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John Chuckman


Boy, Is This Stupid or What?
Did the US allow ISIS to escape to keep the fighting going?

Well, you do have to consider that some say ISIS stands for Israel Security Intelligence Service and that its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is never found because he resides in Tel Aviv and they never look there.

Even if both are untrue, they still point to an important truth.

The operation in Syria has always been an American-Israeli one, part of America’s long march through the Middle East that has set fire to half a dozen countries. It manipulates and employs also the interests of Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Qatar – a grouping that is starting to fall apart – with Britain and France serving as secret willing helpers.

All the “international terror” events of recent years in Paris and London are in fact blowback from the secret participation of those countries, the work of young men who have lost family and friends in this dark state-terror operation and seek some vengeance. America and its allies then use such attacks to further fire up their own populations to keep supporting all the dirty work in the Mideast.

From time to time, America is ready to attack some ISIS elements for various reasons. Some have gone beyond their brief, some have outlived their usefulness, and sometimes really bad publicity demands a show. There is little real loyalty or sentimentality when you are dealing with cut-throat mercenaries and the world’s greatest terror state.

Ever notice how ISIS (aka Daesh) has never attacked Israel or Israeli interests or indeed the unbelievably corrupt princes of Saudi Arabia – all of which would be the prime targets of a genuine jihadi band?

Syria, again and again, has uncovered weapons caches with US or Israeli markings. And those pick-up trucks ISIS originally ran around in were supplied by Saudi Arabia. And who do you think pays all the salaries for those thugs? And supplies weapons and food and intelligence?

It’s all a big fraud, a very nasty fraud putting the lives of millions at risk.

ISIS is a tool, not a cause, a tool in America’s long campaign to literally pave over much of the Middle East so that its colony there feels secure and can dominate effortlessly.

With the extremes of bad publicity ISIS has had frequently, you can hardly expect its real benefactors to admit the truth.

First ISIS got rid of a government in Iraq the US hated. That didn’t take too much of an effort, and Iraqi troops running from them, leaving behind weapons like tanks, were undoubtedly all bribed to do so by America’s ally Saudi Arabia.

Then they turned and went back into Syria to try destroying a government there America and its colony, Israel, hate. But they have failed in their efforts.

So, the beautiful country of Syria was torn apart, historic sites destroyed, a people put through hell, about 400,000 were killed, and several million made refugees (almost destabilizing Europe) all for the American-Israeli notion of a new Middle East which should closely resemble some planned town in Disneyworld, complete with picket fences and barbecues.

That’s America today. Unbelievable that it still has a shred of decent reputation left anywhere. But good information is costly to obtain, whether in dollars or personal effort, and America’s press and Internet media, the convenient go-to sources of “information” for most people – along with various government agencies, such as the State Department – work hard constantly to promote myths and suppress truth in these matters.


John Chuckman


Seymour Hersh: Hillary Clinton Sold Nerve Gas To Syrian Terrorists To Use Them As an Excuse to Invade Syria

When Seymour, one of our last great investigative journalists, says it, you can pretty well bank in it.

I’ve always assumed Clinton-Obama somehow supplied nerve agent in limited amounts to Syrian phony-jihadi mercenaries. Obama’s talk about “red lines” was just clap trap to set up a large-scale American intervention.

But selling it? There’s an interesting and explained detail.

I’ve never doubted that the attack in Benghazi was part of this – blowback to the dark operations of collecting weapons and thugs to send to Syria, operations in which the murdered American Ambassador was involved.

“According to Zero Hedge: “By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria.”

That particular bit from Zero Hedge leaves out Israel, always an important part of the Syrian dark operations and long a secret ally of Israel in order to regain American favor following 9/11.

Response to a reader who said America is the number-one world terrorist:

That statement isn’t even controversial for those with a bit of knowledge.

20% of North Korea’s population wiped out by American carpet bombing in the early 1950s.

About 3 million Vietnamese were roasted, poisoned, and bombed in their own country.

A million Cambodians died in the “killing fields” after the US destabilized their neutral government.

About a half million Indonesians were hacked to death with the fall of Sukarno. The American State Department was in the business of supplying names for the slaughter.

A million killed in Iraq and a couple of million made refugees.

Going-on half a million killed by phony-jihadi mercenaries in Syria and several million refugees created.

Libya reduced to chaos.

Yemen experiencing horror after horror.

Bombing in Somalia.

The overthrow of a democratic government in Ukraine and the support of neo-Nazis and a needless civil war.

Turning Europe back into a Cold War status.

