PETER DALE SCOTT ON ENLIGHTENMENT VALUES IN THE AGE OF TRUMP

PETER DALE SCOTT ON ENLIGHTENMENT VALUES IN THE AGE OF TRUMP

Apotheosis of Washington, ScienceApotheosis of Washington: Science. Photo credit: US Capitol / Flickr

On a panel at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, Peter Dale Scott expressed concern about the decay of the US commitment to global peace and collective security, as shown in the recent expansion of unilateral lethal US strikes against terrorists, sometimes with no legal authority. But he also voiced words of encouragement for those troubled by this, recalling the successes of the Civil Rights Movement and the people who later helped end the Vietnam War.

Peter Dale Scott is a former Canadian diplomat, Professor of English at the University of California, Berkeley, co-founder of the Peace and Conflict Studies program at Berkeley, poet, and 2002 recipient of the Lannan Poetry Award.


I want to thank the Commonwealth Club and George Hammond for devising this most timely conversation. America has indeed veered from Enlightenment when our president denies global warming and rejects international cooperation to address it. But I do not believe that such militant anti-scientism can prevail.1

I am much more concerned for those enlightenment values enunciated by Immanuel Kant, in his essay “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch.” Kant’s visionary ambition — “the end of all hostilities” — contained important instrumental ideas. One was: “Standing armies shall in time be totally abolished.” Another: “No state shall by force interfere with the constitution or government of another state.”2

America honored the first principle for only a few years, but it honored the second as recently as that great American-inspired achievement, the 1945 UN Charter. Charter Article 2(4), to which the US is treaty-bound, requires states to “refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force.” For 60 years America’s observance of this rule has eroded; until under Trump it is virtually ignored.3 But America’s global unilateralism cannot be blamed on Trump; its roots are very deep and very old.4

The American Constitution marks the first major political implementation of Enlightenment values: an outstanding and enduring achievement. Of necessity, it was also very imperfect, doing much for liberty, but nothing to end slavery.5 This contradiction led to the Civil War and emancipation. These divisions, still with us, underlie much of our intemperate public discourse. The slow processes of emancipation and adjustment are still unfinished.

As a non-violent radical conservative, I am ambivalent about Lincoln’s Civil War. Slavery was an infamy that had to go. But the war accelerated America on a long process, still with us, of interventionism and imposing social change through military violence.6 (That too has its source in an Enlightenment idea — Rousseau’s unfortunate notion of forcing men to be free.) The Civil War also converted the United States from a plural noun to a singular one. As the southern historian Shelby Foote noted, “Before the war, it was said ‘the United States are’ … And after the war it was always ‘the United States is.’”7

This change — from an “are” to an “is” — was important. Washington, paralyzed for years over the slavery issue, now became an active agency for vigorous intervention: in the South (Reconstruction), in the West (the escalation of Indian Wars),8 and later overseas (Cuba and the Philippines). Most Americans are unaware of the continuity from the Indian Wars of the 1860s and ‘70s, to the Philippine interventions of the 1900s and 1950s, to the wars in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.9

Uncle Sam, Philippines

Cartoon: Uncle Sam offering on one hand a soldier and on the other a “School Teacher” to a group of reluctant Filipinos, telling them that the choice is theirs. Photo credit: Puck / Library of Congress

One source of our present discontent can be found in this evolution. Intervention in the south produced a political reaction, and in 1876 militarized Reconstruction — America’s first exercise in “nation-building” — largely ended in failure. The subsequent interventions elsewhere, predictably, have aroused reactions no less intense. But those infuriated elsewhere cannot vote. Instead many become terrorists.

Experts repeatedly advise that the Global War Against Terrorism is counterproductive: “If the terrorist group can recruit five new members for every terrorist killed or captured, the battle against the terrorist organization is lost.”10 As a result of such a campaign we see terrorist counterattacks against the countries that target them; and these in turn encourage public support for heightened revenge. We are currently mired in this avoidable dialectic.11

We, and our politicians, are very divided about intervention at home. But most politicians, along with our ruling elites and media, are so united in their support of interventions abroad that the underlying principle of UN collective security has been forgotten.

War has become an immensely lucrative activity, generating many lobbies, from the military-industrial complex,12 to others like the nation-building business oligopoly.13 Thus Congress was silent when Trump “cleared the way … for offensive strikes in Somalia,”14and started “paving the way for lethal strikes against terrorists in Niger,”15 with no legal authority.16

Citing the Soviet Union, it has become fashionable to mock the folly of those who would seek to implement visionary ideas in the real world. A key example of renounced idealism is the Kellogg-Briand Treaty of 1928, which outlawed war as an instrument of national policy. Recently Henry Kissinger called it “meaningless”; George Kennan called it “childish.” They could hardly have spoken otherwise. Both men were only too aware that they were violating a treaty (and a Charter) that America had not only signed but inspired and brought into being: Kissinger in Cambodia, Kennan by underwriting a guerrilla army in the Ukraine.17

Measured by the events that led up to World War Two, the Kellogg-Briand Treaty, lacking sanctions, can be assessed as a failure. But by creating the notion of a crime against peace, it was the legal foundation for the Nuremberg trials, following which the interdiction of aggressive war was confirmed and broadened by the United Nations Charter. A recent book argues compellingly that in this way the Kellogg-Briand idea has slowly acquired its needed sanctions.18

Nuernberg Trials

Prosecutors interrogating witnesses during Nuremberg trials. Photo credit: National Archives / Wikimedia

Visionary Enlightenment ideas, such as “the end of all hostilities,” can only be implemented very slowly.19 Nevertheless, they can.20

What can we in this small room do to encourage American public politics back towards enlightenment decorum, in the service of a more peaceful future? The obvious first step is to eschew all hatred in ourselves when defending reason. We should also condemn it in others, from Antifa and Nazis in the streets, to sneering commentators in the media, to educators who condescend toward those undereducated in our society who may be truly suffering.

America is still to be both believed in, and questioned. We in this room can begin by questioning our own enlightenment values which so alienate the supporters of Trump. Trump is on sure ground when he says over and over to cheering crowds, “this is a nation of believers.” We who are also questioners should recognize that enlightenment values are not an absolute, but part of an ongoing dialectical process between faith and reason, which is as old as Plato’s Euthyphro and the Book of Job.

There is a timeless tension between belief and enlightenment. Humanity is both a condition (a form of being) and a process (a becoming). The good life is a harmonious reconciliation of both. Let me say as a Canadian, despite all else I have said tonight, that I regard America as one of the world’s best examples of this harmony. Even under Trump.

