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Showing posts from October, 2020

Why is the World going to Hell?

by Jonathan Cook Part 5 - Our mental black boxes
The third chapter gets to the nub of the problem without indicating exactly what that nub is. That is because The Social Dilemma cannot properly draw from its already faulty premises the necessary conclusion to indict a system in which the Netflix corporation that funded the documentary and is televising it is so deeply embedded itself.
For all its heart-on-its-sleeve anxieties about the “existential threat” we face as a species, The Social Dilemma is strangely quiet about what needs to change – aside from limiting our kids’ exposure to Youtube and Facebook. It is a deflating ending to the rollercoaster ride that preceded it.
Here I want to backtrack a little. The film’s first chapter makes it sound as though social media’s rewiring of our brains to sell us advertising is something entirely new. The second chapter treats our society’s growing loss of empathy, and the rapid rise in an individualistic narcissism, as something entirely new. Bu…

How Socialism deals with monopoly

Democracy At Work 
Learn more about Prof Wolff's new book, The Sickness is the System: When Capitalism Fails to Save Us from Pandemics or Itself. Available now!

How Bolivia fights fascism - It takes more than the ballot box

The Grayzone Anya Parampil speaks with journalist Ollie Vargas in La Paz, Bolivia about the historic victory of the Movement Toward Socialism (MAS) party in the October 18 elections. They discuss the role of Bolivia's social movements in overturning the coup regime that came to power in 2019, as well as the expectations of average people as the new government of Luis Arce takes power. 

Lula: Julian Assange es un héroe de la democracia

Progressive International Former President of Brazil, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, gives a powerful speech in support of Julian Assange — and condemns all those who failed to come to his defence. 
Convened by the Progressive International, The Belmarsh Tribunal investigated and evaluated US war crimes in the 21st century — and defended Julian Assange's right to reveal them.

The US did not defeat fascism in WWII, it discretely internationalized it

by Gabriel Rockhill  “The U.S. has established itself as the mortal enemy of all people’s government, all scientific-socialist mobilization of consciousness everywhere on the globe, all anti-imperialist activity on earth.” – George Jackson

Part 2 - The Architects of the Fascist International When the United States entered WWII, the future head of the CIA, Allen Dulles, bemoaned that his country was fighting the wrong enemy. The Nazis, as he explained, were pro-capitalist Aryan Christians, whereas the true enemy was godless communism and its resolute anti-capitalism. After all, the U.S. had, only some 20 years prior, been part of a massive military intervention in the U.S.S.R., when fourteen capitalist countries sought—in the words of Winston Churchill—to “strangle the Bolshevik baby in its crib.
Dulles understood, like many of his colleagues in the U.S. government, that what would later become known as the Cold War was actually the old war, as Michael Parenti has convincingly argued: th…

Julian Assange is facing the ‘trial of the century’: 10 reasons why it threatens freedom of speech

The Ecuadorian diplomat who gave Julian Assange political asylum reports from the extradition hearing against the WikiLeaks journalist, and explains why it is “the most important case against the freedom of expression in an entire generation.”
by Fidel Narváez, (translated by Ben Norton) Part 3 - There was never a reckless disclosure of names. No one has been hurt due to WikiLeaks publications.
The legendary leaker of the Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg, told that court that he “totally disagrees with the ‘good Ellsberg / bad Assange’ theory.” He said Julian did “everything possible” to redact and withhold damaging information, working with media outlets in the redaction process.
The Pentagon Papers were top secret, but WikiLeaks’ documents were not classified as restricted and hence, by definition, there should be nothing that is truly sensitive.
Ellsberg said that Assange withheld 15,000 files from the Afghan War Diary to protect names, and also requested help from the State Department…

US govt-linked PR firm ran fake news networks for right-wing Latin American regimes

A Washington, DC-based PR firm linked to the US government and Democratic Party, CLS Strategies, ran a fake news network on Facebook and Instagram, spreading propaganda for Bolivia’s coup regime and the right-wing opposition in Venezuela and Mexico.
by Ben Norton
Part 10 - CLS Strategies and neoconservative Democratic Party operatives
Given CLS Strategies’ extensive work with right-wing Latin American leaders, it might seem as though the influential PR firm would be affiliated with the Republican Party, a traditional bastion of antipathy toward socialist governments across the Global South. But in reality it emerged from the heart of the Democratic Party.
Like Mark Feierstein and Peter Schechter, fellow CLS Strategies co-founder Robert “Bob” Chlopak has deep ties to the Democratic Party. Before creating the PR firm in the 1990s, Chlopak served as the executive director of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and the deputy director of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committe…

