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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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America the Punitive

What do Russia, Turkey and Iran have in common?

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Authored by Philip Giraldi via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


There has been a dramatic shift in how the United States government carries out its business internationally. Admittedly, Washington has had a tendency to employ force to get what it has wanted ever since 9/11, but it also sometimes recognized that other countries had legitimate interests and accepted there was a place for diplomacy to resolve issues short of armed conflict. The Bush Administration reluctance to broaden its engagement in the Middle East after it recognized that it had blundered with Iraq followed by Obama’s relaxation of tensions with Cuba and his negotiation of a nuclear agreement with Iran demonstrated that sanity sometimes prevailed in the West Wing.

That willingness to be occasionally accommodating has changed dramatically, with the State Department under Mike Pompeo currently more prone to deliver threats than any suggestions that we all might try to get along. It would be reasonable enough to criticize such behavior because it is intrinsically wrong, but the truly frightening aspect of it would appear to be that it is based on the essentially neoconservative assumption that other countries will always back down when confronted with force majeure and that the use of violence as a tool in international relations is, ultimately, consequence free.

I am particularly disturbed with the consequence free part as it in turn is rooted in the belief that countries that have been threatened or even invaded have no collective memory of what occurred and will not respond vengefully when the situation changes. There have been a number of stunningly mindless acts of aggression over the past several weeks that are particularly troubling as they suggest that they will produce many more problems down the road than solutions.

The most recent is the new sanctioning of Russia over the Skripal poisoning in Salisbury England. For those not following developments, last week Washington abruptly and without any new evidence being presented, imposed additional trade sanctions on Russia in the belief that Moscow ordered and carried out the poisoning of Sergey Skripal and his daughter Yulia on March 4th. The report of the new sanctions was particularly surprising as Yulia Skripal has recently announced that she intends to return to her home in Russia, leading to the conclusion that even one of the alleged victims does not believe the narrative being promoted by the British and American governments.

Though Russian President Vladimir Putin has responded with restraint, avoiding a tit-for-tat, he is reported to be angry about the new move by the US government and now believes it to be an unreliable negotiating partner. Considering the friendly recent exchanges between Putin and Trump, the punishment of Russia has to be viewed as something of a surprise, suggesting that the president of the United States may not be in control of his own foreign policy.

Turkey is also feeling America’s wrath over the continued detention of an American Protestant Pastor Andrew Brunson by Ankara over charges that he was connected to the coup plotters of 2016, which were allegedly directed by Fetullah Gulen, a Muslim religious leader, who now resides in Pennsylvania. Donald Trump has made the detention the centerpiece of his Turkish policy, introducing sanctions and tariffs that have led in part to a collapse of the Turkish lira and a run on the banking system which could easily lead to default and grave damage to European banks that hold a large party of the country’s debt.

And then there is perennial favorite Iran, which was hit with reinstated sanctions last week and is confronting a ban on oil sales scheduled to go into effect on November 4th. The US has said it will sanction any country that buys Iranian oil after that date, though a number of governments including Turkey, India and China appear to be prepared to defy that demand. Several European countries are reportedly preparing mechanisms that will allow them to trade around US restrictions.

What do Russia, Turkey and Iran have in common? All are on the receiving end of punitive action by the United States over allegations of misbehavior that have not been demonstrated. Nobody has shown that Russia poisoned the Skripals, Turkey just might have a case that the Reverend Brunson was in contact with coup plotters, and Iran is in full compliance with the nuclear arms agreement signed in 2015. One has to conclude that the United States has now become the ultimate angry imperial power, lashing out with the only thing that seems to work – its ability to interfere in and control financial markets – to punish nations that do not play by its rules. Given Washington’s diminishing clout worldwide, it is a situation that is unsustainable and which will ultimately only really punish the American people as the United States becomes more isolated and its imperial overreach bankrupts the nation. As America weakens, Russia, Turkey, Iran and all the other countries that have been steamrolled by Washington will likely seek revenge. To avoid that, a dramatic course correction by the US is needed, but, unfortunately, is unlikely to take place.

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NATO Repeats the Great Mistake of the Warsaw Pact

NATO expansion continues to drive the world the closer towards the threat of thermonuclear war.