Enlightenment values, historically, have concerned process, not being. The word itself implies change. The 18th century enlightenment (there have been others), was a polemical effort to replace dogmas with ideas: it never fully escaped the shadow of Voltaire’s écrasez l’infame.21 The Enlightenment inspired the American Constitution and the separation of church and state (a very good idea). It also inspired Marx’s idea that religion was “the opium of the masses” — a false notion that contributed to the failure of the Russian revolution.

Just as we in this room need equanimity, so the nation outside needs equilibrium. Good ideas unchecked can produce their violent opposite, accelerating the natural dialectic of history.22 The dream of liberté and égalité, unrestrained, produced in rapid order the French Revolution, Napoleon, the Metternichian reaction. Similarly, the spread of these ideas to the Middle East, most recently in the Arab Spring, has produced violence in many countries, and also militant reactionary Salafism, underwritten by the nervous monarchies of the Persian Gulf. The consequent dislocation of masses of refugees now threatens the equilibrium of Europe, encouraging racist xenophobia.

US Army Soldiers, Iraq

US Army Soldiers from Delta Company, 2nd Battalion, 22nd Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division in Kirkuk, Iraq, Feb. 28, 2008. Photo credit: The US Army / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

We have seen the same xenophobic reaction in America after 9/11, but to a far smaller degree. There are no easy formulas for returning America in the direction of tolerance and compassion. But I am old enough to remember the nightmare in America of McCarthyism, and how McCarthy’s own excesses brought that nightmare to a dramatic end.

America today is gripped by another nightmare, of hysterical over-reaction to terrorism.23A state of emergency, and an Act authorizing America’s longest war, were proclaimed after 9/11 to deal with al-Qaeda; they are still in force, resulting in suspensions of parts of the American Constitution.24 None of this is by accident. The emergency allows US armies in Asia to protect US investments in Kazakhstan, and a US Brigade in Ohio to protect against any resurgence of a successful anti-war movement in America.25

Thus I argue in my book The American Deep State that, as a first step, Congress should end the state of emergency and restore the Constitution.26 That will not happen soon. All power corrupts, all imperial power intoxicates, and all great previous empires have ended in idiocy. The British-French Suez Canal folly in 1956, for example, was idiotic.27 So was the Soviet folly that year in Hungary, contributing not only to Moscow’s eventual loss of Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union, but the final demise of the once global Communist dream.

American folly became flagrant in the Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq wars. It is linked to today’s White House folly of anti-scientism: Both arise from a US political economy based on the petrodollar, and both are promoted by petrodollar interests.28 We clearly need to wean our economy from its dependence on petroleum, for the sake of both peace and climate stability.

Surely the American people, who inspired the successful Civil Rights Movement and who later helped end the Vietnam War, can successfully mobilize to demand a more reasonable, and realistic, foreign policy for a multipolar world.

To this end, we can all work to embody and promote among ourselves America’s historic spirit of comity among differences, achieved through widely dispersed checks and balances.

Endnotes


1. From 2008 to 2015, under Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, 2000 environmental scientists were fired, and decades of governmental research were discarded, sometimes in landfill. It was a nightmare of anti-scientific reaction, possibly funded by the American Koch brothers. But it ended.

2. Immanuel Kant, “Perpetual Peace: A Philosophical Sketch,” in Andrew J. Williams, Amelia Hadfield, J. Simon Rofe, International History and International Relations (New York: Routledge, 2012), 73.

3. See e.g. Marty Lederman, “Why the strikes against Syria probably violate the U.N. Charter and (therefore) the U.S. Constitution,” JustSecurity, April 6, 2017, https://www.justsecurity.org/39674/syrian-strikes-violate-u-n-charter-constitution/.

4. See Brian Bogart, “US Conflicts Abroad Since World War II: America Declassified — Chronicling the Official History of US Conflict Dependence,” Institute for Policy Research and Development.

5. The Constitution actually made arrangements to perpetuate slavery, which is why William Lloyd Garrison detested and publicly burned it, calling it as “a Covenant with Death, an Agreement with Hell.”

6. There were of course examples of military intervention before — the early Indian wars, the Mexican-American War — but the scale and intensity radically increased.

7. Shelby Foote, Interviewed in the documentary series The Civil War (PBS): “…. And that sums up what the war accomplished. It made us an ‘is’.” The change was noticed in 1887 by the Washington Post:

There was a time a few years ago when the United States was spoken of in the plural number. Men said “the United States are” — “the United States have” — “the United States were.” But the war changed all that. Along the line of fire from the Chesapeake to Sabine Pass was settled forever the question of grammar. Not Wells, or Green, or Lindley Murray decided it, but the sabers of Sheridan, the muskets of Sherman, the artillery of Grant. … The surrender of Mr. Davis and Gen. Lee meant a transition from the plural to the singular. (Washington Post, April 24, 1887, 4)


8. Before the Civil War the largest and longest Indian War was the Second Seminole War (1835–1842), with estimated casualties of 3,000 Seminoles (John K. Mahon, History of the Second Seminole War [Gainesville, Florida: University of Florida Press, 1967]. 321). In 1894, the US Census Bureau estimated that 30,000 Indian corpses had been “found by the whites” in all the wars between 1789 and 1891, adding that the actual number of deaths “must be very much higher.” Its confirmed estimate for the wars between 1846 and 1891 was that 11,000 Indians had been killed (Bureau of the Census Report on Indians taxed and Indians not taxed in the United States (except Alaska) at the Eleventh Census: 1890 [Washington: Government Printing Office, 1894], 637–40).

9. Peter Dale Scott, “Atrocity and its Discontents: U.S. Double-Mindedness About Massacre;” in Adam Jones, ed. Genocide, War Crimes and the West: Ending the Culture of Impunity (London: Zed Press, 2004).

10. Graeme C. S. Steven and Rohan Gunaratna, Counterterrorism: A Reference Handbook (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO, 2004), 31. For other examples of expertise weighing in against current U.S. counterterrorism strategies, see The American Deep State, 174-75.

11. Cf. Peter Dale Scott, “Why Americans Must End America’s Self-Generating Wars,” Asia-Pacific Journal: Japan Focus, April 22, 2015, http://apjjf.org/2012/10/36/Peter-Dale-Scott/3819/article.html.

12. Retired Army Colonel Lawrence B. “Larry” Wilkerson, former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell, has concluded from his insider experience that “We have become a national security state, that means our reason for existing is war and defense contractors are the merchants of death” (Speech at Code Pink Conference: Divest from the War Machine, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFJIBU-YBsY). Wilkerson reports that 40 percent of US army recruits now come from just seven states, such as Alabama and West Virginia, increasingly because of poverty. (Officers can look forward in retirement to good jobs in the defense industries, the raw recruits to PTSD and opioids.)

