Can Venezuela and its neighbours survive the coming war?

Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro (C), speaks to a crowd of supporters to announce his is breaking off diplomatic ties with the United States, during a gathering in Caracas on January 23, 2019.  (Photo by Luis ROBAYO / AFP)

The crisis which is destabilising Venezuela, like those which are beginning in Nicaragua and Haïti, needs to be analysed in order to enable us to address it. Thierry Meyssan reminds us of three interpretative hypotheses and argues in favour of one of them. He evokes the US strategy and the ways in which it may be countered.

By Thierry Meyssan

Source: Voltairenet.org

Today, Venezuela is divided between two legitimacies – that of Constitutional President Nicolas Maduro and that of the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó.

Guaido nominated himself as interim President, allegedly by virtue of articles 223 and 233 of the Constitution. We only need to read these articles to see that they in no way apply to his case, and that he can not claim from them any legitimacy for the post he seeks to usurp. Despite that, he has been accredited by the United States, the Lima Group and part of the European Union.

Some of Nicolas Maduro’s supporters claim that Washington is reproducing the overthrow of a leftist government, just as it did against Salvadore Allende in 1973, during the mandate of President Richard Nixon.

Others, reacting to the revelations of Max Blumenthal and Dan Cohen about the career path of Juan Guaidó [1], believe on the contrary that this is a colour revolution similar to those we saw under the presidency of George W. Bush.

Facing an aggression by an enemy who is far stronger than oneself, it is crucial to identify its objectives and understand its methods. Only those who are capable of anticipating the attacks they are about to suffer will have any chance of surviving.

Three dominant hypotheses

It is perfectly logical for Latin-Americans to compare what they are presently experiencing to what they have already known, like the Chilean coup d’etat of 1973. But it would be risky for Washington to reproduce the same scenario 46 years later – it would be an error, because today, everyone is familiar with the details of this deception.

Furthermore, the revelation concerning Juan Guaidó’s connections to the National Endowment for Democracy and Gene Sharp’s team reminds us even more of a colour revolution, since Venezuela has already experienced such an event, which failed in 2007. Specifically, it would be dangerous for Washington, 12 years later, to attempt to reprise a plan which has already backfired.

In order to understand Washington’s intentions, we must first familiarise ourselves with its battle plan.

On 29 October 2001, just one and a half months after the attacks on New York and the Pentagon, US Secretary for Defense Donald Rumsfeld created the Office of Force Transformation, whose mission was to revolutionise the US armed forces, to change their mentality in order to respond to the radically new objective of confirming US supremacy world-wide. He handed this job to Admiral Arthur Cebrowski, who had already accomplished the networking of US military units, and had participated, in the 1990’s, with the elaboration of a doctrine of digital warfare (Network-centric warfare) [2].

Cebrowski arrived with a pre-planned strategy which he presented not only to the Pentagon, but to military academies all over the place. Although it was very important, his work within the armed forces was not covered by the media until the publication of an article in Vanity Fair. Thereafter, his explanations were published by his assistant Thomas Barnett [3]. It goes without saying that these documents were not necessarily faithful to the Pentagon’s ideas, which they make no attempt to explain, but to justify. Nonetheless, the main idea is that the United States seize control of the natural resources of half of the world, not to use them for themselves, but to decide who would be allowed to use them. In order to do so, they would have to deprive these areas of any political power other than their own, and therefore destroy all the state structures present in the region.

Officially, this strategy has never been implemented. Nonetheless, what we have been witnessing for the last twenty years corresponds exactly to Barnett’s book. First of all, in the 1980’s and 1990’s, there was the destruction of the region of the « African Great Lakes ». We mostly remember the Rwandan genocide and its 900,000 dead, but the entire region was devastated by a long series of wars which caused the death of six million people. What is truly astonishing is that twenty years later, many states have not recovered sovereignty over all their territory. This episode pre-dates the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski doctrine. We do not know if the Pentagon had planned what happened, or if it was while they were destroying these states that they conceived of their plan. Later on, in the years between 2000 and 2010, we witnessed the destruction of the « Greater Middle East », this time according to the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski doctrine. Of course, we may choose to believe that all this was just a succession of « democratic » interventions, civil wars and revolutions. But apart from the fact that the populations concerned contest the dominant narrative of these events, we note that in these cases also, the state structures were destroyed and peace did not return with the end of military operations. As of now, the Pentagon is evacuating the « Greater Middle East » and is preparing its deployment in the « Caribbean Basin ».

Many elements indicate that our previous understanding of the wars of George W. Bush and Barack Obama was mistaken, while they corresponded perfectly to the Rumsfeld-Cebrowski doctrine. This reading of the events is therefore not the fruit of a coincidence with Barnett’s thesis, and forces us to rethink what we witnessed.

If we adopt this method of thought, we have to consider that the process of destruction of the Caribbean Basin began with the decree by President Barack Obama, on 9 March 2015, according to which Venezuela is a threat to the national security of the United States of America [4]. This may seem rather old, but in reality it is not. For example, President George W. Bush signed the Syrian Accountability Act in 2003, but military operations in Syria only began eight years later, in 2011. This interval was necessary for Washington to create the conditions for the troubles.

The attacks against the left before 2015

If this analysis is accurate, we have to consider that the events prior to 2015 (the coup d’etat against President Hugo Chávez in 2002, the attempt at a colour revolution in 2007, Operation Jericho in February 2015, and the first demonstrations by the guarimbas) corresponded to a different logic, while those that occurred afterwards (guarimbas terrorism in 2017) are part of the plan.

My logic is based also on my understanding of these elements.

Thus, in 2002, I published an analysis of the coup d’etat which revealed the role of the United States behind the Fedecamaras (Venezuelan company management) [5]. President Hugo Chávez wanted to check my information, and sent two emissaries to Paris. One of them has since become a General, and the other is currently one of the most senior personalities in the country. My work was used by prosecutor Danilo Anderson for his investigation. He was assassinated by the CIA in 2004.

