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“Democratic Institutions?” – 10 Lessons from history that will destroy your trust in the CIA

In the hysterical wake of the Trump-Putin Summit in Helsinki, President Donald Trump was roundly criticised in the media for taking the side of a “hostile state” over his own intelligence agencies. The Guardian referred to Mueller as a “heroic marine” who Trump disbelieved in favour of a “Russian dictator”.

In the past, when Trump has criticised the FBI, CIA or NSA he has been accused of “undermining faith in our institutions”. He’s been blamed for a collapse of trust in the government. But was this trust ever earned?

At every corner, we are urged to simply believe what we are told. Whether it is about believing Porton Down and MI6 about “novichok”, or believing the White Helmets about Sarin, or believing the FBI about “collusion”, we are presented with no facts, just assertions from authority. Those who question those assertions are deemed “bots” at best or “traitors” at worst.

Well here, fellow traitors, are the Top Ten reasons to question anything and everything the CIA – or any intelligence agency – has ever told you.

Trump’s Treasonous Traitor Summit or: How Liberals Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the New McCarthyism

So it appears America and democracy have miraculously survived the dreaded Trump-Putin summit … or Trump’s meeting with his Russian handler, as the neoliberal ruling classes and their mouthpieces in the corporate media would dearly like us all to believe. NATO has not been summarily dissolved. Poland has not been invaded by Russia. The offices of The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN, and MSNBC have not been stormed by squads of jackbooted Trumpian Gestapo. The Destabilization of the Middle East, the Privatization of Virtually Everything, the Conversion of the Planet into One Big Shopping Mall, and other global capitalist projects are all going forward uninterrupted. Apart from Trump making a narcissistic, word-salad-babbling jackass of himself, which he does on a more or less daily basis, nothing particularly apocalyptic happened.

Open Thread: Trump-Putin Summit and Mounting Hysteria

Yesterday, Trump and Putin met for a summit in Helsinki. The resulting hysteria, all throughout the mainstream media and in the minds of neocon and (self-described) “liberals” alike.

Just to be clear – it is not unusual for heads of state to meet. It is not unusual for leaders with different values or interests to discuss international politics. It’s the entire point of diplomacy.

The media at large appear to have forgotten this – giving thousands of column inches to insane ramblings employing words such as “traitor”, “treason”, “puppet” and “surrender”. Words which are rapidly losing their meaning.

Meanwhile in Ukraine….

In one of the largest, if not the largest, Neo-Nazi demonstration in Europe since WW2, 20,000 fascists and their supporters marched through the streets of the Ukrainian capital celebrating the birth of Stepan Bandera 01.01.1909 founder and leader of the ultra-nationalist Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN-B) and its military wing, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) commanded by Roman Shukhevych. This organization which along with the equally collaborationist outfit, the 14th Waffen SS Grenadier Division Galicia 1, were responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Poles, Jews and Russians during the ethnic cleansing which began in Lviv with a pogrom of the city’s Jews a week after the German invasion in 1941, and in the western Ukraine between 1943-45.

Lying by Omission: Mainstream Media’s Distortion of the OPCW Report on Douma

Within hours of the release of the Organisation of the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons report from their fact-finding mission (FFM), when they investigated the Syrian Arab Army’s alleged use of chemical weapons against civilians in the Douma stronghold, mainstream media already hopped on their sensationalist train of deception.

Open Thread: The Amesbury Couple and the Reborn Novichok Saga

1. Are we supposed to believe that this “novichok” incident is directly related to the alleged poisoning of the Skripals? How so?
2. If this IS the same chemical, why is it suddenly affecting new victims four months after the initial “attack”?
3. How come the emergency services and medical personnel, who spent ten weeks treating the Skripals and DS Bailey, didn’t recognise the symptoms of novichok poisoning immediately? Why was nerve agent poisoning mistaken for drug use AGAIN?
4. Why and how did Porton Down get involved in this case? Is it usual for them to test the blood of suspected drug abuse victims?
5. And finally, what on Earth is going on?

Turkish-Syrian Border: Confusion, Destruction and Grief

“One day, true leaders of the world will come, and they’ll cut off all the gas and petrol supplies to you, and you’ll find yourself in even deeper shit than the one into which you are throwing this part of the world! You’ll have to burn your designer clothes and shoes, just to stay warm. You forgot, but you will soon be reminded, Europe: we are all human beings!”

Slow Suicide and the Abandonment of the World

Most suicides die of natural causes, slowly and in silence.

But we hear a lot about the small number of suicides, by comparison, who kill themselves quickly by their own hands. Of course their sudden deaths elicit shock and sadness since their deaths, usually so unexpected even when not a surprise, allow for no return. Such sudden once-and-for-all endings are even more jarring in a high-tech world where people are subconsciously habituated to thinking that everything can be played back, repeated, and rewound, even lives.

If the suicides are celebrities, the mass media can obsess over why they did it. How shocking! Wasn’t she at the peak of her career? Didn’t he finally seem happy? And then the speculative stories will appear about the reasons for the rise or fall of suicide rates, only to disappear as quickly as the celebrities are dropped by the media and forgotten by the public.

