Saturday, May 30, 2015

Bill C-51: Canada's Big Brother in the Wings

Big Brother, Eh?


This week we break Bill C-51, down Klanada’s sinister new law, that would give the Canucks increased spying powers over its population.

On the break, long standing hip-hop act Onyx, returns with “Fuck The Law.” We wrap things up with an interview with Antoine, a computer security ninja, about how we can protect ourselves from surveillance.

Download • HD (630mb)SD (128mb)MP3 (38mb)OGG (75mb)TorrentTranslate

Here’s some privacy software we like. But definitely check out the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s website for more info.
  1. Open PGP – Email encryption
  2. Pidgin or Adium (MAC OSX only) for Off the Record (OTR) chats
  3. The Onion Router (TOR) – surf the web anonymously
  4. CryptoCat – Secure chat from your browser
  5. TextSecure – Encrypted SMS messages for Android
  6. Signal – Encrypted SMS messages for IOS (iPhone, iPad)
The we used for this show is:
  1. XOC – Super Mario World – End Credits
  2. Etheric Double Soundsystem – We Shall Overcome
  3. Etheric Double Soundsystem – The Obvious (Etheric Double Remix)
  4. Public Enemy – Security of the First World
  5. Onyx – Fuck Da Law
  6. Moby – Mission Impossible Remix
  7. MF Doom – Change that Beat
Some of the samples we stole are from Enemy of the State, Brazil, 1984 and Citizen Four

Policed Solidarity: Palestine's "Defenders" Go McCarthyite

Policing Solidarity

by Gilad Atzmon

I believe it was my recent expose of JVP’s harassment, slander and herem (excommunication) campaigns that led to a new petition calling on us to “End slander in the pro-Palestine movement online.”

Of course I oppose slander and abuse, but I also reject any form of censorship and thought control. Even though, more than anyone else, I have been the target of vile slander, I will not sign this petition nor will I support it.

The petition pledges to “block”, “delete” and/or “remove” those who behave in such a way as to interfere with ‘unity’. Do I have to remind our activist ‘undersigners’ that while ‘unity’ is not exactly a value, truth, justice and freedom most certainly are?

Rather than blocking the JVP leadership for tagging Ken O’Keefe as a ‘prominent Neo Nazi’ or associating Alison Weir with ‘White Supremacism’, we have to deal with the problem by openly questioning why these tactics are prevalent within certain Jewish groups - both Zionist and anti-Zionist - and why they keep appearing in our midst.

And at the same time we must encourage our Jewish liberal ‘allies,’ as they call themselves, to search their souls, self-reflect and then to mend their ways.

Front line Palestine solidarity activist, 
Ken O'Keefe 

I suggest that those who signed this petition bear in mind that the solidarity movement is not the ‘end’ nor is it the ‘goal’, it is only the ‘means.’ And our precious ‘unity’ is insignificant and redundant unless we learn to exchange freely and without fear.

Rather than turning this movement into an ‘ideological collective,’ driven by a quest for correctness, let it be simply a melting pot of thoughts, ideas and activism, but all aiming at truth and justice rather than at conformism and unity.

Long-Time justice and rights activist,
Alison Weir

Joan D'Arc: Obama Burning Innocents Like It's 1431!

Joan of Arc, President Obama, and the Dark Ages

by Sherwood Ross - OEN

Today, May 30, 2015, is the 584th anniversary of the day on which Joan of Arc was burned at the stake by the British forces occupying France.

The "Maid of Orleans" had the ill luck to be captured while she was rallying her countrymen to throw off the English yoke and a pro-English Bishop, Pierre Cauchon, after a grossly unjust trial, sentenced her to death by fire. 
"Bishop, I die through you!" she reportedly told him.

Saint Joan, as she is known since her canonization by the Roman Catholic church, was only 19. Despicable as the Bishop's conduct was, he at least made a pretense of a legal proceeding.

Contrast this with the conduct of President Barack Obama, who likely may be responsible for the drone killings of more than a thousand innocent civilians across the Middle East, and who dispenses entirely with legal niceties.

How is it that Bishop Cauchon is reviled for a single murder yet President Obama routinely wipes out human life on a grand scale and is not prosecuted?

Perhaps an indifferent American public is proving Soviet tyrant Joseph Stalin correct when he told U.S. ambassador to Moscow W. Averell Harriman, "The death of one man is a tragedy, the death of millions is a statistic."

The Bureau of Investigative Journalism(BIJ), London, a non-profit organization known for its meticulous research, reported last month that 515 U.S. drone strikes since 2002 have killed at least, 2,887 people in Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia.

The drone strikes, inaugurated by President George W. Bush, "increased during the Obama administration as did the number of casualties," the BIJ reported. And McClatchy news service, citing a leaked CIA document, reported "the CIA killed people who only were suspected"" of association with militant groups.

As for the right of President Obama to murder people, which is the correct description of what he is doing, Professor Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois and Magna Cum Laude graduate of Harvard Law School, says:

"The 'honors' graduate of Harvard Law School President Obama has set himself up as the sole Judge, Jury and Executioner of thousands of human beings in violation of international law, human rights law, the laws of war and the United States Constitution. Harvard Law School taught me that makes Obama a felon and a war criminal and impeachable."

The president openly admits authorizing the drone killings. As pacifist/author David Swanson of Charlottesville, Va., pointed out in his book "War No More," Obama killed Anwar al-Awlaki, an American citizen, who "was never charged with a crime, never indicted, and his extradition never sought." Indeed, many of President Obama's drone victims could have been arrested and tried had the U.S. gone to local authorities with evidence of their culpability. We need to ask ourselves, 
"What kind of nation prefers to murder people without a trial? Would you call it Fascist, Communist?"

Swanson cites figures to show that, in Pakistan alone between 2004 and 2013, America made 372 drone strikes, killing between 2,566 and 3,570 individuals, of whom as many as 890 were civilians, including nearly 200 children---every one of them by definition---younger than Joan of Arc.

Imagine, on this 584th anniversary of her death, a nation called America, a country whose evil genius has invented the deadliest killing machines ever, a country spending a trillion dollars a year on war, with 1,000 military bases overseas, and 11 battle fleets patrolling the Seven Seas, and troops in 175 countries, and with its lying spokespersons claiming it is all for 'defense,' is turning the clock back to the Dark Ages.

Apparently, Americans have lost their sense of proportion, their ethics, their faith, their humanity, and worst of all, even their pity for the victims of their crimes. Saint Joan, be with us today!

Sherwood Ross worked as a reporter for the Chicago Daily News and contributed a regular "Workplace" column for Reuters. He has contributed to national magazines and hosted a talk show on WOL, Washington, D.C. In the Sixties he was active as public relations director for a major civil rights organization.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Sechelt Joins the Kayaktivist Protest on the Salish Sea

BREAKING: Sechelt Nation "kayaktivists" to protest Shell's Arctic oil spill vessel as it sails up the Inside Passage to Alaska

by Sechelt Nation

May 29 2015

VANCOUVERShell is at this moment sailing its oil spill containment vessel, the Arctic Challenger, through the Inside Passage on its way to Dutch Harbour where the company plans to begin drilling for oil as early as July 1st. Earlier this week, two Rising Tide activists chained themselves to this same vessel to delay it from leaving Seattle. (1)

According to the tracking site, [], the Arctic Challenger is being tugged by the Corbin Foss, and will soon pass the Sechelt Nation. A spontaneous protest of "kayaktivists" is being organized by Candace Campo, cultural director of the Sechelt Nation, who just yesterday returned from a ship tour with Greenpeace to raise awareness about Shell's Arctic plans and the threat of increased tanker traffic on the coast.

Chief Calvin Craigan of the Sechelt Nation, said:

"We support the efforts of Greenpeace — they are opposing what's going to happen in the Arctic. It's going to be done by Shell Oil, and they should be banned from that area — they should be ashamed of what they're trying to do. They're approaching a very sensitive area in the world. If they cause devastation there, it could be the end of the world as we know it."(2)

This surprise move comes just as the Greenpeace ship Esperanza is sailing back from a tour with a delegation of Indigenous Peoples from six First Nations, who have been connecting coastal communities opposing tanker traffic with the seven-million-strong movement opposing Shell's arctic oil plans.(3)

Candace Campo, cultural director of the Sechelt Nation, said:

"Our role is to support the communication and awareness of the impacts of oil. This includes ongoing climate change and the risk of increased tanker traffic that Shell's Arctic plans bring to the coast — which will result in a potential or even inevitable oil spill along our coastline, including the Salish Sea, the waters that as a shíshálh, Coast Salish person, I am born to protect."

A call-out on her Facebook page reads: "Say No To Shell! Arctic Oil Drilling!

We are staging a protest, a kayaktivist, to say no to Shell at 9 pm tonight in Sechelt. Meet at the totem poles at the Sechelt community in front of the Church Talaysay Tours will donate the kayaks. We need banners, even made from Sheets that say No Shell! No to Arctic Oil; Yes to the Salish Sea! Bring your drums."

Shell's Arctic drilling plans have been been the source of global controversy since they announced their intentions to drill in Alaska's icy waters more than three years ago. Since then, they have sunk more than $6 billion USD into the project.

Earlier this month, hundreds of "kayak-tivists" gathered in Seattle to protest Shell's Arctic drilling fleet. Days later, two people chained themselves to the anchor of the Arctic Challenger.

