Nikki, Saudi Arabia and Israel's useful idiot
It is clear that Nikki Haley is an agent of the USA as the permanent representative for that country in the United Nations. If her "managers" wish to make more of a fool of her and the United States, they should continue to have her deliver the sorts of presentations all have heard. She has a tendency to make either Power Point type presentations drawing on largely doubtful evidence of the type generated by the propaganda outfit, the White Helmets, or she presents US positions that claim that the "world community" supports what she says. The "world community" is normally largely NATO members who benefit from US cash diplomacy so all fall in line. Feeding off this "world community" angle there is an arrogance in the willingness of the USA act unilaterally in a violent manner and "justified" on the basis of hearsay or even false evidence. The US track record on this is well known with Tonkin for Viet Nam and weapons of mass destruction for Iraq. It would be a blessing if USA was doing well in international relations by augmenting international stability and peace for all. But the USA, since its politicians are completely drowned in lobby, Saudi Arabian and Israeli funds and who are therefore very adept at having the USA act the way they want. The main role of the USA set out by Saudi Arabia and Israel is for the US to supply arms while helping them satisfy their desires for territorial occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine or working to eliminate secular regimes and the Shia populations in the Middle East and in particular Iran. Why cant the State Department and even the President realize that the USA has become a blubbering proxy and shambolic bully; it is plainly lost and disoriented.
There is no demonstration of leadership, only a cowering fidgeting clown who confuses the size of military budgets with moral certitude or even manhood. Leadership is difficult in today's world but the record shows that erring on the side of military intervention has always made things worse. Strength in leadership is not to be confused with ability to do economic or physical harm, it can only be found in being courageous enough to confront the complexity of achieving mutual satisfactory outcomes. This can only be achieved by listening carefully to what presumed adversaries say and to take these seriously. This, on the world stage, would be a genuine demonstration of exceptionalism. Why cant the USA show statesmanship and a more comprehensive and pragmatic leadership? In this context, the continuing hysterics concerning the Russian Federation has become today the world's leading international absurdity but for some reason US officials seem willing to maintain this dishonest and dangerous game.
If one listens to the words of Nikki Haley and seek to verify the veracity of her evidence and seek to find a measured and controlled procedure of establishing evidence before actions, the result will be disappointment. The primary self-evident fact is that the USA does not have an independent foreign policy worthy of the name; it only seeks to satisfy the paymasters of campaigns of the Congress and senate members shoring up the gerrymandered wastes of the US electoral landscape. As a result, Nikki Haley is not only a useful idiot for Saudi Arabia and Israel, she haplessly works, no doubt in a dedicated manner, for those whose interests lie in arms sales, continued violence and international instability.
Shambolic propaganda, a sign of desperation
In the last few weeks the incompetence of those creating propaganda to build up fear in the population of the USA, United Kingdom and other countries has become evident. With the British government's attempt to claim that Russian actions were likely to be responsible for the poisoning of two Russian citizens and a British policeman with one of the most deadly poisons out there, we now see all three are covering or have recovered. Any state-sponsored act of this sort would never have had this slightly absurd, but thankful, outcome. The attempt by Theresa May to proceed with diplomatic expulsions followed up in coordination with the USA is an example of grand standing at its worst simply because there it still no evidence other than a 6-slide Power Point circulated by the British government to other countries when they requested support. In order to support the USA some NATO members complied with the odd diplomatic expulsion. One of the only rational voices in the British Parliament was that of Jeremy Corbyn who still understands the Law of the United Kingdom that people are presumed to be innocent and can only be judged to be guilty based on evidence. For saying this he was attacked by Boris Johnson for being biased towards Russia.
The most ridiculous associated events were the mistimed videos released by the so-called "White Helmets", a propaganda unit that only operates where there are terrorist groups in Syria. This group has actually been involved in destroying and stealing the existing resources and facilities of the Syrian Civil Defense services and it is alleged that in some cases they also killed some of the Syrian Civil Defense members. Local populations in the recovered areas have stated that they had never even heard about the White Helmets while others said they were aware of them but that in reality they did not help. The White Helmets produce videos typefied a much unspecified agitation and movement, with fairly burly "medical" staff doing various things around children and others, most of whom appear to be more confused by the actors than by their personal circumstances. In one case they had to admit to having staged saving a lifeless individual when still photos showed all the actors standing, including the lifeless man, and smiling into the camera after the shoot. The lifeless man has been conveniently dusted with white powder to look like someone exposed to an explosion. However, this time the videos claimed to have been taken in a zone that, unknown to the "White Helmets", was to be occupied by the Syrian army on the basis of a standard successful peaceful settlements based on an amnesty agreement a few hours later. As a result Syrian and Russian personnel were able to check the area but found no one injured or killed by the "attack" and local people have confirmed that no such an attack took place. This time the "White Helmets" and their hapless backers, one of which is the prone-to-bluster British Foreign Secretary, Boris Johnson, have been caught out. The British government authorised a payment to this propaganda outfit in excess of £19 millions see government admission but there are several other sources of funds that, it is suspected, have used to transfer to the White Helmets through UK-based NGOs.
It is very notable that in the last Security Council gathering dealing with this "chemical attack" the Russian delivery was by far the most rational and level headed while the USA contribution was the typical propaganda attempting to call upon the White Helmet evidence as support for her attempts to conjure up an emotional response to the state of affairs, leveled against Assad and Russia. Seeing the writing on the wall and having received a serious offer by the Russians to escort and protect inspectors to the apparent site identified by the White Helmets the only response came from the UK representative to agreed that this opportunity to inspect the site should be followed up.
The remaining unknown is the response to be taken by the USA. The USA, in the past has acted in a precipitous fashion in following up on White Helmet staged events on videos by launching missile attacks. Previously, there have been many occasions when the USA has started a war based on completely false "evidence" in Viet Nam and Iraq. However, in the current circumstances it would be an exposure of total irresponsibility on the part of the USA if they followed up with this sort of response on this occasion when it is now possible to find out the truth within days.
Dispensing with the peace dividend
With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the world had the opportunity to work on long lasting peace as part of the "peace dividend" resulting from the end of the cold war. There was much talk of refashioning swords back into ploughs. The peace dividend was referred to by US President George H.W. Bush and UK Prime Minister Margaret Thatched in the early 1990s. The main rationale was in terms of economic benefits arising from decreased defense spending such as increased social programmes and/or a decrease in taxation rates. Starting in the mid 1990s there should have been a major growth in general welfare, productivity and real incomes growth, a run of over 25 years to the present date. The initial steps in reducing defense spending occurred in Western Europe and in the Russian Federation. The United States military spending fell between 1985 and 1993 and remained stable 1993 and 1999. However, macroeconomic policies including monetary policy remained the same. Monetary policy alone, targeting 2% inflation has, since 1995, caused devaluations in the US$ and British pound currencies equivalent to in excess of 45%. This significantly undermined any gains in productivity arising from investments resulting in lower margins and any ability to raise real incomes. As a result the value of government revenues were also devalued resulting in declining sums and allocative effectiveness.
There was a significant increase in military spending after September 11, 2001 to fund conflicts like the War on Terror, the War in Afghanistan and the War in Iraq. One of the main factors in the attacks on the USA in 2001 arose from the continued support the USA has given Israel concerning the treatment of Palestinians and its occupation of Palestinian territory. The Afghanistan venture seemed to make sense in terms of Al Quaeda being blamed for the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York which exposed serious flaws in the USA's intelligence effectiveness. The USA attacked Iraq,the very country where Al Quaeda had no chance of surviving. This, together with a very poor performance of the intelligence agencies, led to a disastrous campaign which not only helped Al Quaeda enter Iraq but to also increase their build up there and and in many other countries. This also led to the formation of ISIS or Daesh. The USA today continues to lose military territorial control in Afghanistan to the Taliban after 15 years of ineffective actions and a phenomenal rise in the drug trade (heroin) emanating from Afghani production. These failure demonstrate a gross ignorance and inability of the American decision-makers and their advisors to even understand that environment.
In the Iraqi campaign, and then Syria following the objective of replacing President Assad of Syria, the USA sided with Saudi Arabia's allies in the form of a range of terrorists who the USA has branded as "free armies" or "opposition forces" who continue to murder people who are non-Moslems or the "wrong" Moslem sect and to market captured women, many with children, for sexual exploitation, executing their husbands and imposing cruel and strict regimes where there is no tolerance of any other religion other than a form of Islam, strictly along Wahabbi lines, promoted by Saudi Arabia. An additional vector promoting murder has been the violent opposition of the Sunni Islamic sect (Saudi) to the adherents of the Shia Islamic sect.
This primitive and aggressive behaviour would appear to be excused simply because Saudi Arabia has been in the habit of using cash diplomacy in funding US congress members and senators, funding lobbies, think tanks and university chairs in the Washington area as well as highly paid mainstream media content. The media anchors, knowing where their job security comes from, have become completely biased towards the narratives put out by Saudi Arabia and Israel. Speaking the truth to power, the very foundation of the reason the media is the only economic sector mentioned in the US Constitution, is being effectively throttled by those who wish to prevent the people of America from benefiting from any peace dividend. A typical example is the absurd content praising the new leadership in Saudi Arabia for "reforms" while they ignore the wholesale slaughter of people in Yemen and Saudi Arabia's continued support of viscious and savage groups with no interest in freedom or democracy.
Before the US invaded Iraq, Saudi Arabia had funded Iraqi military efforts against Iran (a largely Shia country). With the disastrous outcome of Iraq and Syrian campaigns for the Saudis and the USA, the Saudis are applying their cash diplomacy to encourage an increasing branding of Iran as being a source of terrorism in the USA; they are succeeding. But on balance is clear that the source of extreme savagery are terrorism is Saudi Arabia. The USA State Department bends under this pressure falling into a trap of squandering still further anything that has any resemblance to a peace dividend. Ibn Nr, the roving intelligence expert on Middle Eastern affairs, recently alleged that considerable amounts of Saudi funds are flowing to private elements indirectlty linked to the Pakistani nuclear interests, not for nuclear power but for nuclear arms. Saudi Arabia want to gain parity and to overtake Iran in order to secure military superiority by purchasing them ready-made. This is one reason Nr thinks Trump is totally out of his depth and misguided in trying to upset the Iran nuclear deal. The single most dangerous issue facing the world today is not Iran's intent with respect to nuclear arms but the secret intent of Saudi Arabia all of which is overlooked by the absurd ineptitude of the US policy makers who continue to lose all of their diplomatic battles because they act like scoundrels prone to bullying attempting to impose their wishes on all on behalf of Saudi Arabia. The Saudis, in spite of their money and luxury are exceptionally primitive and visceral as expressed in their savage handling of the brutal Yemini "campaign" and in their attempted bullying of Qatar. North Korea is hardly an issue in comparison with Saudi Arabia's visceral ambitions. in ridding the world of adherents to the Shia sect; their proxies, as we know, have no fear of being killed in their actions on behalf of Saudi Arabia.
In the meantime the standing of the USA, worldwide, declines as a result of their resort to bluster and threats, willingness to bully and impose sanctions without regard to the number of deaths caused by such cruel and irresponsible behaviour.
Insecurity and instability in the world declines when a country who should be setting an example in peaceful democratic behaviour continues to wallow in the depths of depravity while their leadership has the arrogance to declare their belief in "American exceptionalism". If there is a parallel universe this is it. Things have got out of hand. It is time the people of the USA realize that their expenditure on the military, for whom they appear to have high regard, is financing a broad wave of future terrorism many times bigger and worse than what has been witnessed to date. Working for peace should be the mission of American families and tax payers; it is in their interests. ht is the point of continuing to sacrifice young American lives and sanity for the sake of Saudi Arabian princes and in support of Israel's apartite and violent and cruel regime? The current state of affairs only helps the corrupt policy makers in America to become richer, more influential and self-satisfied while they vote for increased military expenditure. Since 1945 it is worth reflecting, in a sober manner, and asking which battles and wars did the USA ever win after 1945? During the last 70 years the death and destruction has surpassed 20 million souls and yet nothing gained, just bluster and an increasing misdirected pride in the military and intelligence communities who have been incapable of bringing about peace. We see a trail of suffering and murder and the awarding of medals, transporting body bags back to the US and increased, pointless military expenditure. For a country that considers itself to have been founded on the basis of upstanding moral and religious principles, why do Americans continue to tolerate this brutal pointless insanity that continues to consume the integrity of that Constitution. We witness the destruction of any notion that the country has any claim to leadership other than as a bully acting on behalf of countries who do not share any common interests or values with the people of America.
Talvanaz releases a new image against war
Talvanaz has released a new composition against war (see right) which sees the bullying arrogance and claims of exceptionalism sinking deeper into a trail of fetish, drying human blood that has been released from the bodies of largely innocent by violated men, women and children caught up in the failed military campaigns and a stupendous waste of financial resources and an excessive destruction of infrastructure, houses and lives that the world has witnessed during the last 15 years. In the meantime massive and still-growing military budgets have dwarfed spending on US infrastructure, employment creation, investment for productivity or in curbing financial intermediation practices and fraud that gave rise to the current global financial crisis.
BBC dirty tricks becoming more overt, following the demented example of US mainstream media
The latest "impartial reporting could be seen on Newsnight, a declining evening review of political events with often little to say, which had a backdrop of a picture with Kremlin style buildings a red hue and an image of Jeremy Corbyn whose French fisherman's hat looked more like a Russian Cossack's hat; see below. Clearly meant to misrepresent and an insult to Jeremy Corbyn.
A certain John Sweeney a journalist associated with the BBC did a very bad job in defending the BBC's low stoop into dirty tricks by avoiding the subject of image modification in an exchange with Alex Salmond. Sweeney kept attempting to insult Salmond on the basis of his programme being aired on Russia Today, but so are many other informative shows. Sweeney invested his time in a series of displacement statements and avoided the question asked by Salmond if the image has been altered but went on and on about Russian politics and their treatment of opposition figures. This has nothing to do with depicting Jeremy Corbyn as a Kremlin stooge which is what many consider the image in Newsnight did.
