The great betrayal

3 February 2003

In its leaders supporting the war in Iraq, the Observer proves that it has truly buried its great liberal editor David Astor, and his principled, “freethinking” legacy.
The Palestinian writer Ghada Karmi has described “a deep and unconscious racism [that] imbues every aspect of western conduct toward Iraq”. She wrote: “I recall that a similar culture prevailed in the UK during the 1956 Suez crisis and the 1967 Arab-Israeli war, when Nasser was the arch-villain and all Arabs were crudely targeted. Today, in Britain, such overt anti-Arabness is unacceptable, so it takes subtler forms. Saddam-bashing, a sport officially sanctioned since 1991, has made him the perfect surrogate for anti-Arab abuse.”

Reading this, I turned up the Observer’s tribute to its great editor, David Astor, who died in 2001. In opposing the British attack on Suez in 1956, Astor, said the paper, “took the government to task for its bullying and in so doing defined the Observer as a freethinking paper prepared to swim against the tide”. In a famous editorial, Astor had described “an endeavour to reimpose 19th-century imperialism of the crudest kind”. He wrote: “Nations are said to have the governments they deserve. Let us show that we deserve better.” The present-day Observer commented that “the richness of [Astor’s] language and relevance of the sentiments resonate today”.

The absence of irony in this statement is bleak. Little more than a year later, in its editorial of 19 January 2003, the Observer finally buried David Astor and his principled “freethinking” legacy. Pretending to wring its hands, the paper announced it was for attacking Iraq: a position promoted by its news and feature pages for more than a year now, notably in its barren “investigations” seeking to link Iraq with both the anthrax scare and al-Qaeda. The paper that stood proudly against Eden on Suez is but a supplicant to the warmongering Blair, willing to support the very crime the judges at Nuremberg deemed the most serious of all: an unprovoked attack on a sovereign country offering no threat.

Not a word in the Observer’s editorial mentioned the great crime committed by the British and American governments against the ordinary people of Iraq. Withholding more than $5bn worth of humanitarian supplies approved by the Security Council, Washington, with Blair’s backing, maintains a medieval blockade against Iraq. Cancer treatment equipment, water treatment equipment, painkillers, children’s vaccines, to name a few of the life-giving essentials that are maliciously withheld, have resulted in the deaths of tens of thousands of vulnerable people, mostly infants under the age of five. Extrapolating from the statistics, the American scholars John Mueller and Karl Mueller conclude that “economic sanctions have probably already taken the lives of more people in Iraq than have been killed by all weapons of mass destruction”.

When the Observer celebrates the overthrow of Saddam Hussein, with pictures of exhausted Iraqis “thanking” their liberators, will it explain to its readers that as many as a million people, mostly children, could not attend the festivities thanks to the barbaric policies of the British and American governments? No. A contortion of intellect and morality that urges participation in what has been described as “a firestorm of 800 missiles in two days” censors by omission.

We come back to Ghada Karmi’s references to the veiled racism that propels every western attack on Arabs, from Churchill’s preference in 1921 for “using poison gas on uncivilised tribes” to the use of depleted uranium in the 1991 Gulf slaughter. This racism applies, quintessentially, to her homeland, Palestine. While the Iraq pantomime plays, America’s proxy, Israel, has begun the next stage of its historic ethnic cleansing of Palestinians. On 21 January, the town of Nazlat ‘Iza in the northern West Bank was invaded by a force of armoured personnel carriers, tanks and 60-ton, American-made Israeli bulldozers. Sixty-three shops were demolished, along with countless homes and olive groves. Little of this was reported outside the Arab world.

Some parts of the West Bank have been under curfew for a total of 214 days. Whole villages are under house arrest. People cannot get medical care; ambulances have been prevented from reaching hospitals; women have lost their newborn babies in agony and pools of blood at military checkpoints. Fresh water is permanently scarce, and food; in some areas, more than half the children are seriously undernourished. One image unforgettable to me is the sight of children’s kites flying from the windows and yards of their prison-homes.

