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The CIA’s Cult of Death

Review of Douglas Valentine’s The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World

Do you desire intellectually stimulating, need-to-be-aware-of information as a stocking stuffer in the time crunch just before Christmas? Look no further. Douglas Valentine’s The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World fits the bill splendidly.

Taking on the CIA as a subject is a monumental task, as its tentacles delve into myriad facets of empire and society. The CIA operates as a mafioso on a grand scale, an imperial scale. Valentine’s depth of knowledge on the subject is very apparent. The CIA is …

Car-centric Landscape, Not Tolls, Harm the Poor

Part 3: The Great Toronto Toll Debate

There’s no doubt tolls hurt poor people, but a car-dominated transportation system does far more damage and everyone who wants a more just society should support measures that help rid our over-heating planet of private automobiles.

The primary left-wing complaint about tolling two Toronto highways is it will harm the poor. One activist responded to my criticism of toll opponents by posting, “some folks are so desperate for a war on the car they are willing to settle for a war on the poor disguised as such.” Another individual wrote on someone else’s Facebook page: “It’s almost embarrassing seeing people who …

Road Blocks to Data Retention: Invalidating the Snoopers’ Charter

Deemed by the Home Office an exemplar of legislation balancing security and freedoms, the UK Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA), otherwise known as the Snoopers’ Charter, did not impress the EU Court of Justice.  The case had been brought in 2014 by two MPs, David Davis and Tom Watson.  Davis had since evacuated from the brief, leaving Watson to savour the proceedings.

The issue pivoted on a few crucial notions behind the requirement that communications service providers retain “traffic data” (fixed and mobile call logs) and mobile phone location data up to 12 months. These were the necessity of …

Christmas Memo to PM Theresa May

Stop worshipping Israel, learn the ugly truth ... and find a new speechwriter!

Prime Minister,

This is still a Christian country, as your colleague David Cameron reminded us not so long ago. But you wouldn’t think so when non-Christian creeds are given exceptional protection and privileges to smooth their ruffled feathers. Your government is even introducing new laws to stifle questions about Israel’s legitimacy and quash criticism of its criminal policies. We have entered a sinister era of censorship and harassment as the gulf between government and public widens.

In an excruciating speech to a Conservative Friends of Israel lunch earlier this month, you told 800 guests that the British government will be marking the …

President Duterte of the Philippines for Dummies

Manila and Davao — When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ascended to power in 1999, almost no one in the West, in Asia and even in most of the Latin American countries knew much about his new militant revolutionary anti-imperialism. From the mass media outlets like CNN and the BBC, to local televisions and newspapers (influenced or directly sponsored by Western sources), the ‘information’ that was flowing was clearly biased, extremely critical, and even derogatory.

A few months into his rule, I came to Caracas and was told repeatedly by several local journalists: “Almost all of us are supporting President Chavez, but …

Envoy killed in a “parallel universe”

The Russian ambassador was killed in Ankara on the evening of Dec. 19 .  The killer, a 22-year-old Turkish graduate of the police academy who had been fired in July after being deemed untrustworthy, fired 11 bullets into the ambassador’s back as he finished addressing the attendees at the opening of the Russia Through Turkish Eyes photo exhibit.

Since the murderer was killed by a detachment of police who arrived a few minutes after the tragedy, the upcoming investigation is unlikely to lead back to those who ordered …

The Italian Banking Crisis

No Free Lunch: Or Is There?

It has been called “a bigger risk than Brexit”– the Italian banking crisis that could take down the eurozone. Handwringing officials say “there is no free lunch” and “no magic bullet.” But UK Prof. Richard Werner says the magic bullet is just being ignored.
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On December 4, 2016, Italian voters rejected a referendum to amend their constitution to give the government more power, and the Italian prime minister resigned. The resulting chaos has pushed Italy’s already-troubled banks into bankruptcy. First on the chopping block is the 500 year old Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA (BMP), the oldest …

Cities on a Hill: The Coming Urban Future

Lost in the overall dreariness of Donald Trump’s victory on election night was the decent amount of better news on more local levels. The decriminalization of marijuana continued its forward progress passing on eight of the nine public referendums on which that some version of issue appeared. Though perhaps the most intriguing news came out of Los Angeles where voters overwhelmingly passed a referendum that will fund a public transportation system that the city has been haltingly working towards for decades. Known as Measure M, the approved law adds a countywide half-cent increase to the sales tax (increasing to one …

Stifling the Debate on Israel

For Palestinians, Zionism Only Means One Thing

The British government of Theresa May officially adopted on December 12 a new definition of anti-Semitism that includes legitimate criticism of Israel.

The definition was adopted earlier in the year by a pro-Israeli group IHRA, although it was considered but abandoned by the European anti-racism agency in 2005.

It is also a rather dangerous move which will most likely lead to an expanding chasm between British civil society and Britain’s political elite.

Israeli and pro-Israeli groups in the West have always been keen on conflating genuine racism and genuine criticism of the state of Israel, which stands accused of violating scores of …

Spotting Propaganda, Disinformation, and Fraudulent Arguments on the Aleppo Front

Independent journalist Eva Barlett (fresh from a videotaped exchange in which she skewered a befuddled Norwegian Aftenposten journalist) was invited onto RT Live for a debate with Dilly Hussain, deputy editor of 5PillarsUK, about the situation in Syria, with a focus on Aleppo.

The debate was extraordinary for the professionalism of Bartlett and Hussain’s lack of dignity and professionalism, as well as poor moderation by the unnamed RT personality.

Why is Hussain unprofessional? Because he engaged in ad hominem

Steve Biko at 70

They had to kill him to prolong the life of apartheid.

