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Australians Must Provide Proof That They Voted Liberal Before Being Vaccinated

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 15/02/2021 - 7:54am in

The Government has announced that any Australians wishing to receive a Covid 19 vaccination must provide proof that they voted for the Liberals at the last election.

”My Government is committed to making sure that all Australians who voted Liberal get vaccinated,” said Prime Minister Scotty from Marketing. ”Of course, those like Craig Kelly who may I remind you is not my doctor do not have to get vaccinated if they do not wish.”

”However, to those who do wish to get vaccinated it’s quite easy, vote for me and you get a jab.”

When asked why the vaccine was only being made available to Liberal voters, the Prime Minister said: ”I reject the premise of your question.”

”It will also be available to National voters as well and maybe One Nation voters, if there’s any left over.”

”Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to vaccinate myself against any accidents in my pants by visiting Engadine maccas.”

Mark Williamson

@MWChatShow

You can follow The (un)Australian on twitter @TheUnOz or like us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/theunoz.

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Conspiracy Theories Are Caused By Government Secrecy

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Sun, 14/02/2021 - 2:39pm in

Tags 

Syria, Government, News, CIA

The DC Circuit has ruled that the CIA is under no obligation to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests pertaining to its involvement with insurgent militias in Syria, overturning a lower court’s previous ruling in favor of a Buzzfeed News reporter seeking such documents.

As Sputnik’s Morgan Artyukhina clearly outlines, this ruling comes despite the fact that mainstream news outlets have been reporting on the Central Intelligence Agency’s activities in Syria for years, and despite a US president having openly tweeted about those activities.

“In other words, the CIA will not be required to admit to actions it is widely reported as having done, much less divulge documents about them to the press for even greater scrutiny,” Artyukhina writes, calling to mind the Julian Assange quote “The overwhelming majority of information is classified to protect political security, not national security.”

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The CIA’s brazen collaboration with dangerous extremist factions seeking to topple Damascus, and its equally brazen refusal to provide the public with any information about the extent of its involvement in Syria from the earliest stages of the violence in that nation onwards, will necessarily provide fodder for conspiracy theories.

It is public knowledge that the CIA was involved in the Syrian war to some extent, it is public knowledge that the CIA has a well-documented history of doing extremely evil things, and it is public knowledge that the US government has long sought control over Syria. Due to the agency’s refusal to be transparent about the exact nature of its involvement in that nation, people are left to fill in the knowledge gaps with their own speculation.

Of course they will do this. Why wouldn’t they? Why would anyone give the lying, torturing, propagandizing, drug trafficking, coup-staging, warmongering, psychopathic Central Intelligence Agency the benefit of the doubt and assume their actions in Syria have been benevolent just because the hard facts have been hidden behind a wall of government secrecy?

Yet they will be expected to. Anyone with a sufficient degree of influence who comes right out and says the CIA knowingly armed violent jihadists with the goal of orchestrating regime change in Syria will be attacked as a crazy conspiracy theorist by the narrative managers of the establishment media. If their words are really disruptive to establishment narratives, there will be calls to deplatform, unemploy, and ban them from social media.

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And really such is the case with all the melodramatic garment rending about the dangers of conspiracy theories today. All the fixation on the way unregulated speech on the internet has contributed to the circulation of conspiracy theories conveniently ignores the real cause of those theories: government secrecy.

If the most powerful government in the world were not hiding a massive amount of its behavior behind increasingly opaque walls of secrecy, people would not need to fill in the gaps with theories about what’s happening, because there would be no gaps; they would simply see what’s happening.

“But Caitlin!” one might object. “How could America engage in all its military operations around the world if it didn’t keep information about its behaviors a secret?”

Exactly, my smooth-brained friend. Exactly.

Government secrecy is indeed necessary for winning wars. Government secrecy is also necessary for starting those wars in the first place. US government agencies have an extensive history of using false pretenses to initiate military conflicts; if they could not hide the facts behind a veil of government opacity, the public would never engage in them. The American people would never have allowed their sons to go to Vietnam if they’d known the Gulf of Tonkin incident was a lie. They’d never have sent their sons and daughters to invade Iraq if they’d known weapons of mass destruction were a lie. They would lose the support of the public, and the international community would refuse to back them.

Protecting the lives of foreign military and intelligence personnel is the primary argument against government transparency in the United States, a premise which takes it for granted that there need to be foreign military and intelligence personnel at all. The only reason the lives of troops and intelligence officers would be endangered without massive walls of government secrecy is because those personnel are out there facilitating imperialist acts of mass murder and tyranny. The argument is essentially “Well we can’t tell you the truth about what’s happening in our government, because it would mean we’d have to stop doing extremely evil things.”

The argument that the internet needs strict censorship to eliminate dangerous conspiracy theories takes it as a given that simply eliminating government secrecy is impossible, which in turn takes it as a given that the US government cannot simply stop inflicting grave evils around the world. Our ability to share information with each other online is therefore ultimately being increasingly choked off by monopolistic Silicon Valley megacorporations because no one in charge can fathom the idea of the United States government ceasing to butcher human beings around the world.

That is the real underlying argument over internet censorship today. Should people have free access to information about what their own government is doing, or should their government be permitted to do evil things in secret while people who form theories about what they’re doing are shoved further and further away from audibility? That’s the real debate here.

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The powerful should not be permitted to keep secrets from the public. They should not be permitted to jail journalists who try to reveal those secrets to the public, and they should not be permitted to collaborate with monopolistic corporations to censor people who form theories about those secrets. The amount of secrecy you are entitled to should be directly inverse to the amount of power that you have.