13. In 2015, just one company, Chemonics International, “received a contract of $9.5bn over eight years from USAid — the largest contract ever from the government agency Devex reports. Only one other contractor receives more USAid awards, the Partnership for Supply Chain Management, which is a conglomerate of 13 companies” (“Top US government aid partner to pay $500k damages to African American job applicants,” Guardian, November 21, 2016, https://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/nov/21/top-us-government-aid-partner-to-pay-500k-damages-to-african-american-job-applicants?CMP=twt_gu).

14. Eric Schmitt, “U.S. Carries Out Drone Strike Against Shabab Militants in Somalia,”

15. Ken Dilanian, Courtney Kube, William M. Arkin, Hans Nichols And Cynthia Mcfadden.

16. Witness the action of the House just now: “The House has just approved a nearly 700 billion dollar Military Spending Bill. That is almost 100 billion dollars more than President Trump had asked for….. The House vote was an overwhelming 356 to 70 with 127 Democrats voting in favor. A similar measure is expected to pass the Senate, although lawmakers will have to agree on raising the budget cap first.” (“Divided Congress Unites to Spend $700B on Military and War,” The Real News, November 18, 2017,http://therealnews.com/t2/story:20484:Divided-Congress-Unites-to-Spend-%24700B-on-Military-and-War).

17. Mario del Pero, “The Role of Covert Operations in US Cold War Foreign Policy,” in Heike Bungert, Jan G. Heitmann, Michael Wala, eds., Secret Intelligence in the Twentieth Century(London; Frank Cass, 2003), 71-73.

18. Oona A. Hathaway and Scott J. Shapiro, The Internationalists: How a Radical Plan to Outlaw War Remade the World (New York: Simon & Schuster, 2017): “As its effects reverberated across the globe, it reshaped the world map, catalyzed the human rights revolution, enabled the use of economic sanctions as a tool of law enforcement, and ignited the explosion in the number of international organizations that regulate so many aspects of our daily lives.” The book may be ahead of its time: the New York Times chose a prominent interventionist, Max Boot, to review it. His predictable judgment: “’There are some ideas so absurd only an intellectual could believe them,’ George Orwell wrote. The notion that the Kellogg-Briand Pact was a raging success is one of them” (Max Boot, “When the Governments of the World Agreed to Banish War,” New York Times, September 21, 2017).

19. Another such idea was Young Europe’s dream of a united Europe, frustrated in 1848, but implemented a century later (with help from America).

20. This is, I believe, what I call the “prevailable” direction in history. Cf. Peter Dale Scott, The American Deep State (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2015), 179, 181. I define my term “prevailable will of the people” in Peter Dale Scott, The Road to 9/11 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007), 270.

21. Consider, for example, Kant’s essay “What Is Enlightenment?”: “Enlightenment is man’s emergence from his self-imposed nonage…. It is more nearly possible, however, for the public to enlighten itself; indeed, if it is only given freedom, enlightenment is almost inevitable…. This enlightenment requires nothing but freedom–and the most innocent of all that may be called ‘freedom’: freedom to make public use of one’s reason in all matters. Now I hear the cry from all sides: ‘Do not argue!’ The officer says: ‘Do not argue–drill!’ The tax collector: ‘Do not argue–pay!’ The pastor: “Do not argue–believe!’” (Immanuel Kant, ““What Is Enlightenment?” http://www.columbia.edu/acis/ets/CCREAD/etscc/kant.html).

22. We can include in these unchecked ideas America’s naïve faith that you can improve what we think of as the “third world” with vast sums of money, in so-called “nation-building” or modernization programs. Although much good has been achieved on a small scale, major projects have always led to major corruption. Yet as Bradley Simpson has observed, “modernization … was part of a larger, widely dispersed fabric of thinking about the process of becoming modern, the origins of which stretch back to the Enlightenment” (Bradley R. Simpson, Economists with Guns: Authoritarian Development and U.S.-Indonesian Relations, 1960-1968 [Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2008], 8).

23. From my book The American Deep State, 139-40:

I call our new hysteria the “Doomsday Mania,” after the Doomsday Project that (as we saw in chapter 7) was the Pentagon’s name for the twenty years of COG planning to suspend parts of the U.S. Constitution. The Doomsday Project was escalated under Reagan in 1982 as emergency planning “to keep the White House and Pentagon running during and after a nuclear war or some other major crisis.” Expanded by the end of the Reagan presidency to cover planning for any emergency, the planning was entrusted to a secret committee including Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, even when both men were no longer in the U.S. government.24 Composed mostly of fellow Republicans, even under Clinton, at least one section of the committee became what a former Pentagon official described as in effect “a secret government-in-waiting.” From its outset in 1982 to its implantation on 9/11, the Doomsday Project was indeed apocalyptic in its baseless determination that America faced a terrorist crisis so dire that the Constitution needed to be partly set aside. A decade before 9/11, its far-reaching arrangements were expanding the groundwork of Oliver North, to create what CNN in 1991 already described as a “shadow government . . . about which you know nothing.”


24. Scott, The American Deep State, 31-34.

25. Scott, The American Deep State, 9, 68, 89. “The United States has been at war continuously since the attacks of 9/11 and now has just over 240,000 active-duty and reserve troops in at least 172 countries and territories” (“America’s Forever Wars,” editorial, New York Times, October 22, 2017, https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/22/opinion/americas-forever-wars.html?_r=0). (3) An international Gallup Poll confirmed in 2014 that “The rest of world believes that the United States is the country that poses the greatest threat to world peace, beating out all challengers by a wide margin” (Meredith Bennett-Smith, “Womp! This Country Was Named The Greatest Threat To World Peace,” Huffington Post, January 2, 2014, https://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/02/greatest-threat-world-peace-country_n_4531824.html). The New York Times reported this finding in their online International Business Times, but not their domestic print edition. See Eric Brown, “Leading Threat to World Peace is…America?” Cf. Paul Street, ZMagazine, February 24, 2014.

26. Scott, The American Deep State, 179-82.

27. Before that, there were the idiotic conditions both countries imposed on Germany at Versailles in 1919, and their consequence the Second World War. I should mention also the “Jameson raid” of 1895, as part of a process which “provoked, predictably, a responsive buildup from other powers, particularly France and Germany; and this ultimately made World War I (and its sequel, World War II) all but inevitable” (Scott, The American Deep State, 170).

28. How do we enjoy more than our share of the world’s resources? Partly from financial management and control of petromarkets, which leads to dominance also in the arms market. Here I am telescoping quite lengthy arguments in The American Deep State; also David E. Spiro, The Hidden Hand of American Hegemony: Petrodollar Recycling and International Markets (Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1999).


Related front page panorama photo credit: Adapted by WhoWhatWhy from Vitruvian Man (Luc Viatour / Wikimedia).

New Zealand Mosque Gunman Inspired by Serbian Nationalists

New Zealand Mosque Gunman ‘Inspired by Balkan Nationalists’

A gunman who killed 49 people in a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch in New Zealand is believed to be an admirer of Balkan nationalists and historical figures, and he played a song honouring Radovan Karadzic before opening fire.


