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Here’s the real danger to opposition journalists in western police states

The western police state’s war against the opposition is far more devious than more familiar models of repression.

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Even prior to the release of Vault 7 from Wikileaks, people knew that so-called intelligence agencies in western states had the means to spy on their own citizens. Many also assumed that the typical illegality of such activities was of no consequence for agencies and individuals in those agencies who regard themselves as being above the law.

Now that we know the CIA and other institutions have such abilities to digitally hack just about every household device from the smart phone and smart-tv to the good old fashioned PC, the biggest question is, when do these deep state organisations implement these measures to spy on civilians and compromise their lives?

The answer can be found without needing to resort to conspiracy theories nor even speculation. The answer lies in the private sector.

Organisations like the CIA, MI5, FBI etc., need only do what the private sector isn’t all ready doing for them and as it is, the private sector is doing a hell of a lot.

If one wonders why major financial, academic, diplomatic, trading, banking, security and even artistic institutions in the west tend to have people on their payrolls who follow the ‘western ideological narrative’, there are two reasons.

The first is that people are attracted to like-minded people and by extrapolation like-minded professions.

But there is a second more devious reason. Those who think outside the western box, those who ‘question more’ simply cannot get a foot through the door. Technically, one needn’t have any view on Vladimir Putin to be on the board of a major western construction company, law firm, private bank or hedge fund. These professions do not involve knowledge of Russian politics or society.  But those who have and even casually express a view of Putin or of the Arab world or of East Asia and Latin America that differs from the neo-lib/neo-con point of view, are blacklisted.

Social media has made this blacklisting easier to do than ever. If two equally qualified candidates were applying for a high level position at a financial institution and one person had a picture of himself at a Hillary Clinton fundraiser on his Facebook and the other had a ‘Save Palestine’ picture or a pro-Putin meme on his social media accounts, there would be no prizes for correctly guessing who would almost certainly get the job.

In the words of George Carlin, “It’s a big club and you ain’t in it”.

The punitive blacklisting of those who don’t follow the CNN/BBC/NYT script has a double effect.

First of all, it keeps those who think outside the box away from positions of power in the private sector and in most western countries, without a prominent position in the business or mainstream entertainment community, achieving political office is next to impossible.

Secondly, there is a powerful deterrent effect. Many people would like to post pro-Putin, pro-Donbass, pro-Syria or pro-Palestine items on social media, but they are afraid that it could cost them their job, their bonus or even their friends. In the west such things can break-up families. It happens every day. At this very movement, someone in a western country is contemplating suicide because of being on the losing end of a divorce settlement. Very sad, yet very true.

This Kafkaesque reality is achieved without the CIA needing to hack people’s phones or computers. The private sector does the job for them.

For every tabloid story about a woman losing her job because she posted a photo of her genitals on-line, there are many more people who are professionally compromised for posting photos of patriotic Russian or Arab leaders.

Throughout the 20th century, the private sector has always been happy to do the bidding of the deep state. Hollywood was largely compliant with the ‘red scare’ tactics of the 1950s and frankly, Hollywood producers did more to censor free-speech than the drunk and soon discredited Joseph McCarthy ever could have done.

Why should the CIA waste time and money to read people’s emails, when their much more local boss, or chairman of ‘human relations’ can take a quick look at Facebook and achieve the CIA’s goal far more easily?

The answer is that they don’t. The beauty of a police state is that unquestioning citizens are deputies of the secret police and they work for free. Some do it wilfully and others do it unconsciously, but they do it nevertheless.

Those who question more are often labelled as sensationalist, ‘shock-merchants’ or a number of related epithets to try and discredit their work.

The truth is that those in alternative-media, those who favour multi-polarity, those who speak fairly about Russia, China, Syria, Palestine and beyond, are actually taking a big risk.

Those who say that the west is superior for allowing dissenting thinkers to write and speak without being publicly arrested and sent to a penal colony are being either naive or deceptive.

Western governments do not need to attract publicity by arresting dissenting thinkers because they can do something that has a similar effect and without any of the fanfare.

