Silencing America by John Pilger

Returning to the United States in an election year, I am struck by the silence.

A few years ago, I attended a popular exhibition called “The Price of Freedom” at the venerable Smithsonian Institution in Washington. The lines of people, mostly children shuffling through a Santa’s grotto of revisionism, were dispensed a variety of lies: the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki saved “a million lives”; Iraq was “liberated [by] air strikes of unprecedented precision.” The theme was unerringly heroic: only Americans pay the price of freedom.

The breathtaking record of perfidy is so mutated in the public mind, wrote the late Harold Pinter, that it “never happened …Nothing ever happened. Even while it was happening it wasn’t happening. It didn’t matter. It was of no interest. It didn’t matter … “. Pinter expressed a mock admiration for what he called “a quite clinical manipulation of power worldwide while masquerading as a force for universal good. It’s a brilliant, even witty, highly successful act of hypnosis.”

Take Obama. As he prepares to leave office, the fawning has begun all over again. One of the more violent presidents, Obama gave full reign to the Pentagon war-making apparatus of his discredited predecessor. He prosecuted more whistleblowers – truth-tellers – than any president. He pronounced Chelsea Manning guilty before she was tried. Today, Obama runs an unprecedented worldwide campaign of terrorism and murder by drone.

In 2009, Obama promised to help “rid the world of nuclear weapons” and was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. No American president has built more nuclear warheads than Obama. He is “modernizing” America’s doomsday arsenal, including a new “mini” nuclear weapon, whose size and “smart” technology, says a leading general, ensure its use is “no longer unthinkable”.

On Obama’s watch, a second cold war is under way. The Russian president is a pantomime villain; the Chinese are not yet back to their sinister pig-tailed caricature – when all Chinese were banned from the United States – but the media warriors are working on it.

Neither Hillary Clinton nor Bernie Sanders has mentioned any of this. There is no risk and no danger for the United States and all of us. For them, the greatest military build-up on the borders of Russia since World War II has not happened. On May 11, Romania went “live” with a NATO “missile defense” base that aims its first-strike American missiles at the heart of Russia, the world’s second nuclear power.

In Asia, the Pentagon is sending ships, planes and special forces to the Philippines to threaten China. The US already encircles China with hundreds of military bases that curve in an arc up from Australia, to Asia and across to Afghanistan. Obama calls this a “pivot”.

In America, people are being primed to see any Chinese defensive position as offensive, and so the ground is laid for rapid escalation. A similar strategy of provocation and propaganda is applied to Russia.

Clinton, the women’s candidate, leaves a trail of bloody coups: in Honduras, in Libya (plus the murder of the Libyan president) and Ukraine. The latter is now a CIA theme park swarming with Nazis and the front-line of a beckoning war with Russia. It was through Ukraine Hitler’s Nazis invaded the Soviet Union, which lost 27 million people. This epic catastrophe remains a presence in Russia. Clinton’s presidential campaign has received money from all but one of the world’s ten biggest arms companies. No other candidate comes close.

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The election of Trump or Clinton is the old illusion of choice that is no choice: two sides of the same coin. In scapegoating minorities and promising to “make America great again”, Trump is a far right-wing domestic populist; yet the danger of Clinton may be more lethal for the world.

“Only Donald Trump has said anything meaningful and critical of US foreign policy,” wrote Stephen Cohen, Emeritus Professor of Russian History at Princeton and NYU, one of the few Russia experts in the United States to speak out about the risk of war.

In a radio broadcast, Cohen referred to critical questions Trump alone had raised. Among them: why is the United States “everywhere on the globe”? What is NATO’s true mission? Why does the US always pursue regime change in Iraq, Syria, Libya, Ukraine? Why does Washington treat Russia and Vladimir Putin as an enemy?

The hysteria in the liberal media over Trump serves an illusion of “free and open debate” and “democracy at work”. His views on immigrants and Muslims are grotesque, yet the deporter-in-chief of vulnerable people from America is not Trump but Obama, whose betrayal of people of color is his legacy: such as the warehousing of a mostly black prison population, now more numerous than Stalin’s gulag.

Read More: Silencing America as it prepares for war — RT Op-Edge

Journalist, film-maker and author, John Pilger is one of two to win British journalism’s highest award twice. For his documentary films, he has won an Emmy and a British Academy Award, a BAFTA. Among numerous other awards, he has won a Royal Television Society Best Documentary Award. His epic 1979 Cambodia Year Zero is ranked by the British Film Institute as one of the ten most important documentaries of the 20th century.