An injured person is loaded in an ambulance following a shooting resulting in multiple fatalities and injuries at the Masjid Al Noor in Christchurch, New Zealand on Friday. Photo: EPA-EFE/Martin Hunter NEW ZEALAND OUT

A Facebook user with the name Brenton Tarrant – the man who reportedly killed dozens of people in a terror attack on two mosques in Christchurch on Friday morning – posted pictures of Balkan nationalist symbols online and a statement criticising US involvement in Kosovo.

A video also showed that before the shooting, the gunman played a song honouring Bosnian Serb wartime political leader Radovan Karadzic, whose final verdict for genocide and war crimes is due to be delivered next week.

Embedded video

Harald Doornbos

@HaraldDoornbos

I just noticed that song in car played by suspected gunman before is a Serbian nationalist song praising convicted Bosnian Serb war criminal Radovan Karadzic.

“Karadzic will lead the Serbs,
Karadzic leads the Serbs”

Ahead of the killings, the user of the Brenton Tarrant account posted a 73-page ‘manifesto’ which said the motive for the attack was to “create fear”, and included anti-migrant hate speech, calls for killings of Muslims, and white supremacist rhetoric.

The text also contained a section about the Kosovo conflict.

“Balkanization will also reduce the USA’s ability to project power globally, and thereby ensure that never again can such a situation as the US involvement in Kosovo ever occur again (where US/NATO forces fought beside Muslims and slaughtered Christian Europeans attempting to remove there Islamic occupiers from Europe),” it said.

NATO has been leading peacekeeping operations in Kosovo since June 1999 after its campaign of air strikes to end Serbia’s military campaign against ethnic Albanian rebels.

Pictures showing weaponry used in the shooting were also marked with the name of Montenegrin military leader Marko Miljanov Popovic, who led his tribe in the fight against the Ottoman Empire.

The weapons were also marked with the name of Bajo Pivljanin, a commander who also fought against the Ottoman Empire in Bosnia and Montenegro.

 

View image on TwitterView image on TwitterView image on Twitter

MrRevinsky@Kyruer


He dedicates the attack also to ‘Luca Traini’: he is an italian man who opened fire on a group of migrants in Macerata in late 2018.
Part 2

Another name marked on the weaponry was Novak Vujosevic, who fought on the Montenegrin side in the Battle of Fundina against the Ottoman Empire’s forces.

So far New Zealand police have arrested four people in connection with the terrorist attacks.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the shootings “New Zealand’s darkest day” and said in a statement on Friday morning that “many of the people affected by this act of extreme violence will be from our refugee and migrant communities”.

CIA implicated in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid

[SEE:  They attack the North Korean embassy in Madrid with hostages and theft of computers]

CIA implicated in attack on North Korean embassy in Madrid

According to Spanish investigators, two of the men who broke into the diplomatic headquarters have connections to the US intelligence service

The North Korean embassy in Madrid.
The North Korean embassy in Madrid. ULY MARTÍN 
Madrid 

Investigators from the Spanish police and National Intelligence Center (CNI) have linked an attack on the North Korean embassy in Madrid on February 22 to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

Sources believe the goal of the attack embassy was to get information on the former North Korean ambassador to Spain

At least two of the 10 assailants who broke into the embassy and interrogated diplomatic staff have been identified and have connections to the US intelligence agency. The CIA has denied any involvement but government sources say their response was “unconvincing.”

If it is proven that the CIA was behind the attack, it could lead to a diplomatic spat between Madrid and Washington. Government sources say that it would be “unacceptable” for an ally to take such action. Not only would it mean that the US agency had operated on Spanish soil without asking for authorization or informing the authorities, it would also be a violation of the international conventions that protect diplomatic delegations.

What’s more, unlike other intelligence activities – such as cyberattacks, which are characterized by their discretion, the attack on the North Korean embassy was especially violent. On February 22 at 3pm, 10 masked men carrying alleged imitation weapons broke into the embassy, located north of the capital in the residential area of Aravaca. They tied up the eight people inside and put bags on their heads. The victims were beaten and interrogated. A woman managed to escape from a window on the second floor and her screams for help were heard by a neighbor, who contacted the police.

Officers arrived at the scene but when they tried to enter the embassy a man opened the door to them and told them that there was nothing going on. Minutes later, two luxury vehicles sped out of the embassy. The cars used for the getaway belonged to the diplomatic mission and were later abandoned in a nearby street.

The assailants tied up the eight people inside the embassy and put bags on their heads

Police found the eight victims inside. They had been held hostage for two hours, had had bags placed over their heads, had been beaten and were scared. Two of them required medical attention.

Investigators from the General Information Office (CGI) and CNI ruled out the idea that the attack was the work of common criminals. The operation was perfectly planned as if it were carried out by a “military cell,” said sources close to the investigation. The assailants knew what they were looking for, taking only computers and mobile phones.

The highly secretive investigation will be heard at Spain’s High Court, the Audiencia Nacional, which could order the arrest of the identified assailants. Government sources, however, admit it would be difficult to prove the CIA was involved in court.

Kim Hyok Chol

Sources believe that the goal of the attack on the North Korean embassy was to get information on Kim Hyok Chol, the former North Korean ambassador to Spain.

Former North Korean ambassador to Spain, Kim Hyok Chol, in a file photo from 2015.
Former North Korean ambassador to Spain, Kim Hyok Chol, in a file photo from 2015.CARLOS ROSILLO

Kim Hyok Chol was expelled from Spain on September 19, 2017 by the then-Spanish Foreign Minister Alfonso Dastis given that the nuclear testing that the country was carrying out at the time was in serious breach of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

Kim Hyok Chol, who was declared persona non grata by Spain and was invited to leave the country before the end of the month, is currently one of Kim Jong-un’s highly trusted diplomats, and one of the architects of the failed nuclear summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jon-un in Vietnam. The meeting, aimed at securing North Korea’s nuclear disarmament, ended in failure without any agreement on a timetable for disarmament or on future negotiations.

In February, Kim Hyok Chol also led the North Korean delegation that negotiated a nuclear disarmament plan with US special envoy Stephen Biegun in exchange for sanctions to be lifted.

English version by Melissa Kitson.

US Congressman Confesses That He Is “On of Israel’s Guys”

[The following short post is a candid, honest admission, by a US Congressman, that he is one of Israel’s controlled assets in the US Congress, elected by Jewish money, dominated by Jewish money, allegedly serving the interests of 2 Nations on Capitol Hill.  Repeating the recorded confession of US Congressman Charlie Wilson IS NOT “Antisemitic,” but to know the truth about the power of Jewish money to control weak politicians and NOT repeat it may be tantamount to “TREASON.”]