The US government has powerful agencies whose literal job is to conspire. The fact that people are punished and condemned for forming theories about how that conspiring might take place, even while those agencies are completely lacking in transparency, is abusive.

If the government was not doing evil things in secret, then it wouldn’t need secrecy. If the government didn’t have secrecy, there would be no conspiracy theories. Stop pointing your attacks at powerless people who are just trying to figure out what’s going on in the world amidst a sea of government secrecy and propaganda, and point your attacks instead at the power structures that are actually responsible for the existence of conspiracy theories in the first place.

________________________

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, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book 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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Queen of Chicken Hawks: Victoria Nuland Had A Hand in Every US Intervention in the Past 30 Years

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 12/02/2021 - 4:59am in

President Joe Biden’s nomination of Victoria Nuland for Under Secretary for Political Affairs, the third-highest position at the State Department, is a dangerous sign. Nuland exemplifies the neoconservatives who have led American foreign policy from one disaster to another for the past 30 years, all while evading any shred of accountability.

As a top-level appointee, Nuland must still be confirmed by the Senate. And while pro-peace groups have waged a campaign to stop her confirmation, reflecting on her career in public service makes clear why she is incompetent, highly dangerous, and should not be confirmed.

 

Afghanistan and Iraq

From 2000 to 2003, when the Bush administration attacked and then invaded Afghanistan, Nuland was serving as Bush’s permanent representative to NATO. The Afghan government offered to work with the Americans to remove al-Qaeda, but the offer was rejected. After al-Qaeda was defeated, the U.S. could have left Afghanistan but instead stayed, established semi-permanent bases, splintered the country, and is still fighting there two decades later.

From 2003 to 2005, Nuland was principal foreign policy advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney who “helped plan and manage the war that toppled [Iraqi leader] Saddam Hussein, including making [the] Bush administration’s case for preemptive military action based on Iraq’s alleged weapons of mass destruction.” The foreign policy establishment, including Nuland, insisted that removing Saddam Hussein and installing a U.S. “ally” would be simple.

The invasion and continuing occupation have resulted in over a million dead Iraqis, many thousands of dead Americans, hundreds of thousands with PTSD, and a bill for American taxpayers of 2 to 6 trillion dollars.

From 2005 to 2008, Nuland served as U.S. Ambassador to NATO where her role was to “strengthen Allied support” for the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Victoria Nuland

Victoria Nuland is sworn in as NATO ambassador by Dick Cheney in 2005. Photo | White House

When Nuland was asked about the lessons learned on the tenth anniversary of the invasion, she responded:

Compared to where we were in the Saddam era, we now have a bilateral security agreement … We have deep economic interests and ties. We have a security relationship. We have a political relationship.”

Nuland’s response makes clear that she is oblivious to the costs, and that her loyalties are to the elite who are still benefiting from the tragedy. Indeed, “one of the top profiteers from the Iraq War was oil field services corporation, Halliburton.” Halliburton gained $39.5 billion in ‘federal contracts related to the Iraq war.’ Nuland’s boss, Vice President Dick Cheney, was its former CEO.

In January 2020, seventeen years after the U.S. invasion, the Iraqi parliament passed a resolution demanding U.S. troops and contractors withdraw from their country. Now, over one year later, they still have not left.

 

Libya

In the spring of 2011, Nuland became State Department spokesperson under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she ramped up the “regime change” assault on longtime U.S.-ally, Moammar Ghaddafi of Libya. UN Security Council resolution 1973 authorized a “No Fly Zone” for the protection of civilians but not an air assault on Libyan government forces. Yet that summer, as the U.S. and her NATO allies bombed and attacked Libyan forces, Nuland dismissed the option of a peaceful transition in Libya and suggested falsely that the UN Security Council required the removal of Ghaddafi.

The bombing campaign led to the toppling of the Libyan government and the brutal public murder of Ghaddafi at the hands of anti-government rebels. Commenting on the murder (and bayonet sodomizing of Ghaddafi) Nuland’s boss Hillary Clinton now famously chortled:

We came, we saw, he died.”

Before Ghaddafi’s overthrow, Libya had the highest standard of living in all of Africa. Since the U.S.-led assault though it has become a failed state with competing warlords, huge inflation, huge unemployment, and exploding extremism and violence that has spread to neighboring countries. Most of the migrants who have crossed the Mediterranean trying to reach Europe, or drowned trying to, are coming from Libya. By any measure, the goal of “protecting” Libyan civilians has failed spectacularly.

 

Syria

One reason that Clinton and hawks like Nuland wanted to overthrow Ghaddafi was ostensibly to gain access to Libya’s military arsenal. Doing so would allow them to funnel arms to insurgents seeking to overthrow the Syrian government and any other enemy of the United States or her allies in the region.

This was confirmed in secret DOD documents which stated:

During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria.

In January of 2012, Nuland claimed that the United States was “on the side of those wanting peaceful change in Syria.” At the same time, the U.S. was supplying sniper rifles, rocket-propelled grenades, and 125 mm and 155 mm howitzer missiles to the purportedly “peaceful” anti-government protestors in the country,

The U.S. “regime change” strategy for Syria followed the pattern of Libya. First, claim that the protestors are peaceful. Then claim the government’s response is disproportionate. Put pressure on the target government to paralyze it, while increasing proxy support for protesters and subversive anti-government groups. As documented, there were violent protesters in Syria from the start. During the first days of protest in Deraa in mid-March of 2011, seven police officers were killed. As a spokesperson for the State Department, Nuland was a major figure promoting that narrative in order to justify the “regime change” campaign.

