Iran

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Hmm… America Keeps Getting Attacked By Nations It Hates In Ways Only The CIA Can See

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 24/10/2020 - 1:25pm in

I’d like to tell you a folktale. It’s called “The Emperor’s New 9/11”.

Once upon a time there was an Emperor who loved war and military expansionism. He was always searching for new ways to instigate military conflicts without losing the support of the international community or waking up the populace to the fact that they’re just propagandized cogs in the machine of a globe-spanning Empire which uses endless military and economic violence to maintain its unipolar hegemony.

One day two men calling themselves Intelligence Experts came into town claiming that they had devised a wondrous new type of enemy threat that is invisible to the common folk.

“Is it as good as 9/11?” asked the Emperor excitedly. “Oh how I loved how that one allowed me to initiate a new era of military expansionism on the pretence of fighting global terrorism!”

“It’s even better!” explained the Intelligence Experts. “This magical enemy threat is comprised of Cyber Attacks which are completely invisible to public scrutiny, and you have complete control over where and when they happen. You just name a foreign government you don’t like, and we’ll say they have attacked the democracy of the Empire!”

“You mean the pretend democracy I lied to them about having?” asked the Emperor.

“Of course,” said the Intelligence Experts. “So you just name the disobedient government you want a fight with and we’ll give you your new 9/11.”

“Hmm, well I’m not very fond of the Russians,” said the Emperor. “They’ve been brazenly acting against our interests on the world stage and they keep getting friendlier with China. Let’s set to work on them first.”

So the Intelligence Experts set to work weaving their narrative about Russian Cyber Attacks. The Emperor put his mass media to work knitting together wonderful yarns of the Emperor’s wonderous new 9/11, simultaneously invisible to commoners yet outrageous and necessitating an aggressive response.

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The Empire’s military budget was inflated, treaties were ended, and a new arms race was begun. Sanctions were rolled out against the Russian government, the Empire’s Nuclear Posture Review was readjusted with a much more hostile stance toward Moscow, troops were deployed and NATO was expanded. Anyone who objected to any of this was labeled Russian propaganda by the Empire.

“Oh, this is wonderful!” exclaimed the Emperor. “Let’s do Iran now! Ooh! And China too!”

“Iran and China have been attacking the Empire’s democracy!” announced the Intelligence Experts. “It’s like another 9/11!”

All was going swimmingly, until one day the Emperor was parading his new 9/11 around town for the commoners to admire.

“Oh, this 9/11 is even more impressive than the last one!” exclaimed the people. “I would happily throw my body into the gears of the war machine for it! Praise be to our mighty Emperor!”

Then one tiny voice rang out above the rest.

“But the Emperor hasn’t got a 9/11!” said a small child. “There’s nothing there at all!”

The child was immediately branded a Russian propagandist and banned from Facebook and Twitter.

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It is not a coincidence that all these alleged attacks on American democracy are happening in ways that only the US intelligence cartel can see. It is not a coincidence that the US propaganda machine is constantly announcing invisible new attacks upon the nation from governments that have been longtime targets of that same intelligence cartel. It is not a coincidence that whenever these alleged attacks happen, the hard evidence that they happened is always classified.

There are all sorts of ways that a country can be attacked, but the only ways the country that is literally always at war ever gets attacked is in ways that nobody can see and we just have to take the word of the same government agencies that are responsible for the wars that they actually occurred. This is not a coincidence.

Foreign “election interference” is 9/11 minus 9/11. It gets all the same urgent media coverage of 9/11, all the same outrage and all the same demand for forceful retaliation; it just doesn’t have the fallen buildings that people can look at or the bereaved family members that you can talk to. It’s a 9/11 that is completely invisible to everyone, so we have to take the word of intelligence agencies with an extensive history of lying that they happened at all.

Meanwhile, as the US is being victimized by these attacks that only the CIA and NSA can see, the US government is harming the American people to an infinitely greater degree than Russia, China and Iran are. The US government is destroying untold millions of lives at home and abroad, but Americans are being told to worry about invisible attacks by foreign countries that have literally never done anything to them.

Don’t be a sucker. Be the child at the Emperor’s parade.

___________________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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No Matter Who Wins, The War Machine Wins

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 23/10/2020 - 1:44pm in

Tags 

News, Iran, Russia

The US government is pushing yet another unproven election meddling narrative about yet another disobedient government, this time targeting Iran and Russia.

This is exhausting. Do I really need to type this bullshit out?

Fine. Okay. Here we go again:

At a press conference with Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe and FBI Director Christopher Wray it was announced that Iran and Russia have separately obtained some voter registration information, and that Iran has been using its information to send bizarre threatening emails to Democratic voters with the goal of swaying the election.

As usual, no evidence of these allegations has been provided. Democrats are saying this completely unsubstantiated claim proves the Iranians want to help Trump, Republicans are saying it proves they’re trying to help Biden. Both are ridiculous.

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The Reuters write-up on the allegations cites one source who says it’s unclear who was actually behind the threatening emails, and that “the evidence remains inconclusive” that Iran had anything to do with them. Washington Post’s report notes that the allegation against Iran “was leveled without specific evidence”, and that metadata gathered from the emails points to “the use of servers in Saudi Arabia, Estonia, Singapore and the United Arab Emirates, according to numerous analysts.” No attempt is made to address this discrepancy.

If the US government held a press conference announcing that Iran is in the Middle East I’d have to check a map just to make sure it’s not an island in the South Pacific or something, that’s how much constant, shameless lying they’ve been doing about that nation lately. There is no reason whatsoever to believe unproven assertions by opaque government agencies who have an extensive and well-documented history of lying about governments they want to target.

This latest allegation adds to the steadily increasing pile of narratives the US intelligence cartel has been heaping onto public consciousness that no matter who wins the presidential election, a foreign enemy will have been partially responsible for it. The ODNI made an announcement in August that Russia is interfering to ensure Trump’s re-election while China and Iran are interfering in favor of Biden.

What this steadily-growing narrative means is that no matter who wins this election, America’s spies and cold warriors are going to be able to use it to advance their pre-planned agendas against the world’s few remaining nations which have resisted absorption into the US-centralized power alliance. In exactly the same way they’ve been able to use Russiagate to advance pre-planned cold war escalations against Russia during the Trump administration, they are ensuring their ability to roll out pre-planned escalations against Iran and China in the event of a Biden win.

Imagine for example if Biden gets in after the US intelligence cartel has successfully marketed the narrative to click-hungry media outlets that Iran has been meddling on his behalf. What kinds of political pressure will his administration be placed under if it wants to restore the Iran deal and begin rolling back sanctions and de-escalating tensions? Probably very similar to the pressures Trump was placed under to continually advance hawkish cold war escalations against Russia despite his stated desire for Washington and Moscow to get along.

