Alt Left: An Overview of the Early Years of the Cuban Revolution, 1954-1961

transformer: What do you think of this article Robert? I don’t trust right wing sources but how literate was Cuba back in 1959?

That website is falsely named. It is not an “intellectual” website dedicated to the intellect and the pursuit of knowledge. Sure, it is an erudite, bright, and educated website, but the only intellectuals it appeals to are hard rightwingers. It’s basically the philosophy of your average American conservative Republican. Those sites are run by ideologues, and they are not very honest.

I will try to take apart this argument as best as I can, but if you Google these questions, there are many leftwing websites who offer far better rejoinders than I offer here, especially with more facts, figures, and dates.

That argument is not good because there was vast poverty in the countryside along with terrible health and dental care. There was vast inequality in Cuba. There was quite a bit of wealth in the cities, particularly in Havana, but the conditions in the countryside were awful, pure 3rd World.

To give an example, I believe that there may have been no doctors in Cuba outside of Havana. All of the doctors and dentists lived in Havana serving people with money for cash so they could make a lot of money. The Mafia owned Cuba, and Havana was a sleazefest full of criminals, gangsters, and prostitutes.

Blacks had essentially no rights at all. They actually lived under a strict Jim Crow-like segregation that was as bad as what existed in the South. The Blacks in Cuba were fucked.

The whole country was owned by foreign, mostly US, interests, including the sugar cane and tobacco fields, the cigar and nickel industries and the casinos and bars. A few country-sellers latched onto the large US corporations that ran everything in Cuba and got their fair share of the loot.

But the Cuban people as a whole, meaning the Cuban state, barely saw a nickel of profits from any of those foreign-owned fields and industries. There also was little or no trickle down effect from the foreign-owned industry. Most Cubans felt that Cuba had once more become a colony of the US. After all, it was more or less owned by US companies, right?

Cuba used to be a colony of the US. We stole it from the Spanish after the Spanish American War. US rule was not popular. Jose Marti is known as the liberator of Cuba. He led an insurrection in 1898 in which Cuba gained its freedom. The Philippines was also rebelling at this time.

But after the US left, in 1911, a new law was passed called the Platt (?) Amendment that basically said that the US still ruled Cuba and had a right to intervene in Cuba’s affairs anytime it wanted to.

Even the most rightwing anti-Castro Cubans are not particularly pro-US, and if you bring up that amendment, they’ve all heard of it, and they act angry about. After all, most anti-Castro types are Cuban nationalists. Cubans are very nationalistic and proud people. That amendment remained in place until Castro won the revolution in 1959.

Batista’s army collapsed without even much of a fight because at one point in the revolution, even the middle classes in the cities went over to Castro. When the middle class supports a revolution, you are out of power. Previously the middle class had probably been mostly neutral.

Batista was also horribly corrupt and no one was happy about that. As Castro overran Havana, Batista and his government flew out to the US on airplanes. The US lifted them out. There are still quite a few pro-Batista Cubans in the Cuban community in Cuba. That’s why the Cuban exiles are not popular in Cuba.

A lot of Cubans in the countryside were not literate. Even schooling was bad out there. And Castro did run a literacy program that got the country to 99% literacy very quickly.

Castro was middle or even upper-class himself. He was Galician of almost pure Spanish blood (Cuba is full of Galicians). He had just graduated from law school, and he was in fact an attorney. So he was a very smart guy.

Che was actually a physician! He graduated from medical school in Argentina and was granted a license to practice medicine. I’m not sure if he ever actually practiced medicine. He was also a very smart guy.

Che took a motorcycle tour around Latin America, and he was appalled at the poverty he saw there. He had grown up in Buenos Aires in a moneyed family, and this was a hidden secret about the continent for him. A book called The Motorcycle Diaries was later published using the notes he took as he traveled around South America.

He became radicalized by his bike tour. He heard about the Revolution in Cuba, and he went there to help them out pure idealism with stars in his eyes. Che was also White like Castro and came from old Buenos Aires money. He probably had Italian and Spanish blood at the least, like most Argentines.

He married in Cuba and had a couple of kids before he was murdered by the CIA in a hospital in Bolivia in 1967 after being arrested in the nation for rebellion. He was very good to his wife and young children. The wife and children are still alive. You can even go see his son if you go to Cuba and have the right connections.

His wife and kids remember him very fondly. Che was a selfless and altruistic man. There is a slogan in Cuba: “Be like Che.” It is very popular. It means to be selfless and idealistic and sacrifice for others, to not be selfish and greedy. The slogan is popular among university students in particular. If you go to Cuba, you will hear Cuban university students, male and female, saying that their philosophy is to “be like Che.”

There must have been something wrong with the Batista system because a lot of university students, teachers, etc. took part in the early demonstrations against Batista. At some point, the Left went to the mountains and took up arms.

Either before or after, Batista ran death squads that rampaged through Cuba’s cities, murdering teachers, students, and the unarmed Left in general. They murdered thousands of defenseless and unarmed Cubans this way.

The army would not even fight for Batista. That’s how corrupt he was. In fact, many of the anti-Castro Cubans fought with Castro in the mountains to get rid of Batista, but they turned on him when he went Communist. They felt betrayed. I don’t mind these exiles so much. I have spoken with some of their children. At least they fought with Castro. But they tend to be very bitter. They think they got double-crossed and backstabbed by Castro.

Castro was originally simply a social democrat, and the initial revolutionary program was a social democratic one.

However, it was a very nationalistic revolution, and they started seizing foreign-owned businesses very quickly. The Cubans offered to pay off the owners for the market value of the businesses over a 30-year period. That offer it still in effect. 100% of the people and corporations who got their property taken turned down that offer, possibly out of pride and certainly out of ideology.

So their businesses didn’t really get confiscated. Castro offered to pay full value for them, but these stubborn reactionaries turned down the offer. It’s their own damn fault they lost their businesses.

The seizing of the foreign-owned property went on for a couple of years and was extremely popular among the extremely nationalistic Cubans. So you can see that Castro’s revolution, like Mao’s and Ho’s, was also and perhaps primarily a nationalist revolution.

Castro went to New York soon after he took power, and he was greeted with large crowds of cheering supporters. Castro talked about how much he loved America and Americans. I believe he was sincere. A lot of the US ruling class – the rich and corporations – were very suspicious of Castro from the start. They didn’t trust him. They didn’t hate him. They were just very leery of him.

Castro asked for US support and aid to help rebuild the country, but the US had turned hostile  by then due to the business confiscations and refused to give him a nickel. This went on for a couple of years with each side getting more hardened until Castro finally turned to the USSR in desperation in 1961 for support since the US was flipping him off.

Castro’s argument was that he tried to have a relationship with the US, and we told him to go to Hell, so we forced him into the arms of the Soviets. He sealed an alliance with the USSR in 1961. The US promptly imposed a cruel embargo on Cuba which has been there ever since.

The embargo’s official justification was to cause so much poverty and misery in Cuba that the people would rise up and overthrow Castro. Here it is 60 years later, and we still give the exact same reason for the embargo. If the embargo is intended to cause the people to overthrow Castro, when is it going to start working? So far it’s been 60 years of utter failure, but we keep chasing the White Whale.

Over the next year, Castro grew increasingly radical, and by 1962, he abandoned social democracy, his originally ideology, and took up Marxism-Leninism. After Castro went Communist, a lot of his old comrades turned against him along with many others who were not happy with his turn to the hard Left. These contras took up arms, formed guerrilla bands in the mountains, and waged a brutal civil war that went on until 1970.

Yes, the Cuban government executed 10,000 people between 1959-1970, but almost all were for “rebellion,” typically armed rebellion. There have hardly been any executions since.

Alt Left: Social Democracy Only Works in Homogeneous Societies Is Often but Not Completely True

RL:

The US and a handful of other countries are literally the only countries on this planet that regard social democracy with outrage and want nothing to do with it.

A commenter responds:

Mithridates: Yeah, I suspect much of this attitude stems from the ethnic divisions within the US that no one is ever allowed to talk about in any sort of frank or intellectually honest manner. Of course the Pluto/Mammon-worship inherent in the American mythos is a influential factor as well.

But let’s explore the first:

Basically, Ethnos A, the group responsible for most of the country’s productivity, is forced at gunpoint to redistribute a portion of their wealth to Ethnos B (and C in some regions), and a good portion of Ethnos B takes that money, pisses it away on all sorts of stupid instant gratification fuckery and doesn’t add much of anything to the country’s overall productivity; in fact, a sizable minority of Ethnos B behaves in public like zoo animals.

And then A’s gets called horrible bigots if they object to this, and especially if they object to being forced to live within shouting distance of B’s.

Most of the countries with working social democratic economic arrangements tend to have been ethnically homogeneous for most of the period when these systems were in place. And now these countries have tried the mass immigration experiment, and the same sort of shitty results is happening in those places that we here in the US have been experiencing for many decades now.

Natural Law says that humans are extra-clever social primates who are predisposed to be open to sharing among others they consider to be kin. There’s a certain other Ethnos I won’t mention by name or even a single-letter set of punctuation marks that exemplifies this principle very clearly.

Anyway, expecting all members of an Ethnos to consider the entire planet’s population of clever hominids to be a part of their kin group is quite an aberrant expectation; only weird ideologies can invert what to everyone else is a common sense understanding of Natural Law principles. And finally, loving one’s own kin does not necessarily mean hating other kin-groups.

Of course everyone has always known that this is the dirty little secret for Americans’ hostility to socialism. This is why all of the American White Nationalists are also hardline economic Rightists, Republicans and Libertarians despite this being bad for most Whites. Race trumps economics for a lot of folks. Whereas in Europe, most of the nationalist groups, even the White nationalists, are explicitly socialist.

You’d be pissed to, eh?

Actually I am fully aware of this argument, but I’m not pissed at all. For one thing, I have never been part of the wealthy White group, so Whites with money can go pound sand. They are my class enemies. I think in terms of economics. Screw race. Do the rich Whites want to help the poorer Whites? Of course not. So why should I support them. Also I know quite a few low-income Whites who use those redistributive programs that Whites hate so much.

On the other hand, I am not a typical White person. I am very hard to the Left; in fact, I am an out and out socialist.

Many countries have health care for all despite being ethnically diverse. However, in a lot of these countries, public health care and education is simply underfunded, so the dominant group, whoever they may be, simply goes to private hospitals and schools. India is an excellent example of this as is much of Latin America.

All of the Arab World has social democracy under the rubric of Islam, or in the case of Lebanon, ethnic peace, and Lebanon is unstable for ethnic/religious reasons. And some Arab countries with prominent religious of ethnic minorities are very unstable or at war.

All of North Africa has social democracy except Morocco, although minority Berbers are dealt with by denial of their existence and roping them into the main group, Arabs. Ethiopia has tremendous ethnic diversity and some religious diversity, but they have a good working socialist system. Eritrea is the same but the main divide there is religious rather than ethnic.

Zimbabwe has a good working system although it has many tribes. Argentina and formerly Bolivia and Ecuador has or had working social democracies, although all three countries had serious instabilities; in all cases the rich objecting to sharing with the poor and with a racial element in Bolivia. A number of countries in Latin America do have social democracies, but they don’t work very well because the rich don’t want to share with the poor.

In a number of those countries such as Peru, Venezuela, Brazil, Bolivia, Haiti,and Mexico also have an ethnic element in that the dominant rich group tends to be Whiter or lighter-skinned though not usually White per who don’t want to share with the poorer, darker, folks who are more mixed with Indian and in some cases Blacks.

A number of countries in Latin America have homogeneous populations, but the rich still don’t want to share with the poor, so that doesn’t solve everything. And historically speaking, most nations were quite homogeneous, nevertheless the rich still shared just about fuck all with everyone else and needed an actual revolution to be convinced to do so.

Russia and China has very good working social democracies although they have many minorities, although China and to some extent Russia has some ethnic warfare. Ukraine has a good system despite minorities and ethnic warfare. Vietnam, Cambodia, Bhutan, and Laos have good systems despite having anywhere to a couple to many ethnic minorities. Malaysia has a working social democracy and it has a large ethnic divide. Japan has minorities with an excellent social democracy.

Most of the former Soviet republics probably still have working systems although most have large minority populations.Turkey, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran have social democracies and minority groups. However, in Turkey, Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran are currently embroiled in ethnic separatist wars.

Most of the countries with non-working systems are not only rightwing but also quite poor. Hong Kong is an exception. The government is very rightwing, but there are not ethnic problems. It’s all one ethnic group, but the rich ones hate the poor ones, just as it was traditionally.

Some are just poor. Most of Africa has social democracy, but it often doesn’t work well due to poverty. To some extent this is true in Pakistan, Mongolia, Yemen, Moldova, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Burma, and Thailand. It is also true in Ecuador, Guatemala, most of the Caribbean, Chile, and Paraguay. In these places, social democracy doesn’t work more due to poverty than to diversity.

Alt Left: Refuting Western Media and State Lies about Iran

The Evil Basij Repress the Vast Majority of Iranians

The media in the West says there is this evil group called the Basij who come out and break up every demonstration, no matter how peaceful, with serious violence. Supposedly the vast majority of Iranians are being oppressed by this tiny group of thugs.

First of all, the Basij is simply something like the National Guard of Iran. The Basij has an incredible membership of 11 million men; in other words, an amazing 42% of Iranian men are part of the Basij. The Basij is not some tiny horrible group of monsters oppressing the vast majority of Iranians. The Basij is literally the Iranian people themselves, an army of the people if there ever was one.

Demonstrations, No Matter How Peaceful, Are Not Allowed in Iran and Are Always Broken Up with Violence

This is absolute nonsense. Though Iran is not Cuba where the only people who demonstrate are the Ladies in White – the wives and family members of political prisoners, neither is it China where there are 500 demonstrations every single day.

Instead it is somewhere in between. Nevertheless there are demonstrations all the time in Iran, practically every day, the vast majority of them are peaceful, and nothing ever happens. Khameini himself recently affirmed the Iranian people’s right to demonstrate peacefully about a wide range of issues.

The Peaceful Demonstrations about a Fuel Price Hike Got Broken up by Evil Regime Elements, Killing 1,500 demonstrators

First of all, that death toll is way off. It’s inflated by at least five times. The highest reasonable toll for those killed during the demonstrations is 300. Furthermore, the demonstrations that were broken up were not about the fuel hike, and they were certainly not peaceful. On the contrary, they were extremely violent, and from day one, they were advocating the violent overthrow of the government. In fact, they were actually trying to do just that – violently overthrow the government.

Here’s the truth about what happened.

Yes, there were large demonstrations about the fuel hike. The demonstrations were dumb though. Iranian gasoline is massively subsidized by the state to the point where Iranians  pay ~10 cents/gallon for gas. The state simply cannot afford to keep subsidizing gas at that level, especially with the extreme sanctions it is under.

Furthermore, the regime advocated only a small raise in price from ~10 cents/gallon to ~20 cents/gallon. So what. In addition, all of the money saved by raising the gas price was going to be given to support the poor of Iran. So the gas hike was necessary, the new price was easily affordable, and the price increase was going for a great cause.

However, these demonstrations, which were all completely peaceful by the way, lasted for only one day. Huge crowds of peaceful protesters showed up to protest the fuel price hikes, and nothing happened to them.

However, at nightfall, violent protesters or rioters showed up, and all the peaceful protesters quickly left. After that it was nothing but violent rioting for a couple of weeks, with ~200,000 mostly young men burning down almost 100 banks and other buildings, destroying everything in sight, and attacking and even killing police.

Furthermore, these violent rioters had already showed up at the peaceful rally on motorcycles and fired on the demonstrators there. So they obviously weren’t there to protest the gas hikes. Instead, as noted, these violent rioters were trying to overthrow the government by force. Most but not all of the dead were violent rioters.

There are indeed demonstrations in Iran that get broken up, often with violence. These demonstrations feature young people, often university students, who are objectively contras or counterrevolutionaries. These demonstrators typically call for the overthrow of the regime either via force or otherwise. Demonstrators yell slogans like “Death to the dictator!” and fly  American and Israeli flags.

The vast majority of Iranians absolutely hate these people. Surveys show that 85% of the population hate these contras, refer to them as traitors, and think that either sufficient force or not enough force was used to put down the riots.

The rioters have no support. Only ~15% support them. However, that boils down to a lot of people. There are ~8 million Iranians who support the violent overthrow of the regime. 8 million people can make a lot of noise and do a lot of damage, but they still only have 15% support.

There Is No Freedom of the Press in Iran

Although there are definitely limits on what you can say in Iran, and some journalists are arrested and sentenced to prison there, the press is freer than you think.

For instance, Iranian social media is a wildly free place swarming with contras. Hundreds of thousands or possibly millions of Iranians regularly post counterrevolutionary material there, often advocating for the violent overthrow of the government. There’s not a lot that the government does about this, as the situation is out of hand. Is Iran really going to arrest 2 million people for speech offenses? Come on.

After the recent accidental shootdown of the  Ukrainian jet in Tehran, I looked at the English language editions of several Iranian papers. I was absolutely stunned by the headlines. All of these papers were furious at the jet shootdown and quite a few articles were demanding the resignation of the government and its replacement with new people.

The truth is that there are two large forces in Iran that are within the revolution. One is called the Reformers and the other is called the Hardliners. Right now, the Hardliners are in charge.

Recently the Reformers captured the presidency of Iran via elections. President Rouhani was a Reformer. However, the Rouhani Administration did not rule very well, and the voters threw them out at the ballot box. Yes, Iran has fairly free and fair elections, although there are occasional cases of vote fraud. Former President Ahmadinejad, a Hardliner, was said to be elected via fraud ion 2009.

Although the Reformers support the revolution, they are quite antagonistic towards the hardliners. All of those papers I saw with those incendiary headlines were run by Reformers. So in that sense, the Iranian media is extremely free.

Surveys of Iranians

Excellent surveys of the Iranian people, some run out of the University of Maryland, paint a completely different picture than the one we get in the Western media.

Surveys show that 78% of the population supports the current system of religious rule, 90% pray every day, 86% hate America, and the same number liked Soleimani. Iranians are very religious people – some of the most religious people on Earth – and Soleimani was the most popular political or military figure in Iran.

The contra riots typically call for an end to Iran’s foreign policy, where it is supporting the armed Shia forces in Yemen, Syria, and Lebanon in addition to supporting the Palestinians.

The Western media says the Iranian people are opposed to this foreign policy, which they see as expensive and unaffordable adventurism, but surveys show that ~2/3 of voters support Iran’s support of armed Shia groups in those countries. A similar number also back Iranian support for the Palestinians.

I’ve got some news for brainwashed Westerners. The Iranian Revolution has lots of supporters. Did you see the size of those crowds mourning Soleimani?

Even a lot of these hip young women with their push the limit hijabs you see nowadays showed up in huge numbers. Some of these women were wearing headbands saying things like “I Fight Israel.” I kept seeing photos of these hip young liberal women at the funeral processions, and I thought I must be hallucinating. Except I wasn’t. The media in the West lies constantly about Iran and never tells you the full and true story of what is going on there.

Alt Left: Eight Negative Arguments Smearing China’s Virus Fight That Must Be Refuted

Eight Negative Arguments Smearing China’s Virus Fight That Must Be Refuted

The COVID-19 outbreak in China has begun to decline outside Hubei Province; meanwhile in some countries it is on the rise. This shows that the epidemic is a challenge faced by all humanity and needs to be addressed by all countries. China’s experience in combating the outbreak shows that timely, accurate, and authoritative information disclosure is crucial.

However, “negative energy” arguments in the public opinion sphere which undermine the solidarity and cooperation between human beings and even create panic out of nothing will harm the efforts to fight the epidemic and can be called a “tumor” in the public conversation about the epidemic.

Here we summarize eight typical “negative energy” arguments in international public opinion and reveal their absurdities, hoping to provide a mirror to show the other side of these arguments about the epidemic.

1. The Economic Fall of China Argument Ignores the Complete Picture

During the coronavirus epidemic, the streets in Chinese cities were empty for a time, and as a result, there is no doubt the economy will be affected to some extent. However, to claim that the fundamentals of the Chinese economy have changed and that growth will plummet from mid-high speed to zero or negative is an overstatement.

For example, the New York Times published an article on February 11 titled “Like Europe in Medieval Times”: Virus Slows China’s Economy suggesting that the epidemic has put the Chinese  economy into low gear.

This coronavirus epidemic has been widespread, and many industries such as catering, tourism, and film and television have been severely impacted. However, it should be noted that the impact of the epidemic on China’s economy is mainly reflected in the restriction of the demand side resulting in a short-term structural imbalance between supply and demand.

In the long run, the means of production are still there, and production equipment and technology have not been affected by the outbreak. So the outbreak will not dent the internal dynamics of the Chinese economy. International Monetary Fund (IMF) spokesman Gerry Rice stated at a press conference on February 13 that “over the medium to long term, we remain confident that China’s economy is resilient.”

The IMF expects a V-shaped recovery for the Chinese economy in which a sharp decline in economic activities would be followed by a rapid recovery. With improvements in containing the epidemic, the supply side will gradually return to normal, while at the same time the potential demand suppressed during the epidemic will be released, and there will be a large rebound in future economic growth.

Structural transformation has given China a strong and resilient economy. First, consumption has become the primary driver of growth. In 2019, consumer spending contributed 57.8 percent to economic growth. Second, the proportion contributed by the service industry keeps rising, and the proportion of value added by tertiary industry to GDP in 2019 is 53.9 percent.

The third is a shift from an excess of savings to an absorption of savings which has led to a continuous increase in disposable household consumption. Fourth, via a huge wave of innovation, the current digitization and intelligent transformation of various industries has led to the rapid development of online business.

Although the epidemic outbreak has increased short-term downward pressure on the economy, the long-term positive trend of the Chinese economy has not changed.

2. The China-US Decoupling Prediction Is Farfetched

During the coronavirus epidemic, the resumption of work in many factories in China has been delayed, which has affected the global supply chain. But it may be delusional to talk about international companies fleeing China and to think that the US and Chinese economies will decouple as a result of the outbreak.

For example, US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross told Fox Business Channel on January 31 that the novel coronavirus epidemic helps “accelerate the return of jobs to North America, some to US and probably some to Mexico as well,” adding that factors such as this will prompt US companies to reevaluate risks such as the supply chain of China-related businesses.

It should be noted that in the face of the epidemic, the Chinese government has demonstrated its firm belief in winning the battle. It is believed that the outbreak will not last long nor will it cause lasting damage to the economy. Business confidence in the future has not disappeared. The experience of the SARS epidemic in 2003 also shows that after the epidemic, people’s desire for consumption will erupt and the economy will see rapid growth.

Compared with the US, where the tertiary industry accounts for 85 percent of the total economy, China’s tertiary industry only accounts for just over 50 percent. There is still more room for development. Naturally, companies will not lose sight of this and abandon huge development space to go to a place where competition is fierce.

The US government’s push for the return of manufacturing is not new. It began during the Obama administration, but the real results have been poor. This is because China is the world’s largest manufacturing base with a complete upstream and downstream industry chain and a large and diversified consumer market.

Only by being close to the Chinese market can companies accommodate cutting-edge demand, have faster production speed, and ensure more reliable product quality.

Of course, China’s industry is in a period of transformation and upgrading, and some enterprises that can no longer adapt to China’s market will leave. This is the natural law of economic development, and it is by no means the exodus that Ross is talking about.

3. The Collapsing Image of China Meme Is Baseless

Under the coronavirus epidemic, some voices in international public opinion have tarnished the image of China.

For example, on February 6, under the headline “This is Not a Coronavirus, It Is an Official Virus,” a Deutsche Welle report stated China’s governance system is not modern, so it was vulnerable in the face of the epidemic.

On some overseas social media, some people have hyped the argument that China’s national image has collapsed in order to disparage China’s image as a responsible power. They even claimed that China would not be able to build a moderately prosperous society as planned.

It is clear that the above slander is groundless and based on a play of words. The “China threat theory” is a virus in the field of international public opinion.

After the outbreak of the coronavirus epidemic, the Chinese government quickly set up a special team to deal with the problem, deployed team members extensively throughout the country, and assisted relevant countries in evacuating personnel. These things could only be achieved by an excellent governance system with modern capabilities.

Compared to some advanced economies, China has also done a much better job of reducing the risk of the disease spreading globally.

On February 16, in response to the shortcomings and deficiencies exposed in the response to the epidemic, the Chinese government again made a “two-handed” deployment, improving the biosafety law, the national emergency management system, and the distribution of production capacity of key materials.

China’s epidemic prevention measures have been praised by the international community. French President Macron expressed admiration for China’s effective measures and the country’s openness and transparency in fighting the epidemic.

