FTX and the Corruption of America

By Charles Hugh Smith

Source: Of Two Minds

Thanks to the FTX swindle, we now know the cost of a get out of jail free card in America: $40 million, paid to political elites. It seems even get out of jail free cards have suffered from inflation.

With hefty “donations” (heh) to elites, all wrong-doing is swept under a very capacious carpet. Jeffrey Epstein sprinkled a few million on the elites of Harvard, and he was ushered into this elite circle as an intimate pal. The fact that he was a rapacious predator of children was of no concern. A few million showered on the right people and causes makes evil and criminality disappear.

If a financier looter showers $40 million on “the right people,” mouths the “correct” phrases and issues empty promises to give away his looted billions, he becomes an instant golden boy of the right elites who have the power to protect him from consequences.

This is how America works now: in-your-face corruption is not just accepted, it’s glorified. Let’s score America’s wealth and power elites, regardless of party or political persuasion:

Integrity: zero.

Austerity: zero.

Restraint: zero.

Humility: zero.

Responsibility: zero.

Accountability: zero.

Sacrifice for the common good: zero.

Thrift: zero.

A society whose elites are so self-serving, corrupt, unaccountable and devoid of any sense of good and evil is doomed.
 Consider the bleatings of America’s power elite on the FTX swindle. Let’s have congressional hearings on this remarkable “financial event” that caught everyone by surprise, etc.

Translation: let’s stage some political theater to cloak the fact that the looters are being protected from consequences. We all know what happens if you’re caught selling a nickel bag on the street: you get a tenner in a hellhole prison.

But if you bribed the right people, you can swindle billions of dollars and walk free as an insincerely apologetic victim of your own success. Golly gee, I don’t understand what happened to all that money, even though I’m not exactly shy about declaring my own genius.

For reasons lost on the rest of us, investigations by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) always come up empty. Gee, the looting was complicated and we can’t figure out who might have broken the laws against fraud, collusion, embezzlement, malfeasance, etc., so we’re letting everyone off the hook.

Or some sleazy, unaccountable intelligence agency is referenced in whispers that the looters are “assets” and therefore untouchable. Where exactly is the rule of law in a society where bribes, political pressure and having knowledge of elites’ skeletons in the closet melt away accountability and consequences?

The rule of law in America is an illusion, a useful myth promoted by PR hacks to cover the tracks of their employers. Corporate wrong-doing–swindles, collusion, fraud, embezzlement, malfeasance–is off the charts, but nobody is responsible. The criminal corporations are duly fined, a tiny clawback of their looting that’s written off as a cost of doing business.

Consider this data base of 6,300 major corporate fines and settlements from the early 1990s to 2015 compiled by Jon Morse. Nobody paid any personal fines or served any prison time for any of these thousands of violations.

There are two systems of “justice” in America: one which grants elites freedom from consequences of their toxic criminality and another one for the rest of us that imprisons hundreds of thousands in the War on Drugs Gulag.

What all the entrenched insiders in America’s parasitic, predatory elites and institutions don’t dare admit is that to protect themselves from consequence, we’ve had to sacrifice everything else. Having stripped the nation of the essential foundation of a just, enduring social order–accountability, consequence, rule of law and a grasp of the difference between good and evil–there’s nothing left but sound and fury, as if they’re hoping the endless political circuses and trails of bread crumbs will forever distract us from their plunder and the injustices of the irredeemably corrupt America they’ve fashioned to protect their wealth and power.

To paraphrase Lao Tzu, if one insists on an extreme of corruption and injustice, that extreme will not dwell long.

Posted in black ops, Corporate Crime, Corruption, culture, Deep State, Dystopia, Economics, elites, Financial Crisis, Inequality, Law, news, Oligarchy, Recession, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime, Technocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments


By Kingsley L. Dennis

Source: Waking Times

‘A sincere reflection on human behavior is enough to convince us that the power of choice plays much less part in the life of man than we think.’ ~J.G. Bennett

We are familiar with the concept that a person has no real choice, and we generally regard this in relation to our commercial choices. That is, what we choose to buy is generally a decision based on a selection of limited choice. This has also been referred to as ‘curated needs.’ What we think or believe we want, or need, is conditioned into us – or ‘curated’ – so that we are merely responding to managed external stimuli to acquire certain goods. Whilst this is valid, and is indeed an operative modality, it remains within the material realm. In the opening citation, the thinker and author J.G. Bennett was referring to a form of choice beyond that of a material one. He was relating to the lack of choice within the inner world of the human being – that is, the presence of human will. Bennett was speaking and writing from the 1940s to the 1970s, yet what he said then is as relevant for today as he was not speaking about things that are relative to historical time or place but to an almost timeless situation – the human condition. The lack of genuine inner will of the human being has been made starker in modern times due to the lens of psychology and similar sciences.

Professor Mattias Desmet has recently popularised the concept of mass formation and false solidarity, which refer to how crowd psychology is established and sustained.[i] In his recent book (The Psychology of Totalitarianism), Desmet points out that what we call totalitarianism has only been with us for the past 120 years, since the beginning of the twentieth century. Two previous examples that he gives are the Stalinist regime that came to power on the back of the Russian Revolution, and the National Socialist (Nazi) regime in Germany. Most recently, he says, the world is experiencing the rise of a global form of totalitarianism under the guise, or ideology, of technocracy. The one thing that totalitarianism has in common is that it is based on ideology rather than brute power. Further, that the populace is persuaded (or programmed) into obeyance through propaganda and social-cultural conditioning, rather than forced through fear (as is the case with dictatorships). The mass formation of willing obedience is a symbol for our times. With the availability of global communications, a largely digitally ‘plugged-in’ world population, the widespread influence of controlled media, and the pervasive presence of mind-influencing technologies, the human species has never been in a more pressing moment in its collective history.

Modern day humanity may not only be suffering from a lack of genuine choice; more importantly, it may be experiencing the dilemma of a lack of connection with internal will power. It is this dominant state of the human psyche – we may even go so far as to call it a widespread psychosis – that lies at the root of much of our present ills with its sense of apathy and pessimism. Some readers will be familiar with German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s concept of the will to power; lesser known is the English philosopher Colin Wilson and his notion of the will to perceive. For Wilson, the question of freedom and choice is not a social problem – it is an internal one for it requires an ‘intensity of will.’[ii] In other words, it is a personal struggle to achieve a form of self-awakening, or triggering, to arouse oneself from the torpidity and apathy of life. The issue is that for most people they don’t consider the fragility of life’s situation. The general masses, at least in the western world, consider themselves to be already free. They exist within the belief structure that they are protected and looked after by their governments and social institutions and that, give or take a few things, they have most essential needs provided for. Such people, I would posit, live on the outside of themselves – they are skin-dwellers. They live through their personalities and are most likely to adhere to mass consensus narratives. They are to be swayed by the rollercoaster ride of external events and react as anticipated by the governing elites who manipulate finances, food supply, energy supply, and more. This mass of people will only recognize the loss of freedom when it is threatened in relation to external events. It is a manufactured sense of freedom for once the threat has vanished – or seemingly made to vanish – then the meaning of freedom dissipates for the danger is no longer perceived. That is, it is an exterior crisis or danger that triggers people into action and as the perceived threat fades, they slip back once again into apathy and mass obedience. There is a lack of internal stimulation.

