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2019 Latin America in Review: Year of the Revolt of the Dispossessed

A year ago, John Bolton, Trump’s short-lived national security advisor, invoked the 1823 Monroe Doctrine making explicit what has long been painfully implicit: the dominions south of the Rio Grande are the empire’s “backyard.” Yet 2019 was a year best characterized as the revolt of the dispossessed for a better world against the barbarism of neoliberalism. As Rafael Correa points out, Latin America today is in dispute. What follows is a briefing on this crossroads.

Andean Nations

Venezuela, the leader for regional integration and 21st century socialism, …

A Mined History: The Bougainville Referendum

It would be an understatement to claim that Bougainville, that blighted piece of autonomous territory in Papua New Guinea, had been through a lot.  Companies have preyed upon its environment with extractive hunger.  Wars and civil strife have beset its infrastructure and economy.  Some 900 kilometres from the PNG mainland, it has been what might be described as “a reluctant part” of that political compact, indigenously separate and stubborn.

An inglorious example of company misbehaviour remains Rio Tinto’s predations through its Panguna copper mine, of which it was a majority shareholder for 45 years.  Once it relinquished its share in …

Paul Volcker’s Long Shadow

Former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan called Paul Volcker “the most effective chairman in the history of the Federal Reserve.” But while Volcker, who passed away December 8 at age 92, probably did have the greatest historical impact of any Fed chairman, his legacy is, at best, controversial.

“He restored credibility to the Federal Reserve at a time it had been greatly diminished,” wrote his biographer, William Silber. Volcker’s policies led to what was called “the New Keynesian revolution,” putting the Fed in charge of controlling the amount of money available to consumers and businesses by manipulating the federal …

The Mother of Us All: Ancient India’s Vedic Civilization

The Homeland: Part One of a Four-Part Series

Researchers have determined that the Vedic culture of India was the first global civilization. They have uncovered archeological and historical evidence indicating that the society which began millennia ago in the Indus Valley grew to encompass all of South Asia, then spread peacefully to many parts of the world.

Science and technology in ancient India were highly developed. “Some 1,000 years before Aristotle, the Vedic Aryans asserted that the earth is round and circles the sun. … 2,000 years before Pythagoras, philosophers in northern India understood that gravitation holds the solar system together, and therefore the sun, the most massive object, …

Indigenous Bolivia Ready to go to War Against Fascism

Bolivia, December 2019, three weeks after the fascist coup. It is devilishly cold. My comrade’s car is carefully navigating through the deep mud tracks. Enormous snow-covered mountain peaks are clearly visible in the distance.

The Bolivian Altiplano; beloved, yet always somehow hostile, silent, impenetrable.

So many times in the past I came close to death here. In Peru as well as in Bolivia. More often in Peru.

Now, what I do is totally mad. Being a supporter of President Evo Morales from the beginning until this very moment, I am not supposed to be here in Bolivia, in the Altiplano. But I am, …

Corbyn’s Defeat has slain the Left’s Last Illusion

This was an election of two illusions.

The first helped persuade much of the British public to vote for the very epitome of an Eton toff, a man who not only has shown utter contempt for most of those who voted for him but has spent a lifetime barely bothering to conceal that contempt. For him, politics is an ego-trip, a game in which others always pay the price and suffer, a job he is entitled to through birth and superior breeding.

The extent to which such illusions now dominate our political life was highlighted two days ago with a jaw-dropping comment …

“Deep State” or Quid pro Coup?

Whether seen as a shadowy, villainous presence or, possibly, a heretofore tight-lipped benefactor, the “Deep State” has recently risen from the far-fringed depths of obscure conspiracies to seize the public discourse with a Leviathan-like tentacle.  On the surface, President Trump, the quid pro quo‘ster boy of impeachable note, either looks like a paid clown of the “Deep State”; or, alternatively, the tin-skinned hero of a globalist, “Deep State” witch hunt.  Whichever direction you look, left or right, the conspiratorial “Deep State” talk has become normalized in mainstream media.

