Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Stench Along The Trail

What can I say about 2014?

At best, that it wasn't another 1914 - though not by much. And who knows what future historians might say about that, provided there are any.

It was a year of anniversaries: 15 years ago this March, NATO attacked Serbia (which occasioned a gut-wrenching documentary and a war of images on Twitter and Facebook). A hundred years ago this July, Austria-Hungary had attacked Serbia and set off the Great War.

Vienna had claimed it was a victim of "Serbian terrorism" and was conducting a "punishment expedition" against "bandits." It was a monstrous lie. Austria-Hungary perished in the ensuing cataclysm, though its specter continues to haunt Europe to the present day. It is hardly a coincidence that today's flashpoint - the Ukraine - was also the site of Austro-Hungarian ethnic engineering over a century ago. Or that there is an unbroken line between 1914 and today, running straight through Hitler...

To me personally, the events in the Ukraine were an uncanny re-run of the early 1990s and the demise of Yugoslavia. Even the instigators were the same: NATO, United States, the Atlantic Empire - as was the pattern of fomenting dissent, double standards, and backing Nazis.

There was also the incessant propaganda, as brazen as it was stupid. And yet, the sheer amount of it has generated enough poison that even the critics have not been able to resist the toxic residue. Perhaps the best example of how the media operate has been the "PUTIN KILLED MY SON" hysteria over the Malaysian airliner, which abruptly stopped once the Russians offered evidence to the contrary. Without any acknowledgment of the lies, of course.

You won't hear many challenges to the mainstream media reporting in the supposedly "free and democratic" West. At most you will laugh at the skewering of lies and lying liars in a German comedy show. Yet it should tell you much about the times we live in that only comedians are allowed to challenge the powerful...

Meanwhile, Bosnia and Serbia were hit by some of the worst flooding in a century. Western media only began noticing once tennis champion Novak Djokovic called them out on it - and donated his entire winnings from a tournament for the relief effort. Months later, USAID tried to influence the Bosnian elections by producing TV ads accusing the local governments of embezzling Western flood aid - though such aid never actually came. That election, by the way, was a veritable parade of plagiarism and absurdity.

In 2014, the Islamic State arose in Iraq and Syria, to the great joy of the Empire. Albanians were able to disrupt a soccer game with a drone - the first such attack in history - with impunity. And the U.S. government tried to use "Serbian music promoters" in a failed bid to conquer Cuba - only to abruptly abandon the decades-long blockade in December (while keeping the goal of regime change in Havana).

It was the year Falcon got a graphical update, but I ended up being too busy to wish it a happy 10th anniversary.

The oddest thing is, while I obviously couldn't predict the details of what would come to pass, a month before the Empire-backed coup in Kiev unleashed Hell I wrote this:
"[A]s the great Serbian poet Njegos once wrote, "He whose law lies only in the cudgel, has a trail that reeks of inhumanity."
This isn't about Ukraine, or about democracy, or human rights, or "freedom" - it's about having only the cudgel, and the entire world looking like something to beat with it.
It's about crushing any thought of there being an alternative to the "end-of-history" West.
It's about power.
Just follow the stench along the trail.
So, while I am grateful this wasn't another 1914, I am really glad 2014 is over. And I wish us all a better 2015, with all the help from the Almighty we can hope for. I have a feeling we'll need it.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

I told you so...

It is that time of the year, when one draws the line and tallies up everything that's happened. My overview of 2014 is up today on Antiwar.com.

While I really don't have a habit of saying "I told you so," or even self-promoting much, this passage from last January leaped out at me in the process of writing that article:
As philosopher Alfred Korzybski famously noted, the map is not the territory. Yet both Imperial and EU officials and their regional clients firmly believe that they can magically alter territory by making alterations on the map. Sooner or later, something will put that belief to the test. It may even happen this year.
I would argue this is precisely what the current conflict is all about. The Atlantic Empire asserts it has the sole right to determine reality, right and wrong, virtue and vice, and impose that on the entire world - because of the divine right of "democracy." Russia - and many others - think this is absurd, unacceptable and perhaps even outright evil.

Until now, nobody who wasn't directly under attack made too much of an effort to resist; nobody wanted to become another Serbia, Libya, Iraq, Syria, or any country "improved" by a "color revolution" or two. But now that Russia is under attack, it has no choice but to resist. And others are coming to the realization that "hoping the Empire eats me last" isn't a strategy, but an absence of one.