The stimulation of the human will requires that a person has the will to acquire insight. This they must choose for themselves, for no other agency shall give it to them. On the contrary, many social systems are designed to deteriorate a person’s will by compelling them to give away their dependency and authority onto external systems. Consistency, commitment, and the intention to will, are human aspects severely undermined by the deliberate constraint of material structures and social systems. Such critical observations and the power of intention are also being increasingly undermined by the rise of what I would call ‘lazy spirituality.’ This is the type of Instagram positive thinking or commercial well-beingness that online ‘spiritual celebrities’ are all too eager to promote (and sell). Behind such on-demand spiritual well-being-positive-thinking packages is a passivity or laziness to critically engage in inner work and to gain perceptive cognition to recognize the fallacy inherent within the material domain.

It is one thing to be positively-orientated and having ‘oneness’ for all creation; it is another matter to have the perceptive capacity to recognize that there are forces in play in the world that are active in nullifying metaphysical values and realities in order to replace them with an ever-deepening materialism. It would seem that there is an increasing form of cultural laziness and indecision, especially in this current time when people chiefly wish for things to be made easy for them. Instead of a person having faith and hope that they can change by making real effort, they are usually entertained with illusions that then take away from them the impulse to make any real change within themselves. In today’s world, a person who seeks to develop inner awareness and to raise their perceptive capacity often find themselves at odds with their cultural milieu. Those with ‘spiritual seriousness,’ so to say, are what Colin Wilson referred to as the Outsider.[iii] Such individuals have an intangible need to be more than just a ‘happy, well-fed animal.’ Again, Wilson referred to this state as being that of the robot; he said that we all have a robot within us that is eager to come out and take over all our daily duties for us. The Greek-Armenian mystic G.I. Gurdjieff called this the state of the ‘man machine.’ I have referred to this as the robosapien.[iv]

Within such automated states the individual experiences the world through a narrowed lens of awareness. Wilson, for example, recognized that such limited awareness almost lulled a person into a ‘state of permanent drowsiness, like being half-anesthetized’ so that a broader vision of life is restricted. And this is how what we call ordinary, everyday life affects us. Whether it be through external impacts, stimulants, distractions, information, technological entanglement, energetic haze, and more, the environment of everyday life pacifies us by closing down our perceptual horizons. In response to this, Colin Wilson noted that ‘it is as impossible to exercise freedom in an unreal world as it is to jump while you are falling.’[v] Freedom is not only related to physical mobility and access to human rights; it is also a question of an inner ‘intensity of mind’ that can pull a person out of the collective of mass formation (as Desmet would call it). The modern life can be regarded as a cause of spiritual decay because it seeks to demolish any recognition of a metaphysical reality. And through this, many people are unknowingly suffering a form of ‘reality deficiency.’ There have been people who, over the years, have strived to point this out to us, from wisdom teachers, mystics, and philosophers (like Colin Wilson). This deficiency prevents people from receiving inner nourishment; over time, this acts to deprive human cognition by literally starving it of nutrients (perception). We are in a time right now of great ‘reality deficiency’ as the dominant consensus narratives peddle their lies, manipulations, and programming.

Each age has its own form of reality and/or metaphysical suppression, from the physically overt (Spanish Inquisition) to the covert (technocracy). Within each specific era, there are calculated forces that act to impinge upon the individuals’ own evolutionary drive toward not only self-attainment but, more importantly, a connection with a transcendental impulse (what some may call as Source). The historian Arnold Toynbee believed that civilizations (and its individuals) progress by overcoming struggles; by moving through ‘challenge points,’ so to speak. If the crisis is too great, the civilization succumbs and collapses. If the challenge is not great enough, the civilization overcomes and becomes complacent, slides into greater decadence and eventually collapses. The challenge must be just right – the ‘Goldilocks’ zone, as Gary Lachman calls it. Challenges bring out the best in individuals too, yet they must be able to grow and develop through the crisis – and this is often down to an inner will or drive.  Toynbee believed that a civilization needs to produce a ‘creative minority’ to meet such a challenge of its time. It would seem that we are amidst such a ‘challenge point’ right now; and it is not only a physical crisis but also an existential one. I would go further and suggest that human civilization cannot survive indefinitely without some inborn sense of a transcendental purpose – otherwise it is like a hollow shell that becomes increasingly brittle over time. British philosopher and historian Nicholas Hagger, whose monumental work The Fire and the Stones examines the sacred impulse (the ‘Fire/Light’) within twenty-five civilizations, likewise has shown how civilizations are inspired by the transcendental impulse and decay when such an impulse is forgotten or dismissed.[vi]

What is required is for us, our communities and cultures, to become more conscious of our participation in reality. Further, that what we take to be reality is a merger between the physical and the metaphysical. As such, humanity is a being ‘of spirit’ that is manifesting through the intermediary of a physical body. To take this even further, we need to come to recognize that all existence is consciousness primarily, and that physical phenomena is an energetic state that manifests from a source of consciousness. What is required of humanity to survive beyond this existential crisis and challenge point is to become more conscious. Is this possible? Colin Wilson was not so sure. Wilson believed, and stated as such, that the majority of people cannot accept the burden of becoming more conscious. He felt that the ‘masses’ were both consciously and subconsciously choosing the more comfortable ‘mediocracy of life.’ I would even question what this term means any more – what is the ‘mediocracy of life’ when we can no longer be sure what reality is? Abstractions have now replaced realities to create an enveloping world of pseudo-reality and a ‘theatre of the absurd.’ As I talked about in my book Bardo Times,[vii] life has become a simulation – a simulacra as the French theorist Jean Baudrillard would say – and the notion of what is ‘real’ appears to have dissolved into what is the latest consensus narrative. What is important to acknowledge in these challenging times is that as the chaos whirls around us, humanity stands on the threshold of a higher form of life.