In 2007, a number of Trotskyite students began a movement to protest the non-renewal of the licence of the Caracas radio-television company RCTV. We know today, thanks to Blumenthal and Cohen, that Juan Guaidó was already implicated, and that he had received training by disciples of the non-violence theorist, Gene Sharp. Rather than repressing the excesses of the movement, President Hugo Chávez, on the occasion of the ceremony of the signature of the ALBA agreement (Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) on 3 June, read for twenty minutes from an old article that I had written about Gene Sharp and his conception of non-violence in the service of NATO and the CIA [6]. Realising the manipulation to which they had been submitted, a large number of demonstrators withdrew from the combat. Clumsily denying the facts, Sharp wrote to the President and then to myself. This initiative created confusion amongst the US left wing, for whom Sharp was a respectable personality with no links to the US government. Professor Stephen Zunes took his defence, but when faced with proof, Sharp closed his institute, leaving his place to Otpor (Resistance) and Canvas (Centre for Applied Non-Violent Action and Strategies). [7].

Let’s return to the present period. Of course, the recent attempt to assassinate President Nicolas Maduro reminds us of the way in which President Salvadore Allende was pushed to suicide. Of course, the demonstrations convened by the President of the National Assembly, Juan Guaidó, reminds us of a colour revolution. But this is not at all contradictory to my analysis. Let’s note that an attempt to assassinate Mouamar Kadhafi closely preceded military operations against Libya. And when the disciples of Gene Sharp supervised the first demonstrations against President Hosni Moubarak in Egypt, they even distributed an Arab version of their booklet, which had already been used in other countries [8]. But as further events were to show, it was neither a coup d’etat or a colour revolution.

Preparing for war

If my analysis is correct – and for the moment, everything seems to confirm it – we have to prepare for a war not only in Venezuela, but throughout the Caribbean Basin. Nicaragua and Haïti are already destabilised.

This war will be imposed from the exterior. Its aim will no longer be to overthrow leftist governments for the profit of right wing parties, even if appearances will at first be confusing. The logic of events will make no distinction between one side or another. Little by little, the whole society will be threatened, without the distinction of ideology or social class. Identically, it will become impossible for other states in the region to shelter from the storm. Even those who believe that they can protect themselves by serving as a rear base for military operations will be partially destroyed. For example, even though the Press hardly ever mentioned it, entire cities were wiped out in the region of Qatif, in Saudi Arabia, even though this country was Washington’s main ally in the « Greater Middle East ».

Based on the conflicts of the African Great Lakes and the Greater Middle East, this war should unfold by stages.

- First of all, the destruction of symbols of the modern state, by attacking the statues and museums dedicated to Hugo Chávez. This should not cause any victims, but would destabilise the mental representations of the population. Then the supply of arms and remuneration for the combatants in order to organise demonstrations which will degenerate.
- The Press will supply – after the fact – unverifiable explanations of the crimes blamed on the government and against which allegedly peaceful demonstrators had allegedly revolted. It is important that the police believe that they had been the targets of shots fired from the crowd, and that the crowd believe that they had been the targets of shots fired by the police, because the aim of the operation is to sow division.
- The third stage will be to organise bloody attacks all over the country. Very few men will be necessary to implement this stage, it will suffice that two or three teams move around the region.
- It will only be at this point that it will become useful to send in foreign mercenaries. During the last war, the United States sent at least 130,000 foreigners to Iraq and Syria, to which were added 120,000 local combatants. These armies were numerous, but poorly taught and trained.

It is, however, possible to defend oneself, since Syria managed to do so. Several initiatives will have to be taken urgently :

- Already, on the initiative of General Jacinto Perez Arcay and the President of the Constituent Assembly, Diosdado Cabello, the senior officers of the Venezuelan armies are studying new forms of combat (4th generation warfare). But military delegations will have to visit Syria to see for themselves how the events occurred. This is very important, since these wars are unlike any previous conflicts. For example, in Damascus, the major part of the city is intact, as if nothing had happened, but several neighbourhoods are totally devastated, like Stalingrad after the Nazi invasion. This supposes the use of particular combat techniques.
- It is essential to establish the national union of all patriots. The President must become the ally of his opposition, and include certain of its leaders in his government. The problem is not to know whether or not we appreciate President Maduro – it is essential to fight under his command to save the country.
- The army must form a popular militia. There is already such a force in Venezuela, numbering close to two million men, but they are mostly untrained. On principle, military men do not like to hand guns to civilians, but only civilians are capable of defending their own neighbourhood, since they know the area and everyone who lives there.
- Major work must be done to secure state, army and hospital buildings.

All this must be done as quickly as possible. These measures take a long time to implement, and the enemy is almost ready.

 

Translation: Pete Kimberley

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What happens to cognitive diversity when everyone is more WEIRD?

By Kensy Cooperrider

Source: aeon

For centuries, Inuit hunters navigated the Arctic by consulting wind, snow and sky. Now they use GPS. Speakers of the aboriginal language Gurindji, in northern Australia, used to command 28 variants of each cardinal direction. Children there now use the four basic terms, and they don’t use them very well. In the arid heights of the Andes, the Aymara developed an unusual way of understanding time, imagining the past as in front of them, and the future at their backs. But for the youngest generation of Aymara speakers – increasingly influenced by Spanish – the future lies ahead.

These are not just isolated changes. On all continents, even in the world’s remotest regions, indigenous people are swapping their distinctive ways of parsing the world for Western, globalised ones. As a result, human cognitive diversity is dwindling – and, sadly, those of us who study the mind had only just begun to appreciate it.

In 2010, a paper titled ‘The Weirdest People in the World?’ gave the field of cognitive science a seismic shock. Its authors, led by the psychologist Joe Henrich at the University of British Columbia, made two fundamental points. The first was that researchers in the behavioural sciences had almost exclusively focused on a small sliver of humanity: people from Western, educated, industrialised, rich, democratic societies. The second was that this sliver is not representative of the larger whole, but that people in London, Buenos Aires and Seattle were, in an acronym, WEIRD.

