bunker for the last month, you’d have heard that the Ukraine has gone topsy-turvy lately.
They seem to have escaped one old Soviet Union, only be reeled in by a new Soviet in the EU. There is also the problem of organized crime syndicates who have overrun the country.
Understanding the country’s recent history and following the money is important if you want to see which way the wind is blowing in Kiev…
Stalin and Krushchev Wanted Ukraine
For most Europeans, Ukraine is a gas transport corridor for bringing expensive Russian gas to Europe and Ukraine either overcharges Gazprom for gas transit fees, or does not pay Gazprom for the gas it takes for national consumption.
This Russian-Ukrainian gas game occasionally tips into gas embargoes – hitting consumers further down the line. As a geopolitical bargaining chip, conversely, Ukraine had considerable import - and weight – during the Cold War period which tapered off in 1989-91. Relatively quickly, Russia withdrew “nearly all” of its nuclear-tipped missiles, atomic warheads and nuclear military equipment and component inventories from Ukraine, in the 1990s.
That said, Ukraine is listed by human rights and corruption watchdog NGOs as one of the most corrupt countries in the world, tied with Bangladesh, Cameroon, the Central African Republic and Syria. Its postwar history following the defeat of Nazi Germany is a tragic story of Soviet megalomania, paranoia and oppression. The Nazi Germans probably killed about 15% of the total population, but about another 600,000 Western Ukrainians were arrested between 1944 and 1952, one-third executed and the remainder imprisoned in Soviet gulags or exiled to the eastern Soviet empire. Among their crimes was “non-performance” in agricultural output.
Administered by the rising political star and soon-to-be rival of Joseph Stalin, Nikita Khruschev, firstly in eastern Russian-speaking Ukraine, the kolkhoz collective-farm system was operated by chiefs selected by Khruschev. He empowered them to expel residents who “under-performed”. The kolkhoz chiefs quickly turned this into a racket protection and vendetta system for expelling their personal enemies, and the weak, the old and other “misfits”. Well over 10,000 were exiled to the eastern parts of the Soviet Union. For Khruschev, this was a highly effective policy which he recommended it for adoption across the USSR to Stalin, despite it periodically resulting in wide-area famines.
Similar to the “agro-towns” attempted by Ceaucescu of Romania, Khrushchev further destabilized Ukraine’s slowly recovering agricultural output with his scheme for population regrouping, which he later applied in Russia when he became Praesidium chief on the death of Stalin, following a classic Mafia-style power struggle with NKVD chief Beria. Beria was shot and killed with five of his associates by order of Khrushchev in Dec 1953. One of Beria’s proposed post-Stalin reform ideas was to liberate either or both East Germany and Ukraine, in exchange for cash payment by the West
Crime Syndicates want Ukraine
On the surface, mainstream media tells us today’s conflict in the Ukraine pitches the Russian-speaking half of the country in the east (where ailing president Yanukovich’s main support base is) against the more pro-Western, and alleged pro-EU, Ukrainian-speaking half in the west (where imprisoned Yulia Tymoshenko’s main support base is). More precisely, the Ukraine’s rapidly-deteriorating economic situation reflected by rapidly-rising interest rates on its sovereign debt bonds and Fitch’s recent downgrade, and its near-civil war street rebellion have reinforced its organized crime syndicates. Its organized criminals, and their enemies-and-allies in Russian, Bulgarian, Romanian and other east European organized crime syndicates, are vying for control of the State itself, to widen and deepen their lucrative activity.
The past week has seen President Yanukovych accept the resignation of Prime Minister Mykola Azarov and his cabinet, repeal anti-protest laws, provide an amnesty to detained protesters, and offer senior government jobs to the opposition – offers that were rejected. Moscow for its part has threatened it may hold back some or all of a promised Ukrainian bond-bailout package and a promised cut in gas prices for Ukraine until a new government is formed. The gas price cut and the loans, totalling $15bn (11 bn euros) were agreed in December, and widely seen as rewarding Yanukovich for Kiev’s rejection of an EU associate country deal for Ukraine.
Ukraine is one of six post-Soviet nations – along with Belarus, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Armenia, and Georgia – to be invited to cooperate with the EU within a new ‘multilateral’ framework that is high on promises but slim on content. The framework seeks visa-free travel, better human rights, more democracy, and respect for the principles of the market economy and sustainable development – so say the EU websites, but the single most important economic content is a trade pact aimed at cutting tariffs and taxes, which are in any case decreasing on the Ukrainian side due to its membership of the WTO since 2009. Main EU exports to Ukraine include medicine, motor vehicles, mobile phones and other manufactured goods, while main EU imports were of low to mid-value: iron and steel products, vegetable oils, ferro-nickel ores, iron ores and crude oil.
Acting long before the Ukraine’s membership of the WTO, or the 2008 financial crisis – both of which spurred and favoured crime syndicate integration in east Europe, Russia and the EU – the present number of organized crime groups operating in eastern Europe is estimated at about 3,600 with each profiting from such prosaic products as household detergents, to fake medecines, human trafficking, prostiution and the Ukrainian favorites of hard drugs and firearms.Rob Wainwright, director of the EU’s crime-fighting agency, told the Financial Times in June 2013 that only concerning Europe’s black market in counterfeit foodstuffs, fake pharmaceuticals and substandard machine parts, this doubled in value to about €2bn since 2008.
Arms for Drugs and Arms for Cash
From, at latest 2002, US drug enforcement and security agencies warned the Bush administration of the Kiev-Tel Aviv-New York “Axis” of organized crime operating drugs-for-arms trades worldwide. This syndicate particularly focuses South American-source cocaine supplied by Colombia’s FARC and other Andean country crime entities, and Ukraine-source weapons and military equipment. Ukraine’s geographic role and location as a “window to the southern states” of the ex-USSR, makes it highly favoured for operating drugs-for-arms trades, today. Land-route heroin from Afghanistan, South American cocaine and Russian AK47s are the hard currencies featured by this trade.
Godfather of the AK47: Ukrainian Mikhail Kalashnikov.
Ukraine’s front-line status in the Cold War and its own arms-making industries made the country a major source for Russian licit and illicit arms exports, and Soviet-era materiel is still widely available. This ranges from the “iconic” AK47 rifle through to mines, grenades and military explosive-pyrotechnic devices, to night-sighting and communications equipment, and artillery pieces through the low-end range of 35mm-105mm, to also-iconic Soviet 72-ton T72 tanks, a highly depressed market where prices can be as low as scrap value only – about $3.50 per kilogram of weight.
Western security analysts, preferring not to have their names published, also point out that Ukraine is a “wonderland” of nuclear civil-military crossover materials and ordnance. Following the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown, then the collapse and break up of the USSR in 1989-91, they say that large amounts of unaccounted-for nuclear fuel rods, wastes and nuclear military components exist in the country. They also underline the increased technological sophistication of ex-Soviet national mafias and their Middle Eastern opposite numbers, able to produce “binary nuclear” weapons, from nuclear and non-nuclear components, transported separately to reduce detection for final re-assembly when required.
Ukraine’s now accelerating political destabilization creates a classic poker-game challenge for Vladimir Putin at this time. He can act to prevent the country “seceding to the West’, or being partitioned into its western and eastern parts.
Whether Putin clamps down or lets the country fall apart, or the domestic power struggle inside Ukraine continues with no clear winner, the transition interval will certainly feature action by organized crime to further and deepen its already-strong foothold.
New and Old…
Even the definition of “asymmetric war” is controversial, because it can concern at least three drivers and methods of conflict, usually between large organized fighting forces and the opposite. Firstly there is the political-economic or other motivation, second the tactics, and thirdly the weapons utilised in asymmetric war – which itself is usually defined by the negative. Some writers say the term was first used by Andrew J. Mack in a 1975 book titled “Why Big Nations Lose Small Wars”. Some military historians conversely say asymmetric war dates from Antiquity, and included the surprise outcome of larger fighting forces losing an asymmetric war with smaller insurgent, militia, terrorist or tight knit politically motivated forces and entities in specific theaters of conflict.
Other than wars of Antiquity like the Ancient Greek Pelopennesian war series which lasted about 30 years in the 5th century BC, and certainly included asymmetric war and “surprise defeats” for larger forces, the 200-year Crusader war series (about 1095-1299) had recurring battles and campaigns where asymmetric war featured, and sometimes dominated. Our problem is that certainly for a near-century from the late 19th century to about 1980-2000, the Clausewitz doctrine of “God is with the big battalions” held firm. This in turn can be traced to the nature as well as the goals of war following the Industrial Revolution. Drivers of change included European nationbuilding, colonialism, mass migration and by 1948 the later “bipolar world” of the so-called Soviet Empire opposing the Western liberal-capitalist democracies. The collapse of the USSR was naively believed to mean “the end of history and of warfare itself”.
Although not defined as an asymmetric war campaign leading to total victory, by historians like Andrew Mack, the Long March of Mao Zedong culminating in total victory in 1949 was for most of its time called “terror war” by external major powers, including the US, Japan, the UK and other European nations. This only underlines the fact that asymmetric war for losers is often called terrorism, but also underlines the wider tactics and strategy, and weapons used by smaller insurgent forces during an asymmetric war campaign or series. It also underlines that like the asymmetric wars of the distant past, these are generally long series of wars, not setpiece short-term frontline battlefield warfare.
Strategy and Tactics
Strategy above all means command and control because decisive gains and losses need close combat at some stage for any type of war excluding setpiece formal warfare of the pre-Cold War type or paradigm. The Cold War “bipolar paradigm”, we should note, was not for nothing subtitled Mutually Assured Destruction because a charred, radioactive wasteland was the booty or logical peace dividend for any hypothetical “winner”. Also, the MAD paradigm more subtly underlined the role of economic and military infrastructures, which as they become more sophisticated, become more vulnerable. Often scenarized by US and Soviet military strategists during the Cold War, the utilization of a small number of missile-launched airburst nuclear weapons would instantly paralyse the enemy’s command and control infrastructure, electric power and telephone systems, water supplies, fuel supplies, road transport and so on. There could be no winner, only two losers.
Discussion of military infrastructure, and its fragility, however shifts the spotlight away from a key element of asymmetric war the role of ideology and personal commitment. Command and control operated by for example Mao Zedong in his Long March war campaign, was primarily ideological at its beginnings. Conversely in nearly all conventional setpiece wars, which are now likely a thing of the past, the belligerents deployed forces that were essentially of similar type. The war’s outcome could normally be predicted by the physical size, quantity and control of the forces in play. Where the forces are essentially equal, with access to the same technology, the outcome is usually stalemate. The Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88 was a classic example.
This already makes it possible to define probably the most decisive motivating role for asymmetric fighting forces technological superiority is canceled by infrastructure fragility. Alternately stated technological inferiority is often canceled by the enemy’s vulnerable military, ideological and economic infrastructures. The Afghan war of 1979-88 was a classic example.
Including vulnerable economic infrastructures, asymmetric wars such as this Afghan war (and the US-Afghan war of 2001-2014) will heavily feature urban insurgency and the destruction of economic infrastructures, which either directly support the more-powerful enemy’s military capability or provide indirect aid to the enemy’s ideological action, attempting to maintain a semblance of “normal life”. Asymmetric wars, we can again note, are often very long and measured in decades, not years, and in part due to this can include a major element of attrition, both economic and ideological.
Terrain and Proxies
Certainly the case in asymmetric wars of Antiquity, small inferior forces fighting the opposite can “trump the enemy” using terrain which today includes and features urban areas. As I have noted in recent articles concerning Syrian war geopolitics, one basic reason why “Syria” is a non-nation or a geopolitical metastase of the Sykes-Picot era of Great Power diplomacy, is the extreme geological folding of the mountainous coastal strip with peaks higher than 2000 meters, where more than 90% of the population lives. This rough, hilly terrain has always favored small autonomous or semi-autonomous population groupings, all of them with a long tradition of conflict including “asymmetric” combat. Ideological differences are often extreme, for example the age-old conflict between traditional Alawites and the Assassin heretic sect of the Alawites.