Boundless support for Israel as it practices its barbarities in Gaza and steals from people in the West Bank and Jerusalem and continues to hold millions as prisoners.

Support for a new tyrant in Egypt.

Support for the tyrant in Saudi Arabia.

Support for the tyrant in Bahrain.

Chile? Guatemala? Iran and its former democratic government? Trumped-up charges against Noriega in Panama?


And on and on and on.

The world’s bully, perhaps worse now than ever.

John Chuckman



Sorry, but the expression “American Dream’ was never anything but an advertising slogan.

Yes, America for a while was a place like no other for making money and raising your status, but that has been over for a while.

Only with the complete flattening of all competitors in WWII did it have any meaning, but that time is over.

Competitors of every kind are now developing around the world.

The slogan can never have the same meaning.

Of course, a regrettable side effect of using this slogan was applying it to all things American, including its corrupt and not-very-democratic political system as though it were somehow responsible for all the bounties that were truly just the result of good luck.

When the phrase dies a natural death, it won’t be missed by anyone but ideologues and morons.

John Chuckman


Bilbao on the prairie: why does tiny Saskatoon need an $85m art gallery?
Saskatoon’s awe-inspiring new Remai gallery has vast ambitions. But does the overspend and hype about indigenous art justify all the bluster?

Bilbao resembles a crash-landed spaceship.

It has no relationship with its surroundings.

Yet The Guardian keeps talking of a Bilbao Effect?

The building is essentially a memorial to wealthy family, a giant, self-indulgent monument or sculpture.

I just don’t see how you can talk of Saskatoon’s Remai gallery in similar terms.

Its total cost wouldn’t pay to keep the stainless steel polished at Bilbao.

And the building is in keeping with its site on the river with its low-slung profile and mainly earthy color.

It is undoubtedly a bit ambitious for the city, but not very at CDN$85 million.

John Chuckman


Francis Crick Institute’s £700m building ‘too noisy to concentrate’
Some of the 1,250 people working at the year-old laboratory say its open plan layout, designed to produce collaboration, makes it hard to focus on work

This is a striking building from outside.

But the design inside is not at all successful aesthetically, and, from what I know of other contemporary buildings with something of the kind, huge open spaces as the atrium area here, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if its noise levels were bad.

I’ve been in school buildings built in this fashion inside, and they absolutely failed their purpose and condemned generations of students to a poor learning environment.

Such a design inside also wastes a huge amount of potentially usable floor space and actually makes it awkward to move from one side of the building to the other.

I regard such efforts inside as violating a prime dictum of good architecture. Le Corbusier said a house is a machine for living, and of course it follows that such an institute is a machine for the activities of the institute, not a place just to gaze at other levels.

An internal design which makes it unnecessarily difficult to move around actually violates the purpose of this building stated to be a place where scientists work together to make breakthroughs. Work together? In an interior like this? I don’t think so.

And, of course noise levels only further defeat the purpose.

A sadly failed building, I think, but one with an extremely handsome presence on the street.

John Chuckman


Trump lashes out at UCLA basketball players: ‘I should have left them in jail’

Could you create a shabbier little international incident?

Idiotic American basketball players shoplift while visiting China.

By the way, in doing so, they idiotically confirm every stereotype we have about young black males.

An idiotic President of the United States calls high connections in China to get them out of a jail which they very much deserve to be in.

The idiotic President, of course, is concerned only with politics and appearances. If he were really concerned with things like corruption in Washington, he would never set this crummy example of misusing influence in high places.

The idiotic father of one of the idiotic basketball players, a man named LaVar Ball, criticizes the idiotic President instead of condemning his idiotic son, indeed suggesting something along the lines that shoplifting is no big deal.

So, the idiotic President responds publicly that he should have left them in jail.

Yes, indeed, you should have.

And could there be a better small example of how stupidly corrupt the United States is from top to bottom?

John Chuckman


Michelle Obama: Sexual harassment allegations ‘make me sick’
Former first lady addressed growing number of men being accused of abuse and assault

What a tiresome woman Michelle is.

Always ready to step up to the microphone, even with nothing to say, which is more often the case than not.

Here, of course, she is just jumping on the popular press bandwagon, not saying anything original or helpful to anyone.

By the way, I read quite some time ago that the Obamas’ youngest daughter was serving as an intern in the Weinstein office.

Wonder what became of that?

Of course, the Obamas knew Weinstein well and fawned over him because he was a sizable campaign contributor to Democrats.

You could easily find photos of them fawning with the sexual criminal.

Judgment? None because there have been stories about this criminal for many years.