But there is a third fundamental point, and it was the psychologist Paul Rozin at the University of Pennsylvania who made it. In his commentary on the 2010 article, Rozin noted that this same WEIRD slice of humanity was ‘a harbinger of the future of the world’. He had seen this trend in his own research. Where he found cross-cultural differences, they were more pronounced in older generations. The world’s young people, in other words, are converging. The signs are unmistakable: the age of global WEIRDing is upon us.

This marks a major change of course for our species. For tens of thousands of years, as we fanned out across the globe, we adapted to radically different niches, and created new types of societies; in the process, we developed new practices, frameworks, technologies and conceptual systems. But then, some time in the past few centuries, we reached an inflection point. A peculiar cognitive toolkit that had been consolidated in the industrialising West began to gain global traction. Other tools were abandoned. Diversity started to ebb.

The WEIRD toolkit comprises our most basic frameworks for understanding the world. It touches on every aspect of experience: how we relate to space and time, to nature, to each other; how we filter our experiences and allocate our attention. Many of these mental frameworks are so ingrained we don’t notice them. They are like the glasses we’ve forgotten we’re wearing.

Consider our obsession with numbers. In global, industrialised cultures we take it for granted that we can – and should – quantify every aspect of experience. We count steps and calories, track interest rates and follower counts. Meanwhile, people in some small-scale societies don’t bother to track how old they are. Some couldn’t because their languages don’t have numbers beyond four or five. But WEIRD quantiphilia is quickly catching on. Hunter-gatherers in the Amazon are now eagerly learning Portuguese number words. In Papua New Guinea, once home to a rich variety of ‘body count’ systems – numbered landmarks on body, usually ranging to about 30 – children are learning English numbers instead.

Another peculiar part of the WEIRD toolkit is our fixation on time. We budget it, struggle to save it, agonise over losing it. We count days, hours and seconds. We are always oriented to exactly where we are on the long arrow of history. In the United States, for example, when doctors screen patients for cognitive impairment, one of the first questions they ask is the year, month and date.

To many in non-Western, non-industrialised groups, this fixation might seem odd. One early 20th-century ethnographer, Alfred Irving Hallowell, observed that the Ojibwe of native North America would be unruffled by not knowing whether it was a Thursday or Saturday. What would distress them, he remarked in 1957, is not knowing whether they were facing south or east. Not so for WEIRD people: our fixation on time appears to be balanced by a breathtaking obliviousness to space. A 2010 study found that Stanford students could not reliably point to North.

Now, such obliviousness to space is going global. Satellite-based navigation systems are displacing traditional techniques worldwide. It’s happening in the Arctic, as we have seen, but also in the Pacific. In Micronesia, seafaring was once accomplished with jawdropping precision by using a conceptual system so different from Western ones that scientists struggled to understand it. Today, this masterwork lives largely in museum exhibits.

Everyday ways of talking about space are undergoing a sea change, too. Very often, people in small-scale communities prefer to describe space using cardinal directions or local landmarks – often slopes, rivers or salient winds. Some of these systems, like the Gurindji compass terms, are highly elaborated. In contrast, WEIRD folks prefer to carve up the world in terms of their own bodily axes – their lefts and rights, fronts and backs. This ego-based frame of reference now appears to be taking hold broadly, spreading along with the influence of global languages such as Spanish.

Humanity is getting more ego-centred in other ways, too. It has long been observed that Western adults – and Americans in particular – privilege the individual over the group. We give our children unique names; we put them in bedrooms of their own; we emphasise their autonomy and needs. People in many other societies, most famously in East Asia, have historically privileged the collective instead. But Western-style individualism is gaining a foothold, even in the East. Japanese people have started giving their children unique names, too. A recent analysis of 78 countries found that, over the past half-century, markers of individualism have increased in the majority of them.

These are just some of the frameworks that are being displaced as global WEIRDing accelerates. Elsewhere, taxonomies, metaphors and mnemonics are evaporating. Many were never really documented in the first place. Researchers still don’t fully understand the conceptual system motivating khipus – the intricate string recording devices once made by the Inkas – but there’s no one left to explain it.

Human cognitive diversity joins a number of other forms of diversity that are disappearing. Diversity of mammals and plants, of languages and cuisines. But the loss of cognitive diversity raises issues all its own. Cognition is invisible and intangible, making it harder to track and harder to record. You can’t pin mindsets to a specimen board, or store them in a seed vault. It’s not easy to pose ways of knowing in a diorama. Thinking leaves footprints, of course – in language, in artifacts, in knotted string – but the act itself is ephemeral.

The loss of cognitive diversity raises an ethical dilemma, too. The forces that are eroding cognitive diversity – the forces of global WEIRDing – are often the same forces that are raising literacy levels worldwide, promoting access to education and opportunity in indigenous communities, and connecting people across the globe. Few would deny that these are positive developments for humanity. So we are left to ask, not only whether we can slow the loss of human cognitive diversity, but also whether we should even try.

Cognitive scientists such as myself are not used to grappling with these kinds of questions. Nor are we used to thinking about big trends in the human journey. But global WEIRDing is a trend we can’t ignore, one with scientific, humanistic and ethical implications. For much of human history, one of our most distinctive traits as a species has been our sheer diversity. But then our course began to change – and it’s time that cognitive scientists joined the conversation about where we’re going.

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Saturday Matinee: The Laughing Prisoner

“The Laughing Prisoner” (1987) is a parody of the 60’s cult programme The Prisoner, starring Jools Holland and Stephen Fry. This was shown as part of The Tube programme in 1987, and was repeated on 1st January 1993 as a stand-alone feature. John Peel appeared in the original version introducing a performance from a band. However the 1993 version cut him out for unknown reasons. Features appearances by Hugh Laurie, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Magnum and XTC.

Watch the original version of “The Laughing Prisoner” here.

Posted in Art, culture, Film, Humor, Music Video, Saturday Matinee, Video | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

THE NEOCON PLAYBOOK IS A RECIPE FOR DISASTER IN VENEZUELA

Neocon Nosferatu: Making South America Great Again. Photo credit: DonkeyHotey / WhoWhatWhy (CC BY-SA 2.0)

By Klaus Marre and Donkeyhotey

Source: Who.What.Why.