And when delusions of omnipotence meet the wall of reality, who do you think is going to win? 

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Goal Is Still Regime Change

Last week, when the story came out of USAID's failed “color revolution” in Cuba - using “Serbian music promoters” no less - I thought its airing was just another effort at perception management. For one thing, it was an old story: the initial revelations were made in April. Then there was the fact that everyone was talking about the CIA torture report, so airing this was the perfect way to deflect attention from it, while also ensuring that nobody will pay too much attention to the Cuba fiasco as well.

Instead, the story was a trial balloon for Wednesday's announcement that Washington would lift the embargo on Cuba first imposed during the Kennedy administration.

That's good, right? Uh, not so fast. Consider the phrasing of Obama's announcement: “We will end an outdated approach that for decades has failed to advance our interest.”

Outdated? Why, then, is Washington using the very same approach against Russia, Iran, and other places? Because the US policymakers believe that in those cases, the “sanctions” are working. Just look at the maniacal glee with which Russophobes in the US media are cackling over the manipulated oil price and the equally orchestrated attack on the ruble. Which is, by the way, still a fundamentally stronger currency than the dollar.

So, the blockade wasn't lifted on grounds of the tactic being morally unacceptable for Washington, but because it didn't achieve the desired result (“failed to advance our interest”). That result, however, hasn't changed a bit: it's still “regime change” - in Cuba, in Russia, in any country that continues to believe it is sovereign, free and independent of Washington's commands.

If this all sounds too much like the attitude of the Hunger Games' Capitol towards the rebellious and disenfranchised Districts... well, decide for yourselves whether the resemblance is purely accidental.

Friday, December 12, 2014

"Serbian Music Promoters" and the Failed USAID Revolution in Cuba

Many Americans skeptical of the government give no second thought to USAID. The agency may be spending taxpayers' money overseas, they figure, but at least it's for the purpose of buying the world's goodwill with American kindness and generosity, right?

Little do they know that USAID also produces threatening political ads, and tries to subvert governments through pop culture. Recent reports by AP (see here) indicate the U.S. agency has tried to foment a coup in Cuba by infiltrating the Cuban hip-hop scene. This was part of a broader scheme involving a knockoff of Twitter, some details of which emerged earlier this year. Though some U.S. government officials (e.g. Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy) are blasting the venture as "reckless and stupid," USAID is claiming it was only "developing civil society."

It is certainly interesting that the original round of revelations about the project, supposedly discontinued in 2012, were leaked to the media as everyone was paying attention to the political meltdown in Ukraine this spring - and this story comes while everyone is focusing on the CIA torture report. The best time to "to take out the trash" is when the public's attention is elsewhere...

Notice also that only one person has been identified by name in the whole scandal: one Rajko Bozic, called "a Serbian contractor," though Western media indicate he wasn't the only Serbian "music promoter" working the gig. Turns out Bozic isn't an ordinary music promoter - Serbian papers reveal he was "involved in projects in Tunisia, Ukraine, Lebanon and Zimbabwe." So he is really one of those professional revolutionary types, who go around the world spreading the Imperial gospel of "democracy" and "human rights." This particular lot was chosen because of their role in the Exit Festival, a drugs-and-alcohol-addled extravaganza started in 2000 as part of the campaign to overthrow the government, and continued every year since, at Serbian taxpayers' expense.

But don't believe for a second their "outing" as Serbian is an accident, or an irrelevant detail. Back in 2011, when a damning documentary appeared linking these professional putschists to the so-called "Arab Spring" upheavals in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and Syria, I wrote:
"Branding [them] as Serbian is no accident. Few in the world would be inclined to suspect a Serb of working for the Empire, after everything that happened in the Balkans in the 1990s... Merely defeating and conquering Serbia would not do. The Serbs had to be turned into the Empire’s most dedicated servants: when even a people like that can be so thoroughly crushed, resistance to the Empire must surely be futile."
And while every place that's been touched by these "activists" bears the scars of their involvement, Serbia is actually run by them, and has been for the past 14 years. So great has this "democratic democracy" been, ordinary Serbians are now worse off than during the era of sanctions and war. That ought to tell you everything about the kind of bliss these people - and their paymasters - truly stand for.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Tyranny of Ignorance and Manipulation

How did it come to this?

