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John Chuckman


Cold War 2.0 More Dangerous Than Original – Stephen Cohen Podcast
Today’s American-Russian confrontation is developing in unprecedented ways—and the US political-media establishment seems not to care

Stephen Cohen, as always, brings a well-informed and very focused intelligence to his subject.

He is so very right in these points, and the dangers they collectively represent should deeply concern us all.

I do think there’s more than a suggestion of America’s unelected government at work here. It ain’t just politicians.

That, too, should deeply concern us all.

The CIA and its ally, the Pentagon, before Kennedy’s assassination played all kinds of dirty little tricks to defeat American-Russian rapprochement.

After all, the CIA, using pilot Gary Powers and the then-secret U-2 spy plane, sabotaged Eisenhower’s 1960 Soviet summit and effort to establish better American-Soviet relations. Such CIA efforts are always done in a fashion so that they can plausibly be interpreted in another fashion, as with the U-2 being an effort to provide the President the very latest intelligence for his talks.

In Kennedy’s case, they failed, but the very fact that they even tried, actually going against some direct orders from the President was chilling to those who understood.

Today, both these agencies are immensely more powerful than they were in the early 1960s. They are larger, better funded, and even less accountable than they were. And, the political atmosphere in which they operate is truly poisonous with American politicians seemingly blind to the dangerous consequences of their careless words, as those of Hillary Clinton since her election defeat.

Importantly, America has no strong figure like John Kennedy to stand in the way of these powerful agencies. Trump has proven himself all bluster and ranting, someone who was actually cowered by such frivolous provocations as the infamous Russia dossier, not a serious opponent.

Trump comes after eight years of Obama, who despite his boyish smile and seeming liberality, gave the CIA and the Pentagon everything they wanted. Eight years of bombing, terror, and coups. The eight years of Cheney-Rumsfeld – the pathetic Bush being only a timid and not-very-intelligent figurehead – also gave the CIA and Pentagon everything they wanted.

So, there’s been a very long period of time during which these agencies have increased their capacities, freedom-of-operation, and sheer arrogance. At the same time, and perhaps it is not merely a coincidence, the political atmosphere in America has degenerated badly.

Instead of a Kennedy, today there is a blustery, now seen-as-cowardly, Trump, who actually told the CIA that it knows best whom to kill in America’s extrajudicial killing program by drone. Obama at least went through the pretense of signing off on “kill orders” put on his desk.

Trump also pretty well gave the Pentagon a free hand in Afghanistan, a pointless war that has accomplished nothing for 15 years.

And, despite confidential understandings with Russia, clearly elements of CIA and/or the Pentagon are actively at work in Syria carrying out serious provocations.

We have the story in today’s Russia Insider of a CIA plan, which failed, to assassinate Greek Premier Karamanlis in 2008.

A dramatic recent book has revealed the CIA as the source for the assassination of several Western leaders, including Swedish Premier Olof Palme, a kind of assassination at an entirely different level than the ones we have long known the psychopaths at the CIA are engaged in. This goes far beyond just interfering in countries’ elections, something again the CIA has always done.

The United States’ establishment has gradually granted immense power to these largely unaccountable agencies, and they are now endangering the safety of everyone on the planet.


John Chuckman


If the NFL wants to recover from the anthem protests, it needs to start showing some leadership
The league needs to find a way to let players air their concerns without alienating a large portion of their viewers

Drop the stupid anthem at sports events where it has no business.

Playing it at the start of a paid entertainment has always, always been inappropriate.

And many British people may not know this, but back a decade or so ago, the NFL players stayed inside for the anthem, only appearing on the field when it was over.

The only reason they have appeared on the field during the anthem since is because the American military started paying the NFL to have the players stand there.

Why would it do that? To excite young men to join up when they see their sports heroes standing there.

So, who is it that really has been disrespectful to America’s symbols? The guys manipulating them to get recruits, the American military in need of young bodies to send off to America’s pointless colonial wars.

Of course, at a “deeper” level, one perhaps not appreciated by Trump or his trailer-park devotees, the very essence of being American is supposed to have something to do with rights and freedoms, including the right to protest injustice.

Only a couple of days ago, a police officer in Salt Lake City was released without blame after he shot a young black man in the back and killed him. The young man was running away, and a camera caught the entire sequence.

Some who saw the video say the officer literally executed the young man. Protests were immediate.

That’s what the players are kneeling about. In my sense of values, their protest is entirely fitting, and an even more demonstrative one would be.

Ironically, the players protesting have been almost overly respectful by going down on their knees, a gesture understood by most as respectful. It is only a protest because the gesture is different than the expected one.

Just think of what Trump and his pick-up truck crowd would be saying if these players instead were doing what some black American athletes did at the Mexico City Olympics of 1968. They raised their arms high in the black power salute while the anthem played.

This controversy has been ridiculous almost beyond telling. With all the terrible problems in America, from violent police to terrible ghettoes, and with all the wars and terror in the world, much of it deliberately created by America, here is the President and other major figures and commentators fiercely engaged over how football players pose during a piece of music.

The utter stupidity is comparable only with the Russo-phobia which has totally gripped the country for many months, a phenomenon comparable in every way with some primitive wave of fear over demon-possession. Yet this nonsense has engaged virtually all the country’s highest figures and its major security institutions and news organizations.

“Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad.”

John Chuckman


What are the qualities making Trump so “American?” I think there are a number of them, but in this first comment on the subject, I’ll focus on just a few which are related to each other.

He is exceedingly bombastic about Patriotism, complete with photos of himself hugging flags. He enjoys the “toy soldier” militaristic qualities of football half-time shows and marching bands and the histrionic lyrics of the Star-Spangled Banner, and of course he freely expresses himself, with no sense of the dignity of the high office he holds, about the way other people may behave when the anthem is played.

“Real” Americans tend to tell you what they want you to hear, whether you want to hear it or not.

It all seems somewhat over-the-top for a man who avoided military service for the thinnest of reasons, the kind of reasons only supported by draft boards for rich young men in the 1960s. But hypocrisy about such matters, as we’ll see, is also a very old and widespread American tradition.

Cowardice, of course, is closely associated with hypocrisy. Trump has demonstrated cowardice already a number of times, but the truth is that it was there from a young age. In his election campaign, he made very telling statements about matters such as the needless Neocon Wars and Obama’s belligerence towards Russia, but as President, he immediately backed off from any action on those life-and-death matters – that is, once faced with the realities of Washington’s bristling military-security establishment. And it is only cowardice when you both claim to be devoted to something and yet refuse to serve its demands and needs, as he very much did as a young man.

It is also a form of cowardice to attack publicly other people’s beliefs in anything, including how they should or should not express their patriotic feelings. And what is more cowardly than attacking those much weaker than yourself? It is the pattern of a bully.

Trump received four draft deferments while in college, a normal experience at the time (Although there were perhaps more sincere Patriots who managed to give up their deferments and go to war. After all, with “communism threatening our very way of life,” how could you ignore it?), but upon graduating in 1968, at the very height of the Vietnam War, the year of the Tet Offensive, he became eligible for the draft. Well, he supplied a doctor’s letter about heel bone spurs and was excused.