When Donald Trump promised that he would only hire the “best people,” maybe he should have been pressed on what, exactly, they would be good at. Because it’s clearly not running the US government. Over the past two years, it has become clear that liars, grifters, conmen, opportunists, and crooks seem to be drawn to the president like flies to … well, you know.

Now, however, a situation is arising for which one of Trump’s “best people” seems ideally suited for forcing regime change somewhere in the Americas.

At a time when the president seems intent on getting the US out of Syria and Afghanistan, he appears to be equally determined to plunge headfirst into the chaos in Venezuela.

His point person for this adventure is Elliott Abrams, who has a long history of mucking around in the US’s backyard — often with dubious methods. In other words, he’ll fit right in.

To those unfamiliar with Abrams, here are the CliffsNotes: In the early 1980s, Abrams served as assistant secretary of state for human rights, which, in retrospect, seems like some kind of cruel joke. In that position, Abrams once stated that former Guatemalan leader General Efraín Ríos Montt “brought considerable progress” to human rights in his country. In case you are not familiar with Ríos Montt, he was convicted of genocide and crimes against humanity in 2013.

Abrams’s motives back then seemed to be consistent with the goals of the military-industrial complex: He wanted an embargo on military aid to Guatemala to be lifted. Just as an aside, and unrelated to Abrams but possibly relevant to Venezuela, the CIA-engineered coup in Guatemala in 1954 did nothing to stabilize the country and led to a brutal and lengthy civil war.

Around the same time, Abrams sought to downplay reports of a massacre in El Salvador and testified before the Senate that the incident was being used for guerilla propaganda. A decade later, however, the UN-approved Salvadoran Truth Commission found that more than 500 civilians were “deliberately and systematically” murdered during that massacre. At the time, the Reagan administration was worried about El Salvador becoming a communist country and falling under the influence of the Soviet Union and spent billions to provide weapons to El Salvador’s military. Oh, and there was a brutal and lengthy civil war.

But Abrams truly left his mark when trying to solicit funding for the Nicaraguan Contras from the Sultan of Brunei. He later tried to cover up what happened and ended up pleading guilty to two counts of withholding information from Congress. He was pardoned by George H.W. Bush. All of this, of course, had to do with the US government supporting far-right “rebels” in Nicaragua and it involves a lengthy civil war that took a terrible toll on the country.

You may be detecting a pattern here.

We were certainly skeptical when it was announced that Abrams would be the special envoy for Venezuela. Throw in John Bolton and you have all of the ingredients you need for another neocon clusterfuck.

While Venezuela seems in urgent need of assistance, history has shown time and again that when the US “helps” in the Americas, almost everybody ends up worse than before — apart from the new US-backed right-wing regime and the people who supply the weapons. Just ask Abrams, who has had a front-row seat for some of the worst examples.

Based on his track record, he will make a terrible situation much worse. But maybe that’s the plan. And then he would certainly be the right man for the job.

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Some interesting new information about 9/11

Source: TruePublica.org

TruePublica Editor: We have published almost nothing about 9/11 on TruePublica. When independent news outlets do, they are immediately branded by the mainstream media and so-called ‘fact-checkers’ as conspiracy theorists. The BBC makes this point precisely in a 2018 article that starts like this – “On 11 September 2001, four passenger planes were hijacked by radical Islamist terrorists – almost 3,000 people were killed as the aircraft were flown into the World Trade Centre, the Pentagon and a Pennsylvania field. Just hours after the collapse of New York’s Twin Towers, a conspiracy theory surfaced online which persists more than 16 years later.”

The entire article is dedicated to all the ‘conspiracy theories’ involved in 9/11 and makes a mockery of anyone or anything that questions the official government line. They even heavily mock the brother of one man killed in 9/11 and frankly, true or not, the BBC’s report itself is rather sickening to read.

And yet, here we are, all these years later and it’s hardly surprising the theories of a conspiracy continue.

2016 study from Chapman University in California, found more than half of the American people believe the government is concealing information about the 9/11 attacks. This is in part because, large sections of the official US government report were redacted for years – and is still missing to this day.

The big problem is that the government is withholding crucial evidence. And then there’s other evidence the state and mainstream media refuse to even consider.

Paul Craig Roberts is an American economist and former United States Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy under President Reagan. Roberts was an associate editor and columnist for The Wall Street Journal and columnist for Business Week and has received the Warren Brookes Award for Excellence in Journalism. In 1993 the Forbes Media Guide ranked him as one of the top seven journalists in the United States.

Roberts wrote this really interesting piece of information just a few days ago that the mainstream media has been completely silent about: “Although the United States is allegedly a democracy with a rule of law, it has taken 17 years for public pressure to bring about the first grand jury investigation of 9/11. Based on the work of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth led by Richard Gage, first responder and pilots organizations, books by David Ray Griffin and others, and eyewitness testimony, the Lawyers’ Committee for 9/11 Inquiry has presented enough hard facts to the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York to force his compliance with the provisions of federal law that require the convening of a federal grand jury to investigate for the first time the attacks of September 11, 2001. https://www.lawyerscommitteefor9-11inquiry.org

This puts the US Justice (sic) Department in an extraordinary position. There will be tremendous pressures on the US Attorney’s office to have the grand jury dismiss the evidence as an unpatriotic conspiracy theory or otherwise maneuver to discredit the evidence presented by the Lawyers’ Committee, or modify the official account without totally discrediting it.

“What the 9/11 truthers and the Lawyers’ Committee have achieved is the destruction of the designation of 9/11 skeptics as “conspiracy theorists.” No US Attorney would convene a grand jury on the basis of a conspiracy theory. Clearly, the evidence is compelling that has put the US Attorney in an unenviable position.”

If the Lawyers’ Committee and the 9/11 truthers trust the US Attorney to go entirely by the facts, little will come of the grand jury. If the United States had a rule of law, something as serious as 9/11 could not have gone for 17 years without investigation.”

Three weeks before Roberts’ made this statement a letter was published by Off-Guardian about a Huffington Post hit piece about an academic teaching journalism. Its first paragraph explains entirely its own position.

An academic teaching journalism students at one of the UK’s top universities has publicly supported long-discredited conspiracy theories about the 9/11 terror attack, HuffPost UK can reveal.