How Amazon raised prices to profit from the pandemic

 by Alex Harman

Part 8 - Amazon Is Engaged in Price Gouging on Products It Sells Directly While the initial media and law enforcement focus of price gouging was on third-party sellers, this report establishes that Amazon is directly selling items at significantly above the regular market price despite publicly stating that the company is fighting price gouging.
This report will focus on essential products, that would be covered under an existing or proposed price gouging statute, that saw the most notable price increases during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Note: All products in this section were listed as “sold by Amazon,” and not sold by third-party vendors.
Disposable Face Masks Package: 1000% Price Increase
It is difficult to make apples-to-apples comparisons of the prices of disposable face masks because those sold during the pandemic tend to be from new sources. Nonetheless, roughly equivalent products are priced far higher than they were before the onset of the pandemic. In addition, the so…

Media responds with apathy, disappointment as US-backed coup Gov’t concedes defeat in Bolivia

Across the spectrum, corporate media has endorsed last year’s rightwing takeover of Bolivia, refusing to label it as a coup. Coverage of Sunday’s historical elections hasn’t been much better. by Alan Macleod  Part 1

Bolivia’s Movement to Socialism (MAS) party is celebrating what appears to be a crushing, landslide victory in Sunday’s elections. 
Although official vote counting is far from over, exit polls show an overwhelming triumph for the socialists, and a repudiation of the right-wing military government of Jeanine Añez, who has ruled since the coup last November. 
At the same time, the corporate press appears less than pleased about the return to democracy for the Andean country.
In order to win outright in the first round, the top candidate needs at least 40 percent of the popular vote and a lead of 10 points over their nearest rival, and multiple polls have indicated that the MAS ticket of Luis Arce and David Choquehuanca has won more than 50 percent, and have achieved a lead of ove…

Xinjiang: A Report and Resource Compilation

Based on a handful of think tank reports and witness testimonies, Western governments have levied false allegations of genocide and slavery in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region. A closer look makes clear that the politicization of China’s anti-terrorism policies in Xinjiang is another front of the U.S.-led hybrid war on China. This resource compilation provides a starting point for critical inquiry into the historical context and international response to China’s policies in Xinjiang, providing a counter-perspective to misinformation that abounds in mainstream coverage of the autonomous region.
by Qiao Collective Part 3 - Violence and Unrest (2009-2016)
The extent of terrorist violence in China during this period is not well known in the West. Although there were many attacks between 1990 and 2016 and not all of the information is yet available, some high-profile attacks are as follows:

2009 July 5 – The Urumqi Riots, 197 killed, 1700 wounded. Chinese investigations allege that the riot…

UN Venezuela report omits US human rights violations

Beyond the bias and politicization of the report, what perhaps damns it most is how it is being used. by Leonardo Flores  
Part 4 - The report in the context of a hybrid war

Beyond the bias and politicization of the report, what perhaps damns it most is how it is being used. The omissions on the impact of coups and sanctions enable regime change operatives such as Elliott Abrams, U.S. special representative for Iran and Venezuela, to cite the report as evidence of crimes against humanity while, in the same breath, threatening to cut off Venezuela’s diesel supplies, which has drawn widespread condemnation from NGOs across the political spectrum for the devastating effect it would have on the Venezuelan people.
The report was similarly used by Senators Marco Rubio and Ben Cardin, who referenced it in a letter to the European Union in which they expressed “deep concern” over EU talks with the Maduro government and urged the EU to not monitor Venezuela’s parliamentary elections. This blatant …

Why is the World going to Hell?

by Jonathan Cook Part 4 - A small window on reality
The Social Dilemma ignores all of this to focus on the dangers of so-called “fake news”. It dramatises a scene suggesting that only those sucked into information blackholes and conspiracy sites end up taking to the street to protest – and when they do, the film hints, it will not end well for them.
Apps allowing us to hail a taxi or navigate our way to a destination are undoubtedly useful tools. But being able to find out what our leaders are really doing – whether they are committing crimes against others or against us – is an even more useful tool. In fact, it is a vital one if we want to stop the kind of self-destructive behaviours The Social Dilemma is concerned about, not least our destruction of the planet’s life systems (an issue that, except for one interviewee’s final comment, the film leaves untouched).
Use of social media does not mean one necessarily loses touch with the real world. For a minority, social media has deepened t…

Socialist presidential candidate Arce wins Bolivia's elections

The Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) won with 52.4 percent over the parties that were backed by the right-wing interim regime. After midnight on Sunday, Bolivian authorities allowed the results of the exit polls to be known. The Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) presidential candidate Luis Arce obtained 52.4 percent of the votes, the Citizen Community (CC) candidate Carlos Mesa got 31.5 percent, and the "We Believe Alliance" candidate Luis Fernando Camacho reached 14.1 percent of the votes. 
Bolivia's president-elect Arce thanked the people for their support and for their peaceful participation in the electoral process.
We have recovered democracy and hope. We ratify our commitment to work with social organizations. We are going to build a national unity government."
Previously, the Movement Towards Socialism (MAS) spokesperson Sebastian Mitchell made an official statement regarding the absence of definitive data on the elections. He said that mainstream media and exit-…