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You can understand the purpose all these “election meddling” narratives are serving if you can understand two points: firstly, that we are in the middle of a slow-motion third world war between the US-centralized empire and the remaining nations which have resisted being absorbed into it. Secondly, that this war is moved along by propaganda.

Point 1: We are in the middle of a slow-motion third world war between the US-centralized power alliance and the nations which have resisted being absorbed into it.

A loose alliance of nationless oligarchs who use governments as weapons have secured control over a large empire-like cluster of nations with economic and military might loosely centralized around the United States. In order to gain more power and ensure its ongoing hegemony, this oligarchic empire must keep expanding by absorbing more nations and brutalizing them if they resist. China is by far the most powerful of the unabsorbed nations, followed by Russia at a distant second and Iran at a distant third.

Nuclear weapons make another hot world war undesirable, so this one takes the form of resource control, economic warfare, staging coups, arming oppositional militias to use as proxy armies, expanding military presence in key geostrategic regions under the pretense of fighting terrorism, and “humanitarian interventionism”, with old-school full-scale ground invasions used only as a last resort, and only after manufacturing sufficient international approval to ensure the continued cohesion of the empire-like power alliance.

But the end goal is the same as that of a conventional world war: to beat the other side into submission and compliance. And, in this case, absorption into the imperial blob. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the prevailing orthodoxy in US power structures became that the US must maintain unipolar hegemony at all cost to maintain a “liberal world order” (even if it means abandoning “liberal” values whenever it’s convenient). From that point on the agenda has been global domination and the slow, suffocating subversion of anyone who gets in the way.

Point 2: Propaganda is used to move this world war along.

In a conventional war each side has clear military objectives that everyone understands, and the weapons are naturally moved around in accordance with these objectives. In this weird slow-motion world war, nobody understands what’s going on besides the major power players and those who are paying very close attention. The various agendas against the governments of Iran, Venezuela, Russia, Syria, China etc appear different and unrelated when looked at individually, and indeed you will see different political factions supporting some of these agendas but not others. The only thing unifying this slow-motion movement toward the destruction and absorption of all unabsorbed nations is carefully constructed propaganda narratives.

The way these unifying propaganda narratives operate is simple. It would never occur to rank-and-file citizens that a nation on the other side of the planet that’s pretty much just doing its own thing needs to be sanctioned, subverted and brought to heel, so the imperialist oligarchs who own the political/media class make sure everyone is fed custom-made narratives according to their own ideological echo chamber to prevent any domestic inertia from being thrown on these agendas. Once there’s sufficient agreement that Saddam/Gaddafi/Morales/Assad/Maduro/whomever must go, the campaign to subvert, sabotage and absorb that government can safely be escalated.

If you can understand points one and two, you can understand why US government agencies are advancing the narrative that unabsorbed governments are attacking the United States in a completely invisible yet extremely outrageous way.

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Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been getting more and more brainwashed Trump supporters in my comments saying with high confidence that Joe Biden is bought and owned by China. This would be the same Joe Biden who saw an extreme escalation in aggression against China in the Obama administration’s “pivot to Asia”, and whose anti-Beijing campaign rhetoric gives every indication that he intends to continue that aggression when elected. If he doesn’t, we may be certain that the US intelligence cartel will magically discover some top secret evidence nobody’s allowed to see that the rise of China needs to be stopped.

Only a blithering idiot would believe that this lifelong warmonger is going to be soft on China despite the mountain of evidence to the contrary. These Trumpists spent years rightly mocking liberals for their maniacal Russia hysteria, yet their rhetoric about Biden and China sounds very much like the pre-election low rumble which eventually turned into the fever pitch demented shrieking of peak Russiagate insanity. If Biden wins the election it would not at all surprise me if evidence keeps being leaked to the press from anonymous sources painting Biden as a Xi puppet, and Republican hacks promulgate that narrative to demand increasing aggression against China.

So no matter who wins, the war machine wins. If it’s Trump then they continue manufacturing narratives to justify escalations against Russia, if it’s Biden (as looks very likely) they’ll sell escalations against China and Iran. They’re in no special hurry since they’ve got power on their side, so they can just keep ramping up the pressure on the world like a python squeezing its prey to death.

Meanwhile normal, healthy human beings just want a world where people cooperate with each other and with their ecosystem to create a harmonious world. We don’t have to put up with a world that is dominated by sociopaths who endanger us all with armageddon weapons with the goal of planetary hegemony. There are more of us than there are of them. If we wake up to what’s going on we can absolutely turn this thing around.

_______________________

Thanks for reading! The best way to get around the internet censors and make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, liking me on Facebook, following my antics on Twitter, throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal, purchasing some of my sweet merchandise, buying my books Rogue Nation: Psychonautical Adventures With Caitlin Johnstone and Woke: A Field Guide for Utopia Preppers. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge.

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With an Eye on Nearby Iran, Israeli Weapons Fuel the Violence in Azerbaijan

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 20/10/2020 - 7:25am in

The latest iteration of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which has already claimed the lives of dozens of people, had been largely forgotten by the world before hostilities reignited in September. Only the collapse of the Soviet Union was able to bring about the end of the last war between these entrenched enemies in the 1980s and 1990s. Now, almost a quarter of a century later, the still contested region claimed under international law by Azerbaijan and de facto controlled by its ethnic Armenian majority has fallen under a new spell of violence thanks in large part to external actors vying for a larger war with another neighboring country: Iran.

Three weeks ago, a dispute over a piece of territory in the Caucasus Mountains erupted into a hot war between the two former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia, sending civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh to seek cover in their basements from the aerial drone strikes raining death and destruction from above.

In a video analyzed by Franceinfo, a 1K Orbiter “kamikaze” drone was found intact on the streets of the ethnically-Armenian enclave near the Azeri-Armenian border. As its moniker implies, this class of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) is so named because once its operators lock onto a target on the ground the UAV dives into them with an explosive charge.

The drone was developed by leading Israeli unmanned aerial systems (UAS) company Aeronautics Defense Systems, which has a manufacturing plant in Azerbaijan since 2011. The discovery of the drone’s use by Azeri forces in the disputed border region has highlighted the pivotal, yet largely underreported, role that Israel is playing in this conflict, giving the Azeri army a decided advantage against the overmatched Armenians.

In addition, Turkey’s clear support of the Azerbaijani state leaves the majority Christian nation of Armenia up against the two biggest regional powers aside from Russia, which five days ago called on both parties in the conflict to respect a second cease-fire agreement brokered on October 10, 2020, in Moscow. The truce was supposed to come into force on Saturday, but heavy artillery fire, missiles, and drones continued to fall in the conflict zone on Sunday, with both sides blaming the other for violating the tentative armistice. The religious nature of the conflict’s origins helps to disguise the active participation of outside interests that are intent on stoking it for their own geopolitical purposes.