This entire article, like that of the BBC’s, vigorously attacks any individual or organisation that has the temerity to question the ‘official’ narrative on any major incident as offered up by the state, such as the Skripal poisonings, Syria’s chemical weapons, Iraq and Chilcot Report.

HuffPost even uses an unnamed former head of MI6 and an unnamed former Supreme Commander of Nato to dispel such challenges to this narrative and then attacks other sources of news such as RT as nothing more than Russian propaganda irrespective of the source. As a rule, TruePublica does not publish news sourced by RT but that does not make all of its content propaganda.

David Ray Griffin, a retired American professor and political writer who founded the Center for Process Studies which seeks to promote the common good by means of the relational approach found in process thought was the co-author of the book ‘9/11 Unmasked’ – part of the attack piece was centred on by the HuffPost hit piece.

The head of the 9/11 Consensus Panel, the other co-author, responded to the HuffPost.  For information, the goal of the Consensus Panel is to “provide a ready source of evidence-based research to any investigation that may be undertaken by the public, the media, academia, or any other investigative body or institution.”

That letter is as follows:

 

Jess Brammer, UK Huffington Post
Chris York, UK Huffington Post

Dear Ms. Brammar and Mr. York:

I was the head information specialist serving the Medical Health Officers of British Columbia, Canada, for 25 years.

Your attack piece on Professor Piers Robinson and on the scholarly work of Dr. David Ray Griffin is the least accurate and the lowest quality published article I have ever seen.

I have assisted Dr. Griffin with 10 of his investigative books into the events of 9/11. In 2011 we decided to create the international 9/11 Consensus Panel to review and evaluate the official claims relating to September 11, 2001. The Panel we formed has 23 members, including people from the fields of physics, chemistry, structural engineering, aeronautical engineering, piloting, airplane crash investigation, medicine, journalism, psychology, and religion (For the full list, see here).

In seeking a consensus methodology, I was advised by the former provincial epidemiologist of British Columbia to employ a leading model that is used in medicine to establish the best diagnostic and treatment evidence to guide the world’s doctors using medical consensus statements.

The Panel methodology has produced, seven years later, 51 refutations of the official claims, which were published as 911 Unmasked: An International Review Panel Investigation in September, 2018.

Each Consensus Point, now a chapter in this book, was given three rounds of review and feedback by the Panel members. The panelists were blind to one another throughout the process, providing strictly uninfluenced individual feedback. Any Points that did not receive 85% approval by the third round were set aside.

The Honorary Members of the Panel include the late British (and longest-serving) parliamentarian Michael Meacher, the late evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, and the late Honorary President of the Italian Supreme Court, Ferdinando Imposimato.

The Huffington Post drastically lowered its standards to publish this hit piece, and what influenced it to do so is a question worth pursuing.

Yours truly

Elizabeth Woodworth, Co-author with Dr. David Ray Griffin
9/11 Unmasked

 

It is over 18 years now since the world-changing event of 9/11. One wonders when the information held by the American government, that continues to anger so many people affected by it will ever emerge.

However, one reason why such questions persist is precisely that of the actions of the US government itself. One should not forget those so-called ‘conspiracy theories’ that actually came true that continues to pour petrol on the flames of doubt.

For example, the American government killed thousands by poisoning alcohol to prove its point that alcohol was bad for the general public during prohibition. This was a ‘conspiracy theory’ that went on for decades – until it was proven to be true.

Then, you can take your pick of the lies government tells when it comes to starting wars – how about the lie the Saddam Hussain and Iraq had WMD ready to fire at Western targets. Total deaths exceeded 1 million. Yet another classic American lie was the Gulf of Tonkin incident in August 1964, as a pretext for escalating the country’s involvement in the Vietnam War that killed 60,000 American soldiers. Total deaths racked up 1.35 million, all based on a lie. That incident only came about because of an unintentional declassification of an NSA file in 2005.

Edward Snowden proved with his revelations in 2013 that the government was spying on everyone when the government had denied they had ever done so. It took a whistleblower to let us all know. The UK government has been found by the highest courts in the land to have broken numerous privacy and surveillance laws as a result of mass civilian surveillance systems.

Operation Mockingbird was a US government operation where journalists were paid to publish CIA propaganda, only uncovered by the Watergate scandal. It took a thief to unknowingly capture secret documents and recordings for the public to find out.

The list goes on and on – just as 9/11 will, so it will be interesting to see how the US Attorney, presented with evidence from so many prominent professionals will bury yet more 9/11 evidence. Don’t hold your breath though, the same questions will, no doubt, still be being asked in another 18 years time.

Posted in 9/11, Activism, Authoritarianism, black ops, Conspiracy, corporate news, culture, Deep State, Empire, Geopolitics, History, imperialism, media, Media Literacy, Militarization, Neocons, police state, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, State Crime, surveillance state, war, war on terror | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

A Nonviolent Strategy to Defeat a US Military Invasion of Venezuela

By Robert J. Burrowes

To the People of Venezuela

Recently I wrote an article explaining how you could defeat, using nonviolent strategy, the US coup attempt that is taking place in your country. See ‘A Nonviolent Strategy to Defeat the US Coup Attempt in Venezuela’.

I would like to complement that article by now briefly explaining how you can also defeat a military invasion by the United States and any collaborating invaders by using a strategy of nonviolent defense as well.

In making this suggestion, I acknowledge the extraordinary difficulties inflicted on Venezuela by the US sanctions imposed over many years as part of its ‘undeclared war against Venezuela’ (partly designed to destroy its progressive social banking model), explained straightforwardly by Ellen Brown in her article ‘The Venezuela Myth Keeping Us From Transforming Our Economy’ as well as alternative proposals to resolve the crisis, ranging from that by several governments to facilitate dialogue between the Venezuelan government and the opposition – see, for example, ‘Russia Proposes Venezuelan “Peaceful Measures” Initiative to UN’ – to Stephen Lendman’s suggestion that a peacekeeping force be deployed to Venezuela by such countries as Russia, China and non-aligned nations. See ‘Save Venezuelan Sovereignty: Oil Economy Destabilized. Peace-keeping Role by Russia, China, Non-alligned Nations?’