During the long Crusader war series, for example, the Assassins turned their fighting skills against the invading European crusaders. After this 200-year war series, they returned to fighting any centralising power based in Damascus. The same applies to the Druzes, and to other “mountain fighters”. On numerous occasions, often for decades, fighting groups in what is called “Syria” served as proxies in and for highly complex military campaigns. One examples was the period through about 1204-1260 when a loose alliance of southern powers or “statelets” opposed the larger, better armed Latin Empire of the Byzantines.
No power, either great or small can change geology and geomorphology. To be sure, Stalin-era Soviet campaigns against Chechens, Daghestanis and other small, ideologically tight-knit “mountain fighters”, and the campaign waged in this geopolitical rimland or shatterbelt since the 1990s by Russia, have attempted their eradication. In Afghanistan, as the USSR and later the US found out, so-called mountain fighters can easily urbanize and rapidly shift to urban theater conflict, broadening their warfare tactics with ease.
The major and increasing role of proxy fighting itself favors a shift to asymmetric war. Since the end of World War II, some military historians claim the majority of wars on a numerical basis fought since 1945 have either included, or been dominated by proxy fighters. This in turn means more belligerants, with usually different motivations, staying power, weapons and tactics, will be operating in any warfare. This also means that “surprise outcomes” become more commonplace, for example when proxies turn against their original partners or actively side with their former enemy or enemies.
Deed Horses and Stynking Beestes
Widely used in the Crusader war series, and imported back to Europe with returning Crusaders by the start of the 14th century, early biological warfare featured the catapulting of diseased putrefying corpses, often of horses or other animals, sometimes of humans into castle moats. By the time of the so-called Hundred Years War starting about 1340, biological war was commonplace in siege warfare. With the Black Death (bubonic plague) epidemic which spread from the western Balkans and killed an estimated 25%-33% of the total population of Europe in the late 14th and early 15th centuries, bodies of bubonic plague victims were utilised as weapons as commonly as munitions, arrows and other weapons in the majority of European wars. Death rates obtained using these “asymmetric weapons”, according to military historians could often exceed 950 killed for every 1000 enemy attacked.
Today we hear about the Syrian regime of Bashr al-Assad, and-or rebel forces, utilizing chemical weapons, but chemical weapons akin to napalm were utilized on a common basis in warfare opposing the Byzantime Empire and sometimes-insurgent, often small scale Muslim forces, by 670 AD. These early chemical weapons increasingly used additives including chalk powder, arsenic sulfide, copper oxides and other toxic suffocants to increase lethality.
By the early 18th century, the UK Royal Society was theater to recurring debates on how to protect land armies against biological warfare, in particular protection against smallpox bacteria due to smallpox being already known as a biological weapon. By about 1715, the technique of variolation, or immunization against smallpox was developed, firstly with a view to protecting British fighting forces despite early immunization by variolation causing an estimated 2%-3% mortality of treated soldiers. As we know, the conquest of the US Wild West in the 18th-19th centuries made frequent use of smallpox bacteria to kill Indian fighters and peoples who were not immunized. Historians contend that General George Washington who had warned his troops that English forces might use smallpox as a weapon in the Battle of Quebec (1775) which was lost by the Americans, was himself killed by smallpox poisoning in 1776.
It is therefore either by hypocrisy, ignorance or blindness that mainstream media and many politicians pretend that CBW (chemical and biological weapons) are both strange and repulsive. For numerically inferior forces, they can provide a decisive advantage similar to the historical role of crossbows, in the Middle Ages. Their utilization in asymmetric war has been more the rule, than exception. This logic certainly extends to the broad group of asymmetric arms called NBC (nuclear, biological, chemical) weapons – the arsenals held by the small nations North Korea and Israel reflect their political rulers’ fear of numerically superior enemy forces. As we know, both mass-produced pesticides and relatively abundant nuclear wastes, among others, are major potential asymmetric weapons.
The Coming Global Asymmetric War
Andrew J. Mack made the point that big nations can easily lose small wars. He did not add that due to weapons technology and MAD, they can only lose big wars. This standoff or new weakness – of the great powers whether they describe themselves as “great” or not, has certainly been observed and noted by the large number of their asymmetric war-oriented opponents and rivals.
When added to the impacts of economic and industrial technology change, described in other recent articles by myself, the concept of either one or a select few hegemonic powers dominating world political-strategic relations is consigned to trashcan of History. Probably since as early as 1980, certainly in the coming decades from today, this observation will be put to the test.
The Syrian civil war which is a showcase of asymmetric war and proxy war could be taken as an example. Neither Russia nor the US can win this war. Iran’s supposed interest in this war can be questioned. European influence in any outcome to this war is small and weak. Chinese, Indian and other Asian interest in this war is very low. Only extremely massive and sustained, therefore very expensive military occupation on a long-term basis could create or restore any simulacre or surrogate for “the nation state of Syria”. No major external power has any interest in this outcome. The staying power of KSA, Qatar, UAE and other sunni-minority small states paying for Syrian theatre proxy fighters, called “djihadis”, despite the petrodollars and the Wahabism, can easily be questioned.
What was called “Syria” therefore become a shatterbelt zone in modern geopolitical parlance, very comparable with the pre-1914 Balkan states, and pre-1917 Middle Eastern and North African states. Formerly called “rimland states”, shatterbelt zones can also be called the Funeral Pyres of Empire due to these intrinsically volatile and ungovernable zones often being gateways to larger zones of major economic significance, drawing repeated attempts at dominance by the great powers.
Multiple examples exist outside the zone including southern Russia, the Balkans (of 2014), western Asia, and the MENA. Under certain hypotheses, zones like the Europe of the EU28, engaged in an undeclared power struggle with Russia to win power over the Ukraine, may be an example.
More important for this article, most definitely intensified by asymmetric war ideology, tactics and weapons, world shatterbelt zones of “permanent instability” are growing and they are necessarily growing. Sometimes called “multipolarity” and presented as the positive spinoff from economic globalisation, and above all presented as consensual by the great powers (and would-be great powers), the loss of centre and the growth of periphery is a stark fact of the coming world.
This stark fact is of course denied by the so-called great powers. However, when there is no longer a ruling centre and the central power or Hegemon, there is only periphery and no Hegemon in a series of complex rimlands and shatterbelts.
Source: Andrew McKillop
There is one rule to citizen defiance that, in my opinion, surpasses all others in strategic importance; and it is a rule that I have tried to drive home for many years. I would call it the “non-participation principle” and would summarize it as follows:
When facing a corrupt system, provide for yourself and your community those necessities that the system cannot or will not. Become independent from establishment-controlled paradigms. If you and your community do this, the system will have one of two choices:
1) Admit that you do not need them anymore and fade into the fog of history, OR…
2) Reveal its tyrannical nature in full and attempt to force you back into dependence.
In either case, the citizenry gains the upper hand. Even in the event of government retaliation or a full-blown shooting war, dissenting movements maintain the moral high ground, which is absolutely vital to legitimate victory. No revolutionary movement for freedom can succeed without honoring this rule. All independent solutions to social destabilization and despotism rely on it. Any solutions that ignore it are destined for failure.
I am hard-pressed to think of a better recent example of the non-participation principle in action than the rise of Mexican citizen militias in the Western state of Michoacan.
Michoacan, like most of Mexico, has long been overrun with violent drug cartels that terrorized private citizens while Mexican authorities did little to nothing in response. I could easily cite the abject corruption of the Mexican government as the primary culprit in the continued dominance of cartel culture. I could also point out the longtime involvement of the CIA in drug trafficking in Mexico and its negative effects on the overall social development of the nation. This is not conspiracy theory, but openly recognized fact.
The Mexican people have nowhere to turn; and this, in my view, has always been by design. Disarmed and suppressed while government-aided cartels bleed the public dry, it is no wonder that many Mexicans have turned to illegal immigration as a means of escape. The Mexican government, in turn, has always fought for a more porous border with the U.S. exactly because it WANTS dissenting and dissatisfied citizens to run to the United States instead of staying and fighting back. My personal distaste for illegal immigration has always been predicated on the fact that it allows the criminal oligarchy within Mexico to continue unabated without opposition. Unhappy Mexicans can simply run away from their problems to America and feed off our wide-open welfare system. They are not forced to confront the tyranny within their own country. Under this paradigm, Mexico would never change for the better.
Some in the Mexican public, however, have been courageous enough to stay and fight back against rampant theft, kidnapping and murder.
The people of Michoacan, fed up with the fear and subjugation of the cartels and the inaction of the government, have taken a page from the American Revolution, organizing citizen militias that have now driven cartels from the region almost entirely. These militias have decided to no longer rely upon government intervention and have taken independent action outside of the forced authoritarian structure.
The fantastic measure of this accomplishment is not appreciated by many people in America. Though many cartels are populated by well-trained former Mexican military special ops and even covert operations agents, the citizens of Michoacan have proven that the cartels are a paper tiger. They can be defeated through guerrilla tactics and force of will, which many nihilists often deny is even possible.
Joel Gutierrez, a militia member of the Michoacan region, says residents were “sick of the cartel kidnapping, murdering and stealing.”“That’s why we took up arms,” says Gutierrez, 19. “The local and state police did nothing to protect us.”
The militia men have been patrolling their towns and inspecting cars at checkpoints like this one for nearly a year. All that time, federal police did little to stop them, and at times seemed to encourage the movement.
But that tacit approval appeared to end last weekend, when the number of the militias mushroomed and surrounded Apatzingan, a town of 100,000 people and the Knights Templar’s stronghold. A major battle between the militias and the cartel seemed imminent.
The federal government sent in thousands of police and troops to disarm the civilian patrols. A deadly confrontation ensued. Federal soldiers fired into a crowd of civilian militia supporters, killing two.
Militia leader Estanislao Beltran says the government should have gone after the real criminals, the Knights Templar, and not those defending themselves. He vehemently denies rumors that he takes funds from a rival group.
“The cartels have been terrorizing us for more than a decade,” Beltran says. “Why would we side with any of them?”
Initially, local authorities encouraged the militias, or stayed out of their way. The citizens armed themselves with semi-automatic weapons, risking government reprisal, in order to defend their homes; and so far, they have been victorious. One would think that the federal government of Mexico would be enthusiastic about such victories against the cartels they claim to have been fighting against for decades; but when common citizens take control of their own destinies, this often incurs the wrath of the establishment as well.
The Mexican government has decided to reward the brave people of Michoacan with the threat of military invasion and disarmament.
In some cases, government forces have indeed fired upon militia supporters, killing innocents while exposing the true intentions of the Mexican political structure.
Mainstream media coverage of the situation in the western states of Mexico has been minimal at best; and I find the more I learn about the movement in the region, the more I find a kinship with them. Whether we realize it or not, we are fighting the same fight. We are working toward the same goal of liberty, though we speak different languages and herald from different cultures. Recent government propaganda accusing Michoacan militias of “working with rival cartels” should ring familiar with those of us in the American liberty movement. We are the new “terrorists,” the new bogeymen of the faltering American epoch. We are painted as the villains; and in this, strangely, I find a considerable amount of solace.
If the liberty movement were not effective in its activism, if we did not present a legitimate threat to the criminal establishment, they would simply ignore us rather than seek to vilify us.