Jessica Wilson, head of Greenpeace Canada's Arctic campaign, said from onboard the Esperanza:

"People are protesting Shell's drilling fleet at every stage of its journey. From Seattle to BC to Alaska, these ships will continue to be met with fierce opposition. Shell might be the biggest oil company in the world, but the movement to save the Arctic — merging now with the movement to defend the coast against extreme oil — is stronger."

For more information, please call:

Candace Campo, Cultural Director, Sechelt Nation, 604-341-7555 [http://tel:604-341-7555]

Jessica Wilson, head of Arctic campaign, Greenpeace Canada (onboard the Esperanza) +47 2367 4818 [http://tel:%2B47%202367%204818]



Chief Calvin Craigan's video: []

Obama and Friends Running Guns to the Terrorists

Obama’s Gun-Running Operation: Weapons and Support for “Islamic Terrorists” in Syria and Iraq. “Create Constructive Chaos” and “Redraw the Map of the Middle East”

by Julie Lévesque - Global Research

Newly disclosed Pentagon documents prove what we’ve known for a while now: the Obama administration knew as early as 2012 that weapons were being sent from Benghazi, Libya, to rebels in Syria.

The U.S. government also knew at the time that:

“the Salafist, the Muslim Brotherhood, and [Al Qaeda in Iraq were] the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria.”

But did they just “know” or was it part of the plan?

These official documents of the Obama administration add to the large amount of evidence proving that the actual chaos and havoc wreaked by extremist groups in the Middle East was deliberately created by the U.S. and its allies and is not the result of a “failed foreign policy”.

Judicial Watch recently revealed:

The DoD documents also contain the first official documentation that the Obama administration knew that weapons were being shipped from the Port of Benghazi to rebel troops in Syria. An October 2012 report confirms:
Weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the Port of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The weapons shipped during late-August 2012 were Sniper rifles, RPG’s, and 125 mm and 155mm howitzers missiles.

During the immediate aftermath of, and following the uncertainty caused by, the downfall of the ((Qaddafi)) regime in October 2011 and up until early September of 2012, weapons from the former Libya military stockpiles located in Benghazi, Libya were shipped from the port of Benghazi, Libya to the ports of Banias and the Port of Borj Islam, Syria. The Syrian ports were chosen due to the small amount of cargo traffic transiting these two ports. The ships used to transport the weapons were medium-sized and able to hold 10 or less shipping containers of cargo. …

The heavily redacted document does not disclose who was shipping the weapons.
(Benghazi Scandal: Obama Administration Knew Weapons Were Being Sent to Al-Qaeda in Syria, New Documents Show, Judicial Watch 18 May 2015)

Although the documents do not reveal who was responsible for sending weapons to Syria, it is quite obvious from the language used in the documents that it was a US initiative and the CIA presence in Benghazi at the time suggests that US intelligence was behind this gun-running operation.

Libyan Terrorists in Syria

On September 11, 2012, the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked. Four people were killed, including the U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and two CIA officers.

In August 2013, Business Insider reported:

The Agency, for its part, doesn’t want anyone knowing what it was doing in the Libyan port city.

On Thursday Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston of CNN reported that the CIA “is going to great lengths to make sure whatever it was doing, remains a secret.”

Sources told CNN that 35 Americans were in Benghazi that night — 21 of whom were working out of the annex — and that several were wounded, some seriously.

One source said: “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation.”

Among the questions are whether CIA missteps contributed to the security failure in Benghazi and, more importantly, whether the Agency’s Benghazi operation had anything to do with reported heavy weapons shipments from the local port to Syrian rebels.

In short, the CIA operation is the most intriguing thing about Benghazi. (Michael B. Kelley and Geoffrey Ingersoll, Intrigue Surrounding The Secret CIA Operation In Benghazi Is Not Going Away, Business Insider, August 3, 2013)

Last January, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi concluded that the “Obama White House and the State Department under the management of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ‘changed sides in the war on terror’ in 2011 by implementing a policy of facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-dominated rebel militias in Libya attempting to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power”, WND reported.

WND added that:

“several members of the commission have disclosed their finding that the mission of Christopher Stevens, prior to the fall of Gadhafi and during Stevens’ time as U.S. ambassador, was the management of a secret gun-running program operated out of the Benghazi compound.” (Jerome R. Corsi,Libya: U.S. Generals Conclude Obama Backed Al-Qaida and Operated a Secret Gun-Running Program in Benghazi, WND, January 20, 2015)

We’ve also known for several years that Western special operations forces were on the ground training rebels to fight against Assad.

In January 2012, Michel Chossudovsky reported:

Several articles in the British media confirm that British Special Forces are training Syrian rebels.

The underlying pattern is similar to that of Libya where British SAS were on the ground prior to the launching of NATO’s military intervention.

A Responsibility to Protect (R2P) NATO intervention modelled on Libya is contemplated… The reports confirm that British military and intelligence operatives are already on the ground inside Syria. (Michel Chossudovsky, SYRIA: British Special Forces, CIA and MI6 Supporting Armed Insurgency. NATO Intervention Contemplated, Global Research, January 7, 2012)

Even CNN reported back in 2012 that rebels were being trained by defense contractors to handle chemical weapons:

The US and some of its European allies “are using defense contractors to train Syrian rebels on how to secure chemical weapons stockpiles in Syria,” according to “a senior US official and several senior diplomats,” CNN reports.

The US-funded training is going on inside Syria, as well as in neighboring Turkey and Jordan and “involves how to monitor and secure stockpiles and handle weapons sites and materials,” according to CNN. US Defense Contractors Training Syrian Rebels to Handle Chemical Weapons

Bashar Al-Assad Is The Target

The deadly chemical weapons were later used against Syrian soldiers and civilians. The U.S. government and the Western mainstream media tried to blame President Assad, but a UN investigation later concluded that it was the rebels who had used the chemical weapons.

Another official document from 2012 revealed by Judicial Watch indicates that the “growing sectarian direction of the war was predicted to have dire consequences for Iraq, which included the “grave danger” of the rise of ISIS:

This creates the ideal atmosphere for AQI [al Qaeda Iraq] to return to its old pockets in Mosul and Ramadi, and will provide a renewed momentum under the presumption of unifying the jihad among Sunni Iraq and Syria, and the rest of the Sunnis in the Arab world against what it considers one enemy, the dissenters. ISI could also declare an Islamic state through its union with other terrorist organizations in Iraq and Syria, which will create grave danger in regards to unifying Iraq and the protection of its territory. (Judicial Watch, op., cit.)

The U.S. did exactly what was needed to create “the ideal atmosphere” for Mosul and Ramadi to fall and for ISIS to declare an “Islamic state”.

With the fall of Mosul last June, the recent fall of Ramadi in Iraq and numerous reports about the U.S. delivering weapons and ammunition to ISIS, the recently disclosed official documents show once more that the U.S. gun-running operation created “the ideal atmosphere” for Al Qaeda Iraq and “the rise of ISIS” in the region. The war against the so-called Islamic State can thus only be a flatout lie.

The following articles pertain to the U.S. delivery of weapons to ISIS while it was supposedly fighting it:

U.S. Airdrops Weapons to ISIS as Iraqi Army Makes Gains

Delivery of US Weapons and Ammunition to ISIS: Iraqi Commander Wiretaps ISIS Communications with US Military

Terrorists Supported by America: U.S. Helicopter Delivering Weapons to the Islamic State (ISIS), Shot Down by Iraqi “Popular Forces”

Iraqi Army Allegedly Downs A US Helicopter For Providing Weapons To ISIS: Report

As a solution to the problem they created, with full knowledge of the consequences, the U.S. and its allies offered a military intervention with the stated intent of fighting the enemy they had created while covertly supporting it in order to sustain the war, for the greatest benefit of defense contractors and Israel, which has the a lot to gain in the dismantlement of neighboring states.

The purpose of this “constructive chaos” is nothing less than to redraw the map of the region and create a “New Middle East.”

As Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya explained back in 2006:

The term “New Middle East” was introduced to the world in June 2006 in Tel Aviv by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was credited by the Western media for coining the term) in replacement of the older and more imposing term, the “Greater Middle East.”

This shift in foreign policy phraseology coincided with the inauguration of the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC) Oil Terminal in the Eastern Mediterranean. The term and conceptualization of the “New Middle East,” was subsequently heralded by the U.S. Secretary of State and the Israeli Prime Minister at the height of the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon. Prime Minister Olmert and Secretary Rice had informed the international media that a project for a “New Middle East” was being launched from Lebanon.

This announcement was a confirmation of an Anglo-American-Israeli “military roadmap” in the Middle East. This project, which has been in the planning stages for several years, consists in creating an arc of instability, chaos, and violence extending from Lebanon, Palestine, and Syria to Iraq, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and the borders of NATO-garrisoned Afghanistan.

The “New Middle East” project was introduced publicly by Washington and Tel Aviv with the expectation that Lebanon would be the pressure point for realigning the whole Middle East and thereby unleashing the forces of “constructive chaos.” This “constructive chaos” –which generates conditions of violence and warfare throughout the region– would in turn be used so that the United States, Britain, and Israel could redraw the map of the Middle East in accordance with their geo-strategic needs and objectives. (Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Plans for Redrawing the Middle East: The Project for a “New Middle East”, Global Research, November 2006) 

Note: The above map was prepared by Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters. It was published in the Armed Forces Journal in June 2006, Peters is a retired colonel of the U.S. National War Academy. (Map Copyright Lieutenant-Colonel Ralph Peters 2006). Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO’s Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, has most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles (Mahdi D. Nazemroaya).

