I just can’t believe what’s happening before our eyes. I’m talking about Ukraine.
My disbelief is not related to Vladimir Putin’s relatively restrained assault on his beleaguered neighbor. Yes . . .“relatively restrained.”
(I see no need here to obscure my point by joining the chorus of Putin haters – just as there was none to join haters of Castro, Milosevic, Noriega, Chavez, Ortega, Maduro, Gaddafi, or the other innumerable “Emmanuel Goldsteins” identified as objects deserving of our de rigueur, periodic two minutes of hate.)
No, my disbelief is more about the fact that after being fooled in Vietnam, Iraq and elsewhere, so many Americans have been roped into somehow thinking anyone in this country has the moral authority to criticize any “war crimes” or perceived violations of “democracy” — as directed by the CIA!
In fact, by despicable U.S. standards, Putin is absolutely justified in his assault on Ukraine. By those criminal canons, Russia deserves its own Monroe Doctrine, its own buffer zone against a hostile and Russia-phobic NATO, its own sphere of influence. And unless we’re out in the street denouncing what “our” government routinely does and is currently doing in the world, we have no right to utter a syllable of protest about Mr. Putin. Not a single syllable!
War crimes? Are you kidding me? Think about those our current government is committing and supporting in Yemen, Afghanistan, Palestine, Libya, Somalia, and who knows where else. Think about its use of the cluster bombs it now decries. Think about its shooting contaminating nuclear waste at enemies du jour. Think about its use of agent orange and white phosphorous – both chemical weapons. Think about its rejection of World Court jurisdiction when there’s all those questions about U.S. war crimes.
All of that makes Putin’s gambit in Ukraine look absolutely statesman like. That’s compared (to take just one example) to U.S.routine “shock and awe” devastations. Putin’s crimes are nothing like the levelling of Iraq’s Fallujah.” Civilian casualties in Ukraine don’t even approach the million Muslims the U.S. military has slaughtered in Iraq alone – not to mention the million children who will die this year because of U.S. sanctions now operative in Afghanistan.]
Face it: our troops and government are out-and-out butchers compared with Putin’s.
That can’t be said too strongly.
And as for democracy, Putin’s system is no less democratic than ours. Are you aware of our new Jim Crow laws (supported by a criminally cooperative Supreme Court)? Think about how the system rigs elections to disenfranchise the poorest among us.
And you’re telling me that given the corruption legendarily involved in American electoral politics (with its interminable campaigns, demonstrably mendacious ads, gerrymandering, voter suppression, hackable voting machines, dark money, bribes in the form of “campaign contributions,” and the absolutely silly “politicians” that emerge to represent their donors – you’re telling me that we want Russia or China to follow suit?)
Our ignorance is not only blind, but arrogant!
Of course, Putin, like other heads of state in the capitalist world (the only one we’ve got), represents the rich elite. For that reason, as I’ve tried to show elsewhere (here, here, here, here, and here) his authority is no more legitimate than Joe Biden’s. Yes, that’s the hard truth: if Putin’s authority is somehow de-legitimized, so is Biden’s.
Neither of them nor U.S. clients in Europe and throughout what is laughably called the “free world” cares a wit about people like you and me – much less about those with darker skins and emptier wallets.
With all of this in mind, think again about our collective stupidity. . ..
When was the last time you believed someone who told you that he makes a living by telling lies? You think you’re too smart for that, I’m sure.
But that’s what’s happening relative to Ukraine.
You know that, right?
I’m referring to the words of former CIA head, Mike Pompeo. Remember how he joked and bragged about that. He actually said, “We lied, we cheated, we stole all the time. We take entire courses about. . .. Ha, ha, ha!”
Well, the joke’s on us if we believe a single word coming out of Langley. In view of Pompeo’s words and reams of evidence supporting their truth, why would we ever think otherwise? Why would we ever not draw the conclusion, “If the CIA (or our government!) says ‘black,’ it’s definitely got to be ‘white.’”
Who wouldn’t draw the conclusion, “If the CIA’s involved on Ukraine’s side, Putin can’t be all that bad?”
That’s a serious question, because, of course, the CIA is deeply involved with the Ukrainian situation.
What I’m saying is that we’ve got to wake up. Sadly, this is the way the world works. “Great powers” – including Russia, China, and (in spades) the United States always act just the way Putin does — just the way U.S. presidents always have. If we accept borders and sovereign states, great powers, lesser powers, imperialism, and client states, this is what we have. Great powers (especially the United States) only selectively respect international law.
That’s the system that needs identification, rejection, and overthrow.
So, what’s called for is not rending our garments over the crimes of Vladimir Putin, but over those of our own government – of the entire capitalist system for that matter. Those are the ones we can do something about.
So, it’s time to shut up about Ukraine. Correlatively, it’s well past time to get out into the streets over our own war crimes and assaults on democracy not in a single country, but throughout the world and especially here at home.
Black Lives Matter may represent the largest social movement in American history. So, it has a lot of powerful very scared.
Over the Memorial Day weekend, I had a couple of discouraging encounters with “liberal” opponents of Black Lives Matter. They had vague issues with the organization’s “funding,” “corruption,” “hypocrisy,” and “policy” such as defunding the police.
In one case, circumstances forced me to listen to a podcast of the type just mentioned. It was extremely critical of BLM – all in the name of independent thinking, balance, fairness, neutrality, and self-criticism. However, the liberals in question had no alternative to BLM. And so, in effect, they had joined forces with the right wing and status quo which gladly embrace such “fair-minded” liberals to keep blacks and browns in their place.
The syndrome is familiar. Any successful progressive organization or leader will be subject to such denigrations, personal attacks, “revelations,” and throwing the baby out with the bathwater. They did it to King; they did it to Gandhi; they did it to Jesus. It’s all an ancient right-wing strategy defending the putrid way things are.
Progressives have got to decide which side we’re on. Are we on the side of the victims of white supremacy or not? (And yes, contrary to the official story, there are victims in this world — victims of “our” policy!)
The truth is that if we’re not with BLM, we are against it. Why give and comfort to the fascists and make the perfect the enemy of the good?
What on earth are Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema thinking by resisting the voting reforms of HR1 and the Pro Act? They’re allowing Republicans to fix all future elections. Face it: Manchin and Sinema are really Republicans. Contrary to post-election happy talk, the Democrats really don’t have control of the Senate. Manchin and Sinema should be primaried.
What we studied as U.S. history in school was in reality Confederate history – no true account of slavery, labor movements, women’s struggle for the vote, or indigenous slaughter.
And those Confederate statues? Imagine what we’d think if Germany celebrated Nazism like that — statues of Hitler, Goering, Himmler, Eichmann. . . You won’t find monuments like those in Germany, but you will find their equivalents all over this great country of ours.
And what’s with all this anti-Russian and anti-Chinese propaganda? Everything nefarious that happens especially in the fields of “cyber-attacks,” Covid-19, and election improprieties is “potentially” linked to China or Russia (and “reportedly” to their governments). Where’s the evidence? Don’t be fooled. It’s all CIA B.S.
Never forget what CIA head, Mike Pompeo, said about the CIA. He admitted that they lie, cheat, and steal all they time. The CIA offers its spooks entire courses on the topics. The CIA and its agents are not our friends. Never were.