 

Ukraine

In September of 2013, Nuland was appointed to the post of Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs. The uprising in Ukraine’s Maidan central plaza began soon after her arrival. To underscore American support for the protests, Nuland and Senator John McCain passed out bread and cookies to a crowd of anti-government protesters.

The protests continued into January of 2014. The issue at hand was a loan from the International Monetary Fund which would require a 40% increase in natural gas bills, or to accept a loan from Russia with the inclusion of cheap oil and gas. The opposition, wary of Russia and in favor of Ukraine’s alignment with “western” powers, wanted the Yanukovych government to accept the IMF loan. That opposition was comprised of different factions, including the neo-Nazi Svoboda Party and Right Sector.

In early February of 2014, an audio recording of Nuland talking to U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, was leaked to the public. The four-minute-long conversation was a media sensation as it included Nuland saying, “F**k the EU,” in reference to the European Union’s interests in Ukraine.

MintPress News · Victoria Nuland Leaked Call on Ukraine

But Nuland’s cursing was a distraction from what was truly significant of the recording. It showed the extent to which Nuland was meddling in domestic Ukrainian affairs, had direct contacts with key opposition leaders and was managing the protests to the extent she was deciding who would – and would not – have a seat at the table in the post-coup government. In the recording, Nuland says:

I don’t think Klitsch [Vitaly Klitschko] should go into government…… I think Yats [Arseniy Yatseniuk] is the guy… “

The reason she wanted to “F**k the EU” was that she did not approve of the EU’s preferred method of negotiation and compromise. Nuland and Pyatt wanted to “midwife” and “glue” the toppling of the Yanukovych government despite it being in power after an election that was observed and substantially approved by the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe).

Over the next few weeks, the protests escalated. The president of the American Chamber of Commerce in Kyiv, Bernard Casey, described what happened next.

On February 18-20, snipers massacred about 100 people [both protestors and police] on the Maidan …. Although the US Ambassador and the opposition blamed the Yanukovych Administration, the evidence points to the shots coming from a hotel controlled by the ultranationalists, and the ballistics revealed that the protestors and the police were all shot with the same weapons.”

The Estonian foreign minister would later echo those claims: “behind the  snipers, it was not Yanukovych, but it was somebody from the new (opposition) coalition.”

Casey continues:

On February 20, 2014 an EU delegation moderated negotiations between President Yanukovych and the protestors, agreeing to early elections – in May 2014 instead of February 2015…. Despite the signing of an agreement … the ultranationalist protestors, and their American sponsors, rejected it, and stepped up their campaign of violence.”

The coup was finalized in the following days. Yanukovych fled for his life and, as planned, Yatsenyuk became president.

Victoria Nuland Ukraine

Nuland, right, offers cookies to pro-EU protesters in Independence Square in Kiev, Dec. 11, 2013. Andrew Kravchenko | AP

One of the first acts of the coup leadership was to remove Russian, the first language of millions of Ukrainians, as an official state language. Over the coming period, the “birth” of the coup government, violence by ultranationalists and neo-Nazis were prevalent.

In Odessa, those peacefully protesting the coup were violently attacked. One video published online shows an especially vicious attack on peaceful protesters followed by the fire-bombing of the building where protestors had retreated. Fire trucks were prevented from reaching the building to put out the fire and rescue the citizens inside. Forty-two people died and 100 were injured. In another incident, a convoy of buses heading to Crimea was attacked and the anti-coup passengers beaten and some killed, and in the Donbas region of eastern Ukraine, protests against the coup were met with deadly force.

Nuland claims to be a “victim” because her conversation was leaked publicly. The real victims are the many thousands of Ukrainians who died and the hundreds of thousands who were made refugees because of Nuland’s crusade to bring Ukraine into the NATO fold.

The audio recording confirms that Nuland was managing the protests at a top-level and that the result (Yats is the guy) was as planned. If Nuland was willing to go to such lengths, it’s possible that she also approved the decision to both deploy snipers in order to escalate the crisis and to overturn the mediated agreement by the EU which would have forced elections in three months time and effectively undermined the protest movement.

Why were snipers deployed on February 18? No one can say for sure, but time was running out, the Russian leadership was distracted by the Sochi Olympics and perhaps the coup managers were in a hurry to “glue” it in advance.

 

Russia

During the 1990s, Nuland worked for the State Department on Russia related issues, including a stint as deputy director for former Soviet Union affairs. During that time, the U.S. interfered in Russian internal affairs in myriad ways. Time magazine proudly proclaimed, “Yanks to the rescue: the secret story of how American advisors helped Yeltsin win.”

Yet Yeltsin’s leadership and the policies pushed by the United States had disastrous consequences. Between 1991 and 1999, Russia’s gross domestic product decreased by nearly 50% as social safety nets were removed. The Russian economy collapsed, oligarchs, and lawlessness arose. Nuland was part of the U.S. team leading the efforts in Russia, deploying economic “shock therapy” and causing widespread social despair.

Meanwhile, the United States reneged on promises to Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev that NATO would not expand “one inch” eastward. Instead, NATO became an offensive pact, bombing Yugoslavia in violation of international law and then absorbing Poland, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, the Baltic states, the Czech Republic, Albania, Croatia, and more.