The militias of Michoacan have taken a stand. They have drawn their line in the sand, and I wish I could fight alongside them. Of course, we have our own fight and our own enemies to contend with here in the United States. As this fight develops, we have much to learn from the events in Western Mexico. Government retaliation has been met with widespread anger from coast to coast. And despite the general mainstream media mitigation of coverage, the American public is beginning to rally around the people of Michoacan as well. The non-participation principle prevails yet again.
The liberty movement in the U.S. must begin providing mutual aid and self-defense measures in a localized fashion if we have any hope of supplanting the effects of globalization and centralized Federal totalitarianism. We must begin constructing our own neighborhood watches, our own emergency response teams, our own food and medical supply stores, and our own alternative economies and trade markets that do not rely on controlled networks. We must break from the system and, in the process, break the system entirely.
Even now, we are beginning to understand the subversive transformation of our own law enforcement structure, and find a system designed to protect the criminal establishment, not the people. The FBI, for example, has recently changed the language of its primary mission statement, claiming that their goal is “national security”, not law enforcement.
Police department across the U.S. are also changing how they interpret their mandate. U.S. courts have ruled that police departments do not have a constitutional duty to protect citizens from harm, rather, they simply exist to enforce legal code after a crime has already been perpetrated. This means that local police are no longer considered “peace officers”, but agents of bureaucracy who are not necessarily required to defend the citizenry from violent action. The terrors Mexican citizens face in Michoacan are coming to America, and if disarmament proponents have their way, we will have no means to stop it.
I am growing increasingly exhausted with the incessant rationalizations of frightened activists posing as non-aggression proponents; the same kinds of people who refuse to even entertain the probability that physical self defense will be needed against corrupt government. The pungent smog of cowardice that follows them curls the nostrils, and the obvious transparency of their fear is a bit sickening. I wish I could convey how refreshing it is to witness a group of common people, regardless of nationality, with a set of brass ball bearings large enough to face off against government supported drug cartels notorious for mass murder and decapitation.
If you want see into the future, into the destiny of America, I suggest you examine carefully the developments of the Michoacan region. It is no mistake that good men and women are being disarmed around the world, and America is certainly not exempt. Look at what happens when we are not helpless! We can crush cold and calculating drug cartels as easily as we can crush psychopathic government entities. We are capable of superhuman feats. We are capable of globalist overthrow. We are capable of unthinkable greatness, as long as we are not distracted by false solutions and false leaders who lure us away from localized action towards centralized non-events.
The rise of Mexican non-participation groups gives me much hope for the future. For if the most corrupt and criminally saturated of societies can find it within themselves to fight, to truly fight, regardless of the obstacles and regardless of the supposed consequences, then there is a chance for us all. We must look beyond the odds of success and become men — real men — once again. We must face down evil, without reservation and without apprehension first by separating from the system, and then by standing our ground. We must be willing to risk everything; otherwise, there is absolutely nothing to gain.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
The 13th Amendment to the Constitution abolished slavery. This means that if you are a slave today, it’s either illegal, or you have voluntarily accepted your servitude.
Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
You have a Constitutionally protected right to be free. If you aren’t free, then revolution is your duty.
Many people believe that revolution requires that they lead a march, stand in front of a crowd with a bullhorn, or form a militia. They feel like it’s a job for the Alex Joneses, the Adam Kokeshes, the James Wesley Rawleses, and the Bradley Mannings of the world.
They’re wrong. You don’t have to be a person with thousands of followers on Twitter and Facebook . You don’t have to be a person with a military leadership position on your resume. You need not get yourself arrested on the steps of the White House, got to prison forever for telling the truth about your unit in the army, or stare down a bunch of scary-looking thugs in jack boots.
But you do have to do something.
You can’t just sit there and complain unless you are really just another armchair Rambo.
The way you lead your life every single day can be an act of revolution. By refusing to concede your natural rights, quietly and resolutely, you are performing an act of revolution. Walking the walk doesn’t always require civil disobedience or militia membership (although those actions definitely have their places). It requires your consistent determination not to be infringed upon.
It doesn’t matter if you are a soccer mom from the suburbs, a college student in a dormitory, a church-going dad and husband, or a person who has found themselves homeless through the ongoing economic crisis – by living resolutely, you are performing an act of revolution.
Don’t get me wrong – we need the Alexes, the Adams, the militias, the Bradleys, and the JWRs. We need the people who stand in protest. We need those who expose wrongdoing. We need the organizers, the shouters, the big personalities, the quiet strong types, and the leaders. But these are not the only ways to revolt. If every single person was off organizing their own rally, there’d be no one left to march in it.
What it is imperative upon us to do is to find our compass and follow it. We must make ourselves immune to control by not needing what “they” hand out. We have to be armored against the way everyone else lives and choose our own paths. We must stubbornly refuse to participate in the hoop-jumping that is everyday life in North America. By all of us who believe in liberty doing this, we form an army of stubborn non-participants in the status quo.
Here’s an example. It’s a small thing, a battle that today only affected my daughter and me. My daughter is not vaccinated. She attends a public school where the kids must be vaccinated, or hoops must be jumped through. I filled out the initial forms stating that I had an objection of conscience to vaccines. I was contacted by a representative of the school system who suggested that I sign instead the form that stated a religious objection, because that was “easier”. I refused, because my objection is NOT one of religion, and I felt like that was a cop-out. I knew that I was within my rights to have an objection of conscience, and I felt that it was important to make a point that might make it easier for the next parent. I was then told that I’d have to pay $25 and get a statement notarized to allow her exemption on my basis. I said I’d be happy to get a statement notarized, but not at my expense. I pointed out that nowhere does our local law state that I should have to pay any money for my child to NOT do something. Lo and behold, after 5 months of politely going back and forth, being escalated through numerous different superiors of superiors in the school board and public health system, my daughter is still unvaccinated, I have not spent $25, and she was not suspended from school. The point I’m making is not about vaccines, but about not stepping back from your rights, for your convenience or for the convenience of others. This requires that you read the relevant laws and understand them. It requires a certain degree of persistence and a willingness to be a pain in the butt.
There are valid reasons for revolution.
One of the benchmarks of tyranny is the dizzying arrays of laws on the books, with more and more added every single day. It is humanly impossible not to break multiple laws every single day. Regulations are revenue builders and/or control mechanisms. If the “authorities” can ALWAYS find a law that you’ve broken, then they can ALWAYS give a “reason” for punishing you. Punishment might include incarceration, hefty fines, or the removal of some privilege (like taking away your driver’s license or not allowing your child to go to school).
If the laws be so voluminous that they cannot be read, or so incoherent that they cannot be understood; if they be repealed or revised before they are promulgated, or undergo such incessant changes that no man, who knows what the law is to-day, can guess what it will be to-morrow. Law is defined to be a rule of action; but how can that be a rule, which is little known, and less fixed? - James Madison, Federalist Papers 62
The police state is growing at a dizzying rate, and often the news makes it look like we live in Nazi Germany. It is now or never. Like cockroaches, “they” – the thugs in jackboots and their masters – multiply in the dark, and will soon overtake us if we don’t put a stop to it right now. They want to take our guns because that would make our resistance more difficult. They keep buying up ammo and now have more than enough to kill every man, woman, and child in America multiple times. The NDAA means that any person can be indefinitely detained. There has been a sustained attack on the Bill of Rights and one by one our rights are being submerged beneath the desires of those who would demand our submission.
How can you be an everyday revolutionary?
The most revolutionary act is to be self-sufficient and in need of nothing that the government can provide for you in exchange for some small liberty. When there is nothing that you require enough to submit, then bullying you becomes much more difficult.
This list of suggestions is by no means comprehensive. Please, add your own random acts of resistance in the comments below.
- Question absolutely everything you hear on the news. Always be a skeptic. All major media goes back to just a few conglomerates. The “news” is now all a propaganda ploy to help the rich get richer and the powerful remain in power. The media can make or break a candidate with unholy zeal in less than a week. These people and others like them are the ones that decide what “we the people” get to see. If they feel like a candidate or a news item might upset the status quo, they black it out by refusing to cover it.
- Call out the media. Let everyone know that the mainstream media is the enemy of the people. When you see coverage that is clearly biased, take a moment to call out the media about it. Take the time to comment on mainstream media websites and point out the unbalanced coverage. If you use social media, share this information and post on the media outlet’s social media pages as well.
- Get out of the banking system. By opting to “unbank” or “underbank” there is a limit to what can be easily stolen from you. When you have physical control of your financial assets, you are not at as high a risk of losing those assets, and therefore, less likely to be dependent on “the system.”
- Turn your savings into precious metals or tangible assets. On the same note as unbanking, you definitely don’t want to rely on a 401K or savings account to provide for you in your old age. Ask the people of Cyprus how well that worked out for them. Diversify with assets you can touch. Purchase tangible goods like land, food, ammo, and seeds. Once you are well supplied, move on to precious metals to preserve your wealth.
- Educate others. At the (very high) risk of people thinking you’re crazy, it’s important to let people know WHY you do what you do. If you are an anti-Monsanto activist, teach others about the dangers of GMOs. If you object to a municipal policy, speak at a town meeting or send a letter to the editor of your local paper. By ranting incoherently or by keeping your mouth shut, you influence no one. By providing provable facts, you can open minds and awaken others to tyranny.
- Get others involved in the fight. For example, if you are fighting with the city council that wants to rip out the vegetables growing in your front yard, let your friends and neighbors know, post a notice at the grocery store, and write a letter to the editor. When injustice occurs, use the power of social media to spread awareness. Often a public outcry is what is necessary to get the “authorities” to back down. Look at the case of Brandon Raub, the veteran who was kidnapped and taken to a mental hospital for things he posted on Facebook. Raub was not charged, but he was detained in the psych ward involuntarily. His friends and family immediately mobilized and spread the videos of his arrest all over the internet. It snowballed and alternative media picked it up – soon Raub was released, and all because of a grass roots and social media campaign to bring the injustice to light.
- Grow your own food. Every single seed that you plant is a revolutionary act. Every bit of food that you don’t have to purchase from the grocery store is a battle cry for your personal independence. When you educate yourself (and others) about Big Food, Big Agri, and the food safety sell-outs at the FDA, you will clearly see that we are alone in our fight for healthy, nutritious foods. Refuse to tolerate these attacks on our health and our lifestyles. Refuse to be held subject to Agenda 21′s version of “sustainability”.
- Take control of your health. It is imperative that you not blindly trust in the medical establishment. Many members of this establishment are merely prostitutes for their pimp, Big Pharma. Millions of children are given powerful psychotropic drugs to help them fit into the neat little classroom boxes, and the numbers are growing every day. Americans spent 34.2 BILLION dollars on psychiatric drugs in 2010. (Source) Big Pharma is an enormously profitable industry that only pays off if they can convince you that you’re sick. Learn about the toxic injections and medications, weight the risks and benefits, and always look for second and third opinions before making a medical decision. Maintain your health by avoiding toxins, exercising, and ditching your bad habits to reduce the number of doctor’s visits that are necessary.
- Refuse to comply. If you know your natural rights, which are guaranteed under the Constitution and its Amendments, then it makes it much harder for “authorities” to bully you. You don’t have to let them search your home without a warrant, you don’t have to answer questions, and you don’t have to comply with laws that are in conflict with the Constitution.
- Learn. Every day, spend time learning. This shouldn’t stop once our formal education ends. Fill your mind with history, with current events, with constitutional law, and information about the natural world. Learn about health, study economics, research things that interest you, and unravel the complicated conspiracies that are afoot. To pursue unbiased knowledge is to free your mind from the prison of propaganda and indoctrination.
- Don’t consume chemicals that cause you to be dumbed down. Avoid chemical-laden food with brain-killing neurotoxins like MSG and aspartame. Don’t drink fluoridated water.
- Embrace your right to bear arms. Be responsible for your own safety and security.
