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David Price Takes on the CIA Over Its Secret Torture Program, But Is He Asking the Right Questions?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 17/10/2020 - 1:24am in

Democratic Congressman David Price wants the CIA to come clean about its Rendition, Detention, and Interrogation (RDI) program which detained, interrogated, disappeared, and tortured potentially thousands of Muslims at CIA “black sites” around the world from the fall of 2001 until 2009 when its discovery led to its notorious end.

In a letter addressed to CIA director Gina Haspel last week, the North Carolina representative and chairman of the Transportation and HUD appropriations subcommittee asked for more details about his state’s role in the covert operation, requesting the release of certain classified materials pertaining to the use of North Carolina facilities and residents in the rendition process.

Price raises important questions that remain unanswered despite several years of research and pressure by activist organizations and journalists into the still elusive truth about the systematic policy of kidnapping and torture instituted via a secret memorandum signed by George W. Bush only six days after the events of September 11, 2001.

Congressman Price frames his letter to Haspel in terms of concern for the people of his home state of North Carolina, which is enough to embody at least the pretense of justice. But, given the unspeakable suffering and horrors visited upon the unknown number of innocent victims of the RDI program, Price’s late and limited election-time appeal smacks of political showmanship.

Laudable as the Congressman’s efforts may be, they still fall short of probing the darkest truths behind the RDI program, which threaten to expose the American war machine and the interests that motivate it.

 

Vacation in Macedonia

Khaled El-Masri was about to ring in 2004 in one of the oldest parts of the old world when he was forcibly abducted by a crew of seven or eight armed men and held in a hotel for 23 days. It would mark the beginning of a heart-wrenching ordeal for El-Masri, a German-Lebanese citizen who never imagined his vacation in Macedonia would include a nearly five-month layover in a CIA torture facility.

According to investigators with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), which filed a lawsuit on his behalf in 2007, El-Masri was chained, hooded, drugged and flown to the American-occupied city of Kabul in Afghanistan via Baghdad aboard a Boeing aircraft with a tail number registered in North Carolina. He was held in a small concrete cell inside a former brick factory outside of Kabul with no bed for the following five months, where he was beaten, tortured, and interrogated by Arabic-speaking men about his supposed and never-proven links to the September 11 hijackers. In May of 2004, El-Masri was flown to Albania and unceremoniously dumped in the foreign country to fend for himself.

CIA torture

A composite image of CIA torture victims from a senate ‘torture report’ released as part of a ACLU lawsuit

His story was repeated hundreds, if not thousands of times with baselessly targeted Muslims, including children and pregnant women, who were abducted by CIA-backed mercenaries under the auspices of the RDI program. The official number of victims acknowledged by the U.S. government sits at just over 100 people, but the full scope of the covert torture operation has yet to be revealed since the government’s own Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program remains classified.

Nevertheless, independent studies of the RDI program have unearthed enough evidence to conclude that the scale of the illegal CIA-run operation far exceeds the tally so far. The plane used to fly El-Masri was one of two aircraft owned by a CIA front company and operated out of North Carolina in a highly-protected corner of the state’s Global TransPark – a multi-modal center that houses major aerospace manufacturing facilities, like Spirit AeroSystems and Boeing and military facilities.

The airplane in question, tail number N313P, is linked back to a small company called Aero Contractors, Ltd., which is cited in the Congressman’s letter and is at the center of many of the independent inquiries into the matter. However, Aero Contractor’s role – while significant – is much more narrow than that of the company to which the aircraft was sold to before the renditions began.

 

The shell in the shell

Founded in 1979 by a former pilot with the CIA’s Air America, Aero Contractors works through several shell companies. One of these companies, Premier Executive Transport Services, purchased the N313P aircraft within weeks of the RDI program’s start and performed a number of technical upgrades to the plane, including the installation of vertical fins to help it take off from short runways or rough weather conditions, as well as boosting fuel efficiency, among other tweaks to improve the airplane’s overall range.

Investigative reporter and expert in clandestine military installations, Trevor Paglen, together with ProPublica staff reporter A.C. Thompson, manage to pull the curtain back somewhat in their book, Torture Taxi: On the Trail of the Cia’s Rendition Flights, disclosing that after the modifications were made, the plane was sold to another shady outfit registered in Reno, Nevada called Keeler and Tate Management Group LLC., which they traced back to one of the most powerful lobbying firms in DC, the Paul Laxalt Group, and run by its now-deceased founder, Paul Laxalt and his brother Peter.

While Aero Contractor pilots and mechanics continued to take care of the technical operation of the aircraft, it was the CIA-front Nevada company, Keeler and Tate Management, that was in charge of the renditions and other more germane aspects of the RDI.

CIA torture North Carolina

The only known photo of a CIA plane on CIA property taken at CIA leased facilities at the Johnston County Airport, North Carolina. Photo | Clayton Hallmark

The lack of attention to this particular detail speaks volumes, considering that Paul Laxalt, a former Republican governor of Nevada and one of the biggest names in the state’s politics, was also a liaison between the Senate and the White House during the Iran-Contra scandal. In addition to being a close confidant to Ronald Reagan and thrice running his election campaigns, Laxalt was also late CIA director William Casey’s good friend.

Laxalt’s lobbying firm, now run by his daughter Michelle Laxalt, has an extensive clientele and was representing many defense industry stalwarts like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Honeywell, and many others in 2001. His relationship to the company that owned N313P and N379P – the two aircraft used to carry out over 77 illegal rendition flights, that are still unaccounted for – has been ignored by most investigations into the RDI program.

The North Carolina Congressman’s letter to Gina Haspel focuses on Aero Contractors and never mentions Laxalt or Keeler and Tate, the front company he ran for the CIA. Stopping the inquiry about one of the most egregious and coordinated abuses of human rights in modern times at the feet of a contractor seems a disservice to the truth and to the possibly thousands of illegally detained and tortured men, women, and children of Muslim persuasion.

 

The unaccounted for

According to annex B included in Congressman David Price’s letter to the CIA director, the mission of 77 “suspicious circuits flown” by the two aforementioned aircraft operated by Aero Contractors “remains to be determined.” It is a form of political sophistry to give Aero Contractors the benefit of the doubt, considering that all the evidence points towards the obvious.