Then there is the slaughter. During the month of November, more than 50 Palestinian civilians were killed by the Israelis – a record by one calculation. These included a 95-year-old woman, 14 young children and a British UN worker, shot in the back by an Israeli sniper. Human rights groups say the deaths occurred mostly in circumstances in which there was no exchange of gunfire. “The Israelis have killed 16 Palestinians within 48 hours,” said Dr Mustafa Barghouti in Ramallah on 27 January. “That’s an average of one Palestinian every three hours. The silence about this is simply unconscionable.”

While Blair damns Iraq for the chemical weapons that a swarm of inspectors cannot find, he has quietly approved the sale of chemical weapons to Israel, a terrorist and rogue state by any dictionary meaning of those words. While he accuses Iraq of defying the United Nations, he is silent about the 64 UN resolutions Israel has ignored – a world record.

The Israeli terrorists, who subjugate and brutalise a whole nation, demolishing homes and shops, expelling and killing and “systematically torturing” (Amnesty) day after day, are not mentioned in the Observer editorial. No “decisive action” (the Observer’s words) is required against the prima facie war criminals Ariel Sharon and General Shaul Mofaz, who, along with their predecessors, have caused a degree of suffering of which Saddam Hussein and al-Qaeda can only dream. There is no suggestion that the British force heading for the Middle East should “intervene” in the “republic of fear” that Israel has created in Palestine in defiance of the world, and “displace” them. There is not a word about the weapons of mass destruction that Sharon repeatedly flaunts (“the Arabs may have the oil, but we have the matches”).

To most people in Europe, and across the world, these double standards offend common decency. Overhear people on the bus and in the pub if you need to know why. This decency, combined with a critical public intelligence, is not understood by the suburban propagandists, whose fondness for and imagined closeness to power mark their servility to it. The same power and its court were defined succinctly by that distinguished scholar of international politics, the late Professor Hedley Bull. “Particular states or groups of states,” he wrote, “that set themselves up as the authoritative judges of the world common good, in disregard of the view of others, are in fact a menace.”

— source johnpilger.com

“Neo-Marxism” And “The New Middle East”

One of the most curious quirks of recent history is that self-proclaimed followers of the Cold War-era ideology of Marxism are on the upswing two and a half decades after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and interestingly enough, they’re making on-the-ground progress in the Mideast of all places. This may come as a surprise to casual observers who have been convinced by the Mainstream Media that the region is only awash with religious radicalism, which while certainly true, doesn’t fully encapsulate the whole picture of all the extremism that’s active there nowadays. One of the more unexpected outcomes of the 2011 theater-wide Color Revolutions popularly known as the “Arab Spring” has been that armed “Neo-Marxist” Kurdish militias eventually ended up going on the offensive against the Syrian, Turkish, and Iranian governments, each for their own purportedly separate ‘reasons’ but in reality as part of a US-backed coordinated plan for geopolitically reengineering the Mideast.

Syria And Turkey

Before going any further, the first thing that should be addressed is the “Neo-Marxism” label included in the article’s title. The author drew primarily upon the stated positions and manifesto of the Syrian PYD, which is leading the regional charge for undeclared Kurdish separatism, in making the decision to emphasize the ideology that’s driving the region’s anti-government Kurdish militias. The PYD is a political and ethnic extremist organization which attempts to channel Marxist thought in order to impose “democratic confederalism” in Syria, which essentially seeks to dissolve the state through its devolution into a complex quilt of identity-based cantons. The PYD is closely linked to the Turkish PKK, and both organizations claim to be inspired by the late American Marxist Murray Bookchin, who wrote extensively about what he called “decentralization”.

In practice, however, this is pretty much indistinguishable from the political end game that fundamentalist Marxists (“Secular Wahhabis”) aspire for, which is the elimination of the state and its replacement with community councils and other non-traditional governing structures. Whether or not this position truly represents conventional Marxism and more general Leftist thought is up to those communities themselves and their various polemicists to decide, but the labelling of the PYD and PKK as “Neo-Marxist” is due to their political positions in advocating what the public generally conflates (whether rightly or wrongly) with this ideology. Moreover, since they’re active in the 21st century and after the Soviet dissolution at the end of the Cold War, the prefix “Neo-“ is applied to differentiate these organizations and their ideological strands from the ‘classical’ Marxism that was associated (whether rightly or wrongly) with that period.