- Don’t be in debt. No one can be free if they are in debt. If you are in debt, you are forced to work in whatever conditions are present, for whatever amount is offered, complying with whatever criteria is necessary to keep your job. in order to either pay your debt or face penalties. As well, the high interest rates that you pay only serve to make the bankers more wealthy. Instead of borrowing, save until you can afford something or realize that if you could actually afford it, you wouldn’t need to borrow money to have it.
- Be prepared for disaster. Have enough food, water, and supplies to take care of your family in the event of a natural disaster. Don’t expect FEMA to take care of you.
- Be involved in your children’s education. For some, this means homeschooling or unschooling, and for others this means being on top of what they are learning in a formal school setting. Join the PTA and actively volunteer if your child goes to school. Be an advocate for your child and insist that the teachers teach. If your child goes to school, supplement this at home with discourse about current events and outings that help them learn about the world around them.
- Be the squeaky wheel. If you see something wrong, don’t just ignore it. Say something about it, and keep saying something until it changes. Whether this is some process that infringes on your privacy, a job requirement that impedes your health, or another injustice, pursue it relentlessly. Ask questions publically, write letters, and use social media to bring pressure to encourage a change.
- Reduce your consumer spending. Spending less helps to starve the beast by reducing the sales taxes you pay and withdrawing your financial support to big conglomerates. If we vote with our dollars, eventually there will, of a necessity, be a paradigm shift that returns us to simpler days, when families that were willing to work hard could make a living without selling their souls to the corporate monoliths. A low-consumption lifestyle reduces your financial dependency, which allows for more freedom.
- Ditch popular culture. If reality TV isn’t a tool for dumbing people down, I don’t know what it is. My daughter recently begged to watch an episode of a popular reality TV show that “everyone” was watching. She managed about 15 minutes of it and then said, “This is the stupidest thing I’ve ever seen.” She decided to read a book instead. Popular entertainment is a media tool used to change our perspectives about our personal values, and to tell us how to think and feel about issues.
- Buy locally. Support local small businesses to help others who are fighting for independence from the system. You might pay a little bit more than you would at your big box store, but the only people benefiting from your purchases made at the corporate stores are those with the 7 figure annual bonuses.
- Develop multiple streams of income. Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket. Figure out several ways to bring in income. Not only does this free you from being a wage slave, but it allows you to hire friends or family members. You are less entangled in the system and not subject to corporate whims. If one business fails, or becomes subject to regulations that make it no longer worthwhile, you are not forced to comply just to keep a roof over your head.
- Say thanks, but no thanks. There is no such thing as a benevolent hand out. Nearly anything offered for free (particularly by a government entity) has strings attached. Maybe there is a handy-dandy registration form that you need to fill out. You might be influenced to vote a certain way just to keep the freebies coming. You might have to pee in a cup every two weeks. Perhaps one day you’ll need to have a microchip embedded in your hand. Either way, by accepting handouts from those in “authority”, you become beholden to them or you need them, and someone who is free is neither beholden nor needy.
- Don’t take the easy road. The PTB like to seduce people with simplicity. “If you just sign this paper, it will be much easier,” they say. “This chip is for your convenience,” they tell you. “By giving up this, it lets us take care of you and you will be much safer.” The easy road only gets you to Slave Street a whole lot faster. Take the difficult road and be responsible for yourself. Don’t take shortcuts that compromise your beliefs. Go to court to fight a ticket, read the laws and defend yourself, and know that anything you give up, you will never get back.
According to the Declaration of Independence, “Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.”
That means that you don’t have to accept the unjust laws. That means you don’t have to quietly take it, muttering under your breath that it isn’t right, but not daring to raise your voice. That means that “they” are only in control of you if you allow it.
There are nearly 316 million people in the United States. (source)
Only 3% of the population fought in the Revolutionary War, and 10% actively supported them.
If 9,480,000 people quietly and peacefully revolted by withdrawing their consent to be governed by tyrants we could not be silenced.
If 31,600,000 people supported those revolting, we could not be stopped.
The government might be watching us, but we can watch them right back. Make the way you live your life a revolutionary act.
Source: The Organic Prepper
“I was part of that strange race of people aptly described as spending their lives doing things they detest, to make money they don’t want, to buy things they don’t need, to impress people they don’t like.” ― Emile Gauvreau
If ever a chart provided unequivocal proof the economic recovery storyline is a fraud, the one below is the smoking gun. November and December retail sales account for 20% to 40% of annual retail sales for most retailers. The number of visits to retail stores has plummeted by 50% since 2010. Please note this was during a supposed economic recovery. Also note consumer spending accounts for 70% of GDP. Also note credit card debt outstanding is 7% lower than its level in 2010 and 16% below its peak in 2008. Retailers like J.C. Penney, Best Buy, Sears, Radio Shack and Barnes & Noble continue to report appalling sales and profit results, along with listings of store closings. Even the heavyweights like Wal-Mart and Target continue to report negative comp store sales. How can the government and mainstream media be reporting an economic recovery when the industry that accounts for 70% of GDP is in free fall? The answer is that 99% of America has not had an economic recovery. Only Bernanke’s 1% owner class have benefited from his QE/ZIRP induced stock market levitation.
The entire economic recovery storyline is a sham built upon easy money funneled by the Fed to the Too Big To Trust Wall Street banks so they can use their HFT supercomputers to drive the stock market higher, buy up the millions of homes they foreclosed upon to artificially drive up home prices, and generate profits through rigging commodity, currency, and bond markets, while reducing loan loss reserves because they are free to value their toxic assets at anything they please – compliments of the spineless nerds at the FASB. GDP has been artificially propped up by the Federal government through the magic of EBT cards, SSDI for the depressed and downtrodden, never ending extensions of unemployment benefits, billions in student loans to University of Phoenix prodigies, and subprime auto loans to deadbeats from the Government Motors financing arm – Ally Financial (85% owned by you the taxpayer). The country is being kept afloat on an ocean of debt and delusional belief in the power of central bankers to steer this ship through a sea of icebergs just below the surface.
The absolute collapse in retail visitor counts is the warning siren that this country is about to collide with the reality Americans have run out of time, money, jobs, and illusions. The most amazingly delusional aspect to the chart above is retailers continued to add 44 million square feet in 2013 to the almost 15 billion existing square feet of retail space in the U.S. That is approximately 47 square feet of retail space for every person in America. Retail CEOs are not the brightest bulbs in the sale bin, as exhibited by the CEO of Target and his gross malfeasance in protecting his customers’ personal financial information. Of course, the 44 million square feet added in 2013 is down 85% from the annual increases from 2000 through 2008. The exponential growth model, built upon a never ending flow of consumer credit and an endless supply of cheap fuel, has reached its limit of growth. The titans of Wall Street and their puppets in Washington D.C. have wrung every drop of faux wealth from the dying middle class. There are nothing left but withering carcasses and bleached bones.
The impact of this retail death spiral will be vast and far reaching. A few factoids will help you understand the coming calamity:
- There are approximately 109,500 shopping centers in the United States ranging in size from the small convenience centers to the large super-regional malls.
- There are in excess of 1 million retail establishments in the United States occupying 15 billion square feet of space and generating over $4.4 trillion of annual sales. This includes 8,700 department stores, 160,000 clothing & accessory stores, and 8,600 game stores.
- U.S. shopping-center retail sales total more than $2.26 trillion, accounting for over half of all retail sales.
- The U.S. shopping-center industry directly employed over 12 million people in 2010 and indirectly generated another 5.6 million jobs in support industries. Collectively, the industry accounted for 12.7% of total U.S. employment.
- Total retail employment in 2012 totaled 14.9 million, lower than the 15.1 million employed in 2002.
- For every 100 individuals directly employed at a U.S. regional shopping center, an additional 20 to 30 jobs are supported in the community due to multiplier effects.
The collapse in foot traffic to the 109,500 shopping centers that crisscross our suburban sprawl paradise of plenty is irreversible. No amount of marketing propaganda, 50% off sales, or hot new iGadgets is going to spur a dramatic turnaround. Quarter after quarter there will be more announcements of store closings. Macys just announced the closing of 5 stores and firing of 2,500 retail workers. JC Penney just announced the closing of 33 stores and firing of 2,000 retail workers. Announcements are imminent from Sears, Radio Shack and a slew of other retailers who are beginning to see the writing on the wall. The vacancy rate will be rising in strip malls, power malls and regional malls, with the largest growing sector being ghost malls. Before long it will appear that SPACE AVAILABLE is the fastest growing retailer in America.
The reason this death spiral cannot be reversed is simply a matter of arithmetic and demographics. While arrogant hubristic retail CEOs of public big box mega-retailers added 2.7 billion retail square feet to our already over saturated market, real median household income flat lined. The advancement in retail spending was attributable solely to the $1.1 trillion increase (68%) in consumer debt and the trillion dollars of home equity extracted from castles in the sky, that later crashed down to earth. Once the Wall Street created fraud collapsed and the waves of delusion subsided, retailers have been revealed to be swimming naked. Their relentless expansion, based on exponential growth, cannibalized itself, new store construction ground to a halt, sales and profits have declined, and the inevitable closing of thousands of stores has begun. With real median household income 8% lower than it was in 2008, the collapse in retail traffic is a rational reaction by the impoverished 99%. Americans are using their credit cards to pay their real estate taxes, income taxes, and monthly utilities, since their income is lower, and their living expenses rise relentlessly, thanks to Bernanke and his Fed created inflation.
The media mouthpieces for the establishment gloss over the fact average gasoline prices in 2013 were the second highest in history. The highest average price was in 2012 and the 3rd highest average price was in 2011. These prices are 150% higher than prices in the early 2000′s. This might not matter to the likes of Jamie Dimon and Jon Corzine, but for a middle class family with two parents working and making 7.5% less than they made in 2000, it has a dramatic impact on discretionary income. The fact oil prices have risen from $25 per barrel in 2003 to $100 per barrel today has not only impacted gas prices, but utility costs, food costs, and the price of any product that needs to be transported to your local Wally World. The outrageous rise in tuition prices has been aided and abetted by the Federal government and their doling out of loans so diploma mills like the University of Phoenix can bilk clueless dupes into thinking they are on their way to an exciting new career, while leaving them jobless in their parents’ basement with a loan payment for life.
The laughable jobs recovery touted by Obama, his sycophantic minions, paid off economist shills, and the discredited corporate legacy media can be viewed appropriately in the following two charts, that reveal the false storyline being peddled to the techno-narcissistic iGadget distracted masses. There are 247 million working age Americans between the ages of 18 and 64. Only 145 million of these people are employed. Of these employed, 19 million are working part-time and 9 million are self- employed. Another 20 million are employed by the government, producing nothing and being sustained by the few remaining producers with their tax dollars. The labor participation rate is the lowest it has been since women entered the workforce in large numbers during the 1980′s. We are back to levels seen during the booming Carter years. Those peddling the drivel about retiring Baby Boomers causing the decline in the labor participation rate are either math challenged or willfully ignorant because they are being paid to be so. Once you turn 65 you are no longer counted in the work force. The percentage of those over 55 in the workforce has risen dramatically to an all-time high, as the Me Generation never saved for retirement or saw their retirement savings obliterated in the Wall Street created 2008 financial implosion.
To understand the absolute idiocy of retail CEOs across the land one must parse the employment data back to 2000. In the year 2000 the working age population of the U.S. was 213 million and 136.9 million of them were working, a record level of 64.4% of the population. There were 70 million working age Americans not in the labor force. Fourteen years later the number of working age Americans is 247 million and only 144.6 million are working. The working age population has risen by 16% and the number of employed has risen by only 5.6%. That’s quite a success story. Of course, even though median household income is 7.5% lower than it was in 2000, the government expects you to believe that 22 million Americans voluntarily left the labor force because they no longer needed a job. While the number of employed grew by 5.6% over fourteen years, the number of people who left the workforce grew by 31.1%. Over this same time frame the mega-retailers that dominate the landscape added almost 3 billion square feet of selling space, a 25% increase. A critical thinking individual might wonder how this could possibly end well for the retail genius CEOs in glistening corporate office towers from coast to coast.