 

Black gold in Baku

Control over natural resources underpins virtually every single military conflagration in the twentieth century and many of raging across the world at the start of the twenty-first. The escalating conflict in the Caucasus is no exception, despite the ostensibly religious motives some would like to ascribe to the parties involved.

While Muslim-majority Azerbaijan might seem like a natural enemy of majority Christian Armenia, at its core, the conflict unfolding in northern Eurasia is one that harkens to the very first oil well that was discovered in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku. Baku was the center of the black gold universe on the eve of World War I before Israel even existed as a state and just as Lord Balfour was on the verge of penning the infamous Balfour Declaration, which would eventually lead to its creation.

Today, the apartheid state obtains 40 percent of its oil from Baku, leaving little to the imagination about its interest in the regional conflict. In order to protect those interests, Israel has become one of Azerbaijan’s largest arms suppliers in recent years, providing up to 61 percent of all Azeri arms imports this past year, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Claims made last week by an aide to the Azerbaijani president belittled Armenian condemnations of Israel’s role as “exaggerated” after the Armenian foreign ministry recalled its ambassador to Israel over the weapons sales. As if to underscore the Azeri official’s disingenuous statement, an Israeli high court dismissed a call by human rights activist Elie Joseph to halt arms sales to Azerbaijan two days later, citing a lack of evidence.

 

A powder keg

The situation in Nagorno-Karabakh could easily devolve into a wider war between far more powerful actors, like Turkey and Russia. The latter has a defense treaty with Armenia, while the former’s relationship to the oldest Christian country in the world is beset by its historic refusal to acknowledge the Armenian Genocide – the systematic mass murder and expulsion of Armenians from what was still the capital of Ottoman Empire during and after World War I.

Signs that the conflict is heading in the wrong direction are becoming more noticeable. On Friday, October 16, Russia announced that its navy was beginning military exercises in the Caspian Sea to the north of Baku. Meanwhile, Armenian President Armen Sarkissian said on Saturday that he is ready to travel to European headquarters in Brussels to confront NATO over Ankara’s actions, which include funneling mercenaries from Syria to Azerbaijan.

More importantly, Iran could also be dragged into a larger war and could hold the key to unraveling Israel’s geopolitical motivation for their significant involvement in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Iran shares a common cultural heritage with Armenia, despite religious differences, and counts the Christian nation as a strategic partner.

One day before the second cease-fire was supposed to take effect, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry accused Armenian forces of launching rocket attacks into Iranian territory as a provocation, which led the Iranian Foreign Ministry to issue a statement clarifying that “aggression against our country’s territories by any party” in the conflict would not be tolerated.

Feature photo | A man fences off a tail of a multiple rocket after shelling by Azerbaijan’s artillery during a military conflict in Shushi, outside Stepanakert, the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Oct. 18, 2020. Photo | AP

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

The post With an Eye on Nearby Iran, Israeli Weapons Fuel the Violence in Azerbaijan 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.

Critics Say New Iran Sanctions Designed To “Choke off Humanitarian Exports” Amid Pandemic

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sat, 10/10/2020 - 5:36am in

Yesterday the State Department announced the beginnings of yet more sanctions on Iran, this time targeting the country’s financial industry. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed the move was necessary to “further deprive the Islamic Republic of Iran of funds to carry out its support for terrorist activities and nuclear extortion that threatens the world,” adding that his actions were part of a “maximum economic pressure campaign” that will continue until Iran ceases its “malign behavior.”

Pompeo insisted that the sanctions “do not affect existing authorizations and exceptions for humanitarian exports to Iran, which remain in full force and effect.” Yet existing sanctions have already wreaked havoc on the Islamic Republic, killing thousands. Earlier this year, Human Rights Watch condemned the Trump administration for “drastically constraining the ability of the country to finance humanitarian imports, including medicines and medical equipment,” its executive director Kenneth Roth describing Washington as “compounding Iranians’ misery by depriving them of access to the critical medical resources they urgently need.”

Iran was one of the first countries to be hit badly by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the U.S. used the opportunity to cause maximum devastation by intimidating other nations into refusing to sell or donate them medical supplies, lest they be hit with secondary sanctions. As a result, Iran was woefully under equipped to deal with the problem. In the end, the World Health Organization stepped in, sending supplies themselves — part of the reason the Trump administration was so keen to leave the organization. Washington insiders openly discussed using the pandemic to force the Iranian government out of office and implement a regime more suited to their needs.

While the government claims that the sanctions are “directed at the regime and its corrupt officials that have used the wealth of the Iranian people to fuel a radical, revolutionary cause that has brought untold suffering across the Middle East and beyond,” it is widely understood that the attack on the banking center will affect Iran’s ability to function and even purchase basics like food from abroad.

The National Iranian American Council (no lovers of the current administration in Tehran) condemned the action as “heartless and sadistic,” claiming the sanctions were explicitly designed to “choke off humanitarian exports to Iran” and displayed the cruelty of the Trump administration. “It is critical that the American people and our elected representatives put an end to this cruel, inhumane, and strategically catastrophic suffering and humiliation that is being imposed on innocent Iranians in our names,” they concluded.

“I don’t know how many times I have to read a headline about #Iran that breaks my heart. Why are the lives of Iranians disposable? Do we not have compassion for the hurt, the pains, the struggles of the people of Iran? Why must we be so callous?” asked Leila Gharagozlou, a producer at MSNBC.

“Contrary to the US claims, humanitarian goods and services are affected by the cruel sanctions. Financial institutions fear the US vengeance, which is why the financial channels created to facilitate transactions for humanitarian commodities, have had no tangible results,” said Mohammad Zareyian, an Iranian representative at the United Nations General Assembly.

The sanctions have already caused serious hardship on Iran, sending the prices of consumer goods soaring and the value of its currency, the rial, plummeting. Like in Venezuela, oil production has sputtered, as the Islamic Republic can find few buyers for its main national export. The price of food has also become a serious issue for many. “The sanctions deliberately target ordinary Iranians, women and children,” Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Professor of English Literature at the University of Tehran told MintPress last week. “They are designed to kill hospital patients and to create poverty. They have had partial success.”

The U.S. has dreamed of a change of government in Tehran since the Iranian Revolution in 1979 overthrew the American-backed Shah and installed Ayatollah Khomeini as leader. To that end, it has propped up dictators like Iraqi president Saddam Hussein, fomented protest movements, supported virtual shadow governments like the MEK, and imposed suffocating sanctions on the nation.