It was the kind of deferment only rich young men could obtain. He not only had been very active in sports during college despite the bone spurs, but many millions of people have this minor condition, many of them never taking much note once they adjust to the initial discomfort which lasts only months at most, and, of course, the condition is completely correctable through a small operation, hardly a barrier to a rich young man. But it nevertheless served to keep this flag-hugging Patriot out of the military and out of Vietnam, though I’m sure he kept dutifully hugging and saluting the flag.

Avoiding military service during Vietnam was a common enough experience among future American politicians. Americans used to call some of the most aggressive, war-mongering figures in the Republican Party “chicken hawks” for their backgrounds in avoiding service.

The list of American chicken hawks includes Dick Cheney, George Bush, Dan Quale, Jeff Sessions, Tom Delay, Newt Gingrich, Joe Lieberman, Trent Lott, Mitt Romney, Ronald Reagan, Mitch McConnell, John Ashcroft, Karl Rove, Paul Wolfowitz, and includes non-politician warmongers like Rush Limbaugh, Bill O’Reilly, Jerry Falwell, Thomas Friedman, and William Kristol. Of course, there is no longer a draft, but the warmonger types still often include those who did no service such as Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Marco Rubio. So, Trump is in very good company in America.

Hypocrisy in Patriotism goes back a long way with American leaders. The godfather of them all is, perhaps, Thomas Jefferson, exactly the person Samuel Johnson had in mind when he spoke of Patriotism as the refuge of scoundrels or when he condemned those in America who yelped about liberty while being drivers of negroes.

Jefferson, of course, is famous for blubbering about the tree of liberty requiring bloodshed periodically for its growth. Yet, as Governor of Virginia during the Revolutionary War, he never picked up a musket, and he set a then-hilarious example of getting on his horse and riding non-stop until exhausted when a small troop of British Cavalry approached his home. He was the butt of rude jokes among Americans and British for a long time.

He demonstrated his bravery again when the Continental Congress tried to appoint him as a negotiator in Europe and he pleaded to be excused for fear of being captured by the British, leaving the redoubtable Ben Franklin to do the job he shirked.

John Chuckman


Donald Trump unveils ambitious plan to overhaul US tax system

The United States, right now, is running massive, massive deficits in its budgets.

And those are destined only add to the greatest heap of debt in recorded history.

At the same time, the great corporations of America are so unbelievably flush with cash, they don’t know what to do with it.

Of course, one of the things they will inevitably do is buy up other companies and extend themselves into still new areas.

Already, a number of them are troubling-sized multi-corporations, butting into every corner of our lives.

Also, at the same time, individual wealth in the United States has reached grotesque levels, and the division between wealth and poverty has grown frighteningly large.

Personal fortunes like those of Mr Microsoft or Mr Facebook or Mr Amazon are only possible under a tax system already badly axed by the likes of George Bush.

This all means not only great inequality, but, almost more importantly, it means vast concentration of power.

The United States already is more of a plutocracy than a democracy. It took a multi-billionaire to defeat the best-financed candidate in history, one who spent somewhere between $1.2 and $1.8 billion on her defeat.

Too many people in the United States do not appreciate the intimate connection between concentrating personal wealth and lack of democracy because of the deep attachment to the concept that what you earn is yours and yours alone. It is a very dangerous attitude over the long term.

I fear that these measures will only add to the horrors we see in the world. The American establishment – the plutocrats supported by their huge military-security establishment – has been on a non-stop tear for years to dominate everywhere, its Pentagon-generated slogan being, “full-spectrum dominance.”

Increased concentration of wealth in the United States threatens all of us long-term militarily but also economically. Financial instability in the United States has the capacity to put us all back into a Great Depression. Of course, Trump further adds to this possibility with his wolf-pack approach to international trade and destabilizing arbitrary acts.

And here comes boy genius Trump to say we need to pay even fewer taxes. He is playing what likely is the last round of a nasty game played by Republican leaders from Reagan through Bush, reduce taxes to gain votes but also to increase the flow of campaign finances from grateful billionaires, money so crucial to America’s money-drenched politics.

It is actually a nightmare scenario, and we are all going to be forced to live through its results.

John Chuckman


Mt Rushmore, Beware! Could Monument Toppling Become US National Sport?

Absolutely, and already there has been some talk of doing something about Stone Mountain, Georgia, a vast monument carved into a mountain just like Mount Rushmore. It features in huge bas relief key Confederate figures.

As for Rushmore, Jefferson was a scoundrel, almost totally.

There’s a huge number of reasons for objecting to him, but people remain influenced by his graceful written words, written self-consciously as an image-building fantasy and legacy yet reflecting virtually nothing he actually did when he had power. He broke every rule he ever set for good government and fairness.

Washington was a lifelong slave-holder and a businessman of quite sharp practices. He did things like buy up the script paid to poor revolutionary soldiers, when they badly needed funds, at a severe discount, making a handsome profit.

He was not generous in any business dealings, and all that phony stuff about not being paid while serving in the war was just that, phony. He had a cost-plus contract and submitted a truly huge bill – over $400,000 at that early time – to Congress after the war for everything right down to so many bottles of wine consumed at Valley Forge.

Yes, the same Valley Forge of legends about soldiers suffering winter terribly and being hungry. Well, old aristocrat Washington saw to it that his own needs were handsomely supplied.

When Washington first took military command, removing the arrangements of the Boston Patriots who actually got the conflict going, he instituted flogging and hanging to what became the Continental Army – he was a great admirer of British Army methods – and wrote letters home about the scum and rabble he found and had to deal with.

Roosevelt was a super-imperialist, a genuine brute in some cases, as well as a world-record slaughterer of wild animals. He’d go “hunting” and leave literally mountains of carcasses piled up. His hunting resembled that of Buffalo Bill, yet people regard him as a great defender of nature.

Lincoln is the only truly noble figure on Mount Rushmore, but even he is widely misunderstood. He did not fight to free slaves. He fought to make the central government dominant over the states, something contentious with many Americans to this day.

He also wasn’t just a humble country lawyer as is always featured but a very successful lawyer who worked for corporations like the Illinois Central and became well-enough off to build a handsome new two-story brick home in Springfield, Illinois, and become a notable politician.

By the way, none of these figures were great defenders of minority rights. They all were prejudiced if you interpret that word as some of the extreme people talking about Charlottesville do. Even Lincoln regarded blacks as somewhat less-promising material as citizens.

As was a figure such as dedicated slaveholder Andrew Jackson whose image graces the twenty-dollar bill. Jackson also was responsible for the Trail of Tears which saw thousands of long-settled native Americans, including many farmers, torn from their homes in the Southeast and sent to the then barren Oklahoma territory. Great numbers died, including women and children, in the course of that long forced-march.

Also, as late as the 1950s, we had President Harry Truman, who was a Southerner, always using the word “nigger” for black people. People then barely took note. Should his monuments and library be torn down?

Still, despite those truths, how idiotic it would be to tear it down Mount Rushmore. Better to teach visitors the facts.

And it really is no less idiotic to tear down a statue to a humble Confederate soldier.