World Health Organization (WHO) Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus praised China for taking many prevention and containment measures that go far beyond the relevant requirements for responding to emergencies. This has set a new benchmark for epidemic prevention in all countries. The speed, scale, and efficiency of China’s actions reflect the strengths of its system.

4. The Sick Man of Asia Metaphor Rekindles a Century of Discrimination

Amid the outbreak of the COVID-19, governments, enterprises, and people from dozens of countries have donated humanitarian aid to China to support the country’s fight against the epidemic. Meanwhile, some people have maliciously taken the opportunity to spread discrimination against China. For instance, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled “China Is the Real Sick Man of Asia” on February 3, hurting Chinese people’s feelings.

We should not only refute such absurdities with a comprehensive victory over the epidemic but also continue increasing China’s public health services and national capabilities, throwing the discriminatory views like the one above into the junk heap of history.

China was once weak due to its seclusion and was taken advantage of by Western powers which derogatorily called China the “sick man of Asia.” Such contemptuous words have been a scar on Chinese people’s  psyche. With unremitting efforts of more than 100 years, China is much stronger than it was, and people’s general health status has reached a new high.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the country has been improving its public health status, eliminating malignant infectious diseases such as smallpox and cholera and developing a cure for schistosomiasis, which once threatened Chinese people for a long time.

A comprehensive medical system has been established in China, covering all rural areas. China has also sent medical teams to help African countries battle against epidemics such as Ebola. As China is completing the building of a moderately prosperous society, the country is rapidly increasing the budget for medical treatment and public health, assuring residents in cities and towns have basic medical insurance.

Currently, Chinese people’s average life expectancy, which continues to grow, has surpassed that of Americans. Through international medical and health cooperation including the building of a Health Silk Road, China’s experience in medical treatment and public health has been widely recognized and accepted.

5. Yellow Peril Hysteria Is Pure Racism

On February 1, the German weekly magazine Der Spiegel had a cover headline saying the novel coronavirus was made in China. At a crucial time when the world is jointly fighting the epidemic, the German magazine inhumanly spread Yellow Peril hysteria, at the core of which is the West’s fear of the East.

The Western world regards the Eastern world as a threat, fears it will lag behind the latter, and thus refuses to accept the fact that the East has become more developed and much stronger than it once was. The West wants to safeguard its dominance in the world.

Hence some nationalists in the West have taken advantage of the COVID-19 epidemic to spread this particular form of racist hysteria.

In the era of globalization, human civilization should no longer engage in zero-sum games between the East and West and between races but rather in building a community of shared future where people can co-exist and jointly develop. In the face of this public health emergency, no one can really escape and remain isolated. Only cooperation, solidarity, and mutual help can help people win the fight against the virus.

It is high time to put an end to the farce of Yellow Peril hysteria that encourages people to play a “hunger game.”

6. The Comparison with the Novel 1984 Obscures Reality

To fight against the COVID-19, China has adopted various high-tech measures such as Big Data and artificial intelligence to control population flow and reduce cross-infection risks. However, some Western media outlets seem to be frightened by China’s governance capability. Real Clear Politics published an article on Thursday saying, “China’s Government Is Like Something out of ‘1984.’” There are two reasons such viewpoints echo in the West.

First, people are more likely to believe stories they are familiar with. George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 is well known, but not many people know the real China. Therefore, Chinese people find it hard to persuade their Western friends that China is not something out of 1984. This is like giving a friend who has never seen a real panda a toy panda, and the next time you mention pandas, this friend will think of the toy rather than the real panda.

Second, the media always caters its subscribers with reports that draw attention, even though their viewpoints are abnormal. For those media outlets, a frightening China is obviously more effective than a normal China at attracting an audience.

Using 1984 as a metaphor, those Western media outlets can spread fear of China among Westerners and thus make more profit. This is why a very ordinary story with an eye-catching headline can be forged into something that is scary and strange about China. As many Western media outlets are driven by business interests, it is not hard to understand Western people’s stereotype of China.

What 1984 describes can happen anywhere people live. The novel was supposed to be a warning, not an instruction manual. George Orwell’s masterpiece is not banned in China. Instead, his books have been among the bestsellers in China since the country’s reform and opening-up. China is moving forward in a broad way using Chinese people’s accumulated experience rather than something out of a novel.

7. The Biochemical Weapon Conspiracy Is Pure Fantasy

Conspiracy theories are a constant reality in the international public opinion field. Once there is a disturbance, they will surface.

On January 31, US senator Tom Cotton tweeted “It’s more urgent than ever to stop travel between China and US,” and “MESSAGE TO ALL AMERICANS IN CHINA: GET OUT NOW.” He also claimed that the virus might have originated in a super laboratory in Wuhan.

The Ministry of Heath of Russian Federation on January 29 published a guideline for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of the novel coronavirus. The handout stated that COVID-19 was recombination of a bat coronavirus and another coronavirus from unknown origin, triggering speculation that the virus had been developed by the US as a biological weapon.

Although such arguments have been common, even in mainstream Western public opinion, there are few experts who agree.

The Washington Post on January 29 published an article entitled “Experts Debunk Fringe Theory Linking China’s Coronavirus to Weapons Research,” with interviews from five experts from prestigious US universities and research institutes. All of them rejected the idea that the virus was man-made.

An expert on chemical weapons said he and other analysts around the world had discussed the possibility that weapons development at the Wuhan lab could have led to the coronavirus outbreak in a private email chain, but none of them had found convincing evidence to support the theory.

A professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology also pointed out that a good bioweapon in theory has high lethality but low, not communicability, but the opposite is true with the coronavirus. He also described the bioweapon theories as irresponsible misinformation.

The Lancet, the world’s leading general medical journal, released on February 19 a Statement in Support of the Scientists, Public Health Professionals, and Medical Professionals of China Combating COVID-19 signed by 27 top public health experts around the world.

The statement strongly condemned conspiracy theories saying that COVID-19 does not have a natural origin and stated that scientists from multiple countries overwhelmingly conclude that this coronavirus originated in wildlife. The statement also called on the World Health Organization (WHO) to promote scientific evidence and unity over misinformation and conjecture.

8. Questioning WHO’s Impartiality Is Destructive

China’s valiant efforts and achievements in fighting the epidemic are obvious to all. Everyone with a realistic attitude will make a fair evaluation. However, some in the international community have been looking at China through colored spectacles and have even stooped to slander those entities and individuals who have praised China.

WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus’ affirmation of China’s performance has been described by certain media outlets as skewed in China’s favor.

Tedros was asked on February 12 whether the Chinese government had approached WHO and asked it to praise China’s efforts in confronting the virus and if there was there pressure put on WHO to make statements along these lines, considering how important the notion of saving face is in China. He responded, “China doesn’t need to ask to be praised…because we have seen these concrete things that should be appreciated.”

He noted that he has observed China’s tremendous efforts to stop the virus from spreading to the rest of the world, including notifying other countries of those confirmed cases with outbound travel history.

State leaders and public health experts of various countries have applauded China’s efforts and transparency. Tedros has also called on the international community to stop stigmatizing China and stand in solidarity with the country in fighting against the common enemy, COVID-19.

Similarly, former WHO Director General Margaret Chan Fung Fu-Chun was also criticized in 2015 for taking sides with South Korea in combating MERS.

WHO’s remarks and actions are based on information reported by the government at the epicenter, the latest data generated by the organization, and suggestions given by the International Health Regulations Emergency Committee. Clarifying and dispelling rumors and misinformation is also part of its job.

Moreover, the WHO has already taken action to prevent the coronavirus epidemic from triggering a dangerous social media ‘infodemic’ fueled by false information and to try to curb rumors, lies, and misinformation.

Along with China, the Singaporean government is also urging citizens to stop spreading rumors.

Authors: Wang Wen, Jia Jinjing, Bian Yongzu, Cao Mingdi, Liu Ying, Liu Yushu, Yang Fanxin, Guan Zhaoyu, Wang Peng, Liu Dian, Chen Zhiheng, Zhang Tingting, and Zhang Yang from Chongyang Institute for Financial Studies, Renmin University of China. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn

What’s Wrong With a 115 IQ?

JBS: Scored a 115 FSIQ on the WAIS-IV. I said I was pissed because the psychologist administering the test said I had learning disabilities or whatever. Not true – just a bad day lol. If I recall accurately, you were kind to me and said not to worry about my score lol. Plenty of above average folk getting on fine.

Oh yes, of course! I remember you now!

Exactly. 115 IQ is just fine. Now if you want to be a physician, attorney, any doctoral profession, or a PhD, it will definitely be a cold, hard slog, but there are definitely physicians with 115 IQ’s. That’s about as low as they go though, and those people had to work their asses off to get that degree.

First of all, what’s wrong with being average? I mean most folks are average. Average is your typical, everyday person. I don’t understand why anyone is ashamed to be a typical ordinary person. I mean I get that they don’t want to be below average, but saying you are average is just saying that you are like everybody else or your average human.

America is very weird. Americans are never satisfied unless they are above average. It’s like Garrison Keillor’s (from Polar Bear’s native Minnesota) Lake Wobegon, the all-White community where everyone is above average. Of course that’s not possible. 90% of Americans say they are above average drivers. 25% of Americans believe they are in the top 1% income bracket (the rich). 50% of Americans say that they are going to be millionaires at some point in their lives.

About the commenter, at 115 IQ, he is in the top 20% of human intelligence. He is in the 80th percentile in terms of IQ. He is smarter than 80% of his fellow human beings. And in terms of Blacks,  he an even higher percentage, but I don’t have good data on that.

He might be in the top 4% of Blacks, but I wonder if that is true. He may be smarter than 96% of Blacks. That’s pretty amazing. A lot of corporations are looking to fill diversity goals. They’re not quotas and it’s not affirmative action. They just want to seek out as many qualified members of minority groups or genders as they can.

So he is basically a gold mine to a lot of corporations. And he may just go to the top of the government line too. Government loves to hire very smart Blacks.

Why this is something to worry about, I have no idea.

Alt Left: The U.S. Is Recycling Its Big Lie about Iraq to Target Iran

A superb article. People need to get this through their damned heads: Iran does not have a Goddamned nuclear weapons program! The CIA even said so itself in its last word in the subject in 2007. Yet this evil government of ours keeps insisting that Iran has a nuclear weapons program.

This is literally the reason for the entire sanctions regime, the targeting and war threats against Iran, the bombing of pro-Iranian Iraqi Shia militias in Iraq, and the assassination of Hajj Qassem Soleimani.

How many Moronicans believe these big fat lie? How many Eurotrash believe this lie. It must be a large majority of both of them.

After all, the entire MSM in the West – every single newspaper, magazine, and TV and radio news show, along with all Western governments insists that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. Not even one media outlet anywhere in the West will admit the obvious truth that Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapons and hasn’t had one for a minimum of 30 lies.

Guess (((who))) cooked up this big, fat lie in the (((US media))). Guess (((why))) the entire media and every state in the West keeps repeating this lie? I’ll tell you why. (((This))) is the reason why. (((These people))) want Iran invaded and destroyed because it is the only country left other than Syria which is a sworn enemy of (((their state))).

Guess who the US, UK, France, and Germany take orders from. (((This)) is who they take orders from.

Granted the US is also out to destroy Iran because the Shia-haters in Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, and Turkey all hate Iran simply because they are profoundly bigoted Sunnis with a homicidal hatred and paranoia of Shia Muslims.

In addition, US imperialism has had a hard-on for Iran ever since the Embassy Takeover in 1979. We never got over it. And the rule of US imperialism is simply “never forgive, never forget.” Exactly the same motto as (((some people))). Coincidence? For the crime of standing up to the US and shouting “Death to America! Death to Israel!” for 40 years, US imperialism wants Iran gone.

In addition, Iran has no central bank. US imperialism demands that all countries have central banks.

In addition, Iran is selling its oil in currencies other than dollars. This threatens the “petrodollar,” one of the essential pillars of US imperialism. The use of the dollar in international trade has indeed been declining in the past 10 years. It’s down to 63% now and a number of countries are definitely going off the dollar and substituting other currencies or a basket of currencies for international trade. So it’s not just a petrodollar. It’s a world dollar.

As long as most international trade is conducted in dollars, US imperialism can charge full steam ahead. But when that number goes down below 50%, there are going to be some serious problems for US imperialism. Namely that we won’t be able to be the Dictator of the World anymore.

And this World Dictator and Most Powerful Nation on Earth nonsense is one thing that America wants to keep perhaps more than anything else. The US will do most anything, start wars, kill millions of people – it matters not- to retain those positions.

As Lenin said, power does not give up without a fight which was one reason that he said the electoral road to socialism could never happen and why he called people who supported it “parliamentary cretins.” It’s not so much that he opposed it, as he simply thought it would not work.

It is instructive to note that every single country that has gone off the dollar has been either attacked, subjected to heavy sanctions, had coups, color revolutions, or armed insurgencies unleashed upon. Sometimes more than one or all of the above.

  • Iraq went off the petrodollar. It was invaded soon after.
  • Libya went off the petrodollar. It was quickly attacked.
  • Syria went off the petrodollar. It had an insurgency unleashed upon it.
  • Iran is going off the petrodollar. It’s been subject to many threats and vicious sanctions.
  • North Korea went off the dollar. Result was totally brutal sanctions, many deaths, and endless military threats.
  • Venezuela is going off the petrodollar. Result: sanctions, economic warfare, and coup attempts with lockout strikes, use of armed forces, violent street demonstrations and now with an entire fake alternate facts government set up led by a man who was never elected President even one time.
  • Russia and China are going off the dollar. Result: sanctions, tariffs, and hybrid warfare was launched on both countries and both have been designated as top US enemies. A color revolution is being attempted in Hong Kong.

See how this works?

The U.S. Is Recycling Its Big Lie About Iraq to Target Iran

Sixteen years after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, most Americans understand that it was an illegal war based on lies about non-existent “weapons of mass destruction.” But our government is now threatening to drag us into a war on Iran with a nearly identical “big lie” about a non-existent nuclear weapons program, based on politicized intelligence from the same CIA teams that wove a web of lies to justify the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003.

In 2002-3, U.S. officials and corporate media pundits repeated again and again that Iraq had an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction that posed a dire threat to the world. The CIA produced reams of false intelligence to support the march to war and cherry-picked the most deceptively persuasive narratives for Secretary of State Colin Powell to present to the UN Security Council on February 5th 2003.

In December 2002, Alan Foley, the head of the CIA’s Weapons Intelligence, Nonproliferation, and Arms Control Center (WINPAC) told his staff,

If the president wants to go to war, our job is to find the intelligence to allow him to do so.

Paul Pillar, a CIA officer who was the National Intelligence Officer for the Near East and South Asia, helped to prepare a 25-page document that was passed off to Members of Congress as a “summary” of a National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iraq.

But the document was written months before the NIE it claimed to summarize and contained fantastic claims that were nowhere to be found in the NIE, such as that the CIA knew of 550 specific sites in Iraq where chemical and biological weapons were stored. Most members read only this fake summary, not the real NIE, and blindly voted for war. As Pillar later confessed to PBS’s Frontline:

The purpose was to strengthen the case for going to war with the American public. Is it proper for the intelligence community to publish papers for that purpose? I don’t think so and I regret having had a role in it.

WINPAC was set up in 2001 to replace the CIA’s Nonproliferation Center or NPC (1991-2001), where a staff of 100 CIA analysts collected possible evidence of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons development to support U.S. information warfare, sanctions, and ultimately regime change policies against Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya and other U.S. enemies.

WINPAC uses the U.S.’s satellite, electronic surveillance, and international spy networks to generate material to feed to UN agencies like UNSCOM, UNMOVIC, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) which are charged with overseeing the non-proliferation of nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.

The CIA’s material has kept these agencies’ inspectors and analysts busy with an endless stream of documents, satellite imagery, and claims by exiles for almost 30 years. But since Iraq destroyed all its banned weapons in 1991, they have found no confirming evidence that either Iraq or Iran has taken steps to acquire nuclear, chemical, or biological weapons.

UNMOVIC and the IAEA told the UN Security Council in 2002-3 they could find no evidence to support U.S. allegations of illegal weapons development in Iraq.

IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradei exposed the CIA’s Niger yellowcake document as a forgery in a matter of hours. ElBaradei’s commitment to the independence and impartiality of his agency won the respect of the world, and he and his agency were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005.

Apart from outright forgeries and deliberately fabricated evidence from exile groups like Ahmad Chalabi’s Iraqi National Congress (INC) and the Iranian Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), most of the material the CIA and its allies have provided to UN agencies has involved dual-use technology which could be used in banned weapons programs but also as alternative legitimate uses.

A great deal of the IAEA’s work in Iran has been to verify that each of these items has in fact been used for peaceful purposes or conventional weapons development rather than in a nuclear weapons program.

But as in Iraq, the accumulation of inconclusive, unsubstantiated evidence of a possible nuclear weapons program has served as a valuable political weapon to convince the media and the public that there must be something solid behind all the smoke and mirrors.

For instance, in 1990, the CIA began intercepting  Telex messages from Sharif University in Tehran and Iran’s Physics Research Centre about orders for ring magnets, fluoride, and fluoride-handling equipment, a balancing machine, a mass spectrometer, and vacuum equipment, all of which can be used in uranium enrichment.

For the next 17 years, the CIA’s NPC and WINPAC regarded these telexes as some of their strongest evidence of a secret nuclear weapons program in Iran, and they were cited as such by senior U.S. officials. It was not until 2007-8 that the Iranian government finally tracked down all these items at Sharif University, and the IAEA inspectors were able to visit the university and confirm that they were being used for academic research and teaching as Iran had told them.

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, the IAEA’s work in Iran continued, but every lead provided by the CIA and its allies proved to be either fabricated, innocent, or inconclusive. In 2007, U.S. intelligence agencies published a new National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran in which they acknowledged that Iran had no active nuclear weapons program. The publication of the 2007 NIE was an important step in averting a U.S. war on Iran.

As George W. Bush wrote in his memoirs, “…after the NIE, how could I possibly explain using the military to destroy the nuclear facilities of a country the intelligence community said had no active nuclear weapons program?”

But despite the lack of confirming evidence, the CIA refused to alter the “assessment” from its 2001 and 2005 NIE’s that Iran probably did have a nuclear weapons program prior to 2003. This left the door open for the continued use of WMD allegations, inspections, and sanctions as potent political weapons in the U.S.’s regime change policy toward Iran.

In 2007, UNMOVIC published a Compendium or final report on the lessons learned from the debacle in Iraq. One key lesson was that “complete independence is a prerequisite for a UN inspection agency” so that the inspection process would not be used “either to support other agendas or to keep the inspected party in a permanent state of weakness.”

Another key lesson was that “proving the negative is a recipe for enduring difficulties and unending inspections.” The 2005 Robb-Silberman Commission on the U.S. intelligence failure in Iraq reached very similar conclusions, such as that“…analysts effectively shifted the burden of proof, requiring proof that Iraq did not have active WMD programs rather than requiring affirmative proof of their existence.

“While the U.S. policy position was that Iraq bore the responsibility to prove that it did not have banned weapons programs, the Intelligence Community’s burden of proof should have been more objective…

“By raising the evidentiary burden so high, analysts artificially skewed the analytical process toward confirmation of their original hypothesis – that Iraq had active WMD programs.”

In its work on Iran, the CIA has carried on the flawed analysis and processes identified by the UNMOVIC Compendium and the Robb-Silberman report on Iraq.

The pressure to produce politicized intelligence that supports U.S. policy positions persists because that is the corrupt role that U.S. intelligence agencies play in U.S. policy, spying on other governments, staging coups, destabilizing countries, and producing politicized and fabricated intelligence to create pretexts for war.

A legitimate national intelligence agency would provide objective intelligence analysis that policymakers could use as a basis for rational policy decisions. But as the UNMOVIC Compendium implied, the U.S. government is unscrupulous in abusing the concept of intelligence and the authority of international institutions like the IAEA to “support other agendas,” notably its desire for regime change in countries around the world.

The U.S.’s “other agenda” on Iran gained a valuable ally when Mohamed ElBaradei retired from the IAEA in 2009 and was replaced by Yukiya Amano from Japan. A State Department cable from July 10th, 2009 released by Wikileaks described Mr. Amano as a “strong partner” to the U.S. based on “the very high degree of convergence between his priorities and our own agenda at the IAEA.”

The memo suggested that the U.S. should try to “shape Amano’s thinking before his agenda collides with the IAEA Secretariat bureaucracy.”  The memo’s author was Geoffrey Pyatt, who later achieved international notoriety as the U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine who was exposed on a leaked audio recording plotting the 2014 coup in Ukraine with Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland.

The Obama administration spent its first term pursuing a failed “dual-track” approach to Iran in which its diplomacy was undermined by the greater priority it gave to its parallel track of escalating UN sanctions. When Brazil and Turkey presented Iran with the framework of a nuclear deal that the U.S. had proposed, Iran readily agreed to it.

But the U.S. rejected what had begun as a U.S. proposal because by that point, it would have undercut its efforts to persuade the UN Security Council to impose harsher sanctions on Iran. As a senior State Department official told author Trita Parsi, the real problem was that the U.S. wouldn’t take “yes” for an answer.

It was only in Obama’s second term after John Kerry replaced Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State, that the U.S. finally did take “yes” for an answer, leading to the JCPOA between Iran, the U.S., and other major powers in 2015. So it was not U.S.-backed sanctions that brought Iran to the table but the failure of sanctions that brought the U.S. to the table.

Also in 2015, the IAEA completed its work on “Outstanding Issues” regarding Iran’s past nuclear-related activities. On each specific case of dual-use research or technology imports, the IAEA found no proof that they were related to nuclear weapons rather than conventional military or civilian uses.

Under Amano’s leadership and U.S. pressure, the IAEA “assessed” that “a range of activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device were conducted in Iran prior to the end of 2003,” but that “these activities did not advance beyond feasibility studies and the acquisition of certain relevant technical competences and capabilities.”

The JCPOA has broad support in Washington. But the U.S. political debate over the JCPOA has essentially ignored the actual results of the IAEA’s work in Iran, the CIA’s distorting role in it, and the extent to which the CIA has replicated the institutional biases, reinforcing of preconceptions, forgeries, politicization and corruption by “other agendas” that were supposed to be corrected to prevent any repetition of the WMD fiasco in Iraq.

Politicians who support the JCPOA now claim that it stopped Iran getting nuclear weapons, while those who oppose the JCPOA claim that it would allow Iran to acquire them.

They are both wrong because as the IAEA has concluded and even President Bush acknowledged, Iran does not have an active nuclear weapons program. The worst that the IAEA can objectively say is that Iran may have done some basic nuclear weapons-related research some time before 2003, but then again, maybe it didn’t.

Mohamed ElBaradei wrote in his memoir, The Age of Deception: Nuclear Diplomacy in Treacherous Times that if Iran ever conducted even rudimentary nuclear weapons research, he was sure it was only during the Iran-Iraq War which ended in 1988, when the U.S. and its allies helped Iraq kill up to 100,000 Iranians with chemical weapons.

If ElBaradei’s suspicions were correct, Iran’s dilemma since that time would have been that it could not admit to that work in the 1980s without facing even greater mistrust and hostility from the U.S. and its allies and risking a similar fate to Iraq.

Regardless of uncertainties regarding Iran’s actions in the 1980s, the U.S.’s campaign against Iran has violated the most critical lessons U.S. and UN officials claimed to have learned from the debacle in Iraq.

The CIA has used its almost entirely baseless suspicions about nuclear weapons in Iran as pretexts to “support other agendas” and “keep the inspected party in a permanent state of weakness,” exactly as the UNMOVIC Compendium warned against ever again doing to another country.

In Iran as in Iraq, this has led to an illegal regime of brutal sanctions under which thousands of children are dying from preventable diseases and malnutrition and to threats of another illegal U.S. war that would engulf the Middle East and the world in even greater chaos than the one the CIA engineered against Iraq.

Nicolas J. S. Davies is a freelance writer, researcher for CODEPINK and author of Blood On Our Hands: the American Invasion and Destruction of Iraq. He is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Coronavirus Update

My first coronavirus post. I hope to have more later on.

Look here for the best site on coronavirus numbers, updated daily and even more often than that, every hour and often even at intervals in the hour.

Presently worldwide:

  • 20,639 confirmed cases
  • 427 fatalities

Breakdown:

  • Over 600 critical
  • 2,788 serious
  • 632 recovered
  • 23,214 suspected

The virus appears to be much worse than reported or reported at the moment. Thread discussing that here. There are reports of 1 million infected and up to 30,000 dead. It’s really a serious matter. The Lancet estimates that there are 74,000 infections, and that was several days ago. There are videos of nurses in China saying that there are 90-100,000 people infected, and that was a week ago.