Neither is the U.S. military. We shouldn’t be proud of it. Never forget what MLK said about our country. “It’s the greatest purveyor of violence in the world.” Should we be proud that our children are part of such a gang? Yes, it’s a huge gang.
At last count, “we’re” now fighting seven wars (Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Niger, Yemen, Somalia – and who knows where else?). Do any of us care? The people under our bombing attacks do.
Tell me: is it better to deal with terrorism by killing alleged terrorists in those countries just mentioned (along with their children) or with re-education camps like the ones our “leaders” are so outraged about in Northwest China? (Actually, we know nothing about those camps.) Think about that.
“We” maintain 800 military bases throughout the world. Do you know how many extra-territorial bases China has? One! One!!
We drop bombs on Muslims every day. China hasn’t dropped a bomb on another country in more than 40 years.
Why was apartheid in South Africa despicable, but not in Israel-Palestine?
The U.S. of A is exactly in the position that Hitler aspired to gain in the 1930s. We control the world by military might.
And long before Hitler, we had already sponsored our own Holocaust (slaughtering more than 100 million indigenous here). It started centuries before Hitler’s atrocious but small by comparison carnage.
Sad to say: it seems the world would be better off in so many ways without the U.S.of A.
Does the evidence show that the Sandinistas may well have been right in identifying us Yankees as the “enemy of mankind?”
Readings for the 24th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Sirach 27: 30-28:7; Psalm 103: 1-4, 9-12; Romans 14: 7-9; Matthew 18: 21-35.
This week’s readings are about forgetting and unforgetting. They emphasize our tendencies to remember, rehearse and perversely treasure wrongs done to us, while denying, ignoring or dismissing those we’ve done to others. The wrongs in question can be both personal and/or political.
For today, let’s leave aside the myriad personal grievances we all nurse.
Instead, let me focus on political resentments and point out that this week’s selections are especially relevant to an interview many of us may have seen last week on Amy Goodman’s Democracy Now. The telecast spent time with Salvadoran journalist Roberto Lovato who has just published his own memoir called Unforgetting: A Memoir of Family, Migration, Gangs, and Revolution in the Americas.
Problems at the Border
In tune with our readings, the book addresses the topic of our collective amnesia about the true causes of immigration problems and their uncomfortable cure. In Lovato’s case, both remembering and forgetting connect more than four decades of destructive U.S. policy in Central America with the refugees and asylum seekers at our southern border mostly from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Those three countries, Lovato pointedly recalls, were absolutely destroyed by counter-insurgency wars that go all the way back to 1932.
Without “unforgetting” those disasters, the author insists, we can understand neither the border crisis nor the gang phenomenon that causes it.
To begin with, Lovato reminds us why almost no one outside El Salvador remembers “la matanza” of ‘32. Instead, that massacre along with its more recent reprise at El Mozote in 1981, have been shoved down our Orwellian memory hole by the U.S. and Salvadoran states whose very job is to destroy records and manufacture the mass amnesia that afflicts American culture.
Similarly, very few of us connect our contemporary border crisis with U.S. Central American policy during the 1980s. Virtually no one links the Central American policies of the Carter, Reagan, Bush I, Clinton, Bush II, Obama, and Trump administrations to immigrant prisons and baby jails.
Nonetheless, on Lovato’s analysis, the connections are there for the rescue. La matanza, he says, was one of the most violent episodes “in world history in terms of the numbers of people killed per day, per week, in a concentrated place.” The massacre at the hands of a U.S. supported military government killed thousands upon thousands of mostly indigenous Salvadorans.
As for El Mozote, some can still remember that horrendous U.S. crime where nearly 1000 unarmed Salvadoran villagers were slaughtered by U.S.-trained forces.
In fact, El Mazote encapsulates the entire disaster of American policy towards Central America foreshadowed in la matanza and resumed with a vengeance all during the 1980s. Under its aegis, entire towns were destroyed; homes were set ablaze and jobs destroyed; families were decimated; sons and husbands were killed; wives and daughters were systematically raped; union leaders, social workers, and teachers along with liberationist priests and nuns were assassinated without pity.
Disgracefully, much of the destruction was financed by CIA operations that flew narcotics from Central America to Florida and carried guns and ammunition back to U.S.-supported terrorist troops in Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras – not to mention the Contras in Nicaragua.
And of course, in the aftermath the militarily decommissioned terrorists continued their lucrative involvement with narcotics. They became the drug gang kingpins and foot soldiers who in turn have driven so many families northward.
All of that, Lovato repeats, must be “unforgetted” if we North Americans are to have any hope of solving our problems of immigration, gangs, drugs, and social justice. Our country owes extensive reparation to Central Americans.
So, with all of that in mind, please consider this Sunday’s selections. On the one hand, they centralize the divine amnesia of Jesus’ Great Father-Mother God regarding our personal and communal shortcomings that some refer to as “sin.” On the other hand, our Divine Parents’ compassionate forgetfulness is contrasted with our own petty preoccupation with the way we imagine others have somehow done us wrong.
Sirach, the Psalmist, Paul, and Jesus all remind us of how easily we forget the way we’ve abused “strangers” (like those at our border) whom the Master identified as our very sisters and brothers. Ironically, unforgetting them is the karmic key to our own forgiveness and liberation.
In any case, what follow are my “translations” of today’s biblical excerpts. You can find the originals here to see if I’ve got them right.
Sirach 27: 30-28:7: Karma is a Law of the Universe. LIFE will treat you as you treat your neighbor. If you’re vengeful, you’ll inevitably experience others’ revenge. If you’re always angry, life will seem cruel. But if you’re forgiving, Life itself will forgive you. So, forget about your own fictitious wounds. Instead practice forgetful mercy, forgiveness, and compassion. After all, life is short. Vendettas will mean nothing to you on your deathbed.
Psalm 103: 1-4, 9-12: Our Divine Mother herself sets the example. She is patient, forgiving, kind, generous and compassionate. She doesn’t remember any of our faults – not even grave “sins” we fear may have destroyed our lives. Far, far from such guilt, it’s as if she never witnessed our shortcomings at all.
Romans 14: 7-9: Practicing such forgetfulness, none of us will have anything at all to fear from death which will simply be surrender to the One in whom we have always lived and moved and had our being. This is what Jesus himself showed us by the example of his own life.
Matthew 18: 21-35: When Peter asked him about the limits of forgiveness, Jesus said there are none at all. “Or maybe” (he joked) “you can stop forgiving after the 490th time – but be sure to keep track, Peter, as I know you will. Don’t let yourself go over 500.” (He said that with a gentle smile.) “In any case, remember what Sirach said about karma. If you’re generous to others, Life will treat you kindly; If not, you’re creating your own tragic misfortune – and that of your entire family. It’s you, not God who creates your inevitable destiny.”
Yes, Karma is a law of the universe. All the world’s great spiritual traditions teach that simple profound truth. What we do to others will eventually come back to haunt us. There’s no getting around it.
The problems experienced at our borders are simply blowback from our country’s own criminal missteps in the world. While we imagine that we’re threatened and wronged by those at our border, simple unforgetting reminds us that we’re actually the ones who have victimized the ones seeking refuge and asylum. Actually, we have nothing at all to forgive them. Instead, we owe them enormous repair.