This entire materialistic orgy of consumerism has been sustained solely with debt peddled by the Wall Street banking syndicate. The average American consumer met their Waterloo in 2008. Bernanke’s mission was to save bankers, billionaires and politicians. It was not to save the working middle class. You’ve been sacrificed at the altar of the .1%. The 0% interest rates were for Jamie Dimon and Lloyd Blankfein. Your credit card interest rate remained between 13% and 21%. So, while you struggle to pay bills with your declining real income, the Wall Street bankers are again generating record profits and paying themselves record bonuses. Profits are so good, they can afford to pay tens of billions in fines for their criminal acts, and still be left with billions to divvy up among their non-prosecuted criminal executives.
Bernanke and his financial elite owners have been able to rig the markets to give the appearance of normalcy, but they cannot rig the demographic time bomb that will cause the death and destruction of our illusory retail paradigm. Demographics cannot be manipulated or altered by the government or mass media. The best they can do is ignore or lie about the facts. The life cycle of a human being is utterly predictable, along with their habits across time. Those under 25 years old have very little income, therefore they have very little spending. Once a job is attained and income levels rise, spending rises along with the increased income. As the person enters old age their income declines and spending on stuff declines rapidly. The media may be ignoring the fact that annual expenditures drop by 40% for those over 65 years old from the peak spending years of 45 to 54, but it doesn’t change the fact. They also cannot change the fact that 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day for the next sixteen years. They also can’t change the fact the average Baby Boomer has less than $50,000 saved for retirement and is up to their grey eye brows in debt.
With over 15% of all 25 to 34 year olds living in their parents’ basement and those under 25 saddled with billions in student loan debt, the traditional increase in income and spending is DOA for the millennial generation. The hardest hit demographic on the job front during the 2008 through 2014 ongoing recession has been the 45 to 54 year olds in their peak earning and spending years. Combine these demographic developments and you’ve got a perfect storm for over-built retailers and their egotistical CEOs.
The media continues to peddle the storyline of on-line sales saving the ancient bricks and mortar retailers. Again, the talking head pundits are willfully ignoring basic math. On-line sales account for 6% of total retail sales. If a dying behemoth like JC Penney announces a 20% decline in same store sales and a 20% increase in on-line sales, their total change is still negative 17.6%. And they are still left with 1,100 decaying stores, 100,000 employees, lease payments, debt payments, maintenance costs, utility costs, inventory costs, and pension costs. Their future is so bright they gotta wear a toe tag.
The decades of mal-investment in retail stores was enabled by Greenspan, Bernanke, and their Federal Reserve brethren. Their easy money policies enabled Americans to live far beyond their true means through credit card debt, auto debt, mortgage debt, and home equity debt. This false illusion of wealth and foolish spending led mega-retailers to ignore facts and spread like locusts across the suburban countryside. The debt fueled orgy has run out of steam. All that is left is the largest mountain of debt in human history, a gutted and debt laden former middle class, and thousands of empty stores in future decaying ghost malls haunting the highways and byways of suburbia.
The implications of this long and winding road to ruin are far reaching. Store closings so far have only been a ripple compared to the tsunami coming to right size the industry for a future of declining spending. Over the next five to ten years, tens of thousands of stores will be shuttered. Companies like JC Penney, Sears and Radio Shack will go bankrupt and become historical footnotes. Considering retail employment is lower today than it was in 2002 before the massive retail expansion, the future will see in excess of 1 million retail workers lose their jobs. Bernanke and the Feds have allowed real estate mall owners to roll over non-performing loans and pretend they are generating enough rental income to cover their loan obligations. As more stores go dark, this little game of extend and pretend will come to an end. Real estate developers will be going belly-up and the banking sector will be taking huge losses again. I’m sure the remaining taxpayers will gladly bailout Wall Street again. The facts are not debatable. They can be ignored by the politicians, Ivy League economists, media talking heads, and the willfully ignorant masses, but they do not cease to exist.
“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.” – Aldous Huxley
Source: The Burning Platform
A poll last year showed that trust in the mainstream media is increasing, which should worry all of us who value truth, integrity and press freedom. Why? Here are 10 disturbing things everyone needs to know about the global media giants who control our supply of information, wielding immense power over the people- and even over the government.
1. Mainstream media exists solely to make profit
What´s the purpose of the mainstream media? Saying that the press exists to inform, educate or entertain is like saying Apple corporation´s primary function is to make technology which will enrich our lives. Actually, the mass media industry is the same as any other in a capitalist society: it exists to make profit. Medialens, a British campaigning site which critiques mainstream (or corporate) journalism, quotedbusiness journalist Marjorie Kelly as saying that all corporations, including those dealing with media, exist only to maximize returns to their shareholders. This is, she said, ´the law of the land…universally accepted as a kind of divine, unchallengeable truth´. Without pleasing shareholders and a board of directors, mass media enterprises simply would not exist. And once you understand this, you´ll never watch the news in the same way again.
2. Advertisers dictate content
So how does the pursuit of profit affect the news we consume? Media corporations make the vast majority (typically around 75%) of their profit from advertising, meaning it´s advertisers themselves that dictate content- not journalists, and certainly not consumers. Imagine you are editor of a successful newspaper or TV channel with high circulation or viewing figures. You attract revenue from big brands and multinational corporations such as BP, Monsanto and UAE airlines. How could you then tackle important topics such as climate change, GM food or disastrous oil spills in a way that is both honest to your audience and favorable to your clients? The simple answer is you can´t. This might explain why Andrew Ross Sorkin of the New York Times- sponsored by Goldman Sachs- is so keen todefend the crooked corporation. Andrew Marr, a political correspondent for the BBC, sums up the dilemma in his autobiography: ´The biggest question is whether advertising limits and reshapes the news agenda. It does, of course. It’s hard to make the sums add up when you are kicking the people who write the cheques.´ Enough said…
3. Billionaire tycoons & media monopolies threaten real journalism
The monopolization of the press (fewer individuals or organizations controlling increasing shares of the mass media) is growingyear by year, and this is a grave danger to press ethics and diversity. Media mogul RupertMurdoch´s neo-liberal personal politics are reflected in his 175 newspapers and endorsed by pundits (see Fox news) on the 123 TV channels he owns in the USA alone. Anyone who isn´t worried by this one man´s view of the world being consumed by millions of people across the globe- from the USA to the UK, New Zealand to Asia, Europe to Australia- isn´t thinking hard enough about the consequences. It´s a grotesquely all-encompassing monopoly, leaving no doubt that Murdoch is one of the most powerful men in the world. But as the News International phone hacking scandal showed, he´s certainly not the most honorable or ethical. Neither is AlexanderLebedev, a former KGB spy and politician who bought British newspaper The Independent in 2010. With Lebedev´s fingers in so many pies (the billionaire oligarch is into everything from investment banking to airlines), can we really expect news coverage from this once well-respected publication to continue in the same vein? Obviously not: the paper had always carried a banner on its front page declaring itself ´free from party political bias, free from proprietorial influence´, but interestingly this was dropped in September 2011.
4. Corporate press is in bed with the government
Aside from the obvious, one of the most disturbing facts to emerge from Murdoch´s News International phone hacking scandal (background information here ) was the exposure of shady connections between top government officials and press tycoons. During the scandal, and throughout the subsequent Leveson inquiry into British press ethics (or lack of them), we learned of secret meetings, threatsby Murdoch to politicians who didn´t do as he wanted, and that Prime Minister David Cameron has a very close friendship with The Sun´s then editor-in-chief (and CEO of News International) Rebekah Brooks. How can journalists do their job of holding politicians to account when they are vacationing together or rubbing shoulders at private dinner parties? Clearly, they don´t intend to. But the support works both ways- Cameron´s government tried to help Murdoch´s son win a bid for BSkyB, while bizarrely, warmongering ex Prime Minister Tony Blair is godfather to Murdoch´s daughter Grace. As well as ensuring an overwhelming bias in news coverage and election campaigns, flooding newspapers with cheap and easy articles from unquestioned government sources, and gagging writers from criticizing those in power, these secret connections also account for much of the corporate media´s incessant peddling of the patriotism lie- especially in the lead-up to attacks on other countries. Here´s an interestinganalysis of The New York Times´s coverage of the current Syria situation for example, demonstrating how corporate journalists are failing to reflect public feeling on the issue of a full-scale attack on Assad by the US and its allies.
5. Important stories are overshadowed by trivia
You could be forgiven for assuming that the most interesting part of Edward Snowden´s status as a whistleblower was his plane ride from Hong Kong to Russia, or his lengthy stint waiting in Moscow airport for someone- anyone- to offer him asylum. Because with the exception of The Guardian who published the leaks (read them in fullhere), the media has generally preferred not to focus on Snowden´s damning revelations about freedom and tyranny, but rather on banaltrivia – his personality and background, whether his girlfriend misses him, whether he is actually a Chinese spy, and ahhh, didn´t he remind us all of Where´s Waldo as he flitted across the globe as a wanted fugitive? The same could be said of Bradley Manning´s gender re-assignment, which conveniently overshadowed the enormous injustice of his sentence. And what of Julian Assange? His profile on the globally-respected BBC is dedicated almost entirely to a subtle smearing of character, rather than detailing Wikileaks´s profound impact on our view of the world. In every case, the principal stories are forgotten as our attention, lost in a sea of trivia, is expertly diverted from the real issues at hand: those which invariably, the government wants us to forget.
6. Mainstream media doesn´t ask questions
´Check your sources, check your facts´ are golden rules in journalism 101, but you wouldn´t guess that from reading the mainstream press or watching corporate TV channels. At the time of writing, Obama is beating the war drums over Syria. Following accusations by the US and Britain that Assad was responsible for a nerve gas attack on his own civilians last month, most mainstream newspapers- like the afore-mentioned New York Times- have failed to demand evidence or call for restraint on a full-scale attack. But there are several good reasons why journalists should question the official story. Firstly, British right-wing newspaper The Daily Mail actually ran a news piece back in January this year, publishing leaked emails from a British arms company showing the US was planning a false flag chemical attack on Syria´s civilians. They would then blame it on Assad to gain public support for a subsequent full-scale invasion. The article was hastily deleted but a cached version still exists. Other recent evidence lends support to the unthinkable. It has emerged that the chemicals used to make the nerve gas were indeed shipped from Britain, and German intelligenceinsists Assad was not responsible for the chemical attack. Meanwhile, a hacktivist has come forward with alleged evidence of US intelligence agencies´ involvement in the massacre (download it for yourself here ), with a growing body of evidence suggesting this vile plot was hatched by Western powers. Never overlook the corporate media´s ties to big business and big government before accepting what you are told- because if journalism is dead, you have a right and a duty to ask your own questions.