[The US Government Is Controlled By Men and Women Who Answer To the Jewish Lobby…PERIOD.]

[NY Times Fails To Debunk “Canard” of Jewish Money Dominating Congress, Because It Is the Cold Truth]

[Dems’ Antisemitism Bill Stalls, Despite Massive Effort To Let Israel/Jews Control Congressional Vote]

Charlie Wilson’s War

“You’re going to Israel next week
to meet with Zvi Rafiah
about the Lavi jets.
I want you to tack Pakistan
on the end of your trip.


And meet with the President?


Let him convince you that
it’s a Christian imperative
to let the Afghans rid
their country of Communism.


Okay. It’s not likely the President
of Pakistan is a Christian,
but I’m gonna do this for you, Joanne,
’cause you saved my ass
once with the pro-lifers
and I owe you my seat in Congress
and because you look very good naked.
But I have to tell you,
I’m elected by Jews.


How many Jews do you
have in your district?


Seven.
But congressmen aren’t
elected by voters,
they’re elected by contributors,
and mine are in, well, New
York, Florida, Hollywood,
because I’m one of
Israel’s guys on the Hill.
And I don’t know how they’re gonna feel
about me taking up the cause of Muslims.


Well, that’s your problem.


Yes, it is.”
–(Charlie Wilson’s War)

 

Will the Real War Criminals ever be tried?–Nov 07, 2015

Will the Real War Criminals ever be tried?

Question: When does a congenital liar stop lying? Answer: Never. Even if he ever seems to be recanting his lies he isn’t. All that he may be doing is hoodwink the world and make people believe that he’s contrite, which he isn’t.

Those doubting the above need only look at the former British PM Tony Blair’s half-hearted attempt to be seen by the world as repenting his crime of having brazenly abetted his old ‘buddy’ George W. Bush’s unprovoked aggression against Iraq in 2003.

At the peak of that popular cry of protest in Britain against Tony Blair’s blatant involvement in Bush’s war against Iraq—deemed, rightly, as a crime against humanity—the protestors regularly carried placards that dubbed Blair as B-Liar. The epithet was so appropriate and popular that it almost replaced Blair’s real name and people only referred to him as B-Liar.


Will the real War Criminals ever be tried?
George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Tony Blair

That epithet wasn’t a spur-of-the moment thing. It was fully deserved and that’s why it lingered on and hasn’t gone off the people’s radar although Blair has long ceased to be Britain’s leader.

They say old habits die hard. But in Blair’s case it may seem that they never have a chance of dying, given the man’s potential to keep lying about himself and about his record.

Blair served a fresh reminder of his unlimited perspicacity for lying in a recent interview on American television with Fareed Zakaria, a journalist with a reputation of treating his neo conservative guests with kid gloves. Talking of his role in the sordid episode of the alibi concocted, by Bush and his neo con warmongers, of Saddam Hussein possessing weapons of mass destruction (WMDs), Blair feigned as if he was, after all, contrite and repentant. He apologised that because of it, Iraq was invaded and lives were lost without justification.

A sympathetic western media that had never really seriously probed Bush’s underlying motive in the invasion of Iraq—a country without any involvement in 9/11, the template and alibi for the Bush aggression—quickly summed up that Blair was feeling sorry for his role and was contrite.

That, at best, is so much of trash. Blair only regretted that he was fed false intelligence and because of it readily became part of the Bush juggernaut to lay waste Iraq.

So, all that B-Liar was contrite about was the faulty intelligence that became the template of that wantonly illegitimate Anglo-American invasion of Iraq.

Blair never said a word of repentance about the whole idea of the old and new imperialists pouncing upon a country that neither had a role in the crime perpetrated on 9/11, nor posed a threat to the security of either of their countries or, for that matter, any other country listed on the imperialists’ roster of ‘friends and allies.’

The unvarnished truth is that Blair, viscerally, was part of the neo con agenda of war against Iraq and was fully complicit in the alibi brazenly crafted by the warmongers to justify their invasion of Iraq.

Iraq had been in the cross-hairs of the neo con warmongers from the day the idea of an American Century sprouted in their fertile imagination. For nearly a decade preceding the actual invasion of Iraq in 2003, the neo cons had been laying their groundwork for it. Open letters to the then President Bill Clinton were inserted by inveterate dreamers of an American Empire—notorious men like Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Chenney and their gang of warmongers—in the New York Times and Washington Post pleading with the president to follow their lead.

Planning for regime change in Iraq had begun soon after the end of the First Gulf War, in 1991, as Kuwait was ‘liberated’ from Iraqi occupation and Saddam Hussein’s forces were pushed back into Iraq.

The neo cons were furious that Bush Sr., then president, hadn’t chased Saddam up to Baghdad and expelled him from power. To them it was a golden opportunity missed by George H W Bush to acquire a foot-hold in the old Mesopotamia—a geo-strategically important land essential to their dream of imposing American tutelage over the Gulf region and exploit its vast oil and gas resources for America’s outreach to the areas beyond.

Iraq was key to the neo con dream of dominating the region, totally, in more senses than one. The plan was two-pronged: degrade any potential in the area to pose any threat to Israel—the darling of the neo cons and central to their ploy of making the whole region around Israel subservient to US and Israeli interests.

Iraq, with its vast resources of oil, gas and water from two big rivers, Euphrates and Tigris, had the potential to pose a credible threat to Israel. Saddam may have been used by the Americans to nip the ‘evil’ of the Islamic Revolution in next door Iran in its infancy by triggering the 8 year-long war with Iran, in 1980. But that bloody conflict couldn’t finish off the Iranian revolution and ended up making it stronger and more resilient.

By his inability to cripple Iran, Saddam Hussein had outlived his utility and had to go. A change of regime in Iraq was deemed an absolute essential if the dream of the American Century was ever to be realised. Saddam’s fate had been sealed, as far as the neo cons’ strategy was concerned.

As these lines were being written, news has just come in from Baghdad of the demise of Ahmed Chalabi, the principal US puppet in the then Iraqi diaspora, who had offered his services to CIA for millions of dollars in American tax payers’ money.

Chalabi, from a prominent Shiite family loyal to the Iraqi royalty, until its overthrow in a bloody coup d’etat in 1958, was CIA’s ace Iraqi asset who became an invaluable tool to the neo con planning of subversion and subterfuge in Iraq against the Saddam regime.

It was Chalabi who was believed to have confirmed to CIA and Pentagon that Saddam possessed not only lethal weapons of mass destruction but also the rockets to target these WMDs at targets in the west.

Chalabi fed whatever info he deemed necessary to his American mentors who, in turn, lapped up every word from his mouth and elevated it to the status of gospel truth. Chalabi kept feeding CIA and the Pentagon concocted evidence of Saddam’s WMDs and his gullible hosts took it for real. Or was it that it suited their aggressive intent against Saddam to lend credence to whatever Chalabi was feeding them for self-preservation as CIA’s principal asset among the Iraqi leaders in exile?