The BBC did alter Corbyn's image, this is obvious. According to the Great Effects Lab (GEL) in Portsmouth, they did this to secure the desired modification in the profile of his hat by distorting the image through a reduction in the horizontal axis of the image by around 7%; this was sufficient to have this effect. They also increased the contrast to obscure the hat band that runs round the front of the hat, above its peak, which provides a visual indication of the correct format of the hat.
It is to be hoped that the BBC is not leading the charge to initiate yet another paranoid campaign against a political leader, in this case Jeremy Corbyn, whereas in the States it is the media against Donald Trump. In the USA, after 18 months of hysteria, there is still a need for people to present evidence of collusion between Trump's campaign and the Russian government. The same type of ridiculous innuendo, misrepresentation and assertion has began in the UK, led, not by the opposition but by the government of Theresa May starting with the same tactic of demonizing Russia but receiving campaign funds from oligarchs who are in opposition to the Russian government because most are fugitives from justice; this is no problem for the British government and other political parties. All of this is an alarming indication of a significant decline in appropriate behaviour, an abrogation of media responsibility and a depressing decadence in ethical standards on the part of the current British government and the apparatchiks in the BBC.
We are in the grip of a campaign of lurid fantasy
Theresa May, the British Prime Minister, has stooped to a shabby mode of behaviour in failing to demand compliance with the required procedures under international law in the recent case involving Sergei Skripal, an ex-double agent, and his daughter Yulia who appear to have been affected by a nerve agent in Salisbury on 4th March. They have both been in intensive care since. It is alleged that the nerve agent used was, Novichok, a former Soviet product which in fact exists in different republics including the Ukraine.
Under the circumstances this case should follow the agreed procedures under the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) of which Russia and the United Kingdom are members. The normal procedure would be to send case evidence, including a sample of the chemical, through the OPCW, to Russia allowing 10 days for them to evaluate case evidence in order to provide an evidence-based rational and informed response. However, Theresa May abandoned due process and demanded an explanation from the Russian government within 24 hours without providing any evidence. It may be remembered that the same happened with another former Soviet agent in London and in which case th UK government acted in the same way, making accusations and denying Russia authorities any case evidence, acting as judge and jury based on evidence that no one has seen.
This scandalous and insulting behaviour could not have really expected any response within 24 hours and as a result May has declared sanctions and the expulsion of diplomats because of Russia's "failure to respond" to allegations over the Skripal alleged poisoning. This 24 hour limitation appears to boil down to be a piece of amateurish dramatics to publicly record the British government resolve and toughness, probably for the sake of appearances to the current anti-Russian hysterical mob in the USA. It seems to be an attempt to maintain the NATO, military justification for wasteful allocation of government budgets to military use to keep armaments companies paying up on their political party contributions.
This British government appears to be attempting to push the national mood to a irrational state of paranoia concerning Russia, insulting the people of Russia on the basis of enormous leaps of faith in coming to destructive conclusions in the absence of serious evidence. This is destabilizing and an affront to the people of Britain who should be provided with the facts and who should not be insulted with the gross assumptions on the part of the intelligence agencies and government that the people don't need to have the full facts. It is easy to see through all of this theatre but being intoxicated and imbued with their desire to hold onto power, this shaky government has become blinded into showing their hand because they assume that the media and assertive declarations, made with a grave tone and serious face, can continue to manage the electorate, assumed to be made up of blind ignoramuses. Parliamentary democracy, so-called, in Britain is in a serious state of decay and it cannot be relied upon to right this unacceptable state of affairs.
Trolls and Bots and other things to point at
One absurdity is that now the repetition of the statement that "Russia" interfered has resulted in people stating with conviction that "Russia did interfere" simply on the basis of some in the so-called intelligence bodies said it did. Thus we have a text book example of the power of propaganda and of Joseph Goebbels' simple statement that is you repeat a lie enough times (no need for facts) people begin to think that it is an established truth.
On the other hand, one of the main roles of US intelligence agencies has been to interfere directly in the elections worldwide and especially in Europe and South American since the 1960s. This has included payments to NGOs and goon squads to help bring about enforced, and in some cases violent, government take-overs in the Ukraine and Arab Springs. Some of most serious actions to mislead the American public have been the creation of excuses, that were known to be lies, to declare war such as the Tonkin gunboat affair leading the Vietnam war and the insistence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Both of these events not only destroyed many American families waiting for body bags to return from afar, but they also lead to the deaths of many innocent, men, women and children in far off lands. These observations are not the repetition of lies but are based on recorded facts including the graves of young Americans and people from other countries, distributed across the planet. This makes the American obsession with a hard to detect Russian interference ridiculous and hypocritical.
So far there has been no convincing evidence other than suppositions that Russian Bots sought to stoke up divisions between the people of the United States. Divisions, of course, are now widespread in US society. These arise from self-inflicted and justifiable complaints such as police murdering unarmed African Americans with impunity and the NRA taking up the role of grand preacher in the name of the rights to own guns when thousands of innocent people and school children die every year as a result of excessive gun violence. Divisions have arisen as a result of the hollowing out of US industry and employment by American oligarchs who preferred to shift their production to low wage locations. Bankers today help corporations buy back shares to benefit executives while productivity stagnates and the disparity in income levels grows. The flow of money and sheer corruption on the part of many Congress and Senate members has become "acceptable practice" who are paid by oligarchs to sustain this divisive aggression causing so much suffering on the part of innocents in the USA. These same people have abrogated their responsibilities for a balanced foreign policy and who instead maintain a dynamic of division and uncertainty and conjuring up a domestic fear of other countries so as to justify ludicrous levels wasteful government expenditure on armament companies. In foreign countries the cost of this irresponsible behaviour has cost something like 20 million lives since the Second World War at the hands of US and US Coalition forces. The outcome has been chaos, forced displacement and spill-overs of asylum seekers into Europe. It is others who pay the real price of the USA's bad behaviour and frankly, in spite of the recent Security Council agreement for a cease fire to stop the escalating violence in East Ghouta, a suburb of Damascus, it is notable that past more extreme levels of violence and civilian deaths in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Libya, at the hands of US Coalition forces did not raise the same holier-than-thou pronouncements from the US UN Representative.
In conclusion, it is evident that the American Constitution has failed to keep at bay those elements, many to do with human nature, for better or worse, from harming the individual and free citizen. The politicians who occupy the State legislators, Senate and Congress have had a more-than-comfortable ride in not responding to their constituencies but rather to their bank balances. The Founding Fathers could never have imagined the degree to which the worst aspects of human nature could have become dominant motivations for Presidential and government decisions. In the end, this is the result of the power of "political parties". The Founding Fathers were therefore naive or intentionally failed to recognise the warning that is registered in the document that was known to them. In May of 1649, a proposal called "An Agreement of the Free People of England" was penned out by John Lilburne, William Walwyn, Thomas Prince and Richard Overton, all of whom were English Levellers. They had been imprisoned in the Tower of London by Oliver Cromwell. This document was a proposal for a written constitution for England. 40 years later parts were used in the English Bill of Rights of 1689 and the American Bill of Rights in the American Constitution of March 1789, some 140 years later. Their preamble stated that the nation should be free and happy and that all differences should be reconciled so that all can stand with a clear conscience whilst preventing the prevalence of interests and private advantages. They wrote that actions should not be driven by malice against anyone nor as a result of disagreement over opinions but should be geared towards peace and prosperity for all. They proposed that the free people of England establish a government without arbitrary power and whose action would be bound and limited by law, as would all subordinate authority, with the purpose of removing all grievances.
The Levellers were particularly sensitive to the dangers of arbitrary power over governance arising from private interests being organised with this intent. So a key element in this document was to ban political parties and other forms of conflicts of interest. People with specific professions would not be permitted to exercise them while acting as a representative for their community. Members of Parliament were to be elected only once, having to stand down at the next election but they could be elected in a subsequent election. This was a precaution against the build up of embedded interests and to discourage the formation of a class of "professional" politicians. Parliaments were to last one year with annual elections; not to act on this provision was to be considered to be an act of High Treason. Public officials should be chosen by Members of Parliament and elected each year. This was a move to avoid the formation of so-called factions within government service who could become embedded as permanent and likely to develop arbitrary power and be increasingly prone to corruption.
If one traces the number of times this document has been cherry picked by legislators over the last 360 years, it is notable that the specific practical references to the avoidance of arbitrary powers and the formation of political parties were always ignored; let us say "redacted".
There being no organic leadership arising from a representation of the people, the American Constitution cannot save us from the visceral extremes and censorship that pervade the media and political discourse that shuffles the country towards a state of fear and animosity to others. This is manipulated by arbitrary misrepresentations of those in power to justify decisions to the direct benefit of private commercial interests and politicians and, of course, the political parties. Of course all of this is sold as being of benefit to the people such as "keeping you safe" or "defending your freedom". Now is well beyond the time for rational individuals and communities to acknowledge that the American Constitution has turned out to be impotent in the face of this reckless onslaught of private interest groups; it is seriously flawed. Until Americans accept and act so that, ".... actions should not be driven by malice against anyone nor as a result of disagreement over opinions but should be geared towards peace and prosperity for all", we will all continue to suffer and pay too heavy a price, be we Americans or people from other lands who suffer from the increasingly disruptive and arbitraty interference of America in their afffairs.
Where the oligarchs thrive
There has been much talk about the pernicious influence of "oligarchs" in Russia. The term is used to describe business magnates who in the case of the post-Soviet satellite countries and in Russia gained an enormous wealth during the privatization schemes in the 1990s. The processes of such privatizations were overseen by Western management consultancy companies subcontracted to the European Commission and USAID. The "logic" of this approach followed closely the recommendations of business schools, such as Harvard. The principal advocate for what turned out to be a case study in disastrous impacts on the process of democratization was Jeremy Sachs whose ideas and methods of transition from central planning were adopted throughout the transition economies.
However, the influence of home-grown oligarchs is more extreme and well-established in the USA and Western Europe than in the post-soviet domain. In particular the media in, for example, the USA and the United Kingdom is concentrated in the hands a few oligarchs who have a commanding influence over what the public read, see and listen to. Far from a free press the media is a zone permitting oligarch a free hand on controlling what is communicated. The result is editors, who have no independence, who remain employed as subservient sycophants and who in turn oversee the "work" of even less independent journalists who obsequiously tip toe, each day, through the constant range of serious issues facing the public to only produce output that avoids offense to the oligarchs; this results in a widespread censorship of some subjects and events. In the UK these oligarchs tend to be "tax exiles" who hide away beyond the reach of UK tax authorities but who have a direct influence over UK politics through their media empires and financial contributions to political parties. In the USA the influence of oligarchs is less hidden but rears its corrupt head through the massive corporate contributions paid to congress and senate members to vote the way the oligarch's desire. The ludicrous existence of PACs (political action committees) allows oligarchs to pool funds and concentrate their power through contributions to campaigns for or against candidates, ballot initiatives, or legislation.
One has to ask whether or not the "mature" democracy of the USA is really an example of the operation of a free press and democracy when it has been admitted by many that most state voting districts in the USA are designed to favour one party or the other based on gerrymandering (the manipulation of the boundaries of electoral constituencies to favour one party or class). In other words the oligarchs choose the voters instead of the voters being free to select the representative they want. The more recent corruption of the Democratic National Committee related to Clinton financializing and privatizing the funding of that organization in exchange for becoming the only Democratic candidate and the manipulations to marginalize Bernie Sanders only add an additional layer of unacceptable behaviour on the part of those who proclaim the USA to be an example of a democratic state.
Many Americans consider themselves to be "free" as a result of the existence of the American Constitution and the "American way" and this is the culmination of a long drawn out indoctrination starting in schools and absorbed and even defended by the hard working folk, many of whom have some admiration for the US oligarchs.
BREXIT and the Friday Agreement
There has been much talk about the BREXIT move will create a "hard border" between Ireland and Northern Ireland leading to friction and possible implications for peace in Ireland because of impacts on the Friday peace agreement. Last weekend a seminar was organised for APE journalists at the Systems Engineering Economics Lab (SEEL) in Portsmouth. This covered how project designers should handle the Sustainability Development Goals. A major topic was how a next generation cloud project cycle and portfolio management system design could handle these issues through a very low cost support system for low income countries. SEEL information technology developers were covering this topic when a journalist from Ireland asked if technology could help in removing the "hard border". Although not the subject of the seminar, SEEL decided to provide an addition impromptu bag lunch presentation to cover this topic.
It turns out that a combination of traceability systems both for goods crossing the border as well as people and automatic vehicle identification systems can make borders almost completely frictionless turning what would have been a hard border into an invisible border. These systems rely on some specific risk assessment algorithms, some developed at SEEL, and which occasionally will have certain people and vehicles be subject to spot checks. However, in general, these are unlikely to be numerous. On the same basis, with such options, the stories of lorries piling up in Dover and such like, appear to be without foundation.
It is perplexing that politicians and the media, and indeed the European Commission and European Parliamentarians all keep fretting about the dangers of a "hard border" between Ireland and Northern Ireland. These people really need to be better informed and the UK government needs to explain the options for this "border" even if the UK isn't in any EU-related market or customs union.
The non-"investigation" plummets into absurdity....
The recent "indictment" against 13 individuals in Russia and an internet company in St. Petersburg, referred to as a troll farm is being used to demonstrate "results" in typical FBI fashion. But this "result" has nothing to do with Russian State collusion with President Trump or interference with the US election. To round this off the Administration has stated that there will be no specific attempt to initiate any legal process against the individuals named in the indictment. This is probably a precaution since it is likely that with records of transactions the so-called accused would be able to provide that there is no basis for the statements made by the investigation what-so-ever. It has been suggested that the timing of this process was to smother criticisms of FBI for not having responded to repeated warnings about the individual who murdered 17 people in a school massacre in Florida last week.