There are videos of people literally dropping on the streets. There are other videos of people just lying in the streets or hospital corridors until someone takes them away. There is a video of a hospital with three dead people in the hallway. They’d been there all morning.

There are reports that Wuhan’s crematoria, which normally burn four hours a day, have been burning 24 hours for days now. These reports also state that bodies are being burned without being identified as coronavirus cases. There are also reports that many coronavirus cases are simply being diagnosed as pneumonia.

However, in support of the Chinese government, there is a huge shortage of test kits, which were only recently developed anyway. They only have 2,000 test kits in Wuhan, so they can only test 2,000 people a day. Until they test someone, they cannot diagnose coronavirus.

On the other hand, it may be important for the government to cover this up, at least for now. Let the truth come out later.

If they tell the truth, the resulting total panic all across China will probably kill more people than the virus. The Chinese economy, already taking a hit from this, will blow up. A lot of countries will refuse products from China, especially fruits, vegetables, and meats. Many of the large corporations who have overseas factories might close up or even move to another country.

Everyone knows this is a big deal. The whole city of Wuhan is locked down. When you to the supermarket or any state building, a government employee is standing right there to take your temperature. The state is delivering free meals to many people who are stuck in their apartments. Cars were banned, but the resulting uproar caused them to be unbanned. The roads going out of Wuhan are all blocked with barricades. No one can go in or out.

And now a number of other cities in Hubei Province are locked down too. For now, the problem is mostly confined to Hubei Province, especially Wuhan. There have been a mere eight deaths in the rest of China.

The Chinese government incredibly enough built a huge hospital in Wuhan with 1,000 beds in only six days! There is another new hospital in Wuhan due to come online on Wednesday, February 6, with another 1,000 beds.

Existing hospitals have only 30 isolation units per hospital. People who are severely ill need to be in ICU units, but those are also in severe undersupply. But that’s not uncommon. In the UK for instance, there are 6,000 ICU units for the whole country of 80 million people. How would the UK fare with an epidemic the size of China’s? Pretty poorly.

The state has massively ramped up the manufacture of surgical masks, as there are shortages everywhere. There are even shortages in places like Australia, as local Chinese are mass buying surgical masks to send back home. Many physicians and nurses from all over China are converging on Wuhan. Many are Communist Party members.

Hospitals are overflowing with people wanting to be tested or worried that they might have the virus. There is a shortage of beds and isolation units, so the hospitals are having to triage and just focus on the worst cases and forget about everyone else.

A lot of people who seem like they have the disease are simply handed some pills (or maybe not) and told to go home and wait it out. A number of people have died in their homes. Everyone in Wuhan and many in other parts of China are wearing masks. Hospital workers are completely suited up.

There has been a huge hullabaloo about China arresting eight physicians who reported on the case very early on. They are being called whistleblowers. There is a lot of anti-China propaganda going on about these whistleblowers.

However, the whistleblowers all got released and had compensation paid to them. The Supreme Court ordered it. So you can see there is quite a bit of democracy in the party, and there are even some separation of powers in the government.

China’s not a complete dictatorship. There are 500 legal demonstrations in China every single day. There are all sorts of organizations that have sprung up about just about every issue or interest to some area: dialects, flooding, pollution, you name it. Most are legal and local Communist Party (CP) officials are often involved.

Also if China is so horrible, why does the CP have 87% support? The Chinese CP is not stupid. They took careful note of the Eastern Bloc and the USSR. They realized that if they do not “serve the people” as Mao insisted, the people would simply throw them out of office. They’re terrified of getting booted out on their asses. So they try to suck up to the people as much as they can within reason.

Minority Languages in Russia

I’ve been working on this article for at least a year now, but actually I think it has been in my files for longer, up to five years. You can see that much of the information is a bit out of date as a result. A lot of this information was translated from Russian sources. The translations to English were poor, so the whole mess needed a huge rewrite from mangled Russian to English translation to a more proper English.

I’ve done this a number of times before and it was never easy. For some reason this is always a lot harder than it seems. For one thing, I had to eliminate entire sentences because I couldn’t properly understand what they were saying or they were saying something that didn’t seem correct to me.

For that matter it is quite hard to rewrite something written in seriously mangled English by someone who can’t write or even worse by someone who has English as a second language and doesn’t write it well. You would think it would be easy to turn mangled English into proper English, but it’s just not.

This post is pretty long. It runs to 33 pages on the web. If it were in a book, it would run to 16 pages.

According to the Constitution of Russia, Russian is the official language on the whole territory of the Russian Federation, but regions are given the right to establish republics and set their own their national languages. The Constitution also guarantees the right of all the peoples of Russia to preserve their native language and to create conditions for its study and development.

According to the Basic Law of Languages, citizens have the right to use their native language as the language of communication, education, learning, and creativity.

We will now look at the study of native languages in the schools of the Russian Federation in the areas within the jurisdiction of the regional authorities. In Russian schools, 89 different languages are studied, of which 39 are used as the language of instruction.

Adygea

In 2007 Parliament passed a law mandating the compulsory study of the Adygean language for Adygean children in schools where Russian is the mode of instruction. However, this law was repealed in 2013. Recently, March 14 was designed the Day of the Speaking and Writing the Adyghe Language. Parents of preschoolers may also choose to put their children in Aegean-language public kindergartens.

The Ministry of Education and Science reported the results of Adygean language teaching in the schools: in 43 preschools, 4,759 Adygean children study the language. In 127 preschools, children are taught the basics of Adyghe culture, customs, and traditions.

All students in Russian-medium schools must study the history and geography of Adygea, and Russian-speaking pupils have a choice of studying Adyghe Language or Adyghe Literature. 22,000 students are currently studying Adygean Language, and 27,600 are studying Adygean Literature.

Altai

There are regular proposals from the Altai people and educators to mandate the compulsory study of the Altai languages Northern Altai and Southern Altai for Altai children. Both Northern and Southern Altai are divided into three divergent dialects each, so there are actually six separate Altai languages. The three languages of the northern and southern groups each were combined into a Northern Altai and Southern Altai official language respectively.

Recently, an attempt was made to pass such legislation, but government legal scholars felt the law would violate children’s rights.

In Gorno-Altaisk on March 15, 2014 at the 9th Session of the Altay Culture Meeting, representatives of the Altai people went further, adopting a resolution to mandate Altai languages study for all students, no matter their ethnicity. However, attendees warned about a Russian backlash.

They felt that such a law would inevitably lead to rising dissent among Russians and other non-Altaians in the republic. This unrest could conceivably lead to the elimination of republic status for the Altai Republic itself.

Bashkortostan

A law is in place in Bashkortostan mandating the compulsory study of the Bashkir language by all students. Each educational institution gets to decide how many hours per week they wish to devote to Bashkir study. Parents of Russian children regularly protest this law and propose to make the study of Bashkir voluntary instead. Chuvash parents have also protested the law. Ethnic tensions have heightened in the area recently.

Buryatia

The question of the possible introduction of compulsory study of the Buryat language in republic schools has been discussed recently and has wide public support. Recently, a video titled, Buryad Heleeree Duugarayal! – “Let’s Speak Buryat!,” was released, urging Buryats to not forget their native language.

However, regional authorities decided to keep the study of Buryat optional in the republic. A few deputies appealed the ruling, and various amendments were adopted at their request, but the amendments did not substantially change the authorities’ decision to keep Buryat study optional. Opponents of the idea of compulsory study of Buryat in the schools fear that it will lead to the emergence of ethnic tensions.

Chechnya

In Chechnya, the national language is taught in all schools of the republic as a separate subject. Since 95% of the population is a member of a titular ethnic group, there have been no protests about people being forced to study a non-native language. There are no problems with Chechen in the countryside – on the contrary, children in Chechen villages have a poor knowledge of Russian.

Despite the fact that the national language is widely used in everyday life, nevertheless, the scope of its use continues to steadily narrow. At the last roundtable of the Ministry of Culture of the Chechen Republic, officials noted what they felt was the alarming process of mixing Chechen and Russian in speech as well as a gradual tendency towards replacement of Chechen in the official sphere.

According to the director of the Institute of Education of the Chechen Republic, Abdullah Arsanukaev, the introduction of Chechen language instruction in the schools could ameliorate this situation. The government for its part is working to equalize Russian and Chechen ​​on the official level. It is expected to create a state commission for the conservation, development, and dissemination of the Chechen language.

Chukotka Autonomous Okrug

The main languages ​​in Chukotka are Chukchi, Eskimo, and Even. The government is now working on a program for the development of the these languages. So far, the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Chukotka has organized courses in Chukchi and Even.

Chukchi is the language of everyday communication for most Chukchi in the family and when engaging in traditional economic activities. In schools in Chukchi villages, Chukchi classes are compulsory in primary school and optional in high school.

Chuvashia

The Chuvash language is taught as a compulsory subject in schools and in a number of universities for one or two semesters.

“In the beginning, a lot of parents opposed their children studying Chuvash. But today I can say with confidence that these parents no longer feel this way. In contrast, some even want their the child to know the native language of Chuvashia, and probably rightly so,” says Olga Alekseeva, a teacher of Chuvash language and literature in School № 50 in Cheboksary.

The acuteness of the language issue in the country can be judged by recent events – in 2013, a court found Chuvash journalist Ille Ivanova guilty of inciting ethnic hatred for a publication about how the Chuvash language was disadvantaged in the Chuvash Republic.

Discussions around the native language exacerbated the recent language reform. According to opponents of reform, the new rules impoverished the language and could catalyze its Russification.

Crimea

The newly adopted constitution of the new Russian region declared three official languages ​​- Russian, Ukrainian, and Crimean Tatar. Education in schools will be carried out in these three languages​​.

Russian-speaking parents of children from Buryatia, Bashkortostan, and the Tatar Republic residing in Crimea have already appealed to the President of Russia and the leadership of Crimea requesting making the study of Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar voluntary in Crimea.

Activists fear that unless the law is rewritten, in the future, all children regardless of nationality will be obliged to study all three official languages. Signatories cite the example of their national republics, where Russian-speaking students have to learn a foreign language, the titular language of the republic.

Dagestan

The people of Dagestan speak 32 languages​​, although only 14 native languages are officially recognized. Elementary schools allow instruction in 14 different languages, depending on the region. The rest of the instruction is in Russian.

According to Murtazali Dugrichilova of the North Caucasus radio station Freedom, the native language of the ethnic group is spoken in the most parts of the country as the language of the home. “In rural areas, all of the local languages are spoken. In large cities such as or in Makhachkala or Derbent, teaching in national languages is optional,” he said.

In the future, at the suggestion of Ramadan Abdulatipova, Dagestan will form a commission on the use of Russian and local languages ​​of the republic. It is also expected that after the adoption of the law “On Languages ​​of the Republic of Dagestan,” all 32 languages ​​in the country will receive the status of the official language.

Director of the Institute of Language, Literature, and Art at the Dagestan Scientific Center Magomed Magomedov believes that after enactment of the new law, all of the native languages of the region will be present in the school system.

Dagestan took into consideration the negative experiences of other national republics in this area, and according to Magomedov, the law will prohibit demonstrations and pickets about language issues.

Ingushetia

According to the law “On the State Languages ​​of the Republic of Ingushetia,” Ingush and Russian are both used as official state languages in all educational institutions in the country.

Experts believe that the preservation and development of Ingush is necessary to ensure it is on an equal footing with Russian in all aspects in the republic. In addition, there has been a lot of discussion about the need to develop new words in Ingush for modern things such as industrial terminology.

Kabardino-Balkaria

In Kabardino-Balkaria, the debate over language issues flared up in connection with the adoption of amendments to the law “On Education.” The law mandates that both languages,​ Kabardian and Balkar, be used in education for children who have one of these languages as a mother tongue.

Kalmykia

According to the law “On Languages ​​of the Republic of Kalmykia,” in schools where instruction is in Russian, the Kalmyk language will be introduced starting in first grade as a compulsory school subject. Representatives of non-Kalmyks in the republic are unhappy with this law, but they have not said much about it.

Language activists point out that Kalmyk has a low status in Kalmykia. As an example, they cite the fact that cultural events and even national holiday celebrations are exclusively in Russian.

Karachay-Cherkessia

In the republic, Abaza, Karachay, Nogay, Circassian, and Russian are all official languages​​. The Constitution of the republic mandates compulsory education in the native language for students who have one of the above as a native language.

In addition, according to the law “On Education,” in those Russian-language schools, students who have a native language other than Russian must be taught their native language as a compulsory subject. National activists think that the best outcome is achieved when native languages are used as a mode of instruction and not taught as a special subject. At the moment, the republic is in the process of updating textbooks in Abaza, Karachay, Nogay, and Circassian.

Karelia

Karelia is the only national republic of the Russian Federation in which Russian is the only state language. One of the problems with raising the status of the Karelian language here has been the fact that Karelians are a minority in their own republic, and as a consequence, the republic has only a relatively small number of Karelian speakers.

Recently, President Anatoly Grigoryev of the Karelian Congress fielded a proposal to declare three official languages in Karelia ​​- Russian, Karelian, and Finnish. They modeled this notion on Crimea, where authorities promised to introduce trilingualism as the official policy.

National languages are optionally taught in preschool, elementary school, and high school. According to the Ministry of Education in 2013, 6,500 students studied Karelian, Finnish, and Veps.

Khakassia

As in many republics, the Khakass language is preserved mainly in rural areas that are densely populated by indigenous peoples. Compulsory Khakass language study is mandatory in all national schools in the republic.

Meanwhile, Political Science professor Gunzhitova Handa said that in Khakassia on September 1, 2014, Khakass classes became mandatory from grades 1-11, with an exam in Russian, Russian-Khakass, and Khakass schools.

Khanty-Mansiysk

According to NGO’s, there is only one native language course for the 4,000 speakers of Khanty and Mansi in the republic. Language loss in both languages has been accelerating in recent years. Representatives of youth organizations of indigenous peoples of the North have offered drastic solutions, including depriving national benefits to Khanty and Mansi peoples who do not know their native language.

According to the Hope Moldanova, president of the Ob-Ugric Peoples youth organization, “Young people have a different attitude towards their native language nowadays. Some of them are fluent in two languages but only understand but do not speak their native language, and others think it is sufficient to only know Russian, which is spoken by the majority.”

She too is concerned that the new generation is less interested in the national languages​​. Due to the low demand for the specialty, Ugra State University even closed its Finno-Ugric language Department.

Khanty still has 10,000 speakers in three divergent dialects.  The dialects are so divergent that they are actually separate languages. 40% of Khanty speak their language. In the north, Khanty is still widely spoken in the home, but a boarding school system often causes children to shift to Russian during school age.

In the east, there are still some child speakers but there has been a general shift to Russian. Intergenerational transmission of Khanty has stopped in the south. Schools in Khanty-speaking areas generally use Russian as  the mode of instruction.

Mansi has 1,000 speakers, 50% of the ethnic group. It formerly consisted of four highly divergent dialects, two of which have either gone extinct or are probably extinct. These dialects were so different that they were actually separate languages. Up to 50% of children are still brought up in Mansi. However, the population is shifting to Russian. Schools in the area generally use Russian.

The northern dialect has most of the remaining speakers. There are only a few remaining elderly speakers of the eastern dialect. The southern dialect went extinct before 1950, and the western dialect is probably also extinct.

Komi

The Ministry of Education introduced the compulsory study of Komi language from the first grade in 2011. Later that year, in September 2011, the Constitutional Court ruled that the study of the Komi language in schools of the republic was mandatory. Now schools may choose two different Komi language study programs – “like a native” (up to 5 hours per week) or “as a state language” (2 hours per week in the primary grades).

According to Natalia Mironova, an employee of the Komi Scientific Center’s Ural Branch, this has led to latent discontent among the youth. She said high school students do not understand why they should waste time studying the Komi language when it takes away precious time they could be using to study for their math exams.

Mari El

In the Republic of Mari El, where the official languages ​​are Russian and Mari (Meadow Mari and Hill Mari), mandatory study of Russian and one of the Mari languages was introduced in 2013. Analysts say that among the Russian population, there is growing dissatisfaction with the fact that they are forced to learn what they consider to be an unnecessary language, but there have been few protests about the matter.

Mordovia

The republic introduced the compulsory study of either the Erzya or Moksha languages ​​in all schools of the republic in 2006. Originally, mandatory study of these languages only took place in national schools in districts and villages where there were many Erzya and Moksha people residing. Prior, since 2004, teaching of these languages had been optional in Russian-language schools.

When the compulsory study of these languages was introduced, there ​​were signs of dissatisfaction on the part of the Russian-speaking parents. Now, the number of dissatisfied parents has significantly decreased, and their voice is almost imperceptible.

Nenets Autonomous Okrug

In NAO there are 43,000 people, of which about 7,500 are the members of the titular population, the Nenets. The main problem in the study of the Nenets languages, Forest Nenets and Tundra Nenets, is the lack of books and teachers.

Tundra Nenets still has a good number of speakers, but Forest Nenets is only spoken by a small population. Tundra Nenets has speakers of all ages and is still spoken by children. However, in the west of the republic, a shift to Komi and Russian is underway.

According the Lyudmila Taleevoy of the Methodist SBD Nenets Regional Center for Education Development, the pedagogy programs at the university level no longer prepare specialists in teaching Nenets. Instead, children are taught Nenets by Russian-speaking teachers who studied Nenets when they were students. An old outdated Nenets grammar is used in instruction.

North Ossetia

According to the regional law on languages​​, children have the right to choose schooling in one of two languages – Russian or Ossetian. Ossetian consists of two dialects, Iran and Digorian. The two dialects are so divergent that they are basically separate languages.

According Ossetian journalist Zaur Karaev, all students who have another language as a native tongue, such as Armenians, Ukrainians, Azerbaijanis, and others, must study their native languages in language classes in the primary grades. The language teaching program is more complicated in high school.

Tatarstan

In Tatarstan, where only half of the population is a member of the titular ethnic group, the Tatars, the study of the Tatar language is compulsory for all. Non-Tatar speaking parents regularly protest this law. They even appealed to the Prosecutor’s Office claiming that the law discriminated against Russian-speaking students, but an inquiry by the prosecutor’s office found no violations.

Meanwhile, Tatar nationalists for their part remain alarmed about the state of the Tatar language. According to them, Tatar has a low status in the republic – for instance, in the streets, most writing on storefronts is in Russian, not Tatar. There are also problems with Tatar in TV media, and there is no university that conducts all of its teaching in Tatar.

Nevertheless, the republic regularly implements Tatar language projects and programs, a recent one being the introduction of the Tatar study in kindergartens.

Tuva

In contrast to most of the other republics, in Tuva, it is the Russian language that is in bad shape, not the titular language, Tuva, which is in much better shape. In 2008, a report noted that Russian was in terrible shape in Tuva.

According to Valerie Kahn, a researcher in the Sociology and Political Science Departments at the Tuvan Institute of Humanitarian Research, the authorities were forced to pay attention to this problem. 2014 was declared the Year of the Russian Language in Tuva. As a consequence, systematic measures have been taken to ensure that children in rural areas can learn Russian.

According to Khan, the Tuvan language is in excellent shape. Travelers also note that residents of the republic mostly communicate in Tuvan, although most signs on the streets are in Russian.

Meanwhile Tuvan journalist Oyumaa Dongak believes that the national language is oppressed. On her blog she notes that it is difficult to find Tuvans who speak pure Tuvan without Russian admixture, and even in the government, most employees do not know Tuvan. At the same time, she points out that the state allocated $210 million for the development of the Russian language and nothing for Tuvan.

Udmurtia

The State Council of Udmurtia recently rejected an initiative on compulsory study of the Udmurt language  in the schools of the republic.

Earlier, a similar initiative was made by the association “Udmurt Kenesh.” According to them, the compulsory study of the Udmurt will fight the loss of the Udmurt language in families where the parents do not speak Udmurt with their children as well as develop a culture of multilingualism among citizens. Russian activists have sharply opposed the proposals.

According to the interim head of Udmurtia, Alexander Solovyov, the budget annually allocates money for teaching and training in the titular language.

Yakutia

According to the law of the Sakha Republic “On Languages”, the languages ​​of instruction in secondary schools are Sakha or Yakut, Evenki, Even, Yukaghir, Dolgan, and Chukchi, and Russian in Russian-language schools.

In the non-Russian medium schools, Russian is taught as a subject. Local official languages of various parts of the republic ​​are also taught as a subject in Russian schools in areas in the north where there are large numbers of Evenki, Even, Yukaghir, Dolgan, and Chukchi speakers. In spite of the measures to preserve native languages other than Yakut, all except Yakut have been losing speakers in recent years.

In fact, Evenki, Even, Yukaghir, Dolgan, and Chukchi are only used as the principal means of communication in seven villages and towns. In all other places, most residents no longer speak those languages, and the languages are used mostly by the middle aged and elderly, and even then only in the home or in families that preserve traditional lifestyles like reindeer herding.

In Even areas, Even is taught as a subject from preschool through primary school. Even is an  endangered language. Even has 5,500 speakers.

In areas where the Evenki live, Evenki is taught from preschool through primary school, with an optional course in the eighth grade. Evenki is considered an endangered language. It has 25,000 speakers.

Dolgan, a language very closely related to Sakha, only has 1,000 speakers, and the number continues to decline. Mixed marriages are a problem as when a Dolgan speaker marries a speaker of another language, the children are raised in Russian and hence inter-generational transmission is broken. However, Dolgan is still spoken by all ages and is still being learned by children.

Chukchi still has 5,000 speakers and is considered to be in good shape. It is used in mother tongue education in regions where Chukchis predominate.

Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug

Yamal-Nenets Autonomous Okrug faces problems common to republics where languages with only small numbers of speakers remain. The main indigenous languages ​​spoken here are Nenets, Khanty, and Selkup.

YaNAO has problems with  shortages of teachers for all three languages for both native language study classes and mother tongue education, which is offered in the nomadic schools. Other problems these languages face are language teachers who lack language teaching skills for beginning language learners and a shortage of instructional materials in the languages.

The Selkup language has 1,000 speakers, but it is in fairly good shape. It is only taught in the north of the speaker region and even there only until the fourth grade. In a couple of areas of the north, the language is still spoken by Selkups of all ages and also spoken by non-Selkups who reside there. In the north, 90% of Selkups continue to speak their language. In the south it is down to 30%.

Problems

Virtually all minority languages in Russia suffer because parents and students themselves prefer to learn and speak Russian. This is not surprising, as Russian is not only spoken by the majority of the population, but it also remains the main language of interethnic communication in multinational Russia.

Students must pass the compulsory USE exam, a Russian proficiency test, in order to graduate from high school, hence students tend to study Russian more than other languages, including their own native language, in order to pass the test.

Nevertheless the fact remains that the native language remains the basis for the culture and preservation of the ethnic group. If the languages dies, the culture and in a sense the group itself die with it. Hence, promotion of native languages remains an important goal in Russia. Each region is trying to solve the native language problem in its own particular way.

Compulsory study of the official language of the particular region for all students has not had good results. For example, in Tatarstan, all students are required to study Tatar whether even if their native language is not Tatar.

This led to opposition by Russian-speaking parents who saw no use in their children studying Tatar. Further, it has led to the feeling that people who do not speak the language of the titular republic are being oppressed on the basis of their nationality.

Voluntary native language classes in schools do not lead to increased interest in native languages among youth. Realizing this, many regional governments have begun moving the national native language more into day to day life; for instance, by translating books and street signs into the national language.

Communication in the family itself from p parents to children remains the best way to preserve native languages. Peoples who pursue traditional occupations also tend to preserve their languages longer. Also, not everything can be translated into Russian. For instance, in the north, people still use their native language for items and concepts that have no good translation in Russian.

With the Internet has come increased interest among native peoples in preserving their culture and consequently the Net now offers more opportunities to learn native languages. On the other hand, the presence of Russian on the Net had a bad effect on native languages.

For instance, with the advent of the Internet, many more Russian borrowings and neologisms went into native languages. In addition, people on the Net using native languages often do not write their languages properly. This leads to impaired learning of the correct rules and spelling of the language.

As the head of the Center for National Education Problems FIRO MES Artyomenko Olga, a number of republics are reducing the hours of Russian instruction in the schools.

According to her, changes in the laws are needed in order to remove tension between ethnic groups and improve the quality of language instruction.

In particular, she recommended the removal of terms such as “non-Russian native,” “nonnative Russian,” and “Russian as a foreign language” from the laws of Russia.

A bill to update the legal place of the native languages of Russia has been in the works for a long period of time by the State Duma Committee of Nationalities. The bill has been received positively by the regions. Nevertheless, it has not yet passed the Duma.

If You’ve Got the Jew Thing, Check Out Xymphy for the Latest on the Jews

Xymphora.

