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colonel cassad, jan 20-21

The bombardment of the Pindo Embassy in Baghdad
Colonel Cassad, Jan 21 2020

During the night, “residents safer in the Middle East” once again tried to bombard the Pindo Embassy in Baghdad. They fired three rockets, which fell near the occupation embassy in the Green zone. The People’s Avengers obviously have some learning to do regarding precision: their rockets tend to fall short of their targets. They could learn from the Houthis. The embassy staff still there were again forced to spend the night in the shelter. Some were out of the country for the holidays. About casualties or damage were reported.

Another video with a warning siren:

Continue to observe
Colonel Cassad, Jan 20 2020

A Pindo patrol watching the Russians in the province of Hasaka. Large cutting social meetings over the last couple of weeks. More videos:

Pindostan is now trying to make efforts to limit the spread of the Russian military patrols in the area of oil fields and key road junctions leading to the border with Iraq.

Iran threatens to withdraw from NNPT
Colonel Cassad, Jan 20 2020

Iran’s foreign Ministry officially warned the EU countries participating in the nuclear deal that if they try to transfer the issue of Iran nuclear deal the UN Security Council (with the obvious accusations against Iran), then Iran will withdraw from the NNPT. Earlier, Iran already stated that it will reconsider its cooperation with the IAEA. It is quite obvious that the nuclear deal was thwarted thanks to Pindostan, so Iran is essentially being asked to remain in it alone or to face a renewal of the worst conditions for Iran. Iran did not agree, and asked the Europeans to fulfill their obligations, which they obviously failed to do, once again manifesting the dependence of Eurovassals on Pindostan. Of course, due to the fact that the Europeans rather simulated the execution of the nuclear deal from their side, its implementation on the part of Iran is meaningless, which Tehran hinted in the past year, gradually removing the imposed transaction limits on its nuclear program. After the murder of Soleimani, Iran a de facto lifted restrictions on uranium enrichment, and now voiced a warning that further we will speak about developing nuclear weapons. When they exit the NPT, Iran will be constrained only by practical difficulties associated with developing nuclear warheads that it can establish its long-range missiles of high precision, able to reach the capitals of the main opponents of Iran in the region and the major regional bases of Pindostan.

“Preemptive strike”
Colonel Cassad,
Jan 20 2020

As expected, the number of losses after the attack on Houthis camp in Marib increased significantly. According to Toad sources, the attack killed 111 people and more than 200 were injured. Given the fact that many people are very heavily injured, the number of victims is likely to continue to grow. In fact, this attack has swept a battalion of Toad mercenaries from the board at one stroke. This is also enough visual evidence of the lethality of the new Iranian arms supplied to Yemen. According to information unconfirmed by the Toads, among the victims could be the commander of the 4th brigade of the Toads’ puppet army, al-Samaki. The Hadi government said this was a pre-emptive strike on mercenaries who were soon to go to Aden, where they were supposed to strengthen the position of Hadi and his Toad masters. Missiles and drone strikes hit field barracks, field mosque, and ammo dump. Houthis promise to continue to destroy the mercenaries and the invaders until they withdraw their troops from Yemen and stop bombing Yemeni cities. Video of some of the consequences here:

The Minister of information of the Hadi government said that the UN needs to condemn this “revenge of the Houthis for Suleimani.” It is worth recalling that when Soleimani was killed, he was headed for a meeting with the Prime Minister of Iraq, where they were to discuss the plan of de-escalation of relations between Iran and the Toads. And now, instead of plans for de-escalation, revenge for Suleimani is coming to the Toads, even though they were constantly getting paid for what they had done to Yemen.

The attack on the Toad camp in Marib
Colonel Cassad, Jan 19 2020

The Houthis bombed a kamikaze training camp of the Hadi government in Marib with ballistic missiles and UAVs, where the Toad military instructors trained troops of the puppet regime. The attack killed up to 60 soldiers and officers and more than 120 were injured. Given the fact that the number is constantly growing, it is possible that the final figures will be even more, and meanwhile it is not clear whether there are any Toads among the dead and wounded. The Hadi side initially tried to downplay the loss, saying that only 25 people died, but because the picture is horrific losses began to leak to the media. Not to mention the obvious accuracy of the Houthis’ missiles and the effectiveness of drones. Toad sources said that their defenses managed to knock as much as 1 UAVs. All the rest arrived in camp (a few missiles and drones). Toad air defense again “про…ли все полимеры” which is no surprise. The bulk of the dead were soldiers from the pro-Toad forces who were sent to camp Marib to re-form after their bad showing in the battles with the southern separatists supported by the UAE in Aden. But in the end, they also received a message from the Houthis. The Houthis started the year 2020 with a bang. As previously noted, the murder of Soleimani will clearly lead to a revival of a proxy war throughout the region, and due to the existing state of war with the UAE and the Toads, and the available technical possibilities, the Houthis will be among the pioneers of Iranian asymmetric attacks, for which the Toads are one of the most obvious targets, especially considering the fact how much they is bogged down in the Yemeni war, without clear prospects for its completion. So the “great revenge for Iran’s Soleimani,” in addition to “limited” attack on the base ‘Ayn al-Assad will emerge including from such attacks. I would guess that in the next month, the Houthis will try seriously to find targets on the territory of the Toads.

“many enemies, much honour” (german proverb)

Israel conspiracy peddler Craig Murray to address SNP activists
Kieran Andrews, Nazi Times, Jan 21 2020

A former British diplomat who has promoted a series of conspiracy theories, including that Israelis might have been behind the Salisbury poisoning, has been invited to address SNP activists. Craig Murray is due to speak at the nationalists’ Braidburn branch in Edinburgh on Saturday on the same billing as Joanna Cherry, the party’s justice spokeswoman at Westminster. It is understood that Ms Cherry will not be present for his speech. Mr Murray, a former ambassador to Uzbekistan who was forced to resign after speaking out against the regime, failed vetting to be an SNP candidate in 2014 because of a “lack of a commitment to group discipline.” In Mar 2018 he suggested Israeli security services were more likely to be behind the poisoning of Sergei Skripal, a former Russian military officer and double agent for British intelligence services, than Russian agents. He wrote on his blog:

While I am struggling to see a Russian motive for damaging its own international reputation so grievously, Israel has a clear motivation for damaging the Russian reputation.

He said scientists were being bribed to support the British government’s account of what happened and that the novichok poison was likely to have come from the military research centre at Porton Down, Wiltshire. Mr Murray has also suggested that the West may have had a role in the death of James Le Mesurier, the former British Army captain who ran the Istanbul-based Mayday Rescue, because he had “lost his usefulness” to western security services after Turkey took control of most of northern Syria. He also said that the White Helmets, a volunteer organisation Le Mesurier co-founded that operates in parts of opposition-controlled Syria and in Turkey, “worked hand-in-glove” with “jihadist headchoppers.” Miles Briggs, the Scottish Conservative MSP for the Lothians, said:

The SNP should be reaching out to people, not promoting individuals with nasty and barmy paranoias.