The FBI and he other 16 investigative organization have a status and image problem and they will do anything not to face up to embarrassing facts concerning their incompetence. And so the "investigation" continues down its rabbit warren and consuming too much federal funding. Many non-American observers find this bizarre low quality superficial circus tragi-comic and even more absurd is the growing habit of media personnel to accuse anyone who makes a valid comment criticizing this absurdity, as being "Un American!".
The investigation of anything but....
Give or take a month or so there has been over a year taken in an ongoing investigation into "Russian meddling in the US presidential election". This has been accompanied by an hysterical onslaught of mis-information by well-known members of Congress, the mainstream media and the losers of the election, the Democratic National Committee and Mrs. Clinton. Rather than gracefully accept the outcome of the election, this indignant and furious group of people, for economic, political and motives of personal aggrandizement and image protection, have been coordinating a campaign to try and establish that Donald Trump won the election by devious means. Donald Trump is not a typical president and he seems to hold views that many disagree with, but he has a core support within the USA. Unlike the Democrats or Mrs Clinton, and Mr. Trump's tendency to making crass statements aside, he followed procedures in an exemplary fashion. The same cannot be said for some of his Republican rivals for the presidency. The process of his election followed the legitimate procedures required under the law. Therefore the unseemly behaviour of Congress and the media in pursuing an attempt at a coup against Mr. Trump, by trying to discover some basis upon which to impeach him, is a disgraceful spectacle that does the image of the USA no good at all. The amount of mud slinging and innuendo and countless "nameless" and "unidentified" sources of absurd claims is becoming a source a irritation and embarrassment for more thoughtful Americans. Sober analysts and decision-makers should only deal with the truth but here we see the exposure of base visceral motivations and utterances that deal in un-truths and misrepresentation by people who would like to shore up a self-image of the being the embodiment and guardians of higher ideals and values.
On the side of the so-called investigation the somewhat out-of-date approach by a former FBI director, Mr. Mueller, is over-emphasizing his desire to get some convictions. The easiest way to do this is to apply the "Al Capone" approach of checking up on such things like financial dealing and payment of due tax by US citizens who have operated at the interface of lobbying, Central Europe and Congress and who might have some tenuous connection to Mr. Trump's campaign. As can be seen from the recent outcomes, this technique catches low level, largely irrelevant, people with tenuous connections to the Trump campaign and the hope is that under the threat of long convictions and plea bargains will get them to say what they want as a basis for the individuals escaping long sentences. This is a typical approach applied in the USA but it combines accusing the wrong people to gather false evidence upon which to base accusations against, in this case, Trump. This low level, visceral approach to investigation is unfair to the people targeted, it is weak in intellectual rigour and logic. It tends to secure unreliable admissions, somewhat like water-boarding or any situation where people are at personal risk they will tend to say whatever is expected, be it the truth or not, simply to escape a bad personal outcome. This is not a transparent nor objective basis for "investigation". It is used by organizations who want to justify their existence by getting convictions, any convictions, to show some sort of result. This is a deplorable state of affairs. In England this "Star Chamber" approach was done away with in 1640, long before the American "revolution", it was abolished with an Act of Parliament "the Habeas Corpus Act 1640". It is regrettable that the United States has not, in spite of a much-lauded Constitution, changed investigative practice to incorporate an ethical practice focusing on investigative evidence. The approach being applied is visceral, brutal and lazy. It is demeaning to those who apply it and to whom it is applied to and it is more than five centuries out of date.
This is not a critical path to an rational investigation on Russian meddling in the US presidential election. Investigations of this sort need to review the whole range of dealings of US citizens with Russia and in particular large Russian corporations who are not connected to their government. In this connection there are two significant areas of Russian meddling. One is the DNC and Clinton Campaign's payment of an alleged $6 million prepared for them through Fusion GPS but which contains false statements and which was finally submitted to the FBI as evidence. The fact that Mrs. Clinton fixed a deal to make her the only effective candidate by bribing the DNC in terms for generating cash for the organization places most of the responsibility for the dodgy dossier at Mrs. Clinton's feet - everyone else was following orders. The other also relates to possible payments to the Clinton Foundation in relation to a Uranium deal that took place when Mrs Clinton was Secretary of State. The Clinton Foundation, of course, remained active during the presidential election so promises and undertaking made in exchange for financial contributions in 2010 remain relevant to the election period. Mueller has access to all of this information, including anything to do with hacking from NSA and GCHQ records, and he also knows there is no evidence concerning Russian hacking or even meddling and certainly nothing that compromises Donald Trump directly. "Evidence" that has been published is simply laughable and should never have been published because of its low quality and high content of assertion and complete lack of palpable evidence. Therefore the pursuance of this lengthy investigation that does not appear to be investigating connections between the Democratic side in the presidential election suggests the Mueller is not impartial but is purposely ignoring the acts and deeds on the side of the Democrats in relation to Russia. He is running an investigation of anything but ....
The attack on net neutrality is an attack on constitutions and basic freedoms
The lack of urgency in the discussions surrounding net neutrality ans precipitous deciion to implement Ajit Pai's wishes is alarming. This miguided chairman of the Federal Communications Commission and former Verizon lawyer, is scapping Obama-era net neutrality protections. This is a parochial US businesss short term interest and ignoring the strategic dangers which could have a negative impact on the USA. The smaller ISPs will be gobbbled up and this threatens the population of the United State more than other countries That US "legislators" voted in favour of this act will only create a relative marginalisation of US consumers in comparison with populations on the rest of the www in other parts of the globe.
The evolutionary and revolutionary role of the community conscience
Constitutions address the conditions of the past and in spite of an aim to embody permanent human values and social objectives they are never quite in tune with the present. What causes this drift in relevance is usually the meddling of political agents and parties whose manipulations of the constitution to their own advantage has been accompanied by a politicization of the legal profession, including judges. As a result the constitution is "defended" to shore up a specific interests of powerful minorities as opposed to the constituency as a whole. On the other hand, the general public, convinced of the enduring value of constitutions to protect their rights, continue to defend the constitution with pride and some are ready to die for the perceived "values" contained therein.
In the past the most significant advances in legal frameworks, that improved liberty and the wellbeing of the population at large, gained their impetus, not from politicians or wise judges, but rather from specific decisions taken by juries made up of members of the public that nullified existing laws and defied some judges. Indeed, this particular characteristic of English Law, applied in the States before independence, contributed significantly to the defence of colonists who opposed arbitrary rule from England. One of the most celebrated cases concerned John Peter Zenger, a journalist, establishing the principle of the role of the media. As a result, the media became the only economic sector to be referred to in the US Constitution as being necessary to defend the Constitution. However, what has been overlooked, probably with intent, was the seminal role of the jury in this case. Indeed, as things have turned out, the Constitution should have balanced the role of the media by defending and extending the role of juries.
We elaborate on this important mechanism applied in the past which has been slowly undermined by political parties and the interest groups that support them, leaving few options for improving law to the benefit of all. Even the media have stooped too low, in abusing their freedom there is a tendency to only deal with half truths by substituting the full facts with partial biased content, that pleases those providing financial support to the media concerned. As a result the full facts to arrive at satisfactory conclusions and decisions and denied those with good intent. Juries had the role of assessing whether or not sufficient facts were made available to take important decisions on the basis of there being no reasonable doubts. On the other hand, where the law did not appear to apply, no matter what the law was, the jury was free to nullify the law by declaring a defendent not guilty. The role of the expression of the community conscience through juries still has a potential revolutionary role, not in any disruptive or violent sense but rather in the sense of achieving significant evolutionary advances in the general wellbeing and condition of people. This process, although a cause for discomfort for those benefiting from the current status quo, has advanced the human condition peacefully while distributing the benefits of the constitution to all groups, be they made up of the majority or minority interests. These important topics are elaborated upon in the Leader section of Real News online in the article, "Speaking truth to power".
The No Europe report and no deal under BREXIT
The EU Commission is calling the UK's bluff on a No Deal option. However, if the EU make issues so difficult intentionally, because of their political obsessions (see following article), it is worth reflecting on the result of a "No Europe" report produced in the late 1980s.
In 1987, UK Commissioner Arthur Cockburn, Vice-President of the Delors' Commission and Commissioner for the Internal Market, Tax Law and Customs, arranged, through his cabinet, for a study to be conducted on the benefits of the European Common Market and referred to as "No Europe". According to an ex-Commission official who was asked to look into this study with a view to coordinating it, meetings organized by an Italian consultant, supposedly organised to secure a participatory input, were clearly following a tight pre-established agenda with useful contributions being ignored by the consultant concerned. The official concerned therefore decided not to have anything to do with this report. However, in conversations with members of Cockburn's cabinet it emerged that in spite of the consultant's attempt to show up benefits, these were unconvincing. As a result the study was recommissioned making use of a management consultancy company to do a more "thorough" job. The outcome was essentially a repeat failure to come up with any significant benefits from Europe. For those working at the Commission who were aware of the outcome this was puzzling, it seemed to question the very existence of the Common Market. For those outside the Commission the outcome was somewhat disconcerting given the strong political arguments on either side of the pro-Europeans and skeptics.
This report would have been circulated to some within the Conservative party and no doubt in the government of Margaret Thatcher. In Berlaymont, the Commission HQ on Rue de la Loi, it was nowhere to be found and very soon it was no longer recognised by its name.
This has implications with regard to a situation of a no deal. If the EU continues its stalling tactics, see below, the so-called transition period could help make a no deal work.
EU tactics on BREXIT becoming obvious
A SEEL workshop was held for APE journalists on the weekend of 8-9 October, 2017. This was organised to bring journalists up to speed on their strategic decision analysis department's concern that mainstream media are not picking up on the EU tactitcs to frustrate the UK's ambitions with respect to BREXIT.
Anyone who deals with transition and innovation processes know that the final design can only have beneficial results if a model of the objective is set out as a target and then the options for achieving that objective can be identified and optimised. When it comes to two political groups seeking a mutually beneficial outcome, the decision analysis model needs to be based on the objective of a mutually advantageous future state, in short, the likely trading relationship.
The European Union's aproach to BREXIT has been to frustrate, intentionally, this normal logical process. This is because they want to create difficulties for the UK because they don't want an example to other disgrutled member states; they dont want the UK to leave. If the UK had been a member of the Eurozone things would have been very different with the ECB, some Eurozone representative and probably the IMF working to underlime the whole process as they did in Ireland and Greece.
The second string to the EU's bow, is even more important. By instisting on sorting out the political question first the EU is preventing the UK from negotiating new trade deals with third parties to help smooth out the transition. The EU inisists on the illogical approach of first of all negotiating the divorce, money to be paid and Northern Irish border question before going on to basic structure of a mutually beneficial trading arrangement. Trading arrangements provide a far clearer picture of the likely future trade cashflows for all EU countries and the UK as well as between institutions participating in programmes and projects of mutual interest. On this basis the identification of transition priorities in respect to law and regulations become well-defined as does the quantification of any budget contributions become completely self-evident. The likely future trading arrangements then provide practical guidance on the Northern Irish border question in terms of regulations and management techniques.
The legal basis and approach by the European Commission with the ECJ hovering in the background is completely illogical because it will cause harm to both the UK and EU citizens through the impacts on business. This legal bluster is designed to create intene frustration and political embarassment for the UK government in the hope they will fail or desist; it is a direct interference in the internal politics of the country motivated by a dislike of the outcome of the BEXIT referendum. The EU obsession with the "political" question has become more intense with the UK's insistence that it will be released from ECJ jurisidiction in relation to EU citizens living in the UK; a position that upset the ECJ judicial mindset which considerd their jurisdiction over the "European constitution" and European citizens as sacrosanct. Today we see the same rigid position in the case of Spain today,
As has often been observed, this rigid inflexible approach is undermining democracy in Europe where paradoxically the whole concept of the "Europe of regions" has been promoted by the EU Commission in the past 30 years. In contrast to this "open" approach the reality has been an embedding of a pervasive prescriptive legal system throughout the EU under the ECJ which is marked by inflexibility and marginalizatiomn of the EU ciizens. This contrasts with English Common Law, almost obliterated by waves of adoption of EU legislation, that is more flexible and adaptibe to changing circumstances.
The image of Angela Merkel as today's "leading EU champion and politician" is paradoxical when in reality she is the person who engineered the cynical marginalizaion of referenda in relation to the a new "European Constitution" and which was to have been subject to public referenda. The move towards creatiing such a constitution was initiated by Romani Prodi, President of the European Commission in 2000, who identified the widening European "democratic deficit" as a serious issue. Therefore, some 17 years ago the fact that Europeans are increasingly distrustful of the institutions which take decisions on their behalf but can do little about it within the European Union, had become a serious political issue. Prodi proposed a grandiose solution, a US-style founding fathers-type constitutional convention.
This eventually went forward but the true colours of European planner's mindset became crudely evident by the subsequent procedures and political decisions. The first very negative anti-democratic signal was the antics and behaviour of Valerie D'Estaigne as President of the so-called Convention on the European Constitution. This "convention" became a case study in how to marginalize the population by demonstrating an inability to manage a participatory process. It was an exercise in sickening crude bullying elitism. The outcome, predictably was a Constitutional document that passed too much power to Brussels and it was obvious that the public could not accept it.
Angela Merkel, realising that the European population would not accept such a Constitutional document demonstrated her complete lack of democratic credentials by writing an open and cynical letter to Member State leaders. She explained that public referenda were not needed to get the Constitution accepted. All of the provisions could be imposed on the public by calling the Convention an "amending treaty" which would not need any public referenda. The result was the Lisbon Treaty, imposed on the people of Europe as a monument to the massive and shameful European democratic deficit greatly assisted by Angela Merkel, today the EU's "leading politician" and EU "champion".