No, it’s the ones at our border who have so much to forgive us. So far, they’ve been generous in doing so – well beyond the 500-mark specified by Jesus. Both our karmic liability and our debt of gratitude to our southern siblings are huge.
We’re indebted to Roberto Lovato for helping us unforget all of that.
This is a follow up to my recent posting entitled “Beware: Conspiracy Theorists May Be Prophetically Correct.” There, in the context of my weekly Sunday Homily, I cautioned against “cancelling” OpEdNews authors who espouse so-called conspiracy theories and who use editorially objectionable terms like “Deep State.”
In this present submission, I want to reiterate (in more detail than previously) why I think conspiracy theories with their references to Deep State are not only valuable and necessary. They correct officially disseminated misinformation by agencies such as the CIA whose programs have the expressed intention of deceiving the American public and shaping world opinion accordingly.
After all, it was CIA director, William Casey, who said infamously, “We will know that our disinformation program has been successful, when everything (emphasis added) the American people believe is false.” More recently, another former head of the CIA, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, bragged that the Agency “lies, cheats, and steals” all the time. In fact, he said, the CIA educates its personnel with entire academic courses on how to do so effectively.
Given those official admissions of deceptive intent, is it any wonder that so many of us espouse alternative explanations for events such as the Kennedy and King assassinations, 9/11, the alleged suicide of Jeffrey Epstein, or the real reasons for world-wide shut down in the face of COVID-19? Should we be surprised that many speculate about the true power of the CIA and other actors who together might well constitute a shadow government often referenced as the Deep State?
With Mike Lofgren and others, I argue here that the evidence for such hidden power is staring us in the face. It has given many of us exceptionally good reason to reject mainstream media (MSM) sources of information in favor of those I’ll list at the end of this piece.
Conspiracy Theories Defined
So, let me begin with full disclosure: I myself believe in conspiracies. (There, I’ve said it.) I do so because I’m a rational person who endorses the rule of law. And that’s my starting point – the often-ignored fact that conspiracy theory constitutes a legal category.
Juridically, the term refers to criminal activity planned by more than one person. In that sense, conspiracies happen all the time. People go to jail for them. Most often, they’re locked up based, not on some “smoking gun,” but on circumstantial evidence. The latter relies on inference [such as a fingerprint or eyewitness testimony (e.g. of a suspect fleeing the scene of a crime)] to connect it to a conclusion of fact. Classically, convictions rely on considerations of motive, opportunity and means to commit a crime. Again, most guilty verdicts are founded on such indications, rather than on confessions or video recordings.
With those factors often ignored, the popular understanding of “conspiracy theory” has come to refer to unfounded explanations of events that depart from those promulgated by sources such as government officials who by their own admission (see above) are committed to comprehensive deception.
This dismissive meaning has taken center stage, all but consigning the legal meaning to irrelevance. Unlike that counterpart, the popular notion of conspiracy typically requires irrefutable smoking gun evidence before it may be (even reluctantly) entertained without derision.
As a result of such double standards, conspiracy theorists are often comically portrayed as reclusive nerds frantically typing their wild insights into their basement computers while wearing hats made of tinfoil to protect their brains from government surveillance and from extraterrestrial mind control.
Deep State Centrality
In this popular sense, conspiracy theories centralize allegations of hidden “behind the throne” powers – sometimes called the “Deep State” – secretly controlling events. While such allegations tend to be dismissed without serious examination, I find them to be basically credible.
By deep state, I’m not referring primarily to “the bureaucracy” – i.e. to career diplomats who remain behind no matter who’s in the White House or Congress. While such bureaucrats play their role in government continuity, they’re not really in control. Neither are they routinely trying to deceive the public. In fact, the vast majority of bureaucrats fit the description of good public servants mostly (naively, I would say) committed to the good of their country.
Instead, my list of those who are really calling the shots has to include the military industrial complex (MNC) as well as big oil, big pharma, private prison corporations, and the mainstream media (MSM) which the latter own and employ. These are the entities that truly have the ear of our politicians who (against the clearly expressed will of their citizen “constituents”) routinely vote against the latter’s interests and programs such as Medicare for all, environmental protection and a Green New Deal, free higher education, debt jubilee (especially for indebted college students) and reallocation of police and military funding to social programs, community policing and infrastructure development.
Ignoring the overwhelmingly popular will on such issues, the powers-that-be pay politicians to vote instead for increased military spending, tax cuts for the already rich, and for the deregulation of industry and finance. They discredit a Bernie Sanders and advance milk toast candidates like Joe Biden who brazenly ignore the interests of their would-be constituents. None of that is even debatable.
However, in global terms, at least according to insider analysts such as ex-CIA official, Robert David Steele and others, the Deep State is much more profound and hidden than already indicated. It embraces, they say:
A small number of families (like the Rothschilds and Rockefellers) in Europe, the U.S., and increasingly in Asia
The Free Masons, Knights of Malta, the Trilateral Commission and the Bilderberger Group
The City of London Corporation
Catholic Church societies such as Opus Dei
Every Central Bank in the World
A semi-unified world intelligence agency that includes the CIA, Israel’s Mossad, and Great Britain’s MI 5 and MI 6 – and probably Russia’s KGB. All of them are more or less on the same side.
These organizations are involved in the real business of the world that (again, according to Steele) centralizes trade in gold, guns, cash, drugs, and in the trafficking of children. In other words, the real sources of international control are deeply criminal.
Official Indications of Deep State Control
There are many reasons for believing that some combination of the above entities control world events and our information about them. Modern motivations begin with Major General Smedley Butler’s War Is a Racket and the warnings and testimony of Dwight Eisenhower regarding the Military Industrial Complex (MIC). Referring to “the very structure of our society,” Eisenhower soberly cautioned, “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex.”
Is there anyone in the country who actually believes that Eisenhower’s warning has not come true? Again, he was talking about the controlling influence of an overwhelming war machine on social and governmental structures. That sounds governmental to me. As such, the MIC persuades Americans to support and fight wars which in our era have become absolutely interminable.
And then we have those officials like Casey and Pompeo who tell us they’re lying. Why on earth would such admissions not deprive their sources of all prima facie credibility? Why wouldn’t anyone take their confessions at face value and conclude that they have no more credibility than a trial witness exposed as an inveterate liar?
Moreover, insiders such as former CIA operatives support those confessions. One CIA tell-all book after another includes details of “unofficial” interference in foreign elections, of secret assassination programs, cooperation with various mafias, support for terrorists, Agency drug dealing, and systematic vilification of social reformers up to and including Civil Rights icons such as Martin Luther King. (On the latter see, for instance, the government’s own COINTELPRO Report, and the findings of the Church Committee.)
Finally, evidence supporting the integration of corporate power and information sources is there for all to see. Mainstream media are unquestionably owned by the rich and powerful. Their analysts are all millionaires. They rarely, if ever, seek out for honest interview representatives of official enemies such as Venezuela, North Korea, or ISIS. Almost never do they allow victims of police brutality or their relatives to speak for themselves. Instead, the MSM’s usual suspects appear again and again: former military generals, police commissioners, corporate executives, and even disgraced politicians such as Colin Powell, Henry Kissinger, and Elliott Abrams.
Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman exposed the syndrome years ago. In Manufacturing Consent and elsewhere they described a fake news system supported by fake history and fake education long before Donald Trump was a significant public figure.
In summary then, you can see why I’ve decided to accept the existence of a Deep State as explained above and to give guarded and critical credence to “conspiracy theories” about the 1963 and 1968 assassinations, 9/11, Jeffrey Epstein, and to entertain doubts concerning official explanations of the current pandemic.
Part of it is explained by autobiographical considerations. Crucially (and for reasons I’ve explained elsewhere) they include and transcend long years of formation as a Roman Catholic priest, extensive travel and extended sojourns in Europe, Brazil, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Cuba, Mexico, Zimbabwe, South Africa, and India. They include study, related reading, and conversations with activists and scholars in all of those places.
Such experience has led me to follow the advice of Daniel Berrigan. Years ago, when he taught at Berea College, he spoke often of reading “outside the culture” – i.e. from sources distant from U.S. propaganda. With that in mind, my trusted sources of political analysis have come to include Third World activists and scholars, particularly in the field of liberation theology with its reliance on analysts like Franz Fanon, Andre Gunder Frank, and yes, Karl Marx. Closer to home, I’ve come to trust Noam Chomsky, Glen Greenwald, Chris Hedges, Amy Goodman, Richard Wolff, Krystal Ball, Cenk Uygur, Medea Benjamin, Naomi Klein, Marianne Williamson, Bill McKibben, and Pope Francis among others. I take seriously what organizations like Extinction Rebellion and the Sunrise Movement say.
Does that mean that I’ve blindly confined myself to some left-wing echo chamber no different from those who depend on Rush Limbaugh, Alex Jones, or Fox News to help them understand the world? I think not. And I’ll tell you why.
In contrast to the right-wing crowd, all of those listed as my sources of information and analysis:
Share my overriding values and aspirations to world community, compassion, and unvarnished truth.
Take science and climate change seriously. (The failure of their opponents to do so ipso facto disqualifies them from serious consideration.)
Are unwilling to entertain the possibility of a suicidal nuclear war.
Have a critical understanding of U.S. and world history; they are not knee-jerk apologists for “America” and American exceptionalism.
Are comprehensively “pro-life” in a sense that goes far beyond (as Pope Francis puts it) exclusive obsession with abortion to embrace opposition to war, poverty, world hunger, capital punishment, houselessness, racism, sexism, and class conflict.
Please tell me if that does or doesn’t make sense and why.
Readings for Pentecost Sunday: ACTS 2: 1-11; PSALMS 104: 1, 24, 29-34; I CORINTHIANS 12: 3-7, 12-13; JOHN 20: 19-23
Today is Pentecost Sunday – the originally Jewish harvest festival that comes 50 days after Passover. The day’s readings remind us that from the beginning Jesus’ Jewish followers were working-class internationalists. Despite their lack of what the world calls “sophistication,” they recognized a unified divine order where barriers of language, nationality, and differentiating wealth were erased.
Before I get to that, let me connect that central fact with perhaps the prominent international and class-based concern in our contemporary context. I’m referring to the demonstrations in Hong Kong and an emerging new cold war between the United States and China. Our Pentecostal readings suggest we should be standing with the Chinese government and not with our own.
China and Hong Kong
Last week I shared a summary of an important debate about China between Matt Stoller and Kishore Madhubani. The debate’s question was: Is China merely a competitor of the United States or is it an adversary or even an enemy? Doesn’t China’s suppression of free speech and free press, of religion and of democracy make it an enemy?
My article held that, all things considered, China is a more genuine defender of human rights than the United States. I won’t repeat my argument here, but it turned on the distinction between bourgeois human rights (private property, contract observance, free speech, free press, and freedom of religion) and socialist rights to work, food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education.
Since the publication of my column, its relevance was highlighted by renewed demonstrations in Hong Kong. There despite a COVID-19 lockdown with its social distancing requirements, demonstrators came out in force last Sunday. They were protesting against new legislation in the territory that would allow officers of the law to arrest protestors for speaking out against the local government or authorities in Beijing.
Whom to Support?
So, the question became how should progressives respond? Even granted the distinctions between bourgeois and working-class rights, shouldn’t leftists seeking consistency and coherence, be on the side of the Hong Kong protestors? After all, they’re described as “pro-democracy.”
Despite such description, my answer would be a resounding “No.”
The main reason for my saying that is related to the class concerns reflected in the above distinctions between bourgeois and working-class rights. The fact is, all demonstrations are not the same. Some are organized against oppressive systems such as capitalism and its prioritization of wealth accumulation and contract obligations on the one hand and its marginalization of workers’ needs to eat, be decently clothed and housed, and to have dignified work and a healthy environment on the other. The Yellow Vest Movement in France and the Water Protectors’ demonstrations against the Keystone XL Pipeline in North Dakota offer examples of protests against capitalist exploitation.
In contrast, other demonstrations are reactionary and directed against specifically working-class reforms. Participants typically support colonialism and imperialism. The thousands in the streets of Hong Kong and Venezuela offer prime examples of such protests. Hong Kong protestors’ waving of Union Jacks signals their preference of the status quo ante of British colonialism. Their appeals for U.S. intervention (with U.S. flags unfurled) express support for imperialism.
(Of course, especially under the guidance of foreign interventionist forces such as the CIA and its sister National Endowment for Democracy (NED), other lower-class social forces such as unemployed and underpaid workers (Marx’s lumpen proletariat) can also be organized by their betters to direct their anger at the class enemy of their bourgeois organizers — in this case, the Chinese government in Beijing.)
The bottom line here, however, is that to be consistent, progressives must oppose not only prioritization of wealth accumulation by financiers, but also anything connected with colonialism and imperialism.
To repeat: not all demonstrations, not all clamoring for “human rights” are created equal. Class-consciousness provides an indispensable tool for distinguishing the causes and demonstrations that progressives should support from those we should oppose.
With all of that in mind, let’s turn our attention to the readings for this Pentecost Sunday. Let’s read them with the same class consciousness I’ve just referenced. Here are my “translations.” You can examine them here to see if I got them right.
ACTS 2: 1-11: Fifty days after Jesus’ New Manifestation as one with all the poor, executed and other victims of imperialism, his fearful working-class followers suddenly found themselves filled with the same consciousness Jesus had. They internalized the Master’s conviction that poor people like themselves could embody his vanguard consciousness heralding the completely new world order Jesus called God’s “Kingdom.” Suddenly on fire and filled with courage, these poor, illiterate fishermen electrified huge crowds from “every nation under heaven.” Despite language barriers their impoverished and oppressed audience understood that God was on their side.
PSALMS 104: 1, 24, 29-34: Jesus shared his Spirit with the poor in order to renew the face of the earth – this earth (not heaven above) filled with magnificent creatures of all types. They’ve all been put here to make everyone (not just the wealthy) happy and joyful. We who identify with the poor are entirely grateful.
I CORINTHIANS 12: 3-7, 12-13: It is the Holy Spirit of Jesus that makes us recognize that he, not any oppressive Caesar, is in charge here on earth. The Spirit’s gifts have been given for the Common Good not for private gratification or foreign control. In fact, all of us are one – as if we comprised a single body. Nationalities are irrelevant. Slavery of any kind is completely passé.
