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The Shameful U.S. Media Boycott Against Stephen F. Cohen

Eric Zuesse

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America’s leading scholar of Russia, Stephen F. Cohen, now retired from both Princeton and NYU, used to be, during the Cold War, regularly invited onto U.S. newsmedia, to discuss U.S.-Soviet and then U.S.-Russian relations. But now, he is boycotted by all of the national U.S. ’news’media, because he talks about the very real and now rapidly increasing likelihood of World War III developing from U.S. policies — not from Russian policies, but from the U.S. Government, under both Obama and now Trump.

I used to be critical of Dr. Cohen, for his refusal to use the word “coup” to refer to what in the U.S. ’news’media are euphemistically referred to as “Ukraine’s revolution”. That’s done even by the BBC, which actually knows better, as is shown here — their own producers and editors know that they are deceiving their viewers by thus playing along with the U.S.-Government’s (and its allied UK Government’s) lies on this most crucial of all international-relations matters. Indeed, how could anyone NOT know about it, who has seen and carefully thought about this — an actual “smoking gun” proof of America’s 2014 coup, which took control of Ukraine, which nation has Europe’s longest border with Russia. And now the U.S. regime thus places U.S. military and weapons onto and near Russia’s border. Did John F. Kennedy allow the Soviet dictator Nikita Khrushchev to do that (actually far less than that) to America during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962? Of course not! But the U.S. Government, and its ‘news’media, demand that Russia accept it — accept the intolerable.

The youtube just linked-to at that “this,” which was uploaded on 4 February 2014, a full 22 days before the coup was completed, presents Obama’s agent, Victoria Nuland, telling the U.S. Ambassador in Ukraine to appoint (the rabidly anti-Russian) “Yats” Yatsenyuk to run the post-coup Ukraine. “Yats” became installed as Prime Minister on 26 February, though the EU had wanted the far more moderate Wladimir Klitschko to be installed once the then-existing democratically elected Government would be overthrown. (So, Nuland just said there to the U.S. Ambassador “F—k the EU!” to express her rejection of the EU’s position. Some ‘ally’ of Europe the U.S. is!) And, then, also on 26 February, was the phone-conversation between the EU’s Catherine Ashton and her investigator in Ukraine who told her (and it’s described and linked-to here) that this had been a coup and not really a revolution, and she was shocked just as he was. The EU had thought that the U.S. simply encouraged a revolution, not imposed a coup that was hidden behind the ‘revolution’. (But the EU never protested against its U.S.-nazi ally, Washington, neither under Obama nor under Trump.) All of this was known to the BBC — and to CNN, and the New York Times, and Washington Post, etc. — before the end of February 2014 (see this for documentation of that knowledge of the reality and subsequent hiding of it). All of them still hide from the public its having been a coup and no authentic ‘revolution’ at all. And, then, recently, two of the snipers that this U.S.-run operation had hired to carry out the coup (these two snipers having been brought in from the nation of Georgia by its ousted President Mikheil Saakashvilli to participate in the U.S.-run anti-Russia operation) went public about their having done so, because they concluded that (as one of them actually said) “there is no reason to prosecute me” because The West backs the coup-regime, which certainly won’t prosecute the gunmen who had brought it to power. How brazen is that!

But then I discovered that on 20 February 2014 — the very day of the coup — Dr. Cohen had actually been the very first person in The West to call it a “coup,” but the interviewers didn’t ask him to elaborate at all on that and instead quickly diverted to insignificant matters, and he didn’t call them on it; he simply accepted their management of the conversation. He’s a quick learner. So, he didn’t ever again say any such thing as that, on 20 February 2014, when he described that phone-conversation on 4 February 2014 between Obama’s agent and the Ambassador in Ukraine, by saying:

“the significance is what you just played. What are they doing? The highest-ranking State Department official, who presumably represents the Obama administration, and the American ambassador in Kiev are, to put it in blunt terms, plotting a coup d’état against the elected president of Ukraine. … in Washington and in Brussels, they lie: … They’re not talking about democracy now; they’re talking about a coup now.”

So, this brings us to 28 March 2018, and The Nation magazine (owned by Dr. Cohen’s wife Katrina vanden Heuvel) headlining from Dr. Cohen, “Unproven Allegations Against Trump and Putin Are Risking Nuclear War”, and reporting on his having been interviewed on The John Batchelor Show at WABC radio in NYC, a progressive news-and-interview program that used to be, but no longer is, nationally syndicated. Can one wonder why? Might Batchelor’s having the courage still to interview Cohen be part of the explanation why only “from early 2001 to September 2006, the show was syndicated nationally on the ABC radio network”? Obviously, corporate America don’t like an honest press.