John Chuckman


“Joe Biden says we are living in ‘one of the most dangerous times in modern history’’

Oh please, that’s American televangelist stuff.

And the dangers we do face – Neocon Wars in the Middle East and treating Russia as a threat – were all created by folks like Joe Biden.

Biden is the insider’s insider in Washington. Flexible principles to meet the circumstances. The full embrace of American empire. Tool of lobby groups. And a man who has never really stood up to be counted on anything.

By the way, America’s hideous extrajudicial killing operation was strongly advocated for by Joe Biden. He helped sway Obama.

‘Do you think [Trump] really cares about the kids I grew up with in Scranton, Pennsylvania, as far as their economic well being?’

Now that statement comes close to being absurd in contemporary America.

Does Hillary Clinton care? Does Barack Obama care? Does Joe Biden care?

Well, if indeed they do, there’s little they’ve ever done to demonstrate it.

That Biden rhetoric I actually find quite offensive. Not because I think Trump needs defending, but because the rhetoric is so plainly fraudulent.

It harkens back to Democratic Party values from FDR to JFK, and it cheaply plays on those memories and emotions.

But those are not the values of today’s Democratic Party, not at all. The economic welfare of average Americans has not featured in American government for half a century.

Washington politicians long ago stopped talking about the “poor” or the “needy.” They long ago stopped talking about ruined cities that need rebuilding. Just listen to their speeches. They speak only of “the middle class,” and this is just as true for Democrats as it is for Republicans.

America has spent literally trillions and trillions of dollars for war and the dirty work of the CIA over the last half century as it marches off to various corners of the world enforcing its empire and making others toe its line.

Even a fraction of that money could have remade millions of lives in America. But guys like Biden have been quite content to support the whole ugly business, only using the old sentimental rhetoric when they want a vote.

And since America does not even really have the money to pay for all the horrors it inflicts on others, it does it by adding to the most titanic debt in human history. And just who do you think pays for that debt and its interest?

You’re wrong if you said Joe Biden or Hillary Clinton or their many wealthy campaign contributors and lobbyist friends.

No, it is precisely the little people Biden is exploiting in his rhetoric who pay, who cannot avoid paying, who cannot afford high-end tax attorneys, who cannot use offshore tax shelters, and who do not have taxpayer-funded foundations.

John Chuckman


“The Earth may not be flat, but it just might be doomed’

Well, what can I say?

In the 21st century, a presumably educated man writing about the notion some obscure people somewhere have that the earth is flat?

I have news for the writer, somewhere on earth you will find some people embracing almost anything you can imagine.

Humans are not completely rational. And we have a range of intelligences from brilliant to dullard. We are also the victims of all kinds of mental and emotional glitches, nature’s little random gifts and mistakes, from anxiety or paranoia or depression to various manias or psychopathy.

We are the product of a hugely complex evolutionary process, and many are also its innocent victims.

The Internet, like a gigantic supplementary memory serving everyone, keeps all the weird stuff we believe and imagine handy so that any eyes can read it or gaze on it.

But the stuff was always there. It is not new. It is not even remarkable.

After all, we have people believing there’s an old man with a beard up in the sky somewhere who takes a personal interest in each of our mostly uneventful little lives.

“because the Earth being round is a classic example of an issue where, unless you’re an astronaut, you sort of do have to take somebody’s word for it.”

That’s simply untrue. The spherical shape can be understood, but it requires a far better than average intelligence. Eratosthenes calculated a roughly accurate diameter of a spherical earth more than 22 centuries ago.

The information for many was simply not known or could not be grasped, but that is hardly remarkable given the variations in human minds.

What concerns me most about this article is that it quietly slips in something unpleasant which is becoming very popular in the corporate press, and that is that there is danger out there on the Internet and perhaps it needs some controlling.

That is an idea, anti-intellectual and politically-loaded, that is at least as foolish as, and probably more dangerous than, the idea that the earth is flat.

John Chuckman


Guardian, NYT Paint Power-Grabbing Saudi Dictator As Roguish, Visionary ‘Reformer’

The Guardian, under Editor-in-Chief Katharine Viner, has become a key British voice for Israeli interests, a full working member of the Israel lobby in Britain.

You cannot but come to this conclusion if you read it for even a week.

For example, it conducted a long and multi-pronged attack against Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership of the Labour Party on the basis of completely unsubstantiated charges of anti-Semitism.

The real reason working against him is of course his reasonably balanced views on Israel and Palestine, a reason to hurt his chances of coming to power at all costs. With a deluge of comments and complaints about their McCarthyism against Corbyn, they backed off a bit, but still take regular little opportunities.