They can instead use the very corporatist-capitalist system they call ‘free’ to make such people’s lives a living hell. After all, extreme poverty in a capitalist society is as bad as prison is in some countries and this is not an exaggeration. Being socially shunned is an unpleasant situation in any society with any economic system.

For those who make the biggest impact, they can subject them to a hell even worse than poverty. Julian Assange is a crucial example. The fake charges against him are akin to something straight out of Franz Kafka’s The Trial.

If anything, the west is less compassionate than other parts of the world. The west’s record of imperialism, war crimes and human slavery, drug trafficking and environmental terrorism is surely a testament to this. People should be in no doubt that if western governments thought that they could get away with killing opposition journalists and commentators, they would certainly not hesitate to kill the opposition with impunity. The problem is that in a world of mostly free online media that can still circumvent the power of western police states, having reports of opposition thinkers and journalists ‘disappearing’ or being found strangled to death, could bring more attention to the causes of the victims than the western power structures are willing to risk.

The decision not to kill certain opposition thinkers is nothing more than a cost benefit analysis. When someone gets too powerful like Julian Assange or his sources, such people are very much dealt with by facing the receiving end of the full power of state violence. Manning was imprisoned, Snowden and Assange had to seek asylum and Seth Rich, the man widely believed to have been Wikileaks’ source for the DNC leaks, was murdered in cold blood.

Make no mistake, after the cost benefit analysis comes the economy of scale. If someone has an influential website, they’ll merely try to deprive him or her of a livelihood. If that website grows to Wikileaks proportions, such an individual’s life will be in grave danger.

But there may be a happy ending. As the world becomes more multi-polar and the power structures/money structures of global dominance become more balanced, the western private sector oligarchy that does the bidding of the west’s deep state, will no longer be able to exercise the influence they once could.

It is a matter of numbers and when it comes to ordinary citizens throughout the world, in addition to rising powers on the non-western side of the multipolar world, the western elites are simply outnumbered by the rest of us. A sleeping giant needn’t even be awake in order to crush his small but powerful opposition. Such a sleeping giant needs only to stand up before falling back down on the backs of his persecutors. The power of ordinary people throughout the world, plus friendly states that oppose western hegemony, combine to constitute this sleeping giant.

The effects are all ready being felt. Funding sources that come from China, Russia and other strong non-western states are not beholden to the western axis of money and power that for so long could ruin people’s lives with comparative ease.

For those who criticise outlets like RT for getting some funding from the Russian government, they ought to think twice. RT, in being financially independent of western financial structures, is creating a more globally fair and balanced community and helping to give those who have been shut out, a chance to speak without fear of total economic and social isolation. RT’s funding which is largely independent of the western power-structure, has allowed the information playing field to become at least a bit more level. Prior to this, it was grossly out of balance, some would say depressingly so.

Whether the west attempts to fully purge the web and airwaves of alternative media sources from abroad is now a race against time. They want to put the genie back in the bottle, but I personally believe that they may find such a thing more difficult than expected. That being said, many opposition commentators will indeed feel the sting of western police state power in the meantime.

For those who think multi-polarity is only about bombs and sanctions, think again. If you’re reading this piece, it is very much about you.

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At Age 70, Time To Rethink NATO

The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

Patrick J. Buchanan

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Authored by Patrick Buchanan via The Unz Review:


“Treaties are like roses and young girls. They last while they last.”

So said President Charles De Gaulle, who in 1966 ordered NATO to vacate its Paris headquarters and get out of France.

NATO this year celebrates a major birthday. The young girl of 1966 is no longer young. The alliance is 70 years old.

And under this aging NATO today, the U.S. is committed to treat an attack on any one of 28 nations from Estonia to Montenegro to Romania to Albania as an attack on the United States.

The time is ripe for a strategic review of these war guarantees to fight a nuclear-armed Russia in defense of countries across the length of Europe that few could find on a map.

Apparently, President Donald Trump, on trips to Europe, raised questions as to whether these war guarantees comport with vital U.S. interests and whether they could pass a rigorous cost-benefit analysis.