Coming into power in 2000, Putin clamped down on the oligarchs, restored order, and began rebuilding the economy. Oligarchs were forced to pay taxes and start investing in productive enterprises. The economy and confidence were restored. Over seven years, GDP went from 1.3 billion (U.S. dollars) to 2.3 billion. That is why Putin’s public approval rating has been consistently high, ranging between 85% and a “low” approval rating of 60%.

Most Americans are unaware of these facts. Instead, Putin and Russia are persistently demonized. This has been convenient for the Democratic Party establishment as it served as a distraction for their efforts against Bernie Sanders, efforts which ultimately led to their loss to Donald Trump. The demonization of Russia is also especially useful and profitable for the military-industrial complex.

Victoria Nuland

Nuland speaks to lawmakers after testifying on ‘Policy Response” to Russian election Interference, June 20, 2018. Andrew Harnik | AP

Nuland boosted the “Steele Dossier” which alleged collaboration between Russia and Trump among other salacious claims. The allegations filled the media and poisoned American attitudes towards Russia. Belatedly, the truth about the “Steele Dossier” is coming out. Last summer the Wall Street Journal reported “the bureau (FBI) knew the Russia info was phony in 2017” and that “there was no factual basis to the dossier’s claims.”

While promoting disinformation, Nuland is pushing for a more aggressive U.S. foreign policy. In an article titled “Pinning Down Putin.” she insists that “Russia’s threat to the liberal world has grown,” that Washington should “deter and roll back dangerous behavior by the Kremlin,” and “rebuff Russian encroachments in hot spots around the world.”

The major “hot spots” are some of the same conflicts that Nuland herself promoted, especially Syria and Ukraine. In Syria, the U.S. and its allies have spent billions promoting the overthrow of the Assad government. So far, they have failed, but have not given up. The facts are clear: American troops and military bases in Syria do not have the authorization of the Syrian government. They are actively stealing the precious oil resources of the Syrian state. It is the United States, not Russia, that is “encroaching.”

 

The queen of chicken hawks

Victoria Nuland has promoted a foreign policy of intervention, coups, proxy wars, aggression, and occupation and that policy has been implemented with bloody and disastrous results in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, and Ukraine.

With consummate hypocrisy, she accuses Russia of spreading disinformation in the United States, while she openly seeks to put “stress on Putin where he is vulnerable, including among his own citizens.” She wants to “establish permanent bases along NATO’s eastern border and increase the pace and visibility of joint training exercises.”

Nuland is the queen of chicken hawks, the Lady Macbeth of perpetual war. There are hundreds of thousands of victims from the policies she has promoted.  Yet she has not received a scratch. On the contrary, she has profited from a stock portfolio likely filled with military contractors.

Now Nuland wants to provoke, threaten, and “rollback” Russia. Yet a quick look at any map of U.S. military bases shows who is threatening whom.

Victoria Nuland is highly dangerous and should not be confirmed.

Feature photo | Victoria Nuland listens to questions during a press conference after talks with Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic in Belgrade, July 13, 2014. Darko Vojinovic | AP

Rick Sterling is a journalist and member of the Syria Solidarity Movement based in the San Fransico Bay area. He can be reached at rsterling1@protonmail.com

The post Queen of Chicken Hawks: Victoria Nuland Had A Hand in Every US Intervention in the Past 30 Years appeared first on MintPress News.

Biden Will Escalate Aggressions Against China While Republicans Call Him A Beijing Puppet

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/02/2021 - 2:57pm in

Biden Will Escalate Aggressions Against China While Republicans Call Him A Beijing Puppet

“Team Biden is soft on China,” Republican Senator Ted Cruz tweeted the other day, echoing a very common accusation that’s been leveled against the president from the right with increasing frequency.

Cruz, who biologically is mostly wetland parasites, is not being truthful. There is no evidence at this early stage that the Biden administration is “soft on China”, and there is a lot of evidence that it will be the exact opposite. Just today the president announced a new Pentagon task force dedicated to countering Beijing which will be led by a virulent China hawk who has previously attacked Trump for being too soft on China.

Antiwar’s Dave DeCamp reports:

Pentagon officials said the task force is a “sprint effort” that will examine things like US troop presence in the region, intelligence, and the role of US allies and partners in countering China. Leading the task force is Ely Ratner, a China hawk who Biden appointed as a special advisor to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.

Before his new position at the Pentagon, Rather worked at the interventionist Center for a New American Security (CNAS) think tank. Despite the Trump administration’s hardline policies towards Beijing, Ratner didn’t believe Trump was tough enough. In September 2020, he co-authored an op-ed titled “Trump Has Been Weak on China, and Americans Have Paid the Price.”

From his post at CNAS, Ratner led a congressionally mandated study on China that was released in January 2020. The report outlined various ways the US could compete with Beijing in Asia, including military deterrence or a “combat-credible posture in the Indo-Pacific,” as the study put it.

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Biden has been vocal about his desire to “confront China’s economic abuses, counter its aggressive, coercive actions, push back on China’s attack on human rights, intellectual property, and global governance.” His National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan has restructured the National Security Council to prioritize countering China in the Indo-Pacific. His Secretary of State Tony Blinken, who furiously agreed with Trump’s hawkish China policy, ripped Chinese officials over the treatment of Uighurs, Tibetans and Hong Kong in his very first call to Beijing after taking office. His Defense Department is sending war ships into the South China Sea.