Every so often, we see plainly ridiculous articles like a Jewish person in Britain explaining why he or she is seeking to get the German citizenship to which they are entitled. I recall three of these over some months.

The Guardian regularly promotes, or tries to resurrect, Tony Blair, the best servant Israel ever had at 10 Downing with his help in destroying Iraq and receiving such rewards as the Israeli Peace Prize plus many sinecures for his dirty work.

Blair’s concept of “New Labour” – threatened by Corbyn’s leadership – actually at least in part amounted to a quiet pact with the Israel lobby in return for their vigorous support, both in campaign funds and press enthusiasm.

It all represents quite a turnaround from what the paper once was, a stolid and somewhat dull voice for working people and the Labour Party in Britain. Every issue of today’s Guardian includes material that can only be described as pamphlet-style advocacy for sympathy and support of Israel. Some dilute attempt is made to seem balanced, but it is in a ratio of maybe 1:10.

As for the New York Times, well, it wasn’t that long ago that the paper actually admitted that every story that it receives concerning Israel or Israeli interests actually is sent to the official Israel Censor’s Office for approval before running in The Times. So much for impartiality.

Of course, readers always understood, without the additional information, what a completely biased publication The Times is. Its flagship columnist, Thomas Friedman, is an embarrassingly biased advocate for Israel, as well as for the Pentagon too.

And the truth is simply that the new Saudi Crown Prince is Israel’s man in Saudi Arabia.

Readers may enjoy:

John Chuckman


US-led war against ISIS is killing 31 times more civilians than claimed

Well, of course, we could start with the fact that America is largely responsible for ISIS and all of its horrors in the first place. The times it has actually fought ISIS involved opportunistic considerations, embarrassment by bad publicity, or changes along the way in its policy.

But, please, when has the US ever shown any concern for civilians in all of its ugly colonial wars?

In Vietnam? In Cambodia? In Somalia? In Libya? In Iraq? In Syria? Or in the genocides in Indonesia and Rwanda?

In North Korea during the early 1950s, American carpet bombing for three years was claimed by the Pentagon to have exterminated 20% of the entire population.

In Vietnam, at least 3 million people were killed for nothing.

America’s record, for those who care to investigate, is appalling.

Of course, the American corporate press rarely if ever hints at any of this.

The American government pats itself on the back in every speech for how good America is, for its values, for its humanity, etc. Every word of it, complete rubbish.

America, in fact, has killed many millions of people in the last half century. All of them needlessly.

John Chuckman


What a complete waste of airtime and effort your show was this morning.

Just one tired NATO propagandist and apologist after another with absolutely nothing to say that hasn’t been said a hundred times.

All of them taking as truth America’s complete dishonesty about Ukraine.

Have things now under Justin Trudeau reached such an impoverished state that we must be subjected to this kind of intellectual nonsense?

America spent $5 billion destabilizing Ukraine – we know the exact number from former State Department official, the ugly-mouthed Victoria Nuland – and generated a coup against an elected government.

That is where the aggression is, not in any Russian response, all of which have been reasonable and moderate.

America’s efforts support Nazi-like outfits like the Azov Battalion and several doubtful political parties.

The government installed is so incompetent it alienated all the Ukraine’s Russian speakers (a huge minority) and resulted in civil war in the East. It actually tried to suppress the Russian language.

Russia’s entire record in this whole extremely provocative business has been balanced and reasonable. It might easily have sent tanks and planes into Ukraine and over-run it in two weeks. It did not. It never threatened to.

And while it accepted the appeal of Crimea, following a referendum, to rejoin Russia (in fact, part of Russia since Catherine the Great), it has not become involved in Donbas, the much larger mess created by the idiot coup-created Ukrainian government. It has accepted refugees and it has sent humanitarian assistance. It has not even recognized the self-declared government of Eastern Ukraine, although it would not be an inappropriate to do so at some point.

Please, I thought the title of the show was “The House.”

You might well have headlined this show: “America’s Defense of Its Interference in the Affairs of Others.”

John Chuckman


Retired FBI Agent Accuses 9/11 Commission of Lying About Saudi Connections

This is crap.

Not that I like Saudi Arabia, but we’ve known for years that they used to pay big bribes to bin Laden to stay out of Saudi Arabia.

He was much disliked there although his family was part of the establishment.

The payments had nothing to do with attacking New York. Nothing.

Although interests like Senator Charles Schumer would very much like you to believe that they did.