All the evidence is there to prove ISIS and their ilks are instruments of U.S.-NATO-Israel foreign policy.

How long can the Western mainstream media ignore this overwhelming evidence that the U.S. and its allies are supporting the entities they claim to be be fighting in the Middle East without totally losing the very little credibility it has left?

Looking at the situation, Joachim Hagopian argues that the war on ISIS is just for show since its “enemy” is only gaining territory:

The US led coalition air strikes in Syria and Iraq have failed to stop the Islamic State’s expansion. Four months ago it was noted that since the US air campaign began last August, the Islamic State has doubled its space in Syria, controlling more than one third of the country’s territory. In the same way that the US predator drone warfare policy has only caused more hatred against America in the nations it’s been deployed against in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, the same reverse effect is occurring in Syria where residents are increasingly sympathetic to Islamic State. Additionally, Syrian opposition groups bitterly complain that the US led coalition forces fail to coordinate dropping bombs with the rebels, thus not permitting them any tactical advantage in driving IS back. It’s as if the air strikes are more for show than to actually neutralize the enemy. (Joachim Hagopian,The US-Islamic State Dance: One Step Forward and Two Steps Back – By Design, Global Research, May 19, 2015)

This war on ISIS is just another disastrous endeavor for populations in the Middle East, another military intervention under a false pretext, another lie to divide and conquer. And once more, the Western mainstream media has failed to report the truth.

Below is a selection of articles on this topic.


U.S. General: “We Helped Build ISIS” – Islamic State Obtained Weapons from U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, Paul Joseph Watson, September 03, 2014

U.S. Efforts to Arm Jihadis in Syria: The Scandal Behind the Benghazi Undercover CIA Facility, Washington’s Blog, April 15, 2014

CIA Gun-running, Qatar-Libya-Syria, Phil Greaves, August 09, 2013

Benghazi, US-NATO Sponsored Base of Operations for Al Qaeda, Tony Cartalucci, October 21, 2012

Resurgence of Al Qaeda in Iraq, Fuelled by Saudi Arabia, Zayd Alisa, 3 March 2014

More Evidence of Israel’s Dirty Role in the Syrian Proxy War, Steven MacMillan, May 18, 2015

Press and the Plutocracy: Charting the Modern Journalist's Career Progress

The Challenge of Journalism Is to Survive in the Pressure Cooker of Plutocracy

by Bill Moyers

May 27, 2015

The following remarks were made by Bill Moyers at the presentation
The ceremony took place at the New York Public Library May 26, 2015.

Thank you for allowing me to share this evening with you. I’m delighted to meet these exceptional journalists whose achievements you honor with the Helen Bernstein Book Award.

But I gulped when [New York Public Library President] Tony Marx asked me to talk about the challenges facing journalism today and gave me 10 to 15 minutes to do so. I seriously thought of taking a powder. Those challenges to journalism are so well identified, so mournfully lamented, and so passionately debated that I wonder if the subject isn’t exhausted. Or if we aren’t exhausted from hearing about it. I wouldn’t presume to speak for journalism or for other journalists or for any journalist except myself. Ted Gup, who teaches journalism at Emerson and Boston College, once bemoaned the tendency to lump all of us under the term “media.” As if everyone with a pen, a microphone, a camera (today, a laptop or smartphone) – or just a loud voice – were all one and the same. I consider myself a journalist. But so does James O’Keefe. Matt Drudge is not E.J. Dionne. The National Review is not The Guardian, or Reuters TheHuffington Post. Ann Coulter doesn’t speak for Katrina vanden Heuvel, or Rush Limbaugh for Ira Glass. Yet we are all “media” and as Ted Gup says, “the media” speaks for us all.

What happens to a society fed a diet of rushed, re-purposed, thinly reported “content?” Or “branded content” that is really merchandising — propaganda — posing as journalism?So I was just about to email Tony to say, “Sorry, you don’t want someone from the Jurassic era to talk about what’s happening to journalism in the digital era,” when I remembered one of my favorite stories about the late humorist Robert Benchley. He arrived for his final exam in international law at Harvard to find that the test consisted of one instruction:

“Discuss the international fisheries problem in respect to hatcheries protocol and dragnet and procedure as it affects (a) the point of view of the United States and (b) the point of view of Great Britain.” Benchley was desperate but he was also honest, and he wrote: “I know nothing about the point of view of Great Britain in the arbitration of the international fisheries problem, and nothing about the point of view of the United States. I shall therefore discuss the question from the point of view of the fish.”

So shall I, briefly. One small fish in the vast ocean of media.

I look at your honorees this evening and realize they have already won one of the biggest prizes in journalism — support from venerable institutions: The New Yorker, The New York Times, NPR, The Wall Street Journal and The Christian Science Monitor. These esteemed news organizations paid — yes, you heard me, paid — them to report and to report painstakingly, intrepidly, often at great risk. Your honorees then took time — money buys time, perhaps its most valuable purchase — to craft the exquisite writing that transports us, their readers, to distant places – China, Afghanistan, the Great Barrier Reef, even that murky hotbed of conspiracy and secession known as Texas.

And after we read these stories, when we put down our Kindles and iPads, or — what’s that other device called? Oh yes – when we put down our books – we emerge with a different take on a slice of reality, a more precise insight into some of the forces changing our world.

Although they were indeed paid for their work, I’m sure that’s not what drove them to spend months based in Beijing, Kabul and Dallas. Their passion was to go find the story, dig up the facts and follow the trail around every bend in the road until they had the evidence. But to do this — to find what’s been overlooked, or forgotten, or hidden; to put their skill and talent and curiosity to work on behalf of their readers — us — they needed funding. It’s an old story: When our oldest son turned 16 he asked for a raise in his allowance, I said: “Don’t you know there are some things more important than money?” And he answered: “Sure, Dad, but it takes money to date them.” Democracy needs journalists, but it takes money to support them. Yet if present trends continue, Elizabeth Kolbert may well have to update her book with a new chapter on how the dinosaurs of journalism went extinct in the Great Age of Disruption.

You may have read that two Pulitzer Prize winners this year had already left the profession by the time the prize was announced. One had investigated corruption in a tiny, cash-strapped school district for The Daily Breeze of Torrance, California. His story led to changes in California state law. He left journalism for a public relations job that would make it easier to pay his rent. The other helped document domestic violence in South Carolina, which forced the issue onto the state legislative agenda. She left the Charleston Post and Courier for PR, too.

These are but two of thousands. And we are left to wonder what will happen when the old business models no longer support reporters at local news outlets? There’s an ecosystem out there and if the smaller fish die out, eventually the bigger fish will be malnourished, too.

A few examples: The New York Times reporter who rattled the city this month with her report on the awful conditions for nail salon workers was given a month just to see whether it was a story, and a year to conduct her investigation. Money bought time. She began, with the help of six translators, by reading several years of back issues of the foreign language press in this country… and began to understand the scope of the problem. She took up her reporting from there. Big fish, like The New York Times, can amplify the work of the foreign language press and wake the rest of us up.
A free press, you see, doesn’t operate for free at all. Fearless journalism requires a steady stream of independent income.It was the publisher of the Bergen Record, a family-owned paper in New Jersey who got a call from an acquaintance about an unusual traffic jam on the George Washington Bridge. The editor assigned their traffic reporter to investigate. (Can you believe? They had a traffic reporter!) The reporter who covered the Port Authority for the Record joined in and discovered a staggering abuse of power by Governor Chris Christie’s minions. WNYC Radio picked up the story and doggedly stuck to it, helped give it a larger audience and broadened its scope to a pattern of political malfeasance that resulted in high-profile resignations and criminal investigations into the Port Authority. Quite a one-two punch: WNYC won a Peabody Award, the Record won a Polk.

A Boston Phoenix reporter broke the story about sexual abuse within the city’s Catholic Church nine months before the Boston Globe picked up the thread. The Globe intensified the reporting and gave the story national and international reach. The Boston Phoenix, alas, died from financial malnutrition in 2013 after 47 years in business.

So once again: How can strong independent journalism thrive when independent outlets can’t afford to pay reporters, writers or producers a living wage; or when websites ask them to post four or five items a day; or when they leave journalism school and take jobs logging algorithms at Facebook (what does that even mean?). What happens to a society fed a diet of rushed, re-purposed, thinly reported “content?” Or “branded content” that is really merchandising — propaganda — posing as journalism?

And what happens when PR turns a profit and truth goes penniless? One of my mentors told me that “News is what people want to keep hidden, everything else is publicity.” So who will be left to report on what is happening in the statehouse or at the town hall? In the backrooms of Congress, the board rooms of banks and corporations, or even the open and shameless bazaar of K Street where the mercenaries of crony capitalism uncork bottles of champagne paid for by “dark money” from oligarchs and PACs? What happens when our elections are insider-driven charades conducted for profit by professional operatives whose spending on advertising mainly enriches themselves and the cable and television stations in cahoots with them? We know the answer, we know that a shortage of substantial reporting means corruption remains hidden, candidates we know little about and even less about who is funding them and what policy outcomes they are buying. It also means even more terrifying possibilities. As Tom Stoppard writes in his play Night and Day, “People do terrible things to each other, but it’s worse in the places where everybody is kept in the dark.”