Biden is plainly governing as a China hawk, and is giving every indication that aggressions between the two powerful nations will only get more heated in the coming years. Yet sleazy Republicans like Ted Cruz and their brainwashed supporters will keep hurling accusations of Beijing sympathies at this administration.

How do I know this will happen? Well besides the fact that it is happening already and has been in the works for months, I know it because it’s what happened last time.

Throughout his entire four years in office, Donald Trump was consistently hammered with accusations of secret Kremlin loyalty, even after the Mueller investigation failed to indict a single American for conspiring with the Russian government. These accusations did not harm Trump in any meaningful way, but they did in effect end up providing cover for him to escalate tensions against Russia more aggressively than any president since the fall of the Berlin Wall.

https://medium.com/media/ad45707be30d853bf25e0f0b6bd12434/href

During the 2012 presidential race, Barack Obama mocked Mitt Romney for saying that Russia was America’s greatest geopolitical threat, saying “The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War has been over for 20 years.”

Just imagine, for a moment, the reaction that American liberals would have had if they’d gone directly from that kind of narrative to the scary fascist orange man accelerating toward nuclear brinkmanship with the world’s other leading nuclear weapons force. They would have freaked out about it catastrophically, because they hadn’t yet been trained to hate Russia and demand increased aggressions against Moscow. Russiagate was first and foremost a mass scale psyop born of the US intelligence cartel and advancing the pre-planned agendas of the US intelligence cartel against a longtime geostrategic target.

I said years ago that the ultimate target of Russiagate was not Trump or Russia but China, and we’re seeing that playing out now. Moscow’s increasingly close relationship with Beijing means it needs to be targeted and shoved off the world stage via economic warfare and other cold war maneuverings to weaken its ability to defend the real target China before its surging economic power can permanently end US unipolar hegemony in our world.

We are watching a slow-motion third world war play out between the US-centralized power alliance and the nations which have resisted absorption into that alliance, and propaganda plays a vital role in manufacturing public consent for the various steps that need to be taken along the way to accomplish this. That is what we’ve been seeing with Democrats and manufactured Russia hysteria, and it’s what we’re seeing with Republicans and manufactured China hysteria as well.

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If you can create a situation where the leader of one political faction is escalating aggressions against a targeted nation while the other political faction is constantly accusing him of loyalty to that same nation, you’ve successfully manipulated the public into actively cheering for as many world-threatening cold war escalations as you want. Not only that but you’ve prohibited the opposite faction from putting up any resistance to these dangerous actions because they’re being politically pressured to demonstrate that they’re not “soft” on the targeted nation, pressured to show that they are in fact far more hawkish toward that nation than their accusers are.

Trump was successfully pressured to hit Russia with sanctions, menace it with an aggressive Nuclear Posture Review and troops on its border, bomb and starve its allies while tearing up crucial nuclear treaties, all while the Maddow muppets completely ignored these actions and kept insisting that Trump was acting the way you’d expect a secret Russian agent to act. The psyop worked perfectly. So why change the formula?

Biden will continue to roll out aggressions against China while the rightist political/media class keeps churning out narratives that he is soft on China. Rank-and-file right wingers will be manipulated into clapping along by mass media propaganda and by internet psyops feeding them nonsense about Hunter Biden’s laptop proving that his father is owned by the CCP. It won’t look exactly the same as Russiagate because the subjects and demographics are not the same, but the end result will be: the escalation of the slow-motion third world war against the world’s most powerful unabsorbed governments.

This is such a perfect example of the way the Democratic and Republican Parties function like the jab-cross punch combination in boxing, each working together to set each other up for knockout blows. They don’t look the same, and they aren’t used in exactly the same ways, but they’re both used in conjunction to advance the same goal: punching the rest of humanity in the face until it falls.

__________________________

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, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book 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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British Gas strikers refuse to back down – News from the Frontline

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/02/2021 - 7:48am in

Counterfire's fortnightly digest rounding up the stories of working people getting organised and fighting back

Media Frames Teen Using College Savings To Save Mom From Eviction as Uplifting Puff Piece

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 11/02/2021 - 5:02am in

Tags 

News, Capitalism, Media

A Texas teenager has been forced to use her entire college savings to prevent her single mother from being evicted after she lost her job amid a raging pandemic. Alondra Carmona of Houston made the appeal on crowdfunding site GoFundMe, noting that she had been accepted into prestigious New York university Barnard College, but that she used the money she had saved for tuition in order to save her mother.

Yet corporate media, including a host of ABC affiliates as well as soft news website “Good Morning America, have presented the story as an uplifting tale of generosity. Indeed, ABC published it in its “acts of kindness” section, an area generally reserved for stories about kittens being rescued, celebrities funding children’s hospitals, and the like.


ABC published Carmona’s story under their “Acts of Kindness” section

None of the outlets appeared interested in any of the worrying trends the story brought up. Should single mothers really ever be evicted, especially during a deadly pandemic? Why do working-class American children need to self-fund their own college tuition when college in most other developed nations is free or close to it?

Carmona’s story could have been used to highlight many of the most pressing problems in American society, including ever-rising rents, the exploitation of the poor, the government’s incompetent handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, the greed of landlords, or the enormous cost of attending college. But it was not. Instead, corporate media invited readers simply to laud Carmona’s dedication to her mother without raising any tough questions that would require them to scrutinize the economic and social order their owners and advertisers promote and benefit from.