Ha ha. If you’ve got the Jew thing, go check him out. He’s a leftwinger who’s got the Jew thing something awful. I don’t have the Jew thing so much, not like that anyway. I’m just anti-Israel and anti-Israel-firsters. Other than that I could pretty much give a flying fuck about Jews. They’re not important. They affect me in a few ways a little bit, not in any way that is truly important. It’s all just little stuff that doesn’t matter.

Anyway, he very much has a point about the role of the state of Israel and Israel-firster Jews in the US and especially our government and foreign policy. And our endless wars in the Middle East are in fact as he says Wars for the Jews. What else are they?

 

Alt Left: Life Is a Conspiracy Theory

Now that I am making meaning of life posts, I thought I would toss this one out there. I’m not sure if it has always been this way, but the only way to analyze much of modern life is via the lens of conspiracy theory. But before you go down that rabbit hole, beware. Much conspiracy theory is out and out absurdity and nonsense, and much of the rest is just wrong. But of the remainder – oh yeah, it definitely seems to be correct.

The explanations of the world, foreign policy in particular, we are given by our government and news media are mostly fake news and propaganda. In order to search for the truth is this disgusting blizzard of lies and bullshit, one must employ conspiracy theory because a lot of the facts of modern life are only explainable for conspiracy theory.

As I’ve gotten deeper and deeper into this explanation of modern life, fake news, and media propaganda, I’ve started to wonder what exactly conspiracy theory encompasses.

For instance, we are now into an era where false flags, fake attacks, and provocations are simply normal. I’m not sure if they’ve always been normal, but it seemed that in the past we didn’t do this as much, but in the last 20 years, it’s been one US-sponsored false flag, fake attack, or provocation after another.

Perhaps this is a symptom of a fading empire lashing out in a wild hail of lies, theft, and cheating. After all, lying, cheating, and stealing is not only the way humans do business and politics, but it’s also part of the toolkit of the desperate man. How many film noir movies do you have to watch to figure that out?

When a man is at the end of his rope, he’s thinking of survival, not getting murdered, staying out of prison, keeping his job, whatever. And all morality tends to go right out the window when faced with avoiding alternatives like that. You can hardly blame a man. But just as a desperate man must be looked at with suspicion, the state equivalent of a desperate man – a fading empire – requires an extremely dubious eye, to say the least.

Anyway, as I chewed this over more and more, I started realizing how deep conspiracy theory seemed to pervade so many things. You would think that the world of business would be immune to this, but you will never see so many devious conspiracies and blizzards of lying, cheating, and stealing as you will see in the world of business and especially corporations.

I am not entirely sure if conspiracy theory pervades human relations that much, but on the other hand, once you figure out that a lot of what  people say and do means something quite a bit different from what they literally say and do, even that starts to make sense.

Human relations are soaked into subterfuge, lying, defenses, and hidden meanings. I spend a good part of my time trying to figure out the hidden meanings in the behavior of my fellow men. I often have to run it by others. Of course, a world where many literal (think “official”) meanings are false and hidden meanings are often true is conspiracy theory in a nutshell.

At some point it hit me. Oh, the Hell with it!

Life itself is a damned conspiracy theory. 

Not completely of course, but enough of it is that this odd aphorism makes sense a lot of the time. Put that idea in your head “life is a conspiracy theory” and go about your daily life. Notice how so many things start making a Hell of a lot more sense when you are plugged into that horrible key to the universe.

At the very least, let’s face it, it’s a damned devious conspiracy to kill us all off when none of either agreed to that fate or wants to die.

In that way, death is the ultimate conspiracy theory.

Death is the last, best practical joke God will ever play on your life.

Alt Left: The Deep State of the US Is All-Encompassing and Surrounds US All of Our Lives

What is the Deep State? Everyone talks about it but no one seems to know what it is. A lot of people say it doesn’t exist. They’re wrong. And I know they’re wrong. I’ve been studying this for decades, and my answer to the question of what the Deep State is, which is both maddeningly complex and ridiculously simple, is the answer I have arrived at after many years of deep study

Most of the US Executive Branch dealing with foreign policy is Deep State.

All of the many intelligence agencies with their $30 billion black budgets are Deep State.

The Pentagon is completely Deep State.

Most all of Congress is Deep State, with a few bright new exceptions.

And most importantly, all of the large corporations of America are part of the Deep State. If you have worked for the CIA, you can walk in the door of almost any corporation in the US and get hired for a serious position. CIA and other intelligence and foreign policy types cycle in and out of the corporate sector and vice versa all the time. It’s all connected, dammit.

In fact, the intelligence agencies are simply the hired intelligence agencies of the rich and the corporations. The Pentagon is simply the hired military of the rich and the corporations. The foreign policy establishment in the Executive and Legislative branches are simply the state structures of the rich and the corporations.

Obviously all of the US MSM is Deep State. Most large US media outlets have long been infiltrated by the CIA. It’s a good guess that many of the top editors in the US media are on the CIA payroll. It was revealed recently that many of the top journalists in the US were actually on the CIA payroll.

This is a result of the CIA’s Operation Mockingbird initiated in the 1960’s. It resulted in the infiltration of most if not all of the US MSM by the CIA. The reforms of the Church Committee in the mid-70’s were said to put a stop to that, but the truth is that Operation Mockingbird was never shut down and continues to this very day. It just went underground is all.

By this view the Deep State is all around us all the time. It’s omnipresent in this country. You can’t escape it.

The Deep State is nothing other than the Foreign Policy Establishment of the United States. 

As such, it includes:

  • All of the MSM
  • The foreign policy aspects of the Executive Branch
  • The foreign policy aspects of the Legislative Branch
  • The Pentagon.
  • The three letter agencies and the US intelligence agency complex, much of which is “black” or underground and unaccountable
  • All of the large corporations of the US, including all of the Silicon Valley “cool” corporations
  • Most of the rich of the US
  • Most but not all of Hollywood
  • Wall Street

I believe that this theory of an all-encompassing Deep State that surrounds us every minute of our lives is the best definition of the Deep State. Think about it if it doesn’t make sense. If you find the question interesting, keep on thinking about it. After you think for a while, I believe you might just come around to a definition of the Deep State that is not far from mine.

Alt Left: All of the MSM and all of Silicon Valley Is Deep State

It’s painfully obvious that there is no free press at all anywhere in the West. There is only Fake News MSM completely controlled by the US government and NATO.

There is some real news on the Internet but the Deep State is now going after all of that too. Twitter and (((Facebook))) are mass-banning any pages or users that publish anything that goes against the Deep State/CIA line.

Twitter and (((Facebook))) are both absolutely part of the Deep State now.

So is (((Google))). (((Google))) partnered with the Atlantic Council (NATO Deep State) to downgrade most leftwing outlets critical of US foreign policy as “fake news.” The Atlantic Council issued reports showing all the “fake news” or “Russian” sites.

Any site critical of US foreign policy is not only fake news but it is also always Russian. Hundreds of Americans were banned from Twitter when Jack Dorsey (Deep State) said they were “Russian propaganda bots.” (((Mark Zuckerberg))) (Deep State) also banned many pages from (((Facebook))) as either “fake news” or “controlled by Russia.”

The leadership of (((Google))) is absolutely Deep State. Not only did they bury most leftwing sites on their search engine, they have also removed many videos from (((Youtube))) on the grounds that they are “fake news” or “Russian propaganda.” Quite a few of these accounts were left up, but (((Youtube))) required them to carry warning messages saying that the creators of the video had links to Russia.

I’ve been telling people for a long time that there is nothing groovy or cool about these bitchin’ new capitalists in Silicon Valley. They’re the same old capitalist ratfucks, except possibly they’re even worse than the old kind we sort of got used to. Like any corporation on Earth, the Silicon Valley corporations are not progressive in any serious way and are in fact conservatives and reactionaries like all corporations are.

These corporations are said to be “progressive” because in addition to being rightwing corporations on anything important, they have also adopted leftwing SJWism as it’s no threat to their bottom line.

And in answer to the question I assume you are getting ready to ask me, no, supporting degenerate nonsense like Drag Queen Story Hour at your local library, perverted gay pride parades, and transsexual bathhouses for all ages does not make you a progressive because those are not progressive issues.

They fall into another category called Moral/Traditional versus Immoral/Degenerate. Supporting sick nonsense like the above doesn’t make you left wing at all. It just makes you a degenerate. You SJW degenerates proud of yourselves?

 

Alt Left: Chemical Weapons Watchdog Is Just an American Lap Dog, by Scott Ritter

The piece should be self-explanatory. As I probably noted earlier, there was neither a sarin nor a chlorine attack on Douma by the Syrian Army. It simply never happened. No sarin was found, and chlorine was only found at trace levels below what you normally find in a household kitchen.

None of the victims had symptoms of chlorine poisoning. The OPCW team declined to dig up the bodies because the lack of chlorine poisoning symptoms rendered body examination moot. The victims shown had soot on their faces and bodies. There were said to have been killed by a Syrian Army bomb that penetrated a house and set it on fire. The people sheltering in the basement were killed by smoke inhalation.

Further, chlorine is not particularly toxic. There were said to be 20-40 dead in this attack, but in a chlorine attack, you will have ~100 wounded for every death. In a typical huge attack, you might have ~five deaths and ~500 wounded. It’s just not that toxic.

The chlorine cylinders said to have been dropped by the Syrian Army were instead placed there by the rebels. The engineering team was able to determine this by analysis of the weapons.

Anyway, chlorine is not dropped from bombs. Neither is sarin. That’s why all the reports of Assad dropping chemical weapons from planes are fake. No one does that. Poison gas comes in shells that are fired by an artillery gun. There’s no such thing as a chemical weapons bomb, and no one drops artillery shells from an airplane.

After reporters went into Douma after the attack, they found many residents testifying that the rebels had told them two days before that they were going to do a fake chemical weapons attack.

The scene at the hospital where the rebels burst in with hoses and hosed down everyone in the hospital was said to have been rehearsed and faked by those at the scene. Physicians at the government-run hospital in the rebel area said that no patients appeared with symptoms of chlorine poisoning.

The media of course refused to report any of this.

Now we have a scandal whereby the OPCW edited and faked their own report which showed there was no chlorine attack at Douma to show that there had in fact been a chlorine attack at Douma.

They did this by hiding the technical report that said that there was no attack and that the attack was apparently faked by the rebels. The technical report was later leaked, and some of the OPCW inspectors who went to the site met with a team of international lawyers and another team of investigative journalists.

A former top editor of the Guardian named Johnathon Steele interviewed one of the whisteblowers in Switzerland. So far, two or three whistleblowers have come forward saying that the attack was faked. The Fake News MSM  has refused to cover the story. It was only covered by the Daily Mirror in the UK and La Republica in Italy.

It was blacked out of all of the rest of the “free press” in the West.

Eventually they could contain the controversy no longer and the Western Fake News MSM ran a few articles quoting the head of the OPCW standing by his fake lying report saying that there had been a chlorine gas attack at Douma.

Trump heard about this attack and he and the French poodles who suck up to the US launched a number of cruise missiles at Syria. Most were shot down by the Syrians. The weapons they used to shoot them down were rather old school, but the Russians helped the Syrians with electronic warfare directed at the cruise missiles which enabled the Syrians to shoot most of them down.

The US currently has no defenses whatsover against Russian electronic warfare, which is far more advanced than ours. We don’t even know what it is or how it works. Even if we start trying to catch up to the Russians in electronic warfare tomorrow, we will not catch up for 5-10 years because we sat on our haunches too long and got too far behind.

Chemical Weapons Watchdog Is Just an American Lap Dog

A spate of leaks from within the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), the international inspectorate created for the purpose of implementing the Chemical Weapons Convention, has raised serious questions about the institution’s integrity, objectivity and credibility.

The leaks address issues pertaining to the OPCW investigation into allegations that the Syrian government used chemical weapons to attack civilians in the Damascus suburb of Douma on April 7, 2018.

These allegations, which originated from such anti-Assad organizations as the Syrian Civil Defense (the so-called White Helmets) and the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS), were immediately embraced as credible by the OPCW and were used by the United States, France, and the United Kingdom to justify punitive military strikes against facilities inside Syria assessed by these nations as having been involved in chemical weapons-related activities before the OPCW initiated any on-site investigation.

The Douma incident was initially described by the White Helmets, SAMS and the U.S., U.K., and French governments as involving both sarin nerve agent and chlorine gas. However, this narrative was altered when OPCW inspectors released, on July 6, 2018, interim findings of their investigation that found no evidence of the use of sarin.

The focus of the investigation quickly shifted to a pair of chlorine cylinders claimed by the White Helmets to have been dropped onto apartment buildings in Douma by the Syrian Air Force, resulting in the release of a cloud of chlorine gas that killed dozens of Syrian civilians.

In March, the OPCW released its final report on the Douma incident, noting that it had “reasonable grounds” to believe “that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place on 7 April 2018,” that “this toxic chemical contained reactive chlorine,” and that “the toxic chemical was likely molecular chlorine.”

Much has been written about the OPCW inspection process in Syria, and particularly the methodology used by the Fact-Finding Mission (FFM), an inspection body created by the OPCW in 2014 “to establish facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

The FFM was created under the direction of Ahmet Üzümcü, a career Turkish diplomat with extensive experience in multinational organizations, including service as Turkey’s ambassador to NATO.

Üzümcü was the OPCW’s third director general, having been selected from a field of seven candidates by its executive council to replace Argentine diplomat Rogelio Pfirter. Pfirter had held the position since being nominated to replace the OPCW’s first director general, José Maurício Bustani.

Bustani’s tenure was marred by controversy that saw the OPCW transition away from its intended role as an independent implementer of the Chemical Weapons Convention to that of a tool of unilateral U.S. policy, a role that continues to mar the OPCW’s work in Syria today, especially when it comes to its investigation of the alleged use by the Syrian government of chemical weapons against civilians in Douma in April 2018.

Bustani was removed from his position in 2002, following an unprecedented campaign led by John Bolton, who at the time was serving as the undersecretary of state for Arms Control and International Security Affairs in the U.S. State Department.

What was Bustani’s crime? In 2001, he had dared to enter negotiations with the government of Iraq to secure that nation’s entry into the OPCW, thereby setting the stage for OPCW inspectors to visit Iraq and bring its chemical weapons capability under OPCW control. As director general, there was nothing untoward about Bustani’s action.

But Iraq circa 2001 was not a typical recruitment target. In the aftermath of the Gulf War in 1991, the U.N. Security Council had passed a resolution under Chapter VII requiring Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction (WMD), including its chemical weapons capability, to be “removed, destroyed or rendered harmless” under the supervision of inspectors working on behalf of the United Nations Special Commission, or UNSCOM.

The pursuit of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction led to a series of confrontations with Iraq that culminated in inspectors being ordered out of the country by the U.S. in 1998, prior to a 72-hour aerial attack—Operation Desert Fox.

Iraq refused to allow UNSCOM inspectors to return, rightfully claiming that the U.S. had infiltrated the ranks of the inspectors and was using the inspection process to spy on Iraqi leadership for the purposes of facilitating regime change. The lack of inspectors in Iraq allowed the U.S. and others to engage in wild speculation regarding Iraqi rearmament activities, including in the field of chemical weapons.

This speculation was used to fuel a call for military action against Iraq citing the threat of a reconstituted WMD capability as the justification. Bustani sought to defuse this situation by bringing Iraq into the OPCW, an act that, if completed, would have derailed the U.S. case for military intervention in Iraq.

Bolton’s intervention included threats to Bustani and his family, as well as threats to withhold U.S. dues to the OPCW accounting for some 22% of that organization’s budget; had the latter threat been implemented, it would have resulted in OPCW’s disbandment.

Bustani’s departure marked the end of the OPCW as an independent organization. Pfirter, Bolton’s hand-picked replacement, vowed to keep the OPCW out of Iraq.

In an interview with U.S. media shortly after his appointment, Pfirter noted that while all nations should be encouraged to join the OPCW, “We should be very aware that there are United Nations resolutions in effect” that precluded Iraqi membership “at the expense” of its obligations to the Security Council.

Under the threat of military action, Iraq allowed UNMOVIC inspectors to return in 2002; by February 2003, no WMD had been found, a result that did not meet with U.S. satisfaction. In March 2003, UNMOVIC inspectors were withdrawn from Iraq under orders of the U.S., paving the way for the subsequent invasion and occupation of that nation that same month (the CIA later concluded that Iraq had been disarmed of its weapons of mass destruction by the summer of 1991).

Under Pfirter’s leadership, the OPCW became a compliant tool of U.S. foreign policy objectives. By completely subordinating OPCW operations through the constant threat of fiscal ruin, the U.S. engaged in a continuous quid pro quo arrangement, trading the financial solvency of an ostensible multilateral organization for complicity in operating as a de facto extension of American unilateral policy.

Bolton’s actions in 2002 put the OPCW and its employees on notice: Cross the U.S., and you will pay a terminal price.

When Üzümcü took over the OPCW’s reins in 2010, the organization was very much the model of multinational consensus; which, in the case of any multilateral organization in which the U.S. plays a critical role, meant that nothing transpired without the express approval of the U.S. and its European NATO allies, in particular the United Kingdom and France.

Shortly after he took office, Üzümcü was joined by Robert Fairweather, a career British diplomat who served as Üzümcü’s chief of Cabinet. While Üzümcü was the ostensible head of the OPCW, the daily task of managing the functioning of the OPCW was that of the chief of Cabinet. In short, nothing transpired within the OPCW without Fairweather’s knowledge and concurrence.

Üzümcü and Fairweather’s tenure at the OPCW was dominated by Syria where, since 2011, the government of President Bashar Assad had been engaged in a full-scale conflict with a foreign-funded and -equipped insurgency whose purpose was regime change.

By 2013, allegations emerged from both the Syrian government and rebel forces concerning the use of chemical weapons by the other side.

In August 2013, the OPCW dispatched an inspection team into Syria as part of a U.N.-led effort, which included specialists from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.N. itself, to investigate allegations that sarin had been used in attack on civilians in the town of Ghouta.

While the mission found conclusive evidence that sarin nerve agent had been used, it did not assign blame for the attack. Despite the lack of causality, the U.S. and its NATO allies quickly assigned blame for the sarin attacks on the Syrian government.

To forestall U.S. military action against Syria, the Russian government helped broker a deal whereby the U.S. agreed to refrain from undertaking military action if the Syrian government joined the OPCW and subjected the totality of its chemical weapons stockpile to elimination.

In October 2013, the OPCW-U.N. Joint Mission, created under the authority of U.N. Security Council Resolution 2118 (2103), began the process of identifying, cataloging, removing, and destroying Syria’s chemical weapons. This process was completed in September 2014 (in December 2013, the OPCW was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its disarmament work in Syria).

If the destruction of Syria’s chemical weapons was an example of the OPCW at its best, what followed was a case study of just the opposite. In May 2014, the OPCW created the Fact-Finding Mission, or FFM, charged with establishing “facts surrounding allegations of the use of toxic chemicals, reportedly chlorine, for hostile purposes in the Syrian Arab Republic.”

The FFM was headed by Malik Ellahi, who served as head of the OPCW’s government relations and political affairs branch. The appointment of someone lacking both technical and operational experience suggests that Ellahi’s primary role was political. Under his leadership, the FFM established a close working relationship with the anti-Assad Syrian opposition, including the White Helmets and SAMS.

In 2015, responsibility for coordinating the work of the FFM with the anti-Assad opposition was transferred to a British inspector named Len Phillips (another element of the FFM, led by a different inspector, was responsible for coordinating with the Syrian government). Phillips developed a close working relationship with the White Helmets and SAMS and played a key role in OPCW’s investigation of the April 2017 chemical incident in Khan Shaykhun.

By April 2018, the FFM had undergone a leadership transition, with Phillips replaced by a Tunisian inspector named Sami Barrek. It was Barrek who led the FFM into Syria in April 2018 to investigate allegations of chemical weapons use at Douma. Like Phillips, Barrek maintained a close working relationship with the White Helmets and SAMS.

Once the FFM wrapped up its investigation in Douma however, it became apparent to Fairweather that it had a problem. There were serious questions about whether sarin had, in fact, been used as a weapon. The solution, brokered by Fairweather, was to release an interim report that ruled out sarin altogether, but left the door open regarding chlorine.

This report was released on July 6, 2018. Later that month, both Üzümcü and Fairweather were gone, replaced by a Spaniard named Fernando Arias and a French diplomat named Sébastien Braha. It would be up to them to clean up the Douma situation. The situation Braha inherited from Fairweather was unenviable.

According to an unnamed OPCW official who spoke with the media after the fact, two days prior to the publication of the interim report, on July 4, 2018, Fairweather had been paid a visit by a trio of U.S. officials, who indicated to Fairweather and the members of the FFM responsible for writing the report that it was the U.S. position that the chlorine canisters in question had been used to dispense chlorine gas at Douma, an assertion that could not be backed up by the evidence.

Despite this, the message that Fairweather left with the OPCW personnel was that there had to be a “smoking gun.” It was now Braha’s job to manufacture one.

Braha did this by dispatching OPCW inspectors to Turkey in September 2018 to interview new witnesses identified by the White Helmets and by commissioning new engineering studies that better explained the presence of the two chlorine canisters found in Douma. By March, Braha had assembled enough information to enable the technical directorate to issue its final report.

Almost immediately, dissent appeared in the ranks of the OPCW. An engineering report that contradicted the findings published by Braha was leaked, setting off a firestorm of controversy derived from its conclusion that the chlorine canisters found in Douma had most likely been staged by the White Helmets.

The OPCW, while eventually acknowledging that the leaked report was genuine, explained its exclusion from the final report on the grounds that it attributed blame, something the FFM was not mandated to do. According to the OPCW, the engineering report in question had been submitted to the investigation and identification team, a newly created body within the OPCW mandated to make such determinations.

Moreover, Director General Arias stood by the report’s conclusion that it had “reasonable grounds” to believe “that the use of a toxic chemical as a weapon has taken place on 7 April 2018.”

Arias’ explanation came under attack in November, when WikiLeaks published an email sent by a member of the FFM team that had participated in the Douma investigation. In this email, which was sent on June 22, 2018, and addressed to Robert Fairweather, the author noted that, when it came to the Douma incident, “[p]urposely singling out chlorine gas as one of the possibilities is disingenuous.”

The author of the email, who had participated in drafting the original interim report, noted that the original text had emphasized that there was insufficient evidence to support this conclusion and that the new text represented “a major deviation from the original report.” Moreover, the author took umbrage at the new report’s conclusions, which claimed to be “based on the high levels of various chlorinated organic derivatives detected in environmental samples.”

According to email’s author “They were, in most cases, present only in parts per billion range, as low as 1-2 ppb, which is essentially trace quantities.” In short, the OPCW had cooked the books, manufacturing evidence from thin air that it then used to draw conclusions that sustained the U.S. position that chlorine gas had been used by the Syrian government at Douma.

Arias, while not addressing the specifics of the allegations set forth in the leaked email, recently declared that it is “the nature of any thorough inquiry for individuals in a team to express subjective views,” noting that “I stand by the independent, professional conclusion” presented by the OPCW about the Douma incident. This explanation, however, does not fly in the face of the evidence.

The OPCW’s credibility as an investigative body has been brought into question through these leaks, as has its independent character. If an organization like the OPCW can be used at will by the U.S., the United Kingdom, and France to trigger military attacks intended to support regime-change activities in member states, then it no longer serves a useful purpose to the international community it ostensibly serves.

To survive as a credible entity, the OPCW must open itself to a full-scale audit of its activities in Syria by an independent authority with inspector general-like investigatory powers. Anything short of this leaves the OPCW, an organization that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for its contributions to world peace, permanently stained by the reality that it is little more than a lap dog of the United States, used to promote the very conflicts it was designed to prevent.

Scott Ritter spent more than a dozen years in the intelligence field, beginning in 1985 as a ground intelligence officer with the US Marine Corps, where he served with the Marine Corps component of the Rapid Deployment Force at the Brigade and Battalion level.

Featured image is from New Eastern Outlook

Alt Left: Some (((Background))) to the (((Jeffrey Epstein Sexual Blackmail Spy Agency Case)))

This is the audio version of Whitney Webb’s excellent article on Mintpress about the (((Jeffrey Epstein))) case. 45 pages if you want to read it instead. A lot of great photos though if you only want to listen to the podcast. The link is worthwhile if only for the photos.

This sort of thing has been going on a long time in the US, and it’s mostly been run by a certain type of (((person))). It started with the elder (((Bronfman))) of the spirits and later airline (Virgin Airlines) fortune in Canada. While the current (((Bronfman))) seems pretty above water, his father was not.