Earlier this year, Trump assassinated top general Qassem Soleimani as he was attending regional peace talks in Baghdad. In the summer it imposed new “snapback” sanctions on Iran for its refusal to comply with the nuclear deal, despite the fact that the U.S. had already walked away from the same deal. In August, Trump appointed disgraced Iran-Contra hawk and regime change specialist Elliott Abrams as his chief advisor on Iran, a signal to all those paying attention that increased hostilities were in the offing.

There is speculation that Trump will attempt to increase hostilities with Iran before the election, provoking an international incident. If that is the case, these sanctions are merely a prelude to something bigger.

Feature photo | A member of the Iranian army walks past rows of beds at a temporary 2,000-bed hospital for coronavirus patients set up by the army at the international exhibition center in northern Tehran, Iran, March 26, 2020. Ebrahim Noroozi | 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 Critics Say New Iran Sanctions Designed To “Choke off Humanitarian Exports” Amid Pandemic appeared first on MintPress News.

Abraham Accord: Experts Warn Trump Peace Deal a Precursor to War with Iran

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 07/10/2020 - 5:26am in

On paper at least, last month’s U.S.-sponsored agreements between Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain were all about peace. But behind the headlines, a darker, much more worrying picture of regional alliances, weapons deals, destabilization campaigns, and messianic prophecies emerge.

The Abraham Accord, as it is known, is likely to expand the power of Gulf dictatorships and increase the number of devastating high-tech weapons in the Middle East, fueling further instability and bloodshed, a welcome prospect for neoconservative hawks and religious zealots who see the deal as fulfilling ancient prophecies about the end of the world. Above all, the deal can be seen as an attempt to present a united front against Iran for any potential future war — a conflict that would likely make Iraq and Afghanistan look mild by comparison.

But across corporate media, the accord was almost universally hailed as a “peace deal” — and a potentially massive breakthrough. The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board presented Trump as a master dealmaker, breaking the mold of “failed conventional wisdom” on the Middle East, and claiming that he deserved far more praise from the media for his breakthrough, suggesting he was not getting it because of their anti-Trump bias. Yet even MSNBC, not a network known for praising the president, found it difficult to find an angle that did not paint him as a great peacemaker. Trump has subsequently been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize and is among the favorites to win it, according to bookmakers.

 

Israel’s man

While it is Trump gaining the plaudits, in reality, the man organizing operations is his son-in-law Jared Kushner. Kushner has spent his entire adult life organizing for zionist groups and making contacts with the Israeli right, his family’s charitable organization has donated thousands to the IDF and to illegal Jewish-only settlements. Kushner has been leaning heavily on Saudi Arabia to join the new alliance, promising them state of the art new weaponry and a host of economic benefits. A cult-like hero in much of Israel, he has time and again shown his disgust for Palestinian life, claiming they have “done nothing right in their sad, pathetic lives” and own a “perfect track record of missing opportunities,” presenting his so-called “Deal of the Century” was an opportunity for them to finally stop playing the victim. Many on the religious right in Israel talk of Kushner in almost reverential tones, seeing him as completing a divine mission.

Trump campaigned on a platform of “draining the swamp” — i.e. removing the corrupt warhawks from the White House. Yet he has surrounded himself with many of the Bush-era “crazies” and “even craziers,” including the likes of Michael Flynn and John Bolton, who was considered too much of a loose cannon for Bush to handle. Kushner has been “the neocons’ backdoor” back into the White House, where, not with their actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, Iran has become the number one target.

The Abraham Accord appears to have been deeply unpopular with the people of the UAE and Bahrain, who risked serious consequences by protesting the decision on social media. Nevertheless, their governments justified it by claiming they had guaranteed that Israel would not annex the Jordan Valley as it announced it would in the summer. But Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later made clear that the plans were merely now “delayed” and that they remain on the table.

 

A strange “peace” deal

Yet a number of experts who spoke to MintPress questioned the entire framing of the Abraham Accord as a peace deal, claiming instead that this was far less about peace than about war, particularly with Iran.

Phyllis Bennis, Director of the New Internationalism Project at the Institute for Policy Studies and author of “Understanding the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict: a Primer,” which is now in its seventh edition, said of the deal:

The notion that this was somehow a peace deal implies that somehow until this ‘fabulous deal’ Israel the UAE and Bahrain were somehow not at peace, but at war. And that is simply not true; they had very good ties, they had commercial, trade and security ties that go back decades in the case of the UAE. But they were always very quiet because the official position of the Arab League and the actual position of Arab populations across the region were strongly opposed to normalization with Israel as long as the oppression of the Palestinians continued.”

For such a “peace deal,” negotiations certainly seemed to revolve quite heavily around weapons transfers. Much of the accord focussed on American plans to sell the UAE and Bahrain high tech armaments, including the costly Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters, Boeing’s EA-18G Growler jets, and General Atomics’ MQ-9 Reaper drones, previously off-limits to anyone in the region except the Israelis. Thus, it is difficult to see how flooding the world’s most war-torn region with even more advanced weaponry, especially to nations currently involved in the bombing campaigns against Yemen, will secure peace.

“The UAE and Bahrain are key customers for the U.S. arms trade,” Bennis explained,

They are very eager to buy more. So they get brownie points from the Trump administration. They get promises of being able to buy more and better military gear, and Israel will get even more weapons to maintain its congressionally-guaranteed ‘qualitative military edge.’ They give up nothing because they already have these relations with Israel, who had already suspended its threatened annexation. It is now just a matter of making it public. So everybody gains except the Palestinians.”

Almost immediately after the accord was announced, the head of Mossad, Yossi Cohen, traveled to the UAE to meet with Emirati security officials to discuss “cooperation in the fields of security,” as well as regional issues, Al-Jazeera reported. Thus, as Greg Shupak of the University of Guelph, Ontario, and author of “The Wrong Story: Palestine, Israel and the Media,” argued, “peace deal” is a misleading framing of what looks more like the beginnings of a military alliance. “In the language of countries with egregious human rights records like Israel and the UAE, ‘security’ is a euphemism for violent repression,” he added.

 

Iran in the crosshairs

From being a key ally of the United States under the Shah, since the 1979 revolution, Iran has become an obsession for planners in Washington. The U.S. is currently waging an all-out economic war against Tehran, hoping to foment an anti-government movement. U.S. sanctions have decimated the value of the Iranian rial and sent the prices of consumer goods soaring. Personal savings have been wiped out and lives have been stunted. Many have lost out on opportunities to study abroad or even get married due to economic pressure. More seriously, the U.S. has also made it extremely difficult to import life-saving medicines, leading to countless deaths.

“The sanctions deliberately target ordinary Iranians, women and children,” Seyed Mohammad Marandi, Professor of English Literature at the University of Tehran told MintPress. “They are designed to kill hospital patients and to create poverty. They have had partial success.”