The shock of our establishment that Trump even raised this issue in front of Europeans suggests that the establishment, frozen in the realities of yesterday, ought to be made to justify these sweeping war guarantees.

Celebrated as “the most successful alliance in history,” NATO has had two histories. Some of us can yet recall its beginnings.

In 1948, Soviet troops, occupying eastern Germany all the way to the Elbe and surrounding Berlin, imposed a blockade on the city.

The regime in Prague was overthrown in a Communist coup. Foreign minister Jan Masaryk fell, or was thrown, from a third-story window to his death. In 1949, Stalin exploded an atomic bomb.

As the U.S. Army had gone home after V-E Day, the U.S. formed a new alliance to protect the crucial European powers — West Germany, France, Britain, Italy. Twelve nations agreed that an attack on one would be treated as an attack on them all.

Cross the Elbe and you are at war with us, including the U.S. with its nuclear arsenal, Stalin was, in effect, told. Hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops returned to Europe to send the message that America was serious.

Crucial to the alliance was the Yalta line dividing Europe agreed to by Stalin, FDR and Churchill at the 1945 Crimean summit on the Black Sea.

U.S. presidents, even when monstrous outrages were committed in Soviet-occupied Europe, did not cross this line into the Soviet sphere.

Truman did not send armored units up the highway to Berlin. He launched an airlift to break the Berlin blockade. Ike did not intervene to save the Hungarian rebels in 1956. JFK confined his rage at the building of the Berlin Wall to the rhetorical: “Ich bin ein Berliner.”

LBJ did nothing to help the Czechs when, before the Democratic convention in 1968, Leonid Brezhnev sent Warsaw Pact tank armies to crush the Prague Spring.

When the Solidarity movement of Lech Walesa was crushed in Gdansk, Reagan sent copy and printing machines. At the Berlin Wall in 1988, he called on Mikhail Gorbachev to “tear down this wall.”

Reagan never threatened to tear it down himself.

But beginning in 1989, the Wall was torn down, Germany was united, the Red Army went home, the Warsaw Pact dissolved, the USSR broke apart into 15 nations, and Leninism expired in its birthplace.

As the threat that had led to NATO disappeared, many argued that the alliance created to deal with that threat should be allowed to fade away, and a free and prosperous Europe should now provide for its own defense.

It was not to be. The architect of Cold War containment, Dr. George Kennan, warned that moving NATO into Eastern Europe and former Soviet republics would prove a “fateful error.”

This, said Kennan, would “inflame the nationalistic and militaristic tendencies in Russian opinion” and “restore the atmosphere of the cold war in East-West relations.” Kennan was proven right.

America is now burdened with the duty to defend Europe from the Atlantic to the Baltic, even as we face a far greater threat in China, with an economy and population 10 times that of Russia.

And we must do this with a defense budget that is not half the share of the federal budget or the GDP that Eisenhower and Kennedy had.

Trump is president today because the American people concluded that our foreign policy elite, with their endless interventions where no vital U.S. interest was imperiled, had bled and virtually bankrupted us, while kicking away all of the fruits of our Cold War victory.

Halfway into Trump’s term, the question is whether he is going to just talk about halting Cold War II with Russia, about demanding that Europe pay for its own defense, and about bringing the troops home — or whether he is going to act upon his convictions.

Our foreign policy establishment is determined to prevent Trump from carrying out his mandate. And if he means to carry out his agenda, he had best get on with it.

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The ISIS attack in Syria appears to have failed in its real mission

ISIS probably tried to get Mr. Trump to keep troops in Syria, but in reality this attack shows no compelling reason to remain there.

Seraphim Hanisch

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ISIS is one of the bloodiest, most brutal organizations to ever exist in modern history. During its meteoric rise, the “Caliphate” struck with death and fear across the deserts of Iraq and the wastes of Syria, seducing a seemingly increasing number of recruits from the West, developing its own currency and financing abilities, all the while remaining a death cult, in the conviction that their eventual destruction would trigger a far greater Islamic uprising.