The Civil War was America’s greatest experience with war, the deaths exceeding American losses in WWII eighty years later by about 100%, and that’s despite all the advance in weapons.

The Civil War also supplied the model for how generals would fight WWI, a terrible mistake but a historical fact nevertheless.

All monuments represent teaching opportunities. Destroying legitimate historical monuments is nothing less than the work of historical Luddites.

The whole business going on in America today over Charlottesville is a chaotic confusion with almost no coherent meaning. All sides tell incomplete stories, and all sides have prejudices.

But most important of all is that while Americans wail and gnash their teeth over a situation they do not even understand, they ignore far more terrible things their truly brutal country does.

It is busy killing and spreading horror in half a dozen lands, and the soldiers coming back from that filthy work will be treated well.

And that truly bloody symbol, the Stars and Stripes, will be saluted and honored daily despite its stripes representing the blood of millions of innocents killed abroad in colonial wars and interference in the lives of others, everywhere from Korea and Vietnam to Iraq and Libya.

John Chuckman


Assange Hammers America on Selective Outrage Over US Backing for Ukraine’s Neo-Nazis Suddenly America does not like Nazis? Who knew?

Assange has it completely right about America’s long and quiet support for Ukrainian neo-Nazis, vicious characters who’ve done some real killing, compared to all the press and noise over a few historical statues in Charlottesville.

American official hypocrisy is beyond describing.

And in this morning’s news, the Syrian Foreign Minister also tells us about how Syrian soldiers have just discovered a cache of chemical weapons – grenades and such – almost certainly supplied by the US and UK judging by their markings. The very kind of chemical weapons used as an American government excuse for attacking Syria.

Readers interested in the Ukrainian neo-Nazis supported by America may see pictures here:

And there are so many other instances of gross hypocrisy, including great patches of American history.

Thomas Jefferson – who is on Mount Rushmore, has a huge memorial in Washington, has plaques all over, and has streets and schools named after him – was one of the more reprehensible characters in America’s founding.

He was a far darker character than some of the Confederate figures they are going on about in the Charlottesville events, figures like Robert E Lee or Jefferson Davis.

Jefferson kept over two hundred slaves to his dying day, wrote openly in his “Notes on Virginia” of black inferiority, advocated states’ rights almost to the point of promoting secession long before the Confederacy, had a young black slave (starting at her age of 13, Sally Hemmings) as his mistress, had children by her, and did many terrible things during his time as president including actually supporting Napoleon’s forces fighting the slave revolt in Haiti.

If you want to read more about him:

John Chuckman


We know that where there are very high stakes for the United States government – as in covert international affairs or in matters with gigantic amounts of money at risk – there will be deception and dirty dealing of every imaginable kind.

That is just a given.

You do not have to subscribe to theories of any kind to know that a government such as America’s lies to its people regularly. It has been caught doing so many times.

The labelling of people who know they are being lied to is a kind of dirty little game. The label is intended to be an unanswerable charge, negating all credibility.

Most people do recognize and respond well to honest explanations of events, but we have a great many instances where they are not given the chance.

The term, conspiracy theory, has long been rumored to have been coined by some of CIA agit-prop guy working out of a backroom at Langley and hoping for a big promotion by inventing a good way to ridicule critics of the Kennedy Assassination story.

I think that is a reasonable assumption.

By the way, the CIA has kept the sense of contempt and ridicule alive in the term by itself seeing that some outrageous books and articles are published on subjects like the Kennedy assassination, complete with obviously-wrong facts and sometimes even poor spelling.

After all, it has the best publishing-contact list in existence, and its deep pockets can make even the stupidest publishing venture profitable.

The CIA, at one and the same time, is responsible for some “serious” books supporting the official version and for some of the most laughable attacks.

That is just the way the game is played.

It is no different to what the CIA has done in many countries where it was trying to destroy a government. That is something they have done so many times you have to wonder why anyone would doubt their bad intentions on any subject they touch.

They are inherently dishonest people because the main purpose of their organization is dishonest in nature. You don’t hire boy scouts for dirty work.

Of course, we have that old political fallback line about it being illegal for the CIA to operate in America, but if ever a statement deserved a “nudge, nudge, wink, wink,” that one does.

John Chuckman


“The abandonment of 1.8 million men, women, and children to their fate in Gaza by the so-called international community is one of the most grievous moral outrages of our time.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Our Western press and politicians go on about many relatively small troubles and grievances in our world while ignoring this huge outrage. The smallest terrorist event or violent demonstration -Charlottesville or a stabbing in London – is shouted from the rooftops in the West, yet this horror in Gaza continues, year after year, with almost no notice taken.

These poor people continue to struggle with day-to-day life in unsanitary and crumbling ruins Israel created in its onslaughts which murdered about four thousand people, including about a thousand kids. Israel hasn’t the decency to allow the import of the required building materials.

Now, Israel builds a vast underground wall to prevent the life-sustaining supplies smuggled in with immense effort through hand-dug tunnels. It also plans to build a big artificial island off the coast which would effectively give Israel complete control and keep the people of Gaza from using any of the resources in the Mediterranean, including the natural gas fields which are by international standards the property of Gaza but which Israel is stealing openly and developing.

Gaza’s fishermen cannot even go far from the shore without being shot by Israeli gunboats. Their concentration camp – for that absolutely describes what Gaza has become – is lined with fences and towers with automated, radar-operated machine guns.

Israel even sprays noxious herbicides on portions of their small land. Some vicious Israelis have dumped raw sewerage on the land. When the few settlers that used to live there left, they actually poisoned the water wells. Israel prevents proper supplies of electricity. Israel controls all assistance that might be sent. Israel won’t even permit most visitors to go to Gaza.

It is a totalitarian nightmare. Israeli politician after politician has wished the people of Gaza gone and have always treated them harshly, but in recent years, the treatment has become harsh beyond telling. All because Gaza voted in democratic elections for a party which represented their interests. Going back to Moshe Dayan, we have public statements about making the people of Gaza so miserable, they will leave. And that is just what is being done.

Many Israelis take comfort in the thought that Israel does not do what Nazi Germany did with a large group of people it hates. They are comforted morally by that idea.

But when you keep an entire people living in misery for generation after generation with no rights, no hope, no ability to better themselves, no ability to even move around, I see complete moral equivalency with mass killing

This is a gigantic, on-going crime against humanity, but because Israel is effectively a colony of the powerful United States, enjoying intimate high-level connections, most of the Western press and politicians remain silent.

Repression of the channels of communication is just another terrible weapon in such a situation. I don’t know how anyone is ever surprised by the way Nazi Germany got away with its vast crimes because Germany had, quite simply, one of the early, sophisticated total wars on truth and communication.

Yes, it is possible to keep the majority of people in ignorance, to hide your shameful acts, and to lie daily even while committing monstrous crimes. The public in the West never absorbed that harsh lesson. But Israel’s government certainly has, just as the government of Israel’s mother country, the United States, has. They both apply it daily.

John Chuckman


Trump’s Defense Secretary James Mattis makes passionate case against America withdrawing from the world
‘We ought not to forget the example of the Greatest Generation,’ former general tells young naval officer in Q&A

I’ve got news for you, General.