A free press, you see, doesn’t operate for free at all. Fearless journalism requires a steady stream of independent income. Allow me to speak from personal experience. After I left government in 1967 — including a stint as White House press secretary — it took me a while to get my footing back in journalism. I can assure you: I found the job of trying to tell the truth about people whose job it is to hide the truth almost as complicated and difficult as trying to hide it in the first place. Unless you’re willing to fight and re-fight the same battles until you go blue in the face, drive the people you work for nuts going over every last detail again and again to make certain you’ve got it right, and then take hit after hit accusing you of “bias,” there’s no use even trying. You have to love it, and I have. And still do.

Forty years ago my team and I produced the first documentary ever about the purchase of government favors by PACs — political action committees. For the final scene, we unfurled yard after yard of computer printouts across the Capitol grounds, listing campaign contributions to every member of Congress – including several old friends and allies with whom I had worked during my time in government. You could hear the howls all the way to kingdom come. Even members of Congress who had just recently voted to create PBS were outraged. This and other offenses by kindred journalists in public television prompted Richard Nixon and his communications director Pat Buchanan to try to shut off the oxygen.

Nevertheless, early in the Reagan years, we produced a documentary called The Secret Government. Our reporting exposed an interlocking network of official functionaries, spies, mercenaries and predators, ex-generals and profiteers working outside the legitimate institutions of government to carry out foreign follies without regard to public consent or congressional approval. We followed that one with High Crimes and Misdemeanors about the Iran-Contra scandal. Republicans accused public television of committing — horrors! — journalism. Well into the next decade they invoked both documentaries as they threatened PBS funding. When we documented illegal fundraising by Democrats in 1996 – in a documentary we called Washington’s Other Scandal because it wasn’t about sexual antics in the White House – this time it was the Clinton administration that howled.

But taking on political scandal is nothing compared to what can happen if you raise questions about corporate power in Washington. Working on a Frontline documentary about agriculture we learned that the pesticide industry was behind closed doors trying to dilute the findings of a National Academy of Sciences study on the effects of their chemicals on children. When word of our investigation got around the industry, they mounted an extensive and expensive campaign to discredit our reporting before it aired. A Washington Post TV columnist took a dig at the broadcast on the morning before it was to air that evening. He hadn’t even seen the film and later confessed to me that his source had been a top lobbyist for the chemical industry. Some public television managers were so unnerved by the blitz of misleading information about the documentary that they had not yet broadcast or even watched, that they protested its production to PBS with letters that had been prepared for them by the industry!

We spent more than a year working on another documentary called Trade Secrets which revealed how big chemical companies had deliberately withheld from workers and consumers information about toxic chemicals in their products. We weren’t peeking through the keyhole; we had the documents. We confirmed that major American companies were putting human lives at risk. We showed what the companies knew, when they knew it and what they did with what they knew — they deep-sixed it.

Our reporting portrayed pervasive corruption in the chemical industry and raised profound policy implications from living under a regulatory system designed by the industry itself. The attack on us was well-funded, deceitful and vicious. To complicate matters, the single biggest recipient of campaign contributions from the chemical industry – over 20 years in the House of Representatives — was the very member of Congress who had jurisdiction over PBS appropriations. Fortunately, we hadn’t used any public funds to produce the documentary, the leadership of PBS again held firm, our report aired — and won an Emmy for investigative journalism.

But remember: I had an independent stream of income – from a handful of foundations that believe democracy needs journalism, and from my sole corporate sponsor of almost 30 years, Mutual of America Life Insurance Company.

Before Mutual, I had lost three corporate funders because of broadcasts that offended their CEOs, directors, customers or their cronies in high office. Now, I can tell you that losing your underwriter can send an independent producer to the showers, end your career and — more deadly — unconsciously distort your intuition about what is permissible the next time you think about producing another documentary. Self-censorship is all the more insidious when you don’t recognize that you have been infected. But Mutual of America had my back. Not once in almost three decades of reporting from the intersection where corporate influence touches political power did I have a single complaint from anyone at the company, even when I knew they were getting an earful from others. Consider yourself blessed if you are backed by capitalists with courage.

Once upon a time the networks supported muscular investigative reporting into betrayals of the public trust. But democratic values lost out to corporate values when media giants merged news and entertainment and opened the throttle on what Edward R. Murrow called their “money-making machine.” Mind you, there was no “golden age” of broadcasting at any network, but there were enough breakthrough moments that we could imagine a future in which subjects treated in the books being honored here this evening — subjects that extend the moral reach of journalism — might be staples in the schedule.

It wasn’t to be. And the challenge of journalism today is to survive in the pressure cooker of plutocracy. Where, in this mighty conglomeration of wealth and power, when for all practical purposes government and rich interests are two sides of the corporate state — where is the moral center of the commonwealth? How does journalism serve the endangered ideals of democracy? Can we find the audience that will dive deep — the audience that rebels against being treated as a branded market identified by the price tag on it? How do we report on the creeping dystopia of a cynically frivolous society with a political class that has made an ideology of ignorance, demoralizes workers and disdains the future? Can journalists be both patriotic and subversive — will we cover those who seek to disrupt the workings of a dominant and ruthless over-class with the attention and enthusiasm we accord the powers that be — by whom so many journalists appear mesmerized?

In an oligarchic era, you can be quickly marginalized by a corporate media and political class so comfortable in the extravagantly blended world of money, politics and celebrity that they don’t bark at the burglars of democracy, much less bite the hand that feeds them.

Wrestling with these questions is unavoidable. It requires on the part of journalists a high tolerance for public or private cuffing, as well as qualities of inquiry, observation and understanding that are either supported by the organization you work for or assured by an independent stream of income.

We still find great investigative reporting at certain legacy organizations. And the Web boasts some superb truth-telling. But everyone knows the digital future is precarious. As Clay Shirky once wrote: “That is what real revolutions are like. The old stuff gets broken faster than the new stuff is put in its place.” For an optimistic forecast of the possibilities I urge you to read the speech Martin Baron, executive editor of The Washington Post, delivered in April at the University of California, Riverside. For a dazzling trip to new media’s cutting edge, read the current edition of the Columbia Journalism Review, reported and written by 14 of the school’s own students. For a sobering perspective, consider the Knight Foundation’s recent third report on the status of nonprofit news ventures. Of the 14 nonprofits that it followed since the last report, three have been able to grow, four have cut staff and seven have held steady. Only one could be called a stand-out success — the Texas Tribune, with 42 full-time employees and an operating budget four times larger than any of the other organizations in the study. For the rest of the organizations in the study, however, the growth in staffing and traffic seem stalled, prompting the Columbia Journalism Review to say that if the report was a weather forecast, the prediction for nonprofit news would be partly cloudy with a chance of sun.

In the face of such chaos and uncertainty, some of us have been talking a lot about how to pay for independent journalism. In moments of reverie we even imagine there are sympathetic billionaires worried about how other billionaires are buying up the political system and wonder if that concern runs deep enough to fund a multi-billion trust fund for investigative journalism – say, a new Carnegie or Rockefeller Foundation devoted exclusively to encouraging continuous scrutiny of how America is working — and for whom? Both Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller were rapacious capitalists who nonetheless invested much of their fortunes in the improving of democracy. Carnegie funded libraries all across the country — including one in my hometown of Marshall, Texas — to serve the public thirst for knowledge. Why not a modern Carnegie — even a Google – that would spread independent journalistic websites dedicated to the public’s need to know?

We know that contributions from individuals, not institutions, make up most of American philanthropy, and we think some of that should be directed toward nonprofit journalism. An FCC report in 2011 found that if Americans spent one percent of their charitable giving on nonprofit media it would generate $2.7 billion a year. If community foundations put five percent of their spending toward local journalism it would generate $130 million annually. And if the foundations of the top new media corporations and their founders put five percent of their spending toward local accountability journalism it would generate $220 million annually.

But we need more than money to sustain independent journalism. We need laws to ensure that reporters can protect their sources. We need to hound government at every level to respond to public records requests. We need stronger reporting requirements for corporations so that they can be held accountable.

Above all, we need journalists and writers like those you honor tonight. They participate in what the iconic filmmaker John Grierson called “the articulation of our time.” No matter the technology employed, it is the deeply moved and engaged individual who can transcend the normal province of journalistic convention to see and speak truths others have missed in all that is hidden in plain sight.

I am privileged to be in your company. Thank you again for inviting me. And congratulations to the recipients of the Helen Bernstein Award. Thank you for keeping the flame burning.

Bill Moyers is the managing editor of Moyers & Company and

Israel Doubles Down on Palestine: "It's All Ours"

US rebukes Israel while showering it with arms and favors

by Jonathan Cook in Nazareth

Only a few weeks into Benjamin Netanyahu’s new government, the intense strain of trying to square its members’ zealotry with Israel’s need to improve its international standing is already starkly evident.

The conundrum was laid out clearly by Tzipi Hotovely, a young political ally of Netanyahu’s recently appointed to oversee the foreign ministry on his behalf.

She called together the country’s chief diplomats last week to cite rabbinical justifications for taking Palestinian land. Her broader message was that Israeli embassies abroad needed to stop worrying about being “smart” and concentrate instead on being “right”. Urging the country’s envoys into a headlong confrontation with the world community, she told them the “basic truth” was: “All the land is ours.”