But something changed for them starting in about 2013. While ISIS got quietly aided and abetted by President Obama’s (perhaps not unwitting) support through neglect and then even quieter collaboration (Obama thought ISIS could be “managed” in the effort to oust Bashar Al-Assad from Syria), its power and reach extended through much of Syria.

But then came Russia. Russia didn’t think ISIS should be managed. Russia determined that ISIS should be destroyed. And in 2015, invited by Syria, the Russians came and went to work. They did most of the heavy lifting in terms of driving ISIS back, while (inconveniently for the US and West) also carefully taking back Syrian territory from antigovernment groups that were supported by the US and its coalition of forces operating in the country, including Al-Qaeda affiliate Jabhat al-Nusra, and all the names it took on afterwards. This was quietly carried out because the Americans also had face to save, owing to Obama’s clumsy decision to send American forces into the country, which gradually grew and metastasized into a significantly sized fighting force.

With an extremely complicated group of alliances and enemies, the American forces were forced to quietly abandon their mission of removing Bashar al-Assad from power and to pivot to actually destroying ISIS. President Trump does deserve some credit for his part in helping this to happen. He also deserves a lot of credit for his recent decision to pull American troops out of Syria.

This move was severely condemned by the US hawks, resulting in the resignation / firing / retirement of former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, and, in an amusing show of hypocrisy, the pundits from the Anti-Trump crowd at CNN and other news outlets characterized this decision as the US President proving once and for all that he is a Putin operative, a real-life Manchurian President.

ISIS evidently wanted the US not to leave either, so it conducted an attack on Wednesday, January 16th, tragically killing 19 people, with four Americans among the dead. The New York Times was lightning-fast to jump into the fray to carry out what was probably ISIS’ real mission with this attack: to sow seeds of doubt among the US authorities, and to keep American forces in the region (emphasis added).

Four Americans were among 19 people killed in Syria on Wednesday in a suicide bombing that was claimed by the Islamic State, just weeks after President Trump ordered the withdrawal of United States forces and declared that the extremist group had been defeated.

The attack targeted an American military convoy in the northern city of Manbij while troops were inside the Palace of the Princes, a restaurant where they often stopped to eat during patrols, residents said. While the Americans were inside, a nearby suicide attacker wearing an explosive vest blew himself up.

The bombing raised new questions about Mr. Trump’s surprise decision last month to end the American ground war in Syria. Critics of the president’s plans, including members of his own party, said Mr. Trump’s claim of victory over the Islamic State may have emboldened its fighters and encouraged Wednesday’s strike… Mr. Trump’s withdrawal announcement, made over the objections of his top national security officials, “set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we’re fighting,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a prominent Trump ally who has nonetheless criticized the military drawdown.

“I saw this in Iraq. And I’m now seeing it in Syria,” Mr. Graham said at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Wednesday.

The rest of the article, of course, had the Trump Administration defending itself, with Vice President Mike Pence as the spokesman of that defense.

However, already only two days later, the noise about this seems to have faded. There is no ongoing media fury about the President’s decision to remove troops. In fact, aside from the ongoing investigation to confirm that ISIS indeed did carry out this attack, there is no indication of a change in the troop withdrawal process.

If this situation remains as it is, it is a very good sign for these reasons:

  1. President Trump is showing his resolve and confidence in a decision he knows to be right (to withdraw) and not to accede to the War Party wishes.
  2. ISIS is losing its reputation as a significant fighting force as far as the US population is concerned, as it probably should. With the US gone, Russia can prosecute this war full force without risk of creating more serious incidents with the Americans.
  3. The possibility exists that this attack, already heinous in what we know, could have been a false flag, designed specifically to provoke the US troop withdrawal to stop and be reversed.

This last scenario has oddly not been visibly mentioned, but it should be, because it probably happened in April 2018 and earlier. The Duran covered this quite extensively, and while the “official” (Western) investigation has come up curiously silent on the alleged chemical weapons attack last April in Ghouta, the overwhelming body of reports from the region suggested that the “gas” attack was nothing at all but drama to keep the US ensnared in the region. Remember, President Trump at that time also expressed the intention of withdrawing US troops from the area, and this event caused a reversal for a time.