Time for the US Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Christopher Wray to act
The August 3, 2017 edition of "American Conservative", carries an important article entitled: "The Strange Case of Imran Awan - Only fraud or something more?" by Philip Giraldi. Philip Giraldi is a former counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer of the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and a columnist and the Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest. This group advocates for more even-handed policies by the U.S. government in the Middle East.
This is an important article since it raises logical questions that add weight to the growing awareness that the release of the Clinton emails is likely to have occurred in any case because of the amazingly lax security surrounding these, as well as Congressional information, including intelligence. As evidence mounts, there were so many individuals, without security clearance, with access to these emails that they did not have to be "hacked".The Russia-gate angle is rapidly evaporating. This exposure of classified government information is related to the management of this information by the Democratic National Committee chair, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz and others who contracted the use of various private cloud storage services which lay beyond the requisite levels of government security oversight. This included the location of the emails and other documents of some 30 Congress members and members of the House Security Committee to easy access by many who are working against the interests of the USA.
According to Ibn Nr, it is highly likely that all of this information including all of Hillary Clinton's emails passed over the desks of key operatives in the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in Islamabad long before any such dossiers found their way to Wikileaks giving rise to the notion of Russian hacking. It is also the case that internal operatives support the Taliban in Afghanistan in their fight against the US. As we all know the US has been losing ground to the Taliban. This Afghan adventure has cost over 2,400 lives of US servicemen and women without counting the dead civilians and "coalition" force deaths. A failed and failing initiative.
Hillary Clinton's recorded acknowledgement concerning the payment by Saudi Arabia to terrorists in Iraq and elsewhere would have been passed on to the Saudis. With Clinton not having gained the Presidency following millions of dollars invested by the Saudis in the Clinton Foundation and in her election campaign, the Saudi's are trying to clean up their image with respect to their funding of terrorists through displacement activities such as attempting to accuse and isolate Qatar.
It is notable that the Russian hacking angle is being pushed by those who are responsible for this collapse in US government security surrounding intelligence information and classified emails all of which have provided an open door for leakers, as witnessed recently in the Beltway.
It turns out that, with intent and in other cases convenience, much information and intelligence information found it way out onto private cloud server storage facilities, including Hillary Clinton's emails and were therefore accessible to unknown people from technical support personnel to server administrators.
One of the issues, that suggest attempted sedition against the US government, is the selective release of leaks by only relating these to White House communications. This appears to have been designed to set up an image of chaos within the White House, under President Trump. Just as no one has any control over this illegal release of confidential communications content, concerning government affairs, this lack of control has nothing to do with President Trump. As can be seen the "mainstream" media have been highly selective in what they publish to maximise the damage to President Trump while hiding other matters, such as the subject matter and implications of this article. This, it would seem, is related to the explicit association between the Democrats and Clinton "supporters" in these activities and the media having morphed into an opposition mouthpiece containing little more than propaganda. The explosion in "unattributed" and "unidentified" sources cited by CNN, The New York Times and others seem to be based on a hangover from this leaky Congressional network. What is the point of NSA, CIA, FBI and others when their secrets can be picked up online, filtered and selectively sent on to some compliant journalist as a fact attributed to an unidentified source? Lastly, the recent publication of confidential conversations between President Trump and foreign heads of state is a major mistake by the journalist and editors involved. Most have concentrated on what Trump stated when the more fundamental point is that this has completely undermined the ability of Present Trump to conduct normal exchanges with heads of state because such heads of state will avoid making any statements that might be exposed by an irresponsible Beltway mob. This targeted undermining of the head of state again raises the question of sedition. This has created an image of the USA as not being a responsible player in international affairs since it cuts off frank and critical feedback from foreign heads of state. It supports a foreign policy that is based on the American perspective on the world with little reference to reality. This is all part of the unacceptable mantra that you are with us or you are against us, very much the pervasive message on the Department of State website. At last the current Administration, through Jeff Sessions, will begin to investigate sources of leaks and, in particular, the limits to which the press can go in releasing leaks concerning classified material is to be reviewed. However, Jeff Sessions needs to ask Christopher Wray of the FBI to initiate an investigation into this case of insecure storage of government information and the easy aces's to it by people with no security clearance since this is yet another font for leaks.
Central to this case appears to be the information in Philip Giraldi's article which explains that a Pakistani IT specialist, Imran Awan, was arrested in July 2017 on charges of bank fraud. This charge was clearly made so as to not attract attention to the real reason for his arrest. Imran Awan, his wife and his two brothers Abid and Jamal worked as IT administrators for some 30 Congressmen. At one point they brought into the House Rao Abbas who was owed money by the Awans and he ended up working in the office of Representative Patrick Murphy who at that time was a member of the House Intelligence Committee as well as Representative Theo Deutch. The problem is that the Awans are likely to have gained access to the complete computer network of the House of Representatives. The Capitol Hill Police began to investigate and little by little advised Congressmen of the danger and the services of the Awans were discontinued. Paradoxically Debbie Wasserman Schultz continued to employ Imran until the day of his arrest.
This raises many serious questions as to why the Chairman of the Democratic national Committee continued to employ someone who possessed such sensitive information. Was it for services offered in gaining information for the Democrats or a realization that Awan might have been passing information on while being aware of other things the DNS were getting up to in addition to the Bernie Sanders treatment scandal; this suggests the possibility of blackmail. Of course all such allegations should be investigated. It is particularly odd that a very high profile attorney is representing Imran in the bank fraud case in the shape of Chris Gowen a close associated and confidant of the Clintons.
It is reported that Amran had access to the DNS computer system through Debbie Wasserman Schultz's iPad and it can therefore be assumed he had access to the Hillary Clinton emails. According to Giraldi, Amran also used a Laptop in Wasserman Schultz's office which was hidden in an "unusual Crevice" according to investigators, in the Rayburn House Office Building. Wasserman Schultz tried in vain to get this Laptop back before it could be inspected threatening the Chief of Capitol House Police, Mathew Vererosa, that "you should expect that there will be consequences".
In a house Amran owned, tenants, who were military personnel, brought a large number, of what appeared to be, government computers stored on the premises, to the attention of the authorities. These all turned out to have had their hard drives destroyed. In February 2016 the Awans were suspected to running an operation to steal and sell government-owned computer equipment. According to Ibn Nr, if this is true, this could have been a more wholesale means of obtaining sensitive intelligence by stripping out information held on computers/servers, that IT operatives judged to be "in need of replacement".
These issues involve possible acts of espionage against the USA - although not conducted by Russia - the theft of classified information and government computers, amazingly lax human resources hiring and management procediures in the Congress and DNS, ethical issues and fundamental legal issues, all of which appear to have been abused to the detrinent of of the image of the USA as a democracy with a competent government and political class. What it also shows up is a shocking level of operational incompetence in fundamental security oversight of Congressional and political party affairs. The danger also exists that this could have seriously undermined the security of US military personnel, placing their live at risk.
Of particular concern is the operation of a "free press" in the USA, is not one of checking up on the government but rather skewing what is published to undermine rather than hold to account government for its decisions and actions. One has to observe the actions and work of the media and ask whether current practices have shifted into a darker world of sedition, and attempt to disrupt and embarrass rather than present balanced and constructive discourses so as to support debates designed to right wrongs and improve the welfare of the people of America. As it is, many media participate in a process that is destroying the image of the USA as having any credentials as a bastion for democracy as well as acting directly to undermine its effectiveness.
President Trump has often referred to widely known media outlets in the US as "fake-news". This image of "mainstream" US media has become accepted fact for increasing number of people who are fed up with the zealous and somewhat paranoid repetitive Trump bashing. CNN for example dedicate whole programs just to this tedious overblown process, puctuated by "unattributed sources". The USA media have a long way to go to recover their credibility. Today, increasing numbers by-pass the "mainstream" to use so-called "alternative media" who, at least, with far fewer resources or paid content from corporate lobbyists, political parties and Saudi Arabia, make the effort to provide more balanced analysis, or, at least, the other side of the story.
There is here, a lesson for the UK, where the government is toying with the idea of extending the media ownership of the Murdoch group; such a concentration is dangerous for it can backfire on governemnt and indeeed society as whole. Leveson 2 needs to be implemented (see article below entitled "Unacceptable level of media concentration in the UK")
What is it that Andrew Neil doesn't understand?
Last Sunday on Sunday Politics (16/07/2017), Andrew Neil made a vain attempt to dismount the Labour Party's position on the EU Customs Union and the EU Internal Market. He tied this out on Rebecca Long Bailey and he failed completely because Long Bailey's replies were crystal clear and Neil's questions a product of muddled thinking. Rebecca Long Bailey's position and that of the Labour Party is one based on systems decision analysis. For this to operate to clarify matters one seeks what is known as equivalence. In other words, no matter what labels are attached to a specific arrangement it is the arrangement options that remain important. Because of the interests of economic sectors in Europe not wishing to lose UK market share there will be a vector that promotes an equivalence of circumstances for these companies when the UK leaves. The EU Commission places itself at risk to go against this in spite of existing European Law. Therefore the seeking of such equivalent arrangement in or outside the tag frameworks of Internal Market or Customs Union become an obvious endeavour for both sides. Rather than things getting worse and Europe becoming "tough" it is more likely that there will be a transition in realisations that move in the direction of the Labour Party position. At one point, while Long Bailey was trying to complete an answer she was interrupted by Neil, so she implored him to allow her to finish what she was saying because it was important. His response was to say that his question was important implying that it was more important than her reply. Interviewers do, sometimes, lose decorum when they insist on demanding answers that demonstrate a confusion that only exists in the mind of the interviewer, as in the case in this interview, so-called.
A recent statement by John McDonnell applied the term "social murder" to the plight of the inhabitants of Grenfell Tower who perished. Of course the Daily Mail went on about this being a Marxist term. The question, however, is whether this term has any sense.
Under English law the act of murder is the unlawful killing of a human being in the Queen's peace. Associated with this is the state of mind of the killer being malice aforethought or an intent to kill. On the other hand, unlawful killing can also be committed as a result of an act or omission. The use of the word "social" relating to an act refers to levels of social responsibility in upholding a duty of care that each has for the other.
In a participatory democracy it is clear that primacy of human life and the need to protect this takes precedence over all other matters. However, a corrupted constitution that fails to maintain a proactive exercise of this essential function will fall foul of the behaviour of decision-makers who are not primarily concerned with the essential function of safeguarding life. They are often busying themselves with matters that are of more importance to their own comfort, status and income. Therefore ignoring direct pleas to install sprinklers or putting off acting to update fire regulations to avoid deaths previously linked to defective building cladding are acts of dereliction of duty. However, this term fails to convey the significance of this failure to be one of being unwilling to protect the lives of others who might be living in buildings exposed to the same risk. Here we see a transition in state of mind from one that is concerned with personal convenience or simply reflecting a lazy persons acts or failures to act end up aligning them with those who have no intention of protecting people who are a risk of being burnt alive. Such people became complicity in the wrongdoing of intentionally sustaining a state of high risk to the lives of such people. If this was not the intent what was it? Government was advised that a failure to act placed people's lives at risk, that is, there was a high probability that people would die if nothing was done. Nothing was done. So now after the horrific events as Grenfell far too many people have died.
As it stands our social collective democratic system fails to protect the lives of large groups of our citizens, many of whom have pleaded for government to act so that they might be free of the risk of an untimely death. Those with power have not acted with the urgency they would have done if it had been their own lives, and that of their families, at risk. When things unfolded into the worst scenario officials became concerned to dampen emotions and not politicize the event. As a major calamitous constitutional and government failure it is a wholly political failure. It highlights a constitutional corruption at the hands of irresponsible decision makers. This unlawful killing or murder did have a social dimension that demonstrated such an intense ill will that one has to conclude that John McDonnell's much criticised characterization has, embarrassingly for many, a considerable amount of sense.
Unacceptable level of media concentration in the UK
Ofcom has concluded that the Murdochs' bid to take over Sky may hand too much power to the Murdochs. To get around this, the Government has invited the Murdochs to make undertakings - promises that they will limit their control in specific ways - but they've made many such undertakings before and broken them.
Ofcom also said that there was insufficient evidence about corporate governance failures to raise formal concerns - but that's hardly surprising when the Government has intervened to stop Part Two of the Leveson Inquiry, designed specifically to gather and expose precisely this evidence. People have until Friday 14 July to persuade the Minister that any such undertakings will likely be completely worthless and that she shouldn't enter into a 'grubby deal' without first finding out the truth. We encourage all to ask their MPs to demand Leveson Part Two.
The reality is that this deal, which would hand the Murdochs more media power in the UK, should never have been considered in the first place. The Second Part of the Leveson Inquiry, which was promised in 2011 (and repeatedly promised since then), was established to investigate evidence of profound corruption and cover-ups at News of the World and News International while James Murdoch was Executive Chairman. That Part of the Inquiry could not proceed in 2011 because criminal trials were ongoing. Now that those trials have finished, the Government have no excuse for further delays. But not only have the Government failed to complete the Second Part of the Leveson Inquiry, they pledged in their manifesto to scrap it altogether. The Murdochs should not be allowed to take any more media power while the Leveson Inquiry has not been completed.
The scenario not considered by bluster
The Conservatives now have very little chance of winning an election because the odds have inverted as increasingly large margins favour the Labour party.