It’s not hard to conclude, with the benefit of hind-sight, that both Chalabi and CIA were using each other for the extension of their respective agendas; Chalabi dreamed of riding into Baghdad—from which he’d been in exile since 1958—on US tanks as Iraq’s new leader; the Americans were led to believe by Chalabi, and others of his ilk, that the Iraqi people were so absolutely fed up with Saddam and his tactics that they would welcome the American invaders of their land as their ‘liberators’ and emancipators’ and shower rose petals on them. The real ‘reception’ turned out to be radically different.

Bill Clinton was still in office when US Congress passed the Iraq Act, in 1998, calling, openly, for regime change in Iraq. It was an unprecedented act of imperialist hubris for the American lawmakers to place themselves in place of God and decide who should be ruling over a sovereign state, Iraq, which was a founding member of UN. It also amounted to thumbing their noses at the UN by the American lawmakers. The world body—the message between the lines of Iraq Act said—was impotent to act US wanted it to and, therefore, Washington would take the law into its own hands to dictate Iraq’s fate.

Blair signed on the nefarious agenda merrily and willingly because it was a reflection of his own imperialist impulse. British cooperation in the planned aggression against Iraq, on the fabricated alibi of it being in possession of WMDs was deemed essential because of the old imperialist’s colonial expertise and experience. Blair was cut from the same cloth as the neo cons and didn’t flinch for a moment from hitching his wagon with Bush’s treacherous invasion plan.

Nowhere in his interview with Zakaria did Blair offer anything remotely attributable to feeling sorry that Iraq was laid waste, brutally vulgarised and its people treated as animals by the arrogant American occupiers of their land. He abides by his convoluted sense that the people of Iraq were actually done a favour by the western invaders because they toppled Saddam and saved them from his clutches.

Likewise, the incorrigible liar only dissembles that the invasion of Iraq, in his words, was a contributory factor in the rise of ISIL and all the attendant terror and destruction this band of predators has unleashed in its wake.

Blair should know that the end-game for his fellow neo cons in Iraq was its truncation. To achieve this end-result, the first Bush ‘viceroy’ of Iraq, Paul Bremer—a Zionist to boot—disbanded the well-trained and well-armed army of Saddam Hussein on the first day of assuming control of a vanquished Iraq. Degrading Iraq was a principal component of the scheme to make the country vulnerable to centrifugal forces. A weak and vulnerable Iraq couldn’t pose any threat to Israel—the fortress of American power in the region and the sword intended to be kept hanging over the heads of all the neighbours of Israel.

The disbanding of Saddam’s army was done with so much haste and poor planning that the soldiers and officers were allowed to carry all their weapons with them; the arsenals were emptied by disbanded soldiers. They became the harbingers of an ISIL with no shortage of weapons.

On top of it all, brazen humiliation was heaped on the occupied Iraqis by their power-drunk American masters. Abu Ghuraib was just one instance of inhuman and barbaric torture inflicted on the Iraqis made prisoners there. It became famous because of those pervert and sexually-deviant American ‘guards’, both men and women, who treated their Iraqi quarries as toys to satisfy their pervert urges. But Abu Ghuraib was not a solitary example; there were dozens of other places where Iraqis were humiliated and tortured, day-and-night.

The toll exacted, with diabolical intent, from the Iraqis was as much a catalyst of revolt against a pernicious American occupation as attempts to divide Iraq along ethnic and sectarian divides. ISIL, Blair should know, didn’t come up as a spur-of-the-moment reaction by the Iraqis—and subsequently the Syrians. It flared and took hold of the people because of their sense of privation, humiliation and suffering under an insensitive and uncaring occupying power and its allies bent upon truncating Iraq in more senses than one. That was the principal catalyst for the rise of radicalism in Iraq and neighbouring Syria which, in turn, spawned the terrorist outfit, ISIL.

The neo con agenda for Iraq and its surrounding areas was predominantly impacted by Henry Kissinger’s policy of divide-weaken-and rule. That Kissinger Doctrine was devised in the wake of the first oil embargo of 1973 and has since been adopted by the warmongers on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean as their bible.

To put teeth to the divisive Kissinger Doctrine, the oil rich Gulf potentates were encouraged to invest in forces arrayed against the Baathist regime of Syria. They opened their coffers for those ready to overthrowing the Assad regime because that would not only have removed Assad but also weakened Iran—a principal reason for the Saudis and Qataris to bankroll the terrorists who became the progenitors of ISIL.

The Arab Spring, of 2011, came as a huge shock to the neo cons, just as the 1979 Islamic Revolution had taken the imperialists by complete surprise. The warmongers failed in their tactics to roll back the Iranian revolution but they did—with a lot of help from reactionary and anti-democratic status-quo holders among the Arabs—succeeded in snuffing out the short-lived Arab Spring.

In the process, Libya has been rendered worse than Iraq and the promising democratisation of Egypt subverted by imperialist agents in the Egyptian military high command. As these lines are being written, General Abdel Fattah Sisi, the butcher of Egypt, is being received with full honours by David Cameron of Britain—the mother of democracy in our ‘civilised’ world.

But Britain alone hasn’t rolled out the red carpet for the blood-thirsty Egyptian dictator who has the blood of thousands of Egyptians—predominantly the youth—on his hands. Earlier, Sisi was received with similar fanfare in Germany and France.

Blair, surely, can’t be ignorant of it that the overly-trumpeted and touted western values of democracy and human rights come with a proviso: they aren’t meant for the Arabs or Muslims whose misfortune it is to be ruled and persecuted, ruthlessly, by western surrogates and minions. Cameron and his ilk couldn’t care less how the human rights of the Egyptian people are mauled by a blood-thirsty cabal under Sisi.  Their sole concern is that an Israel-friendly Egyptian autocrat should cause no problem to Israel running roughshod over its Palestinian quarries and making their lives a living hell for them.

The International Criminal Court is most eager and overly anxious to try the Sudanese President, Bashir, for alleged war crimes. One wonders, when, if ever, it will have the moral fibre to try well-known war criminals like Bush, Blair, Cheney and Rumsfeld whose crimes are amply documented and known to all?

Karamatullah K Ghori is a former ambassador of Pakistan, now lives in Canada. His book Bar-e-Shanasaee: Kuch log, kuch yaaden, kuch tazkeray — un shakhsiyaat kay jinhon nay Pakistan kee taarikh banaee aur bigaadee was published from India by Pharos Media, New Delhi.