Judging by comments left on its social media, not everybody appeared to accept ABC’s uplifting framing of the story. “In what world should this be normal?” and “Failed state” were the two highest-rated replies underneath the news, while Lee Carter, a candidate for the Governor of Virginia claimed that, “This is not heartwarming. This is a horrifying story of people having to sacrifice because political leaders have failed us all.”

Evictions are known to have led to around 11,000 extra COVID-related deaths nationwide between June and November alone, with Texas responsible for 4,456 of those. The state recently hit a record high number of average daily deaths, the pandemic killing over 300 people every day on average for the past four weeks.

Thanks to a wave of public sympathy, Carmona was actually able to meet her GoFundMe goal today, meaning that she will be able to attend college in the future. But she is one of the lucky ones.

 

Perseverance porn

Unfortunately, corporate media appear so out of touch that they regularly frame horrifying news of unnecessary struggling under capitalism as inspirational, heartwarming, or uplifting. For example, in July, News Center Maine presented news of an 84-year-old local woman taking a job as a motel housekeeper as a “pick-me-up story,” while in September, NBC10 Philadelphia told the story of an 89-year-old pizza delivery driver receiving a huge tip. Neither suggested that there was anything wrong with the elderly doing dangerous, poorly paid, insecure manual labor during a deadly pandemic.


A local NBC affiliate touted the “feisty spirit” of an octogenarian forced back to work

Going further back, media reported on a 60-year-old FedEx worker who walks 12 miles to and from work every day being gifted a car by her co-workers. While they celebrated their generosity, they did not raise any questions about why she was apparently paid so little that she could not afford a car, nor explore any issues around a broken public transit system that forces desperate workers into these situations. Instead, they presented the story as what media critic Adam H. Johnson has labeled “perseverance porn.”

Other recent examples of perseverance porn include NBC News January report on a South Carolina high school principal who works the night shift at Walmart to buy food and supplies for his students, 90% of whom, NBC casually noted, were living below the poverty line. Instead of presenting the finding as a searing critique of a system that forces elderly men to work round the clock to make sure children don’t starve in the richest country in world history, it invited readers to feel pride and honor at the man’s selfless actions, not bringing up any troublesome questions about the implications of his work.

Meanwhile, a “feel good” story from The Hill about a 5-year-old child selling snacks to pay off her classmates’ “lunch debt” drew considerable blowback online from outraged readers who seemed to be more concerned about indebted toddlers than their generous friend. “This isn’t a feel good story, it’s a dystopian nightmare,” wrote podcast host and political commentator, Kyle Kulinski.

Triumphing over adversity has been a standard trope of storytelling for centuries. Therefore, it is not surprising that media fall back upon this framework in their reporting. However, in today’s world, so much unnecessary adversity and suffering come as a direct result of how society is structured. Yet journalists at corporate media outlets appear to have so completely internalized the grim logic of neoliberal capitalism that they see single mothers being evicted, children in debt, or octogenarians working in the gig economy as unremarkable facts of life, not damning indictments of a broken system. Because of this, they appear unaware that readers less dedicated to free market fundamentalism might see something wrong with these stories.

The fact that tales of needless suffering can be presented as light-hearted perseverance porn actually tells us far more about the media itself than the subjects of their articles.

Feature photo | Housing activists erect a sign in front of Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker’s house, Oct. 14, 2020, in Swampscott, Mass. Michael Dwyer | AP

Alan MacLeod is Senior 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, as well as a number of academic articles. He has also contributed to FAIR.orgThe GuardianSalonThe GrayzoneJacobin Magazine, and Common Dreams.

The post Media Frames Teen Using College Savings To Save Mom From Eviction as Uplifting Puff Piece appeared first on MintPress News.

Biden Continues Trump’s War On The Press

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/02/2021 - 12:46pm in

Tags 

journalism, News

Just one day after a coalition of prominent civil rights groups made headlines with a letter urging the Biden administration to drop efforts to extradite WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States on espionage charges, the Biden administration has announced its intention to continue those efforts.

“Justice Department spokesman Marc Raimondi on Tuesday said the U.S. government will continue to challenge a British judge’s ruling last month that Assange should not be extradited to the United States because of the risk he would commit suicide,” Reuters reports.

“We continue to seek his extradition,” Raimondi said.

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Assange’s arrest and subsequent charges under the Espionage Act in 2019 for what amount to standard journalistic practices which exposed US war crimes marked both a dramatic escalation in the US empire’s war on critical national security journalism and a sharp divergence from the Obama administration’s decision not to pursue such charges in this case. Biden is not just upholding Trump’s assault on press freedoms (far and away the single most egregious attack on journalism in the 45th president’s entire four years in office), he is rejecting the Obama administration’s decision not to charge Assange due to concerns that it would erode the First Amendment.

As The Washington Post reported during Barack Obama’s second term in 2013:

“The Justice Department has all but concluded it will not bring charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for publishing classified documents because government lawyers said they could not do so without also prosecuting U.S. news organizations and journalists, according to U.S. officials.”

“The problem the department has always had in investigating Julian Assange is there is no way to prosecute him for publishing information without the same theory being applied to journalists,” said former Justice Department spokesman Matthew Miller. “And if you are not going to prosecute journalists for publishing classified information, which the department is not, then there is no way to prosecute Assange.”

Nothing about this has changed. The Trump administration did not have access to any evidence that the Obama administration did not also have in 2013, it just chose to squint at the law from a different angle and legally interpret Assange’s journalistic activities as a violation of the Espionage Act. There is nothing whatsoever preventing other journalists around the world from facing the same fate under similarly dubious legal interpretations. The US Department of Justice is not going to be using other people’s personal definitions of what constitutes legitimate journalistic activity going forward, it’s going to be using its own.