In that The Nation article, 5 points are stated:

  1. “Russiagate” and the attempted killing of Sergei and Yulia Skripal in the UK have two aspects in common. Both blame Putin personally. And no actual facts have yet been made public.
  2. This episode increases the risk of nuclear war between the United States and Russia.
  3. Many Americans, including political and media elites who shape public opinion, have been deluded into thinking, especially since the pseudo–“American-Russian friendship” of the Clinton 1990s, that nuclear war now really is “unthinkable.” That the mass expulsion of diplomats was merely “symbolic” and of no real lasting consequence. In reality, it has become more thinkable.
  4. The causes of the new risks of nuclear war are not “symbolic” but real and primarily political. As diplomacy is diminished, the militarization of US-Russian relations increases.
  5. Thus, … the individuals and larger forces that promote the unproven allegations emanating from “Russiagate” and the Skripal incident are, in effect, nuclear-war mongers.

None of those allegations is at all so forward as are, for example, the articles that I have written on Obama’s coup in Ukraine and Trump’s continuation of that U.S. thrust for World War III, and which are thus virtually entirely banned. But, despite Cohen’s veiled statement of the matter, it’s too much for U.S.-and-allied ‘news’media to allow to be published and broadcast.

The only reason why a full 33% of Americans still trust ‘our’ Government is that the ‘news’media hide the truth from us. If the ‘news’media were honest, that figure would be much lower even than it is. The July 2017 Marist poll found that 37% of Americans “trust the media” “not at all”; 31% trust it “not very much”; 22% said “a good amount”; only 8% trusted it “a great deal”; and, so, how could the U.S. electorate then believe that even one’s own vote reflects a sufficiently accurately informed choice for a functioning democracy to result? Many Americans know they’re voting based on contending lies.

A prominent American jurist has pointed out that America’s courts are open only to the rich, basically not available to the general public, and that the U.S. Constitution is routinely violated by the Government; judges simply look the other way and refuse to get involved.

If such a nation isn’t a dictatorship, then what nation is? The lying U.S. regime could call this ‘anti-American propaganda’, but it’s unfortunately merely the truth, and it is being reported here by an American, who writes only on behalf of himself, and of any of the few authentic newsmedia — the media that publish and broadcast the truth, even though others don’t.

Because WW III isn’t just war-games now. It’s war-provocations, too. And they’re all being led by Washington and its UK slave. It’s time for Europeans to abandon any alliance at all with such a regime. That would stop this psychopathically-led insanity. Nothing else could. FDR is dead and gone, and the ideological Cold War ended in 1991, but has secretly been continuing all along on the American side. NATO must end immediately. (Its Soviet equivalent, the Warsaw Pact, ended in 1991, when the Cold War did on the Russian side.) And any further association between the EU and U.S. should be grounds for any European nation to at least consider to leave the EU, too. This is no longer just war-games; it is clearly for real. And if a European government doesn’t seriously consider to do this, then there should be massive public demonstrations against that government. Washington and its allies are looking for, and will quite possibly concoct, an excuse for war against Russia. And Russia isn’t just another Iraq. Nor Libya. Nor Syria. Nor Ukraine. The U.S. Government, and any of its allies, is truly toxic to people everywhere. I, an American, say this, with profound regret that (and only because) it’s the truth.

Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010

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Americas

Trump’s New Wall? Mexico’s Southern Border

Lisdey Espinoza Pedraza

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For much of modern history, Mexico defined itself in opposition to the United States. In recent years, the two countries stepped up cooperation on almost all relevant issues, and the two nations are now deeply intertwined politically, economically and culturally. This is bound to change. After months of ignoring Donald Trump’s provocations, López Obrador reacted rapidly to Trump’s shakedown and agreed to a number of resolutions of extraordinary scope and urgency: the new Mexican administration agreed to deploy the country’s federal police to its southern border to crack down on immigration; and opened the door to the controversial “Remain in Mexico” policy that would turn Mexico into a Third Safe Country in less than a month from now.

As stated in the agreement, Mexico would take in all the refugees that the US decides to send back to Mexico to await resolution of their asylum process. This could take years, given the substantial immigration backlog in American courts. The agreement goes further: Mexico is responsible for the provision of education, health care and employment for such refugees. This could easily lead to a serious humanitarian crisis that Mexican institutions will be unable to deal with.