A spokesman for Ms Cherry said that she was speaking at two SNP branch meetings in her constituency “about her election victory and other party matters” this weekend, and would leave the branch before Mr Murray’s speech. Mr Murray and the SNP were contacted for comment.

wurmser the zionist jew

The Many Matryoska Dolls to Pindostan’s Way of Imagining Iran
Alastair Crooke, Strategic Culture, Jan 20 2020

On Sep 17 1656, Oliver Cromwell, who had just won a civil war and had the English king beheaded in public, railed against England’s enemies. There was, he told Parliament that day, an axis of evil abroad in the world and this axis, led by Catholic Spain, was at root the problem of a people that had placed themselves at the service of evil. This evil, and the servitude that it begat, was “the evil of a religion that refused the English peoples’ desire for simple liberties, an evil that put men under restraint, under which there was no freedom and under which there could be no liberty of individual consciousness.” That was how Cromwell saw Catholic Spain in 1656 and it is very close to how key orientations in Pindostan see Iran today: the evil of religion subjecting Iranians to repression and to serfdom. In Europe, this ideological struggle against the evil of an imposed religious community brought Europe to near-Armageddon, with the worst affected parts of Europe seeing their population decimated by up to 60% during the conflict. Is this faction in Pindostan now intent on invoking a new near-Armageddon in order to destroy the religious community known as the Shi’a Resistance Axis seen to stretch across the region in order to preserve the Jewish “peoples’ desire for simple liberties”? Today’s leaders of this ideological faction are no longer Puritan Protestants, though the Christian Evangelicals are at one with Cromwell’s Biblical literalism and prophecy, its lead ideologues are the neocons, who have leveraged Karl Popper’s hugely influential The Open Society and its Enemies, a seminal treatise which largely shapes how many Pindos imagine their ‘world’. Popper understood history as a series of attempts by the forces of reaction to smother an open society with the weapons of traditional religion and traditional culture: Marx and Russia were cast as the archetypal reactionary threat to open societies. This construct was taken up by Reagan, and re-connected to the Christian apocalyptic tradition (hence the neo-conservative coalition with Evangelists yearning for Redemption, and with liberal interventionists, yearning for a secular millenarianism). All concur that Iran is reactionary and furthermore that it poses a grave threat to Israel’s self-proclaimed open society. The point here is that there is little point in arguing with these people that Iran poses no threat to Pindostan, which is obvious, for the ‘project’ is ideological through and through. It has to be understood by these lights. Popper’s purpose was to propose that only liberal globalism would bring about a “growing measure of humane and enlightened life” and a free and open society. All this is but the outer Matryoshka, a suitable public rhetoric, a painted image that can be used to encase the secret, inner dolls. Eli Lake, writing in Bloomberg gives away the next doll:

Since Pres Trump ordered the drone strike that killed [Soleimani] … a handful of Trump’s advisers, however, [espied another] strategic benefit to killing Soleimani: Call it regime disruption … The case for disruption is outlined in a series of unclassified memos sent to [John Bolton] in May-Jun 2019 … Their author, David Wurmser, is a longtime adviser to Bolton who then served as a consultant to the NSC. Wurmser argues that Iran is in the midst of a legitimacy crisis. Its leadership, he writes, is divided between camps that seek an apocalyptic return of the Hidden Imam, and those that favour of the preservation of the Islamic Republic. All the while, many Iranians have grown disgusted with the regime’s incompetence and corruption. Wurmser’s crucial insight: were unexpected, rule-changing actions taken against Iran, it would confuse the regime. It would need to scramble. It would rattle the delicate internal balance of forces and the control over them upon which the regime depends for stability and survival. Such a moment of confusion, Wurmser writes, will create momentary paralysis, and the perception among the Iranian public that its leaders are weak. Wurmser’s memos show that the Trump administration has been debating the blow against Soleimani since the current crisis began, some seven months ago … After Iran downed a Pindo drone, Wurmser advised Bolton that the Pindo response should be overt and designed to send a message that Pindostan holds the Iranian regime, not the Iranian people, responsible. Wurmser wrote in a Jun 22 memo: “This could even involve something as a targeted strike on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies.” In these memos, Wurmser is careful to counsel against a ground invasion of Iran. He says the Pindo response “does not need to be boots on the ground (in fact, it should not be).” Rather, he stresses that the Pindo response should be calibrated to exacerbate the regime’s domestic legitimacy crisis.

So there it is. David Wurmser is the doll within: no military invasion, but just a strategy to blow apart the Iranian Republic. Eli Lake reveals that Wurmser has quietly been advising Bolton and the Trump Admin all along. This was the neo-con who in 1996 compiled Coping with Crumbling States, which flowed on from the infamous Clean Break paper written for Netanyahu as a blueprint for destructing Israel’s enemies. Both these papers advocated the overthrow of the secular Arab nationalist states, excoriated both as “crumbling relics of the evil USSR” and inherently hostile to Israel, the real message. Wurmser has now been at work as the author of how to ‘implode’ and destroy Iran. And his insight? “A targeted strike on someone like Soleimani”; split the Iranian leadership into warring factions; cut an open wound into the flesh of Iran’s domestic legitimacy; put a finger into that open wound and twist it; disrupt and pretend that Pindostan sides with the Iranian people, against its government. In his Bloomberg piece, Eli Lake seems to think that the Wurmser strategy has worked. Really? The problem here is that narratives in Faschingstein are so far apart from the reality that exists on the ground. They simply do not touch at any point. Millions attended Soleimani’s cortege. His killing gave a renewed cohesion to Iran. Little more than a dribble have protested. Now let us unpack the next doll: Trump bought into Wurmser’s play, albeit admitting subsequently that he ordered the assassination under intense pressure from Thug Senators. Maybe he believed the patently absurd narrative that Iranians would ‘be dancing in the street’ at Soleimani’s killing. Trump is not exactly noted for admitting his mistakes. Rather, when something is portrayed as his error, the President adopts the full ‘salesman’ persona, trying to convince his base that the murder was no error, but a great strategic success. Trump claimed of protestors in Iran: “They like us!” Tom Luongo has observed:

Trump’s impeachment trial in the Senate begins next week, and it’s clear that this will not be a walk in the park for the President. Anyone dismissing this because the Thugs hold the Senate, simply do not understand why this impeachment exists in the first place. It is the ultimate form of leverage over a President whose desire to end the wars in the Middle East is anathema to the entrenched powers in the DC Swamp.

Here we arrive at another inner Matryoshka. This is Luongo’s point: Impeachment was the leverage to drive open a wedge between Thug neocons in the Senate and Trump. Now Pelosi’s pressure on Thug Senators is escalating. The Establishment threw cold water over Trump’s assertion of imminent attack as justification for murdering Soleimani, and Trump responds by painting himself further into a corner on Iran, by going the full salesman ‘monte.’ On the campaign trail, the President goes way over the top, calling Soleimani a “son of a bitch“ who killed “thousands” and furthermore was responsible for every Pindo veteran who lost a limb in Iraq, and he then conjures up a fantasy picture of protesters pouring onto the streets of Tehran, tearing down images of Soleimani and screaming abuse at the Iranian leadership. It is nonsense. There are no mass protests. There have been a few hundred students protesting at one main Tehran University. But Trump has dived in pretty deep now, threatening the E3 signatories to the JCPoA that unless they brand Iran as having defaulted on JCPoA at the UNSC disputes mechanism, he will slap a 25% tariff on their automobiles. How will Trump avoid plunging in even deeper to conflict, if and when Pindos die in Iraq or Syria at the hands of militia, and when Pompeo or Lindsay Graham will claim baldly: “Iran’s proxies did it!” Sending emollient faxes to the Swiss to pass to Tehran will not do. Tehran will not read them, nor believe them even if they do. It all reeks of a set-up, a very clever stage-management designed to end with Pindostan crossing Iran’s red line by striking at a target within Iranian territory. Finally, we arrive at the innermost doll. Cui bono? Some Senators who never liked Trump, and would prefer Pence as President; the Demagogs, who would prefer to run their candidate against Pence in November, rather than Trump. But also, as someone who once worked with Wurmser observed tartly: when you hear that name, immediately you think Netanyahu, his intimate associate. Matryoshka herself?

David Wurmser is helping Trump take down Iran
Robert Bridge,, Jan 20 2020

Despite Trump’s pledge to drain the swamp and reduce the Pentagon’s global footprint, a chief architect of the 2003 Iraq War has the ear of the White House on Iran. What could possibly go wrong? As Donald Trump’s first term dwindles, it appears his new campaign slogan will be: if you can’t beat the swamp, join it. That much seems evident not only from the Trump administration’s courting of diehard hawks like Elliott Abrams and Mike Pompeo, but by the recent news that David Wurmser was offering counsel to John Bolton, former NSA to the White House. It should be briefly recalled that Wurmser, who has worked for a number of think tanks including the influential AEI, contributed heavily to the report that argued Saddam Hussein was harboring WMDs. That claim was eventually proven to be false, but not before a whole lot of damage was done. The outcome of the disastrous 2003 Iraq War that followed in the wake of that ‘bad intelligence’ is well documented by now, with the Iraqi people still suffering the consequences. According to journalist Eli Lake, Wurmser built the case for “regime disruption” against Iran in a series of memos sent to Bolton in May-Jun 2019, a period when tensions between Tehran and Faschingstein were peaking in the Persian Gulf. Lake, who says he was privy to the memos thanks to a high-level source, provides a glimpse into Wurmser’s hawkish thought processes, revealing he told Bolton that offensive military action against Iran would “rattle the delicate internal balance of forces which the regime depends for stability and survival.” On another occasion after Iran had downed a Pindo drone, Wurmser suggested in a memo dated Jun 22 a retaliatory attack “on someone like Soleimani or his top deputies.” Judging by Bolton’s well-known aggressive stance on Iran, however, he probably did not require much convincing from Wurmser to go after Tehran with both guns blazing.