Netanyahu is too experienced a politician to take Hotovely’s advice fully to heart himself. Having briefly spoken his mind to ensure he won the recent general election, he has now walked back a comment much criticised by the White House that he would never permit a Palestinian state.

Damage control was also the reason he quickly cancelled defence minister Moshe Yaalon’s plan to create separate buses for Jewish settlers and Palestinian labourers as they return to the occupied territories at the end of a day in Israel.

Unlike most in his cabinet, Netanyahu understood that, denied by his military of even the flimsiest security pretext, the historical antecedents of bus segregation were too uncomfortable, especially for Israel’s patron, the United States.

The graver danger for Netanyahu is that, stuck with a cabinet of the like-minded – of ultranationalists, settlers and religious extremists – he lacks a solitary fig leaf to soften his image with the international community.

In his two previous governments, he relied on such sops: Ehud Barak, his defence minister, followed by Tzipi Livni as justice minister became the sympathetic address in the Israeli cabinet craved by Washington and Europe. Both spoke grandly about Palestinian statehood, even while they did nothing to achieve it.

With no veteran of the peace-process to hand, the west now faces an Israeli foreign ministry led jointly by Hotovely and Dore Gold, appointed director-general this week. Gold, a long-time hawkish adviser to the prime minister, is deeply opposed to Palestinian statehood, and even floated two years ago the idea of annexing the West Bank.

The minister in charge of talks with the Palestinians – hypothetical though such a role is at the moment – is Silvan Shalom, another Netanyahu intimate who publicly rejects the idea of two states and supports aggressive settlement building.

Other key ministries affecting Palestinian life are similarly burdened with righteous – and outspoken – extremists.

Shortly before announcing his bus segregation plan, Yaalon suggested that Israel, in dealing with Iran, might ultimately follow the example set at the end of the Second World War by the US, as it dropped nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Yaalon’s deputy, Eli Ben Dahan, a leading settler rabbi, refers to Palestinians as “sub-human”.

Ayelet Shaked, who spoke in genocidal terms against Palestinians in Gaza last summer, calling them “snakes”, now oversees Israel’s justice system, the sole – and already feeble – form of redress for Palestinians struggling against the occupation’s worst excesses.

Other ministers are no less dogmatic in their fanatical opposition both to Israel signing an agreement with the Palestinians and to the US signing one with Iran. The self-evident absurdity of diplomacy in these circumstances may be one reason why Tony Blair, the already deeply ineffective Middle East peace envoy, threw in the towel this week.

Similarly, Barack Obama is certain to find the new Israeli government an even bigger headache than Netanyahu’s previous two.

While the US tries to reach a deal on Iran’s nuclear programme and revive peace talks between the Palestinians and Israel – however futile such a process may be – Israeli ministers will be in a contest to see who can make most mischief.

Netanyahu, already an unloved figure at the White House, will now find no one across the Israeli cabinet table helping him to apply the brakes.

The irony is that, just as the White House gears up for another 18 months of humiliation and sabotage from Netanyahu and his government, Obama is showering Israel with gifts, as part of its long-standing “security” doctrine.

Last week, it was reported, the US agreed to provide Israel with $2 billion worth of arms, including bunker-buster bombs and thousands of missiles, to replenish stockpiles depleted by Israel’s sustained attack on Gaza last summer that killed more than 2,000 Palestinians.

The news broke just as United Nations officials reported that unexploded ordnance was still claiming lives in Gaza nearly a year later.

According to the Israeli media, the US is also preparing to “compensate” Israel with other goodies, including possibly more fighter planes, if Netanyahu agrees to restrain his criticisms over an expected deal with Iran in June.

And Washington averted last week a threat to Israel’s large, undeclared nuclear arsenal by blocking the efforts of Arab states to convene a conference to make the Middle East free of nuclear weapons by next year.

The lesson drawn by Netanyahu should be clear. Obama may signal verbally his disquiet with the current Israeli government, but he is not about to exact any real price from Israel, even as it shifts ever further to the fanatical right.

Jonathan Cook won the Martha Gellhorn Special Prize for Journalism. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is

A version of this article first appeared in the National, Abu Dhabi.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Calling the Tune: Whose Money Put Stephen Harper in Power?

Who funded Harper's rise to power? And other questions about election financing

by Linda McQuaig -


May 20, 2015

As the renowned Republican backroom operator Mark Hanna noted back in the late 19th century, "There are two things that matter in politics. One is money, and I can't remember the other."

Indeed, the fantastically wealthy Koch brothers proved in the recent U.S. congressional vote that organizing billionaires to buy elections is a lot easier than herding cats.

The Kochs raised $290 million from America's mega-rich to win control of Congress, and are now raising a further $889 million in a bid to buy the Oval Office.

Here in Canada, we have tougher rules restricting the role of money in politics. But the Boy Scout aura surrounding our election financing laws appears to have lulled us into a bit of a coma.

With a federal election looming, two pressing questions involving the role of money in Canadian politics are attracting surprisingly little media attention.

The first: who owns Stephen Harper?

This isn't a philosophical enquiry. It's a straightforward question about the identity of the secret donors who paid the bill for Harper's rise to power, first as leader of the Canadian Alliance and then the Conservative party.

Donors contributed more than $2 million to the prime minister's two leadership bids, but the identities of some of the major donors have never been publicly disclosed, according to Ottawa-based corporate responsibility advocacy group Democracy Watch.

The group notes that there was nothing illegal about the donations under the election laws of the time. But anyone who believes that those secret donors don't have a favoured place in Harper's heart (such as it is) probably also believes that Mike Duffy has always lived in a little cottage in P.E.I.

In the 2002 Canadian Alliance leadership race, Harper disclosed some of his donors but kept secret 10 of the major ones. A list of donors to Harper's Conservative party leadership race two years later was at one point posted on the party's website but has since been removed.

At the time of those races, it was legal for leadership contenders to receive unlimited donations from corporations, including foreign-owned businesses operating in Canada.

"Big business and [its] executives could have given Harper hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations," says Democracy Watch co-founder Duff Conacher, who is currently a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa's School of Political Studies.

Although there's no legal requirement for disclosure, Conacher argues that Harper should divulge the names of his donors for the same reasons of ethics and transparency that he so loudly trumpeted in his first election campaign.

Shouldn't Canadians know, for instance, if Harper's early leadership bids were significantly bankrolled by, say, the Koch brothers, who are among the largest lease-holders of Alberta's tar sands and therefore have a huge financial stake in preventing Canada from limiting greenhouse gas emissions?

Have Harper's radical policy departures in areas like energy, the environment and the Middle East been unduly influenced by large donors? And if not, why the secrecy?

On another election financing front, there's been little outrage over the fact that the Harper government just eliminated a key law that was aimed at countering the power of Big Money in Canadian politics.

The law -- under which Ottawa paid political parties a small $2 subsidy for every vote they received -- was widely recognized as by far the most democratic aspect of our election financing framework, since it ensured that every vote cast in a federal election had some impact. Even if someone voted for a party that didn't win, that voter managed to direct a small government subsidy to his or her chosen party. These subsidies added up to millions of dollars and were a key source of political funding, having the effect of giving equal weight to every vote no matter how rich or poor the person casting it.

So, naturally, Harper scrapped it. The next federal election (expected in the spring or fall) will be the first in which this quintessentially democratic aspect of our election financing laws no longer applies.

Of course, poorer folks still have the full legal right to take advantage of other government subsidies in our election financing system -- except that they lack the money necessary to do so.

Individuals making contributions to political parties receive generous government subsidies through the tax system. An individual donating $400, for example, gets $300 back in tax savings. But you have to have a spare $400 in order to play this game.

That's why only 2 per cent of Canadians make political donations. Not surprisingly, most of these contributors are in the upper-income brackets.

So the bulk of the tax subsidies -- which totalled $20 million in the 2009 election -- go to this wealthier group, which enables them to increase their influence over our elections.

In fact, all aspects of our election financing system involve government subsidies. But only one -- the now-removed pay-per-vote subsidy -- distributed the subsidy in a way that didn't favour the wealthy.

And Harper has also just increased the subsidy for wealthier Canadians by raising the limit on political donations from $2,400 to $3,000 a year ($4,500 in an election year). The new rules also hike the amount candidates can donate to their own campaigns from $1,200 to $5,000, and allow leadership candidates to donate $25,000 to their own campaigns.

Of course, the wealthy are able to influence the political process in other ways, too, most notably by shaping the public debate through their ownership of the media and by threatening to withdraw their capital from the economy if laws they don't like are enacted.

In the recent U.S. congressional elections, the Koch brothers helped secure the victory of an unlikely band of far-right extremists who control both the House and Senate.

Among some 3 million political ads for both parties, there wasn't a single mention of the issue of income inequality -- either for it or against it, says Sam Pizzigati, editor of a newsletter on inequality at the Washington-based Institute for Policy Studies.

The rich have effectively declared that subject -- and the implication that they should face higher taxes -- out of bounds. Given the extraordinary grip of the wealthy on so many aspects of society, why on earth wouldn't we want to hold onto a law that, at least in one small way, gave a homeless person the same political power as a billionaire?

Linda McQuaig is an author and journalist. She is the NDP candidate for Toronto Centre in the 2015 federal election. This column was first published in NOW Magazine.