This is the other point that perceptive individuals have been attempting to point out to us (not least of them has been the Indian sage Sri Aurobindo). And this threshold becomes more apparent and urgent whenever a civilization begins either its decline or its necessary transition to a different epoch and modality. This is the challenge that civilization must face – either to raise/adjust its level of consciousness and perceptive capacity or stagnate and then collapse. Human civilization necessarily reflects the state of perception of its inhabitants. As that indwelling perception expands, so too does the physical environment develop in alignment. If perceptive capacity is restricted or even being deliberately reduced, as is the case right now, then entropic or atrophying forces begin to dominate. This is why we must resist, at great effort, to submit to a programming of conformity and perceptive limitation that is likely to come about through increased technocratic forms of social management and control. This is where Colin Wilson’s notion of the will to perceive comes in. Due to the external environment, human consciousness is generally conditioned into a dulled state so that higher insights or perceptions are not ‘allowed’ to get through. We need to seek to ‘widen’ (expand) our consciousness beyond such limiting influences so that greater perceptive insights can be achieved. Most people, however, are reflections of their surroundings and, as such, require external inputs to motivate or trigger them into action. Chaos and crises can function as such triggering impacts. The ‘will to perceive’ also activates a will to purpose. Behind the human developmental impulse there is a push, I would say, to increase our intentionality. Without the ‘will to purpose’ there is a lack of conscious participation. It is the will to purpose that distinguishes the human being from the machine – the ‘robosapien.’ Modern life, with its technocratic pull, is encouraging people not to think but to allow automation to take over duties and responsibilities. On the contrary, we need to be ‘pulling ourselves up by the bootstraps’ and intentionally driving ourselves across the threshold. What could this threshold be?

Humanity is moving towards a stage in its evolutionary path whereby it becomes cognizant of its role as a fusion (a bridge or merger) between spirit/consciousness and physicality/matter. We are, in these times, the forward ground crew sent ahead to prepare the groundwork. Sometime in the future – it could be ten, twenty, thirty years or more – human understanding and the sciences will come to recognize the primary role of consciousness behind all existence. And when this occurs, human life will alter drastically. We shall understand that human existence is a merging of non-physical intelligence with physical forces. The very notion of life and reality will be greatly expanded beyond current conceptions. We shall be propelled beyond the confines of the physical robot – the robosapien – and shall utilize presently unknown organs of perception. But we are not at that threshold yet. And this is partly why we are seeing a contestation of forces in play. There are forces that do not wish for humanity to reach, and pass, this threshold for we shall then no longer be their passive robots to manage and control. The present control hierarchies will be demolished. And there is a small contingency that wish to cut humanity off from this transcendental impulse, to isolate us from receiving such developmental forces, and to push us back into our perceptual prisons of the ‘everyday mundane.’ Such forces aim to increase the programming and technologies of cognitive influence to hypnotize the mass of humanity into accepting an ‘upside-down’ reality that the robosapien seems the most suited to. Our will to purpose now is about having the inner drive and intentionality to move us beyond this current predicament and modern state of alienation, and forward into a state of heightened cognition and expanded perceptual awareness.

It is my view that the ‘teething pains’ that we are presently experiencing represent the birthing, or arrival, of a new form of consciousness coming to manifestation through the human species. That is, a mergence with an expanded field of consciousness. And for this to emerge, the individual is called upon to ‘meet it’ halfway, so to speak. Social forces will attempt to continue to hold back the individual by mental, emotional, and physical/biological interventions. And yet, against these artificial constrictions, I am confident that if enough of us (we don’t need to be a majority) can strive for cognitive freedom, perceptive clarity, and inner awareness, we can become the early wave – the evolutionary outsider – to make the initial steps across the threshold. Just enough of us need to act as the ‘antennae of the race’[viii] to pass the baton onto our descendants. And that, I would say, gives us enough reason to activate our will to purpose.

About the Author

Kingsley L. Dennis is the author of The Phoenix Generation: A New Era of Connection, Compassion, and Consciousnessand The Sacred Revival: Magic, Mind & Meaning in a Technological Age, available at Amazon. Visit him on the web at http://www.kingsleydennis.com/.

[i] See my previous essay: ‘The Establishment of Mass Psychology & False Solidarity’ – https://kingsleydennis.com/the-establishment-of-mass-psychology-false-solidarity/

[ii] For an in-depth study of Wilson’s life and thought, I would recommend the excellent biography by Gary Lachman – Beyond the Robot: The Life and Work of Colin Wilson (2016)

[iii] See Colin Wilson’s book The Outsider (originally published in 1956)

[iv] See my book Hijacking Reality: The Reprogramming and Reorganization of Human Life (2021)

[v] Wilson, Colin (1982) The Outsider. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, p39

[vi] Hagger, Nicholas (1991) The Fire and the Stones. Dorset: Element Books.

[vii] Bardo Times: hyperreality, high-velocity, simulation, automation, mutation – a hoax? (2018)

[viii] A phrase coined by the poet Ezra Pound.

LA VOLUNTAD DE PROPÓSITO: Cruzar el umbral venidero de la humanidad

Posted in consciousness, culture, Philosophy, Psychology, society, Sociology, Spirituality, Technocracy | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Saturday Matinee: The Wobblies

Classic Film Review: One of the Great Labor Documentaries is restored — “The Wobblies (1979)

By Roger Moore

Source: Movie Nation

“The One Big Union,” they called it, an organization that would represent every worker laboring for “The Man.” Unlike the “skilled labor” guilds of the earlier American Federation of Labor, it would take in everyone, including the the extreme exertion “unskilled” jobs — farm labor, lumberjacks, longshoremen and miners. It would be a union whose work actions and strikes were meant to not just exercise some control over their work days, their wages and their safety It would struggle to gain outright ownership of the industries where the workers toiled.

The One Big Union would rattle “ownership” in America’s rapacious “gilded age” and threaten capitalism itself if it succeeded.

“The Wobblies” is a classic labor documentary from 1979, a film that gets back to the core meaning of the film genre — “to document,” to have history recounted by those who actually lived it. Filmmakers Deborah Shaffer and Stewart Bird interviewed the dying out members and eyewitnesses to the actions and struggles of the Industrial Workers of the World, “The Wobblies,” and let these old men and women speak of the idealism, desperation and determination that drove America’s most radical labor movement, which came to life in 1905 and then disappeared, after 20 years of strife, scapegoating and bloody attacks from America’s defenders of the status quo.

The newly-restored film is a reminder of the varied styles and formats of documentaries before PBS an Ken Burns codified and formalized these films into academics and “experts” and actors reading letters or performing speeches of the figures represented.

What that looks and sounds like is a tapestry of testimonials, on and off camera, recreating an era of child labor and the murderously callous reign of America’s first oligarchs — Rockefeller and Ford, Carnegie and J.P. Morgan.

“I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half,” financier Jay Gould sneered.

And so he could. In an era where workplace safety was deemed an unnecessary bother, when giant lumber companies could strip America’s forests with a remote workforce they could underfeed and house under deplorable conditions, when mining disasters were a simple “cost of doing business” worth no one’s attention, when hired cops and militia could be relied on to mow down longshoremen striking for an eight hour day, capitalists and capitalism were literally killing much of America, and getting anybody to care was a near impossible struggle.

“The Wobblies” uses archival silent films, still photographs, posters and performed recitations to recreate the labor ferment that boiled over from the late 1800s into the early 20th century. Interviews then hammer home what the Wobblies — their nickname may have come from Asian workers’ inability to say “I.W.W.” — represented, an impatience with the pace of reform and change.

“Work, good wages and respect” was their credo, witnesses recount.