The Saudis were in bed with establishment families like the Bushes and did them all kinds of favors over the years.

They had no motive whatsoever to attack the United States.

Besides, nothing could be clearer from studying the facts than that those plane strikes alone could not possibly bring down the towers.

Whoever knew well in advance that those plane strikes would happen – and there was lots of time since those were elaborate plans for the plane strikes – used the event to bring down the towers with controlled demolitions.

The evidence is exceedingly convincing.

Readers may enjoy:

John Chuckman


“Biggest Shooting In US History And We Have All These Unanswered Questions!“

The behavior of officials and law enforcement around this event is bizarre.

It is not at all clear what information is being suppressed, but information is certainly being suppressed.

But such behavior by officials seems to have become something quite ordinary in the United States.

That’s because there are so many ugly things going on behind the scenes that when an event like this happens, it becomes necessary to keep some information suppressed.

I embrace none of the more extreme notions around the shooting, but official behavior smells to high heaven, something which of course itself promotes extreme and fantastic notions.

America quite literally has become a strange country where many things are not what they seem.

Perhaps the watershed event leading to what we see routinely now was the Kennedy Assassination.

It has never been explained, and even the release of recent “documents” leads only to the question of why such unhelpful junk, which is what it mainly is, was ever made secret in the first place.

Government’s ability to successfully cover-up the facts in the public murder of a president bolstered its readiness and ability to use the same approach over and over, especially now that America has become a global imperial power engaged in many dark activities, at home and abroad, not intended to be explained to anyone.

The United States is embroiled in so many unwarranted foreign wars and plots now, suffering many failures and “blowback” events, it has a good deal to hide at any given time, and its permanent shadow government, the establishment and its military-security supporters, has a completely successful record now of hiding things.

You name it: the lies around Vietnam, the lies around Flight 800, the lies around 9/11, the lies around the Neocon Wars, the lies around Syria, the lies around Russia, it just goes on and on, and there is no authority from which to demand clarification.

A Donald Trump has proved that even a hard-driving outsider cannot crack the protective shell in Washington. Instead he has become part of the entire operation.

This is just what happens when you become an imperial power that feels it owes no explanations to anyone for its acts, and least of all to its own people, when the powerful and wealthy establishment of a country adjusts to playing God, as America’s very much has.


An Inconvenient Sequel – the science, history, and politics of climate change

“Al Gore’s new film is worth watching”

Oh, please, this man is one of the biggest hypocrites in America.

Ever had a look at his huge mansion with outdoor swimming pool on the edge of ocean-side cliffs?

The guy flies first-class on airliners all over the globe flogging his latest stuff.

Yet he manages to sound much like a humble Baptist preacher with his half-informed appeals.

There’s an old American expression used by ordinary people, “…as phony as a three-dollar bill.”

I think it applies perfectly to this American huckster.

John Chuckman


I’ve seen how exclusive the fashion world is. Can the new Vogue change that?


If you want to see how empty and decadent fashion photography can be, just see the Vogue photo show in this paper.

Appalling stuff, a mix of Rocky Horror Show, sadomasochism, comic books, and childish bizarre imaginings.

Now, there indeed is something to be concerned with.

And does it really matter how many black faces are observed at any given event?

This simplistic counting approach to people of color or women for any event or organization has gone beyond sanity.

Different groups do have different interests, different tastes, different goals.

By that logic, we should expect to be seeing more white faces at hip hop concerts or in colleges featuring black studies and perhaps be acting to remedy the “imbalance.”
Response to a comment about counting the numbers of different types of people in involved in anything:

It is a fixation of the present management of The Guardian.

And I think it trivializes the paper.

It also serves as cheap “filler” instead of fairly costly serious journalism, requiring, as it does, time and resources and skillful people.

John Chuckman


“Could a George Clooney presidency save America?”

Why would anyone think Clooney is, in any respect, qualified for high office?

The guy acts in Hollywood movies and makes tuxedo appearances at cocktail parties.

He has absolutely no experience leading anything.

He has absolutely no experience in real politics.

He has absolutely no experience in working hard and seriously towards solving any problems.

He has never even held a real job.

He dabbles in causes.

Save America?

Good God, that sounds silly.

I’m afraid too many of the writers at The Guardian have little understanding of what America is today.

It is not the dear old sentimental place from Jimmy Stewart movies being temporarily held prisoner by a barbarian. That is a child’s image.

No, America is, in the words of Tennessee Williams’ character Big Daddy, “a pounding fist.”

