Monday, July 30, 2018

Questions for the proponents of the latest Syria “gas attack” story

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In the months since April 7th’s alleged chemical attack from Assad, numerous details have come out which make the official story about the incident hard to believe. I hope that the government and media figures who’ve claimed this version of events answer the following questions, and I hope that the Western public takes them into consideration.

-The official story claims that Assad attacked a civilian crowd which largely consisted of children, that he did this at a moment when no drastic actions were needed to defeat the severely weakened anti-government forces in Syria, and that he took this impractical action when he surely knew that it would result in international retaliation. If this story is true, what could Assad’s motive have been for carrying out the attack?
-Despite the “Assad gas attack” story being reported as fact by Western media, sources from the highest levels have made it clear from the start that they don’t have conclusive evidence it had happened this way. Right after the incident, the U.S. State Department made a statement which acknowledged that the U.S. didn’t know for sure whether Assad had actually committed a chemical attack. Then on April 9, government sources told Reuters that they “had not yet conclusively determined whether the attack was carried out by President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian government forces.”
Yet Israel bombed Syria in response to this still unconfirmed attack on April 9. And the Trump administration bombed Syria on April 13, when Assad’s guilt still wasn’t settled. The UK and France have also launched have air strikes on Syria with the “gas attack” story as their pretext. Did the officials who ordered these attacks have access to damning evidence against Assad at the time? And if they did have this evidence, why didn’t they release it to the public before they carried out their military actions?
-The White Helmets were the initial source of the claim that Assad had committed such an attack. Knowing this, why did the White Helmets show in their own footage that they didn’t use the necessary protective gear for gas exposure while they handled victims?
-Syrian boy Hassan Diab has said in an interview that he was taken to the hospital despite having clearly shown no need for treatment. States Diab about how White Helmets members interacted with him: “Somebody was shouting that we had to go to the hospital, so we went there. When I came in, some people grabbed me and started pouring water over my head.” His story differs from the account that the White Helmets presented.
Additionally, videos released in the days after the incident show that White Helmets members deliberately moved the bodies of victims to make the footage more graphic, like when the remains of an infant were shown on top of one boy despite the remains not having been present in a different video of the scene. Amid all this evidence that staging was involved in the videos, how can the White Helmets assure us that their activities around the incident were done with impartiality?
-One of the medical workers from the scene has said that “Some people came here and washed people. They said: ‘Chemical attack. Chemical attack.’ We didn’t see any chemical attack symptoms.” Their account is widely backed up. The journalist Robert Fisk has interviewed multiple witnesses to the incident, and they’ve agreed that no chemicals were involved. The Syrian doctor Assim Rahaibani told Fisk that a heavy dust storm had happened on April 7th, and that White Helmets members went around the area yelling that a gas attack was happening. The videos of the victims, Rahaibani concludes, show people who are suffering from hypoxia, a symptom of severe dust inhalation.
Proponents of the gas attack story have responded to Fisk’s report by claiming that Rahaibani was coerced into giving this account. Yet this claim has no evidence behind it. And Fisk’s version of events is supported by the interviews of reporter Pearson Sharp, who’s talked with randomly selected civilians in the area who largely can’t even remember any news about a gas attack.
On top of all of this, seventeen witnesses to the incident testified in the Hague in April, and they all agreed that a dust storm had happened which was falsely reported as a gas attack. What evidence is there to prove all of these witnesses wrong?
-When the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons’ report about the incident came out this month, it revealed nothing that contradicts the accounts of the witnesses I mentioned. The OPCW found no evidence that sarin was involved in the incident, which directly goes against the White House’s claims about the incident. And it still hasn’t confirmed that chlorine was used either. No updates have come out since then which prove that a gas attack happened, or that Assad had committed such an attack. Amid this continued lack of evidence that chemical weapons were involved, or that Assad’s government is in any way to blame, how do the official story’s proponents justify their position?
-Since the OPCW concluded in 2016 that the Syrian government had gotten rid of all of its chemical weapons, why are we to believe that Assad could have been able to carry out a gas attack this year?
Until the authorities behind the official story address these questions, the public will have no solid reason to believe them. And by extension, I think that people will be justified in questioning any future claims of Syrian gas attacks.