This approach contradicts previous Mexican presidential vows for regional development and humanitarian relief rather than confrontation and enforcement. Conditions on the ground in Mexico are far harsher than the Mexican Foreign Affairs Minister, Marcelo Ebrard and the President, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, would like to admit, and this is partly due to the current administration’s miscalculations: López Obrador has dramatically cut the budget for governmental agencies responsible for managing refugees and processing removals. Mexican border towns are also ill-equipped for handling transient migrant populations; and Mexico also faces other more systematic challenges, such as corruption and lack of rule of law enforcement. The new policy agreed with the American government is likely to result in a significant increase in claims filed for asylum in Mexico. Mexico’s immigration bureaucracies are utterly overwhelmed, and López Obrador’s misguided budget cuts have exacerbated their failings.

Mexico’s immigration policy is now bound by an immoral and unacceptable deal that will effectively turn Mexico into Trump’s border wall. The global system for the protection of refugees is based on the notion of shared responsibility among countries. It is very dangerous for the US to use Mexico as a pawn to set an example and ignore its international responsibility. This agreement also violates international law on refugees: Mexico is a life-threatening country for undocumented migrants. Human trafficking, recruitment for organised criminal organisations, abduction, extortion, sexual violence, and disappearances are some of the issues migrants face in Mexico. Finally, Mexico’s National Guard, the agency that will be in charge of monitoring the southern border, was created by López Obrador to tackle domestic crime. Its members have no training nor knowledge on immigration matters. It is an untested new military force that could end up creating more problems than the ones it is trying to solve.  Deploying agents to the border could also have a high political cost for the president.

The agreement with Trump gives López Obrador 45 days to show progress. If Mexico fails, Mexico will be forced to set in motion some version of Safe Third Country agreement, or face further tariff bullying from the US. This deal has been sold by the new Mexican administration as a victory over the US. More migrants, less money, extreme violence and a recalcitrant, unpredictable northern neighbour are the ingredients for a potential, impending refugee crisis, not a diplomatic victory.

Could Mexico have taken a different approach? Yes. Trump’s decision to impose tariffs would exacerbate the underlying causes of immigration in the region and do nothing to address it. His bullying to force Mexico to crack down on immigration was a cheap electoral ploy to mobilise its base with a view to winning the 2020 elections. This is nothing new. Trump is not seeking a solution; he is seeking a political gain. He built his first presidential campaign on an anti-Mexico and an anti-immigrant rhetoric. It worked in 2016, and he is planning to repeat the same formula.

The Mexican administration lack of knowledge on diplomatic matters, and their inability to play politics let a golden opportunity go. Using trade to bludgeon Mexico into compliance with an immigration crack down makes no sense: Mexico is not responsible for the increase in migratory flows. Central America’s poverty and violence trace back to American policies in the 1980s. Mexico is not responsible either for America’s famously dysfunctional immigration system. Trump’s economic threats against Mexico may not even have been legal: both the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), and the newly agreed US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) require most trade between members to be tariff free.

Mexico could also have hit back with by levying tariffs that would have hurt swing-state voters, and in turn hurt Trump. This was the golden opportunity Mexico let slip from its hands. Mexico could have responded by hitting Trump where it hurts: Tariffs on American goods heading south. Mexico responded in a similar manner in June last year in response to the steel and aluminium tariffs. Mexico could have raised those tariffs each month in tandem with American levels.

This retaliation would have highlighted the gap between Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric and the underlying interdependence of the US and Mexico with stark consequences for the US presidential elections of 2020. Many of the biggest exporters to Mexico such as Arizona. Florida. California, Michigan and Illinois are swing states. New tariffs could have thrown Texas into recession and put its 38 electoral votes into play. It is all too late now, Mexico could have inadvertently helped Trump to get re-elected. Mexico has less than a month left to show some backbone and demand real American cooperation on the region’s shared challenges and rejecting Trump’s threats once and for all. The relationship between Mexico and the US could have been an example of cooperation under difficult conditions, but that would have required different American and Mexican presidents.

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Scandinavia Veers Left plus D-Day Reflections as Trump Storms Europe

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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Mette Frederiksen of the five-party Social Democrat bloc won 91 of the 169 seats in the Danish parliament ending the rule of the right-wing Liberal Party group that had governed for 14 of the last 18 years.  The election issues centered on climate change, immigration and Denmark’s generous social welfare policies.  All parties favored tighter immigration rules thereby taking away the central issue dominating the far-right Democrat Freedom Party which has seen its support halved since the last election in 2015.