It is a vast brutal world empire with a monstrous military and equally monstrous security services who prowl the planet to keep folks in line and eliminate those who do not fall into line.

When it does manage to elect someone to office who appears to have even some potential to change anything – Obama, for example with his sandals and Peace Prize and daring to originally campaign without a ridiculous American flag pin always stuck on his lapel – that person is quickly and quietly turned around and made to appreciate what his real options are.

Obama went on to bomb every day of his administration, create a massive extra-judicial killing machine, and foment coups and troubles in many places. Talk about interfering in elections, the guy with the big boyish smile left at least half a million dead.

And the same is true for Trump. An unpleasant man in many ways, but one who offered what seemed a strong man’s maverick promise for some real changes in America’s deliberately-created hell abroad. Instead, he behaves indistinguishably from what Hillary’s behavior would have been. Interfering in people’s affairs all over the planet, threatening nations, bombing, fomenting coups.

Do we see a pattern here?

Who is elected in America’s political system today can make little if any change, just tweaking this or that, just adjusting this or that domestic program that the establishment has no interest in anyway. The unjustified wars, the coups, the assassinations, the trillions of dollars squandered on the military and the security state, the corruption – none of that can be adjusted anywhere but upward.

Not only is the election system pretty well stacked to start with – two official parties with similar tight hierarchies, big money everywhere, and all kinds of anti-democratic practices: there’s absolutely no room ever for a Mr. Smith goes to Washington – but should anyone unexpected and unwanted somehow squeak through the layers of filters and barriers set by the establishment, he will immediately face the kind of reception experienced by Obama and Trump.

And anyone who really tried to make serious changes has the chilling reminder of John Kennedy’s head smashed like a pumpkin on the streets of Dallas.

As I’ve said a number of times, you can have either a world empire or a decent country, but you cannot have both. America’s establishment made its choice long ago, and it wasn’t for a decent country. Given how pervasive the state apparatchiks now are and how unbelievably well-funded they are and given the immensely wealthy and privileged establishment they serve, an establishment just as lopsided as the Dukes and Bishops of France in the mid-18th century, it is hard to imagine that anything short of catastrophe, either an economic collapse or something similar to what overtook the old Soviet empire, can alter what America has become.

john Chuckman


“The digital war against Isis is being lost. What should be done?”

I have no idea how the author reached that conclusion. Or, indeed, what he really even means by it.

But I do know that concerning all of the ugly operations of ISIS, if you want them stopped, then you must stop them at source.

The creators, suppliers, and paymasters for ISIS have always consisted of Saudi Arabia, the United States, Israel, Turkey, Britain, and France, plus the odd other willing helper.

Yes, at certain times and places, these countries appear to oppose ISIS, but that is a highly opportunistic response to certain local situations and bad publicity.

It does not characterize the whole horrible mess.

Only the other day, the former President of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, explained to people the way the United States is using and exploiting ISIS in his country.

ISIS is a tool. It is a proxy army of mercenaries, working against targets selected by its benefactors while playing the role of jihadi extremists. It certainly includes some extremist fools along the way who join something they don’t even understand, but they do not characterize It, nor do they control it, any more than an idealistic young American who joins the Marines controls that gang of professional killers.

ISIS gets used in one place until it no longer serves its purpose, then it gets used in another. Along the way, it provides such additional benefits as allowing security forces to identify all the would-be jihadis who respond to its Internet and other promotions. It also allows the corporate press and government to keep frightening people so that government can go right on doing the filthy work they have been doing.

Whenever and wherever it ceases to serve its purpose, it can be destroyed in a big show of America and its collaborators “fighting terror.” Such is the complete cynicism of the people in Washington and its allied capitals, people who manipulate world events and the destiny of nations and treat human lives as little more than this week’s load of trash to be put out.

John Chuckman


“Corbyn’s hypocrisy after cosying up to repressive regime: Labour leader fails to mention his connections to Tehran as he attacks Boris’s handling of the case”

And just what is wrong with any of this?

Public figures get paid all the time for public appearances.

Hillary Clinton made a fortune on doing so.

Ditto, Tony Blair.

Indeed, Corbyn’s fee is extremely modest by those standards.

As to the woman in jail, none of us knows the details of her case.

So, to comment is foolish, and Corbyn is not foolish.

You know the US and its allies concoct countless schemes for spying in countries they don’t like.

This could be the case here. I don’t know, but neither do you.

John Chuckman


“After a year of Trump, good news for Europe – he doesn’t care about us”

I have news for Ms. Nougayrède, virtually no one in America cares about Europe.