Iran was one of the first countries to be hit by the COVID-19 pandemic earlier this year, and the U.S. government worked hard to dissuade all nations from selling or even giving the Islamic Republic face masks, medicine, or other equipment. In the end, the World Health Organization stepped in and directly gave the Iranians what it could, a major reason the Trump administration has decided to leave the organization. In 2018, Bolton promised the Iranian exile group the Mujahedeen Khalq (MEK) that they would soon rule over Iran, essentially guaranteeing regime change for the country of 82 million people. In January of this year, Trump decided to assassinate public figure and statesman Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad while he was attending regional peace talks. Trump donors like Sheldon Adelson want the president to go further and drop a nuclear bomb on the country. Despite pulling out the nuclear deal itself, the Trump administration has recently used Iran’s non-compliance with the same treaty as a reason to trigger even harsher “snapback” sanctions against Tehran.

For Bennis, the Israel-UAE-Bahrain deal was less about peace, and more about setting up a united front in a possible coming war with the Iranians, noting that Trump’s central foreign policy goal for the Middle East is “to build up Israel as the centerpiece of an anti-Iran coalition. That has been underway for years now… what we have here is a consolidation of the U.S.-backed anti-Iran coalition across the region.”

While media aimed at a more mass market hid this fact, elite, insider journals were more frank. Foreign Policy, for example, wrote that the Abraham Accord has made Trump’s, “Maximum pressure’ policy of economic asphyxiation against Tehran more effective and painful than his predecessor’s sanctions campaign.”

Increased Arab collaboration with Israel and the United States has helped the latter obstruct clandestine financial channels and escape valves traditionally used by Iranian authorities and institutions to evade US sanctions.”

What are the consequences for Iran under this new partnership? Shupak warned that those wishing for peace in the region should treat the deal with suspicion, telling MintPress,

The UAE and Bahrain can now openly and comprehensively partner with Israel in the U.S.-led effort to destroy it. Because there is no longer a need to even pretend that Israel is not partners with the UAE and Bahrain, this alliance can work together in full support of one another. That means it’s now possible to have more effective enforcement of the already crushing economic blockade of Iran, collaborative efforts to carry out subversion inside Iran, more intimate sharing of intelligence and perhaps of weapons, as well as greater logistical support and possibly military coordination and integration if a full scale attack on Iran comes to pass.

 

Yemeni Onslaught

A tiny island of only 1.5 million people, Bahrain is nonetheless an important strategic state in the Middle East. The nation is home to the United States Fifth Fleet, its primary base for the entire West Asian-Middle East region. The base has proven vital over the decades as a launchpad for American invasions of neighboring states and continues to serve a role as a base of operations for the U.S.

Both Bahrain and the UAE are also partners in the Saudi-led coalition’s aggression in Yemen, not only attacking military targets but striking against medical and water facilities over 200 times since the war began in 2015. The United Nations has called the country “the world’s worst humanitarian crisis,” estimating that 14 million people — over half its population — are at risk of famine, and 20.5 million need help accessing drinkable water. The Abraham Accord is sure to increase the amount of high-tech weaponry available to both Bahrain and the UAE, which will immediately be used in their Yemen campaign.

The destabilization of the country has led the World Food Program to warn of a “famine of biblical proportions” if nothing is done about it. The UAE and Bahrain have continued to justify their involvement in the conflict on the basis of the Houthi militias’ alleged ties to Iran, claiming they need to support the legitimate government as a bulwark against Iranian domination of the region.

“The UAE is one of the central protagonists in the cataclysmic war of aggression against Yemen—alongside key partners such as Saudi Arabia, the U.S., U.K., and Canada—so there is a strong possibility that the UAE will unleash these killing machines on the impoverished Yemeni population that it has already done so much to devastate,” said Shupak. “Likewise, increased intelligence sharing between Israel and the UAE could entail Israel helping the UAE having more, and possibly more advanced, information that it can use to maim and kill Yemenis.”

 

Palestine: no justice. No peace

Notable by their absence at the negotiations was any Palestinian representation, and according to Shupak, the deal actually lifts international pressure on Israel with regards to Palestine, exactly the opposite of what the UAE and Bahrain have claimed.

What’s most significant for Palestinians about normalization is that it means Israel no longer has to face the political and economic costs of being boycotted by the UAE and Bahrain or any state that chooses to follow them: thus, a mechanism that could have helped play some part in ending Israeli colonialism is no longer available,” he told MintPress.

In fact, Israel did not formally relinquish its claim to the fertile Jordan Valley area of the West Bank, nor did any of its promises to moderate its behavior towards Palestine result in the cessation of bombing Gaza, which it continued to do throughout the talks, let alone lifting blockades against Palestinians or guaranteeing them the right of return to their homes.

Therefore, while some in the media try to spin the deal as a good thing for Palestinians, there will likely be no reduction, let alone an end to their suffering in the near future. This, for Bennis, was the fact that undermined the whole concept of a peace accord:

The definition of peace has to come back to what we learned from Dr. Martin Luther King, which is that peace is not just the absence of war but the presence of justice. If you are not going to at least talk about justice for the Palestinians then you’re not serious about peace.”

And so while New York Times columnists might describe the news as “a rare triumph in the Middle East,” the question remains, a triumph for whom? Perhaps for Washington war hawks, defense contractors, and undemocratic Middle Eastern rulers, but not for the people of the region. “[The accord] is very bleak if you care about human rights and anything remotely resembling justice,” Bennis added.

Feature photo | Members of the Iranian army take part in the annual Zolphaghar 99 military drill in the Gulf of Oman, September 10, 2020. Photo | WANA

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 Abraham Accord: Experts Warn Trump Peace Deal a Precursor to War with Iran appeared first on MintPress News.

Fascist Leader Oswald Mosley on the Conservative Party

On page 261 on Mosley’s book, Mosley – Right or Wrong?, Britain’s Fascist leader is asked what he thinks of the Conservatives. Mosley’s gives a full and devastating reply, which very definitely shows that he’s not impressed by them. He says

The virtue of Conservatism is that it is the party of patriotism. It means well. Unfortunately, the leaders it selects arrive at results precisely the opposite to its intentions. So the party which existed to preserve the Empire has ended by liquidating the Empire. The party which believes in Great Britain has been the main architect of Small Britain. The party which believes in stability is bringing our country to the verge of chaos. But we need not traverse again the ground I covered in another answer. It is enough to state the undeniable fact that the Conservative Party has been chiefly responsible for the policies of Britain during the last fifty years.