The point here isn’t to convince anyone that the PYD and PKK are ‘Marxist’, but rather to highlight that this is how they self-identity and to emphasize the ideological motivations behind their militant activity.

Iraq And Iran

Expanding past Syria and Turkey, one can see the influence of “Neo-Marxist” Kurdish militant groups in Iraq and Iran, too. The allied “Patriotic Union of Kurdistan” (PUK) and Gorran opposition parties in northern Iraq’s Kurdish Regional Government, both of which are leftist, are on friendly terms with the PKK. Barzani’s ruling “Kurdish Democratic Party” (KPD) is opposed to the PKK and Marxism, which is why it enjoys such considerable Turkish support even though it regularly threatens to pursue ‘independence’. Interestingly, Iran is aligned with PUK and Gorran in spite of their links to the PKK, which might be partially attributable to Tehran looking favorably upon these groups’ hesitancy to see an ‘independent’ “Iraqi Kurdistan” in the near future and could thus also signal that Iran is engaged in a soft proxy war with Turkey for influence (and pipelines) in the Kurdish Regional Government.

All of the Iraqi Kurdish groups and their affiliated militias are in support of “federalism” or separatism to varying degrees and can generally be described as friendly to the US (the KPD obviously much more in both cases than PUK and Gorran), but aren’t necessarily “Neo-Marxist” in the context that the article is defining it as. Therefore, they’ll largely be excluded from the rest of the analysis going forward, but were importantly mentioned in the first place order to show their loose connections to the troublesome Kurdish organizations in Syria and Turkey.

Amidst this complicated intra-Iraqi Kurd drama, however, the pro-‘Israeli’ and ‘socialist’ “Kurdish Democratic Party of Iran” (KDPI) terrorist group has recently found shelter in northern Iraq and begun to periodically launch cross-border attacks against the Iranian border forces. This organization is part of the “Congress of Nationalities for a Federal Iran” (CNFI), an umbrella group of various ethno-religious minorities fighting against Tehran in favor of the same broad sort of ‘political solution’ as the PYD and PKK, “federalism”. This end goal thus connects the KDPI to its Syrian and Turkish counterparts, and can even be said to give it something in common with all of their Iraqi brethren as well, despite some of the latter being reluctant to associate with them, whether openly or in general, due to Iran’s understandable sensitivities.

“Federalist” Failings And The MEK

In and of itself, there’s nothing inherently negative about federalism, nor does this political system have any origins in Marxist thought, but the “democratic confederalism” of the PYD and PKK and the “Identity Federalism” of the CNFI incorporate radical ideas inspired by this ideology and popularly described as “Cultural Marxism” (whether rightly or wrongly), which ultimately would be disastrous for the national unity of the diverse states threatened by these initiatives if they were ever implemented.

Separate from the Syrian-Turkish-Iranian nexus of Kurdish “Neo-Marxist” militant groups but fighting for similar ideological goals in Iran is the “People’s Mujahedeen of Iran” (MEK), a hard-core Marxist terrorist organization which was delisted a few years ago by the US State Department and is now recognized by Washington as a ‘legitimate opposition party’ (despite having killed Americans in the past).

This group and the aforementioned Syrian, Turkish, and Iranian ones don’t just share a common denominator in “Neo-Marxism”, but are also marked by the strong degree of support that they enjoy from the US, although it must be said that they don’t all coordinate with one another because the Kurds supposedly have a strong hate for the MEK after the latter allegedly fought against them under Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

The US And The PKK

Even though the US formally includes the PKK on its list of terrorist organizations, Turkey has accused it on many occasions of indirectly supporting this group through the provisioning of material and weapons assistance to the PYD, implying that Washington is using the Syrian Kurds as intermediaries for rendering support to their Turkish counterparts. This isn’t unrealistic to assert since the US is nowadays opposed to President Erdogan, and relations between Ankara and Washington have been very chilly ever since last summer’s failed pro-American coup attempt. While it might shock some people to even consider and will likely be met with intense skepticism in the usual alternative media corners, the US does in fact have a serious problem with nominal NATO-member Turkey due to Ankara’s involvement in the Russian-Iranian-Turkish Tripartite of Great Powers aimed at bringing a gradual end to the War on Syria, which explains why it would betray its “ally” by unleashing the unconventional weapon of Kurdish separatism against it via PYD-laundered weapons to the PKK.
The Wahhabi-“Neo-Marxist” Geopolitical Convergence