Genocide by Omission: Rohingya Adrift

Beyond the Middle East: The Rohingya Genocide

by Ramzy Baroud -

Nope, nope, nope,” was Australia’s Prime Minister, Tony Abbott’s answer to the question whether his country will take in any of the nearly 8,000 Rohingya refugees stranded at sea.

Abbott’s logic is as pitiless as his decision to abandon the world’s most persecuted minority in their darkest hour. “Don’t think that getting on a leaky boat at the behest of a people smuggler is going to do you or your family any good,” he said.

But Abbott is hardly the main party in the ongoing suffering of Rohingyas, a Muslim ethnic group living in Myanmar, or Burma. The whole Southeast Asian region is culpable. They have ignored the plight of the Rohingya for years. While tens of thousands of Rohingya are being ethnically cleansed, having their villages torched, forced into concentration camps and some into slavery, Burma is being celebrated by various western and Asian powers as a success story of a military junta-turned democracy.

“After Myanmar moved from dictatorship toward democracy in 2011, newfound freedoms of expression gave voice to Buddhist extremists who spewed hatred against the religious minority and said Muslims were taking over the country,” reported the Associated Press from the Burmese capital, Yangon.

That “newfound freedom of expression” has cost hundreds of people their lives, thousands their properties, and “another 140,000 Rohingya were driven from their homes and are now living under apartheid-like conditions in crowded displacement camps”.

While one may accept that freedom of expression sometimes invites hate speech, the idea that Burma’s supposed democracy has resulted in the victimisation of the Rohingya is as far from the truth as it gets. Their endless suffering goes back decades and is considered one of the darkest chapters in Southeast Asia’s modern history. When they were denied citizenship in 1982 - despite the fact that it is believed that they descended from Muslim traders who settled in Arakan and other Burmese regions over 1,000 years ago - their persecution became almost an official policy.

Even those who take to the sea to escape hardship in Burma find the coveted salvation hard to achieve. “In Myanmar, they are subjected to forced labor, have no land rights, and are heavily restricted. In Bangladesh many are also desperately poor, with no documents or job prospects,” reported the BBC.

And since many parties are interested in the promotion of the illusion of the rising Burmese democracy - a rare meeting point for the United States, China and ASEAN countries, all seeking economic exploits - few governments care about the Rohingya.

Despite recent grandstanding by Malaysia and Indonesia about the willingness to conditionally host the surviving Rohingya who have been stranded at sea for many days, the region as a whole has been “extremely unwelcoming,” according to Chris Lewa of the Rohingya activist group Arakan Project.

“Unlike European countries - who at least make an effort to stop North African migrants from drowning in the Mediterranean - Myanmar's neighbors are reluctant to provide any assistance,” he said.

Sure, the ongoing genocide of the Rohingya may have helped expose false democracy idols like Noble Peace Prize winner, Aung San Suu Kyi - who has been shamelessly silent, if not even complicit in the government racist and violent polices against the Rohingya – but what good will that do?

The stories of those who survive are as harrowing as those that die while floating at sea, with no food or water, or, sometimes even a clear destination. In a documentary aired late last year, Aljazeera reported on some of these stories.

“Muhibullah spent 17 days on a smuggler's boat where he saw a man thrown overboard. On reaching Thai shores, he was bundled into a truck and delivered to a jungle camp packed with hundreds of refugees and armed men, where his nightmare intensified. Bound to shafts of bamboo, he says he was tortured for two months to extract a $2,000 ransom from his family.

“Despite the regular beatings, he felt worse for women who were dragged into the bush and raped. Some were sold into debt bondage, prostitution and forced marriage.”

Human rights groups report on such horror daily, but much of it fails to make it to media coverage simply because the plight of the Rohingya doesn’t constitute a “pressing matter”. Yes, human rights only matter when they are tied into an issue of significant political or economic weight.

Yet, somehow the Rohingyas seep into our news occasionally as they did in June 2012 and later months, when Rakhine Buddists went into violent rampages, burning villages and setting people ablaze under the watchful eye of the Burmese police. Then Burma was being elevated to a non-pariah state status, with the support and backing of the US and European countries.

It is not easy to sell Burma as a democracy while its people are hunted down like animals, forced into deplorable camps, trapped between the army and the sea where thousands have no other escape but “leaky boats” and the Andaman Sea. Abbott might want to do some research before blaming the Rohingyas for their own misery.

So far, the democracy gambit is working, and many companies are now setting offices in Yangon and preparing for massive profits. This is all while hundreds of thousands of innocent children, women and men are being caged like animals in their own country, stranded at sea, or held for ransom in some neighbouring jungle.

ASEAN countries must understand that good neighborly relations cannot fully rely on trade, and that human rights violators must be held accountable and punished for their crimes.

No efforts should be spared to help fleeing Rohingyas, and real international pressure must be enforced so that Yangon abandons its infuriating arrogance. Even if we are to accept that Rohingyas are not a distinct minority - as the Burmese government argues - that doesn’t justify the unbearable persecution they have been enduring for years, and the occasional acts of ethnic cleaning and genocide. A minority or not, they are human, deserving of full protection under national and international law.

While one is not asking the US and its allies for war or sanctions, the least one should expect is that Burma must not be rewarded for its fraudulent democracy as it brutalizes its minorities. Failure to do so should compel civil society organizations to stage boycott campaigns of companies that conduct business with the Burmese government.

As for Aung San Suu Kyi, her failure as a moral authority can neither be understood nor forgiven. One thing is sure, she doesn’t deserve her Noble Prize, for her current legacy is at complete odds with the spirit of that award.

Ramzy Baroud – - is an internationally-syndicated columnist, a media consultant, an author of several books and the founder of He is currently completing his PhD studies at the University of Exeter. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London).

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Protocols Of The Elders Of ‘Anti’ Zion and Alison Weir

The Protocols Of The Elders Of ‘Anti’ Zion: JVP vs. Alison Weir

by Gilad Atzmon

May 27, 2015

The following is an announcement of a Jewish Herem (excommunication) signed by Jewish Voice For Peace (JVP) targeting one of America’s leading human rights activists, Alison Weir. The letter was leaked to me by three different JVP Chapter Leaders who, apparently, are experiencing fatigue with JVP’s thought policing.

Target: Alison Weir

According to my informers, the letter was written by Rebecca Vilkomerson, JVP’s Executive Director. It was sent to the 40 chapter leaders of JVP. My JVP sources told me that the letter wasn’t intended to be publicized. After all, The Protocols Of The Elders of ‘Anti’ Zion are better communicated in a clandestine manner.

May 5, 2015

Dear Ms. Weir,

Jewish Voice for Peace has chosen not to work with you because our central tenet is opposition to racism in all its forms, and you have chosen repeatedly to associate yourself with people who advocate for racism.

You have been a repeat guest of white supremacist Clay Douglas on his hate radio show, the Free American. Clay Douglas is concerned primarily with the survival of the White race and sees malign Jewish influence everywhere. His racist, anti-Jewish, and anti-gay rhetoric can be found across the front pages of his multiple websites.

In the course of your appearance with Clay Douglas on August 25, 2010, for example, you were silent when Douglas invoked the Protocols of the Elders of Zion and engaged in a racist diatribe against Jews. Your repeated appearance on this show (April 23 and August 25, 2010; February 9 and May 18, 2011) show that you knew his extremist views and chose to continue the association.

Your troubling associations and choices further include giving interviews to a range of far-right outlets including The American Free Press, which the Southern Poverty Law Center has identified as a hate group, and the anti-gay, anti-Jewish pastor Mark Dankof. One of your articles appeared in an anthology that was promoted by the infamous Holocaust-denial organization, the Institute for Historical Review. We see no evidence that you have disavowed any of these outlets or institutions.

Our movement must be built on a foundation of love, justice and equality for all people. It should not and cannot win by fueling or endorsing any form of hate, whether against People of Color, gays, Jews, Muslims or anyone else.

At Jewish Voice for Peace, we are particularly sensitive to the long history of anti-Jewish oppression as well as the ways that Palestinian liberation work is frequently tarred with false charges of anti-Semitism. Just as we call out the hateful associations of those who seek to perpetuate injustice against Palestinians, as a movement we must also hold the line against those who promote the false notion that Palestinian liberation can be won at the expense of others.

If anti Semitism is best understood as the Goyim’s reaction to Jewish bad behavior, JVP shouldn’t be surprised by the tidal wave of resentment it provokes amongst peace lovers and dissident voices across the political spectrum. The Jewish organization has been behaving badly for some time. It has engaged in an orchestrated and systematic attempt to derail the Palestinian discourse. As if this were not enough, JVP has also been chasing, smearing and harassing the most dedicated voices and activists in the solidarity movement, people such as Greta Berlin, George Galloway, Ken O’Keefe, yours truly and many others. Alison Weir, the legendary activist and founder of If Americans Knew has become another victim of this disgraceful tribal campaign.

Herem (excommunication) is deeply rooted in Jewish culture. The great Jewish philosopher Baruch Spinoza was subject to herem. The story of Uriel Da Costa is a devastating chronicle of Rabbinical collective vindictiveness. Seemingly the ‘good’ and ‘liberal’ Jews at JVP have extended the herem culture far beyond the ghetto walls. Our Jewish ‘allies’, as they occasionally label themselves, are now attempting to excommunicate gentiles. They must be convinced that they have succeeded in reducing the Palestinian solidarity discourse into an ‘internal Jewish affair.’