The Greatest Generation is long gone.

It reflected circumstances which no longer exist.

Indeed, if you read some detailed history, that phrase has been, to a considerable extent, misused even for what occurred during and immediately after WWII. It could fairly be called a self-congratulatory slap on the back by pop American historians.

In any case, what we have today in America is something quite ugly and dangerous. Greatness is not remotely associated with it.

Comparing America in, say, 1941, to America in 2017, is a bit like comparing Hitler’s life as a young boy to his life as a grown-up.

Response to another reader who wrote “I would be truly impressed with America if it made its own country a shining example of how a country should be. Should be enough for them to be getting on with.”

Well said, indeed.

But they cannot think this way.

The current slogan of the American military-security monstrosity is “full-spectrum dominance” across a range of defined matters in the world.

It is not the thinking of enlightened or democratic people, but the thinking of tyrants.

Mattis forgets one of the truest statements ever made, Lord Acton’s dictum on power corrupting and absolute power corrupting absolutely.

I very much believe America has crossed the threshold towards absolute corruption.

It is fit to lead no one.

Response to another reader who wrote “It was not the US that went to war with North Korea, it was UN that authorized the war”:

You are only technically correct.

The UN was quietly pushed into the effort, just as the US has pushed and used the UN so many times for its own purposes.

Today, this phony effort to make every American decision about intervention appear international in character more typically uses NATO, an organization which today is more pliable and which can almost not be recognized when compared to its early purposes.

Even inside the Truman government, there was at first a serious question about whether Korea was worth fighting over.

It was not on the then-current list of places of real strategic importance to the United States, but America was under the witch-like spell of anti-communism at all costs and so decided to intervene.

Words like “losing this or that to ‘the commies’ or ‘the reds’” came quickly to the lips of various Congressmen and Senators. The atmosphere was poisonous.
North Korea was trying to reunite Korea, on its terms. Reunification has been a longing of all Koreans, but the US has stood in the way always, only willing to accept reunification on its terms.

America conducted the Korean War with total ruthlessness. At the outset, there was the infamous No Gun Ri massacre in which American troops slaughtered hundreds of civilians fleeing war for the south, including women and children, claiming later they feared spies and saboteurs.

America carpet-bombed North Korean cities for three years. General Curtis LeMay – the man who fire-bombed and leveled Japan, and later at the Pentagon pushed for an overwhelming first-strike against the USSR – later bragged that American bombing wiped out twenty percent of the entire country’s population.

It was much the same American approach as that which created a holocaust in Vietnam over the existence of a rump-state run by dictators, but one friendly to US interests, being re-united with the rest of that country. So, millions died horribly for that meaningless cause.

Considering all the fall-out over the decades after the Korean War, it likely would have been better and smarter to leave it to the Koreans themselves, a good general principle, leaving it to the locals, almost invariably ignored by America in its many post-WWII wars and interventions.

Under those circumstances, a unified Korea would certainly have evolved into something new over time, as virtually all communist states have. And there’s no use talking about dictatorships here because South Korea was ruled by dictatorial government for decades after WWII.

It is America which keep North Korea as “the hermit kingdom.”

A huge well-equipped American army to the south. Ships frequently offshore. Deliberately provocative plane flights. Regular war games on a massive scale. Thermonuclear weapons stored just over in Guam.

No diplomatic recognition. No direct talks ever, even now. No peace treaty even considered for going-on 70 years.

The US has been powerful and stupid here, as it has been in so many parts of the world.

Response to a reader who said “Mattis must be one of those who simply don’t understand just how much the USA is loathed across planet earth. The vast majority of conflict, suffering and unrest is solely due to the actions of his country.”

None of America’s leaders understands that fact.

When they show up somewhere, it is all pomp and ceremony, making them feel good, no matter how twisted they or their secret mission may be.

Look at Nikki Haley.

An utterly ridiculous figure at the UN, embarrassingly preaching to and patronizing diplomats, who in many cases know far more about the matters under discussion than she does, yet of course she must be given all diplomatic courtesies.

The often highly-educated people listening to her truly ignorant speeches just have to grin and bear it, and, of course, like so many American diplomats, she actually threatens her listeners with reduced American financial support to the UN if they don’t agree with what she suggests. A thoroughgoing bully.

I should add, nor do America’s leaders really care what other people think. Remember candidate George Bush actually bragging and chuckling about how he never read the international section of his newspaper? It is a popular and widespread prejudice in America.

It is the pure arrogance of power, not really different in any detail to the attitude of great dukes in France in the early 1700s. Their carriages simply left peasants in their path as “road kill.”

John Chuckman


Kentucky to speed up relocation of Confederate monuments after Charlottesville violence
in neighboring Charlottesville, Virginia

The great irony of these matters is that the Civil War was not about slavery. Lincoln himself said that if that if he could, he would end the war and keep slavery in place.

The war was about states’ rights, a matter which had troubled American politics and affairs since the country’s founding.

Few people realize how consequential the Civil War was. An estimated 600,000 people died in the 1860s. Nearly a century later, in WWII, a war that in total killed over 50 million, American total losses were about 300,000.

The Civil War monuments are history as surely as any anywhere, but public sensibilities and politics change, and it is stupid to fight over the fact.

Response to a comment about slavery dying out:

Sorry, but you are wrong about slavery.

Slavery actually evolved into something new and more hideous near the time of the Civil War. Individual slave workers disappeared on the great estates to be replaced by gang-slavery, a system of chaining together large blocks of men who then moved through the fields much like a machine.

It was a big improvement in pure efficiency terms. Slave agriculture became more competitive.

If you read the scholarly book, Years on the Cross, you will see how slavery evolved and would have evolved more. It would have been a very long time before it died a natural death, if indeed it ever did.

Response to another comment about few Southerners having slaves:

This is not accurate.

Many comparatively modest farmers owned a slave or two.

In some cases, they were women and were used for sex. Indeed, at the slave auctions, some women were featured openly for their attractions.

The result is that there is not a single black American today without genes from European types.
Response to another reader comment:

“defeated Christian Civilization”?

Bizarre, and with the tone of some of the extreme Internet sites.

Lincoln did consciously want the central government to gain authority over the states.

In that sense, he finished the unfinished work of creating a nation.

It had nothing to do with Christianity. Many of the most prominent founders were not Christians but Deists or even atheists, very stylish beliefs of the period in Europe. This included Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, and others.
Response to another reader’s comment:

Of course, it’s obvious you cannot change history.

But our memorials and books change all the time, taking on new emphasis or indeed changing an interpretation.

By the way, it was real history, but there are not many monuments to Benedict Arnold in America. And none that I know of to the Loyalists, decent people who were terribly abused by the “Patriots.” And, there is no major monument to slavery itself. Certainly not in Washington.
Response to another reader comment about “Lee was right”:

Sorry, Lee was never a politician. He did what he saw as his duty when asked.

John Chuckman


Donald Trump says US military ‘locked and loaded’ for North Korea
Plans ‘now fully in place’ if Pyongyang ‘acts unwisely’, President tweets


Response to a reader who said: “Lets not forget the American Generals who in the past have suggested dropping nuclear weapons on Vietnam and N. Korea before…not sure if they suggested anywhere else.”