Evo Morales: ‘We Have to Recover Democracy and Take Back Our Country’

Former Bolivian president Evo Morales on his rise to power, the coup which overthrew his government – and why today's election is a fight to restore popular sovereignty. An interview with Evo Morales  
Evo Morales’s fate after last November’s military coup in Bolivia follows the same dark pattern as that of many left-wing, progressive, and anti-imperialist leaders in the region. Parallels have been drawn with the coup against Chile’s Salvador Allende in September 1973, the attempted military uprising against Hugo Chávez in Venezuela in April 2002, and the Ecuadorian police’s bid to oust Rafael Correa in September 2010.
With Morales now in exile in Argentina, he has also been compared to that country’s leader Juan Domingo Perón after the September 1955 takeover by an ultraconservative faction of the army. The military dictatorship implemented a total ban on the Peronista movement, yet the exiled Perón continued to bear enormous influence due to the base he had built through the decade…

The trial of Julian Assange - Roger Waters, John Pilger, & Ray McGovern

Consortium News Recently, U.S. prosecutors indicted WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange on seventeen espionage charges stemming from the disclosure of atrocities committed by the U.S. armed forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. With global consequences directly affecting the freedom of the press, Assange stands to be extradited from the UK to trial in the U.S. under the Espionage Act.  
In this event, author and activist, Miko Peled, speaks with three prominent activists who have persistently advocated for Assange’s release and freedom. Miko and the panel tackle the following topics:
 - Julian Assange and WikiLeaks’ contributions to journalism - The campaign to prosecute Assange
- Assange’s eviction from the embassy and his corresponding treatment by the British authorities
- The likelihood of Assange’s extradition to the U.S. to face espionage charges
- The lack of journalistic support and solidarity for Assange

Ex-OPCW chief defends Syria whistleblowers and reveals he was spied on before Iraq war

In a Grayzone exclusive, José Bustani, the former head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, speaks out in support of two veteran OPCW inspectors who challenged a US-backed cover-up of their investigation in Syria. Bustani also reacts to the recent US-UK-France-led effort to prevent his testimony at the UN Security Council about the OPCW’s Syria cover-up scandal. And Bustani reveals new details of how he was targeted in the lead-up to the Iraq war, when the Bush administration engineered his ouster for impeding its plans to invade. Bustani discloses for the first time that his office was bugged – and that the OPCW’s then-head of security, a U.S. citizen, vanished right after this was discovered. It’s a case of history repeating itself, with the world’s top superpower once again trying to silence a veteran diplomat from the Global South, whose courage and principle challenges a pro-war deception. 

The US did not defeat fascism in WWII, it discretely internationalized it

by Gabriel Rockhill  “The U.S. has established itself as the mortal enemy of all people’s government, all scientific-socialist mobilization of consciousness everywhere on the globe, all anti-imperialist activity on earth.” – George Jackson

Part 1 One of the founding myths of the contemporary Western European and American world is that fascism was defeated in WWII by liberal democracies, and particularly by the United States. 
With the subsequent Nuremburg trials and the patient construction of a liberal world order, a bulwark was erected—in fits and starts, and with the constant threat of regression—against fascism and its evil twin in the East. American culture industries have rehearsed this narrative ad nauseum, brewing it into a saccharine ideological Kool-Aid and piping it into every household, shack and street corner with a TV or smartphone, tirelessly juxtaposing the supreme evil of Nazism to the freedom and prosperity of liberal democracy.
The material record suggests, however, tha…

Julian Assange is facing the ‘trial of the century’: 10 reasons why it threatens freedom of speech

The Ecuadorian diplomat who gave Julian Assange political asylum reports from the extradition hearing against the WikiLeaks journalist, and explains why it is “the most important case against the freedom of expression in an entire generation.”
by Fidel Narváez, (translated by Ben Norton) Part 2 - The accusation is for a “political crime,” which is not subject to extradition. Publishing classified, and truthful, information is not a crime.
Julian Assange would be prosecuted under the Espionage Act of the United States for a political “crime,” which is excluded from the extradition agreements between the United Kingdom and U.S.
The U.S. attorney general’s office has furthermore said that Assange, as a foreigner, would not be able to exercise the right of the First Amendment. That is to say, punishments apply to foreigners in the U.S., but not legal protections.

The director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, Trevor Timm, told the court that the extradition of Assange would be the “end …