What is the character which has produced this lamentable conclusion to a chapter in British history? ?This is the party of the smug, the satisfied, in an age which demands dynamism; the party of privilege when survival depends on promotion by merit; the party which exploits talent but never trusts it; the party of the tired, which calls a yawn a policy; the party of snobbery about the wrong things, which rejects intellect but reveres rank; the party of the climber, without aim to climb beyond a perch on a rotten bough; the party without purpose or great design; the party of small expedients to face the need of great decisions; the party which is always late, and now exists only as an ineffective brake on socialist policies; the party which wills the end of the greatness but always rejects the means; the party which excluded Churchill in all his years as a creative spirit, and used him only for the fatal process which finally destroyed the values in which it professed to believe; the party which detests brilliance and loves dullness; the party which idealizes the small, the the grey, the mediocre, and will achieve its ideal in the state to which it is reducing Britain, if that condition be not the final lethargy of death.

Mosley’s Britain would have been a brutal Fascist dictatorship, a one-party state ruled by fear and thuggery. Despite his repeated claims not to be an anti-Semite, Mosley would have put in place a kind of apartheid in which only those Jews, who were judged culturally British, would have been allowed to remain and Blacks and Asians very definitely discriminated against if not actively persecuted. I don’t doubt that had he seized power during the War, he would have turned Britain into another Nazi satellite or ally and fully collaborated in the Holocaust.

As for the British Empire, it was not the glorious institution Mosley and the Tories claim. There were some noble aspects to it – there were British governors and military commanders, who took very seriously their duty of stamping out slavery and the slave trade, for example. But we did exploit its subject peoples. Its end was marked by ruthless warfare against the rising nationalist movements in which British forces did commit atrocities and massacres. Quite apart from more covert systems of undermining these countries’ aspirations for freedom, like election rigging. In the case of Iran, an independent nation that provoked our wrath by nationalising its oil industry, we organized a coup that toppled its last, democratically elected Prime Minister, Mohammed Mossadeq. See John Newsinger’s book The Blood Never Dried: A people’s History of the British Empire, and Rory Cormac’s Disrupt and Deny: Spies, Special Forces, and the Secret Pursuit of British Foreign Policy.

But Mosley is absolutely right about the Tory party. They are the party of the traditional class system, and have shown themselves determined to maintain and expand the power of the immensely rich at the expense of everyone else – the poor, the disabled, working people, the unemployed. Their Brexit policies are destroying this country, their economic policies have wrecked this country’s industry and prosperity and their determination to privatise the NHS and destroy the welfare state is creating mass poverty, misery, starvation and illness. But never mind – their pet press sings their praises and spins every failure as some kind of magnificent achievement if it can, just so long as the poor are kept down, and the rich given more tax breaks and subsidies.

Mosley’s Britain would have been a murderous, totalitarian nightmare. Fascism everywhere needs to be fought and defeated. But he was right about the Tories.

Anti-White Black Racism in Seattle’s Decolonised Mathematics Syllabus

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 20/09/2020 - 8:25pm in

This is another video from Sargon of Akkad, the man who broke UKIP. He put it up nearly a year ago in October 2019, and the subject he discusses comes from a Daily Caller article two years before that in 2017. It’s about the move from Seattle’s public schools board to get Black students to do better at mathematics by producing a syllabus that aims to teach them how White mathematics is being used to oppress them, and how they also use it to liberate people and communities of colour.

The maths syllabus is the creation of Tracy Castro-Gill, the ethnic studies program manager for Seattle public schools, and deals explicitly with issues like ‘origins, identity and agency’, and ‘power and oppression’. The article shows the syllabus itself and what it aims to teach Seattle’s schoolkids. This starts off by teaching them that mathematical theory is rooted in ancient histories and empires of colour. Sargon doesn’t have a problem with this, as mathematical theories and formulae have been discovered independently by different peoples over time. The Babylonians, he rightly says, had versions of Pythagoras’ theorem. But he makes the point that ’empires of colour’ can also mean ‘oppressors of colour’, as this is what empires are: one ethnic group ruling another.

The syllabus then moves to demand that teachers and students ‘create counterknowledge to origins of mathematical knowledge’. This teaching ‘power and oppression in western maths’. The syllabus claims that western maths is seen as the only legitimate mathematics, and is used to disenfranchise people of colour. It erases the historical contribution of people of colour. Sargon replies by stating that different peoples have indeed independently discovered different maths theorems and formulae, but that Western maths is based on the Greeks. The syllabus also requires students to learn the history of resistance and liberation of people of colour using maths, engineering and technology. Sargon says he knows some great stories, but they are all about western maths. Like how Archimedes defended Syracuse against a Roman invasion by having the Greek soldiers align their bronze shields so that they reflected the sun’s rays as a kind of death ray. He also tells the story of Archimedes’ death. The Romans sent a soldier to capture him. When the soldier finally caught him, Archimedes was busy trying to draw a perfect circle by going through as many small points as possible. He told the soldier not to bother him, so that the soldier stabbed him with his sword.

The syllabus also includes more general questions, asking students how the feel about themselves as mathematicians and who is a mathematician? Sargon argues that a mathematician is someone who gets a problem right. But he also says that he doesn’t know, because he’s been using maths in ordinary life since he left school, as well as in computers, but doesn’t think of himself as a mathematician. He also remarks that he studied logarithms at school, and after twenty or so years still hasn’t been in a sitution that requires them. Students are also asked what it means to make a mistake, and where does power and oppression show up in people’s maths experiences. Sargon jokingly responds to this that it shows up in his maths teacher, who told him off for getting his maths wrong. there are also questions like ‘how and why does data-driven processes prevent liberation?’, ‘how is maths manipulated to allow inequality and oppression to persist?’, ‘how has maths been used to liberate people and communities and colour from oppression?’ and ‘Can you advocate against oppressive mathematical practices?’

As Sargon points out at the beginning of his video, this is all about teaching Black children that they are oppressed, and White children that they should feel guilty. It’s political activism that shouldn’t have a place in maths. He also argues that some of this is actually dangerous when it comes to claiming that there is a distinction between White and Black mathematics. mathematical facts are true regardless of race or culture, and lives may depend on their correct application. For example, planes depend on engineers understanding the equations governing aerodynamics. These have to be correct, and it doesn’t matter whether the person doing these is White or Black. It’s either right or wrong, and if it’s wrong, then people may die.

I realise that Sargon is a man of the right, even extreme right, and that he himself says that this subject has already been discussed in right-wing newspapers and internet sites. Nevertheless, I think this is important and needs to be discussed and refuted. Because it, or something similar, may well come over here. Black activists are worried about Black schoolchildren’s underperformance in maths. It’s why, when I still got on with the Black and Asian Studies Association they asked me if I knew anything about Black mathematics. I didn’t, but sent them material on medieval Muslim mathematicians – Persian and Arab – for which they expressed their thanks. It wouldn’t surprise me if a group in Britain was demanding a similar approach in British schools following Black Lives Matter.