The revelation that Wurmser was feeding Bolton advice sheds a much-needed light, albeit an opaque one, on Trump’s inexplicable decision in early January to “take out” Gen Qassem Soleimani, the leader of the IRGC Quds Force. That high-risk move, carried out on the territory of Iraq, prompted Tehran to respond days later with calibrated strikes on two Pindo military bases inside of Iraq. Today, the situation remains volatile as rhetoric between the two sides has replaced outright violence, at least for the time being. Now the question: what could have compelled Trump to place any trust in Wurmser, whose resume reads like that of a bull in a china shop? One possibility is that Trump had no idea Wurmser was feeding Bolton and other members of his administration what amounted to yet more regime change shenanigans in the Middle East. This seems plausible considering the contradictory messages the White House was sending immediately following Soleimani’s cold-blooded murder. Pompeo, for example, claimed that Pindostan had specific information on “imminent attacks against Pindo facilities, including Pindo embassies, military bases.” Trump didn’t sound any more confident with regards to the “imminent threat” of an Iranian attack when he told Fox News, “probably it was going to be the embassy in Baghdad.” Sec Def Esper admitted regarding the evidence:

I didn’t see any, with regard to four embassies.

Esper eventually came around to saying that he “shared the president’s view” of an imminent attack from Iran. It seems plausible that the Trump administration could not get its story straight on where the information about Iran and an “imminent attack” had originated, because admitting it had derived from ‘the swamp’ would not have sat well with their voters. That is certainly no small consideration in an election year. When Trump hired John Bolton as his NSA in Mar 2018, he wasn’t just opening the corridors of power to the notorious hawk, as he may have imagined. Trump opened the door to all of Bolton’s former colleagues and confidants who share Bolton’s dangerous obsession with going to war with Iran. It is worth pondering whether Trump was compelled to hire Bolton because he understands he is not at liberty to abandon ‘the swamp’ as it simply wields too much power in Faschingstein.

What is more likely is that Trump overestimated himself, believing that he was smart enough to stay one step ahead of Bolton and his swamp contacts, like shadowy insider Wurmser, who in 1996 co-authored another report entitled A Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm specifically for incoming Israeli PM Netanyahu, the paper promoted the idea of preemptive strikes against Iran and Syria. So why did Trump even assume the risk of being wrong? Why not bring in some fresh red-blooded conservative policy-makers who genuinely want to see Pindo troops extracted from quagmires around the MENA? Why all this talk about draining the swamp when the worst of the swamp creatures are awarded such powerful positions? Perhaps Trump imagined that Bolton’s mustachioed scowl would be enough to bring enemies to the negotiating table, gaining “leverage” before confronting your opponents, as Trump advised in ‘Art of the Deal.’

Whatever the case may be, Trump seriously underestimates the fact that there are people out there, the John Boltons and David Wurmsers of the world, who are not looking for the deal of the century. These people have spent their entire careers lobbying for military confrontation and regime change, as Gen Wesley Clark revealed with the “seven countries in five years” plan. They will pull any trick in the book to get their wars, and all of the lucrative defense contracts that follow. Although Trump may have squeaked by without full-blown military confrontation in places like North Korea, Syria and Venezuela so far, sooner or later he may get a bad roll of the dice. In fact, he may already have gambled wrongly with the warmongers he allowed into his administration, thereby setting Iran and Pindostan on a deadly crash course, and possibly the world. In that case, Trump will have nobody to blame but himself.

funny the pindo nazis refused him a visa

OPCW whistleblower slams OPCW’s Douma report in UNSC testimony, Jan 21 2020

A former inspector with the OPCW has accused the CWs watchdog of issuing a sanitized report on the alleged 2018 attack in Douma, Syria, arguing it ignored serious reservations of its own fact-finding team. The OPCW’s final report on the Douma incident released last March omitted key findings of its own inspection team which would have cast serious doubt on whether a chemical attack took place at all, former OPCW specialist Ian Henderson told members of the UNSC in a recorded video address, after his visa application to attend the meeting in person was rejected. Henderson said:

The findings in the final FFM report were contradictory, were a complete turnaround with what the team had understood collectively during and after the Douma deployments.

Even though several members of the fact finding team “had serious misgivings that a chemical attack had occurred” as early as Jul 2018, the organization’s final report, compiled by another group that never even visited the incident site, nonetheless concluded there were “reasonable grounds” to all but pin the blame for the attack on Damascus. Sanitized of any dissenting opinion, the report ignored “findings, facts, information, data or analysis” gathered by the team in the areas of witness testimony, toxicology studies, chemical analysis, as well as ballistics, the retired inspector said. Faschingstein & its vassals blamed the Syrian government for the Douma incident, FUKUS launching joint strikes against Syria a week later, well before any official investigation could even start, and even delaying it. Western politicians and media claimed at the time, basing themselves purely on visual materials and witness accounts provided by the notorious White Helmets and other militant-linked sources, that the Syrian government forces had ‘highly likely’ dropped two poisonous gas cylinders, killing scores of civilians. Henderson carried out a closer analysis of that pair of cylinders mysteriously found in a residential area of Douma. His ‘Engineering Assessment’ was initially leaked last May, laying out a number of hypotheses for how the cylinders wound up at the site in Douma. Most significantly, it noted a “higher probability” that they were “manually placed” instead of being “delivered from aircraft,” suggesting a party other than the Syrian government may have planted them there.

In my case, I had followed up with a further six months of engineering and ballistics studies into the cylinders, the result of which had provided further support for the view that there had not been a chemical attack.

Subsequent WikiLeaks publications revealed that a senior OPCW boxtop ordered “all traces” of Henderson’s assessment to be scrubbed from its archives. But despite the internal battle undermining the OPCW’s credibility, Henderson insisted the dispute should not be a matter of “political debate,” urging for any discrepancies to be “properly resolved through the rigors of science and engineering.” The informal UNSC meeting to assess the situation and inconsistencies around the FMM’s report was convened at the request of Moscow on Monday. The US and its allies accused Russia of trying to “discredit the well-respected OPCW and its staff,” even though Moscow insists that the goal, on the contrary, was to restore trust in the organization. Vassily Nebenzia, Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, accused Pindostan & its vassals of “crying wolf,” saying:

The chemical incident in Syrian Douma. Why is it so important? Because it was a justification of missile strikes in Apr 2018 by FUKUS, who immediately named the Syrian Government guilty. Not so long since, some of our colleagues invented a new paradigm: the world of ‘highly likely.’

Besides listening to Henderson’s testimony, the UNSC was addressed by Russia’s OPCW representative Alexander Shulgin, and the chief of an NGO that had previously interviewed over 300 residents of Douma, shattering the official Western narrative.

underneath all this frenzy is just one question: will NATO stay in one piece when war comes against iran?

