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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

American (And Global) Oligarchy Rapidly Moving Towards Monarchy

Rahul D. Manchanda, Esq.

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Many people do not realize that the proverbial “noose” of civil rights, civil liberties and property rights are rapidly coming to an end, in large part because of the unholy alliance by and between government and the global oligarchs (international banks and major corporations).

For example, people don’t realize that current U.S. federal law permits all banks and credit unions (such as Chase Bank owned by CEO Jamie Dimon) to close any account, at any time, and for any reason, even when their own employees commit fraud, make mistakes, commit unethical acts or otherwise screw the banking customer over for personal or political reasons, and that customer then files a legitimate complaint.

The financial institution is not required to divulge the reason(s) for account closure to the customer.

Now, when a business account is closed by a bank, the bank can (and will) retain the funds in the account for 90 to 180 days in order for checks, debits, chargebacks, etc. to post to the business account before the bank will mail the business customer the remaining proceeds from the account.

However the account holder is of course not allowed access to their own hard-earned funds at all.

What this means is that these banks and credit unions have been given a universal right to steal any and all monies placed within their coffers by anyone at all, which can then be “confiscated” for any reason.

It is even so absurd that these banks and credit unions, even after they have seized or stolen your money/property, do not even have to give you a reason, and can then ban you for life from ever getting your money/property back.

This same reasoning applies to nearly all of the major businesses and corporations, wherein due process has gone the way of the extinct “dodo bird.”

This is what it means, when an administration (in this case Republican) talks about “bank deregulation.”

In many ways, Democrats had the right idea over Republicans when they created and enacted such banking regulatory agencies such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”), recently gutted and decapitated by the Trump Administration and his coterie of bought and paid for Republican conservatives.

The problem is that the same global Oligarchs and International Banking Cartels that controlled the Democrats, and enacted even more stifling Communist type regulation to further control, cull, and choke off the American (and global) population (think Obama’s “Operation Chokepoint”), simply use Republican “deregulation” as another mechanism to screw over, steal from, and rob the working and middle class, by allowing these international banking cartels, credit unions, and corporations to completely do whatever they want, to anyone, for any reason, in the absence of any regulation.

Herein lies the rub, and there has to be a middle ground, but only if the American people (and their global population counterparts) push back and vociferously tell their elected leaders to take legal and equitable action against these global thieves and criminals.

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War, Anniversaries and Lessons Never Learned

Dr. Arshad M. Khan

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On December 7, 1941, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor and the U.S. entered the Second World War.  A war of horrors, it normalized the intensive, barbaric bombing of civilian populations.  If the Spanish Civil War gave us Guernica and Picasso’s wrenching painting, WW2 offered up worse:  London, Berlin, Dresden to name a few, the latter eloquently described in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Slaughter House Five.”  Against Japan, the firebombing of Tokyo, and above all the revulsion of Hiroshima and Nagasaki radiated a foretaste of ending life on the planet.

Reparations demanded from Germany had led to the rise of Adolf Hitler and a thirst for revenge.  Thus Hitler demanded France’s 1940 surrender in the same railway carriage where the humiliating armistice was signed in 1918.

If the war to end all wars — its centenary remembrance a month ago — killed 20 million plus, the successor tripled the score.  Disrupted agriculture, severed supply chains, fleeing civilians, starvation and misery; civilian deaths constituting  an inordinate majority in our supposedly civilized world.

One of the young men baling out of a burning bomber was George H. W. Bush.  He was rescued but his crew who also baled out were never found, a thought that is said to have haunted him for the rest of his life.  He went on to serve eight years as vice-president under Ronald Reagan and then four more as president.  Last week he passed away and was honored with a state funeral service in Washington National Cathedral.

His legacy includes the first Iraq war and the liberation of Kuwait.  While he avoided the hornet’s nest of ethnic and religious divisions in Iraq itself, the war’s repercussions led to the Clinton sanctions and the deaths of half a million children.  The UN representative overseeing the limited oil-for-food program, Irishman Denis Halliday, resigned in disgust.  Not to forget the infamous answer by Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.  Asked by Leslie Stahl if it was worth the lives of 500,000 children … more than that died in Hiroshima, she answered:  “I think this is a very hard choice, but the price — we think the price is worth it.”  (CBS 60 Minutes program, May 12, 1996).

Note the “we” in her answer.  Who else does that include but our “I-feel-your-pain” Bill Clinton.  Hypocrisy, arm-twisted donations to the Clinton Foundation while wife Hillary was Secretary of State in the Obama administration; her shunning of the official and secure State Department email server in favor of a personal server installed at her request and the subsequent selective release of emails.  Well who cares about verifiable history these days anyway as the following demonstrates.