Nevertheless, there are limits to how far this newly acknowledged “Deep State” …

The Art of Doublespeak: Bellingcat and Mind Control

In the 1920s, the influential American intellectual Walter Lippman argued that the average person was incapable of seeing or understanding the world clearly and needed to be guided by experts behind the social curtain.  In a number of books he laid out the theoretical foundations for the practical work of Edward Bernays, who developed “public relations” (aka propaganda) to carry out this task for the ruling elites.  Bernays had honed his skills while working as a propagandist for the United States during World War I, and after the war he set himself up as a public relations counselor in New …

“Elected by Donors”: The University of Cape Town Fails Palestine, Embraces Israel

It was a scandal of the highest caliber. On November 23, the Senate of the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa was practically bullied to reverse an earlier decision that called for the academic boycott of Israel. While the story may seem relevant in South Africa’s political and academic contexts, in reality, it exemplifies the nature of a brewing war between supporters of Palestinian rights and Israeli interests, worldwide.

In fact, the UCT scandal began much earlier.

Calls for South African universities to join the academic boycott of apartheid Israel were first answered by the University of Johannesburg on …

Operation Condor 2.0 Expanded

According to US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, the US will help “legitimate governments” in Latin America, in order to prevent protests from “morphing into riots”.

From what we are seeing this “legitimization” may be expanded to rest of the world. Because Washington-instigated destabilizing unrest goes on throughout the world. We may as well call it “Operation Condor 2.0 – Expanded”. It promises to become devastating, oppressive and murderous on all Continents. A transformation from whatever ‘freedom’ may have existed to neoliberal dictatorships bending towards neofascism.

The original “Operation Condor” was a campaign by the United States to bring ‘order’ into her …

How can the U.S. dare lecturing China about Rights of the Muslims?

In 2019, I have written a long analysis about “the Uygur issue”; analysis which will be soon published as a book.

For some time, I have been warning the world that the West, and the United States in particular, are helping to radicalize the Uyghurs in Xinjiang Province and outside.

And not only that: I clearly mapped movement of the Uyghur radicals through some countries like Indonesia, towards Turkey, from where they are then injected into brutal war zones like Idlib in Syria. I worked in Idlib area, with the Syrian commanders, and I spoke at length with the Syrian internally displaced …

Hebron Plan is Israel’s Reminder to Palestinians that Settler Power knows no Limits

Proposed destruction of the West Bank city’s market to make way for a new settlement is the Israeli government’s route to refashion its apartheid system as the rule of law

US President Donald Trump told thousands of Israel’s supporters at a rally in Florida at the weekend that some American Jews “don’t love Israel enough”. It is certainly troubling that a US president insists a section of his country’s citizens – the Jewish population – be required to love a foreign state. But then Trump went further, muddying the waters about what constitutes “Israel”.

Echoing remarks made last month by Mike Pompeo, his secretary of state, he described the Jewish settlements in the West Bank as legal – thereby subverting a long-established principle of international law.

US Jews – and the rest …

How Many Types of “Good” Capitalism Are There?

It is no secret that capitalism has been in trouble for some time. This outmoded economic system continually increases tragedies of all kinds and cannot extricate itself from the perpetual crisis it finds itself in. Capitalism continues to fail to meet the needs of millions, at home and abroad.

In endless attempts to prettify, legitimize, rescue, benefit from, and extend the life of this transient economic system that is wreaking havoc every day, many capital-centered thinkers have advanced various types of “good” capitalism over the years to disinform the polity. These include:

accountable capitalism
managed capitalism
ethical capitalism
progressive capitalism
conscious …

The Second Coming and Going

From BBC TV New Year’s Eve retrospective, 31st December 2019:

“As we reflect on what was the most truly remarkable election campaign in living memory, indeed in all of recorded history, it is important to recognise the fact that we as human beings, as inhabitants of the planet Earth, have been fundamentally changed by the incredible events of December 2019. We are no longer the people we were before he came. When Jesus Christ revealed himself to us on December 6th, not long into the election campaign proper and whilst standing on top of a soapbox in the middle of a …

A Beautiful but Deceptive Documentary: “For Sama”

The documentary movie “For Sama has won a host of awards in Europe and North America. Its producers and protagonists, Syrians Waad Kateab and her husband Dr. Hamza Kateab plus English film-maker Edward Watts,  have received gushing praise. And the awards will probably keep coming.