Anyone who actually knows something about America and its attitudes knows there is close to zero curiosity or interest in Europe, its leaders, its problems, and its institutions.

The only interest in Europe found in Washington’s corridors of power is in keeping Europe occupied through the mechanism of NATO and in keeping it from forming new bonds that might threaten some new independence from Washington.

So long as the EU follows America’s lead, which it does today in all really consequential matters, then the EU is just fine.

The moment it does not, it is not fine.

Average Americans, it might surprise some Europeans, care and know nothing of Europe, except as a two-week vacation destination for upper middle-class people.

Most Americans are navel gazers who regard America as the only place that counts for almost anything.

John Chuckman


“Courageous Canada Targets Russia: Washington Says Jump, Ottawa Asks How High”

I’m afraid there is a lot of truth in that harsh summary.

It’s ironic, the current prime minister’s father, Pierre Trudeau, was an extremely tough and independent-minded leader.

He did many things that upset Washington interests because he thought they were the right things for Canada to do, as, for example, travelling to Cuba and befriending Castro at a time when American pressures against Cuba were immense. Canadians freely travelled to Cuba during America’s harsh ban on travel.

Pierre Trudeau was Prime Minister in the late 1960s and into the 1970s, and he was no friend of the Vietnam War. He, at one point, directed border officials to admit any Americans avoiding the war regardless of their status.

Justin, the current Prime Minister, is in most things very liberal-minded, but I sense a pattern of avoiding any conflict with the United States. In his appointment of the current Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, for example, he did an unpleasant job of catering to American interests. Her husband is even a writer for the New York Times, which is to say, he is connected to the American security establishment.

But the observed differences between father and son, may not be owing only to personality differences between father and son. They reflect also differences in the America with which each of them had to deal, and the differences are considerable.

American was a brutal society in the 1960s for sure, but I think now it has become something even more ruthless. It is making war in more than half a dozen places, and its security services are interfering in the internal affairs of many other countries at the same.

It’s almost as though, America is now literally at war with the world, only excepting those portions of it completely deferring to its primacy, and these are the nations of NATO and some nations in Asia. NATO today also has no leaders who in any challenge America, the kind of leaders it did once have.

My view is that this new level of ruthlessness relates both to the American establishment’s sense of its imminent relative decline in a world where a number of other nations – once flattened after WWII – now advance strongly and compete. It is trying to make its position for the future as indisputable as possible, building bunkers on the beach, as it were, against an invasion. It is a very short-sighted approach which flies in the face of emerging economic realities.

The ruthlessness reflects also a new set of pressures and priorities for its Mideast colony, priorities driven by what has become over decades likely the world’s most powerful political lobby, that for Israel in the United States. America is now trying not only to secure that colony’s future as a country – something never really in doubt, as I see it – but its future as a power dominating its own entire region. This attempt does not happen without great brutality and ruthlessness. It also is a short-sighted approach, ignoring many realities.

The two major goals are mutually reinforcing because advocates for Israel’s regional dominance see a United States which is highly aggressive in all of its world affairs as their best guarantee.

In this massive pursuit, there is little room for smaller, more independent-minded nations such as Canada was under Pierre Trudeau. There is also little room for international organizations, the kinds of places where countries like Canada once had conspicuous influence and support. We’ve seen a perceptible decline in respect for institutions such as the United Nations. Its budgets are attacked, its subsidiary organizations, such as UNESCO, are reviled, America’s UN ambassador speaks almost like a gangster at times and goes unchallenged, and the leadership of the United Nations is quieter and more ineffectual than I can ever remember it.

The violent efforts behind America’s desperate, and ultimately unrealistic, pursuits render the United States likely more dangerous than it has been in our lifetime.

Readers may enjoy:

John Chuckman


“Even the humble poppy can’t escape the culture wars”

First, the poppy is not so humble, and it is most certainly not innocent.

It symbolizes the virtually meaningless deaths of 20,000,000 people in the Great War.

They died for little more than deciding which branch of a royal family would dominate on the continent of Europe. All the other claims and slogans are just words.

The war settled so little and did it so badly, that the whole business arose again in just over twenty years.

The poppy further symbolizes the deaths of more than another 50,000,000 just a bare quarter century later in the greatest human catastrophe in all history.

Culture wars? That is a very dated fad concept, and indeed a rather tiresome one.

The fact is that it is the normal reaction of the human mind to gradually forget about terrible things.

The annual wearing of poppies works desperately against that, while to a certain extent glorifying war and actually kind of prettifying it.