At an APE retreat last weekend the conclusions of most was that, in the bluster surrounding the last leadership election "won" by May, insufficient analysis had been conducted into the Labour party. The somewhat arrogant "write off" of Labour or more specifically, Jeremy Corbyn, blinded a tiny internal group supporting May to push ahead with support for her. It is very apparent that if the Conservative party intelligence on Labour, and the strategy being followed by Jeremy Corbyn, had been better, May would never have been selected. The only person who would have had a chance to counter Jeremy Corbyn, it has been concluded, is Andrea Leadsom who held particularly rational positions on the economy. Her track record shows she is unlikely to have come up with the types of ineffective policies of either Osborne or the weak ineffectual positions of Hammond. The reshuffle has pushed her sideways into a position where she has no possibility of exercising her talents in economics but at least she will be a more visible female component of the government. This government continues to demonstrate a failure to combine the remaining talents in an effective manner.
Freedom of the press and the exercise in gratuitous abuse
The very newspapers who resist the Leveson recommendations with regard to legislation and regulation of the media are the very same groups who base a lot of their "reasoning" and "arguments" on biased gratuitous abuse of individuals, earning them the appellations of gutter press of rags.
In the wake of the findings of the disgraceful case of media hacking into private mobiles and acts of intimidation against individuals some of the mainstream media hope to delay implementation of Leveson 1 and abandon Leveson 2. Fortunately the election result could help provide some rational analysis and hopefully a move towards a situation that can help improve the protection of the public from media abuse.
According to the Hacked Off Campaign:
"Reforming press regulation and getting to the truth of the criminality and corruption in the press and police is back on the agenda after last week's General Election resulted in a hung parliament.
Three weeks ago, the Conservative Party election manifesto pledged to abandon part 2 of the Leveson Inquiry and repeal the Leveson access to justice incentive ("Section 40"). This was a breach of the party leadership's past promises and a betrayal of victims of press abuse. And it was suspected to be the price agreed by Theresa May in meetings with Dacre and Murdoch in exchange for their support. Mrs May appeared to be willing to leave ordinary people defenseless against the power of unaccountable press barons, and to see evidence of collusion between police and press swept under the carpet, in exchange for favourable election coverage in powerful newspapers. But the public voted to deny the Prime Minister a Parliamentary majority, meaning she has no mandate for her outrageous manifesto pledges on Leveson.
There is now once again a Parliamentary Commons majority in favour of Leveson – not to mention the dozens of Conservative MPs and Peers who stand by the victims of press abuse and support reform, bravely, in spite of the party leadership's position. The dodgy deals cooked up between the PM and the press have been rejected by the voters, and have instead delivered a Parliament in favour of press regulation reform. But progress still won't be easy. Regardless of their failure to have a decisive effect on the General Election result, the Mail, Telegraph and the Murdoch papers all loyally lined up behind the Prime Minister. The owners and executives at those newspapers have debts to call in from Mrs May, and we know that they want nothing more than to kill off the Leveson reforms. Hacked Off Campaign has thanked its supporters for their generosity and support over the last Parliament, and in the run up to the election last week. And they hope they can rely on the continued commitment of supporters of their campaign throughout this Parliament, as they seek to hold all parties to their commitments and see the Leveson reforms finally brought into effect.
The election timing issue and a silver lining
For a considerabl period APE have been reporting on the strategy adopted by Jeremy Corbyn to people who consider such an individual to be incapable of mounting a strategy. This includes the mainstream British media who have have been more than willing to "report" caustic comments, insults and dirision directed at him, largely by representatives of the Conservative party; accompanied by jeering and finger pointing. While the Conservative rather smugly considered Theresa May to be "seeing off" Corbyn at each Prime Minister's Question Time, the public saw a Prime Minister who could not answer pertinent questions raised by members of the public in a straight fashion. She seldom "won the argument", simply repretitively ignored the questions. Therefore, even before the election, May had branded herself as "evasive" and this is perilously close to "dishonest". On the other hand Corbyn has tended to answer questions in a staightforward and honest manner. The other political parties went about "business as usual", as did the media, by ignoring the youth of the country and relying heavily on "traditional support" and remaining cynical that the under 30 year olds could vote intelligently, if indeed, they voted at all; we now see see the outcome. The significance of the fact that Jeremy Corbyn increased the size of the Labour party membership for it to become by far the largest party in the UK and the largest socialist party in Europe, based mainly on growimng numbers of youthful members, has been completely ignored. Most believed the Blairite chorus that this was the hard left manipulation designed to get a larger vote for Corbyn in his leadership elections. But in the end, people don't just join a party to elect its leader.
The silver lining
The success of the Labour party in this election has resulted in those young who voted Labour feeling empowered, as they should be. This has resulted in a heightened level of enthusiasm and support both for Jeremy Corbyn and the Labour party leading to what is close to a revolution in the way these voters want to become more practically engaged in politics and social issues. This is the silver lining that bodes well for the future of Britain; it also lays the foundation for the other parties to wake up and begin to respond by attempting to address important issues.
On the other hand Theresa May is unlikely to last long as leader of the Conservative party and the current options for leadership are not particularly appealing. They will be up against Corbyn who, if any politician comes across as someone who respects all constituents of any age, dismissing no one, Jeremy Corbyn is that politician. Anyone in the current ranks of senior Conservative politicians attempting to ape Corbyn's genuine gregariousnes and wholly open participatory approach, would be considered to be phoney. Corbyn's authenticity is a powerful demonstration that there are politicians who have strong convictions and who are not prepared to waver in these to obtain votes.
Recent analysis by APE suggests something few appear to have detected, it is that if the election had been called just 3 months later, the preparatory work at Labour, which has been going on since Corbyn became leader, would have resulted in a large Labour majority. Mrs. May's decision to call an election was too precipitated and a little bit too late to gain any complete advantage. This was more than evident from the manifestos, Labour was more than ready and the Conservative rendition was pitiful and their organization in disarray.
Lastly, Jeremy Corbyn, in his concentration on open meetings was an example of his understanding and long experience in campaigning for many causes over the years. Genuine campaigning sometimes uses cliches and buzz words but it gets nowhere unless there is a content made up of fundmetally important messages that people can relate to. Also the messenger needs to come across as someone who honestly believes, with some enthusism in the messages. There is here a networking effect based on word of mouth, mobiles, texting and an intagible buzz an infective enthusiasm that causes people to re-evaluate previous positions. This has been Jeremy Corbyn's "sectret weapon". This whole concept remains beyond the comprehension of those cynical politicians who are always ready to say what they think people want to hear. This is a characteristic of modern politics populated by many intellectually dishonest individuals who far from being "strong" are weak pliant cowards with no principles. This was of course the general characterization of politicians by the English author Charles Dickens who was a sometime parliamentary reporter. He expressed his complete lack of faith in politicians but considerable faith in people; Charles would no doubt have approved of Jeremy.
It isn't just about BREXIT but it is also about fighting internal corruption
We have been kindly reminded by the Hacked Off Campaign Team that the British Government has not committed to Leveson Part 2. The General Election provides an opportunity for voters to consider the various candidates' commitments to implementing Leveson's recommendations and to Part 2 of the Inquiry, when casting your vote.
The Labour party and the Lib Dems have both committed to delivering Leveson Part 1, proceeding with Part 2 of the Inquiry, and to protecting media plurality. The Green Party and Plaid have always supported reform of press regulation, and the SNP have a track record of supporting it in Parliament.
The Conservatives, however, have pledged to abandon the second stage of the Leveson Inquiry, despite showing support on a cross-party basis in 2011. The then PM David Cameron endorsed Leveson Part 2 on a number of occasions in 2011, 2012 and 2013, saying that the Conservative party "remain committed" to the Inquiry in its entirety. Yet, in their recent election manifesto, they argue that the first inquiry was "comprehensive" enough – we know this is not true. Part 1 only looked into press regulation, not the specifics of any wrongdoing, the conspiracies or the cover-up. Part 2 could not begin until the criminal and civil trials had been completed, which they now have. This policy U-turn by the Conservatives is an appalling betrayal of victims of press abuse who were promised thorough investigations into alleged cover-ups of police-press corruption. The Hillsborough disaster occurred in 1989 but it took until 2016 to secure a truthful inquest verdict; they now need Leveson Part 2 to find out who knew what about the cover-up and when. The same applies to the family of Daniel Morgan, who was murdered in 1987.
Read the Hacked Off campaign's' Leveson Part 2 mythbuster to find out more on why this stage of the Inquiry is so important. We must ensure that the careful regulatory framework proposed by Leveson and agreed by Parliament is not systematically dismantled by a government subservient to newspaper editors. We need Leveson Part 2 if we are to get to bottom of the alleged collusion between police, press, and politicians. Evidence of police corruption and newspapers' cover-up of widespread illegality cannot be allowed to be swept under the carpet.
Polls open on Thursday, 8th June, at 7am and close at 10pm, use your vote wisely.
As voting day nears journalism becomes a series of irresponsible rants
With one day to go before polling day in the UK on 8th June 2017, the standards of journalism have plummeted, somewhat reminiscent of the recent US presidential election, where media, who should have known better, wallowed increasingly in partisan misrepresentation, innuendo and what has now become known as "fake news". For example, today an article in the Daily Mail, by someone called Guy Adams, is a senseless rant. Clearly written by a young person with no historic perspective or intimate experience of the events he writes about. He targets Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott, leading members of the Labour party. He labels them as apologists for terrorists. In turns out that the writer of this disjointed piece was born in 1976 and yet he rants about events over a reference period when his average age would have been around 10. It is amazing that someone can make a living writing this sort of material. It is even more amazing that editorial standards at the Daily Mail are so lax. Along with the Murdoch press and the Sun's efforts at journalism there is a deflection of the truth and massive lie created by no comment.
Theresa May and the Conservative, and Blairite governments before, are largely responsible for the spikes in immigration and entry of Middle Eastern terrorist spill over accessing our shores and entering the country. The continued foreign policy of aggression rather than negotiation has proven to be a massive failure. The leaders against this type of failed foreign venturism were Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott. This is that the recent terror attacks and the increasing exposure of the public to the likelihood of attacks can be traced directly to an aggressive foreign policy of carrying out the wishes of the USA who in turn carry out the wishes of a toxic mediation between Saudi Arabia and Israel, largely because they are compromised by Saudi influence over money and oil. Having armed Saudi Arabia to the teeth by "selling" arms to them we now witness Saudi Arabia's primitive and savage side in their Yemini campaign and recent attacks on Qatar. Foreign policy is creating failed states. The US State Department should be re-named "Failed States Department", a well deserved name when one looks at the case studies in chaos provided by the "coalition" interventions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and the studious avoidance of preventing the Yemin genocide. The current government's leaders such as Michael Fallon, the Secretary of State for Defence, so-called, are examples of the "say anything to get a vote" at the expense of people in Britain being murdered by terrorists. The issue is related to policing and intelligence services this is more a last ditch defence issue arising once the terror threat has festered and appeared within the country. The causal factors, however, are the fiasco in Western foreign policy which the current UK government fully supports.
The medium to long term solution is for people to vote for those who seek peace and not confrontation. Jeremy Corbyn, John McDonnell and Diane Abbott fall well into this category of leaders who would benefit the population of the UK.
Postscript: During the campaign it was more than evident that Dianne Abbott had some health issues but the British Press and interviewers seemed to be oblivious of this and ruthlessly attacked her; today we learn she had indeed been unwell and will take a rest. Editor
Out-of-date deterrent argument and misrepresentations threaten UK security
The notion of a nuclear deterrent, in spite of the bluster and straight faced arguments put out by many, is well beyond it's sell by date.
First of all, today, fairly simple anti-ballistic missile systems can knock out missiles, such as those making up the Trident complement, with ease. This means two things. It is possible to defend ourselves against such attacks as well as having our own "attacks" neutered by enemies who have such defence systems. Secondly, the typical asymmetrical warfare against terrorist factions means that they could not care a less about being obliterated by any missile that gets through. The danger facing the UK is, like local attacks by terrorists in European cities and lately in Manchester, a better funded system of the development of chemical and cheap dirty nuclear bombs can be set off like so-called "improvised explosive devices" anywhere the terrorists choose. These wont appear on radar screens or even be acknowledged by those who set them off so the idea of a retaliatory Trident strike is somewhat fanciful.
With the frustration felt by Saudi Arabia with respect to the failure of their funding of terrorists in Syria and the fact that they have considerable financial resources only means their campaign to spread extreme forms of Islam throughout the world which has become closely associated with terrorist groups, can easily swing towards a far more dangerous form of aggression than the current terrorist threat by funding the development chemical and thermo-nuclear devices. Given their track record, along with Turkey of supporting terrorists and the parallel behaviour of elements within the intelligence community in Pakistan, closely linked to the nuclear arms factions, none of this is particularly fanciful and it represents one of the most serious potential threats to the West.
The only way to remain ahead of this form of evolution in danger is better intelligence combined with a more direct engagement with real or imagined enemies. Unless these people are engaged at all levels, rather than marginalized, the likelihood of peace and removal of motivation for such developments and eventual attacks remains remote. The outcome is increasing potential security risks.
Jeremy Corbyn's positions on the IRA and Hamas where always designed to engage with the "enemy" to find out what could be done to terminate the killing. As Corbyn has stated, killing on both sides was wrong and as more information comes out on the dealings of the UK government and security forces in regard to the IRA it is clear that the UK government were in fact talking to the IRA at the same time as Corbyn, and for the same reasons. So the criticism of Corbyn completely unfair and scurrilous given that his approach, in the end, was the one that brought peace in Ireland. Concerning Hamas, Corbyn was here attempting to get parties to talk and on the occasion of joining the representatives of Hamas in the meeting, in a courteous manner he referred to the assembled participants as "friends" in an inclusive manner and pointing towards the spirit of the meeting. The absurd interpretation has been that he supports Hamas because he referred to them as friends. Jeremy Corbyn abhors violence and considers the killing of anyone as unacceptable. For anyone holding this view to be accused of "supporting" the IRA or Hamas is absurd and dishonest.