Friday, July 27, 2018

How To Become A Better Revolutionary

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Activist circles often involve infighting, abuse, and other toxic behaviors because as activists, we’ve all taken on the political role as the mythological hero. As the hero goes on their mission to do good in the world, they need to decide which people to pick as allies and which people to cut themselves off from, they need to keep their ego on check, and they need to figure out how to fight for good without inadvertently doing damage. It’s endlessly complicated, and it’s too much for a lot of people to handle.

In many cases, it’s definitely been too much for me to manage perfectly. But I’ve been able to learn from my experiences in activism, and I think others can benefit from these resulting pieces of advice.
Direct your anger where it matters most
Throughout much of last year, I had a habit of writing about the onslaught of virulently pro-establishment Democrat comments that could often be found throughout online threads. I was a bit fixated in that moment; the toxicity of the online environment was overwhelming to me, and the hostile political agenda of the online commenters I was clashing with made me habitually upset.
After I managed to stop focusing on that issue and started consistently covering things like warneoliberalism, and government propaganda, I discovered that my online foes had largely consisted of artificial accounts which were created with the aim of antagonizing people like me. David Brock’s Correct the Record troll farm has continued since the 2016 election, and it’s still paying people to disrupt online forums with recycled DNC talking points from the 2016 Democratic primary. I’d not only forgotten the important internet rule that you shouldn’t get too worked up about what happens in online threads, but I’d fallen for the Brock troll operation’s manipulation tactics.
It’s easy to become obsessed in this way with fighting something that doesn’t really effect the world. Activists often fall into this pattern because when you’re trying to fight against the world’s evil at every opportunity, less significant troubles can seem as important as the bigger things. So we get caught up in the minor battles, often in ways that end up hurting our own cause and doing damage to our emotional health.
At that time last year, if I’d stopped to weigh how much my online experiences mattered next to issues like record wealth inequality and impending climate catastrophe, I would have directed my anger in an infinitely better way. Others could also benefit greatly from carefully choosing which fights to put their time and energy into.
Build up your comrades
Often on my social media timeline, I see activists getting involved in angry feuds with each other. Confrontations like these are no doubt legitimate and necessary when someone has engaged in abusive behavior that should be called out. But as always happens within political movements, activists often attack each other only because they aren’t on the exact same ideological wavelength.
People can make their own judgements about when it’s worth breaking ties with others. But in my experience, it’s wise to think twice before cutting off a potential ally; if you think they’re wrong about an issue, talking to them may change their views. And in a lot of cases, people who disagree about certain issues can effortlessly unite around the common cause of creating a better world. “[Not] everyone who has done a lot of inner work will necessarily share the same ideology,” recently wrote the political blogger Caitlin Johnstone. “I often feel like I have more in common with someone on the other end of the political spectrum who has engaged extensively in self-discovery than I have with a fellow socialist who has not.”
So always try to find common ground up your fellow revolutionaries, and to encourage them along the way. It not only helps our cause, but it ultimately puts humanity in a better place.
Emphasize the thing you’re working towards
The best way to keep yourself motivated and happy as you do your activist work is to always emphasize the goals you’re working towards. The battles of activism can divert our attention towards only focusing on the negative, which is a mindset that always exhausts and hollows out a person. It also takes us further away from the better future that we’re trying to create; if you aren’t thinking of the outcome you want, you’ll only be reacting to the bad while neglecting to build up the good.
I keep myself in a more productive state of mind by always trying to visualize the outcome that I’m hoping my efforts will create: a world where poverty and war no longer exist, where human beings coexist with the ecosystem, and where people can speak and access information freely. I’ve gotten fairly good at avoiding the many pitfalls of activism by using this in decision-making; when I consider whether an action will help bring things closer to my vision, or if it’s only a waste of my time, I can avoid the counterproductive activities and get back to working on what has impact.
As Johnstone also observed in the piece I quoted above, “[there are] so many well-intentioned people who want to help, and are so crazed by mass media psyops and cultural mind viruses that their energy seemingly goes everywhere but where it needs to.” All it might take for all of these people to break out of their counterproductive patterns is some brief reflection about which actions will do the most good for the world. I’ve engaged in this self-questioning to a large extent, and I hope others do the same.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Starve The System Of Its Life Source

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Ecuadorian president Lenin Moreno, after a recent trend towards siding with the agenda of the U.S./NATO empire, is working on a deal to expel Julian Assange from the Ecuadorian embassy. After this happens, it’s very likely that the U.S. or the U.K. will be able to fulfil their threats to arrest Assange-an arrest that, telling from the past language of President Trump and his top officials, could result in Assange’s torture or execution.