SEQUENCE: So, may we too receive Jesus’ Spirit this very day. May we recognize it in the poor, in our hearts, in the light of our new understanding, in the gifts we’ve received, and in just rewards for our labor. Yes, we’ve been wounded, desiccated and made to feel guilty. We rejoice to know that poverty and misery are not the will of some God “up there.” The Holy Spirit’s will is abundance for all. Thank you!
JOHN 20: 19-23: Following his execution, in his New (resurrected) Manifestation, the meaning of Jesus’ execution by empire became apparent. Having internalized his Spirit, his friends recognized his wounds as badges of solidarity with the poor, tortured victims of imperial powers. They threw off guilt and embraced world peace instead.
Think of today’s readings as they relate to Hong Kong. . . Though recorded two generations after the fact, the Jerusalem events portrayed were extraordinarily revealing. They had people of the lowest classes (no doubt, under the watchful eye of Rome’s occupying forces) – probably illiterates – claiming to be spokespersons for God. And this, not even two months after the execution of Jesus the Christ, who had been executed as a terrorist by Roman authorities. What courage on their part!
The readings, then, remind us of whose side the biblical All Parent is on. In contemporary terms, it’s not the side of financiers, bankers, imperialists or colonialists. Rather, it’s the side of those the world’s powerful consider their sworn enemies – the poor, illiterate, unemployed, underpaid, tortured and executed victims of colonialism and empire.
However, those latter categories represent the very classes that socialism (even “with Chinese characteristics”) rescued from their landlord oppressors in 1949 and that have been under western siege there ever since. Under socialism, the impoverished in China are the ones who have seen their wages and standard of living massively improve over the last thirty years.
Improvements of this type under communist leadership are totally unacceptable to the United States and the “allies” it has absorbed into what it proudly describes as its empire. That empire always opposes socialism and will stop at nothing to make it fail.
Such realizations lead to the following observations about Hong Kong in particular:
As shown by the display of Union Jack and American flags and by signs invoking the intervention of President Trump, the demonstrations in Hong Kong are neo-colonialist, neo-imperialist and neoliberal in their understandings of human rights.
They are seeking the bourgeois “democratic rights” that overridingly prioritize private property and the integrity of commercial rights over the socialist rights championed by the Chinese Communist Party—food, shelter, clothing, jobs, health care, and education.
The fact that ex-CIA chief, Mike Pompeo, is leading the charge in Hong Kong should give everyone pause. (This, especially in the light of Pompeo’s boast and endorsement of “lying, cheating, and stealing” as CIA standard operating procedure.)
In fact, and on principle, any Trump administration defense of human rights should probably drive those with social justice concerns to defend the other side.
Or at the very least, Pompeo’s and the Trump administration’s diverse response to demonstrations in Hong Kong on the one hand and to the (working class) Yellow Vests in France and to indigenous Water Protectors in North Dakota on the other, should raise serious questions.
The bottom line here, however, is that all demonstrations and protests are not created equal. The Pentecost gathering in Jerusalem was a poor people’s international meeting of “every nation on the face of the earth.” It celebrated the Spirit of a poor worker who was a victim of torture and capital punishment by imperial Rome. Its claim was that the Divine World Spirit is on the side of the imperialized, colonized, tortured and executed. “Socialism with Chinese characteristics” is far more in line with that tradition than is neoliberal capitalism.
Progressive followers and/or admirers of Jesus the Christ should keep that in mind as they watch events in Hong Kong unfold.
Sunday’s New York Times carried a thought-provoking editorial by opinion writer at large, Charles Warzel. It was entitled, “Epstein Suicide Conspiracies Show How Our Information System Is Poisoned.” The article lamented the power of Twitter and other social media to spread toxic conspiracy theories reflecting our current culture’s worst “choose your own reality” tendencies.
According to Warzel, Twitter and other versions of social
media have actually “outmatched” the power of the mainstream media (MSM). And
this to such an extent that an FBI field office recently identified fringe
conspiracy theories as a domestic terror threat.
Warzel illustrated his point by focusing on Twitter speculation regarding the Clinton’s involvement in the Jeffrey Epstein “suicide” and on President Trump’s role in advancing the theory. The editorial complained about resulting “dueling hashtags” with their viral accusations of foul play.
The unexpressed message of the whole exercise seemed to be that
conspiracy theories are bad in themselves and that one would do better to
simply accept the more reasonable official story emanating from the CIA, FBI,
and prison officials that Epstein actually did commit suicide as
explained by those official sources. Fevered accusations of foul play are ipso
Others whose opinions have appeared in sources such as OpEdNews have made that point more explicitly. Forget exciting conspiracies, they cautioned, simply accept the boring reality that Epstein killed himself just as we’ve been told.
The point I wish to make here strongly disagrees. I contend
that in cases like Epstein’s mysterious death, conspiracy theories are not only
good; they are inevitable and necessary. Additionally, the overwhelming power
of Twitter and other social media to “outmatch” that of mainstream media
represents the public’s healthy recognition of the fact that the government
officials and the MSM (like The New York Times) are no longer reliable.
Their “official stories” must be presumed false unless otherwise demonstrated
by irrefutable evidence. Such evidence will come to light not by internal
investigations, but by full legal process involving (yes!) conspiracy theories,
discovery and trial.
“Conspiracy” Is A Legal Category
My first point is to recognize the fact that the term “conspiracy”
is not synonymous with fiction or paranoid fantasy. It is a legal term referring
to the crime that occurs when two or more people plan actions forbidden by law.
In other words, criminal conspiracies happen all the time. People go to jail
In fact, “conspiracy theories” are routinely employed by
prosecutors who use them to initiate investigations when such crime is
suspected. Without lawyers’ conspiracy theories, there would never be any criminal
trials involving two or more suspects.
With such theories in mind, prosecutors gather evidence. Some of it is circumstantial or inferential (it’s usually what sparks legal inquiry). Other evidence constitutes direct or “smoking gun verification. Juries and judges evaluate evidence of both kinds. When it is convincing beyond reasonable doubt (based on direct and/or circumstantial evidence), the legal system convicts conspirators and sentences them accordingly.
The bottom line here: It does not discredit a theory to call
Official Stories Are Suspect
My second point is that the public has not merely good, but excellent
reason to discount official theories about, well, EVERYTHING! Think about:
Iraq and Colin Powell’s testimony before the United Nations about the certainty of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction
The New York Times’ endorsement of his testimony as “masterful and compelling”
The literally thousands of obvious lies that our current chief executive has uttered – and how he adds to them each day
Secretary of State (and former CIA chief), Mike Pompeo’s boastful admission that he and the agency he formerly headed lie, cheat, and steal on a routine basis. In fact, he said, the CIA sponsors whole courses for its agents on how to do so effectively. (Imagine a witness at trial admitting on stand that he is an inveterate liar. Would his testimony be taken seriously?)
The testimony of numerous CIA defectors revealing that the CIA has routinely conspired to assassinate heads of state and others considered enemies or persons who know too much
Epstein’s Death Is Welcome
My third point is that there exists reasonable circumstantial and direct motive for suspecting that important people had good cause to want Jeffrey Epstein dead and that he was murdered accordingly. All of them are related in Whitney Webb’s comprehensive historical account of government-sanctioned sex enterprises like Epstein’s. In fact, Webb’s four-part series ends up detailing motives for Epstein’s murder on the part of the powerful including the following:
Epstein was a convicted pedophile who preyed on underage girls. (He even called his private plane “the Lolita Express.”)