Trump backs armed gun-rights rally in Richmond, Virginia
Barry Grey, WSWS, Jan 21 2020

On Monday, for the second time in three days, Trump tweeted support as thousands of gun-rights activists, many of them carrying semi-automatic weapons, descended on Virginia’s capital, Richmond. The protest was to denounce mild gun control measures moving through the Demagog-controlled state legislature. According to Virginia’s public safety secretary, some 6,000 protesters passed through airport-style checkpoints to listen to an hour of speeches within the fenced-off State Capitol grounds, where Governor Ralph Northam had imposed a ban on guns and other weapons under a state of emergency he declared last Wednesday. Thousands more people, many wearing camouflage and bullet-proof vests and carrying military-grade weapons, rallied in the streets of Richmond just beyond the secured Capitol grounds. News reports estimated the total turnout in the tens of thousands. Demonstrators chanted “We will not comply!” and circulated petitions demanding the ouster of Northam. Over 100 localities in Virginia have declared themselves to be “Second Amendment sanctuaries.” Officials in these “sanctuaries” have pledged not to enforce any gun control measures passed by the state legislature and signed into law by Northam. The crowd outside the secured perimeter on Monday included a number of armed militia groups that mobilized in force for the event. Northam, a Demagog, had cited “credible intelligence” that neo-Nazis were planning to join the pro-gun rally and incite something similar to the Aug 2017 “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Virginia, following which Trump declared that the far-right marchers included “very fine people.” Last Thursday, one day after Northam’s state of emergency declaration, federal authorities announced the arrest of three members of “The Base” who were heavily armed and allegedly planning to carry out a violent provocation at the Richmond rally. The following day, they announced the arrest of at least three more members. That day, Trump tweeted full support for the impending right-wing rally, writing:

Just before the scheduled start of the rally on Monday, the day of the annual MLK holiday and the eve of the substantive start of his Senate impeachment trial, Trump retweeted his full support, declaring:

These interventions are part of Trump’s response to impeachment and his strategy for the 2020 elections and beyond. He is relying not only on his legal defense in the Senate trial, but is deliberately inciting violence against his political opponents and seeking to instigate the growth of a fascist movement in the US. In a series of campaign speeches and Twitter posts, he has labeled the Democrats as far-left radicals and “socialists” and denounced them as traitors. He has stepped up this fascistic agitation since his order to assassinate Iranian Gen. Qassem Suleimani earlier this month. This agitation is having a predictable impact. Over the weekend, Lee Carter, a Demagog state legislator and a member of the DSA, announced that he was going to an “undisclosed location” to work on Monday instead of the Capitol building, because he and his family had received multiple death threats. In the event, the rally on Monday, though right-wing and pro-Trump, did not have the openly neo-Nazi character of Charlottesville. Under conditions of a heavy police presence including the deployment of snipers on rooftops and a ban in airspace near the Capitol, the crowd dispersed quickly after speeches by Thug state politicians, prominent gun-rights spoxes and some local sheriffs. Over the weekend, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, a pro-gun control group, canceled its annual vigil and lobbying day, scheduled to begin later in the day on Monday, out of fear of violent attack at the hands of militia elements and fascists. No violence or arrests were reported at the rally. The police, generally sympathetic to the demonstrators, gave them free rein to parade around with their assault rifles and other gear.

The fact that the event went off peacefully does not diminish the threat to the working class and to democratic rights represented by the mobilization of politically confused far-right elements on the basis of militarism, extreme individualism and national chauvinism. One incident that highlighted the politically sinister character of the event was Alex Jones driving an armored vehicle toward Capitol Square in the run-up to the rally. The juxtaposition of the Richmond rally and the Senate impeachment trial of Trump underscores the absence of any democratic content in the Demagogs’ impeachment drive. Over the weekend, the Demagog House managers who will serve as prosecutors during the proceedings released their brief against Trump. It reiterates the charge that Trump betrayed the country and undermined Pindo natsec by temporarily withholding $391m in military aid to Ukraine, then used the withheld arms package as leverage to pressure the Ukrainian government to announce a corruption investigation into Biden’s son Hunter in an attempt to secure Ukrainian interference in the 2020 elections against Joe Biden, a repeat of the supposed conspiracy between Trump and Putin against Hillary Clinton in 2016. The Demagogs are not seeking to remove Trump from office, or at least rein him in in the Senate, over his very real attacks on democratic rights, his promotion of fascist violence, his illegal assassination of a high-ranking Iranian official, his destruction of the right to asylum and persecution of immigrants, his unconstitutional appropriation of Pentagon funds to build his border wall with Mexico, or his repeated threats to remain in office regardless the outcome of either the impeachment trial or the 2020 vote, but over foreign policy differences centering on his ostensible “softness” toward Russia, specifically because he is seen to be disrupting long-standing plans to use Ukraine as a staging ground for war against Moscow. In its brief in response to the Demagogs, Trump’s defense team asserts the authoritarian conception of the “unitary executive,” to essentially argue that the president is not subject to any form of control by Congress or the courts.

Biden campaign warns media not to spread ‘debunked’ claims about his activities in Ukraine or else, Jan 20 2020

Joe Biden’s presidential campaign has issued a warning to the media, cautioning journalists against spreading what he called “debunked” theories about his role in having a Ukrainian prosecutor removed from office. In the memo first reported by NBC News, Biden accuses Trump of “spreading a malicious and conclusively debunked conspiracy theory” that he engaged in wrongdoing when he pressured Ukraine to fire then-Prosecutor Viktor Shokin. Biden has previously bragged about his role in having Shokin fired, even admitting on camera that he presented an ultimatum to Ukrainian authorities threatening to withhold a billion-dollar loan guarantee unless the prosecutor was given the boot. It emerged later that Biden’s own son Hunter sat on the board of the Burisma energy company, which Shokin had been investigating for corruption. The memo, described as “unusual” by NBC News, demands:

Any media organization referencing, reporting on, or repeating (such claims) must state clearly and unambiguously that they have been discredited and debunked by authoritative sources.

The memo instructs journalists that it is “not sufficient” to say allegations are “unsubstantiated,” they must tell readers there is a mountain of evidence which debunks them, it says. Any journalists or media organizations failing to adhere to Biden’s standards in their reporting on his and his families’ activities in Ukraine are accused of “malpractice.”

The memo comes as Republicans call for Hunter Biden to testify during Donald Trump’s impending Senate impeachment trial. Trump was impeached last month by the US House Representatives for “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” relating to the alleged claim that he withheld aid from Ukraine in an effort to force an investigation into Biden’s involvement with Burisma and his role in Shokin’s firing.

However, even if Biden’s claim that he was not motivated by his son’s position on Burisma’s board when he insisted on Shokin’s sacking is true, he has already publicly admitted to threatening to withhold money from Ukraine unless authorities did his bidding, which somewhat ironically is exactly what Democrats impeached Trump for last month. One campaign that did not get Biden’s memo is that of Bernie Sanders, which has earned criticism from the left for calling Biden “corrupt” in an attack ad. Among the critics was liberal economist Paul Krugman.

Trump’s trial in the Senate is set to kick off this week and has been dismissed by his legal team as a “highly partisan and reckless obsession” engineered by Democrats who want him thrown out of office.

pindo nazis are trying to stage an anti-hezbollah fascist revolt in lebanon

Mass protests escalate in Iraq and Lebanon
Bill Van Auken, WSWS, Jan 21 2020

Iraq and Lebanon have been rocked once again by mass protests and violent repression under conditions in which discredited caretaker governments in both countries have failed to meet any of the social and political demands made by hundreds of thousands who have taken to the streets. The resurgence of the street demonstrations which broke out in both countries last October followed a lull in the wake of the Pindo drone missile assassination of Gen Qassem Suleimani on Jan 3 at Baghdad airport and the mass outpouring throughout the region against the American war crime. At least five demonstrators were reported killed in the course of protests that swept Baghdad and other cities on Monday as security forces fired live rounds into the crowds. In Baghdad, three people died from wounds suffered in the protests, two from gunshots and a third who had been felled by a tear gas canister fired directly at his head. A fourth demonstrator was shot to death by police in the central Iraqi city of Karbala, southwest of Baghdad, and a fifth was killed in the northeastern city of Baqubah. Two policemen were also reported killed in the southern city of Basra, the center of the country’s oil industry, when a panicked motorist trying to flee the scene of violent confrontation drove his car into them. The violent repression of the Iraqi demonstrations has seen more than 500 killed since October 1 and another 25,000 wounded. Beginning on Sunday and continuing into Monday, protesters sought to block the main highways and bridges in Baghdad and the south of the country with barricades and burning tires. one of the protesters in the Iraqi capital told Al Jazeera:

We blocked the road to demand our rights … the rights of young people to get a job.