ISIS tried to become a nation. It operates on terror and theater, but it considers itself free to kill people along the way as it creates its pageantry. For the souls of all those innocent people who perished in this attack, we must pray and not forget.

But ISIS is substantially done, and what is left will be dealt with by Russian and Syrian forces.

For once, the definition of “American courage” might be not to fight. President Trump’s decision to remove the troops remains one of the most significant achievements of his presidency, and one of the most important in terms of restoring balance to the United States that it deserves to have.

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Trump grounds Nancy Pelosi from taxpayer-subsidized travel

Nancy Pelosi is exhibiting all the maturity of a 14-year-old druggie teenager who just got grounded, only House Speaker Pelosi is 78.

Seraphim Hanisch

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Nancy Pelosi is 78 years old. She is the Democrat Party leader of the House of Representatives, and presently she is Speaker of the House since her party holds the majority of seats there. She is also grounded, like a naughty teenager.

Like a naughty, gossipy teenager, she is bitterly embroiled in a popularity war against another septuagenarian, US President Donald Trump (age 72).

One has to admit that there is a great deal of humor that can be extracted from this. After all, we are taught as kid to “behave like adults.” No doubt The Donald and Mrs. Pelosi were taught this too, probably even more strongly than those of us who are younger.

However, the American media is eager mostly to brand this as a “temper tantrum” of the President, because most of the American media, for some reason, just doesn’t like Mr. Trump. We have noted before here on The Duran the thought experiment surrounding Mr. Trump: “what if he had run as a Democrat, but with the exact same policy set as he has now?”

It is really too bad that it is not possible to see what would happen, but a thinking person can use this thought experiment to discover that most of the sentiment against Mr. Trump is simply because he ran as a Republican.

At any rate, we have a situation where it is being reported by a one-sided media that President Trump is at fault and is being somehow unfair and mean to Mrs. Pelosi. Mrs. Pelosi evidently thinks so too, for after Mr. Trump yanked her travel privileges via taxpayer-paid military transportation, she shot back, claiming that it was in fact President Trump who blew the security for the troops and personnel on this planned trip by announcing a secret trip publicly. CNN reports:

Speaker Nancy Pelosi canceled a planned trip to visit troops in Afghanistan Friday, after — her office alleged in a statement — the White House leaked the details of the congressional delegation’s commercial plane travel.

In the middle of the night, the State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service provided an updated threat assessment detailing that the President announcing this sensitive travel had significantly increased the danger to the delegation and to the troops, security, and other officials supporting the trip,” Pelosi spokesman Drew Hammill said. “This morning, we learned that the administration had leaked the commercial travel plans as well.”

Which, to borrow the parlance of the Internet, is VERY big, if true.

It’s one thing for Trump, as he did on Thursday, to rescind the military plane Pelosi and the rest of her colleagues were planning to fly on as a way of exacting revenge on her for asking the President to delay his planned “State of the Union” speech on January 29. To do so publicly — White House press secretary Sarah Sanders tweeted out the letter Trump sent to Pelosi — is to raise the stakes. To leak commercial travel plans to make absolutely certain that Pelosi can’t go on the trip is a bridge even further.

Now, to be clear, this is an allegation made by Pelosi without corroboration to date. And, the White House denies it. “When the Speaker of the House and about 20 others from Capitol Hill decide to book their own commercial flights to Afghanistan, the world is going to find out,” a White House official told CNN’s Sarah Westwood and Kevin Liptak. “The idea we would leak anything that would put the safety and security of any American at risk is a flat out lie.”

It appears that Mrs Pelosi is copying The New York Times and The Washington Post narrative style of “slander the President, acknowledge somewhere buried in the article that the slanderous charge is unsubstantiated, but get that slander out there so people hear it and read it!”

It is a shoddy attempt for the news media to manipulate its consumers all while “protecting itself” from libel.