Act of Political Resistance by Edward Snowden

We are witnessing a compression of the working period in which bad policy shelters in the shadows, the time frame in which unconstitutional activities can continue before they are exposed by acts of conscience.

This temporal compression has a significance beyond the immediate headlines; it permits the people of this country to learn about critical government actions, not as part of the historical record but in a way that allows direct action through voting. In other words, in a way that empowers an informed citizenry to defend the democracy that “state secrets” are nominally intended to support.

When I see individuals who are able to bring information forward, it gives me hope that we won’t always be required to curtail the illegal activities of our government as if it were a constant task, to uproot official lawbreaking as routinely as we mow the grass.

Hope lies Beyond

When we move from extraordinary acts of revelation to a collective culture of accountability within the intelligence community. Here we will have taken a meaningful step toward solving a problem that has existed for as long as our government.

This dynamic can be seen quite clearly in the al Qaeda “conference call of doom” story, in which intelligence officials, likely seeking to inflate the threat of terrorism and deflect criticism of mass surveillance. Revealed to a neoconservative website extraordinarily detailed accounts of specific communications they had intercepted, including locations of the participating parties and the precise contents of the discussions.

If the officials’ claims were to be believed, they irrevocably burned an extraordinary means of learning the precise plans and intentions of terrorist leadership for the sake of a short-lived political advantage in a news cycle.

Not a single person seems to have been so much as disciplined as a result of the story that cost us the ability to listen to the alleged al Qaeda hotline.

Read more at Source: Whistleblowing Is Not Just Leaking — It’s an Act of Political Resistance

Architects of disastrous Iraq War still at large – Neil Clark

Bombs going off in Iraq? Well, it happens all the time – what’s there to see? Let’s all move along shall we?

The neocon war lobby, who, remember, couldn’t stop talking about Iraq in 2002-2003, and telling what a terrible threat the country’s WMDs posed to us, would of course like us to forget the country all together now. They’ve told us lots of times we need to move on from talking about the 2003 invasion and instead focus on more important things – like how we can topple a secular Syrian president who’s fighting the very same terrorists who are bombing Baghdad.

If Sir John does try and tell us that the war was all an honest mistake, he and his panel will be a laughing stock. Whatever Chilcot’s conclusions are, the important thing is that Iraq will be back in the news headlines, and this represents a great opportunity for those of us who opposed the 2003 invasion to ensure that justice is finally done.

It is clear to almost everyone now that we were lied into an illegal war, which not only destroyed an entire country, but which also led directly to the rise of IS and helped bring terrorism to Europe too.

We don’t need Sir John to tell us that Bush and Blair knew there were no WMDs in Iraq. Common sense and logic tells us that the deadly duo would never have invaded if they had genuinely believed the lurid claims contained in the decidedly dodgy dossiers.

Everything we were told by the neocons in the lead-up to war was false. To quote the title of a book by the antiwar British MP Peter Kilfoyle, there were Lies, Damned Lies and Iraq.

Disgustingly, obscenely, and outrageously, some of the most vociferous opponents of the Iraq war – the people who correctly predicted the disasters that would occur if Iraq was invaded – have seen their careers go into reverse because of the stance they took.

To deflect attention away from their crimes, the Iraq war clique- who have clearly read their Orwell – also encourage us to focus on the alleged crimes of Official Enemies. We’re supposed to feel outraged over a non-existent Russian invasion of the Ukraine, while forgetting about the all too real invasion of Iraq and its catastrophic consequences.

Cowardly Establishment friendly leftists, who would not retweet or cite with approval an article published by RT because of fear they’d be excommunicated from the Elite Journos Club, happily engage with unrepentant pro-Iraq war propagandists on social media.

In doing so these western faux-progressives are effectively saying that the deaths of up to 1 million Iraqis don’t matter. They’re sticking a big two fingers up at the people of the global south who have been the victims of neocon wars and destabilization campaigns.

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Read entire article: Architects of disastrous Iraq War still at large — RT Op-Edge

RIP Eurovision 1956-2016 – Neil Clark

Mark the date. Saturday May 14, 2016, the day the music died and a song contest whose well-intentioned original aim of national harmony has become the latest front in the Western elite’s obsessional and relentless new Cold War against Russia.

A blatantly political song by Ukraine – which should not have been allowed in the contest in the first place as it clearly broke the European Broadcasting Union’s ‘No Politics’ rules – was declared the ‘winner’ of the Eurovision Song Contest, even though the country which got the most votes from the general public was Russia.