“Free speech” battles erupted as the right to organize and protest was assaulted from Minot, North Dakota and Butte, Montana to Everett, Washington and Lawrence, Massachusetts, site of an early Wobbly unionizing success.

A hostile press and a political system bent towards the whims of the celebrated robber barons, who would quickly call for and receive lethal assistance in attacking and imprisoning labor organizers and shooting strikers was what the Wobblies were up against.

“Shakedowns” from railroaders hired to transport farm workers and lumbermen from site to work site via boxcar were common, abuse on the job and across industries was common. The Wobblies vowed that they wouldn’t just take a punch waiting for a passive public and blind-eyed government to act. They’d punch back.

The lack of experts interviewed here leaves the film with an implicit, sympathetic bias, but also deprives it of academically underscored proof of the context all this struggle took place in. World War I and the first “Red Scare,” the birth of the Soviet Union,” took place just as as the Wobblies were on the rise. A refusal to condemn or support the war, or to call off strikes during the conflict, added to heated pushback, attacks and image tarring by the press and government.

The “bomb throwers” label slapped on every labor movement since the Haymarket Square Riot was unjustly attached to the Wobblies from their birth and on into the age of animated film.

Clips from Ford-sponsored silent cinema cartoons depicting IWW organizers as rats and even an early Walt Disney (he hated unions) effort, “Alice’s Egg Plant” remind us how quick conservatives were to tie labor to the brand new boogeyman — communism — and smear workers’ rights organizations with that.

“The Wobblies” is a bracing, enthusiastic film, with many an old Wobbly recalling mottos, chants and even songs.

One remembrance ends with words he recalled his sympathetic father passing on to him. A worthy cause with worthy goals, the old Wobbly remembers his old man saying. “But it’s just a dream. It’ll never happen.”

Watch The Wobblies on Kanopy here: https://www.kanopy.com/en/product/12764581

Posted in Activism, Art, civil disobedience, civil liberties, Corporate Crime, culture, Film, Labor, Oligarchy, Saturday Matinee, society, State Crime, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Goodbye G20, hello BRICS+

The increasingly irrelevant G20 Summit concluded with sure signs that BRICS+ will be the way forward for Global South cooperation.

By Pepe Escobar

Source: The Cradle

The redeeming quality of a tense G20 held in Bali – otherwise managed by laudable Indonesian graciousness – was to sharply define which way the geopolitical winds are blowing.

That was encapsulated in the Summit’s two highlights: the much anticipated China-US presidential meeting – representing the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century – and the final G20 statement.

The 3-hour, 30-minute-long face-to-face meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and his US counterpart Joe Biden – requested by the White House – took place at the Chinese delegation’s residence in Bali, and not at the G20 venue at the luxury Apurva Kempinski in Nusa Dua.

The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs concisely outlined what really mattered. Specifically, Xi told Biden that Taiwan independence is simply out of the question. Xi also expressed hope that NATO, the EU, and the US will engage in “comprehensive dialogue” with Russia. Instead of confrontation, the Chinese president chose to highlight the layers of common interest and cooperation.

Biden, according to the Chinese, made several points. The US does not seek a New Cold War; does not support “Taiwan independence;” does not support “two Chinas” or “one China, one Taiwan”; does not seek “decoupling” from China; and does not want to contain Beijing.

However, the recent record shows Xi has few reasons to take Biden at face value.

The final G20 statement was an even fuzzier matter: the result of arduous compromise.

As much as the G20 is self-described as “the premier forum for global economic cooperation,” engaged to “address the world’s major economic challenges,” the G7 inside the G20 in Bali had the summit de facto hijacked by war. “War” gets almost double the number of mentions in the statement compared to “food” after all.

The collective west, including the Japanese vassal state, was bent on including the war in Ukraine and its “economic impacts” – especially the food and energy crisis – in the statement. Yet without offering even a shade of context, related to NATO expansion. What mattered was to blame Russia – for everything.

The Global South effect

It was up to this year’s G20 host Indonesia – and the next host, India – to exercise trademark Asian politeness and consensus building. Jakarta and New Delhi worked extremely hard to find wording that would be acceptable to both Moscow and Beijing. Call it the Global South effect.

Still, China wanted changes in the wording. This was opposed by western states, while Russia did not review the last-minute wording because Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov had already departed.

On point 3 out of 52, the statement “expresses its deepest regret over the aggression of the Russian Federation against Ukraine and demands the complete and unconditional withdrawal of armed forces from the territory of Ukraine.”

“Russian aggression” is the standard NATO mantra – not shared by virtually the whole Global South.

The statement draws a direct correlation between the war and a non-contextualized “aggravation of pressing problems in the global economy – slowing economic growth, rising inflation, disruption of supply chains, worsening energy, and food security, increased risks to financial stability.”

As for this passage, it could not be more self-evident: “The use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is inadmissible. The peaceful resolution of conflicts, efforts to address crises, as well as diplomacy and dialogue, are vital. Today’s era must not be of war.”

This is ironic given that NATO and its public relations department, the EU, “represented” by the unelected eurocrats of the European Commission, don’t do “diplomacy and dialogue.”

Fixated with war

Instead the US, which controls NATO, has been weaponizing Ukraine, since March, by a whopping $91.3 billion, including the latest presidential request, this month, of $37.7 billion. That happens to be 33 percent more than Russia’s total (italics mine) military spending for 2022.

Extra evidence of the Bali Summit being hijacked by “war” was provided by the emergency meeting, called by the US, to debate what ended up being a Ukrainian S-300 missile falling on a Polish farm, and not the start of WWIII like some tabloids hysterically suggested.

Tellingly, there was absolutely no one from the Global South in the meeting – the sole Asian nation being the Japanese vassal, part of the G7.

Compounding the picture, we had the sinister Davos master Klaus Schwab once again impersonating a Bond villain at the B20 business forum, selling his Great Reset agenda of “rebuilding the world” through pandemics, famines, climate change, cyber attacks, and – of course – wars.

As if this was not ominous enough, Davos and its World Economic Forum are now ordering Africa – completely excluded from the G20 – to pay $2.8 trillion to “meet its obligations” under the Paris Agreement to minimize greenhouse gas emissions.

The demise of the G20 as we know it

The serious fracture between Global North and Global South, so evident in Bali, had already been suggested in Phnom Penh, as Cambodia hosted the East Asia Summit this past weekend.

The 10 members of ASEAN had made it very clear they remain unwilling to follow the US and the G7 in their collective demonization of Russia and in many aspects China.

The Southeast Asians are also not exactly excited by the US-concocted IPEF (Indo-Pacific Economic Framework), which will be irrelevant in terms of slowing down China’s extensive trade and connectivity across Southeast Asia.

And it gets worse. The self-described “leader of the free world” is shunning the extremely important APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Bangkok at the end of this week.

For very sensitive and sophisticated Asian cultures, this is seen as an affront. APEC, established way back in 1990s to promote trade across the Pacific Rim, is about serious Asia-Pacific business, not Americanized “Indo-Pacific” militarization.