In the rendition flight logs that have been disclosed, 49 prisoners were transported to multiple locations throughout the Middle East, Asia, and Eastern Europe. Like El-Masri, many abductees were dropped in countries they knew nothing about. Afghanistan, Egypt, Pakistan, Jordan, Iraq, and, of course, Guantanamo Bay, Cuba are among the destinations several of these victims of naked U.S. imperialism were shuttled to and tortured.

The fate of the majority of these victims is unknown and is one of the questions Price poses to Haspel. But, in light of events that have transpired in the world since 9/11 and the proliferation of ISIS and other terrorist groups, it behooves us to not fall into our own sophistries and pretend that we really don’t know.

Feature photo | This photo depicting two people, appearing to be bound, was released the by Department of Defense as part of a long-running ACLU lawsuit relating to CIA torture on February 5, 2015.

Raul Diego is a MintPress News Staff Writer, independent photojournalist, researcher, writer and documentary filmmaker.

The post David Price Takes on the CIA Over Its Secret Torture Program, But Is He Asking the Right Questions? appeared first on MintPress News.

Lawless Tories Pass Legislation Allowing Security Forces to Commit Crimes

This is very ominous. It’s another attack on the security of British citizens from potential persecution and tyranny from their own government. On Wednesday, 6th October 2020, Mike put up a piece on his blog reporting that Boris Johnson and his cronies have passed legislation that permits MI5, the National Crime Agency and other organisations using undercover agents and informants to commit crimes. They do, however, have to show that the offences are ‘necessary and proportionate’, but won’t say which crimes are authorised for fear of revealing the identities of their spies to the criminals and terrorists they are attempting to infiltrate and monitor. Mike also points out that there’s the danger of ‘mission creep’, that the scope of the crimes the undercover cops and agents are permitted to commit will expand as the security forces decide that this is required by their activities.

The new law was opposed by both Labour and Tory MPs, criticising the lack of safeguards in it which they described as ‘very vague and very broad’. In fact, only 182 Tory MPs voted for it. Keir Starmer once again showed his Blairite utter lack of backbone, and ordered the party to abstain. Only 20 Labour MPs voted against it. This means that it would have failed if Labour had had any principles and opposed it. Unsurprisingly, the Labour MPs who voted against it included the ‘far left’ MPs Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Ian Lavery, whose tweet explaining his reasons for doing so Mike also gives in his piece. Lavery said

I voted against the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill tonight. This was the correct course of action. I simply could not support legislation that would allow #spycops to murder, torture and use sexual violence without fear of any legal accountability.

Mike’s article also includes numerous other tweets from ordinary Brits condemning the new law and the Labour party and its leader for not opposing it, except for Corbyn and the other 19 courageous and principled MPs. Carole Hawkins, for example, tweeted

Mass kidnappings, torture & assassinations all without any comeback now the rule of law in 3rd world, nonentity Torydom. Every so called “British value” disappeared on the 5/10/20.

And Elaine Dyson said

#StarmerOut The Labour party & the public deserve better. During the COVID-19 crisis & with Brexit just a couple of months away, we need a strong opposition against the Tory gov. Labour must stop whipping its MPs to abstain on bills that leave sh*tstains on human rights.

Mike comments

There is only one reasonable response to legislation that authorises government agents to commit crimes – especially extreme crimes such as those contemplated here, and that is opposition.

But opposition is not in Keir Starmer’s vocabulary.

Let’s have a leadership challenge. He has to go.

And if he isn’t ousted this time, let’s have another challenge, and another, until he is. He has turned Labour into a travesty.

This is a real threat to the safety of ordinary citizens, and another step towards despotism and arbitrary government. This is very much the issue which made Robin Ramsay set up the conspiracies/ parapolitics magazine Lobster in the early 1980s. There is plentiful evidence that the western security forces are out of control, and are responsible for serious crimes against people and their governments. The late William Blum, a fierce, indefatiguable critic of the American empire and its intelligence agencies, has published any number of books exposing and discussing the way they have conspired to overthrow foreign governments and assassinate their leaders. One of these has two chapters simply listing the countries, whose governments the US has overthrown and in whose democratic elections it has interfered. One of the most notorious is the CIA coup of the mid-70s that overthrew the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, Salvador Allende, by the Fascist dictator General Pinochet.

Britain’s own security forces have also shown themselves no strangers to such activities. In the 1950s we conspired to overthrow the last, democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadeq, because he dared to nationalise the Iranian oil industry, the majority of which was owned by us. We’ve since engaged in rigging elections and other covert activities in other countries around the world. During the Troubles in Northern Ireland, British security forces colluded secretly with loyalist paramilitaries in the assassination of Republicans. The IRD, a state propaganda department set up to counter Soviet propaganda, also smeared left-wing Labour MPs such as Tony Benn as supporters of the IRA. All this and worse is described by the entirely respectable, mainstream historian Rory Cormac in his book Disrupt and Deny: Spies, Special Forces and the Secret Pursuit of British Foreign Policy.

Such lawbreaking and criminality is the reason that there is a significant conspiracist subculture in America and Britain. Following the assassination of JFK and the shock of Watergate, many Americans don’t trust their government. This distrust mostly takes the form of paranoid, bizarre, and in my view utterly false and dangerous stories about the government forming secret pacts with aliens from Zeta Reticuli to experiment on humans in exchange for alien technology. But some of this distrust is justified. In the 1970s, for example, the CIA plotted to stage a bomb attack in Miami. This would be blamed on Cuba, and provide the pretext for an invasion to oust Castro and his communist government. Fortunately this was never put into practice, but this, and similar entirely historical, factual plots, mean that Americans are justified in being wary and suspicious of their secret state and intelligence agencies.

And so should we.

We’ve already taken several significant steps towards authoritarian rule. One of the most significant of these was the passages of legislation by Blair and then David Cameron setting up secret courts. This allows suspects to be tried in secret, with the press and public excluded, if it is deemed necessary for reasons of national security. The law also allows evidence to be withheld from the defendant and his lawyers for the same reason, in case it reveals the identities of agents and informants. As I’ve said numerous times before, this is very much the kind of perverted justice system that Kafka described in his novels The Castle and The Trial, and which became a horrifying reality in Nazi Germany, Fascist Italy and Stalin’s Russia.