The Hybrid War drama surrounding the Kurds occupies considerably less media attention than Daesh, but it’s no less dangerous to the stability of the Mideast. In fact, while Daesh has been on a years-long killing spree trying to construct an “Islamic State” in the Mideast, the militant Kurdish organizations mentioned in this article have taken to doing something similar and to a much lesser degree in advance of their shared objective of creating a transnational “Kurdistan” political entity. This goal has lately manifested itself through the intended formation of a stateless (con)federation of Kurdish communities between Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq, as per the “post-state” and “Neo-Marxist” ideology of relevant groups in the first three aforementioned states.

As for the Iraqi Kurds, although they’re not “Neo-Marxists”, they are in support of either “federalization” or outright separatism, and would naturally develop their own independent relations with their other Kurdish political counterparts if they succeed in their map-changing schemes. Even though linguistic and historical differences would likely prevent the creation of a unified Kurdish ‘superstate’, the tangible effect of the aforementioned could quickly lead both to the dissolution of the multiethnic states that this demographic is a part of and the de-facto rise of a “second geopolitical ‘Israel’” in part of this space, or in other words, a unipolar-supported polity carved out of the stolen territory of other countries. This eventuality would naturally destroy the incipient Tripartite of Great Powers and also symbolize the successful completion of ‘Israel’s’ 1982 Yinon Plan of manufactured state fragmentation all along its Muslim periphery, basically ensuring that Tel Aviv becomes the undisputed power in the Mideast.

The planned geopolitical redivision of the Mideast is nothing new for American strategists either, which is why Washington is so strongly in support of these organizations. Former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice first spoke about the dawn of a “New Middle East” in July 2006 during ‘Israel’s’ embarrassingly failed War on Hezbollah and Lebanon, and just a month prior, retired lieutenant colonel Ralph Peters published his “Blood Borders” blueprint about “how a better Middle East would look”. The New York Times followed up with a scandalous map in September 2013 showing “How 5 Countries Could Become 14”, and Stratfor founder George Friedman just released his own map highlighting how 17 separate power centers have emerged across what are nominally 5 sovereign countries. While the process of transnational state dissolution was catalyzed by the theater-wide “Arab Spring” Color Revolution events and subsequent spread of Daesh, these two American-provoked events in turn created the conditions for the militant revival of “Neo-Marxist” regime change groups such as the MEK and geopolitical revisionist ones such as the PYD.

This means that Washington now has two powerful tools at its disposal for crafting the 21st-century Yinon Plan of the “New Middle East”; Wahhabis and “Neo-Marxists”, both of which are bitterly opposed to one another but nevertheless serve as complementary instruments of American foreign policy (whether as “useful idiots” or outright proxies). It’s been long documented by alternative media outlets how the US has wielded the weapon of Wahhabism for over the past three decades, but comparatively less has been said about how it misleads the world through its use of the Fake Left. In theory, Leftists are supposed to be in support of multipolar objectives and against the Western unipolar power structure, but that’s not necessarily the case when it comes to many well-known “Leftist” movements in North America, Europe, and now the Mideast.

The Atlantic-Arabian Virus

The Democratic Party and much of the scattering of other supposedly leftist-oriented organizations in the US have been co-opted by the very same establishment which they claim to oppose. The same can be said for just about any socialist organization in the EU. As for the Mideast, the most popular Kurdish parties have been compromised, and the CNFI and MEK are undoubtedly Western Hybrid War proxies. All of these aforementioned groups, and especially the ones linked to George Soros and his worldwide “protest” (riot/Color Revolution) movements, represent the Fake Left, which shout leftist economic slogans but have lost the leftist moral principle of geopolitical resistance to Western neo-imperialism. In a sad twist of fate and due to their own reprehensible choices, these very same groups have become the post-modern vanguard for the exact same world order which their Cold War spiritual predecessors fought so valiantly to avoid.