And the spirits fortune got its start with mass bootlegging in Prohibition by the elder (((Bronfman))). Elder (((Bronfman))) was in deep with (((organized crime))) his entire life, in part the Mafia but early on mostly the (((Meyer Lansky crime family))), later of much prominence in Las Vegas.

Early on these people got deeply involved in sexual blackmail of important politicians.

It is little known but the US government made extensive use of the Mafia in World War 2 to help defeat the Axis Powers. After the war, the Mafia exploded in size and influence. For ~10 years after the war, almost all criminal cases against the Mafia were dismissed at the behest of the US government.

Later we move on to an awful man named (((Rosensteil))), another extremely rich man and major (((Organized Crime))) figure. This man later got in deep with J. Edgar Hoover. Both men were gay. (((Rosensteil))) perfected the art of sexual blackmail, specializing in teenage boys.

He threw parties at his house with many VIP’s and politicians in attendance. There were always plenty of teenage boys there. The men in attendance there were all gay or bisexual and made use of these teenage boy prostitutes. The encounters were then recorded and used to blackmail VIP’s and politicians.

(((Rosensteil))) later formed a very close friendship with J. Edgar Hoover. He blackmailed Hoover via these same teenage boy parties, which Hoover often attended, usually dressed in a woman’s dress and introduced to others as “Mary.” Hoover’s homosexuality was a dirty little secret for decades. My grandfather used to say that Hoover was a “fruit,” which was what homosexuals were called back then.

Hoover himself via the FBI also used sexual blackmail to blackmail many VIP’s and politicians, so the FBI was in on this too. Hoover said he was doing it as part of the US government’s war on Communism.

Later during the McCarthy era, a horrible man named (((Roy Cohn))) became Joseph McCarthy’s right hand man. He was even more malicious than McCarthy during the hearings, and his behavior was so awful that he eventually had to be removed from his position. But (((Cohn))) also had deep relations with Hoover and later with Ronald and Nancy Reagan and Donald Trump.

(((Cohn))) was Trump’s mentor and it was via (((Cohn))) that Trump perfected the art of being, well, Donald Trump. (((Cohn))) was also friends with (((Alan Dershowitz))) and other awful human beings. (((Cohn’s father))) was a prominent New York judge who was high up in the local Democratic Party. At that time, the Democratic Party in New York was virtually an annex of Organized Crime.

(((Cohn))) later perfected the art of sexual blackmail via parties at a special light blue painted room in a large well known hotel.

These parties were well-stocked with teenage boys, who were utilized by (((Cohn))), Hoover and many other VIP’s and politicians, including, believe it or not, Cardinal Spellman of the local Catholic Church, one of the most famous Catholic Cardinals in the US. Spellman was also very gay and he protected many homosexual priests who liked teenage boys during his tenure.

Keep in mind that (((Cohn))) was also friends with people like (((Barbara Walters))), Bill Clinton, Roger Stone (another protege of (((Cohn)))), and (((Cohn’s cousin))), a monster named (((Dick Morris))).

As the podcast ends, we learn that (((Jeffrey Epstein))) was simply one of the successors to (((Roy Cohn))) after (((Cohn’s))) death of AIDS in 1986.

As we can see, sexual blackmail has a long history in the US and it has mostly been used by a (((certain group of highly amoral people))). Another shocker that comes through loud and clear with this broadcast the US government’s (and even the FBI’s!) close relationship with Organized Crime spanning decades.

It’s also been very well-known that the CIA has worked closely with Organized Crime groups all over the world since World War 2 as part of its fight against Communism. Yes, the Mafia were an important of the CIA’s effort, but the CIA also infiltrated Organized Crime networks all over the world to enlist them in the war on Communism.

Quite a shocker of a podcast!

N.B. Wow, look at all those (((parenthesis marks))). Never seen so many in my life. Must be a gigantic (((coincidence))).

Alt Left: What’s Behind California’s High Housing Costs and High Rates of Homelessness, Poverty, and Welfare Use?

Tulio: Hey RL, just a bit off topic, I was recently reading that California when adjusted for cost of living has the highest poverty rate in the country and that it also has the most welfare recipients.

The Right has been going nuts in the Trump era bashing California and called it a failed 3rd World state that looks the way it does because it’s controlled by Democrats. A lot of that is of course hyperbole, but there is a lot of struggle in California.

I’ve always found this argument a bit specious because there are 15 or so other states where Democrats control the governorship and legislature that don’t have the same quality of life problems. The Right will ignore of course that the majority of high-poverty states are red states.

But there is a question I’m wondering. Is the demographic change of California from majority White to now mostly Latino the reason for these economic problems? It stands to reason that if most of your demographic change is coming from immigrants of a poor country, it will make your state a poorer place.

And this has nothing to do with people voting Democratic per se. If tomorrow 10 million Central Americans immigrated to Nebraska I’m sure you’d see similar issues emerge.

Good question.  This is an excellent hypothesis, actually. I just don’t think there is much of anything to it.

High Cost of Housing: The Secret Behind All of the Problems

The adjusted poverty rate is due to the high cost of housing. Everything else flows from that. What are we supposed to do about it? This is a problem of capitalism. Explain what the state is supposed to do about this housing problem.

I mean we are trying to do a lot of things but the money’s not available for a total solution to the problem. Also our solutions are running into a lot of NIMBYism.

The Homeless Cataclysm

We are fairly kind to our homeless here, so other states kindly put their homeless on buses to California, especially cities like San Francisco. We are trying to deal with this homeless problem as best as we can. What are we supposed to do? The homeless problem is also tied into the housing problem.

Problems of Penal System Reform

The problem is also drugs. Face it, a lot of the homeless are mentally ill or alcohol or drug addicted. They can’t work even if they wanted to. We have decriminalized a lot of drug use here and we released a lot of inmates and reduced a lot of crimes from felonies to  misdemeanors. Also our jails and prisons are badly overcrowded. Hence a lot fewer minor offenders are getting locked up and a lot of them are just roaming the streets instead.

Problems of Drug Decriminalization or Legalization

Everyone says we ought to decrim drug use and I have always tended to agree. But this is what you end up with when you do that. In Seattle, they look the other way on minor drug use and possession, hence there is a huge amount of open drug possession, use, and dealing, a lot of it right out in the open and associated with the homeless.

The drug of choice is often methamphetamine, which can make you act pretty crazy. So you have these crazed meth heads roaming around the streets scaring everyone, certain streets no-go zones due to open drug use, homeless everywhere, even sleeping on sidewalks  where you have to step over them, and rampant crime, mostly petty thievery from stores as addicts steal like crazy to get money for their habits.

I am at a loss to do about any of these problems, sorry. I just want to throw up my hands.

What’s Wrong with Social Programs?

So we have a lot of welfare? Big deal. That’s the state trying to deal with the poverty problem. Good for the state! Keep in mind that to these guys, everything is welfare: Section 8, Food Stamps, Disability, Workman’s Comp, reduced utility bills, on and on.

Serious Limits on What a Mere State Can Do about These Things

We are a very liberal state with a very liberal Legislature that cares a lot about these problems, but they are beyond the scope of the state government to deal with, much less fix. But we are trying our best. Ask these Republicans what we ought to be doing instead.

I don’t think changing from a majority White state to a majority Hispanic state has much to do with it. There is a lot of poverty, here but there is also a lot of wealth. Keep in mind that California has the 8th largest economy on Earth, higher than the vast majority of actual countries. And we’re not even a country. We are just a state.

Alt Left: Why Conservatism Is Inherently Dishonest and Undemocratic

Wisdom and knowledge are not on the side of the rich. The economics and politics of the rich is a fool’s errand – great for the rich but disastrous for everyone else. This is why the rich buy up all the media and the state and use both to push 24-7 propaganda lies about how the economics of the rich is the best thing for your everyday person.

They have to lie about this all the time because it is so manifestly untrue. This is why conservatism, at least the political economic variety, is always undemocratic and completely dishonest.

If the rich were honest about this matter, they would say, “The political economy that we push is great for us but terrible for most of the rest of you. But you all should support because reasons.” Incredibly enough, many ordinary Americans more or less believe this, but they see their non-wealthy status as a failure for which they blame themselves, and they tell themselves their whole lives that they are going to be rich too one day.

Alt Left: “Hong Kong – Pure Western Insanity,” by Peter Koenig

I don’t really know what to say about this article. But I do not support these protests in Hong Kong at all. They’re all pro-US conservatives! The protestors also support US foreign policy to the hilt and they support all neoconservative regime change operations. Why on Earth should I support any pro-US movement anywhere? They’re mostly bad news.

Hong Kong negotiated a deal with China in 1997. Over a 50 year period, Hong Kong would slowly revert back to Chinese rule, and all Chinese laws would be enforced. That’s what is happening here. The rioters are trying to go back on the deal. The thing is, Hong Kong is part of China! That’s all there is to it. If they don’t like being a part of China, maybe they should take off.

This whole mess started when a man in China murdered his wife. He was arrested in Taiwan. However, Taiwan has no extradition treaty with China, so he was not extradited to China, though he was wanted there for murder. So all of these riots started to support a wife killer.

Also, Hong Kong is full of corrupt officials. It’s one of the most corrupt places on Earth. It’s also an international money laundering haven for rich people in the West. That is its main value to the US and UK – as a money laundering center.

The government has always been very rightwing and pro-business. Business gets to do whatever it wants. The corruption among government officials is extreme, as they are all from the very rich and are tied in with the business community. Whenever you have a government of businessmen, you always have the most extreme corruption. Capitalists and corruption go hand in hand.

China wants to prosecute a number of these officials for corruption because the Hong Kong courts and justice system are completely corrupt and is controlled by the same wealthy corrupt businessmen that run the economy and the government.

I’m not really understanding the rest of the rioters’ demands. However, they have been extremely violent since early on, and the police have been remarkably easy on them. I doubt if police would go that easy on rioters anywhere else in the world.

A good 40% of the population oppose the riots because of the violence and destruction. However, the demonstrators and rioters do have major support inside Hong Kong. I don’t know what to say about that.

Obviously these are secessionists. They want to secede and become a US colony. That’s not going to happen and China is right to be alarmed at this color revolution right next door. The CIA and all the rest of the US regime change color revolution organizations have been involved in this from Day One.

Hong Kong – Pure Western Insanity

The impunity with which the US aggresses Hong Kong is insane. Equally or more insane is Western media coverage of what is going on in Hong Kong. Not one word on how the incredible “pro-democracy” vote of the rather unimportant District Council Elections was achieved. Of the 18 District Councils, 71% went to “pro-democracy” candidates.

Such an extreme anti-Beijing vote could only be obtained by massive Western propaganda at the cost of millions of dollars, targeted with algorithms developed on the principles of the now (apparently) defunct Cambridge Analytica. And this with 70% of eligible voters going to the polls.

None of this practically non-realistic result was analyzed by the West and reported on. In reality, the vast majority of Hong Kongers is sick and tired of the western inspired violence, but are very much proud of being Chinese citizens.

They were told by the propagandists that voting for ‘democracy’ candidates was the way to bring peace. And Peace is what everyone wants. After all, integrated into China in 1997, they have enjoyed much more freedom than under British colonialism, where they were not even allowed to vote for their district councils.

The absurdity does not stop here. The US Congress has recently passed legislation that would allow the US monitoring ‘democracy’ and human rights in Hong Kong, the so called “Human Rights and Democracy Act”, with the caveat of imposing sanctions if Beijing would transgress on the US imposed rules. Can you imagine? Can anyone imagine this all-overarching arrogance?

The US Congress passing legislation to control another foreign territory? And the West goes along with it. It may happen soon in Europe too that the US dictates what sovereign nations are allowed to do and not to do.

It is already happening. The US prohibits Europe to do business with whom they want – i.e. Iran, if not, they are being punished. No comments. It’s just the new normal. In the case of Hong Kong, Beijing has protested, called the US Ambassador twice to discuss the matter – to no avail.

It gets even more ludicrous. Madame Michelle Bachelet, High Commissioner of the UN Human Rights Commission in Geneva, has published in the Saturday issue of the South China Morning Post an article seeking full and “independent and impartial judge-led investigation” into police conduct at protests as part of confidence-building measures.

The statement in itself already takes sides, as it does in no way address the foreign-inspired violence of protesters, who, for example, are using a university campus to build Molotov-type bombs and other incendiary devices.  The Chinese Government immediately rebuked the article accusing Ms. Bachelet of further inflaming ‘radical violence’.

In a statement issued on Sunday, Chen Yaou, spokesman for China’s permanent mission to the UN, launched a scathing attack on what he called an “erroneous article” by Michelle Bachelet. Chen emphasized that China “strongly opposed” Bachelet’s article, saying she had interfered in the internal affairs of China and would only encourage protesters to use more radical violence. Mr. Chen added that

the protesters were seeking to create chaos in the Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region), paralyze the HK SAR government and seize the administrative power of the Hong Kong SAR with the aim of rendering the ‘one country, two systems’ principle defunct.

Cheng also said that his government stands fully behind Ms. Carrie Lam, Hong Kong’s Chief Executive.

Despite the overwhelming pro-democracy vote on 24 November 2019, protests continue. Thousands took to the streets on Saturday afternoon assembling before the United States Consulate in Central, to “express gratitude” for passing the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act. They were waving US flags and chanting the Star-Spangled Banner and were asking for more support. They pledge not to let go until all their demands are met.

Essentially, they want total independence from Beijing and to become a US colony. They should look to Puerto Rico at what it means to be a US colony if they what Washington does to its colonies. Or closer to their own history. They should look at their UK colonial past, and remember their state of oppression, the almost zero rights they had then.

What does this all mean for Hong Kong? At the time of the UK handover to China in 1997, Hong Kong contributed about 18% to China’s GDP. Already before the protests began some 6 months ago, it had shrunk to a mere 3%. Within the last few months HK’s economic output has further declined, as key financial institutions want stability and therefore are leaving Hong Kong for safer venues, i.e. Singapore, and, indeed, even for Shanghai, which is rapidly becoming the financial hub of the east.

The real purpose of the 50-year special status of Hong Kong that the UK (and US) negotiated with Beijing was to keep this unregulated Eastern financial paradise alive for Western oligarchs’ often illicit and tax-evading financial transactions of which the Western – UK and US – bankers and financiers were the key beneficiaries and profiteers.

These US-inspired violent protests are meant to destabilize the Government of Beijing – which is, of course, a pipe dream – when in fact, they are slowly committing suicide. Washington and London are disabling Hong Kong of her West-serving money-laundering capacity.

And if it comes really down to the level of intolerant crime and violence against the majority of HK citizens by this foreign-inspired and -funded disruption of SAR, Beijing could in less than 24 hours put an end to it. So simple. The West could just gape but say nothing, because it is in Beijing’s full right to restore law and order in their territories.

Now, let’s look again at the US arrogance to pass legislation to control a foreign territory. Could anyone imagine the logical opposite? Suppose China passes legislation to ban any foreign interference in their territories with the threat of sanctions.

These could include outright import bans for certain US goods – for example, agricultural produce, or stopping crucial exports to the US (iPhones, computers, other US-outsourced manufactured-in-China goods), barring certain US citizens from entering China – or, God forbid, building a military base in Venezuela and/or Mexico – Mexico being the latest Latin American country being harassed by the US for its left-leaning government.

It is only by equals facing equals that maybe, just maybe, we can achieve harmonious and peaceful coexistence. This applies politically as much as it does economically – and in economics, China is the unspoken front-runner with a strong and stable currency backed by her economic output and gold, versus an entire not only US but Western economy based on fiat money.

Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. After working for over 30 years with the World Bank he penned Implosion, an economic thriller, based on his first-hand experience. Exclusively for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.

Featured image: More than a million Hong Kongers joined marches in June to oppose a China extradition law. But some say the US is quickly backing the protests. Photo: Don Ng/ EyePress

Alt Left: “The Explosion in Lebanon Has Been Delayed: Until When?”, by Elijah J. Magnier

Very nice article that lays bare a lot of the bullshit surrounding the Lebanon protests. Of course they are being manipulated by the US and Saudi Arabia to turn them into anti-Hezbollah demonstrations with the aim of overthrowing the Hezbollah government.

Yes, you heard me right. The Lebanese government right now is controlled by Hezbollah and its allies. This has been the case since 2018 when they won the elections. Hezbollah has 55% and the anti-Hezbollah group consisting of Sunnis, Druze and half of the Christians has 35%. 10% are neutral.

So we have yet another case here of a minority trying to overthrow a majority as was recently done in Bolivia, Honduras, Brazil, Ecuador, Haiti, Paraguay, and Ukraine, and as the US is attempting to do in Venezuela and Nicaragua, with regime change operations in Dominica and probably Mexico coming soon. The Dominica operation is already well underway.

There has long been an attempted regime change operation in effect in Syria and there is an ongoing one in Yemen, Iraq, and Iran. There also appears to be a regime change operation in effect in Hong Kong. Of course, Cuba, North Korea, Zimbabwe, and Eritrea are victims of long term regime change operations. So is Venezuela for that matter – the operation against Venezuela has been ongoing for 17 years now. I don’t support those rightwing protestors at all.

Everywhere around the world, anti-US regimes are being overthrown with regime change operations, often coups of one variety or the next. The US simply does not believe in democracy at all. It only likes democracy if its favored groups win. If the groups it does not like are in power, the US will always try to overthrow them even if they have majority support. And we’ve been doing for over a century now.

The Explosion in Lebanon Has Been Delayed: Until When?

Europe is concerned about the Lebanese political crisis and its potential spillover consequences in case of a civil confrontation. Even if the European states do not have differing strategic objectives in Lebanon from the US, a civil war will affect Europe directly, as refugees will be flocking from the neighbouring continent. 

Reaching an agreement over a new government to prevent further unrest is proving difficult. Sources in Beirut believe it may take several months to form a new government as was the case in forming the last government. Some wonder if it might not be better to wait for the results of the US elections before forming a new government.

Or perhaps a new government will only emerge after a major security event, like the assassination of the late Prime Minister Rafic Hariri which triggered a political tsunami in the country. All indications on the ground point to the prospect of a civilian confrontation arising from the absence of a robust central government that can take in hand the security of the country. Can Lebanon avoid a civil confrontation?

The closure of the main roads and the “deliberate” incompetence and inaction of the security forces – due to US requests to tolerate the closure of main axes linking Lebanon with the capital – is no longer surprising behaviour.

The main roads now closed have been carefully selected: closed are the roads linking the south of Lebanon to Beirut and linking Baalbek and the road to Damascus with the capital Beirut. These areas are mainly inhabited and used by Shia. The roads are being blocked mainly in certain sectarian areas controlled by Sunni supporters of the caretaker Sunni Prime Minister Saad Hariri and his Druse ally Walid Joumblat.

The closure of other roads in the Christian-dominated Dbayeh by the pro-US Christian leader Samir Geagea, leader of the “Lebanese Forces”, and in Tripoli seem to be diversions of attention from the main goal: challenging Hezbollah.

Sources in Beirut believe the objective is to exasperate the Shia who represent the society that protects Hezbollah. The goal is to force the organisation into the streets. Hezbollah is aware of this and is trying to avoid responding to provocations. The closure of these roads is an invitation to Hezbollah to take the situation in hand and direct its weapons against other Lebanese citizens, as indeed happened on the 5th of May 2008.

In 2008, Druse minister Marwan Hamadé – directed by Walid Joumblat – and pro-US Prime Minister Fouad Siniora asked Hezbollah to cut its fibre optic private communication system linking all corners of the country.

Israel never ceased to monitor the Hezbollah cable that, due to its high-security system and regular control, had managed to neutralise all Israeli tapping devices attached to it by Israeli Special forces during their infiltration to Lebanon for this exact purpose.

An effort was made by the Lebanese government in May 2008 to cut the cable to break through Hezbollah’s high-security system, the key to its command and control in time of peace and especially in time of war. This insistent attempt – despite repeated warnings – provoked two days later a demonstration of force by Hezbollah occupying the entire capital in a few hours with no serious victims.

Lebanese pro-US armed mercenaries who gathered and hid in Beirut to trigger a civil war on this day, anticipating Hezbollah’s possible reaction, were neutralised in no time despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent on their supposed readiness for war against Hezbollah in the streets of Beirut.

Today the goal is to see Hezbollah controlling the streets and arming anti-government Syrians and Lebanese. The goal is to take the Lebanon issue to the United Nations. The aim is not to see Hezbollah defeated by the initial clashes: the firepower, training, and military organisation of Hezbollah cannot be defeated by enthusiastic mercenaries and locals.
Their aim is to deprive Hezbollah of its legitimacy and pay a heavy price for its “unforgivable” victories in Syria and Iraq and its support to the Palestinians and the Yemenis.

Lebanon’s financial problems are not the primary issue.

In Congressional testimony, the former US Under Secretary of State and Ambassador to Lebanon, Jeffery Feltman, told the US Congress that “Lebanon’s entire external debt (around $35 billion) is in line with the estimates of what Saudi Arabia is bleeding every year in pursuing a war in Yemen ($25-$40 billion).”

Regional and international financial support to Lebanon will be injected with one purpose: to trigger a civil war in the hope of defeating Hezbollah in the long term. This might also save Israel from a severe political crisis by provoking a war against Lebanon rather than an internal conflict among Israelis, as seems possible after two failed attempts to form a government.

Most Lebanese are aware of the sensitive and critical situation in the country. Most fear a civil war, particularly in view of the behaviour of the Lebanese Army and other security forces who are now standing idle and yet refusing to keep all roads open. These actions by the security forces are greatly contributing to the possibility of an internal conflict.

Sincere protestors with only a domestic agenda have managed to achieve miracles by crossing all sectarian boundaries and carrying one flag: an end to corruption and associated poverty and the return of stolen capital to Lebanon.

Protestors are asking the judiciary system to assume its responsibility and for the country to head towards a secular ruling system. But sectarian elements and foreign intervention are managing to divert attention from the real national demands that have been overwhelming the Lebanese since decades.

The foreign intervention is not relying on the justified demands of protestors in its confrontation with Hezbollah. It is relying on sectarian Lebanese who want to contribute to the fall of Hezbollah from the inside.

This is not surprising because Lebanon is a platform where the US, EU, and Saudis are strongly present and active against the Axis of Resistance led by Iran. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Hussein Salame warned in his most recent speech that these countries risk “crossing the line.”

Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, Iran has not initiated a military or preventive war on its neighbours but has limited its action to defending itself and in building its “Axis of Resistance”. Recently, Iran proposed – to no avail – a HOPE (Hormuz Peace Endeavor) to its neighbours, seeking a commitment to the security of the Middle East separately from any US intervention.

Iran defeated the mainstream international community when it helped prevent the fall of the government in Damascus after years of war. It has effectively supported Hezbollah and the Palestinians against Israel, favoured ally of the US; Iran stood next to Iraq and prevented a hostile government reaching power; Iran has also supported the defence of Yemen against Saudi Arabia’s useless and destructive war.

Iran’s enemies are numerous and have not given up. They tried but failed to achieve their objectives in 2006 in Lebanon, in 2011 in Syria, in 2014 in Iraq, and in 2015 in Yemen. Today a new approach is being implemented to defeat Iran’s allies: the weaponization of domestic unrest motivated by legitimate anti-corruption demands for reform at the cost of “incinerating” entire countries, i.e. Lebanon and Iraq.

Protestors have failed to offer a feasible plan themselves, and caretaker Prime Minister Hariri is trying to punch above his parliamentary weight by seeking to remove political opponents who control more than half of the parliament. Lebanon has reached a crossroads where an exchange of fire is no longer excluded. The conflict has already claimed lives. Thanks to manipulation, Lebanon seems to be headed towards self-destruction.

All images in this article are from the author

Alt Left: Treatment of Official Minority Groups in China

SHI: They are forcing the Uyghurs, what remains of the Tibetans and the Mongols in Inner Mongolia to intermarry with the Han population so that the country’s Sinicization is complete. They’re already 95% Han Chinese in that country. It’s not good enough for them, so now they want to push it to 100%.

I haven’t heard about that. Perhaps that is because those ethnicities are in rebellion.

There are ~80 officially recognized ethnic groups in China. They represent millions of people. They have full cultural rights. They all also have a right to native tongue education in school – that’s right, most Chinese minorities get to take their education in their native language.

For the larger ethnicities like the Uyghurs and Tibetans, I believe they even have universities in their languages. They are allowed to have TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines in their native languages. I’m not aware of any efforts to wipe out any other ethnicities by marrying them into the Han. Mostly they just live in their ethnic areas (which are often autonomous zones), and everyone just leaves them alone to do what they want.