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Biden’s divergence from the Obama administration’s less authoritarian position on the matter should not come as much of a surprise, since he took an absurdly hard line against WikiLeaks after the first publications of the earth-shattering Manning leaks in 2010.

“I would argue it is closer to being a hi-tech terrorist than the Pentagon papers,” Biden said of Assange at the time. “But, look, this guy has done things that have damaged and put in jeopardy the lives and occupations of people in other parts of the world.”

It should also come as no surprise because, all things considered, this administration has not been much different from the previous one in terms of actual policy. The policy of regime change interventionism in Venezuela is the same. The policy of hawkishness toward China is the same. The policy of starvation sanctions against Iran is effectively the same. In a recent CNN interview Secretary of State Tony Blinken could not speak highly enough of Trump’s more incendiary foreign policy decisions like moving the US embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing the illegally occupied Golan Heights as Israeli territory.

There are far, far more similarities between the Trump administration and the Biden administration than there are differences. As is consistently the case with US presidents, the narratives are different, the campaign platforms are different, the political parties are different, but the actual policies and behaviors remain more or less the same.

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None of this means we should stop fighting tooth and claw for Assange’s freedom: the fight is far from over. There is still time for the Biden administration to opt against appealing the UK court decision not to extradite, thereby leaving the entire embarrassing extradition attempt on Trump’s lap.

“The US may submit its Assange appeal filing by Friday to meet its deadline, but one would expect a serious policy decision to be made by the new Attorney General who, once confirmed, can review the incredibly weak case against Assange in full before making a determination,” a statement by the Courage Foundation reads. “Reports are circulating that an interim spokesperson says the Biden admin will continue the Assange case. The incoming DOJ, whose Attorney General is yet to be confirmed, can drop the charges against Assange at any time, including after this Friday’s appeal deadline.”

So we keep pushing. We cannot allow a corrupt and murderous globe-spanning empire to effectively outlaw inconvenient journalism around the world in the way it would by setting the legal precedent it is trying to set with the Assange case. If journalists everywhere know they can be extradited and imprisoned for publishing inconvenient facts about the US-centralized empire, they will largely refrain from doing so. And that is the whole idea.

Through WikiLeaks Julian Assange has revealed a lot of damning information about the most powerful entities on our planet, but by far the most damning revelation he provided was not a WikiLeaks release at all: it was the revelation that “free democracies” like the US and the UK will openly imprison and torture a journalist for telling the truth. This has been seen, and it cannot be unseen. We owe him a great debt for bringing such facts into the light. The least we can do is try to get him out of there now.

______________________________

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, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book 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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Applications invited for doctoral study opportunities in Freiburg

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 10/02/2021 - 2:21am in

Tags 

News, research

The Freiburg Institute for Basic Income Studies (FRIBIS) is offering six positions for doctoral study. The closing date is the 28th February. FRIBIS is an interdisciplinary institute that aims to combine scientific research with political and civil debates as well as political consultation relating to the Universal Basic Income. FRIBIS supports a worldwide network of […]

Biden’s Iran Policy Is Just Trump’s Iran Policy With A Rainbow Flag Emoji

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/02/2021 - 11:57am in

Tags 

Iran, News, Politics

In a new interview with CBS Evening News, President Biden confirmed that his administration will not be lifting sanctions imposed upon Iran in order to bring Tehran to the negotiating table for the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

“Will the U.S. lift sanctions first in order to get Iran back to the negotiating table?” Biden was asked by CBS’s Norah O’Donnell.

“No,” the president replied.

“They have to stop enriching uranium first,” asked O’Donnell.

Biden nodded in response.

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There are a few things that are ridiculous about this, the first being that the JCPOA does not require that Iran “stop enriching uranium” at all. As explained by Al-Monitor’s Arash Karami, the deal only calls for Iran to “keep its level of uranium enrichment at up to 3.67 %”, a level it only began exceeding when the Trump administration backed out of the deal and imposed sanctions. The administration later clarified that Biden meant Iran would have to return to its JCPOA levels before negotiations could begin, but the fact that neither the United States president nor the high-profile reporter interviewing him appear to have been clear on this says a lot about the vapid nature of America’s political/media class.

More importantly, this is confirmation from the horse’s mouth that Biden is in effect continuing Trump’s Iran policy. Trump began strangling Iran with crushing sanctions in an effort to force it to obey US dictates, and Biden is continuing that exact same strangulation while continuing to demand compliance with its dictates. The demands might be a little different, but the effect is identical since Tehran would never bow to either of them.

The Iranian government has repeatedly made it abundantly clear that it will not be rejoining the JCPOA until the United States comes back into compliance, since it was the US who first abandoned it. It claims, correctly, that it was in full compliance with the agreement when the Trump administration unilaterally backed out in May 2018. The argument that it is therefore Washington’s responsibility to come back into compliance first is indisputable. Why would it re-enter a deal with a government that is clearly acting in bad faith and could just back out and impose civilian-killing sanctions on the nation again?

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And that’s just getting back to the negotiating table for re-entering the deal as it is written. Gareth Porter reported last month that the Biden administration may plan on using the sanctions regime it inherited from the previous presidency as a “Trump card” to try and coerce Tehran into agreeing to a modified version of the deal.

Neither of these things are going to happen. Iran will not modify the deal, and it will not come back into compliance before the government which first abandoned the deal comes back into compliance. And the Biden administration appears to be perfectly fine with this, reportedly toying with the idea of waiting all the way until after Iran’s presidential elections in June to even begin approaching the deal.

The end result being that we still have a US presidency waging economic warfare upon Iran in exactly the same way it was before the 20th of January. Civilians are still having the life squeezed out of them by a far more powerful nation which does not view them as human beings, and it’s only a matter of time before this administration or a subsequent one causes another flare up which pushes things to the brink of hot war like we saw a year ago.

Biden’s Iran policy is in effect just a continuation of Trump’s Iran policy that liberals can feel good about. It’s Trump’s Iran policy with gender pronouns in its bio.

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Choosing to continue an immoral course of action is just as immoral as choosing to initiate an immoral course of action. If you’re beating someone up and you leave when I get there, and then I choose to continue assaulting that person, I am just as culpable in that assault as you are. Presidents who choose to perpetuate one another’s depraved policies are just as guilty of that depravity as their predecessors.

Starvation sanctions are the only type of warfare in which it is considered normal and acceptable to deliberately target a civilian population with deadly force. But it is not normal, and it is not acceptable. Biden and his team of ventriloquists fully own the effects of their warmongering. They don’t get to just scribble “TRUMP’S FAULT” across them in crayon and act like they’re innocent.

The mainstream media are fixated on the differences between the Biden administration and the Trump administration, just as they were fixated on the differences between the Trump administration and the Obama administration four years ago. If you can mentally mute that vapid soundtrack and look at the similarities between administrations instead, regardless of party affiliation and campaign platforms, you’ll learn a lot more about what’s really going on in the world.

_________________________

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, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book 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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YouTube Financially Deplatforms Swath Of Indie Media Accounts

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 04/02/2021 - 10:40am in

The Google-owned video sharing platform YouTube has demonetized numerous independent media accounts, a jarring escalation in the steadily intensifying campaign against alternative news outlets online.

Progressive commentators Graham Elwood, The Progressive Soapbox, The Convo Couch, Franc Analysis, Hannah Reloaded and Cyberdemon531 have all received notifications from YouTube that their videos are no longer permitted to earn money through the platform’s various monetization features, as has Ford Fischer, a respected freelancer who films US political demonstrations. No explanation has been offered for this decision beyond the vague claim that “your channel is not in line with our YouTube Partner Program policies” due to “harmful content”.

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Like all large online platforms, YouTube’s appeals process is notoriously opaque and unaccountable. These accounts could remain demonetized for months, or forever, without any clear explanation at all. Ford Fischer, who has been in this situation before, said on Twitter that his account was left demonetized for seven months before YouTube reversed its decision.

“Last time you demonetized my channel, I spoke out for seven months. I didn’t delete a single piece of content. You admitted you were wrong. I forgive you. Please don’t do this again,” Fischer tweeted.

“No superchats, no ad revenue, no YouTube premium money,” tweeted Elwood, who also said “I have a call with my lawyers later today.”

“You guys have destroyed my channel without legit explanation as to why,” tweeted Jamarl Thomas of Progressive Soapbox. “No videos are given — and frankly there is literally zero ‘harmful’ content on my channel. This is a radically bad error that needs to be corrected.”

The Convo Couch’s Jonathan Mayorca tweeted the notification he received from YouTube which gave the reason as “Harmful content: Content that focuses on controversial issues and that is harmful to viewers,” saying no specific video or subject was named. Nobody receiving these notifications appears to have any idea what is meant by “harmful” or “controversial” or why YouTube is mentioning them in the same breath as though these two things are connected or synonymous in some way.

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YouTube has been providing template responses saying “We recommend making the needed changes to your content and reapply in 30 days” while refusing to specify what the “needed changes” even are.

Speaking for myself, I can say with absolute certainty that I would not be able to create content at anywhere near the pace I do were I not making enough money from it to do it full time. Life is far too demanding with far too much else going on for me to be able to maintain anything like daily output; being financially deplatformed and having to get another job would force me down to an essay a week in my spare time, if that. Anyone who works in independent media full time knows this, and so do the powerful people who are steadily ratcheting up the campaign to silence anyone who hasn’t passed through the gatekeepers of the plutocratic media.

Financial deplatforming is censorship. People were given an opportunity to devote themselves to the vocation of creating media outside the gatekeeping apparatus of billionaire news institutions, which is arguably the single most important vocation anyone can give themselves to in our world right now, and they built their lives around their ability to do this. Now it’s being ripped away from them; their literal jobs are being taken away. They were offered a reason to think they’d be able to make a living doing very important work, and then they were sucker punched with what amounts to political censorship.

This has been a continually escalating trend for years. The general population is herded onto huge monopolistic social media platforms offering democratization of information where your voice can be heard, and then those platforms proceed to censor an increasing amount of political speech in increasing coordination with the US government.

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If the democratization of information online is successfully reversed and the mass media gatekeepers are again the sole authorities on what’s real and true, people will be locked into forming their ideas on how to think, act and vote based on what they are told by the same plutocratic media institutions which have been deceiving them into every war and manipulating them into accepting the status quo for generations.

If the door is locked to the possibility of a grassroots information rebellion against the narrative hegemony of our rulers, we will remain doomed to continue along the same ecocidal, omnicidal trajectory these bastards have us on until it reaches its inevitable conclusion. This must be resisted.

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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, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Patreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my new book Poems For Rebels (you can also download a PDF for five bucks) or my old book 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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