Yes, there was another anniversary this week for a different kind of war.  This time in India.  After securing freedom from the British, a secular tradition was proudly espoused by the patrician Nehru and the epitome of nonviolence, Gandhi.  It is now in the process of being trampled in a war against minorities.  The communal war includes the massacre of Muslims in Gujarat for which Narendra Modi was barred from the U.S., a ban lifted only when he became prime minister.  He, his party and his allies have been also responsible for the destruction of the Babri Mosque.  An organized Hindu mob tore it down on December 6, 1992; hence the shameful anniversary.  Built on the orders of the first Mughal emperor Babur, its purpose was to cement relations with Hindu rajas by also sanctifying for Muslims a place holy to Hindus and held traditionally to be the birthplace of Rama — famous from Hindu epics for fighting evil with the assistance of a monkey god’s army … although one is advised to avoid close contact with temple monkeys when visiting.

As the first Mughal, Babur’s hold on India was tenuous and he actively sought alliances with Hindu rulers of small states against the pathans whose sultan he had just defeated.  That affinity continued during the entirety of Mughal rule and one manifestation was frequent intermarriage with Rajputs.  Several emperors had Hindu mothers including Shah Jahan the builder of the Taj Mahal.  In the end, Babur’s fears were warranted because Sher Shah Suri did marshal those pathan forces and throw out his son Humayun, the second Mughal ruler.  It was only Sher Shah’s untimely death during the capture of Kalinjar (a Hindu fort then held by Raja Kirat Singh) that made Humayun’s return possible.

The destruction of the mosque was a historical wrong if ever there was one, but then Mr. Modi has never been bothered by history.  He is also not bothered that his party’s fairy tale revision of school history books is a scandal.  For similar reasons, Indian history on Wikipedia is too frequently tarnished, requiring verification from other sources to be properly informed.

The wrongs of communities, just as the wrongs of war, can lead to repercussions unanticipated and cataclysmic.  Yugoslavia is an example in living memory.  Clearly, any ruler of a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural country contemplating a path of communal dominance must take note before he is hoisted with his own petard.

Author’s Note:  This article first appeared on Counterpunch.org  

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Racism does not need racists

Jorge Majfud

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In my classes, I always try to make clear the difference between opinions and facts. It is a fundamental rule, a very simple intellectual exercise that we owe ourselves to undertake in the post-Enlightenment era. I started becoming obsessed with such obvious matters when I found out, in 2005, that some students were arguing that something “is true because I believe it” – and they weren’t joking. Since then, I’ve suspected that such intellectual conditioning, such a conflation of physics with metaphysics (cleared up by Averroes almost a thousand years ago) – which year by year becomes increasingly dominant (faith as the supreme criterion, regardless of all evidence to the contrary) – has its origins in the majestic churches of the southern United States.

But critical thinking involves so much more than just distinguishing facts from opinions. Trying to define what a fact is would suffice. The very idea of objectivity itself paradoxically originates from a single perspective, from one lens. And anyone knows that with the lens of one photographic or video camera, only one part of reality is captured, which quite often is subjective or used to distort reality in the supposed interest of objectivity.

For some reason, students tend to be more interested in opinions than facts. Maybe because of the superstitious idea that an informed opinion is derived from the synthesis of thousands of facts. This is a dangerous idea, but we can’t run away from our responsibility to give our opinion when it’s required. All that we can and should do is take note that an informed opinion continues to be an opinion which must be tested or challenged.

An opinion

On a certain day, students discussed the caravan of 5,000 Central Americans (at least one thousand of whom were children) fleeing violence and heading for the Mexican border with the US. President Donald Trump had ordered the border closed and called those looking for refuge “invaders”. On 29 October 2018, he tweeted: “This is an invasion of our Country and our Military is waiting for you!”. The military deployment to the border alone cost the US about $200 million.

Since one of my students insisted on knowing my opinion, I started off with the most controversial side of the issue. I observed that this country, the US, was founded upon the fear of invasion, and only a select few have always known how to exploit this weakness, with tragic consequences. Maybe this paranoia came about with the English invasion of 1812, but if history tells us anything, it’s that the US  has practically never suffered an invasion of its territory – if we exclude the 9/11 attacks in 2001; the one on Pearl Harbor, which at the time was a military base in foreign territory; and, prior to that, at the very beginning of the twentieth century, the brief incursion of a Mexican named Pancho Villa mounted upon a horse. But the US has indeed specialized in invading other countries from the time of its founding – it took over the Indian territories, then half of Mexico, from Texas, to reinstall slavery, to California; it intervened directly in Latin American affairs, to repress popular protests and support bloody dictatorships – all in the name of defence and security. And always with tragic consequences.