The idea that the state, or high-ranking individuals within it, are engaged in a conspiracy against their own people has now become something of a staple in American cinema and television. There was Nine Days of the Condor in the 1970s, in which Dustin Hoffman plays a secret agent, whose co-workers are killed by another covert organisation while he’s out getting lunch, and then the X-Files in the 1990s. Not to mention Star Trek: Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond, both of which feature rogue Federation officers conspiring to lead some kind of attack on the Federation itself.

Back down to Earth, the 1990’s British police drama, Between the Lines, also tackled the issue of rogue undercover agents. Between the Lines starred Neil Pearson and Siobhan Redmond as members of a unit set up to investigate offences committed by police officers. This included issues that are still, unfortunately, very much relevant, such as the shooting of unarmed suspects by mistake by armed police. One episode had the team investigating a secret agent, who had infiltrated a neo-Nazi organisation. This man was responsible for a series of assaults, raising the question that he had actually gone native and become part of the group he was supposed to bring down. This was at least 25 years ago, and it depicts exactly the kind of thing that could and no doubt has happened. Except that the Tory legislation means that the individuals responsible for such crimes, or at least some of them, will be exempt from prosecution under the new laws.

As for the claims that there will somehow be safeguards to prevent abuse, I’m reminded of the Charter of Verona, issued by Mussolini’s Fascists towards the end of Fascist rule in Italy. By then the majority of Italy had been occupied by the Allies. Mussolini himself was the puppet head of a rump Fascist state in northern Italy, the infamous Salo Republic. The Duce attempted to regain some popularity for himself and his movement by taking a leftward turn, promising the workers’ a place in industrial management. The Charter declared that no individual would be held for more than seven days without charge or trial. Which sounds far more liberal than previous Fascist rule. The reality, however, was that the Salo Republic was propped up by the Nazis, while brutal deaths squads like the Deci Mas roamed the countryside killing anti-Fascists.

Britain isn’t a Fascist state by any means at the moment. But legislation like this paves the way for the emergence of a genuine authoritarian regime. It is an active threat to the lives and security of ordinary Brits, and Starmer had no business whatsoever supporting it.

As Venezuela Foils CIA “Terror Plot” Pompeo Tours Its Neighbors To Talk Regime Change

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 17/09/2020 - 6:44am in

Venezuela’s government has announced it has foiled a potential terror attack, arresting a former CIA operative while he was on a stakeout near the country’s largest oil refining facility.

Matthew John Heath was arrested with three other Venezuelans outside the Amuay and Cardon refineries in Falcon state in the west of the country, reportedly carrying a submachine gun, a grenade launcher, four blocks of C4 explosives, a satellite phone, and stacks of U.S. dollars. He has been charged with terrorism and weapons trafficking. The country’s prosecutor general, Tarek William Saab, claimed that Heath entered Venezuela illegally via the Colombian border without a passport, although police found a photocopy hidden on his person. Saab also said that Heath was carrying a small coin or badge that CIA employees use to prove their identity to one another without raising suspicions.

Images released by the Venezuelan government show items seized from Heath upon his arrest:

Venezuela John Heath

According to police investigations, Heath is a former marine who served as a communications operator in a “secret CIA base” in Iraq for ten years between 2006 and 2016, where he was hired by private security firm MVM. MVM was founded by a former U.S. Secret Service agent and continues to work closely with Washington. According to business directory Dun & Bradstreet, the company “provides security staffing and consulting services, primarily to U.S. government entities.” “Need a secret agent?” begins MVM’s biography. Researcher Jeb Sprague told MintPress today that Heath’s family has a lengthy background in the oil industry. While this suggests that the operation could have been as “innocent” as a corporate spying mission, it is difficult to see why anyone would possess grenade launchers and C4 if not for seriously nefarious purposes.

 

A deafening silence

Silence on the incident from the U.S. government, who never misses an opportunity to escalate tensions with Venezuela, is notable. The fact that the government has not commented on a U.S. citizen being charged with terrorism is “very telling,” according to Caribbean specialist Arnold August, who told By Any Means Necessary that Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “are in a difficult position,” “dancing around the fact that there are obvious incursions organized by the U.S. into Venezuela that are far from peaceful.”

The story is also being downplayed or simply ignored by corporate media, despite their predilection for printing stories that paint the Maduro government as authoritarian. This, for Latin America expert Dr. Rodrigo Acuña, was predictable. “I’m not surprised at the reaction to this article at all. The mainstream media rarely look to verify or follow up any allegations made by the Maduro government in Caracas that the Trump administration is looking to overthrow it,” he said. Acuña, a researcher and former associate lecturer in Spanish and Latin American studies at Macquarie University, Australia, told MintPress that the media often follows the U.S. government’s line when it comes to America’s “backyard.”

When the Bush administration supported a coup against the government of Hugo Chavez in 2002, with very few exceptions, most of the mainstream media ignored these allegations. Then when evidence was presented they continued to ignore the claims made by Chavez. This situation continues until this day, where Washington is doing almost everything within its power to topple the government of Nicolas Maduro…For its part, Washington then ignores the statements that come out of Caracas or even at the United Nations while the mainstream media for their part also act in a similar manner.”

After the botched May coup attempt that saw two American mercenaries, Airan Berry and Luke Denman, arrested, the government put out an extremely half-hearted denial, with Pompeo stating only that “there was no U.S. government direct involvement,” although he did admit that he knew who had funded the operation, promising to release the information “at an appropriate time.” This time, however, there has been radio silence from Washington.

 

Pompeo’s regime change tour

The incident in Falcon state happens just as Pompeo is about to embark on a four-day trip to many of Venezuela’s closest neighbors in order, in the State Department’s own words, to “defend democracy” and “strengthen security against regional threats.” Interestingly, when visiting Brazil, Pompeo is not traveling to its capital Brasilia, nor either of its largest cities, Rio de Janeiro or São Paulo, but to Boa Vista, a small city deep in the Amazon jungle on the Venezuelan border, in order to “underscore the importance of U.S. and Brazilian support for the Venezuelan people in their time of need by visiting with Venezuelan migrants fleeing the man made disaster in Venezuela.” That the “regional threat” means Venezuela is made explicit in the press release, the State Department declaring that Pompeo will meet Colombian President Ivan Duque in order to discuss “threats to regional security” like “Maduro’s illegitimate regime.” Pompeo will also visit Venezuelan neighbors Guyana and Suriname.