Journalist’s Expose’ Shows “Comedian” Colbert To Be Just Another Deep State Hitman

Colbert Smears Tulsi Gabbard To Her Face While Telling Zero Jokes



Hawaii Congresswoman and Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard recently appeared onThe Late Show with Stephen Colbert, where instead of the light, jokey banter about politics and who she is as a person that Democratic presidential candidates normally encounter on late night comedy programs, the show’s host solemnly ran down a list of textbook beltway smears against Gabbard and made her defend them in front of his audience.

Normally when a Democratic Party-aligned politician appears on such a show, you can expect jokes about how stupid Trump is and how badly they’re going to beat the Republicans, how they’re going to help ordinary Americans, and maybe some friendly back-and-forth about where they grew up or something. Colbert had no time to waste on such things, however, because this was not an interview with a normal Democratic Party-aligned politician: this was a politician who has been loudly and consistently criticizing US foreign policy.

After briefly asking his guest who she is and why she’s running for president, Colbert jumped right into it by immediately bringing up Syria and Assad, the primary line of attack employed against Gabbard by establishment propagandists in American mainstream media.

Colbert: Do you think the Iraq war was worth it?

Gabbard: No.

Colbert: Do you think that our involvement in Syria has been worth it?

Gabbard: No.

Colbert: Do you think that ISIS could have been defeated without our involvement and without our support of the local troops there?

Gabbard: There are two things we need to address in Syria. One is a regime change war that was first launched by the United States in 2011, covertly, led by the CIA. That is a regime change war that has continued over the years, that has increased the suffering of the Syrian people, and strengthened groups like Al Qaeda and ISIS, because the CIA was using American taxpayer dollars to provide arms and training and equipment to these terrorist groups to get them to overthrow the government. So that is a regime change war that we should not have been engaging.

This interview was easily Colbert’s most blatant establishment rim job I’ve ever seen, surpassing even the time he corrected his own audience when they cheered at James Comey’s firing to explain to them that Comey is a good guy now and they’re meant to like him. Colbert’s show is blatant propaganda for human livestock, and the fact that this is what American “comedy” shows look like now is nauseating.

Colbert: So, but if it is someone like Bashar al-Assad, who gasses his own people, or who engages in war crimes against his own people, should the United States not be involved?Gabbard: The United States should not be intervening to overthrow these dictators and these regimes that we don’t like, like Assad, like Saddam Hussein, like Gaddafi, and like Kim Jong Un. There are bad people in the world, but history has shown us that every time the United States goes in and topples these dictators we don’t like, trying to end up like the world’s police, we end up increasing the suffering of the people in these countries. We end up increasing the loss of life, but American lives and the lives of people in these countries. We end up undermining our own security, what to speak of the trillions of dollars of taxpayer money that’s spent on these wars that we need to be using right here at home. [In this passage, Gabbard walks back much of the good she just did by actually endorsing a falsehood, that the US, perhaps clumsily, is right in attacking these “terrible” dictators. This is not the way to clarify the people’s jumbled perceptions about US foreign policy. And it gets worse.—Ed)

Like I said, this is not a normal presidential candidate. How often do you see a guest appear on a network late night talk show and talk about the CIA arming terrorists in Syria and the fact that US military interventionism is completely disastrous? It just doesn’t happen. You can understand, then, why empire propagandist Stephen Colbert spent the rest of the interview informing his TV audience that Tulsi Gabbard is dangerous and poisonous.

Colbert: You got some heat for meeting with Bashar al-Assad. Do you not consider him a war criminal? Why did you meet with that man?

Gabbard: In the pursuit of peace and security. If we are not willing to meet with adversaries, potential adversaries, in the pursuit of peace and security, the only alternative is more war. That’s why I took that meeting with Assad. In pursuit of peace and security. 

Colbert: Do you believe he is a war criminal? Do you believe he gassed his own people or committed atrocities against his own people?

Gabbard: Yes. Reports have shown that that’s a fact. (Here she totally destroys her own antiwar credibility! Ed.]

Colbert: So you believe the intelligence agencies on that. Because I heard that you did not necessarily believe those reports.

The reason I call Colbert a propagandist and not simply a liberal empire loyalist who happens to have been elevated by billionaire media is because these are carefully constructed narratives that he is reciting, and they weren’t constructed by him.

Trying to make it look to the audience as though Gabbard is in some way loyal to Assad has been a high-priority agenda of the mainstream media ever since she announced her presidential candidacy. We saw it in her recent appearance on The View, where John McCain’s sociopathic daughter called her an “Assad apologist” and demanded that Gabbard call Assad an enemy of the United States. We saw it in her recent CNN town hall, where a consultant who worked on Obama’s 2008 campaign was presented as an ordinary audience member to help CNN’s Dana Bash paint Gabbard’s skepticism of intelligence reports about an alleged chemical weapons attack by the Syrian government as something that is weird and suspicious, instead of the only sane position in a post-Iraq invasion world. We saw it in her appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe last month, where the entire panel piled on her in outrage that she wouldn’t call Assad an enemy of the United States. It’s such a common propaganda talking point that the New York Times‘ Bari Weiss famously made a laughingstock of herself by repeating it as self-evident truth on The Joe Rogan Experience without having the faintest clue what specific facts it was meant to refer to, just because she’d heard establishment pundits saying it so much.

This is an organized smear by the mass media attempting to marry Gabbard in the eyes of the public to a Middle Eastern leader whom the propagandists have already sold as a child-murdering monster, and Colbert is participating in it here just as much as the serious news media talking heads are. It’s been frustrating to watch Gabbard fold to this smear campaign by acting like it’s an established fact that Assad “gasses his own people” and not the hotly contested empire-serving narrative she knows it is. Gabbard is being targeted by this smear because she challenges US political orthodoxy on military violence (the glue which holds the empire together), so no amount of capitulation will keep them from trying to prevent the public from trusting her words.

“I don’t know whether America should be the policemen of the world,” Colbert said after Gabbard defended her position.

Media whore Colbert. Like others of his type, they all made a Faustian pact. Kissing the empire’s ass to advance fame and career. Who cares if entire nations are destroyed and millions die?

“It is my opinion that we should not be,” Gabbard replied, causing Colbert to launch into a stuffy, embarrassing sermon on the virtues of interventionism and US hegemony that would make Bill Kristol blush.

“If we are not, though, nature abhors a vacuum, and if we are not involved in international conflicts, or trying to quell international conflicts, certainly the Russians and the Chinese will fill that vacuum. And we will step away from the world stage in a significant way that might destabilize the world, because the United States, however flawed, is a force for good in the world in my opinion. (sic) Would you agree with that?”

Again, this is a comedy show.

Gabbard explained that in order to be a force for good in the world the United States has to actually do good, which means not raining fire upon every nation it dislikes all the time. Colbert responded by reading off his blue index card to repeat yet another tired anti-Gabbard smear.