I understand that your first reaction to the idea of a strategy of nonviolent defense might be one of scepticism or even outright disbelief. However, if you are willing to consider what I write below, I will briefly explain why a strategy of nonviolent defense is theoretically and empirically sound, has often been successful in a wide range of contexts in the past, and why I believe it is important and how it can be done.

Of course, I am well aware that this history of successful nonviolent defense is little known because it has been, and still is, suppressed. And yet the history of nonviolent resistance in many diverse contexts clearly demonstrates that a strategy of nonviolent defense has the best chance of defending your country while minimizing the death and destruction in doing so (which does not mean that it would be without cost).

Moreover, if you want to read many carefully documented historical accounts of nonviolent struggles that were successful against military opponents, including those that were ruthlessly violent, you can do so in The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach. The book also carefully explains why these successes occurred without incurring heavy casualties on the defense, particularly in comparison to military campaigns and guerrilla struggles.

In my view then, the idea of implementing a strategy of nonviolent defense is important to consider for two essential reasons.

First, you are dealing with an opponent that is insane – see ‘The Global Elite is Insane Revisited’ with a more detailed explanation in ‘Why Violence?’ and ‘Fearless Psychology and Fearful Psychology: Principles and Practice’incredibly ignorant – see this interview of US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo ‘Venezuelan military will realize Maduro’s time is up: Mike Pompeo’ which is critiqued in these articles ‘Pompeo: America “obligated” to fight “Hezbollah” in Venezuela to save “duly elected” Guaido’ and ‘Pompeo Attempts to Link Iran, Hezbollah to Crisis in Venezuela’ – and grotesquely violent – see ‘The History – and Hypocrisy – of US Meddling in Venezuela’ and Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II – that, history teaches us, is highly likely to destroy your country to gain the geostrategic advantage and natural resources that control of your country offers, as the people of Iraq and Libya, for example, can testify.

And second: no matter how committed and courageous are the (loyal) members of your military forces and civilian militia (the National Bolivarian Militia of Venezuela), and the military forces of any allies who will stand with you in the defense of Venezuela, even a ‘successful’ outcome, such as that which Syria may be on the verge of ‘celebrating’, will only come at enormous cost in terms of human lives, infrastructure (including national heritage), ecological impact and time, all of which can be far more gainfully employed to continue building Venezuela, including overcoming outstanding problems, as you decide.

The Background

As I know that you are well aware, given the declared interest of the US elite in stealing your natural resources, including oil – see, for example, ‘“Good for business”: Trump adviser Bolton admits US interest in Venezuela’s “oil capabilities”’ and ‘Regime Change for Profit: Chevron, Halliburton Cheer On US Venezuela Coup’ – the US elite has long interfered with – see, for example, ‘US Influence in Venezuela Is Part of a Two Centuries-old Imperial Plan’ – and threatened military invasion of Venezuela to seize control of these resources in clear violation of international law. For recent examples only, see ‘Trump pressed aides on Venezuela invasion, US official says’ and ‘Time for talks “long passed”: US weaponizes aid amid push for regime change in Venezuela’.

Consequently, the US administration has finally used the pretext of an unfair election result in 2018 to call for the overthrow of your government despite the widely accepted result, verified by independent sources, and even the testimony of a former US president that your electoral system is without peer. See ‘Former US President Carter: Venezuelan Electoral System “Best in the World”’.

Moreover, the US puppet Juan Guaidó, anointed by the US to replace your elected President, has effectively indicated his support for US intervention, which clearly reveals where his loyalties lie, his willingness to now provide a pretext for a US invasion, and his complete disregard for the well-being of those Venezuelans who will inevitably be killed, injured and/or dispossessed during an invasion to support the ‘neocon regime-changers’ in Washington. See ‘Venezuela’s self-proclaimed “president” Guaido isn’t ruling out “authorizing” US intervention’ and ‘The Cynicism of Empire: Sen. Rubio Tells Venezuelans to Overthrow Their Government… or Starve!’

This threat of military intervention, as the historical record clearly demonstrates, has every prospect of being carried out. See ‘Before Venezuela: The long history of U.S. intervention in Latin America’ and ‘Overthrowing other people’s governments: The Master List’.

Despite this threat, as you are aware, President Nicolás Maduro has persisted in offering to discuss the issues arising from this conflict while also calling on the international community to ‘“Stop Trump’s insane actions!” Venezuela’s Maduro talks to RT about avoiding war’ and even writing an appeal to the people of the United States which, of course, was ignored by the corporate media so that it does not even reach a wide audience. See ‘An Open Letter to the People of the United States from President Nicolas Maduro’.

While I applaud your President for his persistent calls for dialogue to resolve this issue – for a recent example, see ‘Maduro Asks International Community to End US’s Threats of War’there are simply three realities that make it highly unlikely that his call will be heeded, whether by the US administration that has already rejected such a call – see ‘Time for talks “long passed”: US weaponizes aid amid push for regime change in Venezuela’ – or by the international community, a substantial section of which has already declared their support for the US puppet Juan Guaidó, who has been carefully groomed for a decade for the role he is now playing. See ‘The Making of Juan Guaidó: How the US Regime Change Laboratory Created Venezuela’s Coup Leader’.

These three realities are those I mentioned above: You are dealing with an insane, incredibly ignorant and grotesquely violent opponent: an elite that seeks geopolitical control and endless resources for profit no matter what the cost to fellow human beings and the biosphere, as the record demonstrates.

Moreover, in seeking to secure its objectives, the US elite will endeavour to control the narrative in relation to Venezuela. Hence, as you have noticed, the corporate media is lying prodigiously about Venezuela as it ‘beats the drums of war’. See, for example, ‘Dissecting the jingoistic media coverage of the Venezuela crisis’, ‘Venezuela Blitz – Part 1: Tyrants Don’t Have Free Elections’, ‘Venezuela Blitz – Part 2: Press Freedom, Sanctions And Oil’ and ‘The BBC and Venezuela: bias and lies’.