 

The Bay of Piglets and other coups

Just before the coup attempt in May, Trump advisor John Bolton not-so-cryptically tweeting that “Morning is coming to Venezuela — again.” U.S.-backed politician Juan Guaidó called on the military to rise up and overthrow Maduro. At the same time, 300 troops, led by American ex-Green Berets, attempted an amphibious invasion of Venezuela. Their mission was to shoot their way to Caracas, taking the presidential palace and ensconcing Guaidó as president. Guaidó had promised to pay the U.S. outfit around a quarter-billion dollars for their services. However, the operation ended in complete disaster upon even minimal pushback, as the mercenaries were immediately overpowered and apprehended by disgruntled members of the House of Socialist Fishermen in the sleepy coastal village of Chuao. Images show that some of the heavily armed, highly-trained mercenaries appear to have wet themselves in terror when coming into contact with lobstermen armed with handguns, fishing knives and box cutters. Berry and Denman were recently sentenced to 20 years in prison for their actions.

The U.S. government has bankrolled, if not organized, a great number of coup attempts in Venezuela, going back to 2002, where it supported insurrection attempts in April and December. Since then, it has spent hundreds of millions of dollars funding, training, organizing and supporting groups inside the country, all of which have one thing in common: a strong aversion to the left-wing government that has held power since 1999.

Juan Guaidó, the self-declared president of Venezuela, emerged as a Pentagon protege in 2007 as a leader of ultimately unsuccessful student protests aimed at forcing a change of government, subsequently studying at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. Since January 2019, Guaidó has launched five audacious bids at seizing the presidency from Maduro, each less successful than the last. Even before the “Bay of Piglets” fiasco in May, he was supported by only three percent of Venezuelans.

 

Economic crisis

The Amuay and Cardon refineries form the world’s second largest refining complex, capable of producing nearly one million barrels of gasoline per day, putting into perspective the enormity of the charges levied against Heath. Current oil production is far lower, however, due to mismanagement, and to U.S. sanctions, which greatly reduce the customers Venezuela has for its primary product. As the economy shrunk, poverty rose and so did shortages of key products. Large numbers of people simply left the country. And as sanctions bite, production levels have dropped to the point where there is even a gasoline shortage inside the country, causing long lines and much resentment at the government, the U.S., the opposition, and anyone in a position of authority. The COVID lockdown has led to reduced demand for oil, as citizens stay home as much as they can. Nevertheless, the destruction of the country’s largest oil refining complex would be a devastating blow to the society — all the more reason it might be targeted by those wishing to finally see an end to the socialist government.

Feature photo | Venezuela’s Attorney General Tarek William Saab holds a photo of bullets he says were seized with other weapons in connection with what the government calls a failed attack over the weekend aimed at overthrowing President Nicolás Maduro, during a press conference in Caracas, Venezuela, May 8, 2020. Matias Delacroix | AP

Alan MacLeod is a Staff Writer for MintPress News. After completing his PhD in 2017 he published two books: Bad News From Venezuela: Twenty Years of Fake News and Misreporting and Propaganda in the Information Age: Still Manufacturing Consent. He has also contributed to Fairness and Accuracy in ReportingThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin MagazineCommon Dreams the American Herald Tribune and The Canary.

The post As Venezuela Foils CIA “Terror Plot” Pompeo Tours Its Neighbors To Talk Regime Change appeared first on MintPress News.

Lobster Review of Book on the Real Reasons for Trump’s Hostility to China

The conspiracy/parapolitics magazine Lobster has put up a fascinating piece by Scott Newton, ‘The USA, China and a New Cold War?’ reviewing Jude Woodward’s The US vs China: Asia’s New Cold War?, published in 2017 by Manchester University Press. Woodward’s book is an examination of how Western attitudes towards China fell from being extremely positive in the first decade of this century to the current state of tension and suspicion. The chief causes for this, according to the pronouncements of our politicos and the media, are concern over massive human rights abuses in Sinjiang, Hong Kong and elsewhere, Chinese territorial claims to islands in the South China Sea, which threaten western strategic interests and the other neighbouring countries, and the threat to national security posed by Chinese companies, particularly in telecommunications and social media. Woodward’s book turns these assumptions upside down. She recognises that there are real concerns about Chinese human rights abuses and the persecution of the Uighurs, but argues that this situation is far more complicated. And the real reason for America’s change of attitude to China is due, not to Chinese authoritarianism, but because China represents an emerging threat to America’s status as the world’s dominant superpower and their attitude towards capitalism is very different from American neoliberalism.

Relations between China and the West were initially positive and very good because the new, capitalist China had helped prop up the global economy after the financial crash of 2008. The development of the country’s infrastructure created a huge demand for raw materials, which benefited other countries around the world, including the west. The introduction of capitalism is also transforming China. It’s gone from a largely agricultural nation to an industrial and commercial superpower. In 2013 it passed America as the world’s largest trading nation. later on this century it is expected to surpass America as the world’s most prosperous nation both as a country and in terms of per capita GDP.

China’s build up of military forces in the South China Sea is seen by Woodward as a defensive posture against the Americans. They’ve assembled a large naval force in the area, which poses a threat to Chinese access to the Straits of Malacca. 80 per cent of the oil imported by China and much of its merchant shipping pass through the Straits, hence Chinese determination to defend them. Woodward believes that China believes in a multipolar world, and has neither the economic power nor the will to establish itself as the world’s ruling nation.

Nor is China pursuing its economic and commercial interests at the expense of everyone else, as has also been alleged. Woodward argues that while western capitalism views trade as a competition between two parties, in which one party must beat and impoverish the other, the Chinese instead really do see it instead as benefiting both parties.