Bill Clinton with his checkered sexual history traveled on Epstein’s plane at least two dozen times.
Donald Trump admired Epstein for his taste in younger women.
Trump has been described (e.g. in Webb’s series) as “mentored” by Roy Cohn, another pedophile who used tape recordings and videos for purposes of blackmail.
Alexander Acosta was told to back off prosecution of Epstein because of the latter’s association with “Intelligence.”
It is standard operating procedure for “Intelligence” to film and record sexual deviance for purposes of blackmail and evidence-gathering.
Epstein sponsored frequent parties involving a virtual Who’s Who of world leaders and other celebrities.
The parties were also said to be attended by “call boys” and “call girls.”
Epstein had tapes of sexual deviance, some of them locked in a safe indicating their special content.
Reasons for suspecting that Epstein was killed or purposely allowed
to commit suicide include the following:
Epstein was an extraordinarily important federal prisoner.
After his arrest, he was placed on suicide watch – at least for a time following his apparent suicide attempt last month.
He was sequestered in a highly secure federal prison presumably with special capacities for monitoring inmates on such watch, including video cameras and guards trained for such duties.
Nonetheless, Epstein somehow found himself with a rope, a belt, with sheets or some other material sufficient to hang himself.
He was inexplicably given unmonitored time to accomplish the task.
Where Do We Go from Here?
There is no claim here that the details presented above somehow “prove” foul play regarding the “suicide” of Jeffrey Epstein. However, they do provide basis for reasonable conspiracy theories sufficient (and necessary) to warrant legal indictments – perhaps of Ghislaine Maxwell, Epstein’s reputed procurer of unsuspecting girls. The conspiracy theories in question warrant discovery processes, trials, presentation of evidence, deliberation by juries of peers, verdicts, and eventual clarification of the whole Jeffrey Epstein saga.
Only such legal processes will yield truthful conclusions. Internal investigations by proven and admitted liars will not do. Neither will out-of-hand dismissal of “conspiracy theories” as though the phrase exclusively describes fictional fantasies or paranoid imaginings. As presented by Charles Warzel and others such dismissals simply mean that the theories in question are socially, culturally, and politically unacceptable – too threatening to consider. So, rational analysts should back off.
Actually, as shown above, the theories are good and necessary. And so are the vilified social media through which The People thankfully counteract MSM disinformation and its defense of the given order and the official stories undergirding its undeserved legitimacy.
I could hardly believe my eyes Saturday morning, when I read in Alternet that Jeffery Epstein was found dead in his jail cell of apparent suicide. And I find it hard to believe that he killed himself, especially since he’s been on “suicide watch” since the discovery of apparently self-inflicted bruises on his neck last month. Instead, I suspect he was killed by the CIA. My suspicion is based on my close reading for the past few days of muckraker, Whitney Webb‘s three-part expose´, “The Jeffery Epstein Scandal: Too Big to Fail.”
Webb’s series makes the point that the Epstein pedophilia scandal threatened to blow apart the entire U.S. government house of cards. It opened up a potentially devastating window not only on the sordid lives of Epstein and his close friends, Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, but on the profound corruption of the entire U.S. government and of international politics as a whole. Though connected with the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church, the scale of the Epstein branch of institutionalized child abuse absolutely dwarfs the shameful hypocrisy of justly vilified ecclesiastical criminals.
Epstein’s federal trial was scheduled to begin next summer. This means that the details of his crimes (and, more importantly, those of his high-placed patrons’) would steal headlines at the height of the general election of 2020. The evidence to be presented there is said to comprise more than one million pages.
In the light of what I’ll detail below, one can only imagine the surprises contained therein and whom those pages implicate. And given Epstein’s close association with Donald Trump and the Clintons (not to mention the other billionaire residents of Palm Beach Island in Florida), the trial and evidence presented at that crucial moment would likely have had an impact of the presidential election. Wayne Madsen for one, speculates that it may have already influenced the resignations of several Republicans from the House of Representatives.
Epstein, of course, is the alleged hedge fund tycoon whose central role in a pedophilia network came to light when he was arrested last July on Federal charges of sex trafficking of minors in Florida and New York. Previously, he had been convicted of molesting an underage girl, but had mysteriously served what’s been described as the most lenient sentence in history for crimes like his — 13 months in a county jail during which he was free to leave during the day.
Alexander Acosta, Donald Trump’s Secretary of Labor was responsible for securing the ludicrous sentence, when Acosta served as Attorney General for the Southern District of Florida. On Epstein’s arrest last July, the FBI found hundreds of photos, videos, and recordings of child molestations some of them allegedly involving prominent public figures.
According to Webb’s expose´ , the Epstein story is merely the tip of a dark iceberg much bigger than most of us realize. The darkness below the surface stretches back more than 75 years. It involves not only Epstein, but the CIA, its Israeli counterpart the Mossad, the Mafia as a CIA asset, the mysterious MEGA Group of influential billionaires, many government officials, and other high rollers with familiar names.
Webb’s series unveils what she terms “Government by Blackmail” an all-encompassing political strategy that began at least as far back as the conclusion of the Second Inter-Capitalist War. As the phrase suggests, Government by Blackmail consists in luring heads of state and other powerful world figures into compromising situations (often with underage “prostitutes” of both sexes), filming them in the process, and then using such evidence as leverage to extort huge sums of money, to extract favors and actually shape the world’s political economy. It extended to the Mafia, for instance, a virtual license to kill without legal repercussion.
As an alleged intelligence asset himself (of either the CIA, Mossad, or both) Epstein’s job was to gather the required evidence. To that end, he placed in compromising and seductive situations government officials from across the world. His mansions, private islands, and fleet of jet planes provided the venues. They were the sites of fabulous parties featuring alcohol, drugs, and underage “call boys” and “call girls.” All the locales were equipped with sophisticated recording devices, both audio and video, and two-way mirrors for recording acts of criminal pedophilia and other crimes or embarrassments on the parts of Epstein’s “friends” and acquaintances. Invitees included heads of state from across the planet Donald Trump and Bill Clinton, of course, among them.
But, Webb reveals, Epstein is only the latest iteration of Government by Blackmail. He’s the clone of figures like the Mafia kingpin Myer Lansky, and Lew Rosenstiel (of Schenley distilleries). During the ’70s and ’80s Rosenstiel, Lansky’s close friend, regularly threw what his fourth wife (of five) called “blackmail parties.” According to Webb, the photos and recordings gathered there long kept Lansky out of trouble from the federal government. They also delivered entire cities to Mafia control in the post WWII era. In fact, Lansky entrapped for blackmail purposes, numerous top politicians, army officers, diplomats and police officials. He had photos of FBI director, J. Edgar Hoover in drag and performing homosexual acts.
Rosenstiel’s protegee and successor as blackmailer-in-chief was Roy Cohn, who at the age of 23 was a close adviser of Senator Joseph McCarthy. More importantly, he was also associated with Mafia bosses, J. Edgar Hoover, the Reagan White House and has been described as a mentor of Donald Trump. His mentor!