It’s not to say that every self-proclaimed Leftist organization in these three parts of the world is “fake” (after all, the Baath Party and Syrian Socialist National Party still embody the respectable principles associated with Cold War Leftism), but just that there are plenty of reasonable grounds to immediately be suspicious of supposedly left-wing groups operating in these regions nowadays. The entire US is being destabilized by the Clintonian Counter-Revolution and its Fake Left supporters, just like the EU is being thrown into chaos by the ‘Secular Wahhabis’ who have ‘opened the gates from within’ by aiding and abetting the US’ plan to unleash ‘Weapons of Mass Migration’ against the continent. Similarly, the Mideast is now facing the threat of regime change and geopolitical revisionism not from the failing forces of Daesh and other Wahhabi terrorist groups, but by the hand of reinvigorated “Neo-Marxist” ones such as the PYD, PKK, KDPI, CNFI, and MEK. All of these groups purport to represent the “Left” but are in reality part of the worldwide Fake Left in the service of American interests, whether wittingly or inadvertently.

The “Leftist Civil War”

The only way to fight back against this is for the Real Left and its sincere, genuine activists in North America, the EU, and Mideast to come out in vocal and unceasing opposition against these Fake Leftist tools of Western neo-imperialism in order to win back the respect of their ideology and free it from American hijacking. The US has taken over the mainstream “leftist” narrative and is turning it into a mouthpiece of neo-imperialist propaganda, relying on collaborators such Varoufakis, Sanders, and an army of ‘alternative media’ bloggers to ‘legitimize’ their ‘coup’. When faced with even the slightest opposition from their Real Leftist ‘comrades’ (to say nothing of average non-Leftist folks), they resort to maliciously trolling them as “racists”, “fascists”, and/or “white supremacists” in a desperate knee-jerk reaction designed to discredit them in the eyes of what they assume to be the ‘politically correct’ public. The whole point in doing this is to protect their narrative monopoly so that dissenting voices don’t have a chance at swaying public opinion against the policies of the Fake Leftist Establishment.

Pertaining to the examined topic of utilizing “Neo-Marxist” proxy armies to geopolitically reorganize the “New Middle East”, this typically takes the form of condemning Iran’s sovereign choice to become an Islamic Republic (the narrative promoted by MEK, KDPI, and CNFI) and guilting the global public into accepting an “independent” or “federalized” Kurdish state or states as a ‘reward’ for fighting Daesh. In both interconnected cases across the combined Syrian-Turkish-Iraqi-Iranian Hybrid War battlespace, misleading and oftentimes outright false or situationally irrelevant arguments about “social rights”, “economic equality”, and “democracy” are trotted out in order to trick unaware and/or immature well-intentioned Leftists into supporting these Fake Leftist geopolitical projects. Over time, under enough pressure, and through gradually subtle degrees of ideological divergence from fundamental principles, Real Leftists can successfully be indoctrinated into Fake Leftists if they don’t have the political will to resist the Establishment, which regrettably appears to be the trend in North America and the EU.

It’s also in these two regions where Fake Leftist support for Kurdish separatism and a “Green Revolution 2.0” are most pronounced, which are dangerously combining to form a very serious threat to the multipolar states of Syria and Iran. Even if Real Leftists find themselves in support of Kurdish separatism in Turkey and/or Iraq, and/or regime change in either of them – justifying their position on the belief that these states are of questionable loyalty to the emerging Multipolar World Order – they need to realize that such geopolitical viruses, by their very nature and obvious consequences, won’t be ‘contained’ to these two countries alone but would inevitably spread to Syria and Iran as well. Therefore, even if they find themselves sympathizing with some of the positions presently being promoted by their Fake Leftist peers, they must remain steadfast in opposing them out of geopolitical consistency in standing against the Western-led international system.