The snub follows Biden’s latest blunder when he erroneously addressed Cambodia’s Hun Sen as “prime minister of Colombia” at the summit in Phnom Penh.

Lining up to join BRICS

It is safe to say that the G20 may have plunged into an irretrievable path toward irrelevancy. Even before the current Southeast Asian summit wave – in Phnom Penh, Bali and Bangkok – Lavrov had already signaled what comes next when he noted that “over a dozen countries” have applied to join BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa).

Iran, Argentina, and Algeria have formally applied: Iran, alongside Russia, India, and China, is already part of the Eurasian Quad that really matters.

Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Afghanistan are extremely interested in becoming members. Indonesia just applied, in Bali. And then there’s the next wave: Kazakhstan, UAE, Thailand (possibly applying this weekend in Bangkok), Nigeria, Senegal, and Nicaragua.

It’s crucial to note that all of the above sent their Finance Ministers to a BRICS Expansion dialogue in May. A short but serious appraisal of the candidates reveals an astonishing unity in diversity.

Lavrov himself noted that it will take time for the current five BRICS to analyze the immense geopolitical and geoeconomic implications of expanding to the point of virtually reaching the size of the G20 – and without the collective west.

What unites the candidates above all is the possession of massive natural resources: oil and gas, precious metals, rare earths, rare minerals, coal, solar power, timber, agricultural land, fisheries, and fresh water. That’s the imperative when it comes to designing a new resource-based reserve currency to bypass the US dollar.

Let’s assume that it may take up to 2025 to have this new BRICS+ configuration up and running. That would represent roughly 45 percent of confirmed global oil reserves and over 60 percent of confirmed global gas reserves (and that will balloon if gas republic Turkmenistan later joins the group).

The combined GDP – in today’s figures – would be roughly $29.35 trillion; much larger than the US ($23 trillion) and at least double the EU ($14.5 trillion, and falling).

As it stands, BRICS account for 40 percent of the global population and 25 percent of GDP. BRICS+ would congregate 4.257 billion people: over 50 percent of the total global population as it stands.

BRI embraces BRICS+

BRICS+ will be striving towards interconnection with a maze of institutions: the most important are the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), itself featuring a list of players itching to become full members; strategic OPEC+, de facto led by Russia and Saudi Arabia; and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China’s overarching trade and foreign policy framework for the 21st century. It is worth pointing out that early all crucial Asian players have joined the BRI.

Then there are the close links of BRICS with a plethora of regional trade blocs: ASEAN, Mercosur, GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council), Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), Arab Trade Zone, African Continental Free Trade Area, ALBA, SAARC, and last but not least the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), the largest trade deal on the planet, which includes a majority of BRI partners.

BRICS+ and BRI is a match everywhere you look at it – from West Asia and Central Asia to the Southeast Asians (especially Indonesia and Thailand). The multiplier effect will be key – as BRI members will be inevitably attracting more candidates for BRICS+.

This will inevitably lead to a second wave of BRICS+ hopefuls including, most certainly, Azerbaijan, Mongolia, three more Central Asians (Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and gas republic Turkmenistan), Pakistan, Vietnam, and Sri Lanka, and in Latin America, a hefty contingent featuring Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, Peru, Uruguay, Bolivia, and Venezuela.

Meanwhile, the role of the BRICS’s New Development Bank (NDB) as well as the China-led Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) will be enhanced – coordinating infrastructure loans across the spectrum, as BRICS+ will be increasingly shunning dictates imposed by the US-dominated IMF and the World Bank.

All of the above barely sketches the width and depth of the geopolitical and geoeconomic realignments further on down the road – affecting every nook and cranny of global trade and supply chain networks. The G7’s obsession in isolating and/or containing the top Eurasian players is turning on itself in the framework of the G20. In the end, it’s the G7 that may be isolated by the BRICS+ irresistible force.

Posted in culture, Economics, Empire, Geopolitics, imperialism, NATO, Oligarchy, society, Technocracy, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Punching Down: How the “anti-disinformation” movement worked with Big Tech to protect Big Pharma

By Paul D. Thacker

Source: The Disinformation Chonicle

The COVID-19 pandemic saw the greatest acceleration of online censorship in the short history of the internet. In response, the field dedicated to upholding human rights online—the digital rights movement—remained near silent to this massive government and corporate over-reach. Worse, digital rights activists sometimes even collaborated with censors in the name of protecting the public from “disinformation.”

I’ve spent more than 20 years in digital rights, freedom of expression and open technology communities, and co-founded an organisation dedicated to these ideas: EngageMedia. Over the 17 years I ran Engage Media, we built a team that stretched across 10 countries, from India to Australia—one of the biggest digital rights organisations in the Asia-Pacific, hosting hundreds of workshops and large events, and leading multiple international networks. In short, I’m not a newbie or outsider in this field.

But during the pandemic, I watched the digital rights movement lose its voice as champions of online freedom of expression. Instead, they began to echo the positions of governments and companies with far from stellar records on human rights and corporate integrity. This recasting of governments and corporations as allies, rather than institutions to be held to account, has perverted the mission of digital rights and harmed public health.

The Digital Rights Movement

Digital Rights is an umbrella term that captures multiple concepts from “internet freedom” to “open technology” to “digital public policy.” Over the past several decades, it has become a major force in advocating for online rights and freedoms. Hundreds of universities, institutes, and non-profit organizations work in this arena on every corner of the planet. Whilst I know of no exact calculations, funding for the field is surely in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually—sourced from a mix of liberal foundations, governments, and Big Tech itself.

Core to this fundamentally left-leaning field was anti-censorship and a libertarian ethos. If the movement has a founding document, it is the 1996 Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace, which begins:

Governments of the Industrial World, you weary giants of flesh and steel, I come from Cyberspace, the new home of Mind. On behalf of the future, I ask you of the past to leave us alone. You are not welcome among us. You have no sovereignty where we gather.

We have no elected government, nor are we likely to have one, so I address you with no greater authority than that with which liberty itself always speaks. I declare the global social space we are building to be naturally independent of the tyrannies you seek to impose on us. You have no moral right to rule us nor do you possess any methods of enforcement we have true reason to fear.

Left-libertarianism and techno-utopianism dominated Internet culture in the 90s and 2000s, yet withered rapidly in the Trump era, as it was unable to move quickly enough to address issues of online discrimination and harassment. In response, a new wing took root that was less hippy, more helicopter parent.

Internet parentalism, with its emphasis on safety over freedom, addressed concerns about the dark side of the Internet, but it did so with top-down regulation and control. And just as the former left-libertarianism created an imperfect system, so has the current left-parentalism. This became quite clear during the pandemic. During COVID, general skepticism of authority was replaced by respect for authority. Once suspect governments and businesses were now to be shielded from critique.