Another protester denounced the violent repression, telling al Jazeera:

For months no one listened to our demands. They are killing us. It’s just bloodshed.

The government headed by PM Adel Abd’ul-Mahdi, who resigned two months ago but has stayed on as a caretaker with the Iraqi parliament still unable to choose a successor, has taken a hard line against the renewed protests, describing those blocking highways as “outlaws.” The spox for the Iraqi armed forces said that security forces had “absolute authority” to repress such protests.

Iraq’s mass demonstrations grew out of earlier scattered actions by university graduates protesting the lack of jobs under conditions of a more than 25% unemployment rate for younger workers. Repression of the initial protests led to their mushrooming into a generalized uprising against the conditions of poverty, the failure of essential social services and the endemic corruption in the sectarian-based regime created by the Pindo military occupation that began with their criminal invasion in 2003. Popular anger has been driven by the glaring social inequality in a country which boasts the third largest oil exports in the world, bringing in over $1t in revenue since 2005. These vast resources have flowed into the coffers of foreign corporations and banks, along with Baghdad’s politically connected oligarchy, while 7 million of Iraq’s 38 million people live below the poverty line, and 53% are vulnerable to food insecurity. Similar social and political contradictions have motivated the mass protests in Lebanon, which also resurged over the weekend, with at least 540 people wounded in violent clashes between demonstrators and security forces in Beirut over the weekend. While the media focused on an alleged shift toward violence by protesters, the Lebanese government turned Beirut into an armed camp, ringing the parliament building with razor wire and deploying heavily armed elite Pindo-trained special operations troops, including some carrying rocket launchers. There were reports of snipers deployed on rooftops and government thugs throwing rocks from nearby buildings into the crowds below. Security forces fired rubber bullets and tear gas canisters directly at the demonstrators. Police went so far as pursuing people and attacking them inside hospitals and mosques.

The weekend’s protests came in response to a call for a “week of rage” over the government’s failure to meet any of the demonstrators’ demands or to create an acceptable replacement to the regime headed by PM Saad Hariri, a political stooge of the Toads, who resigned last year in the face of mass opposition. Driving the protests are the country’s deteriorating economic and social conditions, as Lebanon faces its worst crisis since the end of the 1975-1990 civil war. The Lebanese protests have been accompanied by attacks on some 300 banks and ATMs across the country. The banks have become the target of public ire as people have seen their savings destroyed as the value of the Lebanese currency has been cut in half over the past three months. Meanwhile, the banks have imposed limits on how much money depositors can withdraw in an attempt to prevent financial collapse. These restrictions are waived for the wealthy and politically connected but enforced on the broad masses of the population. Bank workers have remained on an extended strike, in part over concerns for their own safety. The devaluation of the Lebanese pound has led to the soaring of imported food prices together with the near halving of real wages. The country’s minimum wage, which was the equivalent of $450 a month, is now barely $270. The World Bank has warned that continuing devaluations will lead to the rise of the portion of Lebanon’s population living in poverty from one-third to one-half. In many industries, employers have stopped paying salaries, leading to strikes. Hospitals have run out of essential medicines, and gasoline is being rationed.

Lebanon’s mass protests were triggered on Oct 17 of last year after the government announced a tax on popular messaging applications, including WhatsApp. The action triggered a mass revolt against all of the austerity measures imposed over the previous period, together with the conditions of growing poverty and unemployment, crumbling infrastructure and social services, and rampant corruption. As in Iraq, the driving force behind the demonstrators’ anger was the ever widening social inequality that constitutes the essential feature of Lebanese society. The latest upsurge has been further fueled by the announcement that Lebanon’s outgoing foreign minister, Gebran Bassil, is to attend this week’s WEF in Davos to speak on “unrest in the Arab world.” Bassil is Pres Michel Aoun’s son-in-law. An online petition has called for the Forum to rescind his invitation, declaring:

He cannot be allowed to speak on behalf of a nation that has rejected him and accuses him of flagrant corruption.

As in Iraq, a caretaker administration headed by Pres Aoun has proven unable to cobble together a new government since Hariri resigned on Oct 29. Hezbollah holds a majority in parliament alongside Amal and other allies, and appears poised to put together a cabinet led by the former education minister and professor at the Pindo University of Beirut. While the demonstrations have advanced the demand for a government of “independent technocrats,” the bourgeois order, set up along sectarian lines in the wake of the country’s civil war, is incapable of jumping out of its skin. Whatever government is formed by the existing bourgeois parties in Lebanon will be tasked with the speedy implementation of a sweeping agenda of additional austerity measures in order to meet the demands of the IMF, the World Bank and major power creditors in return for a “rescue package” of $11b pledged at an international conference last year. Most of this money will go to meet debt obligations to the international banks. As early as 2016, interest payments on the country’s debt consumed fully half of the Lebanese budget. Hezbollah had initially taken a hostile stance toward the demonstrations, suggesting that they were being fostered by Faschingstein, the Toads and Israel to further imperialist interests in the region. On several occasions the Shiite movement staged counter-demonstrations, clashing with protesters. More recently, Hezbollah has sent its representatives to meet with protest leaders, expressing agreement with their demands and offering them support, undoubtedly with the hope of quelling the mass upheavals.

Social tensions within both Iraq and Lebanon have been exacerbated by Pindo imperialism’s drive to assert its hegemony over the region and roll back Iran’s influence by means of crippling economic sanctions and criminal military violence. Faschingstein and its regional vassals are undoubtedly attempting to manipulate these tensions to further its regional aims. Tehran has responded by supporting repression on the part of both the Iraqi and Lebanese governments, in an attempt to defend the influence of the Shiite sectarian movements with which it is allied. Iraqi protesters have expressed hostility to the prospect of the country being turned into a battlefield for a Pindo-Iranian war. Faschingstein has rejected the Iraqi government’s demand that it withdraw the 5,000 to 6,000 Pindo troops that are deployed in Iraq. In both Iraq and Lebanon, the popular protests have expressed a mass rejection of sectarian politics, making clear that in both countries, as all over the world, the decisive dividing line is class, not religion, ethnicity or nationality. The demands of the masses of Lebanese and Iraqi workers and youth, like those of workers who have risen in revolt by their millions across the planet, cannot be resolved outside of the struggle for the overthrow of capitalism and the building of socialism on a world scale.

la grande bouffe

The oligarchs assemble at Davos
Niles Niemuth, WSWS, Jan 21 2020

Hundreds of bankers, corporate executives, celebrities, and heads of state and cabinet members have arrived in Davos, Switzerland, to take part in the 50th annual World Economic Forum (WEF), which begins Tuesday. With the wealth of the world’s billionaires up by 25 percent in the last year alone, the Davos attendees have much to celebrate. But looking over the snow-capped mountains of Switzerland, the oligarchs see themselves beset by a tide of social opposition and resentment. WEF founder Klaus Schwab warned in a statement ahead of the meeting that the world is at a “critical crossroads,” noting:

People are revolting against the economic ‘elites’ they believe have betrayed them.

Indeed, the meeting is being held amid a global upsurge of social protests over the past year from Chile and Puerto Rico, Sudan and Algeria, Iraq and Lebanon, to Hong Kong and India, to Pindostan and Mexico. Across the world, protests fueled by growing social and economic inequality are continuing and expected to grow in 2020, including in France, where the year began with mass strikes against Macron’s proposed pension cuts. Ahead of their meeting, the WEF published a global risks report which noted that members ranked “domestic political polarization” in a virtual tie for their number one concern, up from ninth last year. Meanwhile, the annual Edleman Trust Barometer survey found that a majority of people around the world think that capitalism is doing more harm than good. The survey found a global discrediting of all institutions, with governments, the media, business and NGOs all seen by masses of people as unethical and incompetent. Ahead of the event, the British charity Oxfam released its annual report on social inequality, which it declared to be “out of control.” According to Oxfam, the world’s billionaire population alone, just 2,153 people—the number of people which would fit comfortably on a modern cruise ship—control more wealth than the 4.6 billion poorest people in the world. Meanwhile the top 1% collectively has twice as much wealth as 6.9 billion people, nearly the entire world’s population. Placing the mind-boggling gap between the rich and poor in perspective, Oxfam notes:

If everyone were to sit on their wealth piled up in $100 bills, most of humanity would be sitting on the floor. A middle-class person in a rich country would be sitting at the height of a chair. The world’s two richest men would be sitting in outer space.