What helped Ukraine ‘win’ were the ‘national juries’ panels of so-called ‘music industry professionals’ who were given 50 percent of the votes and who only put Russia in joint fifth place, with 81 fewer points than Ukraine.

What we saw, as some on Twitter have commented, was a replay of the 2000 US Presidential election between Al Gore and George W. Bush, when Gore got the most votes, but the neocon-backed Bush made it to the White House. The Establishment may give us plebs a say, but it has mechanisms to make sure that it gets the result it most desires.

The prospect of a Russian Eurovision win and next year’s contest being held in Moscow certainly seems to have caused great panic in Western Establishment circles. We’ve already got the next football World Cup scheduled to be held in Russia in 2018 – an event which has come under attack from Russophobes who are calling for boycotts or for the tournament to be transferred; having Eurovision in Russia as well would clearly be too much for them.

For daring to resist Western regime change plans, in Syria and elsewhere, Russia may not be hosting international events watched by millions of people around the world!

What elites in democratic US and Europe are terrified of is people being allowed to decide things without any undemocratic blocks being in place.

If the plebs, after all the brainwashing and pro-Establishment propaganda, do happen to vote the ‘wrong way’ then they’re told they simply have to vote again, as the Irish were told when they refused to support the EU’s Lisbon Treaty in a referendum in 2008. And does anyone seriously doubt that if the British do decide to vote for Brexit on the 23rd, the EU won’t try to get the result reversed?

(Neil Clark is a journalist, writer, broadcaster and blogger. He has written for many newspapers and magazines in the UK and other countries including The Guardian, Morning Star, Daily and Sunday Express, Mail on Sunday, Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph, New Statesman, The Spectator, The Week, and The American Conservative.)

Read More at Source: RIP Eurovision, 1956-2016 — RT Op-Edge

Premier Rachel Notely Outstanding Work

What began as a small wildfire on May 2, 2016 became nature’s rage of fury. Premier Notely showed every Albertan how to handle an emergency. The probability of getting every person out of Fort McMurray to safety was a daunting task. One four lane highway southbound could have easily turned into a big tragedy. Up to 90,000 people needed to evacuate Fort McMurray as orderly as possible. They drove south with the wildfire roaring along the highway.

Premier Notely worked with her administration in conjunction with individuals, police, fire fighters and industry to ensure the safety of evacuating residents. 1000s of videos along with photos made their way to broadcasters and social networks. It appeared as though the Premier was giving updates every hour.

Her request was simple; “everyone needs to work together” and together cities large and small did it. People volunteered their time to set up temporary facilities and coordinate the incoming donations of food, clothing and places to sleep. The province of Alberta became a beehive of activity with everyone working together.

“The wildfires ravaging Canada’s oil hub in northern Alberta have rapidly spread to an area bigger than New York city, prompting the air lift of more than 8,000 evacuees as firefighters seek to salvage critical infrastructure.”

Global Edmonton reporter Fletcher Kent, was reporting on the Fort McMurray wildfire, at times having to run from his assignment. Fletcher shares his experience covering the story and the incredible generosity of those in Fort McMurray.

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As the wildfire continued to grow Premier Notely put in place funds to assist the people of Fort McMurray in every way possible. With the economy of Alberta already facing a downturn due to low oil and gas prices the “Tory old boys club” were busy making snarky comments. For most I commented back with “you  had 40 years now get out of the way”.

Premier Notely continued with the updates giving information of value to everyone dealing with the wildfire. She was doing exactly what a leader should do.

Fire fighters continue to do a street by street sweep ensuing all fires are extinguished. Today some equipment is heading north to do repair work in Fort McMurray. The RCMP are ensuring only registered company vehicles are allowed into the area. They are protecting the property belonging to the residents.

The line ups were long as the emergency funding was released to the Fort McMurray residents.

Rachel Notely we can safely say Albertans made a wise choice by voting to have you as our Premier.

 

Our Economic System is Designed to Fail – Ron Paul

The current economic system is designed to fail, but so was socialism. That’s according to former GOP Congressman Ron Paul, who told RT’s Boom Bust show that we need to go toward a system of property ownership, voluntary contracts and individual liberty, while getting rid of central banks.

RT: Do you think this poll is just politics, or do you agree that there is something wrong with the US economic system as it operates today?

Ron Paul: I think the problem is all in semantics. When they say they oppose today’s capitalism, I oppose today’s so-called capitalism. I don’t even like the world “capitalism,” I like “free markets.” But if you say “free markets” and “capitalism” together, we don’t have that. We have interventionism. We have a planned economy, we have a welfare state, we have inflationism, we have central economic planning  by a central bank, we have a belief in deficit financing. It is so far removed from free-market capitalism that it’s foolish for people to label it free market and capitalize on this and say: “We know it’s so bad. What we need is socialism.” That is a problem.