Simultaneously, Cohn took on the central role in the blackmail pedophile racket Lansky and Rosenstiel had started. As usual, its main targets were politicians often interacting with child prostitutes. That was the source of Cohn’s power. So were his dear friends in high places including (besides Clinton and Trump) Ronald Reagan and his wife Nancy, Barbara Walters, Rupert Murdoch, Alan Dershowitz, Andy Warhol, Calvin Klein, Chuck Schumer, William Safire, William Buckley, William Casey, and top figures in the Catholic Church.
It’s those latter figures that connect Cohn’s pedophile ring as inherited by Jeffery Epstein with the Church’s scandal. It directly involved “the American pope,” Francis Cardinal “Mary” Spellman, and Cardinal Theodore “Uncle Teddy” McCarrick. Father Bruce Ritter’s Covenant House (a multi-million-dollar charity for homeless and run-away boys and girls) was also deeply implicated. In fact, when Ritter’s involvement in sex acts with his underage protegees came to light, it was secular powers more than ecclesiastical forces that rallied to his defense.
Another pre-Epstein blackmail king was Craig Spence, a former ABC News correspondent who became a prominent DC lobbyist and CIA agent. All during the 1980s he provided child prostitutes and cocaine for Washington’s power elite. For purposes of blackmail, Spence used the now-familiar devices of video cameras, tape recordings, and two-way mirrors. His little black book and “favor bank” records have been described as involving a Who’s Who of Washington’s government and journalistic elite, this time including Richard Nixon, William Casey, John Mitchell, Eric Sevareid, John Glenn, and key officials of the Reagan and George H.W. Bush administrations, as well as media celebrities and military officers. According to the Washington Times, during the Bush administration, Spence had permission to enter the White House late at night to supply “call boys” to top level officials there.
Significantly, in the light of Epstein’s demise, just shortly before his death (also quickly ruled a suicide) Spence expressed fears that the CIA might kill him — apparently for knowing too much about connections between Nicaragua’s Contras and CIA cocaine smuggling to support them. But according to Spence himself, his knowledge went much deeper. Shortly before his similarly alleged suicide, he told Washington Times reporters: “All this stuff you’ve uncovered (involving call boys, bribery and the White House tours), to be honest with you, is insignificant compared to other things I’ve done. But I’m not going to tell you those things, and somehow the world will carry on.”
The Contra connection shows how in all of this, the Great Enemy of the hidden powers described here (involving the White House, CIA, FBI, Mafia, Mossad, powerful lobbyists, “fixers,” and billionaire political donors) was socialism and communism. The latter’s world project was 180 degrees opposed to governance by the moneyed elite as represented by the blackmail project of Epstein and his predecessors.
And so, it was important for blackmailers to support the prosecution of Ethel and Julius Rosenberg, back McCarthyism and J. Edgar Hoover, to undermine the Soviet Union, attack Cuba and Fidel Castro, protect organized crime bosses, and to make sure that projects like the Sandinista Revolution of 1979-90 failed. To those ends, it was even more important to inveigle left-wing politicians and officials from socialist countries into the international blackmail dynamic described here.
As for Epstein himself, following Cohn’s death (from AIDS) in 1986, he quickly took up his mentor’s mantle. As described earlier, Epstein became an FBI informant in 2008 — yet more evidence of the agency’s long-standing involvement with and protection of pedophile rings for purposes of blackmail.
In summary, the Epstein scandal has finally made public a decades-long pedophilic blackmail operation at the highest level. Ultimately run by the FBI and CIA, (i.e. with the knowledge, approval and participation of law enforcement), it has involved prominent politicians, businessmen, police and military officials, celebrities, and ecclesiastical officials. The scandal has touched the current U.S. president and may still bring him down.
In the meantime, it has left behind a trail of broken lives in the persons of the children exploited for the pleasure of old white men whose debauched proclivities have been parlayed into economic and political power. On Epstein’s watch, the operation has spread to Central America and beyond, becoming truly international in the process.
During the 2016 presidential campaign, Pizzagate fascinated right-wing conspiracy theorists. It alleged that the Clintons were somehow involved in a child prostitution operation run out of the Comet Ping Pong restaurant and pizzeria in Washington, D.C.
If an allegedly debunked (?) Pizzagate theory caused such stir, and if an epidemic pedophilia expose´ within the Catholic Church has brought it to its knees, one can only imagine the revolutionary potential of the documented disclosures that would inevitably have come to light in a Jeffrey Epstein trial. It had potential to reveal pedophilic involvement by public figures far surpassing the scandal in the Roman Catholic Church. It could still bring down not only the Trump administration, but the whole international House of Cards.
Who are we as a nation? What have we become? The answer to those questions should scare the hell out of us. Evidently, we’ve become an absolutely brutal, soulless people – frightening beyond belief.
This time I’m not referring to our “leaders’” moronic denial of climate chaos that menaces the lives and futures of our children, grandchildren, and the entire planet. I’m referencing instead our status as a blatantly terrorist nation that on religious principle (in North Korea) casually threatens to wipe more than 25 million people off the map in a single instant as early as tomorrow. TOMORROW!
Three recent revelations evoke my alarm. One was a statement on October 26th by Mike Pompeo, the director of the CIA. The second issued the next day from the mouth of vice president Pence. The third came the same week with the release of the 50-year-old Kennedy Assassination Papers that put flesh on both statements making them mind-numbingly terrifying.
Consider Pompeo and the assassination revelations first.
At a forum convoked by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Pompeo who has proudly supported torture, and who heads an agency that has sponsored coups, assassinations, and omnipresent black-hole prisons declared that the CIA has to become “a much more vicious agency.”
Those were his exact words! And shockingly, they represent acknowledgment on Pompeo’s part that the CIA has always been vicious. (If it has to become “more vicious,” I guess, in Pompeo’s eyes, it was merely less vicious previously.)
According to Webster, Pompeo’s term means “dangerously aggressive.” Its synonyms are brutal, ferocious, savage, violent, dangerous, ruthless, remorseless, merciless, heartless, callous, cruel, harsh, cold-blooded, inhuman, fierce, barbarous, barbaric, brutish, bloodthirsty, fiendish, sadistic, monstrous, murderous and homicidal.
As descriptors of an extremely prominent agency of the U.S. government, those adjectives could apply to our entire D.C. apparatus, couldn’t they? They could describe us!
Is that what we want to be in the world?
And just how vicious has the CIA been? It’s here that the assassination disclosures come in. They clearly show that from its birth in 1947, THE CIA HAS BEEN A FULL-FLEDGED TERRORIST ORGANIZATION that could hardly be more vicious. In fact, because of its reach and resources, it clearly surpasses the vice of any terrorist group or crime syndicate in the world – including ISIS.
The papers show that in the past the agency has stood ready to kill indiscriminately by sinking ships, setting off bombs, using chemical weapons, and murdering heads of state as its routine modus operandi – all the while covering its tracks and leaving clues that implicate designated enemies like Russia and Cuba.
If the CIA has stood ready to engage in such mass false flag atrocities 50 years ago, and if now Pompeo wants its cadres to step it up, where do you think they will set their limits? Will they fly airplanes into tall buildings? Will they assassinate presidents? Have they?