The bottom line is that all of these questions as to whether Corbyn would press the nuclear button, and why does he support terrorists, are a form of propaganda based on misguided concepts. The greater danger, which has become evident in members of the public raising these issues, is that they see proactive actions to secure peace as a sign of weakness or the mark of a traitor. Even more disturbing is their thoughtless assumption that a Prime Minister who is not willing to commit widespread genocide, by deploying nuclear weapons, is weak or unreliable. In pushing this propaganda the Conservatives are peddling out of date by very dangerous myths that mislead the public and to justify in excess of £120 billions on a system that does not protect the UK. The notion that like a poker player those with such "weapons" need to convince the "enemy" that they would press the button is out dated. It relates to a different state of affairs when in the pre-1960s large nuclear powers faced each other in the form of USA, USSR, UK and France. The sell by date for this "willingness to deploy" argument has long gone and, as Corbyn mentioned a "Question Time", there would be a Strategic Review if the Labour party wins the election. The last two Strategic Reviews, were thoroughly misguided and more based on budgetary allocations to services with a nod and wink to the armaments industry.
Labour proposes a more balanced BREXIT negotiation approach
On 25th April, Sir Keir Starmer, the Labour Party's Secretary for Exiting the EU, delivered an excellent explanation of the different approach of the Labour Party to BREXIT negotiations. It is odd that the UK mainstream media did not provide much coverage of this announcement because it represents a better alternative to the somewhat cavalier approach adopted by Theresa May.
Far from accepting a series of assumptions, the Labour Party has adopted a more strategic approach that is supported by a range of options and thereby not cutting and drying any position. An important and honourable aspect is a unilateral declaration of EU Citizen's rights protection which Labour would introduce on their first day in office, if elected. This is a far more responsible position than the "intent" of the Conservatives. Labour aims to dispel the doubts of EU Citizens in the UK as a priority so as to eliminate any further stress and uncertainty; something others do not appear to be concerned about. The questions that such a move would weaken the UK's bargaining position with respect to UK citizens in Europe is a somewhat base concern and somewhat shameful.
Labour makes no assumptions concerning a likely "hard BREXIT" which most serious analysts consider to be irresponsible in economic and social terms. Starmer agreed that this means movement of people needs to continue but Labour would seek an agreed basis for controlled movement. In fact this is a discussion taking place in the EU at the moment.
It is encouraging to see the Labour Party come up with a more mature presentation on an approach to BREXIT negotiations. In doing so Labour has demonstrated a capacity not to just combat Conservative policies on BREXIT but to rather present a better alternative. So on the BREXIT debate the Conservatives have lost ground and we have yet to discuss the many other policy issues concerning the performance of this government; something the Conservatives had wished to avoid.
Theresa May wants to make this a battle on "who can lead the country" but at the moment the question is becoming what are the actual interests of the people of Britain over the next few years. Demands for change in the current government's policies appear to be high on the agenda but they wish to avoid this type of discussion.
The electorate have seen the "fear factor" tactics deployed by the Conservatives in the Scottish Referendum and the EU Referendum. It worked, just, in the case of the Scottish Referendum but failed in the case of the EU Referendum leading to the resignation of David Cameron. They will attempt to use this again in the last 2 weeks of th electoral campaign when people will need to keep their focus on which approach to BREXIT is likely to result in better outcomes and which policies they would like to see enacted in the country in relation to Health, social care, the economy, investment and innovation and economic growth. With the main security risks today come from terrorists who have a penchant for committing suicide so it is clear that the Trident nuclear "deterrent" isn't a deterrent with such people. The old Soviet Union has gone and the old justifications for possessing a nuclear arsenal considerably weakened. Part of the Conservative fear factor spoiler tactics will be of course to ask whether or not Jeremy Corbyn would press the nuclear button. Of course there are those who think this macho intent has some sense; it doesn't. It is only somewhat irresponsible and slightly deranged individuals like Michael Fallon who have spoken of the possibility of the UK carrying out nuclear first strikes. This is clearly complete and utter nonsense. To add to this sordid mix, Boris Johnson has not helped things by offering to provide the USA with a la carte internationally illegal attacks on Syria to order.
Not living in a tin pot republic and with a need to get rid of irresponsible Lilliputian politicians, the people of Britain should not put their faith in decision makers who dice with death, murder and mayhem, with such ease. These sorts of insane proclamations and the underlying aggression and associated violence of which the world has become increasingly fatigued need to be dispelled and removed from the discourse of constitutional democracy. Britain needs a change towards responsible international leadership seeking peace and goodwill for all, not based on military might or the pea brained goofy logic of "if you are not with us you are against us" and of course "all options are on the table", that is, "negotiation" based on threats of violence.
POST SCRIPT: Keir Starmer has written in the 1st May edition of the Guardian Newspaper concerning his doubts about Theresa May's Apporach to BREXIT, it is worth reading:
State-sponsored violence and the undermining constitutional democracy
Recent history shows that the most significant state-sponsored violence that has destroyed the lives of innocent non-combatants has been sustained by the United States from Vietnam (Agent Orange) to the CIA's support of Iraqi use of poisonous gas against Iranians with the financial support of Saudi Arabia. It is therefore ridiculous that the USA has gone through the theatre of feigned offense at a false flag "chemical attack" to blame it on the Assad Regime before any evidence has been collected and analyzed. The evidence is a badly-produced amateur video placed on social media and produced by people supported directly by the governments of the UK and USA (see below).
The complaint about a reported 80 or so people killed should be contrasted by the millions who have been killed by US-sponsored warfare, economic sanctions and covert actions carried out or promoted by US administrations. To claim to be the greatest democracy in the world with a constitution that contains safeguards and checks and balances to avoid inappropriate decisions is absurd. Absurd because the administration and most of the Congress and Senate are in the hands of those who have "financed" their election campaigns or various other things, such as getting their offspring through expensive universities. The US government is essentially run by financiers and manufacturers of weapons of mass destruction as Dwight D Eisenhower warned against in his famous "Military Industrial" speech. Just as Eisenhower warned, the current state of failure of the US democratic systems, and loss of voice of the people of America in determining their own future, is the result of the power of amoral forces undermining constitutional democracy. This is also the result of there being no effective checks and balances on the military arms of the administration that hold sway over the State Department and the White House. Unfortunately, in this context, the US Constitution has nothing to offer on bringing these real aspects of US government action under a control and direction that reflects the will of the people. The US Constitution, for this reason, is inappropriate and entirely unexceptional for a country with so much military power and with a track record of such incompetence in its use as evidenced in millions of dead innocents who litter the soil over which US-related campaigns have passed leaving countries in chaos during the last 50 years. This has been of significant intensity in the Middle East more recently giving rise to the European immigration crisis and spreading instability throughout the world. The track record is abysmal and, with all it's military might, the track record is one of failure to achieve objectives. The resulting oppression and obliteration of people's freedoms from fear and mayhem caused by these irresponsible ventures is not inspiring example of "leadership" for a country which has the affront to consider itself to be the leader of the so-called "free world".
Hollywood and the failing States
The recent events leading to Donald Trump agreeing to have the US fire around 50 Tomahawk missiles to impact the area of a Syrian airfield was the cause of widespread embarrassment. This was because the images reporting on the so-called chemical attack were inconclusive. Ibn Nr has noted that the videos that appeared in Western media tended to showed photogenic children and in one scene with two patients there were some 20-odd burly "medics" all wearing medical face masks and doing precious little. The other scenes showed people running and shouting with a dynamic video sequence of back shots showing the circular symbol of the Oscar winning Hollywood idols, the White Helmets, a propaganda arm of Al Nusra. Although promoted as a civil defence force their role is to video specific mounted scenarios to be fed to the Western media. Their propaganda has been swallowed hook line and sinker by US and more particularly UK authorities who have provide them in total of over £70 million in funding. This is an absurdity when people in London and Stockholm are suffering from the consequence of murderous actions of sympathizers of this very same terrorist group.
Boris Johnson is one of the many Western politicians who are thoroughly misguided in using the group's output as well as in supporting them with UK tax payer's money.
The explanation that an air raid resulted in the rupture of stored chemical warfare containers hidden by Al Nusra is a more convincing explanation of the cause of the release of gas. On the other hand Ibn Nr is of the opinion that Al Nusra is quite capable of releasing gas on a limited scale to secure footage to produce coverage to blame the Assad Regime. At this stage of the war against Isil, Isis or Daesh the Syrian Government has absolutely no reason to risk losing momentum by attracting the inevitable outcome of actually using chemical weapons. They have been successful with the Russians in negotiating freedom of civilians as well as having the terrorists move out, as in Aleppo. However, this could only happen when the terrorists realized they were going to lose. The US action has interfered with this aspect of the peace process.
Lastly, it is estimated that in Mosul in Iraq some 320 civilians have been killed by "allied" attacks in the last 3 weeks where as in Syria the figure is around 120 and yet all of the media attention is on the so-called chemical attack where is alleged up to 80 people died.
If you repeat it enough people will believe you
A depressing amount of the "news" and public statements of actions of various regimes emanating from CNN, BBC as well as the CIA, Pentagon and the State Department consist of little more than a scandalous and shameless range of baseless assertions, unattributed sources and complete absence of evidence, is an outstanding example of the crudest form of propaganda based on lies. This same approach was exercised and explained by Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's Minister of Propaganda (see the box on the left).
The obsequious sycophant
Boris Johnson, the British Foreign Secretary, is clearly out of his depth. His repeated appearances as Trump's lap dog and obsequious sycophantic sideshows demonstrate a parochial eagerness to please "America" by repeating, without question, doubtful mantras from the Beltway. His behaviour has become an increasing embarrassment and subject of jokes and derision amongst international leadership and diplomatic circles. It is amazing that the people of the United Kingdom have to endure a representation by a clown on the international stage. This is unacceptable.
Theresa May called general election in the UK to be held on 8th June 2017. She justified this on the basis of there being too much disagreement in Westminster and unity in the country meant she needed a new mandate to provide a strong support in carrying out BREXIT negotiations. There is no evidence to support this assertion and it is more likely that the aim is to gain another 5 years of fixed term parliament when currently the polls indicate the Conservatives will win comfortably and increase their majority.
The other political parties, however, see this as an opportunity to call attention to the government's record on a range of issues of more immediate importance to the electorate. The Conservatives will not be able to avoid this discussion and it is of interest to see what comes out in the very rushed production of party election manifestos.
The tone of the election on the Conservative side is already descending to low levels with the firing off of personal insults largely aimed at the Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn. Jeremy Corbyn suffers not so much from bad policies but from a biased UK media somewhat akin to the CNN syndrome in its treatment of Donald Trump. So far the polls give the Conservatives a commanding lead of 20 points over the Labour party but it is notable that Labour have a majority support from the under-40s. Part of the challenge is for Labour which has the highest political party membership in the UK and is the largest socialist party in Europe, to get the younger generation to actually go out and vote on the day. The Conservative can rely on the over 60s who all tend to vote.
Oligarchs, totalitarianism, fascism and goon squads
Societies change and often in only slowly-perceptible ways. The images of our past and cultural heritage time-bind our perceptions so that we often only perceive imperfectly that what we consider to be decadence in foreign lands is very much part of our own state of affairs. Thus our "democratic system" as a basis for comparing our behaviour and social intercourse with that of other countries palls when we detect that, in practice, we do not uphold our own widely declared and disseminated values.
This becomes very apparent when, for example, Barak Obama produces one of his eloquent speeches such as his recent valedictory address. Yes, there are good ideals which in practice are frustrated by the slow change in basic attitudes and the emergence of many factors that slow down desired beneficial change. Obama expressed this difficulty by stating that after two setps forward there is sometimes on step back. Our problem would appear to be that combining forward and backward steps over the last 50 years, there are, in many aspects of our lives, a general trend of backwards movement and no advance.
Totalitarianism is a label we stick on the old Soviet Union under the Communist Party. Fascism was something associated with Mussolini, and he met a sad end. Fascism and totalitarianism had goon squads of fanatics who whose job it was to intimidate those opposed to the prevailing system.The characteristics of these regimes were the use of fear as a control factor, invariably this was fear of foreigners or the goon squads and enforcement procedures imposed under the "law". The common asscociation was the concentration of power in the hands of a few oligarchs who usually became very powerful and often rich. The oligarch label is commonly applied to modern Russia and, of course to the Ukraine.
The fascist system was essentially based on a close association of business with government which helped create and sustain the oligarchs. The fear on the part of the so-called working and middle classes, being dependent on corporate or government employment, was to remain safe and with a job to bring up their families. Under such circumstances the concept of a participatory democracy wains and this is replaced by a system where government, corporate leaders and tehnocrats gain an increasing power over the decision making that affects people's lives. The natural tendency for those people who detect this state of affairs is to begin to question and try and identify better ways to organise societal decision-making and secure acceptable standards of living. This questioning by members of the public is often regarded to be a threat to the system and the status of the oligarchs. In order to gain some control over the thoughts and actions of the public these systems begin to abuse privacy. Invaviably the excuse for demanding more and more information on individuals is security to "protect" people from internal and external threats.
Sky News wasting people's time
Sky News announced that at 10.00 am on Sunday, 8th January, Theresa May would be provided with the opportunity to explain her "shared society" concept. When the time arrived Theresa May was confronted with a bunch of tired worn out questions on issues of no interest and no time was left, at all, for Theresa May to say anything about her "shared society" vision. Essentially Sky News and the journalist concerned, Sophy Ridge, simply wasted a lot of people's time and essentially showed no consideration for Theresa May. Journalists need to realize that people watch programmes to hear what guests have to say and they should allow them time to say what they have to say. Filling up a programme with their own, or their editor's, "agenda of unrelated questions" designed to entrap a captured target on camera is bad journalism. It is an insult to those who turned to the programme based on Sky News' misleading announcement and was an affront to the Prime Minister. Theresa May was very patient but she should have reminded the journalist that she came to discuss a specific topic then, maybe, this programme would have been more informative and we could all move on with our life.