That is a problem in definitions and understanding of what kind of policies we have. I am a champion of free markets, but not of the current system that we have today. I am highly critical of it, because it is designed to fail. It is designed to reward the rich; it is designed inevitably to destroy the middle class, and also to finance some of the worst things in government: all the deficits with the welfare state and for the warfare state. So yes, it’s failing. People should reject what we have, but they shouldn’t reject liberty and freedom and sound economic policies, because that is not the problem. The problem is we don’t have enough free markets.

RT: In the same poll it is said that Senator Bernie Sanders, a self-described democratic socialist, has been the most popular candidate for America’s 18-29 year olds. Despite the fact that he is now losing steam, as we’ve seen on the campaign trail, what does it really say to you about what’s driving this voting pattern?

RP: He’s tapped into something, something that I’ve talked about for years and tapped into when I was a candidate. And that is to describe the frustrations, the evil, and the nonsense of what we have. The problem with Bernie and myself is that he sees it quite differently. He thinks that it’s too much freedom and too much capitalism. And I see it as too much government; it’s too much of interventionist planned economy, which leans itself to fascism. But the young people might not understand the economics and what free markets are really all about, and they don’t understand central banking. And Bernie doesn’t understand that we have to get rid of central planning – from the Central Bank – if we want to help these people.

The current economic system is designed to fail, but so was socialism. What we need to go toward is property ownership, voluntary contracts and individual liberty in getting rid of the central bank.

But yes, I am not a bit surprised – it is a good sign that they are upset and they ought to be. What I have in mind is to show them the difference between what we have and what we should have. And believe me, it is not going toward this ancient tradition of government and socialism. That is what the 20th century was all about, whether it was a fascist system in Germany, or the Soviet system of communism – this all has been a failure. Then you might talk about a real alternative. The young people have a justification; they are justified in detesting what we have, because it has served the rich and has really hurt the poor and the middle class.

Read More Source: ‘Our economic system is designed to fail’ – Ron Paul — RT Op-Edge

It’s the Racism, Stupid – Bill Moyers

Three years ago, as the Republican-led House of Representatives engineered a brief government shutdown, Congressman Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) explained the strategy underpinning the protest. “We have to get something out of this,” he said. “And I don’t know what that even is.” The shutdown wasn’t a tactic so much as a tantrum, an act of collective petulance posing as politics — inexplicable to the outside world, incoherent in its aims, and incandescent in its rage.

The bizarre circus that the GOP presidential primary has become is not a freak occurrence. Regardless of the eventual nominee, the rise of Donald Trump (“I would bomb the shit out of [ISIS]”), the ascent of Ted Cruz (“To God be the glory”) and the endurance of Ben Carson (“Putin is a one-horse country: oil and energy”) do not contradict the general trajectory of the party, but rather confirm it. This fact-free, bigoted populism awash in money and drowning in misanthropy may illustrate the GOP at its most brazen, but it’s hardly in any way aberrant.

In this regard, Trump is the party’s most obvious emissary. His blatant xenophobia emerges from the GOP’s half-century of race-baiting since Richard Nixon’s Southern strategy was first conceived. The initial idea was to woo Southern whites, who were angry about the advances of the civil-rights movement, with coded racial messaging that wouldn’t alienate the party’s Northern supporters. “You have to face the fact that the whole problem is really the blacks,” Nixon once explained to his chief of staff, H.R. Haldeman. “The key is to devise a system that recognizes that while not appearing to.” This method was once very effective. Ronald Reagan launched his 1980 campaign at the Neshoba County Fair in Mississippi, not far from where three civil-rights activists had been murdered in 1964, by talking about states’ rights. George H.W. Bush had his infamous Willie Horton ad in 1988, while Bush Jr. spoke at Bob Jones University in 2000, where interracial dating was banned at the time.

With white people heading toward minority status and becoming a lower percentage of the voting public every cycle, the message necessarily gets cruder — particularly with the presence of a black president. In the 2012 GOP primaries, former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum told a crowd in Iowa that “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money,” while Newt Gingrich branded Obama the “food-stamp president.”

So by the time Trump came on the scene, the party had done away with the dog whistle in favor of a police whistle — no codes necessary. The Mexicans are sending us “rapists”; the Chinese are “cheating”; America needs “a total and complete shutdown” on Muslims coming into the country.

Source: It’s the Racism, Stupid – BillMoyers.com