People riot in the streets not because the police are murdering citizens in cold blood while "just doing their jobs" (with all the banality of evil that phrase is meant to conjure), but because they've been told - and they believed - this was all about racism. Oh by all means, let's have people at each other's throats: that way they will never notice the government boot choking them to death.

I saw an essay today, written by a John W. Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute. commenting on both that and the Senate report about CIA torture. He says:
"We have relinquished control of our government to overlords who care nothing for our rights, our dignity or our humanity, and now we’re saddled with an authoritarian regime that is deaf to our cries, dumb to our troubles, blind to our needs, and accountable to no one."
He may as well be writing about Serbia under the "democratic progressives" (i.e. quislings of the Empire), but he's writing about a former republic still called the United States of America. A country that voted against a UN resolution condemning Nazism, and leads the "defensive alliance" (that has only ever waged wars of unprovoked aggression) now producing propaganda videos claiming there are no Nazis in Ukraine. Because they say so. Perhaps they need help looking?

How did it come to this?

A few years back, a columnist said this about the nature of political correctness, comparing it to Communist propaganda:
"...I came to the conclusion that the purpose of communist propaganda was not to persuade or convince, nor to inform, but to humiliate; and therefore, the less it corresponded to reality the better. When people are forced to remain silent when they are being told the most obvious lies, or even worse when they are forced to repeat the lies themselves, they lose once and for all their sense of probity. To assent to obvious lies is to co-operate with evil, and in some small way to become evil oneself. One's standing to resist anything is thus eroded, and even destroyed. A society of emasculated liars is easy to control." (source)
Think of this as you read the endless media promotion of manufactured scandal, from false rape stories to shrieks of outrage over a shirt worn by a scientist who just landed a probe on a comet. To hell with science, he sinned against political correctness! This cannot stand! 

As soon as the riled-up people begin thinking "Hey, wait a minute, this doesn't compute..." here comes another outrage, another assault on the amygdala, another crass emotional manipulation. The interval between the attacks is progressively shrinking, and soon may disappear altogether. 

How did it come to this?

Perhaps this gem, from Dmitri Orlov, will help you understand: "...there is a limit to how much you can know, but there is no limit at all to how much you don't know but think you do"!

Sunday, December 07, 2014

An End and A Beginning

I've tried "unpacking" the implications of last week's announcement that the South Stream pipeline is no more, in a column for RT, and another for Antiwar.com.

Despite all the wailing and gnashing of teeth, I think the Empire's quisling cult is celebrating prematurely. South Stream's demise was primarily aimed at punishing Bulgaria's treachery, as Gazprom's CEO Aleksey Miller pretty much spelled out over the weekend - but also effectively destroyed all the Western plans to bypass Russia using Turkey.

Andrew Korybko has some interesting thoughts as to why Ankara defected. But I expect Washington and Berlin (Brussels is for show, after all) won't spend much time trying to figure that out, choosing instead to use all means at their disposal to bring the Turks in line. Good luck with that!

As for Serbia, well, notice the Russo-Turkish agreement says nothing as to where the Europe-bound pipes will go through after they reach Greece. Does anyone really think it would be through Albania, a client of Washington ever more than Bulgaria could ever aspire to be? And if not there, then perforce north, through FYROM and Serbia - which would require the stabilization of both, at the very least through the curbing of Washington-backed Albanian aggression. Given that Washington has relied on Turkey (and Germany) to do much of the work in actually supporting the Albanians, while the US sat back and basked in the adulation, let's just say that calculation will now need to be revised.

While it is certainly possible that Russia will just throw Serbia under the proverbial bus, I don't think that's likely. That line about the West wanting to destroy Russia like it destroyed Yugoslavia, in Vladimir Putin's big annual speech, was there very much on purpose. Unfortunately, while I would love to see Serbia take the lead on this, I don't know if the country - infested by the quisling cultists as it is - can muster the strength right now. As one Serbian commentator describes it (link to original, translation mine):
"Looking at Serbia and Russia over the past 25 years, one could say that they are comrades in arms whose mutual understanding has sometimes been better and sometimes worse. But one of them has been left behind, wounded and bleeding out, behind enemy lines. That is why it's Russia's move today, not Serbia's."
Call me naive, but I have faith that Russia will come through. For its own sake, if nothing else. The fact I can't see the signs of it happening doesn't mean it's not in the works: it just means the enemy can't see it either.