Assange has been cleared of all criminal charges, and his practice of releasing secret information is something that news organizations do all the time. The government only wants to prosecute Assange and WikiLeaks because they’ve brought transparency to a global oligarchy that depends on secrecy. And if they’re able to arrest Assange, it will set a precedent for the Trump administration to target any news outlet that publishes leaks. By extension, anyone who challenges power will also be easier to treat as a criminal.
The persecution of Assange means we’ve reached a point where the oligarchy no longer cares about pretending our society is free. As the financial crisis has discredited neoliberalism and globalization, governments and corporations have been putting more effort into fighting those who oppose these systems. Assange’s story is the culmination of this war on dissent, and we need to fight back.
If Assange is arrested, people around the world should take drastic action to defend against this attack on our freedom-as Caitlin Johnstone says, we’ll need to collectively “shake the earth” in response to it. And this effort will need to have more than the pro-Assange protests that are being planned; we’ll need to deprive the system of its life source by organizing massive strikes.
Talk to your personal and social media friends about helping in a massive general strike in the event that Assange is detained. For a day or so after the news breaks, we need to not buy anything and not go to work, and we need to do this worldwide. If this doesn’t have impact, I’ll routinely help put together more pro-Assange strikes going into the future. If a lot of others do the same as me, the strikes might get publicity that puts pressure on the U.S. and U.K. governments to free Assange.
This effort will contribute to the other strikes that are being planned, like the workers’ strike that will happen on September 3rd this year. And it will be part of a very effective revolutionary strategy, which is to force the elites to give into our demands by threatening the system they depend on. When people stop participating in the economy with regular and frequent strikes, and they do this for a long time, the system will become unstable, and the politicians and billionaires will essentially be forced to negotiate with the people.
We’ve been getting a lot closer to this reversal of power roles so far this year, as many worker strikes have been happening around the world. If we use the outrage that Assange’s persecution is causing to expand this strike movement-and combine it with additional actions, like protests and civil disobedience-change will happen. The system depends on the cooperation of the people, and if we take that cooperation away, the system won’t be able to go on.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

The Establishment Has Taken A Gamble By Continuing To Push The Russia Narrative

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First, these facts are important to mention:

-Mueller’s indictments this month are based in “evidence” which contradicts facts that are already established in the public domain. Mueller’s statement cites Guccifer 2.0 as the persona for Russia’s supposed hack of the DNC. Yet it was found last year that the intelligence agencies’ reports deliberately manipulated the data about Guccifer 2.0 to make it look like it was sourced from Russia. Among the many other ways Mueller’s claims are shown to be false, we know that a hack of the DNC never even took place, as was found when Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity ran digital tests last year which showed a remote hack of the DNC would have been physically impossible.