The unfortunate fact is that it does work, at least insofar as to galvanize the anti-Trump crowd into a very solid bloc of insanely angry Americans. Further, in using the classic style in which a drug addict or active alcoholic manipulates people to pity him or her, Mrs. Pelosi and the media act like the druggie teenagers arrayed as one against Dear old Dad, who is the only adult in the house.

The White House. But, still.

To put a bit of adult analysis on this story is very simple, but it is honestly not very thrilling. To be honest, it is probably more fun to be like the mainstream media and the Democrats – energized by passion, doing stupid things publicly and getting attention and praise for it.

But here is what appears to be the hard cold boring reality behind this saga.

President Trump is committed to getting a change made in how the United States handles illegal immigration. For decades, the country has been getting slowly infiltrated, if not invaded, by immigrants who at the very least game the welfare and social support mechanisms of various levels of US federal, state and local governments. When people come into the country illegally and go on welfare, taxpayers start paying non-citizens for being here. Taking care of even 100,000 illegal immigrants with such programs is likely to be extremely expensive. Housing, food, healthcare, schooling, legal protection by police… it goes on and on.

But there are not just 100,000 such people here. Last year, the Border Patrol apprehended well over four times that number. 467,000 illegals were apprehended in 2018. Estimates show anywhere from 12 million to 22 million illegals presently living in the United States. While it is certainly doubtful that all of them are gaming the welfare system, they are in the country, unknown, untracked, and not being good citizens by paying taxes and supporting our agreed-upon infrastructure and services the same way that American citizens are.

That is a huge money drain.

Add to that the drugs that do flow across the Mexican border, a fair infusion of criminals like murderers and rapists, and the possibility of terrorists making use of the open border to infiltrate the US and the situation becomes both costly and dangerous.

This is why President Trump wants to change it with a barrier running the length of the US-Mexico border.

While it is unlikely that all 2,000 miles need to have a wall, we certainly need more of a barrier than what we have now, and the barriers that DO exist are extremely successful in cutting the flow of illegals. From the high point of 2000, immigration apprehensions have on the whole fallen by quite a bit. This chart shows the track through 2016.


But our 467,000 apprehensions is an enormous number – larger than the population of the city of Long Beach, California! 

This is an enormous number, but it is far lower than the 1.6 million that got caught before the existing barriers were built. This is also the number of illegals that were caught. We do not know how many were not caught.

Now, President Trump begins to look like the adult in the room, because he wants to fix this, bringing the numbers down much closer to zero, and also finding a way to vet and interview immigrants that truly can contribute to the US dream as Americans. So, as part of creating a real border security apparatus, he wants to extend and even complete the Border Wall. It is not very expensive – even a $50 billion price tag is only about 1.3% of the bloated federal budget this year, and President Trump thinks the wall can be finished with half that amount. At this time, he is only asking for about $5 bn.

And all Nancy Pelosi will say is “no!” So, like a good parent, the President refuses to reward such behavior by giving her what she wants. Now there is a partial government shutdown. President Trump took it on himself, but he is correct. He is doing this because the Democrats are doing this childish druggie routine. And he cannot reward this behavior.

Pelosi and her loyal sidekick Senator Charles Schumer are like a clique of druggie kids in the class, disrupting everything by commanding some attention. But it seems they are gradually losing it, and the government remains shut down. However, they wanted to act like it is Trump’s fault, so Nancy Pelosi was trying to do “business as usual” and go to Afghanistan for whatever reason (do they want her?).

And the President said, “hey, not so fast. You have a partially closed government, and I have been here every day waiting for you to negotiate a deal. You have to be nuts to think this shutdown is not going to affect you, so you cannot use our military transportation while the government is shut down. It is only fair.”

Now who is looking like the bratty teenager?

For some people who read articles like this, the answer will probably still be “President Trump.”

But maybe if they put down the cannabis and the booze and read facts for a change, their heads will clear up and they will come to see what the rest of properly thinking people have already seen.

In this feud, there is an adult in the room. And he is having to manage the childish behavior of a woman six years older than he is.

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