Joining Some Dots on the Skripal Case: Part 3 – The Agitated Mr Skripal

In Part 1 of this series, I stated why I believe the official narrative on the Skripal case does not appear to hold water. Firstly, the nerve agent A-234 (Novichok) can and has been produced outside Russia, in a number of places, thus disproving the claim that it must have come from Russia. Secondly, the fact that the effects experienced by the Skripals — four hours of moving freely around Salisbury, followed by no irreparable damage — do not remotely fit what the scientific literature says about that substance — almost instantaneous death or a short life with irreparable damage to the central nervous system –, makes it highly unlikely that they were indeed poisoned by it. Indeed, the burden of proof is on those making the claims to show how and why the scientific literature was wrong.

WATCH: “NYC to Donetsk & back” – a new film

Russian-American actor Peter Von Berg (of the FX series The Americans) goes on a journey from his home in NYC to the Donetsk People’s Republic to explore the gap between the image proffered in the American media and the reality as experienced by the people who live there. This film is essential watching

The Parallel Universe of BBC Panorama

The folks at Panorama LOVE Putin, or at least love to hate him. In the last two years there have been no less than five (five!) episodes devoted to the man, and indeed the myth. The most recent Putin-hit piece aired just last week – in the run up to the World Cup – its rather more mundane title simply: “Putin’s Russia with David Dimbleby”. The documentary, for want of a better word, opens on David Dimbleby wandering through a Moscow market looking at *sigh* Russian nesting dolls, and it doesn’t get less predictable from there on in.

January 2016 brought us “Putin’s Secret Riches”, January 2017 “Trump: The Kremlin Candidate”, March of this year brought us two inside a week, “Putin: The New Tsar” and “Taking On Putin!”. As the titles suggest, none of them were especially objective or open-minded. That’s not in the BBC’s remit.

The West’s real interest in Chechnya isn’t gay rights

The start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia has seen Western media step up its anti-Russia fervor more than ever. Already we are hearing wild exaggerations of corruption behind its successful bid to host the event and witnessing a similarly overblown depiction of its cultural nationalism. It is specifically identity politics that has never been more effectively weaponized by the U.S. political establishment than in the new Cold War‘s ongoing demonization of the country and its President, Vladimir Putin. What better way to mobilize what has traditionally been America’s anti-war demographic in left-leaning liberals to support an arms race? For this reason, during the past decade the issue of LGBT rights in Russia has been seemingly inescapable.

Joining some dots on the Skripal case: Part 1: An Official Story That Doesn’t Hold Water

I have asked a lot of questions in relation to the Skripal case and many, if not most, are still unanswered. However, I want in this piece to go further than asking questions, and to start to join a few dots together. There is much to say, and rather than doing it in one long piece, which only three people will have the attention span to sit through, I want to do it over a number of articles. Probably four or five. We shall see.

Why Venezuela and Syria Cannot Fall

True. Both nations, Venezuela and Syria, are separated by a tremendous geographical distance, but they are united by the same fate, same determination and courage. During the Spanish Civil War, Czech anti-fascist fighters, volunteers in the International Brigades, used to say: “In Madrid we are fighting for Prague”. Madrid fell to Franco’s fascists in October 1939. Prague had been occupied by German troops several months earlier, in March 1939. It was the blindness and cowardice of the European leaders, as well as the support which the murderous fascist hordes received from populations of all corners of the continent, which led to one of the greatest tragedies in modern history – a tragedy which only ended on May 9, 1945, when the Soviet troops liberated Prague, defeating Nazi Germany and de facto saving the world.

How the West continues to fatally misunderstand Russia & Putin

Let me focus now on what has sadly become over the past few years my main area of expertise, the deteriorating political relationship between Russia and the Western alliance, built around NATO and the EU but also taking in Australia. The prime movers of this hostility are the security and intelligence complexes in the US and the UK.

George Monbiot: selling the 1% agenda in a Green box

The last few years have outed Monbiot, one time supposed anti-establishment figure, as nothing more than a fully establishment goon, posturing in the sad tatters of his “dissident Green” cosplay. His performance during the Syria crisis made this too obvious. His sub-intelligent smears on those independent journalists daring to question the narrative made his real allegiances, and limitations, more than clear. His preparedness to brazenly lie and his refusal to debate the people he smeared in an open forum cemented this view.

Consensus reality has outlived its evolutionary usefulness

The nature of reality used to be a philosophical, metaphysical contemplation. But now it’s political.

Why the Evidence Mueller Has for the Indicting 13 Russian Nationals is Fraudulent

It’s almost a shame that a headline like that won’t spark anything more than casual curiosity when you consider the charges Richard Mueller is looking into. The Russian company Concord Management decided to answer is charges in early May, which threw a wrench into Mueller’s strategy.

The Blatant Conspiracy behind Senator Robert F. Kennedy’s Assassination

Fifty years ago on June 5 1968, Robert F. Kennedy, younger brother of the murdered president, was shot and killed under circumstances perhaps even more suspicious and bizarre than those surrounding John Kennedy’s murder. No even slightly satisfactory explanation has ever been offered for the glaring anomalies and contradictions in this case. Here Edward Curtin revisits some of the abiding questions surrounding this third politically motivated assassination to impact America in five years, and the legacy it left behind

The problem with conspiracy theories…

The official conspiracy theory for 9/11 has led to tremendously harmful effects. Many Americans have forgotten completely what it means to be an American. An ongoing terrorism lottery, that could select any of us as a victim at any time, continues with no end in sight. And the 9/11 Wars that were based on the official account are bankrupting the nation both financially and morally.