But what was Weir’s crime exactly? Guilt by association. The elders of ‘anti Zion’ at JVP accuse Weir of being interviewed by people whom the ultra Zionist Southern Poverty Law Centre tags as ‘hate’ figures and ‘white supremacists’. Yet, they do not accuse Weir herself of racism or bigotry.

Weir reacted to JVP’s accusation by stating that her “goal is to reach every single person possible with essential facts to counter the misinformation so often being disseminated to Americans.” Weir also tried to explain to the ‘Jews in the movement’ that being invited to a radio show doesn’t imply an endorsement of its host’s views. Otherwise, every person interviewed by Fox News might be tagged a Neocon, which would be totally absurd.

JVP’s Herem announcement declares: “our movement must be built on a foundation of love, justice and equality for all people.” This is a beautiful sentiment but unfortunately, it contradicts the purpose of the letter that states in precise terms who should be excluded from ‘love’, ‘justice’ and ‘equality.’ It is astonishing that the ‘anti’ Zionists who lead JVP practice segregation and exceptionalism on a daily basis. Sometimes I wonder what it is about Israel or Zionism that they oppose. Vilkomerson’s rant reveals a deep morbid fear of Whiteness that resembles Bennett and Liebermann’s resentment towards Arabs and Muslims.

For years I have argued that the continuum between Zionism and the so-called Jewish ‘anti’ is undeniable. In its actions, JVP has foolishly confirmed again and again that my observation is correct. The original Protocol OF The Elders Of Zion is considered to be a Tsarist forgery, but the call for a herem was composed by Vilkomerson in the name of her ‘Jews only party’ and is an authentic protocol. It is a revealing glimpse into the racist morbidity that is embedded in the Jewish Left and it sheds light on the corrosive impact of JVP in its current form.

If Americans knew how so-called liberal Jews treat Weir, a leading American patriot, they might react angrily and they should. I will use this opportunity to once again remind the ‘good’ Jews that we can proceed without their moral supervision, no one asked for their tribal thought policing. What we need is for our so-called Jewish ‘allies’ to cleanse themselves of their tribal biases and instead adopt a universal ethical mindset. When this happens, they may drift away from the JVP klan. Truth may set them free.

A Pincer Strategy for Latin America

Washington’s Two Track Policy to Latin America: Marines to Central America and Diplomats to Cuba

by James Petras

Everyone, from political pundits in Washington to the Pope in Rome, including most journalists in the mass media and in the alternative press, have focused on the US moves toward ending the economic blockade of Cuba and gradually opening diplomatic relations. Talk is rife of a ‘major shift’ in US policy toward Latin America with the emphasis on diplomacy and reconciliation. Even most progressive writers and journals have ceased writing about US imperialism.

However, there is mounting evidence that Washington’s negotiations with Cuba are merely one part of a two-track policy. There is clearly a major US build-up in Latin America, with increasing reliance on ‘military platforms’, designed to launch direct military interventions in strategic countries.

Moreover, US policymakers are actively involved in promoting ‘client’ opposition parties, movements and personalities to destabilize independent governments and are intent on re-imposing US domination.

In this essay we will start our discussion with the origins and unfolding of this ‘two track’ policy, its current manifestations, and projections into the future. We will conclude by evaluating the possibilities of re-establishing US imperial domination in the region.

Origins of the Two Track Policy

Washington’s pursuit of a ‘two-track policy’, based on combining ‘reformist policies’ toward some political formations, while working to overthrow other regimes and movements by force and military intervention, was practiced by the early Kennedy Administration following the Cuban revolution. Kennedy announced a vast new economic program of aid, loans and investments – dubbed the ‘Alliance for Progress’ – to promote development and social reform in Latin American countries willing to align with the US. At the same time the Kennedy regime escalated US military aid and joint exercises in the region. Kennedy sponsored a large contingent of Special Forces – ‘Green Berets’ - to engage in counter-insurgency warfare. The ‘Alliance for Progress’ was designed to counter the mass appeal of the social-revolutionary changes underway in Cuba with its own program of ‘social reform’. While Kennedy promoted watered-down reforms in Latin America, he launched the ‘secret’ CIA (‘Bay of Pigs’) invasion of Cuba in 1961and naval blockade in 1962 (the so-called ‘missile crises’). The two-track policy ended up sacrificing social reforms and strengthening military repression. By the mid-1970’s the ‘two-tracks’ became one - force. The US invaded the Dominican Republic in 1965. It backed a series of military coups throughout the region, effectively isolating Cuba. As a result, Latin America’s labor force experienced nearly a quarter century of declining living standards.

By the 1980’s US client-dictators had lost their usefulness and Washington once again took up a dual strategy: On one track, the White House wholeheartedly backed their military-client rulers’ neo-liberal agenda and sponsored them as junior partners in Washington’s regional hegemony. On the other track, they promoted a shift to highly controlled electoral politics, which they described as a ‘democratic transition’, in order to ‘decompress’ mass social pressures against its military clients. Washington secured the introduction of elections and promoted client politicians willing to continue the neo-liberal socio-economic framework established by the military regimes.

By the turn of the new century, the cumulative grievances of thirty years of repressive rule, regressive neo-liberal socio-economic policies and the denationalization and privatization of the national patrimony had caused an explosion of mass social discontent. This led to the overthrow and electoral defeat of Washington’s neo-liberal client regimes.

Throughout most of Latin America, mass movements were demanding a break with US-centered ‘integration’ programs. Overt anti-imperialism grew and intensified. The period saw the emergence of numerous center-left governments in Venezuela, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Honduras and Nicaragua. Beyond the regime changes , world economic forces had altered: growing Asian markets, their demand for Latin American raw materials and the global rise of commodity prices helped to stimulate the development of Latin American-centered regional organizations – outside of Washington’s control.

Washington was still embedded in its 25 year ‘single-track’ policy of backing civil-military authoritarian and imposing neo-liberal policies and was unable to respond and present a reform alternative to the anti-imperialist, center-left challenge to its dominance. Instead, Washington worked to reverse the new party- power configuration. Its overseas agencies, the Agency for International Development (AID), the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) and embassies worked to destabilize the new governments in Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Paraguay and Honduras. The US ‘single-track’ of intervention and destabilization failed throughout the first decade of the new century (with the exception of Honduras and Paraguay.

In the end Washington remained politically isolated. Its integration schemes were rejected. Its market shares in Latin America declined. Washington not only lost its automatic majority in the Organization of American States (OAS), but it became a distinct minority.

Washington’s ‘single track’ policy of relying on the ‘stick’ and holding back on the ‘carrot’ was based on several considerations: The Bush and Obama regimes were deeply influenced by the US’s twenty-five year domination of the region (1975-2000) and the notion that the uprisings and political changes in Latin America in the subsequent decade were ephemeral, vulnerable and easily reversed. Moreover, Washington, accustomed to over a century of economic domination of markets, resources and labor, took for granted that its hegemony was unalterable. The White House failed to recognize the power of China’s growing share of the Latin American market. The State Department ignored the capacity of Latin American governments to integrate their markets and exclude the US.

US State Department officials never moved beyond the discredited neo-liberal doctrine that they had successfully promoted in the 1990’s. The White House failed to adopt a ‘reformist’ turn to counter the appeal of radical reformers like Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan President. This was most evident in the Caribbean and the Andean countries where President Chavez launched his two ‘alliances for progress’: ‘Petro-Caribe’ (Venezuela’s program of supplying cheap, heavily subsidized, fuel to poor Central American and Caribbean countries and heating oil to poor neighborhoods in the US) and ‘ALBA’ (Chavez’ political-economic union of Andean states, plus Cuba and Nicaragua, designed to promote regional political solidarity and economic ties.) Both programs were heavily financed by Caracas. Washington failed to come up with a successful alternative plan.

Unable to win diplomatically or in the ‘battle of ideas’, Washington resorted to the ‘big stick’ and sought to disrupt Venezuela’s regional economic program rather than compete with Chavez’ generous and beneficial aid packages. The US’ ‘spoiler tactics’ backfired: In 2009, the Obama regime backed a military coup in Honduras, ousting the elected liberal reformist President Zelaya and installed a bloody tyrant, a throwback to the 1970s when the US backed Chilean coup brought General Pinochet to power. Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, in an act of pure political buffoonery, refused to call Zelaya’s violent ouster a coup and moved swiftly to recognize the dictatorship. No other government backed the US in its Honduras policy. There was universal condemnation of the coup, highlighting Washington’s isolation.

Repeatedly, Washington tried to use its ‘hegemonic card’ but it was roundly outvoted at regional meetings. At the Summit of the Americas in 2010, Latin American countries overrode US objections and voted to invite Cuba to its next meeting, defying a 50-year old US veto. The US was left alone in its opposition.

The position of Washington was further weakened by the decade-long commodity boom (spurred by China’s voracious demand for agro-mineral products). The ‘mega-cycle’ undermined US Treasury and State Department’s anticipation of a price collapse. In previous cycles, commodity ‘busts’ had forced center-left governments to run to the US controlled International Monetary Fund (IMF) for highly conditioned balance of payment loans, which the White House used to impose its neo-liberal policies and political dominance. The ‘mega-cycle’ generated rising revenues and incomes. This gave the center-left governments enormous leverage to avoid the ‘debt traps’ and to marginalize the IMF. This virtually eliminated US-imposed conditionality and allowed Latin governments to pursue populist-nationalist policies. These policies decreased poverty and unemployment. Washington played the ‘crisis card’ and lost. Nevertheless Washington continued working with extreme rightwing opposition groups to destabilize the progressive governments, in the hope that ‘come the crash’, Washington’s proxies would ‘waltz right in’ and take over.