Content moderation is key to the new left-parentalism, and the pandemic radically accelerated and solidified a new digital authoritarianism. It is worth revisiting Hillary Clinton’s seminal 2010 “internet freedom” speech, to see how far thinking has shifted:

Now, all societies recognise that free expression has its limits. We do not tolerate those who incite others to violence… And hate speech that targets individuals on the basis of their race, religion, ethnicity, gender, or sexual orientation is reprehensible… But these challenges must not become an excuse for governments to systematically violate the rights and privacy of those who use the internet for peaceful political purposes.

How different content moderation is today, where comments deemed “offensive” might be censored. In those days liberals even thought about balancing safety and freedom when dealing with terrorists, yet this was not the case with COVID. With Musk now taking over Twitter, the Internet-parentalism wing may be on its back-foot but it has made headway in altering culture, so much so that supporting the left-libertarian approach (or the 2010 Clintonian position) is now considered “right-wing.”

New Zealand Prime minister Jacinda Arden personifies the progressive authoritarian shift. In her recent UN speech she compared “disinformation” to “weapons of war,” expressing a deep frustration with those who stray from the “consensus” and emphasising strong government control for “disinformation.” The Arden approach is now the default setting in the digital rights field where government and corporate censorship have replaced debate and persuasion as the answer to “wrong” ideas. For example, Ardern gave the opening speech at the 2022 RightsCon, the biggest digital rights conference on the calendar (EngageMedia co-hosted the 2015 edition).

That government determines truth to protect citizens is a boom to authoritarians everywhere – from the Philippines, to Ethiopia, to Russia—while also limiting government and corporate accountability. To be clear, both Clinton’s and Ardern’s policy served the needs of power. The difference is that Clinton was largely in step with the previous 200 years of liberal theory, while Arden returns society to levels of government authority and control that people have struggled to overcome for centuries.

Growth and change of “anti-disinformation”

Disinformation was already an established sector prior to the pandemic. But it focused on top level malfeasance: for example, Myanmar military social media accounts promoting violence against the Rohingya or former Philippine President Duterte’s use of bots to attack dissidents. Advocacy took a mostly Clintonian approach to counter such state power—minimising overt censorship, while educating the public and notifying Big Tech of egregious incidents of disinformation (mostly by government).

The Trump election and Cambridge Analytica scandal changed these rules as many blamed social media greed and wilful ignorance for the election loss. Claims of Russian disinformation compounded these problems. Big Tech’s alleged lack of action put it at odds with its core, liberal constituencies. Anger and disillusionment allowed the speech control wing of the digital rights movement to ascend, shifting the movement’s mission from watching the powerful to policing the fringe.

Newer disinformation initiatives also sought to rebuild trust in Big Media, legacy organisations whose legitimacy crumbled for a variety of reasons: from supporting the Iraq war, to failing to predict Trump and Brexit. To recapture authority, elites made themselves the adults who discern the truth, as the rest of society cannot be trusted make competent decisions.

Anti-disinformation amid the pandemic

I went into the pandemic with a wide variety of doubts, but was among the majority in supporting government restrictions, though never on access to information. Banning discussion of a possible lab accident at the pandemic’s beginning triggered me to reevaluate. My own Australian government and the former CDC Director Robert Redfield both considered the lab-leak a plausible reason for how the pandemic started. Meanwhile, leading anti-disinformation organisations labelled it a conspiracy theory, and suggested that journalists not amplify it.

After the lab leak theory became mainstream, I saw no reconsideration of facts among the anti-disinformation and digital rights sectors, as any straying meant being called far-right. Unfortunately, silence only shields the powerful, and civil liberties and human rights groups went AWOL on their duties, or even swapped sides. Witness the ACLU advocating for the violation of bodily autonomy and in favour of widespread vaccine mandates.

The digital rights field seem oblivious to how much information is now controlled. Despite all the changes during COVID, the 2022 iteration of RightsCon had no sessions on the pandemic and disinformation. The digital rights community has also ignored news of the White House directing Twitter to deplatform journalists, and of Harvard and Stanford Professors suing the White House for social media related free speech violations.

Other few key examples of how pandemic censorship protected the powerful:

Questioning of lockdowns was once banned, yet it is now widely acknowledged that lockdowns resulted in serious harm including delays in childhood learning, lack of early treatment for serious illness, a rise in domestic abuse, as well as inflation and a massive transfer of wealth to the rich.

Across the board social media sought to disallow information that is “inconsistent with health authorities’ guidance”. But authorities are not all-knowing and this policy blew away previously held norms around open scientific debate and went against the crowd-sourcing ethos of progressives.

Why the conformity?

Some level of conformity is to be expected; however, it reached uncanny levels during the pandemic. Public relations campaigns hid how information controls have worked, as many aren’t even aware of policies and repeated “fact check” failures. PR campaigns also succeeded in associating those seeking to limit pandemic controls as being right-wing and therefore selfish, or worse, racist and misogynist—even as vaccine hesitancy was highest among communities of colour.

Second, the “anti-disinformation” and digital rights field maintains rigorous class solidarity and is overwhelmingly upper-middle and middle class. The upper and middle classes have a higher trust in institutions because they run those institutions and those institutions have worked for them. The field is also the ultimate laptop class, along with others working in tech. Work from home and other lockdown policies benefited them, even as it harmed others.

Third, digital rights melted into the “follow the science” movement. Populism dented the prestige of the expert and professional managerial class, while COVID energized their authority with “science” and gave them back power. Questioning “the science” and acknowledging mistakes means re-diminishing that power.

Finally, Big Tech has compromised the field with tens of millions of dollars (possibly hundreds) annually, yet this funding bias is rarely discussed. Imagine if Shell, BP, and ExxonMobil were core funders of the climate change movement. Added to this financial influence is a revolving door between Big Tech and those meant to hold it to account

Moving forward

Allegations of “disinformation” have become a tool to delegitimize opposition to orthodoxy and power, and have been weaponised to shield government and Big Pharma from scrutiny. Just as criticism of the automobile industry in the 60s and 70s led to improved car safety, today’s public fora must hold the powerful to account.

By aligning with Big Tech and Big Pharma, the “anti-disinformation” and digital rights sectors have neglected their responsibilities, and have come to serve power rather than people, contributing to a broader chilling effect.

To improve digital rights, we must:

  • Ensure funders, non-profits, journalists, and media organisations more clearly stand up for free speech and invite dissenting views;
  • Remain courageous while suffering the slings and arrows of nasty online criticism. And support those who speak out;
  • Highlight bullying that closes down conversation and benefits institutional interests;
  • Generate greater public awareness of government and corporate manipulation on social media;
  • Refuse Big Tech and Big Pharma funding for work that is meant to keep these same industries accountable;
  • Create more watchers to watch the “anti-disinformation” watchers;
  • Develop alternative media platforms so the conversation can’t be so easily controlled;
  • ·Ensure regulation that protects free speech;
  • Break up Big Tech and Big Media to limit government and corporate control of public discourse and increase diversity of opinion.

Pandemic information controls and restrictions on free speech had real world consequences that contributed to poorer, not better, public health outcomes. By neglecting to address corporate and government pandemic censorship, the digital rights movement failed in its core mission of securing online freedom of expression.