— Nelson Mandela

Commemorating birthdays in the aftermath of a person’s death tends to be a false exercise. At best, it reminds us about an era that will have, almost certainly, vanished. This goes for whatever that era entailed – brutality, or peace; tranquillity or chaos. Then comes the issue of historical effectiveness: what would that person have actually achieved had he seen the world he fought to change?

The martyr, to that end, bridges the world that needs changing to the change to come.  Many would regard Steve Biko as one …

Is the CIA editing your newspaper?

Here is a great overview by Ed Jones of why corporate media are the arch-exponents of “fake news”. The media are overwhelming owned and controlled by billionaires and gargantuan corporations, who depend on the support of other corporations for ad revenue, and employ journalists from a narrow, privileged class whose careers depend on maintaining access to elite sources. It would be simply astounding in these circumstamces if we had anything resembling a pluralistic media.

The data concerns UK outlets, but the same principles apply in the US.

One section makes especially disturbing reading. It is the little-discussed matter of the …

Unstuck in Time With Billy Pilgrim

Awakened by his presence, I was startled but not frightened. Somehow he seemed familiar and non-threatening.  He stood there in the dim light of a single energy-saving bulb from my reading lamp.  I put aside my dog-eared, yellowed copy of Kurt Vonnegut’s Slaughter House Five. A Children’s Crusade, arose from my chair, and approached him for a closer look.

He was tall, gaunt, and had a rather strange shape.  Much like a 6 foot-3 inch Coke bottle.  His age was undeterminable, his hair thin and uncombed, his clothing disheveled, his bespectacled, thin face nearly expressionless, and his discomfort was obvious as he shuffled side …

Private Cars, Socialized Costs

Part 2: The great Toronto toll debate

Part 1.

When are capitalists in favour of public ownership? When it earns them a profit. Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than when looking at car companies.

As auto interests have pocketed stupendous profits over the past century they’ve also pushed to socialize huge amounts of urban land. While this may contradict textbook economics, capitalists often prioritize socialized costs/privatized profits over “free markets”.

Ignorance of the auto industrial complex’ drive to socialize public space was highlighted in a number of leftists’ recent criticism of tolling two Toronto highways. Bemoaning Mayor John Tory’s “neoliberal policies” and “neoliberal lens of public …

“Anti-Trump” New Left Continues Crypto-Identity Politics

Dangerous opportunity

It does not take a Marxian economist to say that capitalism is in its worst shape in history. Not only are the countries of Africa, Southeast Asia and Central America being exploited for their labor and land as usual, but even the original home of capitalism, Europe, is in big trouble. As for the United States, people as different as Michael Hudson, Robert Brenner, David Harvey and Immanuel Wallerstein are far from alone in claiming the United States has been in decline for 45 years. Even Zbigniew Brzezinski admits this. Addtionally, as we know from the now famous Pew …

Rapacious Consumerism and Climate Change

Commercialisation has poisoned all areas of contemporary life, and together with its partner in crime, consumerism, is the principle cause of man-made climate change.

Operating under the suffocating shadow of neo-liberalism, the market forces of commercialisation act blindly and indiscriminately. The presiding deity is money; the goal of endeavour quick profit and limitless growth – no matter what the human or environmental costs may be. And the consequences to both are great, long-term and far-reaching: global climate change, with its numerous effects, and the wholesale destruction of the natural environment being the most significant.

Bleak prospects

The Earth is our home, ‘our sister’, …

Global Call to Stop the Propagation of Adoption’s Altered Birth Certificates

Introduction

Although the adoption industry celebrates National Adoption Month and World Adoption Day in November, families torn apart will not be rejoicing. This exposé addresses the most insidious legal policy that the multi-billion dollar adoption industry uses to their advantage: identity theft of children. From the 1930s to the present day, adoption re-assigns identities by court order that requires replacing birth certificates of all adopted people, even in socially-open adoption. A brief history of the purpose behind the passage of these laws and explanations as to how they violate adoptees’ civil and human rights will be presented. This piece concludes with …

Clinton’s Defeat and the “Fake News” Conspiracy

There is an astounding double standard being applied to the US presidential election result.

A few weeks ago the corporate media were appalled that Donald Trump demurred on whether he would accept the vote if it went against him. It was proof of his anti-democratic, authoritarian instincts.

But now he has won, the same media outlets are cheerleading the establishment’s full-frontal assault on the legitimacy of a Trump presidency. That campaign is being headed by the failed candidate, Hillary Clinton, after a lengthy softening-up operation by US intelligence agencies, led by the CIA.

According to the prevailing claim, Russian president Vladimir Putin stole the election on …

From White to Black: The Colours of Brexit

While the shattering Brexit vote of June had a deservedly chilling impact in Brussels and other European capitals, the grey suits have been busy pushing various lines on the consequences Britain faces for leaving the European Union. The technocrats in Europe will be making sure they make things as difficult as possible.  Back in London, rhetoric and deflection is in heavy supply.

Various multinational companies find the notion of uncertainty certain economic death.  Japanese and US firms, for instance, have sought clarity on what passporting arrangements will exist in a post-Brexit order.  So far, they have gotten little other than poorly …

Where is this Digital Watergate Propaganda Campaign Going?

The Russians are coming! Once again, the structural bias of the American news media in favor of the ‘official version’ turns them into a propaganda tool. Intelligence sources point out Russian interference in recent elections. However, WikiLeaks-related sources say the Democratic Party’s mail leak was the working of a whistleblower within that institution.

“Experts point out…”, “Specialists agree…”, “There is a consensus among intelligence agencies …” While the plot’s been cooking for several months now, it was the DNC leaks and Hillary Clinton’s subsequent defeat against Donald Trump what finally put the ‘serious’ press, mainly the Washington Post and the New