This could ultimately lead to a “Leftist Civil War” (ideologically speaking, not necessarily in physical terms) in order to liberate this ideology from its present status as one of the US’ premier bullhorns of neo-imperialism, provided, of course, that it’s not already too late to do so.

— source orientalreview.org By Andrew Korybko

We may be closer than we thought to dangerous climate thresholds

We don’t want the Earth to warm more than 1.5–2°C (2.7-3.6°F) compared to the pre-industrial climate. These targets are not magical; they are expert judgements about what it takes to avoid some of the more serious effects of climate change. We know the seas will rise (they already are). We know droughts and flooding will get more severe (they already are). We know there will be more heat waves, more intense storms, and ocean acidification (all happening now). We cannot stop some of the changes. But if we keep climate change to these limits, we think we can avoid the worst effects.

Where did these targets come from? Well, I mentioned that they are expert judgements but they are based on science. For instance, we can look into the deep past using ice cores, sediment records, and other tools to see how the past climate changed. We can also look into the future with computer models to predict how the future climate will evolve. Through these tools we can get a sense of how large the impact is if temperatures rise.

The obvious question is, where are we at? How much have temperatures risen since the pre-industrial time period? It might seem like that is a simple question. In fact, groups like NASA in the USA regularly provide temperature data as below. According to this image, the 2016 temperature increase has just hit 1°C (1.8°F). So, it would appear that we have some ways to go before hitting our target, right?

Not so fast. Whenever you see an image like the one below, you should ask what years are the baseline. These graphs are termed “temperature anomaly plots.” They don’t show the actual temperature; rather they show the temperature difference between two time periods. It turns out the figure below is oriented so that it is relative to the time period 1951-1980. So when we say that 2016 had a temperature anomaly of 1°C, we really mean that it was 1°C warmer than the 1951-1980 time period.

So, some important questions are, what were the temperatures prior to the graph shown here? What was the pre-industrial temperature? If the pre-industrial temperature is cooler than 1951-1980, it would mean that we have warmed even more than 1°C (1.8°F).

Prior to this publication, some choices were made based on expediency. For instance, in the latest IPCC report, the global reference period was 1850-1900 because it was thought that high-quality records could go back as far as 1850. However, some warming had already occurred by 1850. For instance, greenhouse gases were already being emitted then. Perhaps more importantly, humans had already changed the landscape through practices such as farming and animal husbandry. These land changes can affect temperatures as well. By using 1850 as a start date, you miss these changes and underestimate the total change in the global climate.

The authors considered a number of issues when selecting their recommended period. First, they attempted to select a period prior to significant global warming – before many greenhouse gases and land changes occurred. Second, it would be best to have a choice that didn’t have natural forcings (natural climatic changes such as volcanoes, significant solar changes, and so forth). Using three different analysis methods, the authors are able to conclude that from their pre-industrial time to the 1986-2005 period, there was a likely global temperature increase of 0.55–0.80°C (1–1.4°F).

— source skepticalscience.com

Operation Condor-Era Argentine Dictator Gets Life Imprisonment

An Argentine federal court on Wednesday sentenced former military dictator Reynaldo Bignone to life imprisonment for his role in kidnapping, torturing and murdering anti-government protesters during the 1970s and 80s. Bignone, along with six other former military leaders, were convicted for “crimes against humanity.” He was also charged for human rights violations against conscripts of Argentina’s Military College that occurred between 1976 and 1977. Dubbed “Argentina’s last dictator,” Bignone ruled as president from 1982 to 1983, representing the country’s right-wing military dictatorship that arose during the Dirty War.

— source telesurtv.net

Giant wind turbine sets record

The new V164 9 MW turbine from Danish company MHI Vestas Offshore Wind produced an amazing 216,000 kWh on December 1, 2016. The turbine was installed at a testing site near Østerild, Denmark. The 9 MW V164 turbine is a tweaked and upgraded version of the 8 MW V164 that was developed in 2012. The V164 has been the most powerful wind turbine to date, holding the previous wind energy generation record before its upgrade. It stands 722 feet high and has blades that are 263 feet long. The V164 has a 25-year life span and 80 percent of the turbine can be recycled when its job is done.

— source treehugger.com, mhivestasoffshore.com