In other words, Pompeo’s assertions and the assassination papers lend credence to conspiracy theories of all kinds. Fact is the CIA is a conspiracy factory!
That there are no limits to the brutality housed in Langley, the White House or in American souls was made clear by the earlier-referenced statement of Vice President Pence. This self-proclaimed man of God, who had previously identified himself as “a Christian, a conservative, and a Republican – in that order,” recently disclosed the true object of his faith. And it’s certainly not God, love, or the Prince of Peace. It’s nuclear weapons! Speaking at Minot Airforce Base in North Dakota, Pence declared “. . . there’s no greater force for peace in the world than the United States nuclear arsenal.”
What have we become as a people? What have Christians become?
On both counts, we have not only lost direction. Blood-thirsty, brutal, fiendish and monstrous, we have lost our souls.
And remember, those adjectives aren’t my invention. They represent the boastful, carefully-chosen sentiments of the leaders we have somehow allowed to represent us.
Recently I spent an hour and 52 minutes watching “The Interview.” I expected having to grit my teeth through nearly two hours of anti-communist propaganda. After all the film was produced by Sony whose CEO, Kaz Hirai, sits on the board of the CIA think-tank, the Rand Corporation. According to investigative journalist, Tim Shorrock, Sony directly consulted the CIA about the screenplay. Langley gave specific approval to “The Interview’s” graphic assassination scene.
Nevertheless, I justified the apparent waste of time on the grounds that the controversy surrounding “The Interview” had made it a cultural event not to be ignored. President Obama’s initial belligerent remarks about Pyongyang’s (completely unsubstantiated) hacking of Sony’s corporate data seemed hasty to say the least. They had made an international incident out of the release of this light-weight comedy.
North Korea’s response, of course, was predictable. Like Cuba, it has for decades been the object of CIA attempts at regime change and sanction. And the hair-brained method proposed in the film for disposal of President Kim Jong Un was completely reminiscent of past CIA attempts on world leaders like Fidel Castro. Moreover, President Obama’s pivot towards Asia, especially with Okinawa bases under threat of expulsion from Japan, has necessitated a high-profile enemy in the region. And North Korea conveniently fit the bill as enemy du jour. No wonder its leadership felt threatened by what they saw as yet another CIA plot to foment rebellion.
As it turned out, however, “The Interview” came across as a more effective send-up of U.S. culture, politics and the CIA than an indictment of North Korea. Whatever the intentions of its producers, its basic take-away was this: U.S. foreign policy is run by provincials who have no understanding of the regimes they routinely attempt to change. Much less do they grasp those regimes’ historical and political contexts.
In fact, the political understanding of the film’s dumb and dumber protagonists, Seth Rogen and James Franco, is summarized in a single slogan repeated throughout “The Interview,” “They hate us ‘cause they ain’t us.” That’s it – a completely ignorant and self-congratulatory level of analysis whose depth rivals Bush 43’s explanation of 9/11, “They hate our freedom.”
However, contrary to their expectations, Rogen and Franco discover in Kim Jong Un (as portrayed in the film) someone totally like them. He’s a frat boy, shallow, insensitive and entirely obsessed with sex, drugs, and American celebrity culture.
Moreover Jong Un’s crimes mirror those of the CIA itself. That is, according to the Langley, the North Korean president’s policies are reprehensible because they starve his people, keep them under constant surveillance, torture his enemies, and threaten the world with nuclear weapons. He therefore deserves to die.
But as North Korea’s “dear leader” himself points out in the film’s climactic interview, those are the very crimes of which the United States itself is guilty – but on a much larger scale. The Americans, he observes, are not just responsible for starting the Korean War. Their decades-long sanctions on the country along with their unrelenting policy of regime change have attempted to create famine throughout the northern part of the peninsula.
Jong Un might have added that the U.S. is one of the world’s most egregious actors when it comes to cyber-warfare and that NSA surveillance hacks into private communications across the globe not just in a single place. The U.S. also maintains torture sites world-wide; it has more prisoners per capita than any other country (including North Korea). It is the only nation to have used nuclear weapons, and is in the process of modernizing its entire nuclear arsenal.
This means that the decision to kill Kim Jong Un represents a subconscious act of self-destruction. Its logic actually justifies attacks on the United States, whose crimes (once again) mirror and dwarf those of the “international criminal” destroyed at the film’s conclusion. This makes the assassination a kind of suicide by proxy – an expression of a death-wish.
What I’m suggesting is that the film’s (so far) overlooked message is this: They don’t hate us ‘cause they ain’t us; they hate us because we are us. And attacking us is far more justifiable than any attack on North Korea.
All of that makes one wonder about Kaz Hirai. Might he not be a double agent? Perhaps he has cleverly tricked the CIA into approving a self-parody that unwittingly makes a laughing stock of the organization’s criminality and idiocy.
Such satire represents the essence of “The Interview,” whether that’s intended or not.
We’re supposed to believe CIA director John Brennan when he says the 6000 page document is wrong when it indicts him and his organization for lying, brutality, torture, head slamming, crimes against humanity, and sadistic practices such as “rectal hydration,” “rectal feeding” (?), “threatened” rape and execution?
This is the same John Brennan who before his own Inspector General proved him a liar, claimed that the Senate Intelligence Committee Chair, Dianne Feinstein, was wrong about him last July. That’s when she charged that Brennan’s agency tried to undermine her Committee’s investigation of the CIA torture program by breaking into the investigators’ computers.
At that time Brennan contradicted Feinstein with feigned offense and a straight face saying, “Nothing could be further from the truth. I mean, we wouldn’t do that.”
Oh, but now I guess he’s changed. Now we can trust him. He’s telling the truth this time – as head of an organization whose very job description is to dissimulate, equivocate and outright lie.
But that’s not the half of it. In fact it’s less than 10% of it.
You see, Brennan is treating the heavily redacted 600 page executive summary of the Torture Report as if it were the whole thing. However more than 90% of what the Senate Committee found (the worst 90%, we’re told!) will never see the light of day. That’s because our public servants are convinced that if U.S. citizens and the world knew “the rest of the story,” general outrage would know no bounds.
Imagine what that might mean. That is, if we’re all outraged by the “rectal feeding,” “threats” of rape, and by untold numbers actually killed under torture, what do you suppose is contained in the 90% of the report that’s too gruesome to reveal?
Let me offer some suggestions: actual rape, sodomy, burnings, electric shock, routine killings and systemic sadism beyond any practiced in Abu Ghraib.
No wonder Mr. Brennan (like all criminals) claims innocence. No wonder he would rather forget about the past and “look to the future.” Criminal trials and jail time aren’t attractive to any “perps.”
By the way, here’s how to evaluate the torture report and Brennan’s denials. Ask yourself, what if an identical document were published about the “enhanced interrogation” techniques (EITs) of Cuba, Russia, Iran, North Korea, China, or ISIS ? What would we think of such practices then? Would we wonder whether they constitute torture or not? What would the Fox News pundits and politicians say about Russia’s (EITs)?
What value would we give to the official denials of John Brennan’s counterparts among our designated enemies? And why should we believe that their crimes are any greater than those of the CIA – or that our official culture is somehow superior to theirs?