All of those ethnicities were in terrible shape before the Communists took over. The CCP improved things dramatically for all of those groups. A lot of them were living in feudalism or near-slavery. Also the CCP dramatically improved all of these groups in terms of economics. There was a webpage up for a while from the Chinese government that over in great deal how the  Chinese government had improved matters for each ethnic group. It was very convincing.

China has long been at the forefront of good treatment for its minorities. The USSR was too.

The thing is that a Kashmir-type episode probably would never happen in China. Kashmiris would have been given full cultural rights and right to education in their native tongue in China. Also they would have given them an autonomous zone. It doesn’t sound like India has done anything like this to Kashmir, right?

Are you aware the current fascist leadership of India is planning to send 2 million people in Assam to detention camps?

2 million Assamese to camps? Wow.

SHI: I just feel a large nation state like PRC is too powerful for its own good.

The problem is that the enemies of China are the ones who want to break it up. They want to do this in order to weaken it. See how that works? Why break up your country to make it weaker when that’s nothing but a plot via your enemies?

Alt Left: India and China: A Comparison

SHI: The Rapeublic of India is taking a leaf out of the PRC book when it detains Kashmiri politicians and opposition leaders. So every time I read about the Uyghurs in China, it rings close because the Indian fascist regime is engaged in closely similar tactics.

They’re different countries. China is a Communist dictatorship. Commies don’t mess around. They kill people, put lots of people in prisons, etc. It’s just what they do.

India is theoretically a democracy. They should not be acting like a totalitarian state. That’s way out of line.

To me, China runs on the Maoist principle of serve the people. They are also one of the countries on Earth (unlike us) who believe in the greatest good for the greatest number. They really are out to help everyone, with a special emphasis on the poor. Does India (or the US for that matter) work on the principle of the greatest good for the greatest number? Of course not.

India has utterly failed its poor. India and China were approximately equal on most social figures in 1949. Since then, China has leaped far ahead of India.

And the Indian capitalist system has resulted in 200 million excess deaths compared to China since 1949. That is, if they had followed the Chinese model, 200 million lives would have been saved. There are still 4 million excess deaths in India every year compared to China. Check out Amartya Sen’s work. That’s where I got most of these figures.

Further, at least 30 years ago, 14 million people died of malnutrition and hunger-related illnesses every year in the world. Most of those deaths were in South Asia. In my opinion, most of those deaths are tied into the private ownership of land (I am talking farmland here).

Neither India nor Pakistan, Bangladesh, or Nepal ever did a proper land reform. The issue comes up from time to time in India, but the Indian state is ruled by large landowners (instead of  corporations), so it never gets implemented. India’s going to have terrible problems until they do a proper land reform.

for Pakistan, Nepal, and Bangladesh. Pakistan still has semi-feudal land relations with debt bondage and sharecropping, and it also has always been ruled by large semi-feudal landowners.

Alt Left: China Is Not a Democracy, But It’s Not a Full-blown Dictatorship Either

SHI: I slightly disagree.

I was really rooting for the Hong Kongers. But the might of People’s Republic of China proved simply too much for them. The PRC leaders are uncompromising jerks: they would have gone all Tiananmen on Hong Kong protesters if needed.

Come on, all they were demanding was to be left alone to run their autonomous island and no interference from Beijing on certain issues. They already have the Chinese flag and wear Chinese symbols. What more should they be asked to give up?

I mean if they could pull that tank stunt in 1989, what would have prevented them from doing it all over again thirty years later? Look at the way the Chinese superstate is detaining Uyghur minorities and brainwashing them in reeducation camps.

They’re not autonomous. Hong Kong is part of China. China’s not a democratic country. It’s a communist dictatorship. These Hong Kongers are living in a communist dictatorship just like all the rest of China. They have to live under the same system everybody else does.

They’ve got no support in the rest of China. 86% of the people like the system. A few of these guys, less than 15%, don’t. Why do they get some special system that everybody else doesn’t get? I don’t understand.

The extradition treaty was a good thing. China wants to go in there and arrest a lot of those corrupt politicians in that lousy place. They can’t do that because of the stupid extradition treaty.

Do you realize the case that set this off? Some jerk in China murdered his wife and then fled to Hong Kong. China tried to extradite him, but no dice. So they’re rioting for a wife murderer.

I have some different opinions on the Tianmen Square riots. I hope to write about this soon. By the way, those former Tiananmen rioters are still walking around in broad daylight saying the exact same stuff they said back then, spouting their mouths off, if not too publicly. Nobody bothers them as long as they are not too public about their views.

I had a friend who lived in China in the Northern Min region. He was a hardcore Christian and he absolutely hated the Chinese government with an extreme passion. I talked to him for a long time, and I never heard that he got arrested. He’s probably still walking around free.

There are probably ~150 million dissidents in China who are opposed to the regime. They walk around freely all through the day. The party is not stupid. You going to arrest 150 million people? How bout killing them? You going to kill 150 million people?

The problem with the Uyghurs in Xinjiang is most unfortunate. I can’t say that I support what China is doing over there.

I’m for the Chinese regime in general, but they also do things that I don’t like. They violate human rights a lot, and arrest a lot of harmless dissidents who aren’t particularly doing anything wrong.

But it’s false to see China as some brutal Stalinist regime like North Korea. Do you realize that there are fully 1,000 different political demonstrations in China every single day? It’s true. You don’t have 1,000 different dissident rallies every day in a pure hardcore dictatorship.

In China they let you disagree quite a bit, especially if you are the “loyal opposition,” but at some certain point, you’ve gone too far. They probably warn you first. A lot of dissidents just get a few weeks in jail and then go free.

The people who get arrested publish newspaper and magazine articles, issue political statements and pamphlets, form anti-government organizations, things like that. Just being against the government about this or that is no big deal.

Party officials respond to the needs of a lot of demonstrators and dissidents. If you put enough pressure on some state official somewhere about some particular local issue, a lot of times, the party just caves.

The party wants to stay in power. They read the tea leaves of 1989 well. They want majority support, popular support. They want to give the people what they want, within reason. They realize that an unpopular government will go the way of the USSR.

Alt Left: “Some in Hong Kong Feel Frustrated as Their City Loses to Mainland China,” by Andre Vltchek

I am sure most of you have heard of the riots convulsing Hong Kong. The Western media is only providing one point of view about these riots – heroic rioters fighting evil Communist dictatorship for freedom and democracy and sugar and spice and everything nice.

I urge you to think again. I don’t support these rioters. There’s really nothing to support. Further, as I hope to show in future pieces, the rioters absolutely do not have majority support. If you go against them, they beat you with clubs, fists and boots. They are destroying public property all over Hong Kong for no particularly good reason.

These are the children of the rich and the upper middle classes. The working class of Hong Kong, the poor, and older people are nowhere to be seen. Go talk to some of them and they will all tell you that they oppose these destructive riots.

If there was a referendum tomorrow on what the rioters want, it would lose. The rioters represent a significant group, but they are not a majority. They only have 35-40% support, and 60-65% of the people are against them.

Your average working class, poor, or older Hong Konger is a fairly conservative person. These silly riots go against traditional Chinese values. Sure, China is revolutionary, and that involves chaos and destruction, but since when are contras revolutionaries? Contras are never revolutionaries.

The young rioters think they are citizens of something called Hong Kong that is not a part of China. The silent majority with their more conservative values are proud to be what they have always considered themselves to be: citizens of China and heirs to its great civilization.

The rioters don’t get it. Hong Kong is not some separate thing. Hong Kong is part of China. It always was part of China. Sure, the British stole it for a while (during the Opium Wars to boot), but it was still part of China even then.

Hong Kong is now back to China where it has always been. The rioters are citizens of China, not some fake thing called Hong Kong. They obviously lack majority support in China proper, where recent polls show ~86% support for the Communist Party.

The CP runs China. Almost everyone in China supports the CP. I hate to tell people to love it or leave it, but if these kids don’t want to be part of China, perhaps they might wish to leave. Macao is right next door. And then there’s Taiwan. Or just calm down and quit being tools of the West.

I would like to add that a century of extreme anti-Communist propaganda is also driving these riots. Most Hong Kongers are extremely anti-Communist. Except now they live in a Communist country. Maybe it’s time they made some adjustments. You can only push a rock uphill for so long. At some point, even Sisyphus wears out and becomes just one more victim of the Law of Gravity. Maybe some causes are doomed from the start.

Some in Hong Kong Feel Frustrated, as Their City Is Losing to Mainland China

Hong Kong is losing to Mainland China. Its poverty rates are high; it suffers from corruption and savage capitalism. It is now the most expensive city on earth. People are frustrated, but paradoxically, they are blaming socialist Beijing for their problems instead of the legacy of British colonialism. ‘Across the line’, Shenzhen, Shanghai, Beijing, Xiang and other cities are leaving Hong Kong behind in almost all fields.

When my dear friend and great concert pianist from Beijing, Yuan Sheng, used to live in New York, recording, giving concerts, and teaching at prestigious Manhattan School of Music, he told me that he used to cry at night:

“In the United States, they smear China. I felt hurt, defenseless.”

He returned to Beijing, gave back his Green Card and began teaching at Beijing Conservatory. He never regretted his decision. “Beijing is much more exciting than New York these days”, he told me.

It is obvious that Beijing is booming: intellectually, artistically; in fact, in all fields of life.

Yuan’s friend, who returned from London and became a curator at the iconic “Big Egg” (the biggest opera house on earth), shared her thoughts with me:

“I used to sit in London, frustrated, dreaming about all those great musicians all over the world. Now they come to me. All of them want to perform in Beijing. This city can make you or break you. Without being hyperbolic, this is now one of the most important places on earth.

Just under one roof, in one single night, we can have a Russian opera company performing in our big halls, in another there is a Chinese opera, and there is a Bolivian folklore ensemble in the recital hall. And ours is only one of Beijing’s theatres.”

When Chinese artists and thinkers are fighting for the prime venues with their Western counterparts, it is usually Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen ‘against’ London, Paris, and New York. Hong Kong is ‘somewhere there’, behind, suddenly a backwater.

While Hong Kong University and the City University of Hong Kong used to be the best in China, many mainland institutions of higher learning, including Peking University and Tsinghua, are now producing many more cutting-edge creative thinkers.

I spoke at all of these schools and can confirm that the young people in Beijing and Shanghai are extremely hardworking and endlessly curious, while in Hong Kong, there is always that mildly arrogant air of exceptionalism and a lack of discipline.

It used to be that the so-called “Sea Turtles” (students who went abroad or to Hong Kong and then returned to Mainland China), were treated like celebrities, but now, it is much easier to get a job with Mainland China’s diplomas.

Recently, while filming the riots in Hong Kong, I was told by a receptionist at one of the major shopping plazas:

“We do not treat visitors from Mainland China well. And they lost interest in Hong Kong. Before, they used to come here to admire out wealth. Now, most of them are avoiding this place. What we have, they have too, and often better. If they travel, they’d rather go to Bangkok or Paris.”

These days, the contrast between Xiang, Shanghai, Beijing, and Hong Kong is shocking. Mainland infrastructure is incomparably better. Public areas are vast, and cultural life much more advanced than in the former British colony.

While the Mainland Chinese cities have almost no extreme poverty (and by the end of 2020 will have zero), in Hong Kong, at least 20% are poor, and many simply cannot afford to live in their own city.

Hong Kong is the most expensive place on earth. Just to park a car in the city could easily cost over US $700 per month, and that’s just for working hours. Tiny apartments cost over a $1 million. Yet Salaries in Hong Kong are not higher than those in London, Paris, or Tokyo.

The city is run by an extreme capitalist system ‘planned’ by corrupt tycoons/developers. The obsolete British legal system here is clearly geared to protect the rich, not the majority. That was essentially why the “Extradition Bill” was proposed: to protect Hong Kong inhabitants from the unbridled, untouchable, as well as unelected de facto rulers. But after months of riots sponsored by the West, the Hong Kong administration scrambled the bill.

But there is also this ‘deal’ negotiated before Hong Kong was returned where it belongs – to China: “One Country, Two Systems”. It is an excellent contract for the turbo-capitalist magnates and for the pro-Western “activists”. And it is an extremely bad one for the average people of Hong Kong.

Young hooligans know very little about their city. I talked to them extensively during their first anti-Beijing riots in 2014, the so-called “Umbrella Revolution”.

Correctly, then and now, they have been frustrated about the declining standard of living and the difficulties of getting well-paid jobs and finding affordable housing. They told me there was no future for them and that their lives were going nowhere.

But quickly, their logic would collapse. While realizing what tremendous progress, optimism, and zeal could be observed in the People’s Republic of China under the leadership of the Communist Party, they still demanded more capitalism, the very thing which was actually ruining their territory. In 2014 and now, they are readily smeared the Communist Party.

Being raised on the shallow values of selfishness and egotism, they have now betrayed their own country, and have begun treasonous campaigns, urging foreign powers, including US and UK, to “liberate them”. All for a fleeting moment of fame, for a “selfie uprising”.

To liberate them from whom? China does not (unfortunately for Hong Kong) interfere in Hong Kong’s economic and social affairs. If anything, it builds new infrastructure, like the enormous bridge now connecting Hong Kong with Macau (a former Portuguese colony) and a high-speed train system linking Hong Kong with several cities in Mainland China.

Huanzhou high-speed train station, one of the biggest in the world

The more restraint Beijing shows, the more it gets condemned by the rioters and Western media for ‘brutality’. As more subway stations and public property get destroyed by rioters, more sympathy flows for them from the German, US, and British right-wing politicians.

For decades, the British colonialists humiliated  the people of Hong Kong while simultaneously turning their city into a brutal and by the Asian standards ruthless and fully business-oriented megalopolis. Now people are confused and frustrated. Many are asking, “Who am I?”

For Hong Kong, this is a difficult moment of soul-searching.

Even those who want to “go back to the UK” can hardly speak English. When asked why they were rioting, they mumble something about the democracy and freedom of the West, plus the evilness of Beijing. Brochures from obscure, extremist Japanese religious cults are distributed amongst the rioters.

It’s pure intellectual chaos. Rioters know nothing about Syria, Afghanistan, Venezuela, and other countries which are being ruined by the West.

Leaders like Joshua Wong proudly collude with the Western embassies. To praise Chinese socialism publicly is now dangerous – people get beaten by the “pro-democracy” rioters, for such “crimes”.

Highly educated and overly-polite Singapore is literally sucking out hundreds of foreign companies from Hong Kong. Its people speak both English and Mandarin. In Hong Kong, the great majority speaks only Cantonese.

Many foreigners in Hong Kong are also relocating to Shanghai. Not only big businessmen: Shanghai is now full of European waiters.

Even tourism is down in Hong Kong, by 40%, according to the recent data.

Absurdly, the rioters want precisely what the Communist Party of China is providing: a real struggle against corruption, a determined attempt to solve housing crises, the creation of new jobs, and the provision of more public services. They want better education and generally a better life. They want “Shanghai or Beijing”, but they also say that they want to be a colony of the UK or a dependency of the USA.

They loosely define communist goals, and then they shout that they are against Communism. In short, politically speaking, they are very confused.

HNKChina is now ready to celebrate its 70th Anniversary of the Founding of The People’s Republic of China.

Clearly, the West is using Hong Kong to spoil this great moment.

After leaving Hong Kong, in Shanghai, I visited a brilliant socialist realism exhibition at the iconic, monumental China Art Museum. The country under the leadership of President Xi is once again confident, revolutionary, and increasingly socialist, to horror of declining West.

It is a proud nation with great, elegant cities constructed by the people, for the people, and with a progressively ecological countryside. Its scientific, intellectual ,and social achievements speak louder than words.

China Art Museum, Shanghai.

The contrast between Hong Kong and Shanghai is tremendous and growing.

But do not get me wrong: I like Hong Kong. I have  more than 20 years of history with that old, neurotic, and spoiled lady. I can feel her pulse. I love old trams and ferries and out-of-the-way islands.

But Hong Kong’s charm lies in its decay.

Mainland China’s beauty is fresh. China is one of the oldest cultures on earth and one of the deepest. But it feels crisp, full of hope, and positive energy. Together with its closest ally, Russia, it is now working and fighting for the entire world; it is not selfish.

Hong Kong is fighting only for its vaguely defined uniqueness. Actually, it is not Hong Kong that is fighting, as most of people there want to be where they truly belong – in their beloved nation – China. It is a gang of kids with their face masks that is fighting. In brief: a relatively big group of pro-Western extremists whose leaders are putting their fame above the interests of the people.

Hong Kong has no “Big Egg”: no famous theatre where the greatest musicians are stunning the world. Its only art museum has been closed for reconstruction for years and will re-open only at the end of 2019. Its cultural life is shallow, even laughable, especially pathetic for the place that is branding itself “Asia’s World City”. There are no great discoveries made here. It is all business. Big, big business. And creeping decay.

Beijing could ‘liberate’ Hong Kong easily to give it purpose, pride, and future.

But young hooligans want to be liberated by Washington instead. They want to be recolonized by London. And they have not consulted their fellow citizens. That clearly reflects their idea about ‘democracy’. Not the “rule of the people” but the “rule of the West”.

Not only do they feel spite for their country, but they also scorn and intimidate their fellow citizens who only want to live meaningful lives based on Chinese values.

Andre Vltchek is philosopher, novelist, filmmaker and investigative journalist. He’s a creator of Vltchek’s World in Word and Images, and a writer that penned a number of books, including China and Ecological Civilization. He writes especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook where this article was originally published. 

Alt Left: Show Me One American Corporation That Won’t Promote Fascist Coups in the Third Word

RL: Elon Musk is the US corporate leader who wants to get his mitts on that lithium more than anyone else. I always suspected he was a piece of crap but I could never quite prove it (though stories about how he forbids unions and grossly abuses his workers were suggestive), and if it’s true that he was behind this fascist coup, then I was right.

SHI: Musk’s a pure scumbag. Pretends to be a humble person and has his mitts on every new technology that will be used in a future Orwellian state – security cameras, smart vehicles, biometrics, thought control (Artificial Intelligence), etc.. Just another Antichrist agent. I hate this man; he makes me sick to my guts.

I don’t hate all capitalists. I mean when I was in college I used to look up to Bill Gates, as I was aspiring to be a computer nerd myself. Sure he’s a psychopath and a monopolist, but at least he’s someone I can relate to and have a good conversation with. The likes of Elon Musk have a God complex that sees all human beings as tiny insects.

In other words, Elon Musk is a monster. I was worried that that might be the truth about that man. There was always something creepy about that man. I can’t quite put my finger on it.

Would Bill Gates support fascist coups by the US government? That’s my litmus test. Almost 100% of US corporations support fascist coups to remove leftwing governments. They will not abide any leftwing governments anywhere on Earth.

Not all capitalists act bad. In a number of countries, the capitalists are reigned in by the state. The Indian capitalists at least do not support Western corporate imperialism and do not go around the world overthrowing every Left regime in sight.

India has good relations with a lot of Left countries. So that means that the Indian state is not run by its capitalists. Instead the Indian state, for all of its faults, is a proud leader of the Nonaligned Movement, which I strongly support.

I also think that to some extent, India has a national economy and has a state that in some sense guides and runs the economy. There is some sort of an Indian state that is separate from the Indian capitalists. Well, right there in the Indian Constitution it says that India is a socialist country, so there is that pedigree.

For instance, Indian capitalists apparently don’t care that India has good relations with Venezuela, Iran, Syria, etc. Indian capitalists are perfectly willing to abide by and trade with a leftwing country.

The capitalists in Turkey, Russia, a lot of the Arab World (except the Gulf countries – especially Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and UAE, which are in bed with Western corporate imperialism, much to their discredit), South Asia in general, Southeast Asia, most of East Asia, Oceania, Central Asia, and most of Africa are similar. The states that those capitalists reside in are all part of the non-aligned movement.

The real fascist monsters of the world who won’t abide by any left government anywhere on Earth are the US, Canada, Australia, most all of Europe (with sometimes exceptions of Italy and Spain, Japan, and any rightwing government in Latin America.

They run around the world strong-arming every country to let their corporations in to rape and steal the resources of that country, and if you don’t let them in, they get hostile, put sanctions on you, or try to fund a fascist coup. And most of those European states are officially socialist (social democracies).

I’m starting to have a very low opinion of European social democrats. For one, they all support fascist coups against democratically elected leftwing leaders. Since when do socialists support fascist coups against leftwing and socialist regimes?

I was mystified for some time but then I realized that social democracy, for all of its benefits, is basically just capitalism. Even in Sweden, 93% of the economy is capitalist. So the foreign policies of the European social democracies are to do whatever benefits their corporations. The European social democracies are run by their corporations, just like the US.

European social democracies used to be different back in the 1980’s. They supported the Communist Bloc, the Sandinistas, and even the FARC rebels in Colombia.

Something terrible happened, maybe the fall of the Eastern Bloc. After that, there was one superpower, the US, and I suppose all the European countries in NATO just lined up behind the sole superpower.

In case you are interested, NATO has always been run by the US. It’s basically an American-run organization. The rest just follow along.

The Secret to China’s Success – The Capitalists Are Kept out of Politics

China isn’t really a capitalist country. Why not? Because the capitalists are not in politics. They don’t run the country. The market or the capitalists are a tool to develop the forces of production instead of a form of Politics as they are most everywhere else, where they manage to conveniently screw up most everything for the masses.

The Communist Party rules China and the Hell if they are going to let the capitalists take over their country and run it into the ground like they do everywhere else. Instead the market is simply a tool, and the capitalists are barred from politics as they ought to be.

Capitalists should just make stuff. They’re pretty good at that. Once they gain political power, they seem to blow up everything and turn it all to Hell. Want some evidence? Open your eyes and look around at the capitalist world. See?

In China the capitalists have to go along with the Communist Party’s plans. New labor laws? Suck it up, capitalists. New pollution controls? Better fix those smokestacks, capitalists. The capitalists don’t have any say in this because if you let them take over, they always vote to ruin labor and destroy all the environmental laws because that’s what the profit motive demands.

Capitalists in China have to follow the Party’s five year plans. They have to do what the government says, or orders, for that matter. If the capitalists defy the party and don’t do as they’re told, the Party will just go in and confiscate all their property.  They’ll steal all your stuff. So that’s good motivation to get along and go along. Then they will either nationalize it or turn it over to one of their friends who is a bit more obedient.

There is a Party committee that sits on the board of directors of all large corporations. Large corporations are frequently bought out and nationalized. The state must own a proportion of all foreign corporations that set up shop in China. Apple wants to set up a factory? Fine, but the government gets a piece of that.

The banking is almost all controlled by the state. This is how China among a few other countries weathered the bankster economic crash of 2008. The state owned the banks so China was not plugged into world capitalist finance.

Japan is similar. There are a few very large banks at the top of the economic pyramid, and they are owned by the state.

Like in Korea, economic decisions about the development of the country are made by teams made up of the government and corporations. Korea’s giant conglomerates are nearly state-owned in part.

The Russian government is similar. It either owns outright or owns 50% of almost every large corporation in Russia.

A number of China’s state corporations are among the largest companies on Earth. They are right there in the Forbes 100 or even in the Forbes 50. They are immensely profitable and they generate a tremendous amount of money for the state, which is then used to develop the country or distributed to the people in one way or another. What’s wrong with that?

The Chinese state spends a staggering amount of money developing their country.  They do things quite easily, quickly, and even cheaply there – such as developing deep water ports or high speed rail systems – that either take forever and cost a fortune in the US or are simply not done, as they are economically unfeasible.

For instance, the US has decided that high-speed rail is not economically feasible in the US. How is it economically feasible in China, Japan, and Europe then? That argument is senseless.

China is presently pouring vast amounts of money into the rural areas, as they have been neglected. A lot of rural people move to the cities to seek their fortune. A lot of them don’t make it. China allows them to keep their farms as insurance when they do this, so rural folks who don’t make it in the cities always have the fallback of moving back to their farms. Hey, at least they can eat and survive.

This is where having the state own all the land in China comes in. Since the state owns all the land, the rural farms can remain as a backup insurance policy for rural workers who migrate to the cities and don’t make it.

If land in China was privately owned, that backup would not be available, and Chinese cities would be teeming with awful slums made up of rural dwellers migrated to the city. This sad scene is typical all over the capitalist world. But maybe it’s not necessary.

As noted, all land in China is owned by the state. Every inch of it. This is important as the private ownership of land is one of the main reasons that the India – Pakistan – Nepal – Bangladesh South Asian region is such a shithole. The best single thing India could do would be to abolish the private ownership of land.

In China, you get to own your house but not the land it’s built on. Sure you can lease out state land, even for a long time, but you can’t own it. In Netherlands, similarly all land is owned by the state. It’s not a bad idea.

A vast amount of the Chinese economy – 45% and growing – is publicly owned at some level or other, often at the municipal or even village level.

The state owns the vast irrigation system that underpins the entire rural economy. If that were privatized, all Hell would break loose. Think about it. You can’t have private corporations running the irrigation networks. Hell, we don’t even have that in the US.

The state used to run small schools and even medical centers in most rural villages, although they are getting away from that. Education is free through the graduate level. This also helps free graduates from being mired in poverty in debt for years or decades after they graduate. They keep their money to spend in the economy instead having most of their money go via debt bondage to parasitical bankers who don’t create anything of real value anyway.

Most capitalist banks in the West are giant loan-sharking institutions or casinos in the sky. Speculation isn’t real investment. It’s like going to the casino. If everyone just goes to the casino, this is good for the economy how? This is what happens when all that’s left of your economy is the economic mirage called “finance.”

Similarly, China now covers almost all typical medical care that people need. The state pays 85% and people pick up the rest. It’s easily affordable for most anything other than a very serious injury or illness such as cancer, which, unfortunately, the state won’t pay for.

This is a black mark to me, but it’s still better than our for-profit medicine system that wastes incredible amounts of the productive forces on overhead and executive payouts.

Medicare’s overhead is 2%. All the rest goes to medical treatment of patients, as it ought to. The overhead and profit of private insurance companies comes to 20%. So with Medicare, 98 cents of every dollar goes to actual health care, and with private insurance, only 80 cents of every dollar goes towards patient care. That’s obviously a grossly inefficient waste of economic resources. What’s this about the state being inefficient and the private sector being so efficient?

Once again, when the state covers your medical care, workers can not only relax, but they also don’t have to go into debt, bankruptcy, and poverty to  pay their medical bills. All of which helps whom? The vultures called for profit hospitals and insurance companies?

Why should sick people be financially ruined and living on the streets because they were so sick that they had to give every time they owned to some human shark in a corporate suit? In what possible world is this a just or even acceptable outcome?

Instead of being ruined, losing everything they own, and going homeless due to medical bills, with state health care, workers can keep working at their jobs and keep their money and their wealth as the state foots the doctor bills. So these workers remain productive and continue to spend money in the real economy. Win-win.

Alt Left: “CIA Installed Dictatorship Replaces Democracy in Bolivia,” by Stephen Lendman

If you have been paying attention, there has been a fascist coup sponsored by the US of course (CIA) in Bolivia. The two point men for the fascist coup were Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz. The coup was run out of the US Embassy in La Paz. The Western media are all lying like maniacs like they always do.

Background: There has been a presidential election underway in Bolivia. This was the first round, and it featured Maduro, his competitor Mesa, and nine other.

If one party got more than 50% of the vote, they would win the election.

If neither party got more than 50% but one got at least 40% of the vote and ten percentage points more than the other one, the person who got 40% and the ten point lead would win.

If neither party got more than 50% and no one was up by 10 points over the election, the election would go to a final round.

The counting stopped for a day at 85% with Morales ahead by ~8 points. Then it started up again and Morales gained enough votes in the remaining 15% of precints to put him over the 10 point margin. This set off wild, destructive riots all over the country by the opposition who screamed fraud because the last 15 points put Morales over.

Lie #1: Evo Morales, the leftwing leader who won the free and fair election and was removed via a CIA fascist coup, defied the Constitution in running for a fourth term as the Constitution says he can only run for three terms. Keep in mind that he won all three previous elections handily.

There was a ruling that said that Morales could not run for President a fourth time, and Morales appealed that ruling all the way to the Supreme Court. For some reason or other, the Supreme Court ruled that it was constitutional for Morales to run for a fourth term. That’s the official ruling of the court. That’s democracy in action, folks. You can’t blame Morales for that.

It was the Supreme Court’s ruling, not his. Rulings by Supreme Courts anywhere are legitimate and must be followed by all parties. I don’t have any information about whether the Supreme Court is allied with Morales or whether he put pro-Morales people.

But what if he did? Didn’t the Republican Party just in defiance of all tradition stack the Supreme Court in their favor, including stealing a Democratic justice who was appointed by Obama. Can someone tell me why a Supreme Court ruling in any country justifies a fascist coup? Please explain.

Lie #2: It was very suspicious that the counting stopped for a day and then when it started up again, there were enough votes to push Morales over. This smells like fraud. Not true. Bolivia counted the election in precisely the way that the US-supported OAS wanted them to.

This was the OAS-designed system. The OAS system had a preliminary count of 85% of the votes, followed a day later by a final count of the remaining 15% of votes. Just to show you how sleazy the US is, Morales used the counting system demanded by the US, and then when he did just that, the US screamed fraud for using the system that the US itself had designed. Sleazy or what? So the pause in vote counting had a perfectly innocent explanation.

Lie #3: The OAS conducted an investigation of the election that proved electoral fraud by Morales. Not so. The OAS indeed issued a very sleazy report saying that the election was fraudulent, but if you read the report, it presented absolutely no evidence of this fraud whatsoever. It claimed fraud while presenting no evidence of such. Once again, this is typical of how the US acts all over the world all the time, year in and year out. America is one of the sleaziest countries on Earth.

Lie #4: The OAS report proved that it was statistically unlikely that Morales got enough in the final 15% of votes to push him over. Figures don’t lie but liars sure do figure. Once again, not true. Another statistical analysis showed that it was indeed quite likely that Morales got enough votes in the last 15% to push himself over. This is because the last 15% of voting districts consisted heavily of pro-Morales rural districts.

Lie #5: Pre-election polls showed that Morales would not get enough votes to win. Yep, one election poll done by the opposition that found results completely opposite to every other election poll. Actually, election polls were excellent evidence that there was no fraud, but election polls predicted a Morales win by 10 points precisely. Can someone please show me how it is possible for pre-election polls to predict fraud? I’m all ears.

Lie #6: Since Morales committed fraud, there was no choice but for the military to replace him in a coup. Not true. Amidst all the violence and rioting, Morales called for international observers to do a monitored audit or recount of all of the votes. If Morales deliberately committed fraud, why would he ask confidently for a recount.

Lie #7: Morales is a crook. Not so. There have been a number of presidential, constitutional, and legislative elections since Morales came in. Morales has never been proven to have stolen a single vote in any election, so Morales has never engaged in election fraud in the past. One wonders why he would start now. Further, even if Morales only got a 9 point lead (which is a lie), why would he commit fraud? He could just go to a runoff which he would obviously win handily.

Lie #8: The fascist coup was a win for democracy. Many US politicians and all of the US and Western media are proclaiming the fascist coup which overthrew a democratically elected leader in a 100% free and fair election to be a win for democracy. This is typical American lying.

The CIA has overthrown more governments than I can count. It’s always a leftwing government that gets overthrown and it’s always a far right or fascist government that gets installed. Every time the CIA conducts a fascist coup against a democratically elected leftwing leader, US politicians and the entire Western media all scream that this is a victory for democracy.

This is Orwellian. It is also a grotesque abuse of language itself. How are fascist coups that overthrow democratically elected leaders ever victories for democracy? That’s a bizarre doublespeak lie right out of 1984. America specializes in doublespeak and bizarre Orwellian language. That’s what those stars and stripes represent.

I would also like to point out the US (and the rest of the West) are extreme supporters of fascism all over the globe. We supported fascism before WW2 and then we supported it again after WW2.

In fact, WW2 was the only time in our nation’s history that our nation went to war against fascism or rightwing military dictatorships. I guess those particular fascists got a bit out of hand.

Although supporting fascism doesn’t mean that America is a fascist country, we are definitely one of the world’s biggest supporters of fascism and rightwing dictatorships and we have been for 120 years. That flag of yours represents support for fascism for over a century. Are you Americans ok with that? If so, why?

Just to show that this was not a win for democracy, the military installed opposition government is basically a dictatorship. The putschist regime has shut down freedom of the press. The coup government is threatening all pro-Morales journalists with arrests.

In addition, the opposition has been banned from running for office for all time.

Morales has been banned from running for office. On what grounds?

Many members of the MAS, his party, have been placed under arrest. On what charges?

When members of the MAS showed up in the legislature to take their seats, uniformed soldiers prevented them from taking their seats. Why?

Morales’ home, the homes of his relatives, and the homes of many MAS legislators were burned to the ground by the rioters. How on Earth was that justified?

In addition, martial law has been declared in Bolivia and soldiers and police are fanning out through the country, raiding homes of opposition members from east to west, smashing up their homes and arresting opposition party members. How is it that police and the army rampaging all over the land arresting thousands of opposition supporters (on what charges?) could possibly be justified?

This is the “death squad” type crackdown that follows every CIA coup. After the coup, there is typically a “reign of terror” run by the CIA and the fascist coup regime in which significant numbers of opposition supporters are rounded up, arrested, imprisoned, tortured, or out and out murdered. It happened in Guatemala, Haiti, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Honduras, Greece and Turkey.

The reason for this is to make people think: if we elect another leftwing government, there’s going to be another fascist coup followed by a reign of death squad terror in which I might just get killed. See how that works?

That’s democracy?

Ban the opposition party, arrest the lawmakers of the opposition, refuse to let opposition lawmakers seat themselves in the Legislature, burn the homes of the opposition political leaders to the ground, and send security forces all over the land arresting opposition supporters?

That’s how democracy works? According to the Western media, this is democracy in action.

Keep in mind that the opposition seized power when by any accounting, they lost the last election. They either lost it by nine or 10 points, but what difference does it make? They lost.

So the opposition lost by 9-10 points, and the US overthrew the obvious winner of the election and installed the party that lost the election badly. Overthrowing winners of elections and installing losers of elections is a victory for democracy? What the Hell’s the matter with Americans? Why do they fall for these crazy lies?

CIA Installed Dictatorship Replaces Democracy in Bolivia

Evo Morales is Bolivia’s democratically elected and three-times reelected Bolivian president.

In cahoots with Bolivian fascists, military, and police along with US imperial tool Organization of American States (OAS), CIA forces toppled Morales for not subordinating the country’s sovereign rights to US interests.

Morales’ majority Movement for Socialism (MAS) legislators were intimidated and threatened not to interfere with the coup.

In response to the OAS’ Big Lie about electoral fraud (none occurring) Pompeo congratulated the organization for serving US interests over the rights and welfare of Bolivia and its people.

Separately, he thanked self-declared, unelected, illegitimate usurper president Jeanine Anez for “lead(ing) her nation through this democratic transition (sic)” that the Trump regime went all-out to eliminate, with a CIA-installed fascist tyranny replacing it.

An unnamed senior state department official called transition to despotism in Bolivia “a significant moment for…democracy in our hemisphere”, democracy being a notion both extremist right wings of the US one-party state abhor, especially at home.

Anti-Morales Bolivians in the streets post-election, “standing up for (the) legitimacy of their electoral process,” were actually CIA-recruited thugs.

Key Bolivian military and police officials were enlisted to support the coup. At first, majority pro-Morales legislators couldn’t enter parliament because security forces refused to guarantee their safety.

Days later, they formed a legislative quorum, swearing in MP Monico Eva Copa as Senate president and Sergio Choque as lower house Chamber of Deputies president.

Pro-Morales supporters control Bolivia’s Legislative Assembly for now, but that control is tenuous at best without military and police support.

Anez illegally self-declared herself president, breaching the constitutional requirement for a parliamentary quorum to be in session for approval.

She breached articles 161, 169, and 410 of the Constitution.

Article 161 lists the Legislative Assembly’s functions, a quorum required for them to be performed. They include “accept(ing) or reject(ing) the resignation of the president (and) vice president.”

Article 169 states the following:

“In the event of an impediment or definitive absence of the President, he or she shall be replaced by the Vice President and, in the absence of the latter, by the President of the Senate, and in his or her absence by the President of the Chamber of Deputies.

In this last case, new elections shall be called within a maximum period of ninety days…In case of temporary absence, the Vice President shall assume the Presidency for a term not to exceed ninety days.”

Article 410 states:

“Every person, natural and legal, as well as public organs, public functions, and institutions, are subject to the present Constitution…The Constitution is the supreme norm of Bolivian law and enjoys supremacy before any other normative disposition.”

Anez is a US-anointed hard-right political nobody, elected to Bolivia’s Senate in 2014 with 91,895 votes – 1.7% of 5,171,428 ballots cast.

Until the CIA coup, most Bolivians knew little or nothing about her. Telesur noted that “Latin America recorded a new ‘self-swearing’ in coup script that, without a doubt, seems familiar,” adding:

“Violence in the country continues by radical opposition groups that have burned indigenous population symbols.”

“Meanwhile in La Paz, (the country’s political capital) thousands of supporters of Evo Morales are being mobilized in rejection of the coup d’etat and its discriminatory and racist acts.”

Telesur reported, citing Menta Communication’s Luciano Galup, adding:

“Over 4,500 Twitter accounts (were) created to legitimize (the illegitimate) coup (with) almost no followers…These action have scant effect on domestic politics…But worldwide they can function as (pro-coup) propaganda…”

…a way for dictatorships and their sponsors to legitimize what’s illegitimate.

Calling Twitter’s action “a scandal,” Galup noted that 3,612 accounts have “between zero and one followers,” adding:

“(T)he most scandalous thing is there are 4,492 accounts that were created between yesterday and today to participate in the (coup). They created 4,492 accounts in two days.”

Images released support his charges.

On Friday, illegitimate coup d’etat regime communications minister Roxana Lizarraga threatened independent journalists reporting accurately on what’s going with “sedition,” saying:

“Law will be fully enforced against those journalists or pseudo-journalists who are seditious, whether they are nationals or foreigners (sic),” warning:

The (illegitimate) interior ministry is compiling a list of journalists opposed to the coup d’etat regime.

Arrests were made, more likely to follow.

The coup d’etat regime cut diplomatic ties to Venezuela and ordered its embassy staff to leave the country one day after Anez usurped power, likely acting on orders from Washington.

Separately, she warned that if Morales returns to Bolivia, his legal right, he’ll face charges, falsely saying:

“He knows he has to answer to justice (sic). There is an electoral crime (sic). Nobody has thrown him out, but yes, there’s a need for him to respond regarding electoral fraud (sic), in addition to many allegations of corruption (sic).”

Earlier she said her (illegitimate) foreign ministry will file an official complaint with Mexico’s Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s government for granting Morales asylum.

Coup d’etat regime foreign minister Karen Longaric announced Bolivia’s withdrawal from the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America (ALBA), established in 2004 by Venezuela and Cuba, with other regional nations joining the alliance later. The international organization is intended to foster cooperative social, political, and economic integration of Latin American and Caribbean nations.

Large-scale pro-Morales protests continue in La Paz and elsewhere demanding Anez resign and calling for reinstatement of Morales as Bolivia’s legitimate president.

CIA-installed usurpers control Bolivia. Resistance continues. The US got another imperial trophy if its dark forces can keep it — no guarantee given Bolivia’s long history of resisting tyranny.

Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG).

His new book as editor and contributor is titled Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III. http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.

Alt Left: The Neoliberal Ghost of Pinochet Is Finally Being Exorcised from Chile

The Neoliberal Ghost of Pinochet Is Finally Being Exorcised from Chile

More than 46 years of initially military-imposed neoliberalism in Chile has finally exploded into widespread frustration, protest, and violence. This neoliberalism culminated in 2017 with twelve businessmen, among them Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, monopolizing at least 17% of the national GDP, demonstrating the huge gap in wealth equity.

There is little doubt why the latest protests have exploded violently, with 18 dead so far – Piñera had declared war on his own people to protect his lucrative monopoly racket.

It is without surprise he had declared war. The aggressive neoliberalism that has dominated Chile since the 1973 Chilean coup d’état when socialist President Salvador Allende was killed and eventually replaced by neoliberal Augusto Pinochet with the backing and blessing of U.S. President Richard Nixon, Henry Kissinger, the CIA, and the so-called “Chicago Boys” neoliberal economic team.

Although the so-called communist threat was defeated in Chile, it was not until 1990 that the kinder face of neoliberalism returned to the country with the first democratic election taking place since the coup. The return to democracy did not equate to any changes in the economic system.

The appearance of GDP growth in the South American country created the mythology of the Chilean miracle, ‘thanks’ to the Chicago Boys, the group of young Chilean economists who studied at the University of Chicago under the adviser to U.S. President Ronald Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, professor Milton Friedman.

They were the so-called economic liberators and advised Pinochet on applying complete free-market policies – essentially to privatize state-owned industries and companies and to open the economy.

The pernicious globalist model was applied and deemed a miracle because of significant GDP growth. However, this was only to the benefit of shareholders and private companies and did not reflect the average Chilean’s experience. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the Gini coefficient value, a method to measure wealth distribution, stood at a record 0.50 in 2017, one of the highest inequality coefficients in the world.

This is because the incomes of the richest 10 percent of Chile are 26 times higher than the incomes of the poorest 10 percent of the population. This is partly also due to an unfair taxation system that creates a massive tax burden on the poor, as Chile’s government earns less from income taxes than any other country in the 35-member OECD.

Despite praise for the supposed fantastic economic performance, almost a third of Chilean workers are employed in part-time jobs, with one in two Chileans having low literacy skills according to the OECD.

And now as Chile literally burns and 18 people are dead, we cannot forget that former president Michelle Bachelet grotesquely dedicated lessons on “human rights” against Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. Although Piñera has apologized, he did not do so for his declaration of war against the people but rather for decades of unresolved problems, which he  followed with an announcement for a new social and economic program.

A reversal of the crippling neoliberal economic system? Highly doubtful and probably more a Band-Aid option.

Neoliberal propagandist Enrique Krauze Kleinbort – accused of the coup attempt to overthrow Mexican President López Obrador – proclaimed that Chile was ‘the role model’ for Latin American economic growth. If inequality is considered a ‘role model,’ it shows that the oligarchs of Latin America have not recognized the growing trend of violent opposition to neoliberalism as the recent case in Ecuador demonstrates.

The very fact that Piñera attempted to increase transportation and energy costs in Chile demonstrates his lack of knowledge about international outrage to neoliberalism.

The French Gilets Jaunes (Yellow Vests) in France began their actions 12 months ago, which soon spread across Europe, when neoliberal President Emmanuel Macron attempted to increase gasoline taxes. In 2018, Brazilian truck drivers blocked roads in a demand for a decrease in diesel prices. Mexico in 2017 saw a 20% rise in fuel prices that exploded into riots.

However, the attempted increase in transportation and energy costs was only the spark that lit the fire. As Piñera the man who is part of a monopoly over the Chilean economy, was forced to admit this is an explosion after decades worth of frustration, neglect, and abuse.

Candida Cecilia Morel, the wife of the billionaire Piñera, sent a WhatsApp message that was leaked in the media in which she comments on the violence and the protests shaking her country, and it certainly does show the disconnect that the elite of Chile have with the common Chilean.

The message said that “we are absolutely overwhelmed, it is like a foreign invasion, alien,” and that “we will have to decrease our privileges and share with others.” Her suggestion to decrease “privileges” is a stark reminder of Charles Dickens 1800’s Britain.

With such elitist comments and referring to Chileans as aliens, there is little wonder that there has been little calm despite Piñera’s half-done apology and promises of more neoliberalism with a softer punch.

Although circles close to the Chilean Presidency affirm that the disturbances and destabilization are orchestrated from abroad, it is unlikely to be true. We can of course expect that Venezuela will be the scapegoat by some Chilean oligarchs just as the oligarchs in Ecuador and Colombia have done, but there remains little evidence that this is the case.

Rather, as Piñera has had to attest, decades of neoliberalism is the cause of the disturbances. Perhaps inspired by events in Ecuador, it appears that the Chilean people are finally exercising the neoliberal ghost of Pinochet from its country.

It appears that the violence will not end unless the Chilean president makes drastic changes to the Chilean economy. Whether he does this remains to be seen.

This article was originally published on InfoBrics.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.


Alt Left: Why I Hate the Judicial System So Much

I despise cops, DA’s, courts, jails, prisons, probation officers and the whole vile, despicable system.

Of the above, I think I hate DA’s most of all. I also really hate federal police, even the FBI. The FBI is not cool at all. If they just focused on arresting very bad criminals it would be one thing. But they undertake blatantly political prosecutions all the time, indicting foreign citizens on US charges solely for further US foreign policy, as these are citizens of the countries who we say are enemies.

Check out COINTELPRO if you think the FBI is ok. And they never stopped doing that either. They said they shut it down, but it’s really still going on but underground. In these cases, the government pursued blatantly political prosecutions of US dissidents all the way up executing them (check out Fred Hampton). The FBI also covers up for the crimes that the CIA commits on US soil, including homicide.

Yes, I know we need the people above sometimes to protect us from criminals who actually harm us, but we have far too many laws, and 70% of them should be wiped off the books. Every year there is a whole slate of new laws on the books to criminalize more and more of our lives. They’ve already made half of normal daily life illegal. I guess that’s not enough as they aren’t satisfied.

The government needs to butt the Hell out of our lives, in particular our sex lives. Far too much of our normal sex lives is open to prosecution by the judicial system. That’s ridiculous. What business is it of theirs? I feel that for most problems (70% of laws) people simply ought to be left to sort out their problems on their own. Why are police involved in interpersonal disputes between one person and another? What business is this of the state’s? Butt out.

In particular, many of those either do not victimize anyone or is quite dubious that the “victim” was harmed in the slightest bit by the crime.

In some cases, the “victim” is the government or society. Excuse me. I never realized that “the government” or “society” was a human being! Did “the government” or “society” get PTSD as a result of this crime against it? Did it need therapy for decades as a result of the crime? No? Then why is this even a law in the first place.

In this sense, I am quasi-Libertarian, though I do want to keep many laws on the books, far more than the Libertarians do. I particularly do not agree with complete decriminalization of drug laws and a complete deregulation of business or the capitalists. And this would also be the Alt Left position. We are in a sense Left-Libertarians.

Alt Left: The Ghaddafi Shot Down the Lockerbie Jet Bullshit

You know the truth about the downing of the Lockerbie jet in Scotland in 1988, right? Everyone knows that Ghaddafi did it and that he used two Libyan intelligence agents to commit the crime.

Well, you are wrong. That whole story is a massive lie made up by the US government itself, mostly by the our wonderful FBI that we all love so much, in which an innocent state was said to do a crime actually done by two other states.

The jet was downed by Syria via Iran and yet  Ghaddafi was framed for it by the US government.

Yes, the glorious FBI itself who framed Ghaddafi and two of his men for the Lockerbie bombing when we knew full that the plane was downed by a Palestinian group close to Syria called the PFLP-GC. This group was hired by Iran to down the Lockerbie jet and paid $10 million for the job.

Now do you see why I hate the FBI and federal agents in general? They’re not heroes. Actually they’re just pigs like all cops, and they’re actually the worst pigs of them all.

The US knew all of this but went ahead about Iran being behind the crime, but we went ahead and framed Ghaddafi and two of his intelligence agents anyway. A few years later the CIA issued an official report saying that Libya was innocent downing the Lockerbie jet and that the ones who  did it were the PFLP-GC, who were paid by Iran.

There is now a consensus among researchers that Iran downed the plane via the Syrian proxy group and that Libya was framed for the crime. We even know exactly how Libya was framed. The FBI deliberately altered the circuit board of the bomb recovered in the crime to make it look like the circuit boards that were made in Libya by Qaddafi’s government.

In fact the circuit board and bomb were manufactured  by PFLP-GC Palestinians operating out of Germany. We  even know the names of some of the PFLP-GC operatives who did it, and one of them is in prison for some reason.

Yet if you go to CIApedia, I mean Wikipedia, you will see the official US lie that Ghaddafi downed the Lockerbie jet. The true story, that is the real history that Iran did it via the Syrian guerrilla group, is listed as  a loony-tunes conspiracy theory for which there is no evidence.

100% of US media outlets that write about Lockerbie continue to push the lie that Libya did it. The Lockerbie crime was much in the news around the time we attacked Ghaddafi to try to regime change him in 2014.

Shortly before then, Ghaddafi had paid a $4 million fine for the Lockerbie incident even though both he and we knew that he didn’t do it. Unfortunately the fact that he paid the fine is used as evidence of Qaddafi’s guilt. You can see here an example of the fact that innocent people confess to crimes all the time for all sorts of reasons.

Ghaddafi simply paid the money to get the West to shut up about the crime and to hopefully get the sanctions lifted against him, as we made paying a vast amount of money for a crime he never committed as a prerequisite for removing the sanctions.

It’s disgusting that we know the truth about this  incident now, but the US government and the entire US media continue to repeat the lie that Libya did even though we know they were framed.

It’s things like this that sicken me about this country. With all of the false flags, provocations, framings, and other nonsense concocted by the CIA offered as the true actual history for past events, we can  see that the US is waging a war against history itself.

Furthermore, modern historians are completely failing in their job of recording the past by repeating the endless lies of the US government as the truth behind all sorts of famous incidents in the past.