Therefore, the idea that a few thousand poor people on foot are going to invade the most powerful country in the world is simply a joke in poor taste. And it’s likewise in bad taste for some Mexicans on the other side to adopt this same xenophobic talk that’s been directed at them – inflicting on others the same abuse they’ve suffered.

A critical view

In the course of the conversation, I mentioned in passing that in addition to the foundational paranoia, there was a racial component to the argument.

“You don’t need to be a racist to defend the borders,” said one student.

True, I noted. You don’t need to be a racist to defend borders or laws. At first glance, the statement is irrefutable. However, if we take history and the wider current context into consideration, an openly racist pattern jumps out at us right away.

At the end of the nineteenth century, the French novelist Anatole France wrote: “The law, in its majestic equality, forbids rich and poor alike to sleep under bridges, to beg in the streets, and to steal their bread.” You don’t need to be an elitist to support an economically stratified culture. You don’t need to be sexist to spread the most rampant type of sexism. Thoughtlessly engaging in certain cultural practices and voicing your support for some law or another is quite often all it takes.

I drew a geometric figure on the board and asked students what they saw there. Everyone said they saw a cube or a box. The most creative variations didn’t depart from the idea of tri-dimensionality, when in reality what I drew was nothing more than three rhombuses forming a hexagon. Some tribes in Australia don’t see that same image in 3D but rather in 2D. We see what we think and that’s what we call objectivity.

Double standards

When President Abraham Lincoln emerged victorious from the American Civil War (1861-1865), he put an end to a hundred-year dictatorship that, up to this day, everyone calls “democracy.” By the eighteenth century, black slaves had come to make up more than fifty percent of the population in states like South Carolina – but they weren’t even citizens of the US, nor did they enjoy even minimal human rights.

Many years before Lincoln, both racists and anti-racists proposed a solution to the “negro problem” by sending them “back” to Haiti or Africa, where many of them ended up founding the nation of Liberia (one of my students, Adja, is from a family which comes from that African country). The English did the same thing to “rid” England of its blacks. But under Lincoln blacks became citizens, and one way to reduce them down to a minority was not only by making it difficult for them to vote (such as by imposing a poll tax) but also by opening the nation’s borders to immigration.

The Statue of Liberty, a gift from the French people to the American people to commemorate the centenary of the 1776 Declaration of Independence, still cries with silent lips: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…” In this way, the US opened its arms to waves of impoverished immigrants. Of course, the overwhelming majority were poor whites. Many were opposed to the Italians and the Irish because they were red-headed Catholics. But in any case, they were seen as being better than blacks. Blacks weren’t able to immigrate from Africa, not just because they were much farther away than Europeans were, but also because they were much poorer, and there were hardly any shipping routes to connect them to New York. The Chinese had more opportunities to reach the west coast, and perhaps for that reason a law was passed in 1882 that prohibited them from coming in just for being Chinese.

I understand that this was a subtle and powerful way to reshape demographics, which is to say the political, social and racial make-up of the US. The current nervousness about a change to that make-up is nothing more than the continuation of that same old logic. Were that not the case, what could be wrong with being part of a minority group or being different from others?

You don’t need to be a racist…

Clearly, if you’re a good person and you’re in favour of properly enforcing laws, it doesn’t make you a racist. You don’t need to be racist when the law and the culture already are. In the US, nobody protests Canadian or European immigrants. The same is true in Europe and even in the Southern Cone of South America [the southernmost region of Latin America, populated mainly by descendants of Europeans]. But everyone is worried about the blacks and the hybrid, mixed-race people from the south. Because they’re not white and “good”, but poor and “bad”. Currently, almost half a million European immigrants are living illegally in the United States. Nobody talks about them, just like nobody talks about how one million United States citizens are living in Mexico, many illegally.

With communism discarded as an excuse (none of those chronically failing states where migrants come from are communist), let’s once again consider the racial and cultural excuses common to the century prior to the Cold War. Every dark-skinned worker is seen as a criminal, not an opportunity for mutual development. The immigration laws are themselves filled with panic at the sight of poor workers.

It’s true that you don’t need to be racist to support laws and more secure borders. You also don’t need to be racist to spread and shore up an old racist and class-based paradigm, while we fill our mouths with platitudes about compassion and the fight for freedom and human dignity.

UNESCO

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