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Authored by Martin Sieff via The Strategic Culture Foundation:


Through the 1990s, during the terms of US President Bill Clinton, NATO relentlessly and inexorably expanded through Central Europe. Today, the expansion of that alliance eastward – encircling Russia with fiercely Russo-phobic regimes in one tiny country after another and in Ukraine, which is not tiny at all – continues.

This NATO expansion – which the legendary George Kennan presciently warned against in vain – continues to drive the world the closer towards the threat of thermonuclear war. Far from bringing the United States and the Western NATO allies increased security, it strips them of the certainty of the peace and security they would enjoy if they instead sought a sincere, constructive and above all stable relationship with Russia.

It is argued that the addition of the old Warsaw Pact member states of Central Europe to NATO has dramatically strengthened NATO and gravely weakened Russia. This has been a universally-accepted assumption in the United States and throughout the West for the past quarter century. Yet it simply is not true.

In reality, the United States and its Western European allies are now discovering the hard way the same lesson that drained and exhausted the Soviet Union from the creation of the Warsaw Pact in 1955 to its dissolution 36 years later. The tier of Central European nations has always lacked the coherence, the industrial base and the combined economic infrastructure to generate significant industrial, financial or most of all strategic and military power.

In fact the current frustrating experience of NATO, and the long, exhausting tribulations that faced Soviet diplomats and generals for so many decades was entirely consistent with the previous historical record going back at least until 1718.

From 1718 until 1867 – a period of a century and a half – most of Central Europe, including even regions of Poland at the end of the 18th century, were consolidated within the Austro –Hungarian Empire, However even then, the Habsburg multi-national empire was always militarily weak and punched beneath its weight. After Emperor Franz Josef recklessly proclaimed his famous Compromise of 1867, the effectiveness of the imperial army was reduced to almost zero. The autonomous and feckless conduct of the Hungarian aristocracy ensured a level of confusion, division, incompetence and ineptitude that was revealed in the army’s total collapse against both Russia and Serbia in the great battles of 1914 at the start of World War I.

Germany moved in to occupy and consolidate the region in both world wars. But far from making Germany a global giant and enabling it to maintain its domination of Europe, the Central European regions – whether as part of Austro-Hungary during World War I or as independent nation-states allied to the Nazis in World War II – proved miniscule and worthless against the alliances of Russia, the United States, Britain and France that the Germans fought against in both global conflicts.

After the Soviet Union militarily destroyed the genocidal military power of Nazi Germany in World War II, Russia’s Great Patriotic War, the political consolidation of East Germany and Poland were strategically necessary for Russia’s security. But occupying and organizing the rest of the region was not. Far from strengthening the Soviet Union, those nations weakened and distracted it. Today, NATO is repeating the Soviet Mistake and that fatal move is inexorably draining the alliance of all its strength and credibility.

NATO is also repeating the disastrous mistake that France made in 1920-21 when it created a “Little Entente” of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania to supposedly counterbalance the revival of Germany. The plan failed completely.

Today those very same nations – enthusiastically joined by Hungary, Poland and the three little Baltic states – are relentlessly distorting both NATO and the EU. They generate weakness and chaos in the alliances they are in – not unity and strength.

As I have noted before in these columns, the great British historian Lord Correlli Barnett drew the important distinction between militarily powerful nations that are generators and exporters of security and those, either tiny or disorganized, pacifist and weak nations that have to import their security from more powerful states.

One might call such small countries “feeder” or “parasite” states. They siphon off energy and strength from their protector partners. They weaken their alliance partners rather than strengthening them.

The consistent lessons of more than 300 years of Central European history are therefore clear: Leading and organizing the tier of Central European nations in the Warsaw Pact did not strengthen the Soviet Union: Instead, those activities relentlessly weakened it.

Incorporating most of the small nations in Central Europe into any empire or alliance has never been a cause or generator of military or national strength, regardless of the ideology or religious faith involved. At best, it is a barometer of national strength.

When nations such as France, Germany, the Soviet Union or the United States are seen as rising powers in the world, the small countries of Central Europe always hasten to ally themselves accordingly. They therefore adopt and discard Ottoman Islamic imperialism. Austrian Christian imperialism, democracy, Nazism, Communism and again democracy as easily as putting on or off different costumes at a fancy dress ball in Vienna or Budapest.