Unfortunately, behind a human interest story, the movie “For Sama” is propaganda: biased, misleading, and politically partisan.

Hiding Basic Facts about Aleppo

“For Sama” is a full length documentary with a moving personal story. It combines a story of young love and the birth of a child – Sama –  in the midst of war. That makes …

Question for Kirbymoorside UK Hustings Meeting: Would you stand up for Julian Assange?

To those candidates who are putting themselves forward as MPs to become a voice within the UK Parliament — would you stand up for Julian Assange and for those who. in speaking truth, have the audacity to challenge the dialogue of power?
I am disappointed that my question relating to the arbitrary detention of Julian Assange was not presented at the Hustings meeting at Kirbymoorside. I consider it to be a question of such vital importance for all those who share a common belief in justice, truth and commitment to democracy and freedom of speech, so I have chosen to …

Money, Power and Turf: Winning the Middle East Media War at Any Cost  

It is hardly surprising to see Middle Eastern countries at the bottom of the World Press Freedom Index, as the worst violators of freedom of the press. But equally alarming is the complete polarization of public opinion as a result of self-serving media and, bankrolled by rich Arab countries, whose only goal is to serve their specific, often sinister, agendas.

One does not need to highlight of how state-controlled media in the Middle East lacks the minimal required degree of partiality, let alone integrity. Only a deluded person would argue that governments that kill, torture and imprison journalists, intellectuals and …

An Australian Tourist, a Bulgarian Prison, and a Recording Session

Bulgaria, it appears, is a captured state.  I’ll get to that in a minute.  I first heard about Jock Palfreeman, an Australian serving a lengthy prison sentence in Bulgaria, through a fellow Australian.  The context was a message from my friend Kamala that was straightforward, to the effect of, “would you write a song about Jock?”

I’m never entirely sure what the answer is going to be to a question like that, because it always depends on whether I can come up with something worth …

Zombie NATO Is Obsolete; Militarists Try To Revive It Through Expanded Targets

NATO leaders’ meeting at The Grove hotel and resort in Watford, north of London, on December 4, 2019 (Al Drago for The New York Times)
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) held an abbreviated two-day meeting this week in London on its 70th anniversary. On display was a zombie alliance that is bitterly divided on multiple issues and has lost its purpose for existing. Rather than recognizing it is time to end this obsolete military alliance, they decided to expand their activities, search for a purpose and …

A Boss is a Boss:  Nurses Battle for Their First Union Contract at Albany Medical Center

A nonprofit employer is not necessarily a better boss than a profit-making one.

That sad truth is reinforced by the experience of some 2,200 nurses at Albany Medical Center, who have been fighting for a contract since April 2018, when they voted for union representation.

Even that union recognition struggle proved exceptionally difficult.  The management at Albany Med―a vast, sprawling enterprise with roughly $2 billion in revenue and 9,500 workers, making it the New York capital district’s largest private employer―fought vigorously to prevent unionization.  As a result, three union organizing campaigns conducted between 2000 and 2003 were defeated, although …

A Troubled Family: NATO turns 70

Summit anniversaries are not usually this abysmally interesting.  While those paying visits to Watford, England on the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation are supposedly signatories to the same agreement, a casual glance would have suggested otherwise.  This was a show of some bickering.

France, never the most comfortable member, suggested that NATO was “experiencing… brain death”.  While this observation by French President Emmanuel Macron last month would have carried little weight in another age, it struck a chord, not least because it signalled a role reversal of sorts.  The US, he warned, was retreating …

West Point Professor Builds a Case Against the U.S. Army

West Point Professor Tim Bakken’s new book The Cost of Loyalty: Dishonesty, Hubris, and Failure in the U.S. Military traces a path of corruption, barbarism, violence, and unaccountability that makes its way from the United States’ military academies (West Point, Annapolis, Colorado Springs) to the top ranks of the U.S. military and U.S. governmental policy, and from there into a broader U.S. culture that, in turn, supports the subculture of the military and its leaders.