The Re-Introduction of the ‘Two Track’ Policy

After a decade and a half of hard knocks, repeated failures of its ‘big stick’ policies, rejection of US-centered integration schemes and multiple resounding defeats of its client-politicians at the ballot box, Washington finally began to ‘rethink’ its ‘one track’ policy and tentatively explore a limited ‘two track’ approach.

The ‘two-tracks’, however, encompass polarities clearly marked by the recent past. While the Obama regime opened negotiations and moved toward establishing relations with Cuba, it escalated the military threats toward Venezuela by absurdly labeling Caracas as a ‘national security threat to the US.’

Washington had woken up to the fact that its bellicose policy toward Cuba had been universally rejected and had left the US isolated from Latin America. The Obama regime decided to claim some ‘reformist credentials’ by showcasing its opening to Cuba. The ‘opening to Cuba’ is really part of a wider policy of a more active political intervention in Latin America. Washington will take full advantage of the increased vulnerability of the center-left governments as the commodity mega-cycle comes to an end and prices collapse. Washington applauds the fiscal austerity program pursued by Dilma Rousseff’s regime in Brazil. It wholeheartedly backs newly elected Tabaré Vázquez’s “Broad Front” regime in Uruguay with its free market policies and structural adjustment. It publicly supports Chilean President Bachelet’s recent appointment of center-right, Christian Democrats to Cabinet posts to accommodate big business.

These changes within Latin America provide an ‘opening’ for Washington to pursue a ‘dual track’ policy: On the one hand Washington is increasing political and economic pressure and intensifying its propaganda campaign against ‘state interventionist’ policies and regimes in the immediate period. On the other hand, the Pentagon is intensifying and escalating its presence in Central America and its immediate vicinity. The goal is ultimately to regain leverage over the military command in the rest of the South American continent.

The Miami Herald (5/10/15) reported that the Obama Administration had sent 280 US marines to Central America without any specific mission or pretext. Coming so soon after the Summit of the Americas in Panama (April 10 -11, 2015), this action has great symbolic importance. While the presence of Cuba at the Summit may have been hailed as a diplomatic victory for reconciliation within the Americas, the dispatch of hundreds of US marines to Central America suggests another scenario in the making.

Ironically, at the Summit meeting, the Secretary General of the Union of South American Nations (UNASUR), former Colombian president (1994-98) Ernesto Samper, called for the US to remove all its military bases from Latin America, including Guantanamo: “A good point in the new agenda of relations in Latin America would be the elimination of the US military bases”.

The point of the US ‘opening’ to Cuba is precisely to signal its greater involvement in Latin America, one that includes a return to more robust US military intervention. The strategic intent is to restore neo-liberal client regimes, by ballots or bullets.


Washington’s current adoption of a two-track policy is a ‘cheap version’ of the John F. Kennedy policy of combining the ‘Alliance for Progress’ with the ‘Green Berets’. However, Obama offers little in the way of financial support for modernization and reform to complement his drive to restore neo-liberal dominance.

After a decade and a half of political retreat, diplomatic isolation and relative loss of military leverage, the Obama regime has taken over six years to recognize the depth of its isolation. When Assistant Secretary for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Roberta Jacobson, claimed she was ‘surprised and disappointed’ when every Latin American country opposed Obama’s claim that Venezuela represented a ‘national security threat to the United States’, she exposed just how ignorant and out-of-touch the State Department has become with regard to Washington’s capacity to influence Latin America in support of its imperial agenda of intervention.

With the decline and retreat of the center-left, the Obama regime has been eager to exploit the two-track strategy. As long as the FARC-President Santos peace talks in Colombia advance, Washington is likely to recalibrate its military presence in Colombia to emphasize its destabilization campaign against Venezuela. The State Department will increase diplomatic overtures to Bolivia. The National Endowment for Democracy will intensify its intervention in this year’s Argentine elections.

Varied and changing circumstances dictate flexible tactics. Hovering over Washington’s tactical shifts is an ominous strategic outlook directed toward increasing military leverage. As the peace negotiations between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas advance toward an accord, the pretext for maintaining seven US military bases and several thousand US military and Special Forces troops diminishes. However, Colombian President Santos has given no indication that a ‘peace agreement’ would be conditioned on the withdrawal of US troops or closing of its bases. In other words, the US Southern Command would retain a vital military platform and infrastructure capable of launching attacks against Venezuela, Ecuador, Central America and the Caribbean. With military bases throughout the region, in Colombia, Cuba (Guantanamo), Honduras (Soto Cano in Palmerola), Curacao, Aruba and Peru, Washington can quickly mobilize interventionary forces. Military ties with the armed forces of Uruguay, Paraguay, and Chile ensure continued joint exercises and close co-ordination of so-called ‘security’ policies in the ‘Southern Cone’ of Latin America. This strategy is specifically designed to prepare for internal repression against popular movements, whenever and wherever class struggle intensifies in Latin America. The two-track policy, in force today, plays out through political-diplomatic and military strategies.

In the immediate period throughout most of the region, Washington pursues a policy of political, diplomatic and economic intervention and pressure. The White House is counting on the ‘rightwing swing’ of former center-left governments to facilitate the return to power of unabashedly neo-liberal client-regimes in future elections. This is especially true with regard to Brazil and Argentina.

The ‘political-diplomatic track’ is evident in Washington’s moves to re-establish relations with Bolivia and to strengthen allies elsewhere in order to leverage favorable policies in Ecuador, Nicaragua and Cuba. Washington proposes to offer diplomatic and trade agreements in exchange for a ‘toning down’ of anti-imperialist criticism and weakening the ‘Chavez-era’ programs of regional integration.

The ‘two-track approach’, as applied to Venezuela, has a more overt military component than elsewhere. Washington will continue to subsidize violent paramilitary border crossings from Colombia. It will continue to encourage domestic terrorist sabotage of the power grid and food distribution system. The strategic goal is to erode the electoral base of the Maduro government, in preparation for the legislative elections in the fall of 2015. When it comes to Venezuela, Washington is pursuing a ‘four step’ strategy:

(1) Indirect violent intervention to erode the electoral support of the government

(2) Large-scale financing of the electoral campaign of the legislative opposition to secure a majority in Congress

(3) A massive media campaign in favor of a Congressional vote for a referendum impeaching the President

(4) A large-scale financial, political and media campaign to secure a majority vote for impeachment by referendum.

In the likelihood of a close vote, the Pentagon would prepare a rapid military intervention with its domestic collaborators – seeking a ‘Honduras-style’ overthrow of Maduro.

The strategic and tactical weakness of the two-track policy is the absence of any sustained and comprehensive economic aid, trade and investment program that would attract and hold middle class voters. Washington is counting more on the negative effects of the crisis to restore its neo-liberal clients. The problem with this approach is that the pro-US forces can only promise a return to orthodox austerity programs, reversing social and public welfare programs , while making large-scale economic concessions to major foreign investors and bankers. The implementation of such regressive programs are going to ignite and intensify class, community-based and ethnic conflicts.

The ‘electoral transition’ strategy of the US is a temporary expedient, in light of the highly unpopular economic policies, which it would surely implement. The complete absence of any substantial US socio-economic aid to cushion the adverse effects on working families means that the US client-electoral victories will not last long. That is why and where the US strategic military build-up comes into play: The success of track-one, the pursuit of political-diplomatic tactics, will inevitably polarize Latin American society and heighten prospects for class struggle. Washington hopes that it will have its political-military client-allies ready to respond with violent repression. Direct intervention and heightened domestic repression will come into play to secure US dominance.

The ‘two-track strategy’ will, once again, evolve into a ‘one-track strategy’ designed to return Latin America as a satellite region, ripe for pillage by extractive multi-nationals and financial speculators.

As we have seen over the past decade and a half, ‘one-track policies’ lead to social upheavals. And the next time around the results may go far beyond progressive center-left regimes toward truly social-revolutionary governments!


US empire-builders have clearly demonstrated throughout the world their inability to intervene and produce stable, prosperous and productive client states (Iraq and Libya are prime examples). There is no reason to believe, even if the US ‘two-track policy’ leads to temporary electoral victories, that Washington’s efforts to restore dominance will succeed in Latin America, least of all because its strategy lacks any mechanism for economic aid and social reforms that could maintain a pro-US elite in power. For example, how could the US possibly offset China’s $50 billion aid package to Brazil – except through violence and repression.

It is important to analyze how the rise of China, Russia, strong regional markets and new centers of finance have severely weakened the efforts by client regimes to realign with the US. Military coups and free markets are no longer guaranteed formulas for success in Latin America: Their past failures are too recent to forget. Finally the ‘financialization’ of the US economy, what even the International Monetary Fund (IMF) describes as the negative impact of ‘too much finance’ (Financial Times 5/13/15, p 4), means that the US cannot allocate capital resources to develop productive activity in Latin America. The imperial state can only serve as a violent debt collector for its banks in the context of large-scale unemployment. Financial and extractive imperialism is a politico-economic cocktail for detonating social revolution on a continent-wide basis - far beyond the capacity of the US marines to prevent or suppress.