“You’ve gotten some fans in the Trump supporter world: David Duke, Steve Bannon, and, uh, Matt, uh, Gaetz, is that his name? Matt Gaetz? What do you make of how much they like you?”

This one is particularly vile, partly because Gabbard has repeatedly and unequivocally denounced David Duke, who has a long-established and well-known history of injecting himself into the drama of high-profile conversations in order to maintain the illusion of relevance, and partly because it’s a completely irrelevant point that is brought up solely for the purpose of marrying Tulsi Gabbard’s name to a former Ku Klux Klan leader. Colbert only brought this up (and made Newsweek totally squee) because he wanted to assist in that marrying. The fact that there are distasteful ideologies which also happen to oppose US interventionism for their own reasons does not change the undeniable fact that US military interventionism is consistently disastrous and never helpful and robs the US public of resources that are rightfully theirs.

This interview was easily Colbert’s most blatant establishment rim job I’ve ever seen, surpassing even the time he corrected his own audience when they cheered at James Comey’s firing to explain to them that Comey is a good guy now and they’re meant to like him. Colbert’s show is blatant propaganda for human livestock, and the fact that this is what American “comedy” shows look like now is nauseating.

When Tulsi Gabbard first announced her candidacy I predicted that she’d have the narrative control engineers scrambling all over themselves to kill her message, and it’s been even more spectacular than I imagined. I don’t agree with everything she says and does, but by damn this woman is shaking up the establishment narrative matrix more than anybody else right now. She’s certainly keeping it interesting.

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About the Author
 
Caitlin Johnstone
 is a brave journalist, political junkie, relentless feminist, champion of the 99 percent. And a powerful counter-propaganda tactician.

The Pro-Guaido Movement Represents Venezuela’s Disgruntled Middle and Upper Classes

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The Pro-Guaido Movement Is A Bid For Restored Privilege By Venezuela’s Comfortable Groups

Amid the ongoing bombardment of pro-Venezuela intervention propaganda, the anti-war journalist Caitlin Johnstone recently wrote: “proponents of the US-led Venezuela coup are the single nastiest, most unethical and intellectually dishonest political group I’ve ever encountered. They make Russiagaters look healthy.” There’s a reason for this exceptional obnoxiousness and disingenuousness among the supporters of Venezuela regime change. And it involves the fact that the coup’s primary strain of supporters are seeking to redouble their social privilege.

It’s a myth from the Western media that the anti-Chavista movement is driven by Venezuela’s poor. The country’s lower classes, in fact, are at the core if why the Chavista government continues to stay in power. Polling and electoral results have shown the people who’ve voted for Chavez and Maduro are overwhelmingly poor, and their loyalty is explained by the fact that these two leaders have cut poverty by over a third through social programs. The masses of poor and working Venezuelans remain committed to upholding the accomplishments of the Bolivarian revolution, and polling shows that while Maduro isn’t popular, most Venezuelans oppose America’s illegal attempts to remove Maduro. But among the minority that would welcome the U.S.’ violation of their country’s sovereignty, a main motivating factor is a desire to restore Venezuela’s white upper-class aristocracy.
Before Chavez’ reforms, Venezuela was a hyper-capitalist dystopia where neoliberalism subjugated the country’s poor and working people. When the Chavista movement emerged in response to this stark inequality, protests against President Chavez emerged whose participants showed that they were motivated both by insecurity about their class privilege and by racial animus.
As Greg Palast has observed about the 2002 protests, “The light-skinned protesters were overwhelmingly wealthy — and they wanted you to know it. Many of the women marched in high heels, the men peacocking in business suits, proudly displayed in the uniforms of their privileged class. The Chavistas wore patriotic yellow, blue and red T-shirts, sneakers, jeans.” Palast also writes he heard opposition demonstrators yell “‘Chavez, Monkey!’ and worse.”
Similar demographics are found among today’s supporters of regime change. Interviews in Venezuela by the journalist Max Blumenthal show largely light-skinned, middle-class individuals whose sentiments in many cases mirror those of Trump’s American supporters, such as with the quote pictured above about how Trump is “fighting for the freedom of our country.”
The Venezuelan right’s claims about Maduro being a “dictator” who’s ruined the economy are comparable to the persecution complex of the American right, which claims that white people and cops are persecuted and that the rich are victimized by an imagined socialist tyranny. These views are propagated by similar oligarchic mass media machines.
Around three-fourths of Venezuela’s media is controlled by the country’s U.S.-backed corporate oligarchy, which seeks to spread anti-Chavista narratives with the hope that a more pro-capitalist leader will be installed. These media outlets don’t inform people about the Chavista government’s vast reductions of poverty, or about the fact that numerous international observers have reported Venezuela’s elections to be consistently fair and transparent, or about how Guaido’s claim to the presidency is blatantly unconstitutional, or about how the U.S. has been leading a campaign of economic warfare against Venezuela through sanctions and market sabotage. These engines of corporate propaganda only demonize Venezuela’s progressive movement while promoting the interests of the U.S./NATO empire, like is the case with the mainstream media in America.
And those who are most inclined to believe the corporate-manufactured lies about Venezuela are the ones who won’t be hurt by the anti-worker policies which Guaido will enact if he becomes president. The Venezuelan right’s enthusiasm for imperialist conquest from a foreign government, and its fury at anyone who opposes their regime change narratives, reflects how privileged populations always react to threats to their position. When the Palestinians protest for their liberation from the Gaza concentration camp, Israeli colonizers claim they’re being victimized by anti-Semitism while cheering on the IDF’s mowing down of unarmed demonstrators. When black Americans object to police brutality, white conservatives spread memes which praise cops.
In all these cases, the loss of privilege is mistaken for persecution. And as the Greenville Post has assessed, this attitude of collective entitlement is always weaponized by capitalists and imperialists:
The upper classes in every nation in revolutionary turmoil always side with foreign patrons willing to help them restore their sweet ‘old order.’ So it was with the Russian ‘whites’, who fought for years to defeat the ‘Reds’ in the early years of the 20th century, and the Chilean bourgeoisie in 1973 when it was happy to turn over the nation to the comprador plague, the US, and a butcher in uniform. While the western press applauded. Nothing has changed because the class interests pitting these two worlds remain the same. The upper and upper middle classes, plus the inevitable sectors of the middle and even lower class influenced by their example and opinions constitute in large measure each country’s ‘Fifth Column.’
Thankfully, the U.S. and its puppet Guaido are running out of options in their effort to conquer Venezuela. The military is still backing Maduro, and the Trump/Guaido cabal’s recent claim about government forces burning an aid truck has been embarrassingly revealed to be a hoax. Hopefully the U.S. empire’s charade will drag on until the regime change leaders are eventually forced to retreat, and Venezuela’s lower classes will maintain the gains they’ve won.