7. Corporate journalists hate real journalists
Sirota rightly points out the irony of this: ´Here we have a reporter expressing excitement at the prospect of the government executing the publisher of information that became the basis for some of the most important journalism in the last decade.´ Sirota goes on to note various examples of what he calls the ´Journalists against Journalism club´, and gives severalexamples of how The Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald has been attacked by the corporate press for publishing Snowden´s leaks. The New York Times’ Andrew Ross Sorkin called for Greenwald’s arrest, while NBC’s David Gregory´s declared that Greenwald has ´aided and abetted Snowden´. As for the question of whether journalists can indeed be outspoken, Sirota accurately notes that it all depends on whether their opinions serve or challenge the status quo, and goes on to list the hypocrisy of Greenwald´s critics in depth: ´Grunwald has saber-rattling opinions that proudly support the government’s drone strikes and surveillance. Sorkin’s opinions promote Wall Street’s interests. (The Washington Post´s David) Broder had opinions that supported, among other things, the government’s corporate-serving “free” trade agenda. (The Washington Post´s Bob) Woodward has opinions backing an ever-bigger Pentagon budget that enriches defense contractors. (The Atlantic´s Jeffrey) Goldberg promotes the Military-Industrial Complex’s generally pro-war opinions. (The New York Times´s Thomas) Friedman is all of them combined, promoting both “free” trade and “suck on this” militarism. Because these voices loyally promote the unstated assumptions that serve the power structure and that dominate American politics, all of their particular opinions aren’t even typically portrayed as opinions; they are usually portrayed as noncontroversial objectivity.´
8. Bad news sells, good news is censored, and celebrity gossip trumps important issues
It´s sad but true: bad news really does sell more newspapers. But why? Are we really so pessimistic? Do we relish the suffering of others? Are we secretly glad that something terrible happened to someone else, not us? Reading the corporate press as an alien visiting Earth you might assume so. Generally, news coverage is sensationalist and depressing as hell, with so many pages dedicated to murder, rape and pedophilia and yet none to the billions of good deeds and amazingly inspirational movements taking place every minute of every day all over the planet. But the reasons we consume bad news are perfectly logical. In times of harmony and peace, people simply don´t feel the need to educate themselves as much as they do in times of crises. That´s good news for anyone beginning to despair that humans are apathetic, hateful and dumb, and it could even be argued that this sobering and simple fact is a great incentive for the mass media industry to do something worthwhile. They could start offering the positive and hopeful angle for a change. They could use dark periods of increased public interest to convey a message of peace and justice. They could reflect humanity´s desire for solutions and our urgent concerns for the environment. They could act as the voice of a global population who has had enough of violence and lies to campaign for transparency, equality, freedom, truth, and real democracy. Would that sell newspapers? I think so. They could even hold a few politicians to account on behalf of the people, wouldn´t that be something? But for the foreseeable future, it´s likely the corporate press will just distract our attention with another picture of Rhianna´s butt, another rumor about Justin Bieber´s coke habit, or another article about Kim Kardashian (who is she again?) wearing perspex heels with swollen ankles while pregnant. Who cares about the missing$21 trillion, what was she thinking?
9. Whoever controls language controls the population
Have you read George Orwell´s classic novel1984 yet? It´s become a clichéd reference in today´s dystopia, that´s true, but with good reason. There are many- too many- parallels between Orwell´s dark imaginary future and our current reality, but one important part of his vision concerned language. Orwell coined the word ´Newspeak´ to describe a simplistic version of the English language with the aim of limiting free thought on issues that would challenge the status quo (creativity, peace, and individualism for example). The concept of Newspeak includes what Orwell called ´DoubleThink´- how language is made ambiguous or even inverted to convey the opposite of what is true. In his book, the Ministry of War is known as the Ministry of Love, for example, while the Ministry of Truth deals with propaganda and entertainment. Sound familiar yet? Another book that delves into this topic deeper is Unspeak, a must-read for anyone interested in language and power and specifically how words are distorted for political ends. Terms such as ´peace keeping missiles´, ´extremists´ and ´no-fly zones´, weapons being referred to as ´assets´, or misleading business euphemisms such as ´downsizing´ for redundancy and ´sunset´ for termination- these, and hundreds of other examples, demonstrate how powerful language can be. In a world of growing corporate media monopolization, those who wield this power can manipulate words and therefore public reaction, to encourage compliance, uphold the status quo, or provoke fear.
10. Freedom of the press no longer exists
The only press that is currently free (at least for now) is the independent publication with no corporate advertisers, board of directors, shareholders or CEOs. Details of how the state has redefined journalism are noted here and are mentioned in #7, but the best recent example would be the government´s treatment of The Guardian over its publication of the Snowden leaks. As a side note, it´s possible this paper plays us as well as any other- The Guardian Media Group isn´t small fry, after all. But on the other hand- bearing in mind points 1 to 9- why should we find it hard to believe that after the NSA files were published, editor Alan Rusbridge wastold by the powers that be ´you´ve had your fun, now return the files´, that government officials stormed his newsroom and smashed up hard drives, or that Greenwald´s partner David Miranda wasdetained for 9 hours in a London airport under the Terrorism Act as he delivered documents related to the columnist´s story? Journalism, Alan Rusbridge lamented, ´may be facing a kind of existential threat.´ As CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather wrote: ‘We have few princes and earls today, but we surely have their modern-day equivalents in the very wealthy who seek to manage the news, make unsavory facts disappear and elect representatives who are in service to their own economic and social agenda… The “free press” is no longer a check on power. It has instead become part of the power apparatus itself.’
Sophie is a staff writer for True Activist and a freelance feature writer for various publications on society, activism and other topics. You can read more of her stuff here.
Source: True Activist
“At last the world knows America as the savior of the world!” – President Woodrow Wilson, Paris Peace Conference, 1919
The horrors reported each day from Syria and Iraq are enough to make one cry; in particular, the atrocities carried out by the al-Qaeda types: floggings; beheadings; playing soccer with the heads; cutting open dead bodies to remove organs just for mockery; suicide bombers, car bombs, the ground littered with human body parts; countless young children traumatized for life; the imposition of sharia law, including bans on music … What century are we living in? What millennium? What world?
People occasionally write to me that my unwavering antagonism toward American foreign policy is misplaced; that as awful as Washington’s Museum of Horrors is, al-Qaeda is worse and the world needs the United States to combat the awful jihadists.
“Let me tell you about the very rich,” F. Scott Fitzgerald famously wrote. “They are different from you and me.”
And let me tell you about American leaders. In power, they don’t think the way you and I do. They don’t feel the way you and I do. They have supported “awful jihadists” and their moral equivalents for decades. Let’s begin in 1979 in Afghanistan, where the Moujahedeen (“holy warriors”) were in battle against a secular, progressive government supported by the Soviet Union; a “favorite tactic” of the Moujahedeen was “to torture victims [often Russians] by first cutting off their nose, ears, and genitals, then removing one slice of skin after another”, producing “a slow, very painful death”.
With America’s massive and indispensable military backing in the 1980s, Afghanistan’s last secular government (bringing women into the 20th century) was overthrown, and out of the victoriousMoujahedeen arose al Qaeda.
During this same period the United States was supporting the infamous Khmer Rouge of Cambodia; yes, the same charming lads of Pol Pot and The Killing Fields.
President Carter’s National Security Adviser, Zbigniew Brzezinski, was a leading force behind the US support of both the Moujahedeen and the Khmer Rouge. What does that tell you about that American leader? Or Jimmy Carter – an inspiration out of office, but a rather different person in the White House? Or Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama, who chose Brzezinski as one of his advisers?
Another proud example of the United States fighting the awful jihadists is Kosovo, an overwhelmingly Muslim province of Serbia. The Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) began an armed conflict with Belgrade in the early 1990s to split Kosovo from Serbia. The KLA was considered a terrorist organization by the US, the UK and France for years, with numerous reports of the KLA having contact with al-Qaeda, getting arms from them, having its militants trained in al-Qaeda camps in Pakistan, and even having members of al-Qaeda in KLA ranks fighting against Serbia. But Washington’s imperialists, more concerned about dealing a blow to Serbia, “the last communist government in Europe”, supported the KLA.
The KLA have been known for their torture and trafficking in women, heroin, and human body parts (sic). The United States has naturally been pushing for Kosovo’s membership in NATO and the European Union.
More recently the US has supported awful jihadists in Libya and Syria, with awful consequences.
It would, moreover, be difficult to name a single brutal dictatorship of the second half of the 20th Century that was not supported by the United States; not only supported, but often put into power and kept in power against the wishes of the population. And in recent years as well, Washington has supported very repressive governments, such as Saudi Arabia, Honduras, Indonesia, Egypt, Colombia, Qatar, and Israel.
Not exactly the grand savior our sad old world is yearning for. (Oh, did I mention that Washington’s policies create a never-ending supply of terrorists?)
And what do American leaders think of their own record? Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was probably speaking for the whole private club when she wrote that in the pursuit of its national security the United States no longer needed to be guided by “notions of international law and norms” or “institutions like the United Nations” because America was “on the right side of history.”
If you’ve never done anything you wouldn’t want the government to know about, you should re-examine your life choices.
“The idea is to build an antiterrorist global environment,” a senior American defense official said in 2003, “so that in 20 to 30 years, terrorism will be like slave-trading, completely discredited.”
One must wonder: When will the dropping of bombs on innocent civilians by the United States, and invading and occupying their country become completely discredited? When will the use of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, CIA torture renditions, and round-the-world, round-the-clock surveillance become things that even men like George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama, and John Brennan will be too embarrassed to defend?
Last month, a former National Security Agency official told the Washington Post that the Agency’s workers are polishing up their résumés and asking that they be cleared – removing any material linked to classified programs – so they can be sent out to potential employers. He noted that one employee who processes the résumés said, “I’ve never seen so many résumés that people want to have cleared in my life.”
Morale is “bad overall”, said another former official. “The news – the Snowden disclosures – it questions the integrity of the NSA workforce,” he said. “It’s become very public and very personal. Literally, neighbors are asking people, ‘Why are you spying on Grandma?’ And we aren’t. People are feeling bad, beaten down.”
President Obama was recently moved to declare that he would be proposing “some self-restraint on the NSA” and “some reforms that can give people more confidence.” He also said “In some ways, the technology and the budgets and the capacity [at NSA] have outstripped the constraints. And we’ve got to rebuild those in the same way that we’re having to do on a whole series of capacities … [such as] drone operations.”
Well, dear readers and comrades, we shall see. But if you’re looking for a glimmer of hope to begin a new year, you may as well try grabbing onto these little offerings. When the American Empire crumbles, abroad and at home, as one day it must, Edward Snowden’s courageous actions may well be seen as one of the key steps along that road. I’ve long maintained that only the American people have the power to stop The Imperial Machine – the monster that eats the world’s environment, screws up its economies, and spews violence on every continent. And for that to happen the American people have to lose their deep-seated, quasi-religious belief in “American Exceptionalism”. For many, what they’ve been forced to learn the past six months has undoubtedly worn deep holes into the protective armor that has surrounded their hearts and minds since childhood.
A surprising and exhilarating example of one of these holes in the armor is the New Year’s day editorial in the New York Times that is now well known. Entitled “Edward Snowden, Whistle-blower” – itself a legitimation of his actions – its key part says: “Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service.”
The president has been moved to appoint a committee to study NSA abuses. This of course is a standard bureaucratic maneuver to keep critics at bay. But the committee – Review Group on Intelligence and Communications Technologies – did come up with a few unexpected recommendations in its report presented December 13, the most interesting of which perhaps are these two:
“Governments should not use surveillance to steal industry secrets to advantage their domestic industry.”
“Governments should not use their offensive cyber capabilities to change the amounts held in financial accounts or otherwise manipulate the financial systems.”
The first recommendation refers to a practice, though certainly despicable, that is something the United States has been doing, and lying about, for decades. Just this past September, James Clapper, Director of US National Intelligence, declared: “What we do not do, as we have said many times, is use our foreign intelligence capabilities to steal the trade secrets of foreign companies.”
Clapper is the same gentleman who told Congress in March that the NSA does not intentionally collect any kind of data on millions of Americans; and, when subsequently challenged on this remark, declared: “I responded in what I thought was the most truthful, or least untruthful, manner by saying ‘no’.”
The second recommendation had not been revealed before, in a Snowden document or from any other source.
“That was a strangely specific recommendation for something nobody was talking about,” observed the director of a government transparency group.