Ms Frederiksen promised more spending to bolster the much loved social welfare model and increased taxes on businesses and the wealthy.  A left wave is sweeping Scandinavia as Denmark becomes the third country, after Sweden and Finland, to move left within a year.  Mette Frederiksen will also be, at 41, the youngest prime minister Denmark has ever had.

Donald Trump has used the 75th anniversary of D-Day commemorations to garner positive publicity.  The supreme promoter has managed to tie it in with a “classy” (his oft-chosen word) state visit to the UK spending a day with royals.  It was also a farewell to the prime minister as her resignation is effective from June 7.  Add a D-Day remembrance ceremony at Portsmouth and he was off to his golf course in Ireland for a couple of days of relaxation disguised as a visit to the country for talks — he has little in common with the prime minister, Leo Varadkar, who is half-Indian and gay.

Onward to France where leaders gathered for ceremonies at several places.  It is easy to forget the extent of that carnage:  over 20,000 French civilians were killed in Normandy alone mostly from aerial bombing and artillery fire.  The Normandy American cemetery holds over 9600 soldiers.  All in all, France lost in the neighborhood of 390,000 civilian dead during the whole war.  Estimates of total deaths across the world range from 70 to 85 million or about 3 percent of the then global population (estimated at 2.3 billion).

Much has been written about conflict resolutions generally from a cold rational perspective.  Emotions like greed, fear and a sense of injustice when unresolved lead only in one direction.  There was a time when individual disputes were given the ultimate resolution through single combat.  Now legal rights and courts are available — not always perfect, not always fair, but neither are humans.

It does not take a genius to extrapolate such legal measures to nations and international courts … which already exist.  Just one problem:  the mighty simply ignore them.  So we wait, and we honor the dead of wars that in retrospect appear idiotic and insane.  Worse is the attempt to justify such insanity through times like the “good war”, a monstrous absurdity.

It usually takes a while.  Then we get leaders who have never seen the horror of war — some have assiduously avoided it — and the cycle starts again.

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To Impeach Or Not To Impeach? That Is The Question

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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Robert Mueller let loose a thunderbolt midweek.  Donald Trump had not been charged, he said, because it was Department of Justice policy not to charge a sitting president.  Dumping the issue firmly into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s lap, he reminded us of the purpose of the impeachment process.  According to Mueller there are ten instances where there are serious issues with the president obstructing justice adding that his report never concludes that Trump is innocent.

So here is a simple question:  If Mueller thought the president is not innocent but he did not charge him because of Justice Department policy, and he appears also to favor impeachment, then why in heaven’s name did he not simply state in his report that the preponderance of evidence indicated Trump was guilty?

Nancy Pelosi is wary of impeachment.  According to the rules, the House initiates it and when/if  it finds sufficient grounds, it forwards the case to the Senate for a formal trial.  The Senate at present is controlled by Republicans, who have been saying it’s time to move on, often adding that after two years of investigation and a 448-page report, what is the point of re-litigating the issue?  They have a point and again it leads to the question:  if Special Counsel Mueller thinks Trump is guilty as he now implies, why did he not actually say so?

Never one to miss any opportunity , Trump labels Mueller, highly conflicted, and blasts impeachment as ‘a dirty, filthy, disgusting word’,  He has also stopped Don McGahn, a special counsel at the White House from testifying before Congress invoking ‘executive privilege’ — a doctrine designed to keep private the president’s consultations with his advisors.  While not cited anywhere in the Constitution, the Supreme Court has held it to be ‘fundamental to the operation of government and inextricably rooted in the Separation of Powers under the Constitution.’  Separation of powers keeps apart the executive branch, the legislature and the judiciary, meaning each one cannot interfere with the other.

Nancy Pelosi is under increasing pressure from the young firebrands.  Rep Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez has already expressed the view that it is time to open an impeachment inquiry against Trump given the obstruction of lawmakers’ oversight duty.

Speaker Pelosi is a long-time politician with political blood running through her veins — her father was Mayor of Baltimore and like herself also a US Representative.  To her the situation as is, is quite appealing.  Trump’s behavior fires up Democrats across the country and they respond by emptying their pockets to defeat the Republicans in 2020.  Democratic coffers benefit so why harm this golden goose — a bogeyman they have an excellent chance of defeating — also evident from the numbers lining up to contest the Democratic presidential primaries, currently at 24. 

Will Trump be impeached?  Time will tell but at present it sure doesn’t look likely.

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