-The charge of Trump/Russia collusion is still a conspiracy theory. There’s still no evidence that the Trump campaign coordinated with Putin to win the election. And all the instances we’ve seen so far of contact between Trump’s team and the Russians have at the most pointed to mid-level corruption, not to any larger conspiracy. If such a conspiracy were going on, there’s no doubt we would have heard about it by now; America’s intelligence agencies have vast information-gathering networks, and if the communications proving collusion existed, they would have been picked up and leaked by now. (Predictably, the convenient recent New York Times story claiming that Trump coordinated with the Russians to commit cyberattacks is not substantiated, and is sourced from the extremely untrustworthy James Clapper.)
-The constitution’s definition of treason says that someone needs to aid a country America is officially at war with in order for their actions to be treasonous. Congress has not declared war with Russia, a fact that proves Trump’s very mild concessions towards  Russia are not an act of treason. And even if one were to expand the definition of treason to include actions more general than that, the accusation of treason would in that case be based in personal opinion, not in official legal terms.
Notably, the members of the Western political and media class rarely go into enough detail in their claims about Russia for these contradictions to risk being brought up in an argument. Most of the time, all that’s needed to inflame public sentiments towards seeing Russia as a threat are vague statements about how America has been “attacked.” But in the age of social media, these claims are made with a risk.
It’s much easier than it was in past decades to expose the deceptions of our government. Every time a false claim about a big issue is spread around the mainstream media, my social media feed fills up with memes and alternative media articles that counter it. That may be a somewhat biased example, but the power of the independent online media is proven by how obsessed Washington DC has lately been with censoring and attacking independent news outlets.
There’s a network of professional and driven journalists and experts-Caitlin Johnstone and Stephen Cohen some of the most notable among them-who are working to fight establishment narratives, and just because they’re on the margins doesn’t mean they’re not a threat. So when the CIA, the Atlantic Council, and the other entities in charge of producing war propaganda have put out as much conflicting information as they have lately, it’s getting difficult for the establishment to maintain its dominance over the public’s perceptions.
This April, for instance, when glaring contradictions started coming to light in the media’s claim that Assad had committed a chemical attack, U.S. and British media put out a massive onslaught of articles designed to smear the independent journalists who were reporting these flaws in the Syria story. This campaign to attack dissent about the Syria narrative was done very suddenly and quickly, and this made many people suspect that something shady was going on behind the scenes. Now such a slip-up has danger of happening again, as the media pushes the same messages about Russia in lockstep.
During 2016, the DNC leaks and the failure of the Clinton campaign made the political establishment lose control over the narrative. We need to re-create the atmosphere of disillusionment and transparency which created that moment in history, and we need to maintain it so that meaningful change can be affected. Trump’s many pro-war and neoliberal policies show that he’s not the one who will enact that change. The revolt we need has to come from the bottom up.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

America Is Being Slowly Turned Into A Giant Military Base

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From the video “Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity”

We know we’re moving in a very dark direction when the Western political class reacts the way it has to this week’s U.S.-Russia peace summit. The countless hysterical statements from pundits, politicians, and intelligence officials about the “treason” of President Trump’s moderate diplomacy towards Russia tells us the mindset that our leaders have taken on: they want warfare and militarism massively expanded, and they’re not going to tolerate any opposition.

And they’re having this goal fulfilled. Despite Trump’s occasional attempts to strengthen relations with Russia, the Trump administration is racing ahead with the military aggressions that the neocons want directed towards Russia and other countries. Last week when Trump pushed NATO members to grow their military spending, orders to Lockheed Martin soared. This is built on the numerous hostile actions Trump has taken against Russia which often exceed the aggressiveness of anything Obama did: a Nuclear Posture Review that’s increased the U.S.’ potential for striking countries like Russia; bombing Russians in Syria; expanding NATO to Montenegro; arming the opposition to Russia in Ukraine; increasing the unprovoked sanctions on Russia.
But not even this has satisfied the West’s political elites, so many of them continue to use the baseless charge that Trump is “Putin’s puppet” to threaten the president into following the neocon line. Otherwise the Trump White House has upheld the agenda of the U.S.-NATO empire: unrestrained U.S. bombings and drone strikes throughout the last year-and-a-half; CIA regime change efforts in Iran; an annual U.S. military budget that’s been expanded to over $700 billion.
These are all part of the power establishment’s reaction to the rapidly declininginfluence that America holds around the globe, and to the world’s growing economic and environmental crises. The impossible goal of capitalism and imperialism is to endlessly expand, and now that the global empire is collapsing, the elites are taking extreme measures to ensure their control.
If we don’t take action, the power centers will keep clamping down until the country essentially lives under martial law. Like always happens under a failed state, military control is increasingly going to be the way the government interacts with citizens in the coming years, and we’re already seeing this shift happen.
This is why we should be very alarmed by the ways militarism has been creeping into everyday American life in recent years. The active shooter drills, the expanded police authority, the armed domestic drones, the militarized police, the increasingly militarized hurricane responses, the domestic surveillance, the building of massive detention camps for refugees, and the explosion of war propaganda are how we’re being slowly made to accept a system of extreme military control.
The state’s plans for responding to the coming unstable period were hinted at in a Pentagon video, released two years ago by The Intercept, titled Megacities: Urban Future, the Emerging Complexity. The five-minute presentation warns of an “unavoidable” future where, by 2030, the social unrest and ecological disasters will require the military to heavily intervene in America’s urban areas, essentially reducing much of the country’s population to enemy combatants.
This intervention was prepared for when Obama signed in Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act, which allows the U.S. military to act as a domestic police force. As the next years go by, it will get more and more likely for the government to use this power. This is what it looks like when the most powerful and well-armed government in history tries to stave off its own collapse.
But if people organize in their communities, use civil disobedience, and spread information that counters establishment propaganda, we can take society in a different direction. Fascism appeals to people by giving them a way to band together-using military control and a crackdown against all dissent-so that they can fight against society's hardships and make the country strong. We can defeat fascism by using peace and humanity to overcome the crisis instead.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