The U.S. Congress and presidents have ceded tremendous power to generals. …

The Oppressive State Is a Macho Rapist


On 25 November 1960, three of four of the Mirabal sisters – María Teresa, Minerva, and Patria – of the Dominican Republic were assassinated for their resistance against the dictatorship of Rafael Trujillo. The youngest of the three – María Teresa – said before her death, ‘Perhaps what we have most near is death, but that idea does not frighten me. We shall continue to fight for justice’.

Twenty-one years ago, at the first Encuentro (Encounter) of feminists from across South America held in Bogotá (Colombia), the idea germinated to …

Freedom for All of Cyprus

The Union of Cypriots is one of the prominent organizations that is fighting against the Turkish occupation of Cyprus and struggles for a united Cyprus. It also took the world’s attention with its strong image and messages lately. Today, you can hear its name when the Cyprus subject opens, anywhere, despite the fact that the solution it supports for the reunification is not the one supported by the foreign powers included in the “Cyprus game” such as Greece, Turkey or United Kingdom. It believes …

The Origins of Democratic Socialism: Robert Owen and Worker Cooperatives  

Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) – and its two predecessor organizations, the Democratic Socialist Organizing Committee (DSOC) and the New American Movement (NAM) – emerged in the early 1970s, during a long-term rightist movement in the United States.

The DSA’s contribution to the American Left was its new founded identity as a radical organization born out of a merger between the DSOC and NAM. DSA also sought to become a democratic, socialist party, which fostered the inclusion members, similar to that of the Bernie Sander’s presidential campaigns (2016, 2020). Nevertheless, it was under the leadership of DSA Michael Harrington’s penetrating critique …

Some False Statements Made in the Trump-Impeachment Hearings

In the December 4th statement that was made by Stanford University law professor Pamela Karlan was this:

We have become the shining city on a hill. We have become the nation that leads the world in understanding what democracy is. One of the things we understand most profoundly is it’s not a real democracy, it’s not a mature democracy if the party in power uses the criminal process to go after its enemies. I think you heard testimony, the Intelligence Committee heard testimony about how it isn’t just our national interest in protecting our own elections.

Permafrost Hits a Grim Threshold

For tens of thousands of years the Arctic’s carbon sink has been a powerful dynamic in functionality of the Earth System. However, that all-important functionality has been crippled and could be permanently severed. According to new research based upon field observations conducted from 2003 to 2017, a large-scale carbon emission shift in the Earth System has occurred.

The “entire Arctic” now emits more carbon than it absorbs, a fact that can only be described as worse than bad news. “Given that the Arctic has been taking up carbon for tens …

The Sun Never Sets on the Canadian Military

Most Canadians would be surprised to learn that the sun never sets on the military their taxes pay for.

This country is not formally at war yet more than 2,100 Canadian troops are sprinkled across the globe. According to the Armed Forces, these soldiers are involved in 28 international missions.

There are 850 Canadian troops in Iraq and its environs. Two hundred highly skilled special forces have provided training and combat support to Kurdish forces often accused of ethnic cleansing areas of Iraq they captured. A tactical helicopter detachment, intelligence officers and a combat hospital, as well as 200 Canadians …

Inside the Organized Crime Syndicate Known as the CIA

Interview with Douglas Valentine


Douglas Valentine is an investigator and author with a rare and tenacious approach toward research. His writing results in uniquely incisive and revealing books on the dark side of U.S. intelligence activities and the National Security State. His latest book, The CIA as Organized Crime: How Illegal Operations Corrupt America and the World, draws parallels between CIA operations in Vietnam as exposed in his well-known 1990 book, The Phoenix Program:

Hooked on Orcas

Michigan Native Fights to Protect ballena asesina

Facts about orcas abound in Colleen Weiler’s brain, because her role is to lead policy research and engagement around what we call the Southern Resident Orcas (SROs).

Her job is with the Plymouth, Massachusetts-based US headquarters of the Whale and Dolphin Conservation non-profit, established 32 years ago in England.

Our name is what we do.

Protecting cetaceans involves direct action, lobbying lawmakers, public engagement and education/outreach to the public.

Her official title is Jessica Rekos Fellow for Orca Conservation and, for the past five years, her focus has been on orca recovery. Now headquartered in Newport, she has also been tracking the efforts of …