As Russia rises once again in global standing and national power, supported by its genuinely powerful allies China, India and Pakistan in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the nations of Central Europe can be anticipated to reorient their own loyalties accordingly once again.

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Why Russia will NOT fall victim to emerging markets financial crisis (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 81.

Alex Christoforou

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As the Turkish Lira collapses, sending emerging market economies into turmoil, Russia is being slapped with additional US sanctions dubbed the US Congress ‘bill from hell’.

The full text the newest sanctions bill has been released. The sanctions are deliberately designed to punish Russia’s economy for a Skripal poisoning hoax for which no evidence of Russian state involvement has been presented. The new bill even goes so far as to suggest designating Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism.

The “sanctions bill from hell” officially entitled ‘Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act of 2018’ was introduced by a group of Republican and Democratic senators on the 2nd of August.

According to RT, the bill would place restrictions on US cooperation with Russia’s oil industry, target Russian sovereign debt transactions as well as Russian uranium imports. In addition, the legislation calls for sanctions against “political figures, oligarchs, and other persons that facilitate illicit and corrupt activities, directly or indirectly, on behalf of the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin.”

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris explain why, unlike the financial meltdown in Turkey, Russia is well equipped and properly prepared to weather the US sanctions storm… and may, in the end, come out of the latest emerging markets turmoil stronger and more independent from western petrodollar control than ever before.

Remember to Please Subscribe to The Duran’s YouTube Channel.

Via RT

The bill, which was recently published in full on Congress’ official website, also pledges full support for NATO and would require a two-thirds majority vote in the Senate if the United States ever wishes to exit the transatlantic alliance.

The legislation also declares that “the United States will never recognize the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation” and that Washington, in conjunction with NATO, should “prioritize efforts to prevent the further consolidation of illegal occupying powers in Crimea.”

The pending ‘Kremlin Aggression Act’ decrees that Congress should also determine whether Russia “meets the criteria for designation as a state sponsor of terrorism.”

The bill also accused Russia of “enabling the brutal regime of Bashar al-Assad in Syria to commit war crimes,” adding that Moscow has shown itself to be “incapable or unwilling” to compel Assad to “stop using chemical weapons against the civilian population in Syria.”

The Act calls for a congressional committee to investigate “alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity attributable to [Russia]” and resolves to “punish the Government of the Russian Federation for, and deter that Government from, any chemical weapons production and use through the imposition of sanctions, diplomatic isolation, and the use of the mechanisms specified in the Chemical Weapons Convention for violations of the Convention.”

The legislation is just the latest addition to a laundry list of sanctions and laws passed in the months following the 2016 presidential election.

Republican hawk Lindsey Graham (South Carolina) and Bob Menendez (D-New Jersey), who both sponsored the bill, said in a joint statement that the legislation is designed to show that the US will “not waver in our rejection of [Russian President Vladimir Putin’s] effort to erode western democracy as a strategic imperative for Russia’s future.” The Russia-obsessed Senator John McCain (R-Arizona) was one of the five co-sponsors of the bill.

Moscow has brushed off the new wave of accusations as a projection of internal US struggle. Some elements in the US government are trying to “keep afloat” the conspiracy that Russia meddled in the US elections, in hopes of derailing constructive relations with Moscow and using the issue “purely for internal American purposes,” Senator Konstantin Kosachev, who chairs the Upper House Committee for International Relations, has said in response to the latest sanctions.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has warned that the adoption of any US legislation that targets Russian banking operations and currency trade would be considered a declaration of economic war.

“If they introduce something like a ban on banking operations or the use of any currency, we will treat it as a declaration of economic war. And we’ll have to respond to it accordingly – economically, politically, or in any other way, if required,” Medvedev said last week. “Our American friends should make no mistake about it.”

Moscow has vowed to respond to any new sanctions. Russia’s Finance Ministry said it would continue to sell off its holdings of US Treasury securities, while some lawmakers have called for Russia and its allies to stop using the US dollar for mutual payments.

 

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