The oppression of the Uighurs and suppression of democracy in Hong Kong by the Chinese government are real and matters of serious concern, but the West is also covertly attempting to interfere in China’s control of these regions. This is through the National Endowment for Democracy, the non-state outfit to which the American state has given the task of regime change after it was taken away from the CIA in Hong Kong, and through sponsorship and funding of various extreme nationalist and Islamist groups in Sinjiang. Newton writes

But the picture is not clear cut. The Chinese government has
complained about unhelpful ‘foreign interference’ in Hong Kong and there
is evidence to support this. Senior US politicians such as Vice-President Mike Pence have met leading members of the opposition in Hong Kong,
and civil society organizations there have received significant financial
support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), a CIA spinoff established in 1983 to promote what later became known as ‘regime
change’. This has, of course, always been change to one committed to a
political economy characterised by neoliberalism, in other words by free
market capitalism. In Hong Kong the NED has been financing groups
since 1994. A China Daily article from 2019 stated that the NED has been
financing groups in Hong Kong since 1994 and that the Hong Kong Human
Rights Monitor received $1.9 million between 1995 and 2013. A search
of the NED’s grants database further reveals that, between 2016 and
2019, the (US-based) Solidarity Center received more than $600,000 and
the (US-based) National Democratic Institute $825,000.

As far as Xinjiang is concerned, the real story is complex. This area is
rich in oil, gas and ‘other natural resources and profoundly important to
China’s national security’. The region borders Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan,
Tajikistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. At times of invasion and civil
war in Chinese history it has tended to fall under foreign influence: for
much of the twentieth century until the mid-1980s the Soviet Union
played a powerful role in the province’s politics, backing separatist
groups. This role has now been taken by the USA, which is funding a set
of far-right and fundamentalist Islamic organisations such as the Victims
of Communism Memorial Foundation in a bid to promote instability in
Xinjiang and perhaps even its detachment from China itself.

The efforts of these shadowy parapolitical outfits have been
supported by another NED-financed group, the World Uyghur
Congress(WUC), which is keen to promote the creation of a separate
Turkic State out of Xinjiang. WUC is linked to the extreme Right in Turkey,
notably to the Fascist Grey Wolves organization. Finally there is the East
Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) whose objective is also the
establishment of an independent state carved from Xinjiang, known as
East Turkestan. The EU, UN Security Council and indeed the US
government have all identified ETIM as a terrorist organization linked to
Al-Qaida. In addition to its activities in the Middle East, during the last
twenty years ETIM has carried out terrorist attacks in China, including in
Xinjiang. Given Xinjiang’s strategic importance to China’s security and
territorial integrity and given the nature of the externally-trained and
funded agencies at work in Xinjiang, the attitude of the Chinese State to
dissidents there cannot be called surprising, even if the taking of a
repressive line has exacerbated problems in the region. It has also
provoked increasing global disquiet and has contributed to international
tension, though it cannot be said to be the root cause of this, which stems
from changing geopolitical conditions.

Woodward also argues that current American hostility to China comes from the conviction that America really is divinely ordained to be the world’s governing nation with a particular mission to promote free market capitalism. America demands trade at the expense of privatisation, the suppression of organised labour, and the free movement of capital. The Chinese have no interest in promoting any of this. They’re solely interested in trade, not in the economic and political transformation of their partners. Newton writes

It may not seem rational for the US to pursue a confrontation here but two quotations explain the reality from Washington’s perspective. The first is the comment of former French Foreign Minister Hugo Vedrine that ‘most great American leaders have never doubted . . . that the United States was chosen by Providence as the “indispensable nation” and that it must remain dominant for the sake of humankind’. The second is a comment by Perry Anderson that the US state acts ‘not primarily as a projection of the concerns of US capital, but as a guardian of the general interest of all capitals, sacrificing – where necessary and for as long as needed – national gain for international advantage in the confidence of the ultimate pay-off’.

In other words, the US both writes and polices the rules of the game
and the rise of China represents a de facto challenge to this hegemony.
On the surface this seems a strange observation. China has engaged very
successfully and indeed supportively (shown by its reaction to the 2008-9
Crash) with global capitalism. But it does so in a qualified way, or, to
paraphrase Xi Jinping, ‘with Chinese characteristics’. Not only does the 33
Chinese economy continue to operate a large state-owned sector but its
financial system is closely regulated, with controls over the currency and
over capital movements. China does not possess the conviction that
private economic activity trumps public enterprise, that government
should be small, organised labour suppressed, trade free and
international capital flows unhindered. Its assistance for developing
nations is not accompanied by requirements that states cut spending,
privatise public industries and services and liberalise the foreign trade
sector. In short China has never, in practice, endorsed the neoliberal
norms of the ‘Washington consensus’ established during the 1980s and
there is a real prospect that, if it does become the world’s largest
economy, it will seek to re-write the rules of the game in a way that is not
compatible with free market capitalism. This is what the US fears and its
strategy is therefore directed to forcing China to accept Washington’s
leadership and ‘enter the world family of nations’ on US terms or it would
face the likelihood of pre-emptive diplomatic, economic and, if necessary,
military action to halt its rise. As Woodward points out, this approach is
designed to ensure not only protection of the interests of global capital
but to secure ‘a longer-term pay-off’ for US domestic industry and finance
‘by preventing China reaching the point of competing at US levels of productivity and technology’.

It’s very doubtful if this new policy towards China will succeed. Many of the surrounding Asian countries have embraced China as a new market for their goods, while much of the American commercial hostility comes from firms and industries threatened by Chinese competition. Newton concludes that other countries may choose not to follow America’s lead but there will be considerable pressure on Britain to do so following Brexit. He writes

There is clearly a strong push within the British establishment, coming mostly from within the Tory Party and its friends in the City and the armed
services, in favour of military deployment in support of US forces in the
Far East, even if few other nations are willing to join. This might make
sense for the complex of defence industries, banks, hedge funds and
private equity firms at the core of modern British Conservatism but it is
hard to see what benefit there is for the rest of us in the UK from
confrontation with a nation which appears to harbour no aggressive
intentions to foreign countries and seems destined to become within a
short time the world’s largest economy.

See: https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster80/lob80-usa-china-cold-war.pdf

In short, the new strained relations between China and America are a result, not so much of Chinese aggression, but due to Trump’s America trying to maintain itself as the world’s dominant nation economically and militarily. In this America is determined to promote its own very predatory form of capitalism, which is challenged by the less extreme form embraced by China. And it’s a situation that may benefit the military-industrial complex and financial sector that supports to the Tories, but won’t provide it to anyone else.