Forgetting is just a practical response to allow life to go on.

Deliberately trying to keep terrible things alive is simply perverse, if not morbid.

The World Wars obviously will always be in our history books, and that is where they should be.

A century, just about, after the end of WWI, poppies are overdue to become history themselves.

For anyone who believes the myth that by remembering in this fashion we can in effect make it so it will never happen again, all I can say is that is utter foolishness.

The Great War itself proves that. Just over twenty years later, Europe was at it again, and in an even bloodier war.

And just look back in recent history with George Bush’s and Tony Blair’s illegal and brutal invasion of Iraq.

Annual poppy wearing did nothing to prevent a horror in which about a million died, a couple of million were made refugees, tens of thousands were left shattered, and poisons like depleted uranium dust were generously deposited to keep killing for years ahead – all in the destruction of what had been one of the Arab world’s most advanced societies.

“Never again” in anything is just a phrase.

John Chuckman


“Björk: ‘People miss the jokes. A lot of it is me taking the piss out of myself’”

Well, if people miss the jokes, it should tell you something.

Jokes, as I understand them, are unexpectedly concise statements of shared truths.

The truths do not have to be scientific truths, but observations or ways of looking at things accepted as practical for getting by in day-to-day life.

If no one recognizes your truths by laughing, it suggests you live in a reality shared by few others.

John Chuckman


“Trump Says Saudi Elites Caught In Anti-Corruption Probe Were ‘Milking’ Kingdom For Years”

This is just nonsense from Trump.

Corruption is and has been everywhere in Saudi Arabia. How else could it be with all the countless billions changing hands in a fairly closed society?

So, it is easy for a guy like the new Crown Prince to glance around and conveniently find some corruption among people he wants to discredit anyway.

It may go beyond merely discrediting them to having hundreds of billions seized by the Crown Prince. Not a bad day’s work.

What is going on is a kind of coup against the old order by the new usurper Crown Prince. His recent appointment was by a King well known for his senility, and it suddenly and surprisingly upset the established order of succession and all kinds of extended family compacts.

We likely will never know what truly happened in this secretive kingdom. But we do know the abrupt changes created lots of enemies who needed attending to, and that seems to be what is happening.

And the enemies have no friends in Washington to whom they can appeal. The old order in Saudi Arabia suffered terribly in the wake of 9/11, and despite great efforts to pacify the US with new levels of cooperation, it is now being swept out.

Now, whatever is considered good for a hyper-aggressive United States is coincidentally good for its de facto colony in the Middle East.

Trump himself has already proved to be one of Israel’s best-ever American friends. Israel has long had great influence, but it possibly never had it so good as it does now, as with a UN Ambassador who speaks as though she were a joint appointment of Trump and Netanyahu. Trump’s only competitor in this regard would be Lyndon Johnson.

The US and Israel closely embrace the usurper because he has proven his dependability with bloody projects like making illegal war on Yemen. That war is exactly like the proxy war waged by mercenaries – ISIS and Al-Nusra et al – in Syria except that in this case it is the open work of a nation-state. And now he joins Israel in making threats on Lebanon.

In all the Neocon Wars in the Mideast, great effort has been made, one way or another, not to have Israel at center stage, to avoid having Israel appear as aggressor. But, in fact, without the influence of Israel, none of these terrible wars would have happened.

Yes, the Crown Prince will be a dependable component in the years-long American-Israeli project of creating a new Middle East. The Crown Prince is essentially Israel’s man in Saudi Arabia, just as President el-Sisi is in Egypt. Israel is comfortable being surrounded by absolute governments, so long as they are absolute governments beholden to its patron, the United States.

John Chuckman


U.S. Congress Split Over Whether Criticizing Israel Constitutes Anti-Semitism

The very lunacy of all this kind of thing grows from the kind of dark thing Israel, unfortunately, has become and the extreme feelings of some for the need to defend it regardless of what it does.

And it is lunacy because it is obvious you should be able to criticize a state, any state, for its behavior. And if Israel is to be a state just like any other state, its behavior must be subject to criticism.

But many Israelis and apologists for Israel think that that one state is somehow immune from all normal criticisms. What happened three-quarters of a century ago by one group of criminals in one corner of the world somehow confers special immunity upon Israel forever from all the norms of law and conventions and just plain decency?

But it is just so clear that that cannot be the case.

Shutting up criticism of terrible behavior is a license for endless terrible behavior.

Not a little unlike telling all the women speaking up about Harvey Weinstein’s crimes and abuses that they must shut up because they endanger his company.

Completely unacceptable.