The conclave in Davos is an opportunity for the capitalist elite to posture as enlightened reformers while cutting backroom deals aimed at funneling ever more wealth from the bottom to the top, in the privacy of the exclusive Alpine resort town and under the close guard of Swiss police snipers and their own personal security retinues. The theme for this year’s meeting is “Stakeholders for a cohesive and sustainable world,” with a focus on the issue of climate change. Events headlined by teenage activist Greta Thunberg are being given top billing and Britain’s Prince Charles is expected to deliver a talk on “how to save the planet.” The billionaires and millionaires in attendance will be able to show their commitment to combatting global warming by refueling their private jets with “greener” sustainable aviation fuel available at Zurich Airport’s private terminal. Attendees are being encouraged to walk on foot from venue to venue in order to reduce their personal carbon footprint. Trump, who set off for Davos yesterday in his second trip to the WEF, is set to deliver a “special address” today. The red-carpet treatment for Trump, a war criminal who has torn thousands of immigrant children from their families, and who just weeks ago brought the planet to the cusp of WW3, explodes the event’s humanitarian pretenses. NYT reporter Andrew Ross Sorkin commented:

With the stock market at record highs … there is an increasing sense he will be accepted, if not embraced (although some attendees may roll their eyes behind his back) when he arrives on Tuesday… Mr Trump may be the new Davos Man.

The attendees’ warm reception for Trump expresses the embrace of dictatorship and fascistic forces on the part of the financial oligarchy. Feeling themselves surrounded by social opposition, the oligarchs are turning ever more directly to dictatorial forms of rule. As the attendees give moralizing sermons about “sustainability” and praise each other’s philanthropic efforts, in their minds will be the fact that most of the world knows that they, the oligarchs thrmselves, are the cause of the world’s problems. It is they who benefit from wars. It is they who promote the rise of fascism, and who are waging a frontal attack on democratic rights. It is they who are responsible for the poverty and social misery afflicting the world’s working population. The entry into struggle by millions of people all over the world is in fact a recognition of this fact, combined with a determination to oppose it. However, any solution to the crises confronting the overwhelming majority of the world’s people above all requires the expropriation of the financial parasites gathered this week in Switzerland. The seizure of the wealth of little more than 2,000 people under the democratic control of the international working class would lay the basis for providing billions of people with the food, water, education, health care, culture, internet access and housing which are their fundamental social rights. This social necessity of expropriating their ill-begotten wealth is inseparable from the overthrow of the capitalist system and the socialist transformation of society.

Iran says Zarif not attending Davos as its organizers ‘changed its agenda’
Reuters, Jan 21 2020

DUBAI – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will not attend the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos this week because its organizers had “abruptly changed its agenda,” its foreign ministry spokesman said on Monday. Abbas Mousavi told a televised weekly conference:

He was scheduled to attend … but they abruptly changed the schedule and it was not the schedule that we agreed upon. So he will not attend Davos.

Reuters last week reported that Zarif was no longer on the list of nearly 3,000 people due at the event, which is being held under the banner “Stakeholders for a Sustainable and Cohesive World.”

Iran Counters EU Threat Of Snapback Sanctions
Moon of Alabama, Jan 20 2020

Trump wants to destroy the nuclear agreement with Iran. He has threatened the Euro vassals (Germany, Britain, France) with a 25% tariff on their car exports to Pindostan unless they end their role in the JCPoA deal. With their usual gutlessness, they gave in to the blackmail. They triggered the Dispute Resolution Mechanism of the deal. The mechanism foresees two 15 day periods of negotiations and a five-day decision period, after which any of the involved countries can escalate the issues to the UNSC, which would then lead to an automatic reactivation or “snapback” of those UN sanctions against Iran that existed before the nuclear deal was signed. Iran is now countering the European move. Its Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Iran may leave the NNPT if any of the Euro vassals escalates the issue to the UNSC:

Zarif said that Iran is following up the late decision by Euro vassals to trigger the Dispute Resolution Mechanism in the context of the JCPoA, adding that Tehran officially started the discussion on the mechanism on May 8 2018 when Pindostan withdrew from the deal. He underlined that Iran sent three letters dated May 10, Aug 26 and Nov 2018 to Federica Mogherini, announcing in the latter that Iran had officially triggered and ended the dispute resolution mechanism and thus would begin reducing its commitments to the JCPoA. However, Iran gave a seven-month opportunity to the EU before it began reducing its commitments in May 8 2019 which had operational effects two months later, according to Zarif. Iran’s top diplomat said that the country’s five steps in compliance reduction would have no similar follow-ups, but Europeans’ measure to refer the case to the UNSC may be followed by Tehran’s decision to leave the NNPT, as stated in Pres Rouhani’s May 2018 letter to other parties to the deal. He stressed that all the steps are reversible if the European parties to the JCPoA restore their obligations under the deal.

The Europeans certainly do not want Iran to leave the NPT, but as they are cowards and likely to continue to submit themselves to Trump’s blackmail, that is what they will end up with. Britain is the most likely country to move the issue to the UNSC, as it is in urgent need of a trade deal with Pindostan after leaving the EU. Adherence to the NNPT is controlled through safeguard agreements between the individual member countries and the IAEA, which inspects nuclear facilities. If Iran were to leave the NPT, it could still decided to continue its safeguard agreements with the IAEA, and could continue to have its nuclear facilities under inspection. That would increase international confidence that Iran is not up to something nefarious. Leaving the IAEA and ending its inspection role in Iran would then become a separate step the country could still take. Trump would probably like it if Iran would end its NNPT commitments. It would be used to allege that Iran was doing so to build nuclear weapons, even if that were not the case. If Iran were to leave the NNPT it would no longer have any obligation to not build a nuclear weapon. But that does not mean at all that it would start to make nuclear bombs. Iran’s Supreme Leader has issued a fatwa that prohibits the production or use of any weapon of mass destruction by Iran:

Khamenei has publicly emphasized that position again and again. Khamenei’s fatwa is not his personal decision but a longstanding official policy position of the IRI. During the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein ordered the use of CW against Iranian front lines and cities. 10,000 Iranians died of those, and many more were wounded by them. Back then, the IRI still had CW left over from the Shah’s regime, but it refrained from using them as Ayatollah Khomeini prohibited their use. Meanwhile, the Trump administration continues to press Iran with other petty measures. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif had a personal invitation to speak at the the WEF in Davos, but when Trump announced that he would come to Davos, the planned event with Zarif was modified in a way that led to his cancellation of the event:

Zarif had been scheduled to attend the gathering after receiving a personal invitation, his ministry said. “They changed the original program they had for him, the program that had been agreed upon, and came up with something else,” said spokesman Abbas Mousavi. “Either way, this trip unfortunately will not happen,” he told a news conference in Tehran. … In a tweet published later on Monday, Mousavi suggested that the change in program by the organizers of the Davos forum was “perhaps geared to have only one outcome,” and called Zarif’s absence a “missed opportunity for dialogue.”

It is likely that Trump demanded the WEF to take that step. In another petty measure, the Asian Football Confederation stripped Iranian football teams of their right to host their own international matches:

The Asian Football Confederation has reportedly banned Iran from hosting international matches based on safety fears over the current tensions in the region. Iranian club sides have responded by planning to withdraw from the AFC Asian Champions League. The clubs have said Iran is “safe”, while Iranian media and fans have claimed that politics, rather than security, is behind the AFC’s decision. Iran are one of the top nations in the Asian Champions League, and have some of the best supported clubs in Asia. Iranian clubs had a poor campaign last year, but the year before that, Persepolis reached the final of the competition. They, along with Esteghlal, Sepahan and Shahr Khodro, will withdraw from the competition should the AFC’s fixture ban not be reversed.