The Pentagon madmen did a great deal more than that.

President Kennedy was presented a detailed plan by the Pentagon’s Joint Chiefs for a massive first strike on the Soviet Union. He left the briefing, in his own words, feeling sick at his stomach.

They also developed plans for doing the same thing with Mao’s China.

Israel’s nuclear arsenal does not exist without all kinds of complicity, too.

And when Israel had a dirty deal with Nationalist South Africa to supply them help with their small nuclear arsenal (removed with the fall of the Nationalist government) in return for considerations in the supply of strategic materials and minerals, can anyone believe the CIA did not know?

There was even a totally secret joint Israeli-South African nuclear test in the ocean spotted by spy satellite.

Remember, before the pressure against Apartheid really developed a head of steam, the US protected and encouraged South Africa as a “bulwark against communism.”

Of course, America’s dropping two atomic bombs on civilians – with a series of a dozen cities actually on a list of planned targets – was one of the 20th century’s great atrocities.

But the bombing horrors of America go way beyond the nuclear.

At the last stages of the war with Japan, there wasn’t, by America’s own military assessments, a single primary or secondary target left standing in the country.

And much of it done with massive fire-bombings, making the final atomic bombings a gratuitous horror. Vast numbers of people died horribly without the atomic bombs.

The lessons learned by the Pentagon kept being applied. In Korea, the bombing was more horrific than we have ever been told by government. The Pentagon used carpet bombing of cities for three years. General Curtis LeMay bragged that the US killed twenty percent of the entire population of North Korea.

In Vietnam, the US killed an estimated 3 million with carpet bombing, napalm, and early cluster bombs.

Since they also bombed neutral Cambodia and destabilized it, they are surely responsible for the “killing fields” which followed and saw a million perish.

There have been dozens or smaller operations, but Iraq of course was another very large one. Cluster bombs were widely used, mangling children and others.

White phosphorus incendiaries were used, and the use of depleted uranium munitions has left the country with a cancer-inducing killer cloud of dust.

About a million died in Iraq, and after-effects are still killing, just as buried landmines and cluster bombs and a sea of Agent Orange are still killing in Vietnam.

Yes, indeed, they do love their killing at the Pentagon, but with all the media control and public relations efforts, a lot of people still do not understand how truly vicious their record is.

John Chuckman


US National Archives Reveals the Story of KGB Agent Linked to JFK Assassination

Anyone who knows some modern American history knows Soviet KGB defector, Yuri Nosenko, was an extremely controversial figure. They know also that claims he made about the Kennedy assassination were no more reliable than other claims he made. Indeed, he was controversial in part because he could not, under CIA interrogation, supply details about KGB methods and operations which his rank of Colonel meant he should have known.

There probably never has been a defector who generated such fights and hostilities and disagreements inside a major intelligence agency the way Nosenko did inside the CIA, and it went on for years.

He practically tore the CIA apart internally during his defection with one faction regarding him as a KGB plant sent to “poison the well.”

The validity of any of his claims has never been established. And we knew the general line of his claims years and years ago.

So new stuff regarding him is not new and is of virtually no value.

If this release of material about Nosenko represents the quality of the newly-released Archives material as a whole, then we have made no advance at all on the Kennedy assassination.

But I would not expect anything else. The key material, if files ever existed and if they still exist, has never been released.

Those are the files that would tell us why the CIA has always lied about the assassination, there being a number of instances, even with our very limited information, where the lying is just obvious, as in the completely wrong Cuban Embassy surveillance photo taken during Oswald’s supposed trip to Mexico City. And as in the phony excuse about embassy telephone recordings being routinely recycled. Also, files on people in Dallas, Russian speakers, who befriended Oswald and are known to have had connections to the CIA, people like George de Mohrenschildt and Ruth Paine.

We might like information on the CIA’s James Angleton and his relationship to the program which saw Oswald and several other American servicemen temporarily defect to Russia in the 1950s. Angleton, by the way, was chief of one of the two warring factions in CIA over Yuri Nosenko’s credibility years later. Angleton also had other roles to play. After the mysterious murder of Mary Pinchot, Kennedy’s lover and closest friend, he was discovered rummaging around in her studio for papers.

Those are also the files that would tell us why the FBI, led from the very top, J. Edgar himself, rushed to the judgment of a man who had absolutely no motive, and no aptitude either, and virtually instantly identified him as the assassin. All with no evidence. And the files that would explain the FBI’s relationship with Oswald because we know from a number of snippets that there was indeed a relationship, at the very least as a paid informant, which by the way is hardly what a genuine communist, as Oswald was made out to be, of that day would do. And the files that would explain why the chief of the local FBI office destroyed key evidence immediately after the assassination. He burned a letter from Oswald and then lied about its contents.

That is the evidence that would explain the utterly mysterious behavior of the Dallas police investigation in everything from mishandling evidence to allowing Jack Ruby, a known gangster, to hang around the headquarters frequently. It was close to total incompetence from beginning to end, and I just cannot believe that record does not cover much darker matters. The policeman, Tippet, said to have been killed by Oswald, a claim contradicted by better witnesses who were ignored, we know was up to some pretty dark activities, ultra-right wing stuff, but we have never had any details.

But the key evidence remains that which would tell us why, if the simple official story of Oswald’s responsibility is true, that a murder by a quite ordinary man generated immense secrecy which endures to this day. There simply is no national security matter involved in one misfit suddenly buying a gun and shooting someone, even a President. No documents should ever have been classified, and the insipid and vague nature of much that has been de-classified in several releases only adds force to the point. Why were the FBI and CIA ever even involved?

Also, why it is that not one piece of conclusive evidence has ever been provided of Oswald’s guilt. All of the so-called evidence is weak, circumstantial, and even in some cases fraudulent, starting with the true purchase and shipping and ownership of the inadequate gun which from all circumstances appears to have been a planted decoy for police. And even ownership of the postal box involved is quite blurry.

While general facts of Oswald’s background were released, they simply do not add up to what we were told they add up to. Nothing has ever been explained about how a man, a man with a security clearance for special radar work, learns Russian in the Marines, pulls an obviously phony defection to Russia, stays a while and then returns to the United States (with a Russian bride!) at the height of the Cold War, is never put on a security watch-list, is able to readily obtain documents like a passport, and quickly comes to have a circle of quite well-off and well-connected Russian speakers as friends in Dallas. If you think the anti-Russian stupidity in Washington is bad today, you should look back at what it was like in the late-1950s and early-1960s, Oswald’s time for all of this activity. It was a howling madhouse in the United States, but it never really affected Oswald.

No, the new Archives release will yield nothing really worth having. That could almost have been forecast. I don’t know where the dark agencies of government put their most damning documents or how they file them in impenetrable filing systems or even if they indeed keep such material at all (there being, after all, the discouraging historical precedent of the Nazis who kept meticulous files on their crimes), but none of the documents released in Bill Clinton’s time and others, including these, explain either the crime or the need to have ever kept such stuff secret in the first place.