An embarrassing, unintelligent report
The Director of National Intelligence has released a highly embarrassing report entitled,"Background to "Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections": The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution."
This report is embarrassing because it is such an amateur cut and paste job with little input from professional intelligence analysts and containing basic errors in facts, out-of-date information and other details pointing to a product of a seriously uninformed team. It is even worse that the "dodgy dossier" signed by Tony Blair in the run up to the Iraq war which he attempted to pass off as an intelligence assessment. These reports are highly politicized and products of the post-truth and "fake-fact" environment that permeated the Westminster filter bubble under Blair then and that pervades today's Beltway.
For an "intelligence briefing" dealing with such serious accusations, the range of levels of certainty of conclusions in the document are unacceptable for any responsible decision-maker. The assessment contained in the unclassified report is stated to be supported with "high confidence" by the CIA and FBI and by NSA with moderate confidence. At the back of the document three levels of confidence are defined with the high confidence, this being the highest level, signifying that "High confidence in a judgement does not imply that the assessment is a fact or certainty; such judgements might be wrong". This definition which, in reality, is a disclaimer, and is simply not serious for the field of cyber crime. It also provides no justification for the deportation of 35 Russian diplomatic staff from the USA.
Rather than provide anything convincing concerning Russia's attempt to influence the US election, the document provides a considerable amount of irrelevant information on the Russia Today (RT) channel.
For those interested in understanding the rise of cross-border news of which RT is a world leader, it is worth reading the independent report produced by PwC UK (Pricewaterhouse Coopers UK plc) entitled The rise of cross-border news. Margarita Simonyan, Editor in Chief of RT explains the reason for this independent report as, "We wanted to understand the motivation of viewers and readers of cross-border news - and we believed this understanding would help all providers of global news deliver a service that meet users' needs".
Also, in order to clear up the misinformation concerning RT propaganda see the internal APE Brief RT_20160520. Our APE General Editorial Advice is that little or no additional resources should be allocated to this non-story.
The Voice returns with Tom Jones & will.i.am
The Voice Programme has transferred from BBC to ITV and its talent contest will make its debut on Saturday night (7th January, 2017). Tom Jones will return as a judge together with will.i.am and there will be two new judges, the Oscar and Bafta-winning singer Jennifer Hudson and singer Gavin Rossdale, as well as will.i.am who moved with the show from the BBC.
Tom Jones was unceremoniously sacked from the BBC Voice with no explanation or notice and the ratings of the programme immediately fell. The British public did not approve of this cavalier and disgraceful action by the BBC.
It is expected that with his return the new Voice will do well. will.i.am commented that a change in record label from Universal to Polydor should contribute to the contest producing some stars but the choice of song is really important in achieving this.
British media exaggerating significance of EU Rep resignation
Sir Ivan Rogers, the UK government's representative to the European Union, has resigned earlier than expected to make room for someone to manage the Article 50 negotiations for BREXIT. UK Media have taken the opportunity to label this as a rift and a problem for the UK government; it really isn't. If Sir Ivan intended his email sent to staff as a criticism of government, then he should not remain in any case, since some dedication to UK interests is required.
On the other hand, the volumes of reports and documents spewed out by Berlaymont on EU progress tend to be very misleading and uninformative, patching over the many inefficiencies and cock-ups that exist in the implementation of European Commission funded activities. Like any large political organizations the EU peps up its operational image on the basis of internal propaganda that staff seems to believe. Therefore the notion that the EU and the Commission has more professional negotiators, leaving the UK at a disadvantage, is not a wholly correct representation of the required dynamics under Article 50. The Commission and Council have a well known highly structured crystalline structure that they wish to maintain and its weaknesses are also well known. The UK has a specific global mission and not one to be constrained by the EU in economic terms and definitely not by political considerations. The EU staff have little experience in operating where flexibility is required simply because political constraints do not allow them to be flexible, their degrees of freedom are limited. Concerning the significance of the UK market for many European Union Member State economic sectors, the UK has far more bargaining power and an ability to introduce needed adjustments than is generally admitted.
Washington Post trips up again for peddling fake news
In the third wire in the Botequim column on the right, we explained why a statement of the Washington Post was not true in the post entitled: "Vermont Electricity facility Russian hack - nothing of the kind."
This sort of third rate sensationalist journalism is tiresome and dishonest or just plain sloppy. No wonder less and less people trust such mainstream media. The Washington Post has now withdrawn their assertions concerning Russian involvement.
Can Theresa save Britain?
As yet, the strategy for Britain in securing a beneficial separation from the European Union, has not been declared by the government. However, what is becoming clear in this initial phase of the post-referendum period is that people are becoming increasingly informed about events and procedures associated with the European Union. This is resulting in increasing numbers supporting the referendum outcome to leave the European Union.
First of all the bad-tempered reactions at the Commission and Council under Donald Tusk were unbecoming and disrespectful of a democratic decision. Passing from that knee-jerk reaction we then witnessed a range of member State heads essentially threatening Britain with harsh terms for exit. The general thrust was, and remains, one of threats and attempted intimidation. This behaviour, which many in Britain consider to be alien to the isles and to hark back to former "Continental times", is a taboo in Britain. Britain entered a major war on September 3, 1939 to fight this type of political arrogance which thrives on the maintenance of a regime of fear. So much for the so-called "European values".
This recent awakening of this sensitivity has been intensified by the very recent revelations concerning the alleged behaviour of what was the governing party in Macedonian, a country that expects to join the European Union. It seems that this political party secured a majority of votes, in the recent election, on the basis of corrupt agricultural policies (see next article) managed under a regime of fear and intimidation. However, the Macedonian example also serves to highlight the ongoing waste of EU taxpayer's money on so-called pre-accession technical assistance programmes to agriculture, which is not used effectively. The EU-funded agricultural programme is Macedonia ineffective because of a constant interference by unelected agents from the main party (VMRO-DPMNE) in policy to ensure that it generates or funds and votes for the party1.
Significant doubts are now being raised as to the efficacy of the election monitoring groups used during this election, including Skopje-based NGOs. It is notable that they limited their attention to polling stations while ignoring the well-known role of agricultural policy in influencing votes. Under the typical alleged operational characteristics of VMRO-DPMNE, which include the issuance of threats and intimidation of nationals, in any walk of life, who criticize the government or have differing opinions, neutrality is something hard to come by in today's Macedonia. It is this constant theme of callous indifference to the treatment of people of a country which paints a depressing picture of the real values of Europe of today and the Europe to come. The European Commission, in its lax oversight of pre-accession processes under a governments that abuse human freedom is resulting in failures in this process and a significant loss of resources. This simply lays the foundation for an increasing democratic deficit and decadence in values in the European Union.
Forgetting about the economy, NATO and markets, a primary factor of importance is the reign of the community conscience in guiding governance. Theresa May can help save Britain from this depressing environment called Europe by pushing ahead with BREXIT so, at least, we can preserve values we hold dear.
1A detailed review on Macedonian agricultural policy corruption is under preparation by a consortium of investigative journalists to be submitted to the British Parliament and Parliament of the European Union.
Macedonia, is this the EU to come?
The next group of countries that are likely to become Member States of the European Union are the Balkan counties of Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia. Slovenia, Croatia and Bulgaria have already joined the EU.
Macedonia is a country, often considered to be a laboratory where it is possible to assess the possible contributions of Balkan countries to the future social, political and economic change in Europe.
The rural areas provided the balance in votes that ensured that VMRO-DPMNE secure a slim majority in spite of it's negative image. This ability to maintain a vote in the rural areas is related to the VMRO-DPMNE's secret weapon of defective agricultural policies which continue to defy EU requirements and where the process of allocation of subsidies and grants lacks transparency. Therefore, no matter how many international observers were at the ballot stations, the operational aspects of vote purchases, rigging and corruption occurred out of sight of the international observers who accordingly could not really detect anything. This is why VMRO-DPMNE remained so confident throughout the election.
Although Macedonia is a small country, this development has helped erode confidence of informed observers in many in Member States of the likely future state of democracy in Europe. It has thrown into question the effectiveness of the European Commission in preparing countries for accession. The problem is that the majority of the potential new members are countries with similar political establishments with dubious democratic credentials. It has become evident that one of the stronger vectors resulting in BREXIT was that sovereignty was considered to be a risk of being increasingly undermined by the inevitable rising democratic deficit in the EU; immigration, although a trigger, was only a secondary issue. The outcome of the Macedonian election only plays into a negative narrative of European Commission incompetence contributing to an inevitable increase in the EU democratic deficit to come. These perceptions are at play increasingly in France, Austria, The Netherlands and other countries where Euro-skepticism is on the rise. This imperils the future cohesion of the EU.
Pre-accession agricultural policy changes are an area where the European Commission has normally been considered to be reasonably effective in past enlargements and having had a positive influence. In the case of Macedonia, it appears to be failing badly.
Real News reported earlier this year that the British labour party had become the largest socialist party in Europe since Jeremy Corbyn had been elected as leader. In a Blairite attempt to remove him, another leadership election was imposed on the party and Jeremy Corbyn was returned as leader with the largest majority ever obtained in the history of the party.
Corbyn is a strong proponent of people power and listening to what the costituents want and need. However, the UK "mainstream" media continue to wallow in their parochial filter bubbles casting doubt on the ability of Jeremy Corbyn to win a general election. Last time we reported on the Labour party membership it stood at around 500,000; it has since increased by 140,000 to 640,000 (almost 30% within 6 months). It just keeps on growing, especially amongst the young and increasingly, well-informed so-called "middle class" voters.
Unlike the post-truth and fake news shambles that characterises the mainstream media and the chattering classes centred in London, Corbyn has been giving some comprehensive speeches which are convincing. A common criticism is "where is the detail?", but many of the more attractive innovations introduced by the failed Chancellor George Orborne and even lately by Chancellor Philip Hammond, were filched from the Labour party. Jeremy Corbyn is more careful. The conventional national media try to ignore these messages and the foreign media even more so. This is a major oversight of foreign media in ignoring the development and platform of the largest political party in Europe. Fortunately some alternative media such as APE have picked up on the key content and this is convicing more people that Labour has something to offer. This advance has been helped by the current confusion in the Conservative government concerning BREXIT.
Our correspondent in London informs us that although the media ignore Corbyn and the Government ministers talk in terms of their being "no opposition", the growth in people power under the Labour parrty and which effectively keeps Corbyn in an unassailable position, is giving rise for concern; some have become convinced that if there were a snap election, Labour would win.
Clinton's Useful Idiots
It is a bad day when a "respected" media is shown to be involved in post-truth sensationalism and fake news. This appears to be the case of the Washinton Post.
The Washington Post has issued an editor’s note that admitted its reliance on the information on the PropOrNot website. This site claims to be supported by nonpartisan experts on “Russian propaganda” but is becoming increasingly evident that the information provided is largely made up. The Post had claimed that Russia was running an increasingly sophisticated propaganda campaign that was influencing the US presidential election and made reference to their sources as being PropOrNot describing this website as being supported by independent researchers who determined that Russian state media, RT and Sputnik News produce biased articles designed to punish Hillary Clinton and help Donald Trump as well as contributing to the undermining of faith in American democracy.
As is common of poor and irresponsible journalism the Post and PropOrNot provided no evidence in support of their assertions.
PropOrNot has listed numerous organizations as allies yet social media carry numerous statements from these allies stating that they have nothing to do with the group and had never even heard of it before the Post published its story. Journalist Glenn Greenwald noted that [PropOrNot]," ....this group of ostensible experts far more resembles amateur peddlers of primitive, shallow propagandistic clichés than serious, substantive analysis and expertise; that it has a blatant, demonstrable bias in promoting NATO’s narrative about the world; and that it is engaging in extremely dubious McCarthyite tactics about a wide range of critics and dissenters.”
In conclusion the source of misleading libelous propaganda that has been slandering President-elect Donald Trump and the Republican Party through association with non-existent manipulations by Russia and various private media, who cover Russian affairs, has been, and remains, this mediocre website PropOrNot and the Post has willingly acted as a distributor of the resulting fake news based on a post-truth strategy.
Putin's Useful Idiots
An American NGO called the Henry Jackson Society, has just published a document by an Andrew Foxall of the so-called Russia Studies Centre. This document is entitled, "Putin's Useful Idiots: Britain's Left, Right and Russia", demonstrates a lamentable misunderstanding of Russia's policy with repect to so-called left and right movements worldwide. There is no depth to this document with most references being all very recent, most dated 2016 and one or two 1990s vintage. In fact the analysis is plain wrong and reflects perhaps the writer's age and lack of experience with the fundamentals of Russian motivations going back beyond the initiation of World War II. The writer has simply bought into the recent Clintonesque and John Kerry State Department-driven paranoia about Putin. The personalisation of this document, centred on Putin, is typical of the brand of knee jerk journalism that is the US mainstream media today. This cannot be considered to be a serious researched document reflecting the current motivations of Putin.
Any amateur student of history knows that Russia has a well-established habit, like the USA, of funding sympathetic political movements. In fact the USA dedicates somthing like 500 times more funding to foreign political movements and NGOs than does Russia. Indeed, Russia learned some of these techniques from the USA. It is notable that although there is ample evidence of USA funding of foreign political activity as well as regime change supported by bloody wars, the Clinton campaign and security agencies in the USA could not come up with any evidence for Russian interference in the recent US election. Of course even the FBI was accused of acting on behalf of Russia. There is by contrast excessive amounts of evidence concerning USA interference in foreign elections as well as support of the so-called right in Ukraine as well as terrorist groups in the Middle East and of strong political support for Saudi Arabia in spite of evidence of their involvement in the murderous events of 9-11 in downtown New York. One cannot equate this behaviour with anything to do with freedom, democracy and the rule of law but the author of this document does not want to be bothered with such details but simply wants to deliver on attacking Putin.