The Mainstream Media’s War On Reality

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As the U.S./NATO empire quickly declines in its influence, the empire’s propaganda machine needs to promote multiple war runups, a new era of censorship, and the collective illusion that the empire remains strong. These things are the best defenses that the power establishment has against its impending collapse, so the media has created the completely false reality that’s needed for getting people to support them.

For instance, as Trump and Putin have prepared for their peace summit, mainstream media outlets have put out Orwellian narratives to try to discredit the very idea of good relations with a nuclear superpower. The articles warning against the meeting, which have taken on a strangely uniform theme, argue that the event will be a “dangerous” power play from Putin, since Trump is undoubtedly a “Russian agent.”
These attacks on the summit are baseless. The charges of collusion between Trump and Putin-as well as the charges of meaningful Russian interference-are still yet to be proven. Trump, despite his administration’s pro-war actions in other areas, is pursuing stronger relations with Russia because this is objectively the best thing for America’s national security. The risk of a nuclear confrontation with Russia should make the rest of Washington support Trump’s diplomatic efforts, but that wouldn’t fit with the U.S. empire’s current agenda. Forcing Russia back into submission has been part of the empire’s agenda since Putin blocked America’s Syrian regime change attempts in 2013, and the system isn’t going to let this task get derailed.
So Americans are being told to distrust Russia to the point where war is seen as a legitimate option, like is the case with the other nations that the empire targets. In recent weeks, the media has promoted an NBC report which claims that North Korea has violated last month’s peace agreement by building new nuclear facilities. This report, while is at first glance something that strengthens the case for the empire’s much-desired war with North Korea, is sourced from unnamed intelligence “officials,” ex-CIA agents, and Koch-funded think tanks.
These kinds of inflammatory distortions of world events are the reason why media expert Mark Crispin Miller compares the current American press with the Nazi press. When the Nazis wanted to invade Poland, Miller pointed out in a recent interview with Chris Hedges, they had Germany’s newspapers report that Poland was threatening to invade Germany, even though this was completely untrue. Miller assesses that in recent times, the U.S. and its media have behaved similarly; the Nazis’ attacks against Poland are a good parallel to America’s classification of Venezuela as a “national security threat,” and to the other threats that the U.S. has invented.
It’s this recent shift by the U.S. empire toward unrestrained warmongering that’s turned the mainstream media into an aggressive propagator of false information, with facts and nuanced perspectives being shouted down as “treasonous.” For instance, when the journalist Glenn Greenwald recently visited Moscow to discuss the onslaught of Western pro-war propaganda, he was described by MSNBC’s Malcolm Nance as “an agent of Trump and Moscow.” Nance didn’t even need to back this charge up with evidence for it to be taken seriously, a lax journalistic standard which has applied to every other hyperbolic statement that Western public figures routinely make about Russia.
This is all a symptom of what empires historically do when in decline, which is engage in massive war efforts with the futile hope that this will bring back their power. This underlying insecurity behind the war propaganda is also revealed in how Americans are now being told to view their society, and how to view their place in the world: we have a strong democracy, and it’s being attacked by Russia. Our global influence is as strong as ever, but it’s under threat from Putin’s further malevolent attacks. Our economy is thriving, but it’s under threat from China, immigrants, and/or Putin’s plot to undermine the United States. Scapegoats have been manufactured, a paranoid and nationalistic atmosphere has been created, and the country is being prepared for war.
The centers of power are waging a war against reality, which will ultimately have to be surrendered as the collapse continues. And we can’t just wait for the empire to end-we need to build social movements that replace the current system with something better. Otherwise fascism is what will come next.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Don’t Blame Your Neighbors, Blame The People In Power

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The impulse to blame poor people for their poverty comes from the human trait of wanting to punish others for their perceived failures. When someone has reached a bad place in their life, like drug addiction or prison, there’s a less forgiving side of us that wants to blame only the person, while ignoring all outside circumstances. So when people apply this punitive logic to the poor, they feel justified in not having sympathy for the unfortunate people they’re condemning. Because in their minds, the poor have inflicted their situation on themselves.