John Chuckman



Sending more troops to Afghanistan isn’t the answer


Sending any troops to Afghanistan has never been an answer to anything. It is vicious lunacy at best.

The original invasion was a brainless response to something the country had nothing to do with.

Yes, as devout Muslims, the then-government of the country, the Taliban, had permitted bin Laden to reside there.

But when the US high-handedly demanded his extradition without providing a shred of evidence against him – quite simply, the normal procedure in all international extraditions – the Taliban refused, making it clear that they would extradite if provided evidence.

Well, the US never provided any evidence. And you know what? It has never provided any evidence to Americans either of bin Laden’s responsibility for 9/11. None. All we have is the corporate press making the same assertions that it made all those years ago without any real evidence.

So they invaded, and in truth achieved nothing.

American troops have behaved brutally there for years, creating many atrocities.

Their early approach involved going from village to village, using stun grenades, knocking down people’s doors, holding whole families at gunpoint, and taking away the men almost the way Stalin’s secret police did in the USSR. Can you imagine the fears and bad feelings this generated in an old-fashioned rural society?

That horrible behavior was compounded by a whole series of slaughters in villages as trigger-happy, nervous American kids who didn’t understand the language or the customs and who hated the heat and dust they were consigned to, kids with big guns decided they did not like something and simply blasted away. It happened dozens of times. The same for air attacks on some perfectly innocent villages by trigger-happy American pilots.

When you treat people horribly, you make enemies.

Another “benefit” of America’s shabby invasion was to release poor Afghanistan farmers from the strict prohibition the Taliban had imposed on growing poppies. Before long a flood of opium-based drugs was back on international markets. Prices fell, consumption increased, and local American street-gang violence grew. Truly wonderful result, don’t you think?

The Taliban is not and never has been a terrorist organization as it is widely misunderstood in the US.

It is simply one of the basic divisions of that society, as it were, Catholics versus Protestants. It is extremely old-fashioned and fundamentalist and unenlightened, but then so are a small host of clans or religious groups of every description in the world in many lands. You don’t invade people for that.

It is impossible to make them go away, unless of course you are prepared to slaughter people en masse.

The Northern Alliance – representing another basic tribal division in the society, it was an alliance formed long ago within the country to vie for power with the Taliban – that the US allied itself with in the original invasion, has always itself been an unattractive grouping too. It had some genuine monsters in it, including mass-murderer, General Dostum.

It never was the good guys versus the bad guys, a false idea that America’s government promoted. It always resembled a gigantic national feud between the Hatfields and McCoys in West Virginia and had nothing to do with issues Americans care about.

The Pentagon and CIA always like to promote simplistic explanations, providing sound-bite summaries for the nightly corporate news broadcasts, stuff for the soccer moms and others back home to accept readily.

In this case, it was the repression of women, something that in fact goes on still in Afghanistan as it does in every poor, rural place on earth, including Mexico, Brazil, India, Kuwait, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Turkey, and scores of other places.

No, the reality of the great swirling mass of humanity in no way resembles, or relates to, life in Celebration, Florida, or in Ozzie and Harriet’s fantasy suburb of the 1950s. The very essence of propaganda is to fix on a truth and treat it as though it were only a truth for the place you are discussing.

America’s phony efforts even on that front achieved nothing – the Burka is still worn widely and little girls are still not educated and people remain dirt-poor – but, while all the bloody stuff was going on, talk about it put America on the side of the angels in the eyes of the uninformed. The many, many killings of women and children by Americans received little press.

But the US didn’t care, just so that it could defeat the Taliban without sending in vast numbers of its own troops. Using air power with massive bombing above with local forces doing most of the fighting below, followed by a limited number of Americans to occupy, to torture, and to terrorize into submission

This is a poor, backward country, and its customs and social structures do not resemble Celebration, Florida, and they will not do so for centuries.

To expect that bombing and occupation would alter that is the very essence of arrogance and the blind brutality we see from America’s establishment today, working away in a half-dozen places to achieve nothing beyond death and dominance. It is a one-way trip to nowhere.

Afghanistan’s people pretty much mind their business, so why on earth the US thinks it must dominate and decide who governs is beyond me, and it is beyond reason.

It’s just part of a rather sick tendency we see in America’s Deep State, the need to control everyone.



John Chuckman



“New Book About the Deep State Plot to Demonize Russia

With a strong endorsement from Oliver Stone The Plot to Scapegoat Russia”


I am always glad for new sources which confirm old beliefs, but, I must say, there is little in this review that is new to informed and critically-minded observers.

Concepts such as “humanitarian intervention” are, and have long been, of the same nature as the White Helmets in Syria, totally phony.

The US never intervenes militarily where genuine humanitarian catastrophes occur. It did not intervene in Rwanda while it understood perfectly what was happening at a very early stage. It did not in Cambodia. It did not in Indonesia.

Indeed, in the slaughters of Indonesia, after the fall of Sukarno, the State Department was on the phone submitting lists of “communists” to the new government who were best added to the hundreds of thousands getting their throats cut and having their bodies thrown into rivers.

The US militarily intervenes only where it has a geo-political goal or interest.

As far as phony front outfits like America’s Democracy Now! there are many of them in the US.

Despite formal rules against being involved in local affairs, the CIA has long used the method of such media to “get out its messages.” In the 1960s, good magazines like Saturday Review were secretly supported by CIA.

What do formal rules mean to an organization where it is accepted that lying under oath is just fine? CIA Director Helms himself established that fact for us back in the 1960s.

The Internet has many seemingly liberal or independent sites which I believe are in fact CIA zombies. In some cases, they may know it. In other cases, they may not. The CIA works both ways, just as it has paid its own employees and paid outside assets, the assets not always being aware of where their money comes from.

You can take a good guess at such sites just by the nature of the material they favor, the way they treat things, and the rules they establish.

Mother Jones magazine seems certainly one of these. Daily Kos is another. Pacific News Network is yet another. Vanity Fair belongs on the list I believe.

The American book publishing industry is filled with the same effort. Some publishing houses go along to get along, some are unwitting tools, and some are themselves just covert operations.

Remember, publishing in a country like the United States is today a very difficult business, fraught with risk. How nice to have a source of funds, whether understood or not, streaming in to steady your business.

In return, as a publisher, you still get to do some of what you always wanted to do, but perhaps not all of it, but there are a few things, here and there, that you must do or you will lose your important covert sponsor.

There has been an entire industry in advocacy books about such crucial matters as the Kennedy Assassination, the downing of TWA Flight 800, and 9/11. The manipulative nature of a good many of the books is apparent. This CIA effort, by the way, plays the game from both sides.

Books trying to reestablish the authority of the pathetic Warren Report by one route or another – authors like Gerald Posner, Priscilla Johnson, Vincent Bugliosi, Edward Epstein – clearly have CIA influence embedded one way or another into their books on the Kennedy Assassination, directly or indirectly. You cannot read their books without sensing it at many little points, as in what things are emphasized and what things are glossed over or as in over-hyped claims about the limited evidence we have.

The Agency also takes another route of attack. It actually arranges to have books attacking the Warren Commission published, but ones which are so poorly researched or written that they effectively discredit genuine critics by “the company they keep.”