Trump and the Troops

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 05/09/2020 - 2:24am in

The Atlantic published a story detailing Trump’s contempt for military service and the self-sacrifice of those killed in the line of duty. Trump is reacting with panic. Continue reading

The post Trump and the Troops appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

MoD Records Show Britain Training Repressive States

There was a very interesting piece by Cahal Milmo in yesterday’s edition of the I, for Saturday, 29th August 2020. The MoD has released a series of papers in response to a question in parliament, showing that the British armed forces are training those of 17 states guilty of human rights violations. The article, ‘Britain trains soldiers for repressive regimes’ runs

The British military has provided training to the armed forces of a succession of repressive regimes from Belarus to Bahrain, according to official records.

A list of countries receiving training from UK armed forces since 2018 includes 17 nations formally designated by the British government as “human rights priority countries”, where there is particular concern about repression or other abuses. 

The training ranges from instruction on piloting state-of-the-art fast jets for allies such as Saudi Arabia to officer training for China.

In Belarus, where the authorities have this month been condemned for a brutal crackdown on pro-democracy demonstrators and armed forces have been placed on a state of high alert, Britain provided an advanced command course for senior officers.

The training,k detailed in records released by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) following a parliamentary question, drew condemnation from campaigners who said it put Britain at risk of becoming “complicit” in gross breaches of human rights.

Andrew Smith, of Campaign Against Arms Trade, said: “Many of these armies have appalling human rights records and have been linked to brutal oppression as well as international aggression.

“By training and collaborating with despots, dictatorships and human rights abusers, the UK risks making itself complicit in the abuses that are being inflicted.” The group said it wanted to see an investigation into precisely which military forces the UK had given training to and whether they had been subsequently linked to repressive actions or other breaches of basic liberties.

However, the defence ministry insisted that all of its training abroad emphasised the observation of human rights protections.

A spokesman for the MoD said: “Every defence relationship is taken on a case-by-case basis. Any defence engagement is designed to educate where necessary on best practice and compliance with international humanitarian law.”

The figures suggest that more than half of the 30 countries on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s human rights priority list have received training assistance from British forces. They include Uzbekistan, Sir Lanka, Bahrain, Egypt and Pakistan.

I’m not surprised by any of this. We already sell armaments to vicious, repressive regimes like Saudi Arabia. Britain has also used private mercenary companies as a method of unofficially sending military assistance to repressive regimes, such as Keenie Meenie Services, (KMS), founded by retired Brigadier Mike Wingate Gray, a friend of Maggie Thatcher, and whose son Arthur is a mate of princes William and Harry. Among other nasty regimes, KMS has provided troops for Sri Lanka, the Nicaraguan Contras and the Mujahideen in Afghanistan, as well as Sultan Qaboos of Oman. On the other hand, they don’t seem to have provided any assistance to the Khmer Rouge during the 1980s. This was probably done by the SAS. See ‘Profiting from War’, John Newsinger’s review of Phil Miller’s Keenie Meenie: The British Mercenaries Who Got Away with War Crimes (London: Pluto Press 2020) in Lobster 79, Summer 2020 . See https://www.lobster-magazine.co.uk/free/lobster79/lob79-keenie-meenie-review.pdf

I’ve no doubt that the training given by the official British armed forces does stress the observance of human rights. However, this still does not absolve us of training the troops of brutally oppressive regimes, which those providing the assistance must know will ignore anything they are taught about observing human rights.

The mercenaries, however, are rather different. They don’t just providing training, but have actually participated in atrocities. During the proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, the head of the CIA’s Afghan Task Force declared that Thatcher was to the right of Attila the Hun and remarked on the lack of any legal restraint on MI6. Miller’s book quotes him as saying that they had a willingness to do jobs he wouldn’t touch. This comes from a senior figure in the organisation that helped overthrow Salvador Allende in Chile and install the Fascist dictatorship of General Pinochet.

Britain has spent too long training and providing guns and troops to the world’s thugs and butchers. It’s long past time we stopped. But the last time anyone suggested we should have an ethical foreign policy was Robin Cook under Tony Blair. Which after the Iraq invasion sounds like a very sick joke.

‘I’ Feature on New Iranian Film about 1953 British-CIA against Mossadeq

Yesterday’s I, for 20th August 2020, published a very interesting piece by the Independent’s Kim Sengupta about a new Iranian film coming out today. It’s on the 1953 coup against Mohammed Mossadeq, the last democratically elected Prime Minister of Iran. Mossadeq was overthrown because he nationalised the Iranian oil industry, then the company Anglo-Persian Oil, now BP, which was majority owned by us. The result was the gradual establishment of the Shah’s personal dictatorship during his ‘White Revolution’, a brutal dismantlement of human rights and rule by torture and secret police, which finally ended with the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the equally brutal and repressive rule of the ayatollahs. The coup is yet one episode in the long list of countries, in whose politics we’ve interfered and whose governments we’ve helped to destabilise or overthrow in our long campaign to retain some vestiges of our imperial power. And as Sengupta’s article points out, it has left a legacy of distrust for Britain among the Iranian people. According to John Simpson, they’ve got a saying: ‘If you find a stone in your path, it was put there by an Englishman.’ In fairness, Simpson also says in his book on Iran that when he was there reporting, he found absolutely no personal animosity towards him or Brits because of our nationality. The hatred was directed against the British state and its leaders, like Thatcher, rather than the British people.

The I article was titled ‘How MI6 and the CIA overthrew an elected leader’. It ran

Iran has a deep mistrust about Britain, dating back to an event that is unlikely to be forgotten or forgiven in the near future, and is the subject of a new documentary. Coup 53, released tomorrow, examines the overthrow of the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossaddegh, and his replacement by the Shah of Iran, all instigated by London and Washington.

The film, a fine production by Iranian director Taghi Amirani, features interviews with many of those involved – Iranian nationalists who supported the prime minister, royalists loyal to the Shah, and British and US officials.

Mossaddegh, a progressive and secular leader, earned the antipathy of the British government chiefly by nationalising the Anglo-Persian Oil Company – now BP – in which the UK held 51 per cent of the shares. The company had exclusive rights to pump Iranian oil. As relations worsened, the Iranian government broke off diplomatic ties with the UK and expelled embassy staff.

The documentary recalls how the Americans were initially disinclined to support the UK’s plans to overthrow a democratically elected government that, they thought, would be a check against totalitarian communism.