This is why even among people who are financially struggling, and are aware that they’ve been cheated by powerful forces, there’s a resentment towards the people who are even poorer than themselves. As people become more desperate, many of them are essentially blaming their neighbors. They suspect that those slightly below them in society are not doing their share of the work, and they resent having the work they do go towards funding government benefits for these people.
It’s a dynamic of conflict between the lower classes, where people feel that the others on the bottom aren’t helping improve the situation. And if anyone reading has developed this kind of attitude towards the poor-which everyone is susceptible to-I’d like to remind them that this is the mindset the ruling elites want people to have.
We know this because in all the countries where economic inequality has increased during recent decades, people have gotten less sympathetic for the poor. Harvard sociology expert Jonathan J.B. Mijs has come to this conclusion, having noted in a recent article how polls showing animosity towards the poor have correlated with the rise in poverty.
Division between oppressed people has obvious benefits for the people in power, and that’s why the powerful have worked to turn people against the poor. All evidence has shown that corporate media outlets avoid covering poverty, a blank space for the actual experiences of the poor that’s filled in with language from pundits like “trailer trash” and “moochers.”
Blaming poverty on the poor has been a habit since the start of developed society, and it’s always been based in that impulse to judge someone without looking at the bigger picture. There are so many variables in each person’s life, and so many ways the system works against most people’s interests, that this view of poverty falls apart under any honest scrutiny. In the United States, only 31% of the poor are able-bodied people who don’t work, with the rest either being children, elderly, disabled, or employed without a living wage.
And are those 31% really choosing to keep themselves in that situation, or are they being kept down by other factors, like depressionmental illness, or lack of access to any job that doesn’t require long hours for slave-level pay? Poor people’s situations are always more complex than it appears on the surface, and classifying them as failures won’t negate the countless forces beyond their control that impact their lives. But the centers of power don’t want us to think of these nuances, because then the people might unite, get angry at the right people, and focus all of our energy on defeating corporate power.
So take whatever resentment towards your fellow citizens that the people in power want to feed within you, and turn it towards the Orwellian global oligarchy that’s robbing us all of a full human experience. Whether or not you agree with my viewthat socialism is the solution to poverty, our government has become an openly despotic presence that’s controlled by corporations, and I’ve talked with libertarians and conservatives who agree that this situation needs to be dealt with. Don’t be mad at the people who’ve been hurt by our system of government. Be mad at the system.

Monday, July 9, 2018

By Lying To Americans About Russia, The Deep State Has Exposed Itself

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Evidence continues to come out that a conspiracy is taking place within the U.S. government to manufacture anti-Russian disinformation. As I’ve pointed out, we’ve learned that hand-picked intelligence officers were behind January 2017’s “Russian interference” report; that Obama's intel chief John Brennan carried out a politically motivated plan to paint Trump as “Putin’s puppet;” and that the U.S. has been waging an unprovoked military and diplomatic assault on Russia in recent years. Now former U.S. envoy to Moscow Jack Matlock has published a report which concludes that the intelligence agencies’ statements about Russian interference have been “politically motivated.”