It was a publicist at the Agency, decades ago, who came up with the derogatory term, “conspiracy theorist” to be used against genuine critics, and the term remains in wide use today.

America’s corporate press, always doggedly loyal to Deep State interests, keeps the term alive by regular use in articles and editorials still. Its longevity is proof of how effective such media manipulation can be.

American society is deeply penetrated by the CIA and its sister agencies, and it has been since long before the Snowden revelations about the NSA snooping on everyone.

The truth is that it was a terrible mistake to create something like CIA, and the very President who signed the legislation, Harry Truman, said so.

You simply cannot create a huge, well-financed agency whose accountability is close to non-existent, charge it with the execution of countless dirty tricks and manipulations abroad, allow its members to lie under oath, and keep financing its cancerous growth, without creating a monster, a monster which attacks decency in your society, destroys ethical considerations in your international dealings, and a monster which erodes the foundations of democratic government.

As far as what it has been done to Trump with phony Russia charges and a phony dossier, well, in the past we’ve had everything from an actual CIA President (certainly George Bush Pere whom we know from old documents was in the Agency in the 1960s, and now, I think quite likely, Obama, who has doggedly served their interests and maintains a kind of Washington fortress-office for coordinating the work on Trump) to Presidents being manipulated by CIA stunts (Jimmy Carter and Richard Nixon come to mind) to Kennedy, their one really tough opponent, who of course ended with his brain splattered across the streets of Dallas.

John Chuckman



“Special prosecutor Robert Mueller ‘will take Donald Trump from frying pan to fire’ over Russia investigation”


Then there’ll be a mighty thin meal because there is no meat here. Not a scrap. None.

Fire, hot pans, shouting, cooks sweating in a hot kitchen and absolutely nothing to prepare. That is the ridiculous spectacle we see right now in Washington.

Not everyone understands that impeachment is, in fact, a trial – a long, complicated trial involving some of the nation’s finest legal minds at work.

I know the United States does many questionable and even brutally- stupid things, but I do think bringing someone important to a trial, a guaranteed international spectacle, with absolutely no evidence of any kind, just a lot of shouting and accusations, is not one of them. It is a guaranteed formula for failure. Does any thinking person, not a rabid partisan, believe the United States or the world deserve that?

It cannot happen because even the guys doing all the shouting know that they have nothing in the prosecutor’s brief. However, the efforts and noise and groundless accusations can paralyze the government, blunt its efforts at any reasonable policy (such as, establishing a peaceful relationship with Russia). Of course, there are many other important matters, like the health of the entire Western economy, that the effort can also damage. An executive branch paralyzed by continuous and complete nonsense is dangerous for us all.

The politicians know they only have the accusations of angry partisans like Hillary Clinton, Chuck Schumer, and Nancy Pelosi plus the questionable assertions of Mr. Comey, an old Democratic Hillary partisan and a man who proved himself inept while in office if we are to believe that very same group of accusers – Hillary, Schumer, Pelosi, etc – by their own words of just months ago, all easily still found on the Internet.

Of course, the real danger here is the massive effort to undo a properly-conducted election. A great deal of that effort is coming from the security services, especially the CIA, including some former members of that dark organization.

They don’t like Trump because he, early on, disparaged their importance (as many of us feel is more than fitting) and they have willing helpers in the arrogant walking wounded of the Democratic Party who just cannot believe both that they lost the election and that they had an insider (almost certainly the late Seth Rich) leak the official secrets of their corrupt internal workings. Better to blame the Russians on all counts, and blaming the Russians does also help feed the new Cold War fires now raging in Washington, fires set alight by that smiling psychopath, Obama, with his destructive drives and policies in Europe.

After all, isn’t that the kind of thing the CIA does abroad, often work to unseat legitimate governments? It did so in Ukraine. It did so in Libya. It did so in Egypt. It is working at doing so in Syria. And it did so in many other places. Well, now, the ugly activity has come home to roost, the ultimate form of what security agencies call “blowback.”

America is in the process of tearing apart what very little legitimacy it has left as a democratic state, and millions stand around and cheer because they have been hyped day-and-night by our pathetic corporate media who never work to explain what really is happening anywhere, only passing on the re-written press releases of officialdom.

If you want an accurate perspective on the matter, we have Stephen F. Cohen, distinguished Princeton professor and a genuine expert on Russian affairs, someone who many times in past years was consulted by the American government itself, saying this:


John Chuckman



“Did you know that On June 8, 1967, the USS Liberty, a U.S. Navy intelligence ship, was attacked in international waters? The attack killed 34 U.S. servicemen and wounded at least 173. And we still give billions per year to the aggressor”

There is no question of Israel’s responsibility in attacking the USS Liberty, of course, but I’ve often wondered whether there was some kind of complicity by Lyndon Johnson.

He was a very dark and devious man. Played dirty politics his entire career, including his very first election in Texas which he won by vote fraud. And he sure wasn’t reluctant to see people killed, launching, as he did, the mindless Vietnam War in which an estimated 3 million Vietnamese were killed eventually, a true holocaust.

I’ve never understood the way he just shut everything down right after the attack – called off emergency responders and made no big diplomatic storm over the event and made no great effort to make Israel pay for what it had done, pay in any way.

It was the chance of a lifetime to put Israel in its proper place, a small nation with defined borders. Instead, his response allowed Israel to grow into a Frankenstein monster. His is a great burden of guilt for Israel’s next fifty years of brutal abuse.

It doesn’t make sense, especially considering his volatile temperament. I think his reasons have never been examined, but I know there were reasons. He had a motive, if nothing other than a huge secret effort to buy him off by the Israel Lobby.

It has been speculated that Israel’s knowledge of Johnson’s complicity in President Kennedy’s assassination was used to shut him up. This is distinctly possible, however, while we know the Warren Commission’s version of the assassination was a complete fantasy, we do not know just what really happened. Johnson was from the beginning a highly plausible suspect, but we do not have the necessary proof.

Israel’s motive for the attack is quite clear. They wanted to turn their armor in the south to head north, something they had been advised against.

So, they shut down the American intelligence ship. This, of course, also shut down reporting of Israel’s atrocities in Sinai, which the ship’s gear would have picked up.

Israel was in such a mad rush to turn the armor around, the army just machine-gunned all the Egyptian prisoners of war they had in Sinai. Hundreds of them.

But for Israel, this was from the beginning a war of conquest. It was carefully planned, and Israel knew it could win against the disorganized Arab states that it had deliberately provoked a number of times leading up to the actual conflict.

Of course, fifty years later, we all still live with the hideous results, seeing millions live with absolutely no rights, no citizenship, no votes, constant abuse, and even the degrading insult of having additional homes and farms stolen periodically.

Moshe Dayan, the victorious general of the Six Day War, made numerous statements to the effect of Israel’s having to make the Palestinians feel miserable enough, they would leave.

Well, Israel certainly has done its part in making millions miserable, but they greatly underrated the courage and stamina of the Palestinians, who are not leaving.