Posted in Authoritarianism, Big Pharma, censorship, civil liberties, conditioning, Corporate Crime, corporate news, culture, Deep State, freedom of speech, Health, internet freedom, media, Media Literacy, propaganda, Psy-ops, Science, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, Sociology, State Crime, surveillance state, Technocracy, Technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

FTX: The Dominoes of Financial Fraud Have Yet to Fall

By Charles Hugh Smith

Source: Of Two Minds

If you haven’t plowed through dozens of post-collapse commentaries on FTX, I’m saving you the trouble: here’s a distillation of what matters going forward. If you’re seeking a forensic accounting of FTX, others have done this work already. If you’re seeking an ideological diatribe, you won’t find that here, either.

What you will find is insight into the real innovation of FTX: FTX compressed the entire playbook and history of financial fraud into one brief cycle of the credulous bamboozled, Charles Ponzi bested and creative accounting being revealed for what it really is, fraud.

All financial frauds share the same set of tools. The toolbox of financial fraud, whether it is traditional or crypto-based, contains variations of these basic mechanisms:

1. Using clients’ capital (without full disclosure) to increase the private gain of the Owners of the Con (OOTC).

2. Using the clients’ capital to arbitrage yield differentials in duration, risk and other asymmetries to the benefit not of the clients but to the Owners of the Con (OOTC)..

3. Overstate assets by listing illiquid, insider-controlled, non-marked-to-market assets at valuations completely disconnected from reality, i.e. what they would fetch on the open market in size. Rely on assets issued by the firm or its subsidiaries for the bulk of the firm’s assets, i.e. its claim of solvency.

4. Attracting new capital investments and client funds with “too good to be true” (but borderline plausible, given the fantastic growth and track record of high returns) returns, goals and promises to cover the normal churn of redemptions, so the fraud goes undetected. (Ponzi Scheme)

5. Play fast and loose with leverage, the full extent of which isn’t disclosed to clients or regulators.

6. Issue securities (i.e. “money”–tokens, bonds, shares of stock, etc.) whose value is based on the firm’s fraudulently listed assets and mouth-watering growth.

7. Persuade investors and clients that you’re doing them a favor by letting them get a piece of the action. In other words, exploit their near-infinite greed.

8. Present a facade of prudent, audited, transparent, regulated stability which cloaks the interlocking network of fraud, bogus accounting, illiquid assets, etc. and insider looting.

I have often recommended Herman Melville’s novel The Confidence-Man for its masterful depiction of how The Confidence-Man persuades the skeptic that not only is The Confidence-Man trustworthy, but he is doing the mark a favor in taking his money.

Note that there are quasi-legal versions of some of these tools. The full exposure to the risks inherent in extreme leverage and illiquidity can be cloaked, buried in off-balance sheet assets and liabilities, etc., while pages of mind-numbing disclosures were duly signed by blinded-by-greed marks.

These quasi-legal versions are just as prone to unraveling and collapse as the blatantly fraudulent varieties. Properly disclosed leverage and illiquidity are just as prone to unraveling as undisclosed leverage and illiquidity.

Mismatches of duration, liquidity and risk are just as toxic to full-disclosure firms as they are to fraudulent firms.

This is why we can predict the dominoes of FTX’s financial fraud have yet to fall. When there are mismatches in counterparty asset durations and liquidity, assets that theoretically cover loans that are called can’t be sold or can only be sold at ruinous discounts.

Leverage works both ways, and so the 100-to-1 leverage that’s so glorious when the $1 yields $100 in gains also triggers the mass liquidation of illiquid assets when small losses unwind all that leverage.

Everyone caught short by losses, redemptions and counterparty claims will be desperate to hide their exposure to insolvency. But humans are herd animals, and once the herd gets spooked, trust in assurances quickly plummets and all eyes are on counterparty risks and the actual market for lightly traded assets.

Once assets are revealed as worth far less than claimed, insolvency is the inevitable result. How far will the lines of toppling dominoes extend? Quite possibly much farther than the credulous believe possible.

Posted in Corporate Crime, Corruption, culture, Economics, elites, Financial Crisis, news, society | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Two for Tuesday

Cypress Hill

Posted in Art, culture, Music Video, Two for Tuesday, Video | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Putin’s Sledgehammer

By Mike Whitney

Source: The Unz Review

“The Ukrainians are in bad shape… It won’t be long before the Ukrainians run out of food. It won’t be long before they freeze… They have done all that we can reasonably expect them to do. It’s time to negotiate…. before the offensive begins, because once it begins, there will be no further discussion between Moscow and Kiev until it is over to the satisfaction of the Russians.” Colonel Douglas MacGregor, “War in Ukraine; Quiet Before the Storm”, 15 minute-mark

“Strictly speaking, we haven’t started anything yet.” Russian President Vladimir Putin

The relentless attacks on Ukraine’s electrical grid, fuel-storage units, railway hubs, and Command-and-Control centers mark the beginning of a second and more lethal phase of the war. The increased tempo of the high-precision, long-range missile attacks suggests that Moscow is laying the groundwork for a major winter offensive that will be launched as soon as Russia’s 300,000 reservists join their formations in east Ukraine. Kiev’s refusal to negotiate a settlement that addresses Russia’s core security concerns, has left Russian president Vladimir Putin with no other option but to defeat Ukrainian forces on the battlefield and impose a settlement through force-of-arms. The impending winter offensive is designed to deliver the knock-out punch Russia needs to achieve its strategic objectives and bring the war to swift end. This is from Reuters:

Russian missile strikes have crippled almost half of Ukraine’s energy system, the government said on Friday, and authorities in the capital Kyiv warned that the city could face a “complete shutdown” of the power grid as winter sets in.

With temperatures falling and Kyiv seeing its first snow, officials were working to restore power nationwide after some of the heaviest bombardment of Ukrainian civilian infrastructure in nine months of war.

The United Nations says Ukraine’s electricity and water shortages threaten a humanitarian disaster this winter.

“Unfortunately Russia continues to carry out missile strikes on Ukraine’s civilian and critical infrastructure. Almost half of our energy system is disabled,” Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said….

“We are preparing for different scenarios, including a complete shutdown,” Mykola Povoroznyk, deputy head of the Kyiv city administration, said in televised comments.” (“Ukraine says half its energy system crippled by Russian attacks, Kyiv could ‘shutdown’”, Reuters)

Until recently, Russia had avoided targets that would dramatically impact civilian activities, but now military leaders have returned to a more conventional approach. Presently, the military is destroying whatever facilities, transformers, storage units, substations, rail yards and energy depots that allow Ukraine to continue to wage war. Clearly –as the bigger and more powerful state — it was always within Russia’s ability to take a sledgehammer to Ukraine and break it into a million pieces, but Putin chose to hold back hoping that Kiev would come to its senses and see the hopelessness of its cause. And –despite the deluge of western propaganda to the contrary– the outcome of this war has never been in doubt. Russia is going to impose a settlement on Kiev and that settlement will require the government to cut all ties with NATO and to sign a treaty declaring its neutrality into perpetuity. Russia is not going to allow a hostile military alliance to place its missile sites and combat troops on its western flank. That won’t happen.