Such was the British sense of entitlement that the US secretary of state, Dean Acheson, under President Harry Truman, condemned it witheringly as “destructive and determined on a rule-or-ruin policy on Iran”.

This changed, however, with the election of Dwight Eisenhower. Winston Churchill claimed to the new president that Mossaddegh – who had been openly critical of communism – wou8ld veer towards the pro-Russian Tudeh Party. And with the Cold War, and fear of Soviet expansion, at its height, the US changed its position.

Operation Ajax was launched in 1953 to depose Mossaddegh, initially through a propaganda campaign and proposed election interference, with the CIA chief, Allen Dulles, authorising $1m to be used “in any way that would bring about the fall” of the prime minister.

The coup succeeded. Many of Mosaddegh’s supporters were arrested, imprisoned and tortured; some, including the foreign minister Hossein Fatemi, were executed.

The prosecutors demanded a life sentence for Mosaddegh, but a tribunal jailed him for three years in a military prison. After that, he was kept under house arrest until his death in 1967. He was denied a public funeral because of apprehension that his grave may become a political shrine, and was buried under his living room.

Coup 53 features Ralph Fiennes reading the words of Norman Derbyshire, an MI6 officer based in Cyprus whom the British claim was the real mastermind of the coup.

Only one photograph of Darbyshire, in dark glasses, is seen in the documentary. He died in 1993 and his account comes from an interview he gave to Granada TV’s End of Empire film in 1985, which was not shown because he refused to appear on screen.

Fiennes’ delivery is melodramatic. Through him, Darbyshire is a sort of Roger Moore-ish version of James Bond, licensed to coup.

Darbyshire claims he organised the kidnapping of the chief of police in Tehran, Mohammed Afshartous. The general was tortured and strangled, and news of his death was met with shock and anger.

Darbyshire claimed that was not his fault. “Something went wrong; he was kidnapped and held in a cave. Feelings ran very high and Afshartous was unwise enough to make derogatory comments about the Shah. He was under guard by a young army officer and the young officer pulled out a gun and shot him. That was never part of our programme.”

One wonders what would have happened if the Americans had stuck to their initial sceptical instincts about the coup in Iran – and reports of weapons of mass destruction held by Saddam Hussein in Iraq. They did not, and we see the legacy of that in the strife and suffering that unfolded in the Middle East.

I think I first came across the 1953 coup in a long article about it in the conspiracies/ parapolitics magazine Lobster back in the ’90s. But it is established history, and very definitely not a ‘conspiracy theory’ in the derogatory sense. It’s mentioned, for example, in a very mainstream History of the World published by W.H. Smith/ Hamlyn in the early 1980s, and is one of the long list of similar coups, electoral meddling and destabilisation in Rory Cormac’s Disrupt and Deny: Spies, Special Forces, and the Secret Pursuit of British Foreign Policy, published by the Oxford University Press in 2018.

And some of the same dirty tricks have been used in this country by the secret state to smear left-wing politicos, like Tony Benn, with accusations of pro-IRA and communist sympathies. It was done by the IRD before that was wound up, and carried on against Jeremy Corbyn by the Institute for Statecraft, ostensibly a private company but with extensive links to the British intelligence establishment.

And I would not be at all surprised if British and American intelligence aren’t involved in the apparent news blackout of the latest Israeli aggression against Gaza and the Palestinians. All to defend our ally in the Middle East, which seems to be done solely through libellous and malicious accusations of anti-Semitism. Because Israel’s actions are absolutely indefensible in themselves.

The late Labour MP Robin Cook wanted an ethical foreign policy. Unfortunately, he served under Tony Blair. It’ll never happen, not under New Labour, and not under the Tories. Which is why the establishment did everything they could to smear and vilify Corbyn and his supporters, because he did take such noble goals seriously.

The Tories would like hide shameful episodes like the 1953 coup under the imperial carpet, in order to retain an approved historical view of British imperial benevolence. Which is why films like Amirani’s are so vitally important.

 

Book Review: The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World by Vincent Bevins

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 29/07/2020 - 8:53pm in

In The Jakarta Method, Vincent Bevins explores the US role in the mass killings in Indonesia in 1965-66 as well as military coups in Latin America to show the consequences of Washington’s Cold War interventions in the present day. This is a well-researched, tightly written and emotionally affecting book, writes Thomas Kingston.

The Jakarta Method: Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade and the Mass Murder Program That Shaped Our World. Vincent Bevins. PublicAffairs. 2020.

Ask most people what they associate with Copacabana in Brazil and Seminyak in Bali, and it’s likely to be a tropical idyll. However, The Jakarta Method, the new book by Vincent Bevins, might just change that. These palm-fringed sands take on a darker aspect when one learns of their prominent roles in a transcontinental web of political intrigue, mass killings and the assertion of US hegemony, with Seminyak playing host to mass graves and Copacabana a recurring location for far-right agitation. Bevins, a California-born journalist with a fascinating career that has seen him stationed in London for the Financial Times, Brazil for the LA Times and Jakarta for the Washington Post wrote this book on ‘US-backed mass murder in Indonesia, military coups in Latin America, and the ways Washington’s Cold War interventions have shaped life in the entire “developing” world to this day’. Though receiving some initial criticism, he has managed to craft an excellent book, and I don’t write that lightly. He weaves interviews with academic sources, backroom CIA dealings with thwarted dreams of would-be revolutionaries, and delivers a well-researched and tightly written work that is at times extremely provocative, both politically and emotionally.

Whilst US interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan are still a recent memory, with raw and ongoing consequences for millions, this book looks back beyond the ‘War on Terror’ and depicts the evolution of US policy towards opponents on the international stage during the Cold War, with most narrated events occurring in the 1960s and 1970s. I use the word ‘opponents’ because despite the subtitle referring to ‘Washington’s Anticommunist Crusade’, this campaign often found its victims amongst people who simply represented a slight chance of threatening the interests of Washington. The CIA set out to fight Communism and protect the rights of multinational corporations, but appeared, more often than not, to be more concerned with the latter than the former.

Such was the scale of CIA involvement that the reader is at times almost left reeling by the jetsetting of the text, at one moment in Iran, then in Guatemala, followed by a sojourn in the USA before it tackles the main countries featured, Indonesia and then Brazil. The book then heads to Chile, returns to Brazil, Indonesia and Guatemala, and ends up in an office in 30 Rockefeller Plaza, perhaps better known for its central role in a sitcom.

Some of the episodes featured will be more familiar than others, with the Indonesian Mass Killings of 1965-66 having recently been brought to global attention by the critically acclaimed 2012 documentary, The Act of Killing. While Joshua Oppenheimer’s film placed those responsible for the killings in the public eye, this book depicts the victims themselves in a way that emphasises their humanity, a quality that was so long denied. For example, one of the people presented in the book is a young Indonesian woman seeking her fortune in the capital Jakarta, only to find herself marked out for punishment due to suspected Communist ties simply for being in a union. Due to this, she experiences years of torture, rape and imprisonment as well as ostracism in the present day.

Alongside these personal stories is the bigger picture of the Partai Komunis Indonesia (PKI) – then the third largest Communist Party in the world (and largest non-ruling) with up to three million members – being crushed almost overnight, resulting in the estimated deaths of up to one million people. What is particularly notable about this is that rather than the costly ‘boots on the ground’ intervention seen in Vietnam, this was carried out by domestic players: in this case, the Indonesian armed forces and political vigilantes, with significant CIA/US State Department support. This ‘scorched earth’ approach to the complete annihilation of opponents via proxies, whether through mass murder or campaigns of terror, led to the titular ‘Jakarta Method’ of suppression and extermination being exported around the world, with the CIA often acting as the common element in these atrocities.

US involvement in Latin America will not come as news to many, but the brutality and paranoia it encouraged might. In Guatemala we see indigenous Mayans preemptively killed due to their potential to be left-wing sympathisers, and Jacobo Árbenz, a democratically elected President with a deep commitment to capitalism, is overthrown thanks to a corporation with the ear of the US. The United Fruit Company, infamous for its monopolistic control of banana production in the so-called ‘banana republics’, took issue with the fact that the land reform programme proposed by Árbenz would only compensate them for the value of their land declared for taxation purposes, which they’d been undervaluing for years in order to avoid taxes. As a result of this, Árbenz was portrayed as a Communist and overthrown; his US-backed replacement, Carlos Castillo Armas, is said by Bevins to have brought back slavery, whilst also encouraging widespread killing of alleged Communists and other leftists that might be a threat to the regime. Figures like Margaret Thatcher’s Chilean ally, General Augusto Pinochet, might be more familiar to British readers, but the full extent of the terror of his rule might come as news to some as well as his involvement in the continent-wide campaign of repression and death squads known as ‘Operation Condor’, backed by successive US administrations, both Democrat and Republican.

As mentioned earlier, Brazil plays a central role in this book, acting as a second axis that at times overlaps with Indonesia, both in terms of policy and, via Bevin’s combination of storytelling and interviews, the individuals involved. Through this, we see Brazil’s back-and-forth between military and democratic rule cast in a new light with US support, and Indonesian-inspired tactics playing a key role in a crusade that labels anything opposed to big business and US interests as ‘socialist’ or even ‘Communist’, with a cruel trick of fate meaning some of those who fled Indonesia’s purges now bear witness to a new wave of violence in their supposed safe haven of Brazil.

The book depicts moments that are almost comically absurd – such as Bevins reporting that the CIA worked with Bing Crosby and his brother Larry to produce an unreleased pornographic film that featured an actor impersonating the left-leaning Indonesian President Sukarno in order to discredit him, before they realised his perceived virility was actually part of his popularity; or, in an even darker way, US forces in the Philippines propagating myths of bloodsucking monsters as an alibi for the desecration of the corpses of rebels.  Yet, these stories are always followed by the overwhelming scale of death and terror carried out. Further complicating the emotional tug of war is the recurring and almost ghostly presence of a positive future that might have been, which is brought to life via the interviews conducted by Bevins that are included at the end of the book. To readers of this review, it might seem odd to repeatedly mention these emotional aspects, but at times I had to put the book down due to an almost incandescent sense of injustice; at other moments, I turned to comic relief to avoid dwelling on the horrors that had just been depicted. As someone who doesn’t usually find themselves that emotionally affected by books, this was quite unsettling.

One can imagine The Jakarta Method being reduced to an anti-American diatribe, but that would be an inaccurate and unfair summary of a book that manages to piece together events that have often been relatively unknown outside of academic or activist circles. Personally, whilst familiar with the 1965-66 mass killings in Indonesia, I wasn’t aware of their echoes and influence around the world, leading me to believe that this book could be enlightening for most readers. I also imagine critics may target the lack of focus on Communist-led terror and killings, but Bevins offers a satisfactory explanation for this in the closing chapters, highlighting the wealth of works already dedicated to the crimes of self-proclaimed Communist regimes.

Ultimately, it’s hard to envisage how you would write a balanced account of what were often unilateral actions in pursuit of ideological intangibles that resulted in death and misery for millions. Perhaps the best and most simple example of this can be found in the book’s final pages, when Bevins, asking an Indonesian political activist/survivor ‘How did we win [the Cold War]?’, receives the answer: ‘You killed us.’

Note: This review gives the views of the author, and not the position of the LSE Review of Books blog, or of the London School of Economics.

Image Credit: Pancasila Sakti monument in Jakarta, built during the rule of Suharto, marking the killing of six senior Indonesian army generals on 30 September 1965. Propagated as being an attempted Communist coup, this event precipitated the mass killings of 1965-66 and the coming to power of Suharto (Chez Julius Livre 1 CC BY NC ND 2.0). 

 


Whatever Happened to Basic Standards at Newspapers?

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 06/07/2020 - 4:32pm in

It’s just like the Ukraine story that failed to impeach Donald Trump. Anonymous sources tell major newspapers that second hand or thirdhand source is based in the intelligence community, which is tasked with lying, that Russia may be paying bounties to the Taliban in order to kill United States troops in occupied Afghanistan. Maybe it’s true, maybe it’s not, but why pay attention to a story that has no evidence or sourcing?

The News Just Won’t Stop Coming

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 02/07/2020 - 10:32pm in

Coronavirus, the Russia bounty scandal, and the upcoming election continue to dominate America’s news. Continue reading

The post The News Just Won’t Stop Coming appeared first on BillMoyers.com.

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