ABC News reported that “A spokesperson for the NSA declined to comment on the issue of bank account hacking, and a representative for U.S. Cyber Command did not immediately return an emailed request for comment.”
Manipulating bank records is about as petty and dishonorable as a superpower can behave, and could conceivably, eventually, lead to the end of the NSA as we’ve all come to know and love it. On the other hand, the Agency no doubt holds some very embarrassing information about anyone in a position to do them harm.
The bombing of Flight 103 – Case closed?
When the 25th anniversary of the 1988 bombing of PanAm Flight 103 occurred on December 21 I was fully expecting the usual repetitions of the false accusation against Libya and Moammar Gaddafi as being responsible for the act which took the lives of 270 people over and in Lockerbie, Scotland. But much to my surprise, mingled with such, there were a rash of comments skeptical of the official British-US version, made by various people in Scotland and elsewhere, including by the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom and Libya.
In a joint statement the three governments said they were determined to unearth the truth behind the attack. “We want all those responsible for this brutal act of terrorism brought to justice, and to understand why it was committed”, they declared.
Remarkable. In 1991, the United States indicted a Libyan named Adelbaset al-Megrahi. He was eventually found guilty of being the sole perpetrator of the crime, kept in prison for many years, and finally released in 2009 when he had terminal cancer, allegedly for humanitarian reasons, although an acute smell of oil could be detected. And now they speak of bringing to justice “those responsible for this brutal act of terrorism”.
The 1988 crime was actually organized by Iran in retaliation for the American shooting down of an Iranian passenger plane in July of the same year, which took the lives of 290 people. It was carried out by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command (PFLP-GC), a 1968 breakaway from a component of the Palestine Liberation Organization, with some help from Syria. And this version was very widely accepted in the Western world, in government and media circles. Until the US buildup to the Gulf War came along in 1990 and the support of Iran and Syria was needed. Then, suddenly, we were told that it was Libya behind the crime.
If the US and UK now wish to return to Iran, and perhaps Syria, as the culprits, they will have a lot of explaining to do about their previous lie. But these two governments always have a lot of explaining to do. They’re good at it. And the great bulk of their indoctrinated citizens, with little resistance, will accept the new/old party line, and their mainstream media will effortlessly switch back to the old/new official version, since Iran and Syria are at the top of the current list of Bad Guys. (The PFLP-GC has been quiescent for some time and may scarcely exist.)
If you’re confused by all this, I suggest that you start by reading my detailed article on the history of this case, written in 2001 but still very informative and relevant. You may be rather surprised.
The UK, US and Libyan governments have now announced that they will co-operate to reveal “the full facts” of the Lockerbie bombing. And Robert Mueller, the former head of the FBI, said he believes more people will be charged. This could be very interesting.
Free books of historical value
- The complete set, less one volume, of the 15 Church Committee (1975-6) volumes. Lacking only Final Report, book 6: “Congressional Research Service. Supplementary Reports on Intelligence Activities.”
- The complete set, less one volume, of the 6 Pike Committee volumes. Lacking only volume 6: “Committee Proceedings, part II”
- The Rockefeller Commission Report, one volume.
- Hearings on FISA (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) before Senate Select Committee on Intelligence (same as Church Committee), one volume.
Total of 21 volumes, all from 1975-1976, all in good condition. Either pick them up in Washington, DC or send me $10 for postage.
- Washington Post May 11, 1979; New York Times, April 13 1979
- William Blum, “Rogue State: A Guide to the World’s Only Superpower” (2005), chapter 10
- RT TV (Russia Today, Moscow), May 4, 2012
- Associated Press, December 14, 2010
- Foreign Affairs (Council on Foreign Relations), January/February 2000 issue
- New York Times, January 17, 2003
- Washington Post, December 7, 2013
- Washington Post, December 18, 2013
- Washington Post, December 7, 2013
- “Liberty and Security in a Changing World”, p.221
- See Anti-Empire Report, #118, June 26, 2013, second part
- Statement by Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper on Allegations of Economic Espionage, September 8, 2013
- NBC News, June 9, 2013
- Kel McLanahan, executive director of National Security Counselors, speaking to ABC News Radio, December 23, 2013
- ABC News Radio, December 23, 2013
- Reuters news agency, December 22, 2013
A few years back, at the end of 2009, I was approached on two separate occasions by people claiming to be “representatives” of a digital alternative currency format. I was, of course, intrigued by the initial proposal, being that I had been writing for some time on the concept of non-participation as a way to insulate average Americans from the dangers of our unstable fiat driven mainstream economy. Before that, I had already dealt with just about every currency alternative one could imagine; from paper scripts backed by goods, to scripts backed by time or labor, to gold and silver laden currency cards, etc, etc. All of them had the advantage of NOT relying on private Federal Reserve notes, and all of them had flaws as well. The proposed digital script, which the representatives called “Bitcoin”, was no different.
The idea was to recruit my website as a promoter for bitcoin, but I had many questions before I would stick my neck out on a brand new high-tech anti-currency, and most of these question were not answered in any satisfactory manner.
There is no shortage of “solutions” in Liberty Movement circles, but many of these solutions require that we work within the system according to establishment rules (which they can change at any given moment). They assume that the system will abide by some kind of internal code, that our candidates will be treated fairly, that elections will not be rigged, that a better methodology or technology will be acknowledged and eventually adopted, that the “majority” of the public will someday see the light and back our cause, that the elite will not simply decide to put a bullet in our head.
The reality is, if a solution is dependent on a paradigm controlled by the corrupt system you are trying to change, it is no solution at all. Because of this, my focus has always been on methods that separate Americans from reliance on the system as much as possible.
When first confronted with bitcoin activism, I recognized almost immediately that this was NOT a method that operated outside the system, even though it tried very hard to appear that way. It was high-tech, it was sexy (admittedly far sexier in its presentation than gold and silver), and it catered to the egos of the digital generation, the loudest voices in media today. This thing was certainly marketable. However, just because something is highly marketable does not make it a good idea, or a meaningful alternative.
The Tantalizing Allure Of Non-Solutions
When a person invests a sizable amount of capital into an idea, not to mention a sizable amount of philosophical faith, they tend to lose a measure of objectivity. This is not just a struggle for proponents of bitcoin but for proponents of ALL methodologies. I do believe that many bitcoin promoters have the best of intentions, and that they are seeking some way to break from what they understand is a corrupt financial structure. That said, there is an escalating streak of elitism within the bitcoin culture, and I have witnessed on numerous occasions the kind of anger and immediate dismissal the average statist would spew when they are confronted with criticism. If you dare to question the greater details behind Bitcoin, be prepared to be accused of anything from “conspiracy theory”, to “jealousy” for missing the boat on bitcoin profits, to “ignorance” of the genius of cryptography.
What I came to realize through my questions to bitcoin followers was that many of them were not actually involved in the deeper aspects of the Liberty Movement, constitutional activism, sound money, self defense, and so on. Almost none of them had a preparedness plan, few of them had experience with precious metals, none of them owned firearms, and none of them had any inclination towards the building of local networks for mutual aid. Worst of all, many of them had no understanding of the wider threat of economic collapse that America faces today. In fact, when the possibility of full spectrum collapse is brought up, many Bitcoiners actually respond with the same brand of shallow dismissals that one would expect from the Paul Krugman’s and Ben Bernanke’s of the world.
This reaction is not necessarily shocking. Most people imagine themselves accomplishing heroic feats, and why not? It is one of the more noble and beautiful traits of mankind. For the crypto-engineers of the new century and the digital generation overall, heroics have felt unattainable. Elections are finally being recognized as the sham they represent, while protest activism has fallen flat on its face. The concept of peaceful redress of grievances has been met with rather frightening displays of state violence and censorship to which a physical response for the common protestor is unthinkable. The signs and slogan chants may have inspired the education of some, but in the meantime, they have accomplished very little in terms of political or social change. The bottom line is that the establishment LOVES non-aggression protests – they have no plan, few concrete goals, and present no overt threat to the elite.
The system only grows more despotic, more invasive, and more dangerous. Anti-establishment champions have been searching for something that goes beyond mere “education”, or clamoring like caged monkeys for media attention. They want to storm the castle, they want to fight back, but they haven’t the slightest clue how. They desire an intellectual method of combat, something with far less fear, far less risk, and far less pain. Enter Bitcoin.
Bitcoin gives the digital generation the chance to feel heroic where they never could before. They don’t have to face the machine head on. They don’t have to fight. They don’t have to suffer. They don’t have to die. All they have to do is utilize some cryptographic wizardry within the supposedly anonymous safety of the web, buy bitcoins en masse, and the system would crumble at their feet, rebuilt in the name of free markets by the electronic commons and without a shot fired. Again, very sexy…
Unfortunately, the real world does not necessarily lend itself to the demands of the digital. The digital world is at the mercy of physical. The real world is rarely sexy; often it is ugly, brutal, hypocritical, illogical, and psychotic. The real world, at times, can break, and when it does the digital will break with it. The digital world is in large part a fantasy supported by the whims of the real. Which leads me to the core failings of the bitcoin adventure…
We’ve all heard praises lavished on bitcoin, not only from the web activists but from the mainstream media itself. Establishment controlled outlets like Reuters and Bloomberg have an astonishing number of bitcoin stories per week, and most of these stories paint the crypto-currency in a positive light. We’ve heard about bitcoin’s “unbreakable” cryptography. Its finite supply. The inability to duplicate the currency from thin air. Its rising acceptance in the corporate world. The Cinderella stories of bitcoin investors buying Lamborghinis and New York brownstones. Even Ben Bernanke seems to have a soft spot for bitcoin:
But is bitcoin’s rise really all it’s cracked up to be? Here are just a few of the problems which lead me to believe the digital currency is ultimately a clever distraction.
Who really started Bitcoin?
One of my first questions to bitcoin representatives back in 2009 was WHO, exactly, founded the operation? Well, Satoshi Nakamodo, everyone knows that, right? But who the hell is Satoshi Nakamodo? Who is the original designer of bitcoin? Who holds the foundational key to the structure of bitcoin’s cryptography? Is Nakamodo a person, or a group? Why should we trust him, or them, to safeguard our wealth any more than the Federal Reserve? The fact is no one except maybe Gavin Andresen, the chief scientist at the Bitcoin Foundation, knows who is behind the digital currency. We actually know more about the banking elites behind the Fed than we do about the founders of bitcoin.
The common response to this concern is to suggest that it doesn’t really matter, bitcoin is secure, it is open source, it is cryptography’s holy grail, the creators are protecting their identities against retribution from the establishment, and the excuses go on…
I’m sorry, but this attitude constitutes an act of blind faith in a currency mechanism, which is exactly what proponents of the dollar are guilty of. If an activist individual or group is going to offer a solution to the movement, then they had better be willing to take the risk of being personally available to the movement. If you don’t have the balls to show your face to help legitimize your idea, I can’t take your idea seriously. Maybe I’m just old fashioned…
For all we know, bitcoin is a creation of the establishment, not a creation countering the establishment. After all, the globalists WANT the destruction of the dollar – why not let the public destroy the dollar using a mechanism that ultimately does not represent a threat to the greater bankster cartel?
The Media Love Affair With Bitcoin
During the first and second Ron Paul campaigns, the mainstream media made a blatant and obvious effort to purposely ignore the candidate, his arguments, and his successes. Coverage was next to nil. His expansive crowds of supporters were edited out of news footage. His high polling numbers were censored. If not for the independent media, you wouldn’t have known the guy existed. When someone or something presents a legitimate threat to the establishment, the establishment’s first tactic is to make sure no one knows.