Iran suspects that the Toads pushed the ACL to take that step. All this is part of Trump’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran. His Special Representative for Iran recently repeated what Trump hopes to achieve:

Brian Hook forgot to ask for pink ponies. There is no chance at all that Iran will ever give up its ‘indelible right’ to nuclear enrichment or the missile program on which its strategic security is based. These unfulfillable demands the Trump administration makes are not designed to reach an agreement but to lead to a deeper conflict.

stand by for imperialist war

Berlin conference prepares military occupation of Libya
Peter Schwarz, WSWS, Jan 21 2020

The Libya conference which took place this past Sunday in Berlin was not about “peace” in the war-torn country but about the distribution of the loot. It is reminiscent of the conferences at which the colonial powers of the 19th century divided up entire regions and continents among themselves. The composition of the conference alone shows this. At the table sat the heads of state and government of the most powerful great and regional powers, but no representative of the country whose fate was being decided. Messrs Sarraj and Haftar had indeed been summoned to Berlin, but they had to wait in the anteroom until they were told what the conference had decided. Moreover, neither of them represents the Libyan people, serving rather as puppets of the various powers fighting for control of the oil-rich country. In 2011, France, Britain and Pindostan, soon to be joined by numerous other countries, bombed Libya and brutally murdered Muammar al-Gaddafi. Since then, the country, which once had a well-developed infrastructure and the highest standard of living in North Africa, has been transformed into a hell by militias fighting each other. The militias, which rely on Islamist mercenaries and local tribes, are financed and armed by foreign powers. Behind Haftar, who has Pindo citizenship and is considered an asset of the CIA, are the UAE, Egypt, the Toads, France and Russia. Sarraj is supported by Italy, Turkey, Qatar and officially also Germany. Pindostan seemed committed to Sarraj, but has recently tended to support Haftar again. The goals pursued by the various powers are contradictory. Geopolitical and regional political goals are mixed up with economic interests. For example, the conflict between Italy and France is primarily about control over Libyan oil and gas. The country has the ninth largest oil reserves in the world, 48 bb. Italy controls almost half of the market via ENI, the largest oil and gas producer in Libya. Its biggest competitor is the French Total group. France is also dependent on Haftar’s support for its colonial war in the Sahel.

The civil war in Libya would probably have dragged on in this form for years if Russia and Turkey had not intervened. Russian mercenaries of the Kremlin-affiliated Wagner group have recently made a major contribution to Haftar’s military successes. Turkey has sent its own soldiers as well as mercenaries of the FSA to Libya to support Sarraj, who signed an agreement on the “delimitation of spheres of influence at sea” which divides the eastern Mediterranean between the two countries. Basing itself on this agreement, Turkey claims large gas reserves, which Greece and Cyprus also claim. The fear that Russia would gain influence in Libya brought the Euro vassals closer together, and Germany saw its chance here. It had not taken part in the Libyan war in 2011, because it had good economic relations with Gaddafi, and it has had little influence since then. Merkel imitates Bismarck, who cleverly exploited the conflicts between other great powers at the end of the 19th century, and in the guise of an “honest broker” asserts Germany’s neocolonial interests. The Conference and the agreements reached there help Germany establish itself in the country and strengthen its political and economic influence in Africa. Merkel convened a total of 16 states and organizations in Berlin. Macron, Conte, Johnson, Pompeo, Erdogan and Putin all attended. High-ranking representatives also came from the UAE, the Toads and Egypt. The UN and the EU were also involved through their leading representatives. The conference agreed on a 50-point declaration, according to which the ceasefire already established through the mediation of Russia and Turkey is to be extended permanently, the militias are to be demobilized and disarmed, and the existing arms embargo which has already been violated by everyone is to be respected and monitored. There is little doubt that this is only the preliminary stage to a military occupation of the country. EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrel had already told Der Spiegel prior to the conference:

If there is a ceasefire in Libya, the EU must be prepared to help implement and monitor this ceasefire, possibly also with soldiers, for example as part of an EU mission.

Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio also told the German news magazine:

We need a European peace mission. European blue helmets are needed to monitor compliance with the agreement, with a mission on water, land and air.

Demands for a deployment of the Bundeswehr are coming thick and fast from the German media and politicians. CDU chair and Defence Minister Kramp-Karrenbauer declared her support, and CDU parliamentarian Johann Wadephul called for monitoring the implementation of the arms embargo and armistice, saying:

We cannot tolerate Libya remaining a playground for arms smugglers, human traffickers and Islamic terrorists in the long run.

The FAZ commented:

Germany will have to play a major role in both the establishment of security and the construction of a Libyan polity, not only for the sake of its role in Europe, but also because it is in Germany’s interest to spare Libya the fate of Syria.

The German ruling class sees the Libyan conflict as an opportunity to push ahead with the long-propagated return to militaristic great power politics. 79 years after Erwin Rommel landed in Libya to pursue his disastrous Africa campaign, they sense the chance to establish a military presence in North Africa. They are supported by all parties. Not only the governing parties, CDU, CSU & SPD, but also the Greens and the Left Party have enthusiastically welcomed and supported the Berlin conference. There is no doubt that the ceasefire in Libya, if it is concluded at all, is only a breathing space before the war which has already devastated the country, intensifies further. None of the conflicts that are driving the imperialist powers into ever more brutal wars has been resolved. Experts believe that the civil war in Libya will flare up again in a short time. Die Zeit writes:

For both sides, the current situation is militarily and economically unacceptable in the long term. Therefore, a renewed outbreak of major fighting in the coming weeks is not unlikely.

The conflict between Turkey and Greece, which was not invited to Berlin despite outraged protests by the Athens government out of concern for gas deposits in the eastern Mediterranean, has also intensified. Over the weekend, Turkish hackers paralysed the websites of the Greek Foreign Ministry and secret service. Greek hackers retaliated by doing the same to the website of the Turkish Foreign Ministry. The two hostile NATO members have previously been on the verge of war. Besides the struggle for oil, markets and influence, it is above all the intensification of the class struggle to which the imperialist powers are reacting with war and militarism. The mass protests in Iraq and Lebanon have intensified in recent days, despite brutal repressive measures. And in Europe too, especially in France, governments are facing massive resistance.

pluralism is dissent

UK Counter-Terrorism Policing document seeks to outlaw political dissent
Thomas Scripps, WSWS, Jan 21 2020

The UK government’s new Counter-Terrorism Policing document reveals the full scope of political surveillance and suppression intended under the Prevent “anti-radicalisation” programme. The 24-page “guidance document,” parts of which were published by the Guardian on Friday, lists prominent left-wing, anti-war and environmental groups alongside far-right, fascist and white supremacist organisations such as Britain First, the English Defence League and the National Front. The list includes the Stop the War Coalition, the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion, PETA, Stop the Badger Cull, the Socialist Workers Party, Stand Up to Racism and the Socialist Party. In Jun 2019 it was circulated as guidance material via the government’s Prevent programme to selected official committees dedicated to enforcing its policies within the UK’s 5.5m-strong public sector workforce. Employees are required by Prevent to report on members of the public who they suspect are being “radicalised” by extremist and terrorist organisations, especially children. A senior teacher who received the document in Prevent training told the Guardian:

The document is extraordinarily vague, and leaves a great deal down to the interpretation of the individual member of staff. Clustering relatively innocuous groups like Greenpeace and CND in with genuine extremist groups seems to imply that these organisations are on the radar of the counter-terrorism police and should also be interpreted as such by the teaching staff coming across them.

Revelations about the counter-terrorism document have produced a public outcry. Many of the listed organisations have issued statements of protest since Friday. Extinction Rebellion, which advocates “peaceful civil disobedience,” issued a statement warning of the guide’s “chilling effect.” XR wrote:

This labeling of ordinary people concerned about the environment is deeply concerning. In the past few months, we’ve seen cases of people being banned from political conferences, asked to keep quiet at work and investigated by employers for speaking out against company policy and taking days off to go on strike.

The Stop the War Coalition, which in 2003 organised the biggest anti-war protest in UK history, condemned what it described as its “totally groundless inclusion” in the document “alongside violent neo-Nazi organisations.” They continued:

This reinforces the concern we have long expressed about the Prevent initiative, that it would be used more widely against groups critical of government policy. We intend taking urgent steps to ensure the removal of all reference to Stop the War and other progressive organisations from this and other Prevent and anti-terrorism documents.