One bizarre recommendation by this individual is a that politicians should be required to register the fact that they will participate in coverage by such media organizations as RT. This is a MacCarthyism excess. RT receives funding from the Russian government in the same way as Voice of America in the USA or BBC in the UK. Most US mainstream media are essentially stenographers for US government output, especially in the case of foreign affairs and State Department output so that on these stations it is difficult to get alternative point of view across. A self-imposed or funded censorship creates enormous bias in news coverage, indeed, the experience of Bernie Sanders during the primaries, provides ample evidence of this. RT has a range of programmes that are managed by people who would not accept any editorial orientation from RT. For example Larry King and his program "Politicking", Ameera David's "Boom Bust" and Afshin Rattansi's "Going Underground"". These are all programs that provide a rational and alternative view of opinions and all off them grill interviewees from any side.
Finally, to highlight where this document goes wrong, like the USA, Russia provides "support" to people whose ideas are potentially against the interests of the country. Such people, mainly on the right, are seduced into misunderstading of provision of platforms, and even funding, signifies support for their basic philosophies; it doesn't and never has done. It is largely designed to raise their profile and expose them so as to line up domestic opinion against them. This succeeded in the case of the National Front and most other ultra right wing UK parties to the benefit of the UK population.
In disagreement with Stalin, Leon Trotsky pointed out the danger of the right (Fascists) and Stalin made him pay the ultimate price. However, the lesson arising from the Nazi fiasco caused Russia to finally understand Trotsky's analysis at a great human cost. The recent Ukraine events saw the US State Department support of neofascist paramilitary units. There were calls for NATO expansion into Ukraine. NATO, however, had demonstrated its willingness to alter its etablished defensive role willy nilly to pursue a proactive regime change in Libya, under the guise of an innocent "no flight zone". This created a significant change in the perception of the stablity of NATO as a reliable adversary alliance both within the UK as well as in Russia. The evidence is there for all to see that NATO's intervention resulted in chaos and the spread of ISIS and a major European immigration crisis which Muammar Gaddafi had predicted and had prevented. This led, naturally, to the Crimean outcome in light of the important Russian naval base and ethnic make-up of Crimeans, mainly Russian speakers. Ukrainan events at the time was showing TV coverage of Ukrainan neo-fascists clubbing members of Russian ethnic groups to death. This is not to argue that what has occurred is right it is simply to point out that there were good reasons for this move in strategic terms as well as in terms of the security of the population in Crimea. When the West acts in a way that does not demonstrate a consistent strategy there is a problem of predictability resulting in instability. The only way to stop this growing global chaos is to take decisive actions.
In such a world there is a need for balanced rational analyses to identify options for possible soltions. The shallow nature of this journalistic publication devoid of objective analysis with rights reserved by a UK registered charity calls into question why this organization has a charitable status when it is wasting money on such polemic that contributes nothing to the debate.
The title to this section is a quote from Peter Drucker the management guru who died in 2005. Drucker concentrated on the business unit but his insights remain important for the macroeconomy as well as human action in general. The current chaos in the fields of foreign affairs and economics are essentially caused by perceptions that are not based on fact, that is, evidence, and yet governments are taking decisions based on visions and assertions.
In "diplomatic circles" the oft heard statement that "all options are on the table!" normally means that as a last resort, violence and aggression will be used to secure what some countries desire. Economic sanctions are in fact an act of war that cause the populations of target countries to suffer. No country has the right to undermine the standards of living of people of another nation as a basis for changing the policies of governments over which the same people have no real influence. Democratic principles will seldom cause populations subjected to sanctions to overthrow governments. In western "democracies" the electorates are similarly unable to secure governments that reflect their will. We all suffer from a leadership incapable of predicting the future and even less able to create one that is motivated by the common human conscience that desires peace and goodwill for all. This is the leadership crisis embodied in the political party systems.
The USA and now European are increasingly aping of the Israeli model that has been imposed for over some 65 years, a policy model of intentional destruction, of the dispossession of the Palestinians, economic sanctions, ethnic cleansing and extra-constitutional looting of the land and natural resources of others; a case study in criminality, the perversion of power and decadence of leadership. Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and now Syria are examples of the substitution of mindless destruction for any attempt to create viable peaceful futures. Syria has exposed the hypocrisy of the "war on terror" becoming one where terrorists are fully supported by the USA, its coalition and middle eastern states some of which are implicated in the 9-11 atrocity and which launched this terrible period of inhumane destruction.
Apeurope authorizes detailed study on the costs & benefits of Brexit
During the Apeurope Annual General Meeting held on 10th October, Group correspondents registered their extreme frustration at the absense of evidence-based positions, on all sides, during the recent European referendum. With the decision to leave the European Union, this lack of clarity continues. The vascillation and delays by all British polictical parties in defining any coherent position is alarming and the posturing of the European Commission officials and some heads of state of Member States is unacceptable. Therefore, in the continued absense of any positive government or Commission action the Apeurope Board has authorized a study on the "Costs & Benefits of the UK leaving the European Union". This study will analyse the sector and foreign trade partner potential opportunities, gaps and impacts arising from the new options that now exist with BREXIT. This has the objective of providing a basis for identifying mutual benefits to the remaining European Union's members and to the UK.
Salt & Vinegar option under BREXIT
Donald Tusk, President of the European Council, assertion that no BREXIT is better than hard BREXIT and that leaving will only leave salt and vinegar. This exposes a behind-the-scenes effort on the part of a wide range of interest groups to try and reverse the UK's decision to leave the European Union.
What is not being accepted is that no one has quantified the benefits of remaining. In the 1980s UK European Commissioner Cockburn commissioned a study called "No Europe". This was supposed to calculate the benefits of being in Europe. The initial study came up with no benefits so the study was repeated, again coming up with no significant benefits. This report was a source of embarrassment and was therefore binned by the Commission. However, the fundamental message of the report was not lost on those who had read the report, especially some members of the UK Conservative party. It should be remembered that Cockburn was a UK Commissioner proposed by the Thatcher government. The bottom line here is that many in Britain know that the European Commission has no bargaining position if a country wishes to leave the EU because it is not possible to quantify the benefits of remaining. Any "hard exit" will prejudice European exporters to the UK. This means trying to punish, or threatening to punish the UK, bordering on economic sanctions, will only hurt Europe. This is why there is a panic in the European Commission.
There is a poorly appreciated fact surrounding the UK regulatory environment for financial services and a long established flexibility in the way the UK-based financial sector handle just about any challenge, sets London apart from any other world financial centre. This has its drawbacks but remains a well known, but seldom admitted, reality. The European Commission dreams that BREXIT will result the global financial centre migrating to Frankfurt, or anywhere else in mainland Europe, but according to traders this is unlikely to come true for the foreseeable future. At the moment European centres do not have the right combination of capabilities, experience and regulatory environments or, frankly, any track record to contemplate substituting London as the global financial centre.
Donald Tusk does not appear to understand that the British have a preference for eating fish and chips with salt and vinegar and this tradition will continue after BREXIT.
The Whale in the coming BREXIT talks
In some of the preparatory exchanges concerning the Apeurope Study "Costs & Benefits of the UK leaving the European Union" one delegate pointed out that one of the most shocking give-aways by the Heath Conservative government, when the UK entered the European Union in 1972, was the UK's fishing grounds, amongst the most productive on the planet. This had a significant negative social and economic impact on the British fishing industry. BREXIT provides the damaged UK fishing industry and the UK fishermen the opportunity to regain their former prominent contribution to Britain's Agricultural, Fisheries and Forestry sector by supplying the UK with home-caught fish.
The current catch value, official and unofficial, is around £500 million. Much fish coming to the UK market goes through large EU-based factory ships who simply sell fish caught within these waters to UK fishermen or land the fish for port-side markets. With BREXIT the national fishing communities' income could double to around £1 billion.
The re-establishment of British sovereignty over the former UK fishing grounds would be a major tangible benefit of BREXIT. In preparation to this major benefit it would make sense, in terms of managing the total manageable catch (TAC) to come to agreement with Iceland on management and to only permit EU vessels to fish under license paid to the UK treasury. License income would be used to monitor fish stocks and prevent abuse arising from unacceptable catching practices such as avoiding catching and killing very young fish needed to grow stocks for the sustainability of the industry.
This could become the Whale in the BREXIT negotiation fish tank when discussions get going. Several countries, France and Spain and indirectly The Netherlands, have much to lose with this aspect of BREXIT. The solution, of course, is for EU Commission and other Member State heads to stop their talk about punishing Britain for BREXIT but to come to a satisfactory settlement of things like this; there are many more to come and Emancipation News will be setting these out here.
US foreign policy is a ridiculous "Show Time" for gullible media; little credibility remains
The sheer hypocrisy of the histrionics of the USA UN ambassador and the lack of logical argument of the US State Secretary and the absurd off stage statements by leading US military figures is ridiculous. We witness a bunch of mavericks playing a high stakes poker game while the Commander in Chief, so-called, seems to be ignored. No one believes that the US attack on the Syrian army was a "mistake" as John Kerry claimed. This attack could be "called off" because it was already "mission accomplished". The terrorist attack on the humanitarian mission was immediately blamed on Syrian and Russian air attacks while the US ignored the drone evidence provided by Russia on the local terrorist vehicle pulling a howitzer. The biggest problem that runs through the US narratives and bluster is a complete lack of evidence to back up accusations relating to Russian actions in Syria, cyber attacks on some disparate Democratic Party servers and events in the Ukraine. However, the evidence that does exist supports the emerging truth that the US foreign policy is barbaric, currently protecting rapists and beheading terrorists who run a sex trade based on innocent women, selling them through online sites by having their so-called "moderates" iter-mingle with these terrorists in civilian areas to protect them from attack. The latest show by these hypocrites has been in the Security Council of the UN to demand "investigations" into war crimes. The burning alive of innocents by US repeated attacks on the hospital in Kunduz in Afghanistan and the recent attack by Saudi Arabia killing 150 individuals in the Yemen are war crimes.
White Helmets in Syria alleged to be phony NGO, involved in staged propaganda, funded by UK government, with HQ in Turkey
Journalists who have recently visited Syria report that the White Helmets who feature in many media in the West saving children following "attacks by the Syrian government or Russians" are closely embedded in the terrorist groups and only work in the areas occupied by the same. It is alleged that they have a budget of something like $100 million and employ about 3,000 individuals who are involved in staged, heavily edited, videos designed to accuse either the Syrian government or Russians of atrocities. It is further alleged that the White Helmets and heavily armed off camera, have been involved in killing Syrian Civil Defence personnel and raiding and stealing their equipment and mopping up after beheadings and executions by the terrorist organizations. These allegations are so serious that the British Government needs to be asked to explain why they waste public funds on such an organization closely involved with ISIS and Al Quaeda and others and organized to mislead the British public with distorted propaganda.
How bad Fed decisions triggered the financial crisis
In the end the lax extra-constitutional financial authority arrangements in relation to bank regulations and the lack of oversight of the derivatives grey markets by Central Banks, set the conditions a financial disaster caused largely by poor management standards, no checks and balances deployed by central banks and the corporate greed of banks. Unfortunately a lack of political leadership did not resist the call for bank bail outs ending up with governments arbitrarily confiscating money from their constituents to compensate banks and bankers for their inept management decisions. The public have paid the price that bankers should have paid. The price is austerity policies while banks are provided with cheap money which is not flowing to investment and the real economy. This disastrous "monetary policy" of quantitative easing has led to falling investment and real incomes and the levels of financialization increasing causing asset bubbles and stock market booms as a result of corporations purchasing their own shares to benefit executive incomes. The associated share prices have no relationship to the fundamentals of corporate performance. The massive over-exposure of the financial markets to derivatives that rely on low interest rates to generate a margins has created a "sub-prime financial sector", now more in debt than in 2005/2006. This is why central banks are unable to raise interest rates. Central banks now understand the lessons of 2004 through 2005 but don't want to admit it. A move in interest rates from 0.25% to 1% would represent a 300% rise and this would cripple many major financial institutions and cause yet another financial crisis.
Britain's unusual social transition that could become a revolution
In the last year Jeremy Corbyn was elected as the unexpected leader of the Labour party and a referendum on the EU resulted in the BREXIT vote to be closely followed by the re-election of Jeremy Corbyn as the expected leader of the Labour party with an increased mandate. Given the dreary media coverage of Jeremy Corbyn and general criticism leveled against him it is worth noting that since his first election the Labour party has amassed a membership larger than all of the other UK political parties put together. The Labour party has become the largest political party in Europe. The unusual aspect about this transition is that in Europe, party growth has been taken up by parties who have been set up as alternatives to the conventional parties. In Britain the growth and expression of resentment against conventional parties has been a embodied by a rejuvenated Labour party returning to its roots. It is not certain how long this drive for membership will continue but is very significant. Even if it is claimed that people only joined to vote for Corbyn therein lies an important message, either way, Jeremy Corbyn is gathering a general approval. The more this process continues the weaker will become Corbyn's main rivals in the form of Blairites and others in the Parliamentary Labour party who see politics purely in terms of affording them power and status; they need to pay more attention to the swell of the social movement that is contributing to the increasing numbers of members of the Labour party. There is a need to switch emphasis from elitist and exclusive think tank cliques and secretive "cabinet" or sofa style decision-making involving a handful of politicians leading to top down impositions on the majority. There is a need to return to the old English idea of the constitutional debates involving the people and that ranged in the 17th Century giving rise to the to bottom up identification of constitutional principles that have never been bettered. At the moment, it looks as if the only political party likely to deliver this revolutionary approach is the currently expanding Labour party.