As Matlock describes, the signs of foul play within the intelligence community are obvious. When the interference statement was being planned, he writes, the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence Research was silenced when it expressed doubt over whether Russia had actually interfered. Further evidence that the statement’s authors suppressed dissenting opinions within the intelligence community, says Matlock, is the fact that the Bureau of Intelligence and Research was completely omitted from the report. He also points out that the “Guccifer 2.0” DNC hacker is in fact a fictional character created by these disingenuous intelligence actors, as has been proven by the finding that the DNC emails were not hacked but locally downloaded.
This comes after another damning revelation: last month, investigative reporter John Solomon wrote a report showing how James Comey coordinated with Senator Mark Warner last year to deprive Julian Assange of his legal ability to disclose private information about the nature of the DNC email leak. Comey, who was running the FBI at the same time the agency created the flawed “Russian interference” report, clearly had an interest in protecting the narrative that Russia had hacked the DNC. Now Matlock, whose claims about the report are derived from inside information, has confirmed that our intelligence agencies have worked to deceive Americans about Russia.
The Cambridge Dictionary’s definition of the term “deep state” is “organizations such as military, police, or political groups that are said to work secretly in order to protect particular interests and to rule a country without being elected.” After seeing the facts mentioned above, it’s undeniable that this is the system of government we have. And as people become informed about these facts, propagating these blatant lies about Russia is starting to backfire on the deep state.
When the lies were first being spread around, in fact, the deep state was putting itself in danger of exposure. The intelligence agencies’ claims about “Russian hacking” were flimsy from the start. And to stop people from noticing the glaring problems with these claims, the deep state concocted propaganda that tried to discredit anyone who pointed out those problems.
Starting around the time of the 2016 election, the media worked to stigmatize independent journalists and critics of corporate capitalism as “Russian propagandists.” And when Russiagate’s skeptics started using the term “deep state” to accurately describe how America’s intelligence agencies were behaving, a suspiciously uniform series of articles were published by the mainstream mediawhich insisted that there “is no deep state.” These propaganda tactics have continued for the last year-and-a-half. But this hasn’t been able to stop a lot of details about Russiagate’s manufactured origins from leaking to the public.
Our response to this outrageous hoax from our government should be to work towards dismantling the deep state. We need to abolish the FBI, CIA, and NSA. We need to abolish the Domestic Security Alliance Council, which lets federal law enforcement agencies directly coordinate with America’s largest corporations. And we need to end corporate control and imperialism, which are the sources of our society’s corruption and inequality.
Donald Trump, despite being one of Russiagate’s targets, does not support any of these goals. So for now, the people will need to try to bring about these changes on their own.

Friday, July 6, 2018

The Plutocracy Will Be In Trouble When The Next Economic Crash Comes

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The global economy is being held up with gargantuan accounting fraud and endlessly growing debt. The stock market is in a bigger bubble than it was before the crash of 1929, with the market’s declines so far this year being just a hint of what will come next. This debt is tied in with the housing bubble that’s emerged in the last decade, whose size is also unprecedented. As wages continue to fall for workers around the world, credit card debt has become bigger than ever, with the bottom half of Americans now owning close to zero money on average because of the vast debt they’ve created to maintain their livelihoods.

Instead of giving the population an economic recovery and eliminating the power of the banks, the government has imposed austerity while letting the banks become even more consolidated and dangerous. We can guess what happens next.
When the next crash comes, the working class will be pummeled worse than it did in the last recession. This was guaranteed when President Trump recently signed in a partial repeal of Dodd-Frank, a law that itself didn’t even break up the largest financial institutions. No one knows just how bad this crash will will be, but the investor Jim Rogers predicts that “It’s going to be the worst in your lifetime.” And when it comes, we have to be ready.
Our best defense against what’s coming is to build alternative institutions that go against corporate power. As Chris Hedges wrote at the start of 2017, when he was advocating for this approach: “It will not be easy. It will take time. We must not accept foundation money and grants from established institutions that seek to curtail the radical process of reconstituting society. Trusting in the system, and especially the Democratic Party, to carry out reform and wrest back our democracy ensures our enslavement.”
Since then, the Democratic Socialists of America, which I highly recommend joining, has started to fulfill this role as an organization outside the established power system. With 45,000 members, the DSA is important not just as an activism resource, but as one form of relief for the population; it’s been having its volunteers give out free brake light repairs, an act of service to the poor that’s paralleled in the charities that socialist organizations have provided throughout their history. If the DSA and organizations like it keep growing, we’ll be better equipped to fight the political battle that this next economic crisis will create.
When the crisis emerges, we’ll need to organize against the further takeovers that the corporations will try to make. Even more austerity measures will no doubt be attempted, along with another bank bailout. Now that the social movements have gotten stronger than they were a decade ago, we’ll be able to counter these policies much better than we were able to during the last recession.
And when we show that kind of influence, our movements could be empowered to dismantle the other plutocratic policies that have been eroding democracy for the last forty years. None of this will be easy, and the state is already preparing for a future uprising by militarizing police and expanding censorship. But if we dedicate ourselves to organizing and building the organizations for a populist revolt, the coming disaster will become an opportunity to bring down the corporatocracy.