Bitcoin, on the other hand, has received a steady flow of positive media attention, with the random critical piece thrown in for good measure. Overall, the establishment has embraced, if not directly fueled, the bitcoin trend. This is rather surprising to me considering the “destroyer of the dollar” has only been around for four years.
When an anti-establishment vehicle suddenly becomes the center focus of establishment affections, and when globalist monsters like Ben Bernanke throw flower petals in its path, I have to wonder if Bitcoin is a real threat, or just a ruse.
Bitcoins Can Indeed Be Confiscated
Some of the early hype surrounding Bitcoin claimed that the currency could not be confiscated, making it “better than gold” (the better than gold motto has been widely espoused by Gavin Andresen). This claim turned out to be false when the FBI became the holder of the world’s LARGEST Bitcoin wallet:
I find arguments that this is only a temporary condition and that the feds will eventually auction off their holdings a bit laughable, but indicative of the denial inherent in Bitcoin culture.
Bitcoin Values Can Be Manipulated
Another claim heard was the assertion that bitcoins cannot be created out of thin air, they must be “mined” using powerful computers, which removes centralized manipulation of value. This may be true in certain respects (for now), but anything digital can be exploited in one way or another.
Bitcoin malware, for instance, hijacks the computers of unwitting people and uses them to artificially “mine” the currency.
The bitcoins mined are then transferred into the hands of anonymous hackers. This represents a serious threat to the stability of bitcoin because it creates an invasive form of attack speculation. Bitcoins can be removed from the market and deliberately hoarded. Hackers, or governments could conceivably kill bitcoin by mining a large portion of them out of circulation, artificially hyperinflating the value of the remaining coins (like a speculator would do with commodities), or dumping a large portion and abruptly cutting the value. Major bitcoin hoarders could use their massive bitcoin stakes to shift values at will. As long a Bitcoin operates on supply and demand, it can be threatened through speculation like ay other commodity (if you consider digitized numbers floating around the web a commodity).
Bitcoin Is Not Private
While bitcoins can apparently be stolen or criminally mined by anonymous persons or organizations, honest users are subject to considerable scrutiny. A disturbing aspect of bitcoin is the group surveillance that goes into tracing transactions, otherwise known as the “proof of work system”. The bitcoin network is constantly dependent on decoders who track and verify bitcoin trades in order to ensure that the same bitcoins are not used during multiple trades or purchases. Anyone with the desire could decode the transaction history of the network, or “block chain”, including governments. Though Bitcoiners are considered “partially anonymous”, tracking the individual identity of a bitcoin trade is not difficult for entities such as the NSA because every transaction leaves a digital trail..
The use of anonymising browsers like Tor also have not produced the kind of privacy that was promised when bitcoin was introduced.
This is exactly the kind of currency system global bankers have sought for some time – total information awareness of all financial transactions and purchases within the system. While bitcoin proponents claim that their currency is a revolution against centralized oversight of monetary transactions, the truth is they have built the perfect centralized surveillance solution. Paper dollar purchases are difficult to trace. Gold, silver, and barter purchases are nearly impossible to track. Bitcoin, though, is the most traceable form of currency on the planet, and this is basically REQUIRED by the network itself. The entire trade history of every bitcoin is recorded. The digital landscape is the ultimate form of privacy invasion, especially for the likes of super computer wielding agencies like the NSA. Bitcoin aids the development of this intrusive system.
Bitcoin Relies On The Continued Survival Of The Open Web
Yes, bitcoins can be stored on physical wallet devices, but the majority portion of bitcoin trading and bitcoin mining requires the continued operation of the web. The internet is NOT a creative commons, as many believe. It is in fact a controlled networking system that we have simply been allowed to use. The exposure by Edward Snowden of NSA activities has proven once and for all that nothing you do on the web is private. Everything is tracked and recorded. Period.
Web access can also be easily denied by governments, and power centers around the globe have been utilizing this option more and more. During a national crisis, whether real or engineered, the continued function of the internet as we know it is not guaranteed. A currency relying on a government dominated internet is not truly independent. A grid down situation would also make bitcoin stores virtually useless.
The Suspicious Nature Of Bitcoin
Bitcoin is consistently touted as a superior option to precious metals as a way to decouple from central bank fiat. Under examination, though, it appears to me that bitcoin is instead a deliberate distraction away from gold and silver, and other tangible solutions; in other words, I believe it to be a form of controlled opposition.
A vital aspect of physical gold and silver investment is not only to break from the dollar, but to also remove physical metal from the system and starve international banks that issue millions of fraudulent unbacked paper certificates. The strategy, which I still stand by, is for the public to absorb as much of the precious metals market as possible until manipulators like JP Morgan finally have to admit that they don’t have the coins and bars to back all the fake ETF’s they have been issuing investors for years. In the process, we decouple from the dollar AND do damage to the banking cartel itself. The bitcoin fad, in my opinion, is designed to lure the public away from overtaking the metals market while banks and foreign governments vacuum up remaining physical in preparation for a dollar collapse.
Bitcoin’s market value is not only extremely volatile, the currency is also subject to replacement at any time. Anyone with an interest can create a cryptocurrency. There is nothing particularly special about the bitcoin design, and if someone offered a digital currency tomorrow that was truly anonymous, it could quickly supplant bitcoin. Though its cryptography makes it difficult to artificially inflate (again, for now), other digital currencies can still be produced out of thin air. Bitcoiners desperately want to equate cryptography with tangibility, but the truth is that there is no comparison. Physical gold and silver cannot be artificially produced by anyone, anywhere. Digital currencies can be produced at will and hyped like Dutch tulip mania.
The most unsettling aspect of bitcoin, however, is not its distraction away from precious metals. Rather, it is the distraction away from localized solutions. Bitcoin proponents may be searching for decentralization, but they seem to have forgotten the most most important part of the process – localism. The trade of digital mechanisms over impersonal web networks and online marketplaces is not conducive to local economic stability or sustainability. Bitcoin does not encourage people to build local markets, to adopt useful trade skills, to prepare for a grid down scenario, or circulate wealth within one’s community. Bitcoin only furthers the removal of independence and self sustainability from local economies by fooling activists into thinking that buying things without dollars is enough.
If Americans in particular want to pursue any solution to the threat of globalism or dollar collapse, they are going to have to start with themselves, and the community around them. Online trade is the last thing they should be worried about. Only when neighborhoods, towns, and counties become producers and self suppliers will they be safe from financial instability. Only when those same communities band together for mutual aid and self defense will they be safe from tyrannical political entities. Bitcoin accomplishes nothing in either of these categories, making it possibly the most popular non-solution for liberty to date.
Source: Brandon Smith | Alt-Market
It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the Truth and expose lies. — Noam Chomsky.
My book, The Wizards of Ozymandias, was dedicated “To the memory and spirit of Sophie and Hans Scholl and the White Rose, who reminded us what it means to be civilized.” These wonderful young people — most in their teens or twenties — lived in Germany during the Hitler regime, and spent much of their time writing and distributing leaflets exposing and criticizing the policies and practices of the Nazi state. They were found out; brought to trial; found guilty of treason, the demoralization of the troops, and abetting the enemy, and summarily beheaded. Sophie’s Gestapo interrogator raises the same arguments one hears directed against such modern speakers of truth as Chelsea Manning, Ed Snowden, Julian Assange, Glenn Greenwald, and others. Those whose moral and intellectual standards can rise no higher than to whine “the law is the law,” would do well to consider the exchange between Sophie and her prosecutor. The Nazi functionary declares: “Without law, there is no order. What can we rely on if not the law?” Sophie responds: “Your conscience. Laws change. Conscience doesn’t.”
Our Western culture is in a state of total collapse. Our institutionalized world is increasingly hostile to any utterances of truth that would be upsetting to the status quo. The mainstream media and most of academia long ago gave themselves over to propagandizing on behalf of defending and/or enhancing the coercive power structure of the state. When war policies are under discussion, retired Army generals or officials from “think-tanks” funded by the national defense industry, are trotted out to “debate” such non-issues as how many troops to send in, who to attack, etc., etc., all to maintain the pretense of having a “fully-informed” public. But when was the last time you saw a Robert Higgs, Noam Chomsky, Lew Rockwell, Amy Goodman, Justin Raimondo, Angela Keaton, Karen Kwiatkowski, Chris Hedges, or other critic of the war system allowed to raise the kinds of questions that are not supposed to be asked in this best of all possible worlds? Do you recall the insult to human intelligence perpetrated by the GOP (Grand Old Pettifoggers) in its efforts to prevent Ron Paul from expressing his contrary views?
Noam Chomsky’s above quote doesn’t go far enough: it is the responsibility of all thinking people — not just so-called “intellectuals” — to speak the truth and to expose lies! To this end, increasing numbers of people understand that the sources to whom they have been conditioned to look for truth, analysis, and understanding, have largely failed in their roles. To put the proposition more frankly: more and more people have grasped the fact that the free flow of information is disruptive of the interests of the institutional order, whose established position depends upon suppressing or destroying all evidence of the lies, conflicts, contradictions, and destructive nature upon which its primacy depends. This is why so much of the media and academia are peopled with those unable or unwilling to shed light on the dysfunctional nature of the well-ordered madness of the world; men and women who remain content to tread water at the shallow end of the human gene pool!
The political establishment has implicitly embraced the mindset of Hitler’s Propaganda Minister, Dr. Joseph Goebbels:
The lie can be maintained only for such time as the State can shield the people from the political, economic and/or military consequences of the lie. It thus becomes vitally important for the State to use all of its powers to repress dissent, for the truth is the mortal enemy of the lie, and thus by extension the truth becomes the greatest enemy of the State.
This is why the state is so threatened by such modern technologies as the Internet, as well as by the “whistleblowers” who insist on exposing the state’s embarrassing truths to the general public. It is also why the classic The Emperor’s New Clothes needs to be read to every child — as well, perhaps, to adults.
Cable news channels continue providing platforms for those who remind us that the whistleblowers “broke the law,” and need to be punished. They recite their bromides with the kind of self-assurance that comes from the delusion that they are actually saying something profound. I find it particularly amusing to hear such babbling coming from lawyers who ought to know that all laws are meant to be broken. Imagine what would happen if every legal dictate were to be obeyed by everyone: no speeding or reckless driving; no illegal drug use; no murders, rapes, or robberies; no discriminatory hiring practices; no zoning violations; etc. What would be the likely consequences? Men and women might then begin to ask the kinds of questions the state could not afford to have asked: why do we need the police, or courts, or prisons? In the world of realpolitik, those who are driven not by a need for social order, but by the ambition for coercive power over their neighbors, would have to dream up new “wrongs” to be policed. The mania that underlies political programs based on “climate change” is just one example of how those who want power over others must invent more and more “conflicts” with which to rationalize their coercive ambitions. It is this sense that Edmund Burke had in mind when he characterized lawyers as “the fomenters and conductors of the petty wars of village vexation.” The habit is not confined to lawyers!
This also explains Randolph Bourne’s observation that “war is the health of the state.” The war system — whose schemes and chicanery the whistleblowers have been exposing — depends upon the kinds of endless conflicts with the rest of the world that will cause Boobus Americanus to part with his liberty, wealth, and life.
Sophie and Hans Scholl and their White Rose friends had minds capable of distinguishing what was legal and what was right, a skill that depends upon separating what is popular from what is true. Sophie’s insights were reflected, years later, in Hannah Arendt’s observation: “The aim of totalitarian education has never been to instill convictions, but to destroy the capacity to form any.”
Butler Shaffer teaches at the Southwestern University School of Law. He is the author of the newly-released In Restraint of Trade: The Business Campaign Against Competition, 1918–1938, Calculated Chaos: Institutional Threats to Peace and Human Survival, andBoundaries of Order. His latest book is The Wizards of Ozymandias.
Source: Butler Shaffer | LewRockwell.com