Animal rights group PETA’s director, Elisa Allen, said:

This appears to be a sinister attempt to quash legitimate campaigning organisations — something that is as dangerous as it is undemocratic.

Sabby Dhalu, Stand Up to Racism co-convenor, said:

We have already seen Prevent used to target the Muslim community and undermine democracy and free speech in schools. The targeting of legitimate non-violent campaigns means the right to protest is now genuinely under threat. We have already seen heavy-handed policing of protests and infiltration of progressive campaigns by security forces. Where will this process end?

The targeting of left-wing, anti-war and environmental groups by UK Counter Terrorism police is part of a policy framework agreed at the highest levels of the British state for mass surveillance and the abrogation of fundamental democratic rights. Anyone referred to the police via Prevent is immediately assessed as to whether he or she is at risk of radicalization and added to a database. Last October, the human rights group Liberty noted that a police database with full access to Prevent records was “being used to monitor and control communities.” An organisation’s listing in counter-terror documents can be used as a pretext to deny it use of public and private meeting spaces or to censor its writings. A Dec 2015 document titled “Councils’ role in preventing extremism” reads:

The Prevent team has also worked with staff and managers in charge of bookings at local community and private venues to make sure they are informed of the Prevent processes and understand how to block people who may be intending to use the spaces for malicious purposes.

Universities have also restricted access to texts in deference to Prevent. This amounts to a severe restriction on the right to free speech and political expression. Counter-Terrorism police claimed that their document was not meant to brand “all” the groups it features as extremist, pointing to a section that reads:

Not all of the signs and symbols noted within this document are of counter-terrorism interest.

However, as the Guardian has noted, this disclaimer appears only alongside a set of historical and religious symbols used by white supremacists, and does not appear alongside the logos of left-wing and environmental groups. After listing all the groups in its counter-terrorism guidance, the final page of the only published section of the document, a five-page “poster,” reads: “How can I report any concerns identified via this document?” It directs readers to file an online report or call an anonymous police line. The entire report is cloaked in secrecy, with only a five-page “poster” featuring insignia associated with the listed groups, which has been published in the media. Counter-Terrorism Police refused to provide us with a copy of the report, telling our reporter:

We are not sharing the guidance document.

The Home Office refused to provide a copy of the document, telling our reporter it was a matter for Counter-Terrorism Policing. When our reporter replied that police and security agencies are both subordinate and answerable to the elected government, a Home Office spox replied that Counter-Terrorism Police were “operationally independent from Government.” Neither Counter-Terrorism Police nor the Home Office were willing to offer any legal basis for withholding such a document from the press. The wholesale listing of left-wing, anti-war and environmental groups on what amounts to a terrorist watch list points to the dangerous evisceration of democratic rights over the last two decades. Prevent was introduced alongside a raft of legislation by Tony Blair’s Labour government in 2003 in the context of the imperialist invasion of Iraq and under cover of the “war on terror.” Its remit was widened in 2011. In 2015, legislation made it a statutory duty for school, local authority, prison and NHS staff to report any individual deemed vulnerable to radicalization. The current guidance document prepares the way for categorising any and all political opposition as a form of terror-related activity, with all the draconian consequences that follow, including pre-charge detention for up to 28 days.

Prevent has met with protests from civil liberties and human rights groups and academic and public sector workers. Just as the Counter-Terrorism Police guidance document was being revealed, a statement released by human rights charity Cage, signed by more than 100 academics, campaigners, and community organisers, demanded the scheme be abolished. Most criticism has focused on Prevent’s demonisation of Muslims. But while the scheme undoubtedly targets Muslims, we have always insisted that its primary purpose was to establish the architecture for mass political repression directed against the whole working class. Under the catch-all term “radicalisation,” Prevent establishes two deeply anti-democratic legal precedents. First, it makes the suspected thoughts and opinions of individuals, not their actions, a basis for surveillance and repression. Second, it puts far-right and religious extremism and terrorism, carried out by small and popularly despised groups, often acting under the protection of the security services, on a par with mass democratic political sentiment as represented by left-wing, anti-war and climate change movements. This has been the underlying motivation for Prevent from the beginning. It has now been brought to the fore by Boris Johnson’s Tory government in response to a global resurgence of class struggle and in preparation for vicious attacks on the working class. This is the common agenda of the ruling class everywhere. In Germany, the Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution) has reanimated the Nazi legal conception of Willensstrafrecht (punishment for thought) in making the German section of the IC4I an object of state surveillance as an “extremist” group for supposed “crimes” such as opposing imperialism and war and basing its policies on the class struggle. The same conceptions animate the ongoing revision of the UK government’s Counter-Extremism Strategy, which will look to criminalise non-violent “extremist ideology” for the first time. A report published last September for this review by the government’s Commission for Countering Extremism listed views such as these as examples of “extremist” thinking:

  • “The greatest threat to democracy has always come from the far-right.”
  • “We should always support striking workers.”
  • “Capitalism is essentially bad and must be destroyed.”
  • “Industry should produce for need and not for profit.”

The logical outcome of these policies is a state of dictatorship, in which all political dissent is criminalised. The ruling class is on a crash course with imperialist war abroad and revolutionary upheavals at home and is assembling all the repressive power of the state in preparation. The international working class must take heed and place the demand for democratic political rights at the centre of its growing strikes and protests around the world.

anglo-nazism circles the wagons

BBC’s Hall to step down ahead of crunch funding talks with British government
Paul Sandle, Reuters, Jan 21 2020

LONDON – The BBC’s most powerful man will step down in six months to allow a new person to lead negotiations with Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government over a financing model for the publicly funded broadcaster. Director General Tony Hall said he would leave in the summer after seven years at the helm of Britain’s biggest news provider, its most powerful cultural institution and the voice of the country to millions around the world. His successor will have to fight for the future of the organization and its funding model, which some critics say is outdated in the era of subscription services such as Netflix. Johnson has questioned if the 98-year-old corporation should continue to be supported by an annual fee paid by all viewing households regardless of how much they use its services. Hall, who was appointed director general in 2012, said one leader should oversee both a mid-point charter review in 2022 and a 2027 renewal. Hall, 68, said in an email to staff:

It must be right that the BBC has one person to lead it through both stages. As our country enters its next chapter it needs a strong BBC, a BBC that can champion the nation’s creativity at home and abroad, and help play its part in bringing the UK together.

With everything from news broadcasts and shipping forecasts to sci-fi dramas such as “Doctor Who” and natural history documentaries pioneered by David Attenborough, the BBC has shaped British culture for almost a century and is seen as one of the country’s key levers of soft power. But in recent years, the Beeb, as it is known in Britain, has come under criticism for awarding extravagant salaries to its stars, paying some women less than men and for what some politicians say is a London-centric bias. It is funded by what is in effect a $154.50/yr “license fee” tax on all television-watching households. Its TV, radio and online content reaches 92% of the population. The director general, who joined the BBC as a news trainee in 1973 and led its news operations from 1996 to 2001, had to restore public faith in the broadcaster after a historic sex abuse scandal. He agreed to a new funding deal in 2015 but had to take on the funding of the license fee for over-75s, a big hit to its finances. Since then, he has clashed with the government over funding and the BBC has faced accusations of political bias from the government, the opposition Labour Party and Scottish nationalists. Hall, who will next become the chairman of London’s National Gallery, defended the BBC in his email to staff. He said its values had never been more relevant but that the organization had to keep adapting.

In an era of fake news, we remain the gold standard of impartiality and truth. What the BBC is, and what it stands for, is precious for this country. We ignore that at our peril.

Johnson said on the campaign trail last month he was “certainly looking at the license fee.” The BBC has long argued that the fee allows it to deliver hard-hitting and diverse news and entertainment to the whole of the UK while remaining independent from the state. Hall floated the notion last year that the license fee could be replaced with a Netflix-style voluntary subscription model after 2027, but he warned that the broadcaster would have to reduce the breadth of its output under such a model, writing:

It would be very, very different to the sort of BBC you have now, because you would be giving subscribers what they want, not the breadth of the population.