Unfortunately, Russia’s military operation is going to greatly increase the suffering of the Ukrainian people who find themselves locked in a cage-match between the Washington and Moscow. This is from the World Socialist Web Site:

Poverty in Ukraine has increased more than tenfold since the outbreak of the US/NATO-Russia war, according to the latest data from the World Bank (WB). Officially, 25 percent of the country’s population is now poor, up from supposedly just 2 percent before February 2022… With officials predicting that the poverty rate could rise to as much as 60 percent or more next year, levels of deprivation are emerging in Ukraine that have not been witnessed on the European continent since the end of World War II.

Unemployment is now running at 35 percent, and salaries have fallen by as much as 50 percent over the spring and summer for some categories of workers. … according to the International Monetary Fund, Ukraine’s public debt has now soared to 85 percent of GDP…. A recently released joint study by the World Health Organization and Ukraine’s Ministry of Health found that 22 percent of people in Ukraine cannot access essential medicines. For the country’s 6.9 million internally displaced, that number rises to 33 percent.

The medications that are hardest to get—those that treat blood pressure, heart problems and pain, as well as sedatives and antibiotics—reveal a population struggling to cope with decades of poverty-induced ill health and the physical and psychological trauma of war.

While US and NATO officials are able to dispatch massive amounts of firepower to Ukraine’s front lines within a matter of weeks, the delivery of life-saving humanitarian goods is seemingly an impossible logistical challenge.” (“Poverty skyrockets in Ukraine”, World Socialist Web Site)

Washington’s proxy-war on Moscow has inflicted incalculable suffering on the people of Ukraine who now face plunging temperatures, dwindling food supplies, a crashing economy and a growing shortage of essential medications. And despite the chest-thumping bravado over the recapturing of Kherson, the Ukrainian people will now be forced to flee their battered homeland by the millions seeking refuge in Europe which has already slipped into a post-industrial slump brought on by Uncle Sam’s reckless provocations. How many of these working-class Ukrainians would have preferred that their leaders reach an accommodation with Putin (regarding his legitimate security concerns) rather than engaging the Russian army in a pointless war which has cost them their homes, their jobs, their cities, and (for many) their lives? And do the people outside the country who claim to “Stand With Ukraine” realize that they are actually supporting the impoverishment and immiseration of millions of civilians that are caught in a geopolitical crossfire between Washington and Russia? Anyone who genuinely cares about Ukraine should support Ukrainian neutrality and an end to NATO expansion. That is the only way this war is going to end. Russian security will be achieved by-way of a treaty or an iron-fist. The choice is Ukraine’s. This is from an article titled ‘Russia Is Right: The U.S. Is Waging a Proxy War in Ukraine‘:

“The war in Ukraine isn’t just a conflict between Moscow and Kyiv, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov recently declared. It is a “proxy war” in which the world’s most powerful military alliance … is using Ukraine as a battering ram against the Russian state … Lavrov is … not wrong. Russia is the target of one of the most ruthlessly effectively proxy wars in modern history.”

The US foreign policy establishment does not care about Ukraine or the Ukrainian people. The country is merely a launching pad for Washington’s war on Russia. That is why the CIA toppled the democratically-elected government in Kiev in 2014 and that is why the CIA armed and trained Ukrainian paramilitaries to fight the Russian military in 2015 (7 years before the invasion!) Here’s some background from a 2015 article at Yahoo News:

“The CIA is overseeing a secret intensive training program in the U.S. for elite Ukrainian special operations forces and other intelligence personnel, according to five former intelligence and national security officials familiar with the initiative. The program, which started in 2015, is based at an undisclosed facility in the Southern U.S., according to some of those officials….

“The United States is training an insurgency,” said a former CIA official, adding that the program has taught the Ukrainians how “to kill Russians.”

…the CIA and other U.S. agencies could support a Ukrainian insurgency, should Russia launch a large-scale incursion.

…“We’ve been training these guys now for eight years. They’re really good fighters. …representatives from both countries also believe that Russia won’t be able to hold on to new territory indefinitely because of stiff resistance from Ukrainian insurgents, according to former officials.

If the Russians launch a new invasion, “there’s going to be people who make their life miserable,” said the former senior intelligence official…

“All that stuff that happened to us in Afghanistan,” said the former senior intelligence official, “they can expect to see that in spades with these guys.” (“CIA-trained Ukrainian paramilitaries may take central role if Russia invades”, Yahoo News)

There it is in black and white. The plan to use Ukraine as a staging-ground for conducting a proxy-war on Russia preceded the invasion by at least 7 years. The Obama administration and their neocon allies set a trap for Russia in order to drag them into an Afghanistan-like quagmire that would deplete their resources and kill as many Russian servicemen as possible. As Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin recently admitted, the US wants to “weaken” Russia so it is unable to project power beyond its borders. Washington seeks unhindered access to Central Asia so it can encircle China with military bases and nuclear missiles. The US intends to control China’s growth while dominating the world’s most populous and prosperous region of the next century, Asia. But first, Washington must crush Russia, collapse its economy, isolate it from the global community, demonize it in its media, and topple its leaders. Ukraine is seen as the first phase in a much broader strategy aimed at regime change (in Moscow) followed by the forced fragmentation of the Russian state. The ultimate objective is the preservation of Washington’s preeminent role in the global order.

Putin’s winter offensive threatens to derail Washington’s plan to drag the conflict out for as long as possible. In the weeks and months ahead, Russia is going to intensify its assault on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure. Most of the country will be plunged into darkness, fuel supplies will dry up, food and water will become scarcer, communications will be cut off, and all rail-traffic will cease. Millions of civilians will flee to Europe while the entire country slowly grinds to a standstill. At the same time that Russian battalions overtake cities and towns east of the Dnieper, the Russian army will block vital supply-lines from Poland cutting off the flow of lethal weaponry and combat troops headed to the front. This, in turn, will lead to widespread capitulation among Ukrainian fighting units operating in the field which will force Zelensky to the negotiating table. Eventually, Russia will prevail and its legitimate security demands will be met. Here’s how Colonel Douglas MacGregor summed it up in a recent interview:

“What’s coming in the future is a very massive offensive... the kind of offensive that I and many other military analysts expected at the beginning; Very decisive operations, multiple operational axes designed to effectively annihilate the enemy on the ground. And that’s what’s coming now, that’s what lies in the future.” (Colonel Douglas MacGregor, “War in Ukraine; Quiet Before the Storm”, you tube)

When the ground freezes, Russia’s offensive will begin.

Posted in black ops, CIA, Deep State, Empire, Geopolitics, imperialism, NATO, Neocons, news, propaganda, Psy-ops, Social Control, Social Engineering, society, State Crime, Technocracy, war | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment