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John Chuckman



Plagiarism, in normal life, is a serious charge and not one to be uttered lightly, and it is never one to be shouted from the rooftops, but in politics things are different.

So we see stories everywhere, literally everywhere, saying Melania Trump “plagiarized” a paragraph from Michelle Obama’s convention speech of 2008.

In fact, this is a very good measure of how totally bent the press is against Trump.

Melania is not a politician.

She does not write speeches.

She did not write this speech.

I doubt very much she ever listened to Michelle Obama. Actually, few people do.

While Melania is a very intelligent woman – she speaks four languages – how could she possibly know whether a speechwriter on her husband’s staff borrowed a few phrases?

Clearly, she could not. So how can she be accused of plagiarizing Mrs. Obama as the press is almost universally asserting?

The whole point of such “speeches” is just to show off a candidate’s spouse, not really to say anything. All such speeches, including Mrs. Obama’s of 2008, are just fluff, filler, devoid of significance, excuses to be put on stage before lights and cameras and to be judged for poise and tone.

And Mrs. Trump delivered her modest words with great success, and this genuinely beautiful woman just sparkled on camera.

The press should be ashamed of the accusations, but the press – as we can see from the way it handles a whole panoply of serious and deadly world events – no longer has much to do with digging out information and presenting it with impartiality.

Sadly, its role now is largely as a propaganda machine, one just as clumsy and obvious in its way as Pravda was in the heyday of the USSR.



John Chuckman



“President Erdogan could be using the coup against him to turn Turkey towards full-scale Islamisation”

Patrick Cockburn, I believe you really do have it wrong here.

The error you make is a common one in the press.

Erdogan is using (manipulating) the coup for sure.

But not for the purposes of Islamization, our present world’s favorite demon word, endlessly chanted by press and politicians.

Erdogan uses (manipulates) Islam for his own political ambitions.

In this he much resembles the right wing of the Republican Party a couple of decades ago when they were exploiting Christian fundamentalists and “family values.”

The danger from Erdogan is authoritarianism and state terror.

The authoritarianism is already there. So are elements of terror including his treatment of Kurds, opponents, Syrians, and others.

The man is a genuine megalomaniac, as we can plainly see from his recently completed 1000-room palace, an unbelievably ugly and graceless monument to himself.

I do not believe a man of his mental state has much room for Muhammad or any other figure.

John Chuckman



There’s no idealism required in being against Trident.

Pure, old-fashioned good sense is completely adequate.

Its costs are unbelievable – and note how the government has been very coy in telling the full story there – and you, quite simply, can do nothing with it.

A deterrent cannot be a deterrent if you can’t use it, and it is very much the case that you cannot use Trident.

Here, again, the government is being very coy, but the fact is that part of the package you “buy” with Trident are controls against your ever using it independently.

You can only use it with American approval and against American-allocated targets, full stop. Any other possible use has built-in controls against it, and believe me any British enemies know that as well as I do.

American top-level policy does not allow independent nuclear deterrence anywhere. When countries like Ukraine and Belorussia separated from the Soviet Union, they were briefly nuclear powers themselves with Soviet weapons based on their territory. The U.S. quickly disabused them of any illusions, explaining that if they did not give them up for dismantling, they themselves would be targeted by American ICBMs.

All Trident does is make you feel like you’re playing in the big leagues, but it’s a silly illusion, enjoyed at immense cost.

Moreover, if you want to give Scotland a serious new issue for independence, then buy Trident. The Scots do not like having it based in their country, and Independence leaders there would love to have a hot new issue.

In the end, Trident is at least as much an illusion as “the special relationship” itself is, yet of course we know important people still go on about their special relationship, oblivious to the fact that disgraced Tony Blair provides the quintessential example of what America means by a special relationship.

For America, Britain’s having Trident is just one big fat, lovely, long-term subsidy from British taxpayers to the Pentagon, a pretty insane deal from the British point of view.



Response to a comment about Britain developing its own weapons:

The US would not allow it. Behind-the-scenes pressure would be immense.

British-made planes and other armaments have greatly declined over the decades precisely because of American pressure.

It’s yet one more way NATO is exploited by the US to insist on the same weapons – American ones – wherever possible. Qualities like compatibility are emphasized.

This again is just a giant Pentagon subsidy. In effect, you pay part of the freight for America’s continued dominance of European affairs, kind of like paying the costs of your own occupation.

John Chuckman



Just gross propaganda.

Assad, the legitimate head of his country, is just doing his job in fighting the scum sent there by America, Israel, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia.

I wonder, do the editors ever try imagining what would happen if thousands of mercenaries and fanatics, armed with many weapons courtesy of the above four countries, were set loose in Britain to kill?

No, you worry yourself silly about a few possible terrorists making their way in among some refugees.

John Chuckman



I don’t know what the writer is going on about.

The latest polls show Trump near neck-and neck with Hillary. Indeed, the Los Angeles Times shows him leading by three points.

Now, that’s quite an achievement from his starting point and tons of negative press.

And you must consider if you are looking at polls, there are few quite manipulated ones out there showing a big lead for Hillary. It is a biased press game to publish such polls, and it is often done in Britain too.

Hillary has not yet felt the full impact of her genuinely corrupt and murderous career, but I’m sure she will. The trend is clear, and that’s one of the main things we learn from polls, the trend.

The only way she will win is with more of the same dirty tricks we saw in the primaries against Bernie Sanders – destroyed ballots in California and voter suppression techniques in New York, Arizona and other places.

But in such an effort, she up against a much tougher and better-resourced opponent.

John Chuckman



Well, many of us in Canada do oppose it, but we also recognize how little ability our government has for independent action in foreign affairs.

We are, as unpleasant as it sounds, almost totally colonized by America.

The US government has many, many options for making us uncomfortable – financial, economic, military, and diplomatic.

It is also true that the pleasant Justin Trudeau does not possess his father’s fiercely independent intelligence, but even father Pierre might face frustration with today’s neo-con Washington, a decidedly more aggressive and unforgiving place.

I wish it were otherwise, but it is important for people abroad to appreciate Canada’s reality, no matter how embarrassing it is for us.

John Chuckman



This could well be a big dark operation engineered by Erdogan’s security services. It smells of Reichstag Fire.

There were many suspicious circumstances, including people being sent out into the streets to confront revolting soldiers.

When I say “engineered” I don’t mean that there weren’t genuine opposition officers – indeed, there have long been rumors of serious dissent to Erdogan’s dictatorial ambitions – but they may well have been “guided” into taking an apparent opportunity that was not really there, thus showing their hands and giving Erdogan complete freedom of action.

This gives Erdogan the freedom to “cleanse” the armed forces and to take new repressive measures in Turkey.

Erdogan is, quite simply, one of the most dangerous leaders of a significant country in the world.


Reader comment:

A government that sails too close to extreme Islam.


It really is not the Islamic aspects of Erdogan’s policies which are troubling.

This man uses religion, much the way America’s right-wing Republicans used for years Christian fundamentalism and “family values,” to buy the loyalty of Turkey’s many devout Muslims.

A genuine Muslim leader does not build a 1000-room palace, of exceeding cost and ugliness, as a monument to himself. Yes, that’s right, a 1000-room palace opened not long ago.

It is the state terror aspects of Erdogan’s Turkey which are deeply troubling.

He helped create the horrors in Syria, and honest Turkish journalists who reported seeing some of the weapons crossing the border are doing hard time in prison.

A few years back there was even a delivery of Sarin nerve gas that was caught being smuggled. It was hushed up, but enough got out to tell us what was likely happening. This horrible stuff, of course, was used on people a few times in an effort to blame Assad. It likely came from flattened Libya’s old stockpile, courtesy of Hillary Clinton.

Many people concerned about civil rights in Turkey have been arrested and even assassinated.

He has slaughtered the Kurds mercilessly.

There are documented reports of Turkish border guards shooting refugees dead who were approaching the border.

The huge number of refugees in camps in Turkey also have communicated reports of abuse, and the threat of their being sent into Europe is being used as a powerful lever to squeeze privileged concessions for Turkey from the EU.

Erdogan has stolen Syria’s crude oil shamelessly to help pay for all his dirty work in Syria. His family reaps much of the profits.


 Response to reader comment:

Erdogan was elected with stolen ballots, a lot of repression, and plenty of dark operations.

Everyone knows, except apparently people such as yourself, democracy under Erdogan is a fraud.


John Chuckman



But, dear Hillary, the real question is whether democracy is “sacrosanct” in the United States.

You got your presumed-nomination through a record series of dirty tricks in the primaries, from destroyed ballots (California) to voter suppression tricks (New York).

John Chuckman



The economic truth of free trade is fairly simple.

Both, or all, countries involved become richer over time.

However, that does not apply to every individual or industry in either country. It applies to the average.

The additional wealth of free trade is generated by the economic principle of specialization under which each country does more of what it does best and less of what it does less well. Clearly there must then be winners and losers in the various sectors of an economy. There’s no escaping that outcome.

You must distinguish between community interest on this topic and individual interests.

In the rearrangements which take place under a trade treaty, there will always be individual winners and losers.

Also, since all free trade agreements are actually administered free trade under a detailed set of rules (as opposed to theoretical completely free trade), there may actually be sectors of either economy almost targeted for sacrifice as gains are permitted in others.

The overall validity of free trade is proved by Western history. Centuries ago, individual villages, never mind nations, tried to do everything for themselves from shoe-making to bread-baking.

But transportation opened access from one village to the next, and people discovered the bread-maker in one place was better than in the other place, and just the same for the shoe-maker.

Thus, free trade was born, and the modern era got going, and our wealth has grown immensely.

Exactly the same principles hold on a global scale, too, now that we have efficient global transportation and communications. There’s simply no stopping it in the long term, unless you want to be a kind of modern Luddite.

The world inexorably will move to be truly globalized, with shifts in population too and rules and laws governing all international movements.

This is the future classical economics dictates, unless you want to work against them, much like some shoe-maker of poor skill in a village in 1521.

John Chuckman



George is back into the sauce.

Apart from the fact that the man is the closest to a moron ever to serve in high office, Bush has had a drinking problem his entire adult life.

So serious, he once resorted to fisticuffs with his father.

And so serious, his wife threatened to leave him at least once.

He has sobered up various times, but it seems he can’t stay that way.

By the way, he has been a substantial user of cocaine, too.

If there is anything Bush’s presidency proves, it is that America really does not need a president. The boys behind the scenes can handle everything, just asking the figurehead to sign papers once in a while.

P.S. A revealing picture of Bush’s behavior is found here:


John Chuckman



Boris is an excellent choice, if you must have a Conservative government.

He represents some assurance that people’s will – Brexit – will be carried out.

He also puts a rather happy and chatty face on Britain’s foreign affairs.

And has proved an astute observer in private.

He once called George Bush: “a cross-eyed Texan warmonger, unelected, inarticulate, who epitomizes the arrogance of American foreign policy.”

He also said, deadly accurately, of  Hillary Clinton: “She’s got dyed blond hair and pouty lips, and a steely blue stare, like a sadistic nurse in a mental hospital.”

By the way, some of the press, especially certain columnists at The Guardian, is going after the appointment of Boris with genuine malice. That fact instinctively confirms me in my view that his appointment is a good one.

John Chuckman



Good piece.

George Bush pere, besides being psychopathic, was a lifelong covert CIA man.

They did not name the headquarters building after him just because of one stint as CIA Director.

There are many references to his being involved in the whole gigantic anti-Castro terror operation the US ran in the early 1960s, including an obscure FBI memo mentioning a CIA Agent George Bush.

And It very much was this whole ugly anti-Castro business which ultimately led to Kennedy’s assassination, only some of the details remain unclear.

The CIA has long practiced paying secret pensions to promising politicians in Europe and Asia to secure their future and future cooperation.

It is a very dirty business, striking at the foundations of democracy, but now it has been extended into the United States itself. After all, having a CIA president is much like the Mafia having a “made man” on the Supreme Court.

The CIA, now pretty much out of control as a state within a state, is also in the business of having members elected to high office within the United States.

Bush was the first of which I am aware. Obama quite possibly is another. There are serious gaps in his resume, and his policies couldn’t make the CIA more contented for the most part.

John Chuckman



I’m not inclined to believe this claim.

First, it comes rather late.

Second, all such communications, as from al Qaeda, are highly questionable as to authenticity.

For example, we know to a certainty that some of the communications supposedly from Osama bin Laden, after America’s bombing the hell out of Afghanistan, were phony, likely engineered by CIA to keep the old hot breath of a war on terror going.

Third, why is France a target, and time after time?

In fact, Hollande has been nowhere in the genuine fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Just a lot of hot air.

Hollande has supported America’s policies, which effectively created and supported ISIS.

John Chuckman



This is a terrible event, but the papers are all screaming “terror” immediately afterward.

This is not good reportage.

How can we possibly know?

There are madmen who do violent things without any political meaning.

Indeed, reports say the driver of the truck, who was shot, was not known to security forces, but he was a known petty criminal and had apparently been just fired from a job.

John Chuckman



Some perspective.

Below is the link for a site examining American violent crime statistics, ones just for the city of Chicago.

While the illustrations are cartoonish, the data are authoritative, and the authors have created some bizarrely interesting comparisons.

I do not ever defend for a moment what violent police have done, but the truth is America is such a hopelessly violent place that I’m sure most British people cannot imagine it.

Remember “the troubles” of Northern Ireland? Well, Chicago and many other American urban centers experience something like that on a perpetual basis.

Newspaper talk about terrorists almost seems trivial when compared to the year-in, year-out realities of a place like Chicago (or Detroit or Newark or New Orleans or Washington or a lot of other American places).

Study the site a bit, and you will gain some insight into what makes American police fearful themselves.

It is also what truly drives America’s ongoing relationship with guns, something rarely spoken of in gun-control debates.








John Chuckman



He may well be a “good guy,” but Trump absolutely needs to pick a woman.

It would be a major error not to do so.

Trump must offset, to the degree he can, the vague fear some voters undoubtedly harbor that in voting against Hillary they vote against a woman running for high office.

Hillary and her associates will be playing on this fear for all they are worth.

With the threatening international situation, this may be the most important American election of my lifetime.

Hillary just could not be a more soulless creature of the neo-cons, and she will bring even more ugliness to a bad international situation. She will not oppose the awful people in the military-security complex, she will embrace them wholeheartedly.

Trump is no hero, but he says some important things right and is willing to talk, and, what is extremely important, he has the personal strength and experience to deal with the bullies at the Pentagon and CIA. Likely no one else could deal well with them.

We’ve seen Obama, and he has been a disaster at dealing with the government within the government. I’m convinced they are running things, not him.

John Chuckman



Yes, of course, although even America’s Afghanistan attack was dubious, the UN having been browbeaten by the American administration after the attack which had horrified so many.

But Iraq was not merely a mistaken turn. It was quite simply what Israel wanted, and it lobbied for it as only Israel can. Everyone from its prime minister to that self-proclaimed man of peace, Elie Wiesel, directly lobbied for an invasion of Iraq. There was a chorus.

And Bush and his key people were highly attentive to what Israel wanted.

The invasion was never about WMD or oil, as was often said at the time.

It was about Israel’s hegemony in the Middle East, which is often given the misnomer, security.

Blair was a virtual acolyte of Israel and its leaders, so he did not take any pushing. An important strategy of his “New Labour Party” was an approach to the British Jewish community for more support, especially financial, the Conservatives traditionally receiving much of it because governments in Israel are unfriendly to progressive or genuinely liberal governments in the West.

Supporting the smashing of Iraq was Blair’s beau geste to those of the Jewish community in Britain who are intense supporters of Israel. Britain’s Jewish community is rather smaller than in some countries, as in the US, but it includes some immensely powerful world financial and business figures.

Well, Blair succeeded in his own terms handsomely, even earning himself a one-million dollar Israel “Peace Prize” for his efforts.

I doubt he was capable of acting otherwise than he did under the circumstances. He is a man destroyed by his own ambition and complete lack of ethics.

He now has been left by Chilcot to take virtually all the blame and shame for unjustified mass murder, and he deserves a great deal of it, but Iraq was a dirty deal for mass killing that involved more than Blair or Bush.

John Chuckman



“Vicious, calculated, despicable attack on law enforcement”

My, what an informative statement from Obama.

And very interesting, too, coming, as it does, from a man who has spent years ambushing people with drone-fired missiles, people guilty of nothing under law.

It just all points out what a mindlessly violent place America is.


Another reader’s comment:

“Obama has done nothing for black people he is a classic uncle tom”


This is true, but of course he has done nothing for anyone else either, except for the military, the intelligence services, and some powerful special interests.


Another reader’s comment:

‘Black lives don’t matter, when it’s “blacks kill blacks”.’


There is harsh truth in that.

The fact is, as not many may appreciate, that the high rate of black urban violence in the United States is almost all blacks killing blacks.

On a long weekend in a place like Chicago, as many as 25 people are shot in the streets, virtually all of them black.

Most do not die, but a significant number do.

Readers may be interested:


John Chuckman




I do not agree with Faduma Hassan that it was just this week.

Corbyn has stood up well under fire, a set of unprecedented attacks, both personal and political, from many quarters.

I like him more than ever.

First, the many calls for a different leader right after his overwhelming election.

And the attacks by human scum like Tony Blair.

The attacks by disloyal party members like Hilary Benn.

The mass walk-out of Tony Blair’s loyalists, admirers of a mass murderer, all of them.

The damnable attacks by the press and a truly shabby prime minister about non-existent anti-Semitism. A true wave of hate modeled on Sen Joseph McCarthy’s name-calling filth from the 1950s.

The same shabby prime minister’s insults about Corbyn’s choice of clothes, unwarranted insults with absolutely no apology.

Standing up to the disastrous consequences of the prime minister’s embarrassing referendum campaign, which indelibly marks David Cameron as the most incompetent man ever to hold his office, a fact which should influence everyone’s thinking about his party’s policies.

Mr Corbyn, you look better, and taller, than ever.

John Chuckman



Oh, what a devilishly clever man our David is, posting troops on Russia’s border.

But why settle for half measures when you could post a Trident nuclear submarine off the coast of Latvia?

Gee, you just never know about those damned Ruskies!

Pure idiocy, every step of it about as clever as David’s mind-bogglingly dumb referendum.

Does anyone have confidence in a man proved so obtuse?

Groveling after the murderous, failed man in the White House whose entire behavior towards Russia represents no principle whatever, only the American elites’ anger with a Russian leader who has outplayed them at geo-strategic chess.

Putin has not committed a single act of genuine aggression.

The United States, by contrast, has ripped its way through the Middle East, murdering great numbers of people in many places.


John Chuckman



I think the writer has done a genuinely evil thing.

Comparing Brexit in any way with the Nazi-like invasion of Iraq, which killed hundreds of thousands of people and destroyed a society for a generation, is completely unacceptable.

Comparing a lack of plans by politicians in these two massively different events reduces mass murder and illegal invasion to the same level with a democratic decision on membership in an organization.

Wrong way to regard mass murder, but still more wrong way to regard a democratic decision.

A new low by Matthew Norman and The Independent.

John Chuckman



I hope I don’t hurt anyone’s feelings, but it is a fact that Americans, the great bulk of them, care nothing about anything that happens in Britain.

Remember Bush bragging during his 2000 campaign that he never read the international section of the newspaper?

That’s why the “special relationship” imagined by British politicians is such a fantasy idea.

Oh, yes America’s government, when up to some new no-good project, likes to drag Britain along to make things look more international, but that is as far as it goes.

Britain is also good to squeeze military subsidies out of, as for the Tridents you can ride around in but never use or the still-not-working-and-needing-patching F-35s.

John Chuckman



Yes, there were many attempts to estimate the dead, and all the credible ones come up with a large number.

I think the best was around half a million.

I also think though that you must include all the chaos and death since the end of initial hostilities.

None of it would have happened without the damned invasion. That likely brings us to around a million.

By the way, it has long been an American practice to hide any statistics showing the real effect of American aggression.

In the previous Gulf War, tens of thousands of Iraqi soldiers – mostly poor conscripted farmers – were crushed by B-52 carpet bombing. Their bodies were just bulldozed into the desert without accounting.

Again, in the no-fly zone and embargo imposed afterwards, many tens of thousands of innocent civilians, and a lot of children, died miserably. The US never bothered to investigate, and we have the ghastly, memorable words of Madeleine Albright when asked it that “we thought it was worth it.”

Readers may enjoy a piece written some years ago on the topic. The numbers used in it were conservative in light of later knowledge:

John Chuckman



Blair is a truly evil man but one who doesn’t have any awareness of the fact, a narcissist who thinks whatever he does or did must be correct.

Of course, Britain’s refusal to cooperate would not have stopped the American invasion, driven by Cheney and Rumsfeld, two men who might comfortably have worked for Hitler’s Germany had they lived then.

But it might have slowed them down, not having any “allies” in the criminal adventure.

At any rate, not having Britain to drag along would have removed any illusion that America was doing something sanctioned by the international community. It absolutely was not.

John Chuckman



Response to a comment from another reader who said:

 “J. Michael Springmann, the former chief of the visa section at the US consulate in Jeddah (where 15 of the hijackers got their visas), has testified that his denial of visas to potential terrorists was repeatedly countermanded by the CIA station chief there.”


Yes, I am aware of this, and it is one of the most important tidbits of information we have on the events around 9/11.

I very much believe that the CIA (with Israel, who had a number of agents in two groups working in the US at the time) was running a special operation of which we have never been advised.

Something backfired, I don’t know just what, and 9/11 happened.

Rather a classic case of what security services call “blowback.”

We’ll likely never learn the truth, especially since the truth would tend to implicate CIA and Mossad with the general public, and I guarantee the 28-pager from the Congressional Committee will do little to enlighten us.

After all, just look at the congressmen supporting its release.

These are not people searching for truth but people looking for someone to vaguely blame so America’s professional class of victims finally gets off their backs.

The only revelation of the 28 pages is likely about the Saudis’ financial support for bin Laden.

But we already knew about this from Anthony Summers’ book about 9/11.

Besides, the Saudis were only paying bin Laden to keep him out of their hair. They were not commissioning terror.

And yet again, we have never had an ounce of proof of bin Laden’s guilt. Everyone just takes it for granted because it has been repeated a million times by the CIA’s loyal associates in the American press.

So, we know as little as ever, and are quite unlikely to learn the truth.

Just as is the case with the assassination of John Kennedy – almost certainly the work of CIA Cuban refugee terrorist-associates at the time – or the destruction of TWA Flight 800 – which all reliable evidence, including eyewitnesses, strongly suggests was brought down by the accidental release of an anti-aircraft missile by a US Navy ship in the area.



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