For you and those of us outside Venezuela who have some knowledge of your country’s history, we are well aware of the enormous gains made by the Bolivarian movement, despite the enormously damaged country that the movement inherited. See, for example, ‘Venezuela: From Oil Proxy to the Bolivarian Movement and Sabotage’.

This progress, of course, does not mean that all problems have been resolved, most of which have been exacerbated by the sanctions imposed in recent years by the United States government. See, for example, the report by Alfred de Zayas on behalf of the United Nations Human Rights Council – ‘Report of the Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order on his mission to the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela and Ecuador’ – which identified the crisis the US ‘economic warfare’ was precipitating. See ‘Former UN Rapporteur: US Sanctions Against Venezuela Causing Economic and Humanitarian Crisis’.

Defending Against a US Military Invasion of Venezuela

So, while your effort to defeat the coup attempt continues, even if the United States military invades Venezuela before or after this issue is resolved, you have the powerful option of resisting any invasion effectively by employing a strategy of nonviolent defense.

I have explained the essential points of this strategy on the website Nonviolent Defense/Liberation Strategy. The pages of this website provide clear guidance on how to easily plan and then implement the twelve components of this strategy.

If you like, you can see a diagrammatic representation of this strategy by looking at the Nonviolent Strategy Wheel.

And on the Strategic Aims page you can see the basic list of 30 strategic goals necessary to defeat a military invasion. These strategic goals can easily be adopted, modified and/or added to if necessary, in accordance with your precise circumstances as you decide.

If you want to read a straightforward account of how to plan and conduct a nonviolent tactic so that it has strategic impact, you can do so here: ‘Nonviolent Action: Why and How it Works’.

This will require awareness of the difference between ‘The Political Objective and Strategic Goal of Nonviolent Actions’.

And, to ensure that the military violence directed against you is made as difficult as possible to perpetrate and, in many cases, does not eventuate, you are welcome to consider the 20 points designed to ensure that you are ‘Minimizing the Risk of Violent Repression’ whenever you take nonviolent action to defend yourselves when repression is a risk. This information is useful for both neutralizing violent provocateurs but also to ensure that invading military forces are compelled to deal with complex emotional and moral issues that do not arise against a violent opponent who is threatening them, and which will lead some, and perhaps very many, to desist as the historical record clearly documents. Again, for many examples, see The Strategy of Nonviolent Defense: A Gandhian Approach.

Conclusion

The US government and its sycophantic allies might not invade Venezuela. It may transpire that the diplomatic and other efforts of your government to defeat the coup and avert a US-led military invasion of Venezuela will be successful. There is also a fracturing of the opposition forces within Venezuela, in several ways, which works against the success of ongoing efforts to remove your government. See ‘Venezuela Regime Change “Made in the USA”’.

However, the extensive historical evidence of US interventions in violation of international law, the geostrategic and natural resource advantages that will accrue to the US elite from an invasion that removes your elected government, the anointment of a puppet president of Venezuela, the recent posturing and declarations by key members of the US administration and many US-allied governments, and the manufacture of public acquiescence by the corporate media all point heavily in the direction of invasion. And, as you are well aware, it is wise to treat this possibility seriously.

The elite conducting these preparatory moves is insane and, if it attacks Venezuela, there is a serious risk it will destroy your country as it has destroyed Iraq and Libya, especially if it meets significant military resistance. Their insanity precludes them caring about you, the people of Venezuela (even as they present any intervention as ‘humanitarian’). See ‘Love Denied: The Psychology of Materialism, Violence and War’. They care about nothing more than geostrategic advantage, eliminating progressive elements of your society’s development, and seizing your natural resources from which they can profit enormously.

Nevertheless, a strategy of nonviolent defense would enable you to defend yourselves and enable every last member of your population, irrespective of age and ability, to be strategically involved, as well as any solidarity activists overseas. It would also minimize the loss of life and destruction inflicted on your country.

Importantly, even if you suffer setbacks, unless and until you accept outright defeat, your strategy of nonviolent defense, ongoingly refined to maintain effective strategic coordination and to retain the initiative, will ultimately prevail.

As always, however, whether or not you decide to consider/adopt my suggestion, you have my solidarity.

 

Biodata: Robert J. Burrowes has a lifetime commitment to understanding and ending human violence. He has done extensive research since 1966 in an effort to understand why human beings are violent and has been a nonviolent activist since 1981. He is the author of ‘Why Violence?’ His email address is flametree@riseup.net and his website is here.

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Two for Tuesday

The Julie Ruin

Max Q

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The Stomach-Churning Violence of the Agrochemical Oligopoly

By Colin Todhunter

Source: OffGuardian

As humans, we have evolved with the natural environment over millennia. We have learned what to eat and what not to eat, what to grow and how to grow it and our diets have developed accordingly. We have hunted, gathered, planted and harvested. Our overall survival as a species has been based on gradual, emerging relationships with the seasons, insects, soil, animals, trees and seeds. And out of these relationships, we have seen the development of communities whose rituals and bonds have a deep connection with food production and the natural environment.

However, over the last couple generations, agriculture and food production has changed more than it had done over previous millennia. These changes have involved massive social upheaval as communities and traditions have been uprooted and have entailed modifying what we eat, how we grow our food and what we apply to it. All of this has been driven by geopolitical concerns and powerful commercial interests with their proprietary chemicals and patented seeds. The process of neoliberal globalisation is accelerating the process as farmers are encouraged to produce for global supply chains dominated by transnational agribusiness.

Certain crops are now genetically engineered, the range of crops we grow has become less diverse, synthetic biocides have been poured on crops and soil and our bodies have been subjected to a chemical bombardment. We have arrived at a point where we have lost touch with our deep-rooted microbiological and social connection with nature and have developed an arrogance that has placed ‘man’ above the environment and all other species. One of the consequences is that we have paid an enormous price in terms of the consequent social, environmental and health-related devastation.

Despite the promise and potential of science, it has too often in modern society become a tool of vested interests, an ideology wrapped in the vestiges of authority and the ‘superstition’ that its corporate-appointed priesthood should not be challenged nor questioned. Instead of liberating humankind, it has now too often become a tool of deception in the hands of agribusiness conglomerates which make up the oligopoly that controls what is an increasingly globalised system of modern food and agriculture.