Here’s the video:

There have been other attempts to create a maths syllabus that would engage and inspire Black American pupils with controversial results. Back in the 1990s Private Eye’s ‘Funny Old World’ column carried a piece about the anger that had been sparked by one American school’s or schoolboard’s attempts to appeal to its Black students. It attempted to do so by framing maths problems in the setting of Black urban gangsta culture. One of the problems set featured two gangsters, Lucius and Rufus. They had guns that had different rates of fire and held clips of different numbers of bullets. The question was on how many times these gangsters would have to fire their weapons before they had to change the guns’ clips. The schoolboard attempted to justify this and and similar questions by claiming that it reflected the home environment of their students, and they were just trying to engage them through using it. But naturally, this horrifies everyone, Black and White, who doesn’t want violent criminals to be glamourised, or feels that Black children should be inspired to identify and aim for something better. There is a caveat to this story. Some of the items in the column are, shall we say, far-fetched and others have been shown to be urban legends, so it’s quite possible that the story’s fake and was made up as a spoof or joke. But looking at the blatant bias in Seattle’s maths syllabus, as bonkers as it is, it could also be true.

I’ve suggested before in a previous video that if educators really want to inspire Black children in maths, they could teach them about some of the maths problems studied by the ancient Egyptians, or failing that, the kind of maths problems they studied, as some of the formulae the Egyptians used aren’t accurate. They might also teach them the type of maths problems studied and taught in the schools of the great Islamic civilisations in north Africa. That would clearly be better than telling them that Whites have appropriated maths to oppress Blacks and other non-White peoples.

There is clearly a viciously anti-White racism in some of the academic doctrines and approaches now being advocated and taught as pro-Black. Critical Race Theory is another one, as it teaches that all White people are racist and any institutions they set up will automatically oppress non-Whites. Trump passed an executive order last week banning its teaching in federal government. services, including the police. But Trump is himself determined to indoctrinate children with his attack on anything he considers to be liberal propaganda being taught as part of history. He has just launched the 1776 Initiative, which aims to make American history teaching even more patriotic.

Such indoctrination, whether coming from the left or right has no place in schools. Children need to be taught objective facts, both in maths and history, and encouraged to make up their own minds about race, country and politics.

The Electoral Trolley Problem

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 14/09/2020 - 4:31pm in

Voting is always an ethical dilemma. For people thinking about voting for Joe Biden, one of the things that they might not be thinking about as they fantasize about the somewhat remote possibility of a liberal stalwart replacement for Ruth Bader Ginsberg is the higher probability that Biden, given his history, will start another war in the Middle East.

History Debunked Refutes Ethnomathematics/Rehumanizing Mathematics

This is another video from History Debunked. In it, youtuber and author Simon Webb attacks Ethnomatics, sometimes also called Rehumanizing Mathematics. This is a piece of modern pseudo-scholarship designed to help Black children tackle Maths. The idea is that Blacks perform poorly compared at Maths compared to other ethnic groups. This is held to be because Maths is the creation of White men, and this puts Blacks off studying and mastering it.

The solution has been to scrutinise African societies for their indigenous Maths, especially the Dogon of Mali. They have been chosen as the chief model for all this, as they possessed extremely advanced astronomical and mathematical knowledge. In the 1970s there was a book, The Sirius Mystery by Robert K.G. Temple, which claimed that they owed this advance knowledge to contact with space aliens. Apparently this claim was subsequently dropped 10 – 15 years later, and the claim made instead that they were just superlative astronomers and mathematicians themselves. But Dogon Maths is held to be different from White, western Maths because it’s spiritual. History Debunked then goes on to demonstrate the type of pseudo-scientific nonsense this has lead to by providing a link to an Ethnomathematics paper and reading out its conclusion. It’s the kind of pretentious verbiage the late, great Jazzman, Duke Ellington, said stunk up the place. It’s the kind of postmodern twaddle that Sokal and Bricmont exposed in their Intellectual Impostures. It’s deliberately designed to sound impressive without actually meaning anything. There’s a lot of talk about expanding cognitive horizons and possibilities, but History Debunked himself says he doesn’t understand a word of it. And neither, I guess, will most people. Because it doesn’t really mean anything. It’s just there to sound impressive and bamboozle the reader into thinking that somehow they’re thick because they don’t, while the fault is entirely the writers.

I think History Debunked is a man of the right, and certainly his commenters are Conservatives, some with extremely right-wing views. He’s produced a series of videos attacking the pseudo-history being pushed as Black History, and apparently Seattle in America is particularly involved in promoting this nonsense. But he expects it to come over here in a few years. Given the way Black History month has jumped the Atlantic, I think he’s right.

There’s been a particular emphasis on find ancient Black maths and science for some time I know. For a brief while I got on well with a Black studies group when I was a volunteer at the slavery archives in the former Empire and Commonwealth Museum. That was before I read their magazine and got so annoyed with it and its attitude to Whites that I sent them a whole load of material arguing to the contrary, and pointing out that in places like the Sudan, Blacks were being enslaved and oppressed not by White Europeans, but by the Arabs. I also sent them material about the poor Whites of South Africa, who also lived in grinding poverty thanks to Apartheid. This was stuff they really didn’t want to hear, and I was told that if I wanted to talk to them further, I should do so through someone else. They were also interested in finding examples of Black maths and science. I sent them photocopies and notes I’d made of various medieval Muslim mathematicians. These were Arabs and Persians, like al-Khwarizmi, who gave his name to the word algorithm, Omar Khayyam, best known in the west for his Rubayyat, but who was also a brilliant mathematician, al-Haytham, who invented the camera obscura in the 12th century and others, rather than Black. But they were grateful for what I sent them nonetheless, and I thanked me. This was before I blotted my copybook with them.

I’m reposting this piece because, although it comes from the political, it is correct. And you don’t have to be right-wing to recognise and attack this kind of postmodern rubbish. Sokal and Bricmont, the authors of the book I mentioned early attacking postmodernism, were both men of the left. Sokal was a physicist, who taught maths in Nicaragua under the left-wing Sandinista government. They wrote the book because they took seriously George Orwell’s dictum that writing about politics means writing clearly in language everyone can understand. And even if you believe that Black people do need particular help with maths because of issues of race and ethnicity, Ethnomathematics as it stands really doesn’t appear to be it. It just seems to be filling children’s heads with voguish nonsense, rather than real knowledge.