The job of the historian is to search for the unbiased truth. We can see here that historians are participating in a vast effort by the US to destroy and rewrite history itself simply because historians are allergic to the notion that conspiracy theory in some cases is the actual truth about what really happened.

We made a big fuss about how the USSR attacked, destroyed, and altered history in its textbooks, including writing famous people completely out of the picture as if they never existed. The US for the last 20 years minimum is doing the exact same thing that Stalin did in the 1930’s. So in that sense the US government and media is as bad as Stalin.

The Marriage of Drug, Black, and Jazz Cultures in the Earlier Days of Jazz Music

The jazz underground has always been associated with Black people and drugs even from its early days in the 1920’s.

The drug back then was mostly marijuana which was widely demonized back then because it was mostly used by Blacks and Hispanics. Whites who used it were more or less White niggers or wiggers so to speak.

The Pot Makes You Violent Bullshit

My Mom has believed this garbage her whole life. She keeps bringing it up. She got infected with this propaganda way back as a girl. This shows how strong propaganda is and how it has the potential to override all reason.

This is where the myth the crazed psychotic violent pot crazed murdering maniac comes from – the fact that most pot users were either city Blacks or low-skilled Mexican workers. These people were considered to be violent types – and they are more violent than Whites. They also used pot, so it was assumed that the pot and violence went together except that it didn’t and if anything it probably calmed them down.

There were also a few notorious cases in which unstable pot smokers went wild and committed some savage murders. The relationship of pot with these cases is unknown but back then, few people smoked pot, but one thing was for sure – almost all criminals, even White criminals, smoked pot. In fact it was seen as a drug of criminals which is why a lot of people didn’t want to use it.

The completely serious movie (now a so bad it’s great movie) Reefer Madness is emblematic of the anti-pot propaganda of the time.

A man named Henry J. Anslinger headed the Drug Enforcement Agency back then, and he had some sort of a hard-on for pot for some crazy reason. He led the anti-pot campaign in the US for many years starting  in the 1930’s. He was more of a brainwashed (and racist) fool than anything else, but he damaged the lives of a lot of innocent pot smokers.

Of course anyone who has smoked pot knows that it calms you down. I knew Jack Herrer, a famous post activist.

He told me that when he was in jail and prison, prisoners who smoked pot always calmed down a lot and became less aggressive and violent. He said some of the wardens even turned a blind eye to pot use for his reason. In fact, the passivity that this drug causes is one of its biggest problems, as people get lost in their bong hits and become apathetic as the world passes them by.

This amotivational syndrome is mostly an issue for teenagers and young adults and it is quite common among young potheads. However, I have hardly ever met an adult past age 23 who had amotivational syndrome, as most even very heavy pot-smokers develop the work ethic needed to survive in our society by that age.

Teenagers and young adults are notoriously apathetic and poorly motivated as it is, since they have not yet been beaten over the head with the Reality Stick of Life. Encapsulate such a young person in a perennial cloud of pot smoke, and it just makes the laziness and lack of guidance, direction, and purpose typical of this age group all the worse.

Anyway, the jazz scene lingered in mostly Black and rather sleazy nightclubs in ghettos where nevertheless a lot of lowlife White types who lived my sort of lifestyle liked to go to slum it up on weekends. White men have been slumming it up forever. There is a cool element to it as long as you do not get too taken in by it.

Ghetto Drugs and Non-Ghetto Drugs

Cocaine and heroin were also pretty widely widely used in this scene – cocaine all the way back to the 1920’s, when we were already getting warnings about the insidious nature of this drug. Heroin was always around too, as it’s always been in the ghettos. It got more popular in the 1950’s and many great Black jazz musicians become junkies.

Psychedelics were never popular, as not only were they not around then, but also people in the ghettos and barrios of big cities have never been big psychedelic fans.

Psychedelics actually do expand your awareness and exaggerate whatever environment you are in. This is great for self-exploration if you have a fairly cozy life, but if your life blows for any reason, you might just have a bad trip.

I kept a hit of strong LSD in my refrigerator for two years until I finally felt that my head was perfectly clear and sane enough to take the stuff. The importance of what is called set and setting is extremely important for drugs like this.  Psychedelics are not escapist drugs – they are the opposite.

As Blacks and Hispanics in city ghettos and barrios are usually living anywhere from a hardscrabble to nightmarish existence, the last they want to is to take a drug that makes that very existence about 10 times as powerful as it is.

On the other hand, PCP  was popular in the Black and Hispanic communities, but it is not a psychedelic per se, as it is more of an anesthetic – it was originally an animal tranquilizer, and people used to refer to it as “elephant tranquilizer,” which was exactly what it was used for.

Yes, that stuff was actually used to literally knock out massive elephants. Now think about a drug that is strong enough to put an elephant on its ass and try to imagine what it will do  to a comparatively puny human.

The PCP experience can be profoundly weird, but I suppose it is also a form of escapism, as when you use PCP  you are basically traveling to another  planet right here on Earth. Going all the way to another planet while never leaving your own is about as powerful as escapism gets, I would say.

Alt Left: The Road to Crimea: Return to Russia: Crimeans Tell the Real Story of the 2014 Referendum and Their Lives Since

Excellent story. The story you hear about Crimea in the entire West is nothing but a huge made-up lie. The referendum was free and fair, and the vote represented the opinion of the people, although some opposing the referendum may have boycotted it. Two separate surveys of Crimeans were done in the wake of the referendum.

The results of the two surveys were that 83 and 86% of Crimeans supported the referendum. That is an average of 84.5%, which is not far from the 96% result of the referendum. Anyway it is obvious that the vast majority of Crimeans support rejoining Russia.

The Road to Crimea: Return to Russia: Crimeans Tell the Real Story of the 2014 Referendum and Their Lives Since

Eva Bartlett traveled to Crimea to see firsthand out how Crimeans have fared since 2014 when their country reunited with Russia, and what the referendum was really like.

SIMFEROPOL, CRIMEA — In early August I traveled to Russia for the first time, partly out of interest in seeing some of the vast country with a tourist’s eyes and partly to do some journalism in the region. It also transpired that while in Moscow I was able to interview Maria Zakharova, spokeswoman of the Foreign Ministry.

High on my travel list however was to visit Crimea and Donetsk People’s Republic (DPR) — the former a part of Russia, the latter an autonomous republic in the east of Ukraine, neither accurately depicted in Western reporting. Or at least that was my sense looking at independent journalists’ reports and those in Russian media.

Both regions are native Russian-speaking areas; both opted out of Ukraine in 2014. In the case of Crimea, joining Russia (or actually rejoining, as most I spoke to in Crimea phrased it) was something people overwhelmingly supported. In the case of the Donbass region, the turmoil of Ukraine’s Maidan coup in 2014 set things in motion for the people in the region to declare independence and form the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics.

In March 2014, Crimeans held a referendum during which 96 percent of voters chose to join Russia. This has been heavily disputed in Western media with claims that Crimeans were forced to hold the referendum and claims of Russian troops on the streets “occupying” the peninsula.

Because Western media insisted the referendum was a sham held under duress, and because they bandy about the term “pro-Russian separatists” for the people of the DPR, I decided to go and speak to people in these areas to hear what they actually want and feel.

From the Russian mainland to the Crimean Peninsula

From St. Petersburg where I spend a few touristy days, I book a flight to Simferopol, the capital of Crimea, and on August 22 I land at the attractive new airport. A Russian-American friend, Vlad, flies in from Moscow and together we rent a car and drive to Alushta, a tourist-packed seaside area to the south.

As we drive from the airport, Vlad can’t get over the changes in the airport, which had been dank and barely functional when he last visited:

When I came here at the end of 2014, Simferopol Airport was very dated: small and stuffy, low ceilings, small windows; the bathrooms didn’t work, there was a constant stench in the air, and many facilities weren’t working — even the baggage carousels didn’t work properly. There were no restaurants or cafes and no places to rent taxis. Now it’s a world-class international airport.

We drive south along smooth roads, passing endless vineyards on either side flanked by low mountains. As Vlad drives, he comments on the condition of the roads, which five years prior were so rough “you had to swerve to dodge the potholes.”

Descending to the coast along cypress tree-lined streets, we arrive in the hub of Alushta Park and stroll along the seaside. The beach scenes could be anywhere: people sunbathing and swimming, jet-skiing, drinking beer, and eating. In the touristy hub before the beach, a carnival sort of feel and smell, a man playing the accordion, children’s rides, upscale restaurants, and fast-food stalls.

Alushta beach Crimea

Revelers enjoy the pristine Black Sea waters of Alushta. Photo | Eva Bartlett

As it happens, we arrive on Russia’s National Flag Day, and while walking we come across a small event celebrating this with singers on stage and a crowd that, when we pass by again some hours later, has grown in size and enthusiasm.

I remark on how kind and gentle people are here, just as in Russia. Vlad replies:

It shouldn’t be surprising — people are people anywhere. But Western media conditions us with stereotypes of Russians as cold and hard, vilifying an entire nation.

The coastal city of Yalta lies further west along the peninsula. The drive there the following day is more beautiful still – the road flanked by mountains to one side, hills cascading down to the Black Sea on the other, endless wineries and, before Yalta itself, the stunning clifftop castle known as “Swallow’s Nest.”

In the evening, we stay in the home of Vlad’s friend Tata, a Russian woman who moved to Crimea in 2012.

Since there was so much hype in Western media about a Russian takeover of the peninsula, I ask the burning questions: Were Crimeans forced to take part in the referendum? What was the mood like around that time? Tata replied:

I never saw so many people in my life go out to vote of their own free will. There was a period before the referendum, maybe about two months, during which there were two holidays: International Women’s Day, March 8, and Defender of the Fatherland Day, February 23.

Normally, people would go away on vacation during these holidays. But that year, Crimeans didn’t go anywhere; they wanted to be sure they were here during the referendum. We felt the sense of a miracle about to happen. People were anxiously awaiting the referendum.

There were military tents in the city, yet they were not erected by the military but instead by local men. They would stand there every day, and people could come and sign a document calling for a referendum.

I went one day and asked if I could add my name but I couldn’t because I have a Russian passport. Only Crimean citizens could sign it. This was the fair way to do it.

At that time, my husband was in America. One day, he was watching CNN and got scared and called me because he saw reports of soldiers in the streets, an ‘invasion’ by Russia.

The local navy came from Sevastopol to Yalta, anchored their ships off the coast, and made a blockade to ensure no larger Ukrainian or other ships could come and attack.

But I never saw tanks, I never saw Russian soldiers. I never saw any of that in the city.

Yalta Crimea

Young boys enjoy a local skate park in Sevastopool. Photo | Eva Bartlett

I asked Tata about how life had changed after the referendum:

When I came here in December 2012, everything was dilapidated and rundown. The nice roads you were driving on, they didn’t exist when we were a part of Ukraine. I didn’t understand why Crimea was still a part of Ukraine. It was Russian land ever since the Tsars, the imperial time of Russia. This is where the Russian soul is and the soul of the Russian navy.

After the Soviet Union collapsed, it wasn’t the will of the Crimean people to join Ukraine. People were always Russian here; they always identified as Russian. Ukraine understood this well and put nothing into Crimea as punishment. Ukraine didn’t build any hospitals, kindergartens, or roads.

In the past four years, the Crimean government has built 200 new kindergartens. This is the most obvious example of how things have improved. They also built the new Simferopol airport.

I worked in aviation. It took three years to build an airport of this standard in Yekaterinburg, Russia. It took half a year in Simferopol.

International Jazz Festival

On my third day in Crimea, we drive eastward anew, driving for hours through the gorgeous countryside along winding and rolling roads flanked by jagged mountains, past an exceptionally beautiful church (Nicholas Church Lighthouse) overlooking the coast, and down along the sea through more touristy seaside towns and past lines of day tents along the beach. The local FM radio plays a variety of both Russian and Western songs.

Finally, after night falls, we drive into the city of Koktebel where an annual Jazz Festival is starting.

Koktebel, Crimea

Buskers entertain passersby at the annual Koktebel Jazz Festival. Photo | Eva Bartlett

During all these hours of driving, the roads are smooth and well-trafficked, and I don’t see a single Russian military vehicle.

The next day, I walk through Koktebel, taking in the local markets brimming with produce, cheeses, and other goods, and every so often come across a streetside stand laden with fresh fruits.

In the late afternoon, I walk along the sea, past packed beaches, and meet with a Crimean woman, Yaroslava, who lives in Austria but every summer returns to her beloved Crimea. She is ardently supportive of the decision to have joined Russia and spends much of her time back in Austria trying to educate people on why Crimeans wanted to be a part of Russia.

These are reasons I hear throughout my travels in Crimea:

  • We wanted to be able to speak our native language [Russian] and be educated in that language.
  • We wanted to be able to practice our cultural traditions.
  • We have always been a part of Russia, and we wanted to return.

Yaroslava is busy helping out with the Jazz Festival and wants to use the rest of our short time talking to help me arrange future meetings with people in Crimea. We decided to do a proper interview via Skype in the future when time allows.

I drift on to the Jazz Festival, where a talented pianist and band play beach-side to an enthusiastic crowd. Some songs later, I drift back along the beach, passing numerous musicians busking and a pulsing nightlife that isn’t going to bed any time soon.

Construction Everywhere

On the fifth day, we drive back to Simferopol; Vlad is heading back to Moscow. As we drive, we see road work repeatedly just as we had when driving from Simferopol south to Alushta: roads being widened, repaved; bridges being repaired or newly built. This is something I observed throughout my travels around Crimea. I remember Tata’s words about “everything being dilapidated” and have a hard time imagining that now with what I see.

Vlad departs for Moscow, and I’m on my own now, traveling from the airport via public bus and minibus. At one point I ask a young couple, using Yandex translate, for directions. They get me on the right minibus and, following my route via Yandex maps, I get myself to Simferopol’s rail station and walk the half-hour to my nondescript hotel. I again need to ask locals for directions, as the unmarked hotel is in some parking lot behind a supermarket.

I retrace my steps to the train station the next day and repeat the routine to buy a ticket for Sevastopol. The ticket is 119 rubles (just under $2). Over the next two hours on a slow train with wooden seats, I watch as more beautiful scenery and construction slide by.

Sevastopol Crimea

Construction dots the train ride to Sevastopol. Photo | Eva Bartlett

Arriving in Sevastopol, I leave the train station and hope to find some cafe where I can charge my phone, as I need it to navigate to the guesthouse where I’ve theoretically reserved a room online.

As I stand to orient the map route and zoom in to look for any signs of cafes, a woman walks by me and says with a smile something with the word “shto,” which I think means “what.” When I reply in English, she laughs and flags down another woman, Yana, who speaks English well and insists she and her husband drive me.

As we drive, we chat. I ask her about the referendum, mentioning that many in the West have the notion that it was done under duress, with a heavy military presence to influence the vote.

She laughs, saying: “There were no troops, no military, around us during the referendum.” She speaks of the joy of Crimeans to vote, says that maybe 98 percent of Sevastopol voters had voted in favor [it was apparently 96 percent, but close enough], and adds, “We are now under the wing of Russia.”

I ask about developments since then. She mentions the improvements in roads, also the modern trolley-buses and regular buses, the opening of kindergartens and schools, and free courses (like music) for children.

We arrive at the remote guesthouse where we realize that no one is home to give me a room. Yana mentions her parents have a guesthouse just outside the city and overlooking the bay. We drive to it, and I meet the owners, charming people who set me up in a little apartment surrounded by fig and pear trees and with a small swimming pool to cool off in.

They invite me for dinner, but I have to politely decline in order to get back to work, though I do take a few minutes to enjoy their pool, the stars, the silence, and the incredible fragrance of some night blossoms.

Sevastopol Crimea

The stunning view of the bay in Malorichenske. Photo | Eva Bartlett

The next few days, when not working on my laptop, I go for walks in the area, take in Sevastopol Bay, and one day take a minibus into the city and walk for hours around it, seeing some of the key sights.

When I finally need to leave Sevastopol for Simferopol again, the couple refuses to take my money, insists I am their guest and drives me to the bus station, stopping en route at a market where they search for ten minutes until they find the traditional Armenian treats they want to give me: walnuts covered in the syrup of various fruits (pomegranate, peach, currant, grape) and a box of walnut-stuffed dried figs.

Ukrainians in Crimea

In Simferopol anew, I meet Anastasiya Gridchina, the Chair of the Ukrainian Community of Crimea, an organization formed in 2015 whose main goals, she tells me, “are to have friendly relations between two great peoples: Ukrainians and Russians — not the politicians but the people. The second goal is to preserve interethnic peace in the Republic between different nationalities.”

Gridchina explains that in Crimea there are more than 175 nationalities, just 20 less than in all of Russia, but in a very small territory. Hence the importance of preserving interethnic peace. After Russians, Ukrainians comprise the second largest population in Crimea.

I asked Anastasiya whether she supported, much less participated, in the referendum.

I worked very hard in order that we could have a referendum. I live in Perevalne, the last settlement in the mountains above Alushta. There was a Ukrainian military detachment which did surrender.

In February 2014, I was among a line of people standing between the Ukrainian and Russian military detachment, to prevent any bloodshed. The fear that prevailed at that time was that nationalists from Ukraine would come here, and we would have massacres.

In February, there was a confrontation outside the Parliament here in Simferopol. It was organized by leaders of the Mejlis — the Crimeans Tatars. On the other side, there were some pro-Russia organizations who were protecting the Parliament. They were far less [numerous] than the Mejlis. The Mejlis were armed with sticks and knives. There were clashes and two people were killed, but thankfully it didn’t escalate beyond that.

When the news came that there would be a referendum, people relaxed. They had a chance to express their point of view, and 96 percent of the population of Crimea voted for Crimea to return to Russia.”

Since she is Ukrainian, I asked Anastasiya why she wanted Crimea to join Russia:

I’ve lived in Crimea all my life, and my language is Russian. And I know the history of Crimea, which has always been Russian territory and has a history beginning with the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union. So, it is Russian-speaking territory, first of all. That’s why I believe it should be in the Russian Federation, not in Ukraine.

Crimea National Flag Day

Singer entertain a crowd in Alushta on Russia’s National Flag Day. Photo | Eva Bartlett

I asked about the claims that Russian soldiers invaded Crimea:

Whatever they might have said about Russian soldiers forcing people to participate in the referendum, it was all lies, pure lies. We did not see any soldiers on the streets, especially on the day of the referendum.

I gave an interview to foreign journalists before the referendum. But when they published it, they changed my words. I said we were very thankful to the Russian troops that were here that protected us from the attacks of Ukrainian nationalists prior to the referendum. But they translated it that I said ‘Please, we want Ukrainian soldiers to defend us from those Russian soldiers.’

The Russian troops that were here were not on the streets on the day of the referendum but, at the time in general, they were there to protect civilians from an attack by Ukrainians.

On the day of the referendum, there were no soldiers, no military. The only security were there to prevent any illegal actions. No military people were there, no arms, no armored personnel carriers, no military equipment, nothing. Only members of the election commission and the people voting.

I asked whether many Ukrainian Crimeans left following the referendum:

There were those who immediately after the referendum left Crimea for Ukraine because it was their personal wish. Nobody prevented them from going. Even the soldiers had an option: to stay and continue military service here or to leave.

There were also some people who didn’t like that Crimea joined Russia but didn’t leave for pragmatic reasons because the quality of life in Russia is much higher than in Ukraine. So they continue living in Crimea.

Finally, Anastasiya gave me a message for the people outside of Crimea:

I’d like to tell people around the world, welcome to Crimea, come here yourselves and see and hear with your own eyes and ears to understand that all the lies you hear about Crimea, that we are oppressed or under pressure from the military…this is all lies, this is all not true.

Also that we are not allowed to speak Ukrainian is a lie. One of the state languages is Ukrainian. Russian and Tatar are also state languages.”

As she leaves to go to the Ukrainian festival she has helped organize, she notes that the government allotted part of its budget towards financing the festival. She invites me to join. “You can see us singing Ukrainian songs, see our culture and traditions preserved.”

Next, I speak to Yuri Gempel, a member of Parliament and the chairman of the Standard Commission on Inter-Ethnic Relations of the Parliament of Crimea.

Yuri Gempel Crimea

Yuri Gempel gestures to the location of clashes that broke out in 2014 between pro and anti-Russian protesters. Photo | Eva Bartlett

“Crimea, under Ukraine, was robbed,” Gempel says. He continues:

Everything was taken by the government and representatives of the ruling elite of Ukraine. For the 23 years Crimea was a part of Ukraine, they robbed Crimea. Not a single kindergarten was built in Crimea during those years. Kindergartens built during Soviet times stopped functioning.

But the main issue is that during that time, the people still felt themselves to be in Russian territory, not Ukrainian, in language, culture, and in spirit. Under Ukrainian rule, Crimeans were made to speak Ukrainian, although Crimeans’ native language is Russian. People were deprived of the right to be in state service if they did not speak Ukrainian.

I ask Yuri how things changed after the referendum:

After Crimea returned to Russia, an electric line exploded in Ukrainian territory and Crimeans were without electricity. Russia very quickly repaired and improved the electricity situation.

We were also cut from water and food supplies immediately after Crimea returned to Russia. As a result of the water shortage, we had to reform our agricultural production. We don’t produce rice now because we don’t have enough water. But we grow wheat and other grains. And we introduced modern agricultural technologies like drip irrigation.

Now the economic situation has improved, and in some respects is much better than it was before.”

I then inquire about the 2014 clashes outside the Parliament, which Anastasiya Gridchina had mentioned:

I know the Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People, Refat Chubarov, personally. I was there at the confrontation between the Mejlis people and pro-Russian groups at the entrance of the Parliament.

I’m absolutely sure that Chubarov and his colleagues provoked the confrontations in which seventy were wounded and two were killed. It is their fault that anyone was wounded and killed. The main goal of the confrontation was to prevent the session in Parliament from happening; the points of the agenda of that session were about the referendum.

I ask Yuri about another issue Western media refers to in its Crimea coverage: the alleged discrimination against the ethnic Tatars. Gempel imparts to me a history lesson:

In 1944, 190,000 Crimean Tatars were deported from Crimea; this was the largest ethnic group deported. Also Armenians, Germans, Greeks, and Bulgarians.

In the over 23 years Crimea was in Ukraine, the various ethnic groups demanded the government issue a decree to rehabilitate those deported people. In April 2014, after Crimea joined Russia, President Putin immediately issued a decree regarding the deported people.

After the decree was issued, a federal program was adopted with a budget of 10 billion rubles, which included building multi-story buildings and improving the infrastructure in the areas returned deportees live in. The amount of money is much more than what was given by Ukraine in the 23 years that Crimea was part of Ukraine.

Tatars make up around 11 percent of the population, Gempel tells me, but “have representatives in all branches of power in Crimea, including legislative and in the Parliament.” As Anastasiya Gridchina mentioned, Tatar is one of the three state languages, after a resolution on this was adopted by Parliament.

Standing outside the Parliament where the 2014 clashes occurred, Gempel explains where he was at the time and says there were no Russian soldiers or tanks. Then, laughing, he points toward a tank monument in a park nearby: “There was only that tank. It’s been here since 1944.”

Although I want to stay for the Ukrainian festival, I’m heading to the Donetsk People’s Republic in the coming days, so instead I take yet another bus ride, this one a four-hour-long ride eastward to Kerch, the city from which the next day I am to cross the Crimean bridge back to the mainland.

I decide to use a ride-share program and arrange to join a car going early the next morning from Kerch and on to Rostov-on-Don, from where I will go westward to Donetsk.

We cross the impressive 17 km-long bridge. It is early morning and is also the day before children return to school, so the bridge isn’t busy. However, by early October, 6.6 million tourists have already visited Crimea, said to be a 10 percent increase from last year, and I can see why.

Crimean Bridge

The nearly 11-mile long Crimean Bridge was completed in 2018. Photo | Eva Bartlett

Having spent over a week traveling by car and local transport in this utterly beautiful setting, I know I will be returning to Crimea when the opportunity affords itself.

As for the claims that Russia invaded Crimea and of Russian forces intimidating voters, I believe the many people I met who denounced those claims and articulated very clearly why they wanted to join Russia or as they say, “return to Russia.”

Eva Bartlett is a Canadian independent journalist and activist. She has spent years on the ground covering conflict zones in the Middle East, especially in Syria and occupied Palestine, where she lived for nearly four years.

She is a recipient of the 2017 International Journalism Award for International Reporting, granted by the Mexican Journalists’ Press Club (founded in 1951), was the first recipient of the Serena Shim Award for Uncompromised Integrity in Journalism and was short-listed in 2017 for the Martha Gellhorn Prize for Journalism. See her extended bio on her blog In Gaza