These corporations have successfully instituted the notion that the mass application of biocides, monocropping and industrial agriculture are necessary and desirable. They are not. However, these companies have used their science and propaganda to project certainty in order to hide the fact that they have no real idea what their products and practices are doing to human health or the environment (and in cases when they do know, they do their best to cover it up or hide behind the notion of ‘commercial confidentiality’).

Based on their limited, tainted studies and co-opted version of science, they say with certainty that, for example, genetically engineered food and glyphosate are ‘safe’. And when inconvenient truths do emerge, they will mobilise their massive lobbying resources to evade regulations, they will seek to hide the dangers of their products or they will set out to destroy scientists whose findings challenge their commercial bottom line.

Soil microbiologists are still trying to fully comprehend soil microbes and how they function as anintegrated network in relation to plants. The agrochemical sector has little idea of how their biocides have affected soils. It merely churns out public relations spin that their inputs are harmless for soil, plants and human health. Such claims are not based on proper, in-depth, long-term studies. They are based on a don’t look, don’t find approach or a manipulation of standards and procedures that ensure their products make it on to the commercial market and stay there.

And what are these biocides doing to us as humans? Numerous studies have linked the increase in pesticide us with spiralling rates of ill health. Kat Carrol of the National Health Federation is concerned about the impacts on human gut bacteria that play a big role in how organs function and our neurological health. The gut microbiome can contain up to six pounds of bacteria and is what Carroll calls ‘human soil’. She says that with their agrochemicals and food additives, powerful companies are attacking this ‘soil’ and with it the sanctity of the human body.

And her concerns seem valid. Many important neurotransmitters are located in the gut. Aside from affecting the functioning of major organs, these transmitters affect our moods and thinking. Feed gut bacteria a cocktail of biocides and is it any surprise that many diseases are increasing?

For instance, findings published in the journal ‘Translational Psychiatry’ provide strong evidence that gut bacteria can have a direct physical impact on the brain. Alterations in the composition of the gut microbiome have been implicated in a wide range of neurological and psychiatric conditions, including autism, chronic pain, depression, and Parkinson’s Disease.

Environmental campaigner Dr Rosemary Mason has written extensively on the impacts of agrochemicals (especially glyphosate) on humans, not least during child and adolescent development. In her numerous documents and papers, she cites a plethora of data and studies that link the use of agrochemicals with various diseases and ailments. She has also noted the impact of these chemicals on the human gut microbiome.

The science writer Mo Costandi discusses the importance of gut bacteria and their balance. In adolescence the brain undergoes a protracted period of heightened neural plasticity, during which large numbers of synapses are eliminated in the prefrontal cortex and a wave of ‘myelination’ sweeps across this part of the brain. These processes refine the circuitry in the prefrontal cortex and increase its connectivity to other brain regions. Myelination is also critical for normal, everyday functioning of the brain. Myelin increases a nerve fibre’s conduction velocity by up to a hundred times, and so when it breaks down, the consequences can be devastating.

Other recent work shows that gut microbes control the maturation and function of microglia, the immune cells that eliminate unwanted synapses in the brain; age-related changes to gut microbe composition might regulate myelination and synaptic pruning in adolescence and could, therefore, contribute to cognitive development. Upset those changes, and, As Mason argues, there are going to be serious implications for children and adolescents. Mason places glyphosate at the core of the ailments and disorders currently affecting young people in Wales and the UK in general.

Yet we are still being subjected to an unregulated cocktail of agrochemicals which end up interacting with each other in the gut. Regulatory agencies and governments appear to work hand in glove with the agrochemical sector.

Carol Van Strum has released documents indicating collusion between the manufacturers of dangerous chemicals and regulatory bodies. Evaggelos Vallianatos has highlighted the massive fraud surrounding the regulation of biocides and the wide scale corruption at laboratories that were supposed to test these chemicals for safety. Many of these substances were not subjected to what was deemed proper testing in the first place yet they remain on the market. The late Shiv Chopra also highlighted how various dangerous products were allowed on the commercial market and into the food chain due to collusion between these companies and public officials.

Powerful transnational corporations are using humanity as their collective guinea pig. But those who question them, or their corporate science, are automatically labelled anti-science and accused of committing crimes against humanity because they are preventing their products from being commercialised ‘to help the poor or hungry’. Such attacks on critics by company mouthpieces who masquerade as public officials, independent scientists or independent journalists are mere spin. They are, moreover, based on the sheer hypocrisy that these companies (owned and controlled by elite interests) have humanity’s and the environment’s best interests at heart.

Many of these companies have historically profited from violence. Unfortunately, that character of persists. They directly profit on the back of militarism, whether as a result of the US-backed ‘regime change’ in Ukraine or the US invasion of Iraq. They also believe they can cajole (poison) nature by means of chemicals and bully governments and attack critics, while rolling out propaganda campaigns for public consumption.

Whether it involves neocolonialism and the destruction of indigenous practices and culturesunder the guise of ‘development’, the impoverishment of farmers in India, the twisting and writing of national and international laws, the destruction of rural communities, the globalisation of bad food and illness, the deleterious impacts on health and soil, the hollowing out of public institutions and the range of human rights abuses we saw documented during The Monsanto Tribunal, what we are witnessing is structural violence in many forms.

Pesticides are in fact “a global human rights concern” and are in no way vital to ensuring food security. Ultimately, what we see is ignorance, arrogance and corruption masquerading as certainty and science.

…when we wound the planet grievously by excavating its treasures – the gold, mineral and oil, destroy its ability to breathe by converting forests into urban wastelands, poison its waters with toxic wastes and exterminate other living organisms – we are in fact doing all this to our own bodies… all other species are to be enslaved or driven to extinction if need be in the interests of human ‘progress’… we are part of the same web of life –where every difference we construct artificially between ‘them’ and ‘us’ adds only one more brick to the tombstone of humankind itself.”
from Micobes of the World Unite! by Satya Sager

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