I also remember the wild claims made about the Dogon and their supposed contact with space aliens. Part of it came from the Dogon possessing astronomical knowledge well beyond their level of technology. They knew, for example, that Sirius has a companion star, invisible to the naked eye, Sirius B. They also knew that our solar system had nine planets, although that’s now been subsequently altered. According to the International Astronomical Association or Union or whatever, the solar system has eight planets. Pluto, previously a planet, has been downgraded to dwarf planet, because it’s the same size as some of the planetoids in the Kuiper Belt. Lynn Picknett and Clive Prince discuss this in one their books,The Stargate Conspiracy (London: Little, Brown & Company 1999), which claimed that the American intelligence agencies were secretly preparing a fake UFO landing in order to convince everyone that the space gods really had arrived, and set up a one-world dictatorship. This hasn’t happened, and I’ve seen the Fortean Times and other weird magazines trying to explain their book as a high-level hoax which people took too seriously. I don’t believe this, as they seemed very serious at the time. The Dogon believe that the first human ancestors, and some of their gods, came from the sky. Hence Temple’s claim that they were contacted by space aliens. Picknett and Prince, however, sided with sceptics like Carl Sagan. They argued instead ithat the Dogon owed it to a French priest, anthropologist or colonial administrator, I’ve forgotten which, who visited them in the 1920s and who was extremely interested in astronomy. This seems to me to be far more likely than that they either got it from space aliens or that they far better mathematicians and astronomers than they could have been at their level of development.

The Dogon are fascinating as their homes and villages are laid out to be microcosms of the male and female human body and the universe. The book African Mythology by Geoffrey Parrinder, London: Hamlyn 1967, describes the layout of a Dogon house thus:

The shape of the Dogon house is symbolical. The floor is like the earth and the flat roof like heaven. The vestibule is a man and the central room woman, with store rooms at her sides as arms. The hear at the end is her head. The four posts are the man and woman entwined in union. So the family house represents the unity of man and woman and God and the Earth. This is accompanied by the elevation and ground plan of a typical Dogon house. (p. 49).

There’s also this diagram of an idealised Dogon village:

The caption for the diagrame reads:

Like the house, the Dogon village represents human beings. The smithy is at the head like a hearth in a house. The family houses in the centre and millstones and village represent the sexes. Other altars are the feet. (p. 51).

Truly, a fascinating people and I have no problem anybody wanting to study them. But it should be in anthropology, ethnography or comparative religion, not maths.

But it struck me that if teachers and educators want to enthuse and inspire young minds with what maths Africans were studying, they could start with ancient Egypt and the great Muslim civilisations of the Sahara and north Africa, like Mali. Aminatta Forna in one of her programmes on these civilisations was shown an ancient astronomical text from the medieval library of one of these towns, which she was told showed that Muslims knew the Earth orbited the sun before Copernicus and Galileo. I doubt that very much. It looks like a form of a combined helio-and geocentric system, first proposed by the ancient Greeks, and then taken up by some medieval astronomers not just in Islam, but also in Christian Europe. In this system, all the other planets when round the Sun, which orbited the Earth. Close to the modern system, but not quite. But it showed that the Black citizens of that civilisation were in contact with the great currents of Muslim science, and that they would have had learnt and taught the same kind of Maths that was being investigated and researcher right across the Muslim world, from India to Morocco and further south to Mali. One of the Black educationalists would like to translate one of these books from Arabic, the learned language of Muslim civilisation, and use it as an example of the kind of maths that was also taught in Black Africa.

Or you could go right back to ancient Egypt. Mathematical texts from the Land of the Nile have also survived in the Moscow and Rhind mathematical papyri. These have various maths problems and their solution. For example, problem No. 7 of the Moscow papyrus is about various calculations for a triangle. This runs

Example of calculating a triangle.

If you are told: A triangle of 2 thousands-of-land, the bank of 2 of 2 1/2;

You are to double the area: result 40 (arurae). Take (it) 2 1/2 times; result [100. Take its square root, namely] 10. Evoke 1 from 2 1/2; what results is 2/5. Apply this to 10; result 4. It is 10 (khet) in length by 4 (khet) in breadth. From Henrietta Midonick, The Treasury of Mathematics: 1 (Harmondsworth: Pelican 1965) p. 71.

It’s amazing to think that the boys at the scribal school were being taught all this millennia ago. It gives you a real sense of connection with the ancient schoolkids reading it. You can imagine them, hunched over with their pen and ink, busily cudgeling their brains while the teacher prowls about them. The Babylonians were also renowned as the pioneers of early mathematics. They even uncovered a school when they excavated Ur of the Chaldees in the 1920s, complete with the maths and other texts the schoolboys – female education didn’t exist back then, but I’m willing to be corrected – were required to learn. As a schoolboy character in the Fast Show used to say: ‘Brilliant!’ You don’t need to burden modern African societies like the Dogon with spurious pseudo-history and pseudo-science, when the real historic achievements of ancient Egypt and medieval Africa are so impressive.

It struck me that even if you don’t use the original Egyptian maths texts to teach maths – which would be difficult, as their maths was slightly different. Their method of calculating the area of a field of four unequal sides yields far too high a figure, for example – you could nevertheless inspire children with similar problems. Perhaps you could do it with assistance of a child or two from the class. You could bring them out in front of everyone, give them and ancient Egyptian headdress, and then arranged the lesson so that they helped the teacher, acting as pharaoh, to solve it. Or else pharaoh showed them, his scribes, and thus the class. This is certainly the kind of thing that was done when I was a kid by the awesome Johnny Ball on the children’s maths and science programme, Think of a Number. And every week, as well as showing you a bit of maths and science, he also showed you a trick, which you could find out how to do by dropping him a line. It was the kind of children’s programme that the Beeb did very, very well. It’s a real pity that there no longer is an audience for children’s programmes and their funding has subsequently been cut.

Here’s History Debunked’s video attacking Ethnomathematics. He also attacks a piece of ancient baboon bone carved with notches, which he states has been claimed is an ancient prehistoric African calendar. He provides no evidence in this video to show that it wasn’t, and says its the subject of a later video. If this is the one I’m thinking of, then that is a claim that has been accepted by mainstream archaeologists and historians. See Ivor Grattan-Guinness, The Fontana History of the Mathematical Sciences (London: Fontana Press 1998) p. 24.

If you want to know more about ancient and medieval maths, and that of the world’s many indigenous cultures, see the book Astronomy before the Telescope, edited by Christopher Walker with an introduction by the man of the crumpled suit and monocle himself, Patrick Moore (London: British Museum Press 1998).

This has chapters on astronomy in Europe from prehistory to the Renaissance, but also on astronomy in ancient Egypt, Babylonia, India, Islam, China, Korea and Japan, North and South America, traditional astronomical knowledge in Africa and among Aboriginal Australians, Polynesia and the Maori. It can be a difficult read, as it explores some very technical aspects, but it is a brilliant work by experts in their respective fields.

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