Here are some details of the event:


John Chuckman



“Boris Johnson Urges Russia to Stop Supporting Bashar Assad’

The UK government just keeps throwing crap everywhere, hoping some of it will stick. It is a method adopted from America, one of the world’s most hypocritical governments and one whose members actually wear hip-wader boots when they walk through the streets of Washington, so deep is the layer of crap covering it.

Remember, Britain is the country that teamed up with America for the totally illegal invasion of Iraq, killing about a million people and creating horror for a generation in what had been one of the Arab world’s most advanced societies.

I didn’t hear any criticism from Boris Johnson or Theresa May about their war-criminal prime minister, Tony Blair, did you?

This is the country, too, which under that grotesque joke of a leader, David Cameron, supported outfits like Al-Nusra and ISIS and Al-Qaeda while pretending to do just the opposite.

It’s all a kind of big, dirty private-schoolboy joke which helped kill over 300,000 people, create millions of refugees, destabilize Europe, and did much to destroy one of the region’s most beautiful and historic lands.

Ditto for Libya, a place whose leader gave his people everything from free schools to good water and peace. He was summed up by America’s leading psychopath, Hillary Clinton, with her memorable line, “We came, we saw, he died. Ha, ha, ha!

And then, after so much help in killing and creating refugees, British leaders like Boris Johnson have the gall to talk about Assad, a man respected by most of Syria’s people and a man who almost set a standard for tolerance of other religions in an intolerant region (certainly including Israel).

The Christians of Syria support Assad while the Christians in Britain and the United States try to kill him and destroy a peaceful land, throwing the Christians of Syria to the wolves of the packs of killer thugs who are supported and supplied by Britain among others.

It is all quite stunning if you think about it.

And just who are some of the other players in the British charade in Syria? Saudi Arabia, Oman, Turkey, Israel – well, there is a remarkable list of free countries with high values for tolerance indeed. A human and democratic rights gang of thugs, supported by America so that it can get what it wants.

And what does it want? To be rid of a decent leader Israel hates. Israel of course wants to hang on to the things it has stolen, like the Golan Heights. It also wants a region around it in which every country accepts its ugly values of conquest, theft, killing, and endless abuse of millions.

The US also wants to run a pipeline or two through a country that is not its own, pipelines opposed by Assad’s government. What does Saudi Arabia want? It wants what the US and Israel want, ever since 9/11, having been extremely careful that what it says and does is not offensive to America and its colony for fear of being blamed for the twin towers.

America’s other tyrant-allies in the region have similar motives. They are extremely rich and privileged and unaccountable rulers, all of them, and they do not want what they regard as the rubbish of democratic values, human rights, and religious tolerance anywhere near them – not even a hint.

Of course, critically-minded readers might note the record in the trail of wreckage America and Britain have left behind. Isn’t it shining democracy and good government we see in Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya and Somalia and Yemen and Egypt? No? Why something must have gone terribly wrong because surely that was the intention in all that killing and destruction?

Boy, that’s some cause you support there, Boris.

Wouldn’t it be hilarious if Russia could support independence for Scotland and the end of British rule in Gibraltar? It certainly would be nothing more than a parallel effort to Britain’s secret savagery in Syria.

But we’d hear the screams to high heaven about Russian interference in Western affairs. Well, that’s the kind of totally hypocritical view you marry yourself to when you join up for America’s imperial march to control the globe.  It much resembles Napoleon’s Grande Armée with stirring speeches about enlightenment while you set about conquest and pillage.

Violence for selfish ends supported by lies and abuse of every description, all in the names of peace and freedom and democracy – that’s America today. Move over, George Orwell, your brilliant stuff in 1984 has been surpassed by a new and far more shameless brute force than Big Brother and the Inner Party.

John Chuckman



“Syria Is All About the Petrodollar, Assad Is the Victim of a False Flag from the CIA”

Mostly nonsense.

Syria is a key part of a long-term plan to create a new Middle East.

It’s been in the works for years at the State Department in coordination with CIA and Israel, its main beneficiary and long-time advocate-lobbyist. The arrogant people running Washington, of course, do not announce such things to mere citizens, the people who vote and pay the costs in taxes and bear any consequences, which, in this case, absolutely includes the whole phenomenon of “international terror” – just angry young men trying to pay back for what’s been done to their countries – plus massive armies of miserable refugees created.

But we’ve had several indirect or cryptic references over the years, including George Bush’s Condi Rice referring to “the birth pangs of a new Middle East,” her gracious way of describing the screams of thousands dying and being made homeless.

America’s permanent establishment government, within the elected government, is busier than ever trying to extend American authority to every corner of the globe. There are many reasons for this, but they very much include the Neocons with their philosophy of “if you have the power use it to get what you want,” words with which Hitler would have had not the least quarrel, having gained an upper hand.

Plus, there has been a dawning awareness that America’s relatively carefree years of global dominance, built on the fortunate event of every competitor and potential competitor having been flattened in WWII, are drawing to a close as new, extremely serious competitors in everything rapidly emerge. It is the natural reaction of some of the more aggressive and greedy among us to simply strike out in every direction, hoping some of what they do can stop the process of natural evolution or at least slow it down.

What we have seen happening in the Neocon Wars and the phony CIA-induced Arab Spring (you always give a cheerful name to a dirty project, just as the example of “Patriot Act” being used to cover measures to suppress citizens’ rights) and in such recent events as the CIA-induced coup against a democratic Ukraine – a blatant effort to box-in and threaten Russia – plus all the public relations hype around a “resurgent” Russia, as it merely responds normally and cautiously to extremely provocative acts right next door, is simply aggression, and on a very broad front. There is no other word suitable to describe it although America seems able to come up with a whole corps of hacks like Nikki Haley or Samantha Power or John Kirby to try telling us that war is peace and slavery is freedom.

Israel, which is de facto America’s colony in the region benefits by having all the independent-minded leaders eliminated and having a kind of cordon sanitaire created for hundreds of miles around it. But you will never hear that said in Washington.

Israel, in turn, is expected do whatever the American establishment’s future bidding in the region is. It will serve as a kind of enforcer for the American empire. Once, this role was taken to some extent by the Shah of Iran, whom the U.S. heavily armed, after Washington assisted in creating a coup to end Iran’s democratic government in 1953. But the Shah bungled the job, generated a revolution by his brutality, and then he went and died.

Well, no chance of that happening in Israel with all those layers of hogwash about biblical homeland and thousands of years wandering. Yes, biblical homeland and thousands of years wandering for a European people, the Ashkenazi, who native language is a variant of German and who date back, by actual DNA tests, about nine or ten centuries in Eastern Europe. Besides, they come with a kind of naturally fanatical version of the Pretorian Guard in the sizable settler-ultra-Orthodox crowd.

And, bottom line, a great many Israelis come from the United States and maintain dual citizenship, a state the U.S. was once loath to recognize. People go back and forth all the time creating a web of attachments and privileges and access to important institutions. No one is better “connected.”

Israel could have itself done much of the dirty work in Middle East, but only at the cost of achieving an even worse reputation in the world than it already has as a pariah state with almost no regard for law and international norms and even rules of war.

No, the big part of the murderous job had to be taken on by America.

But even America could not afford, reputation-wise, to just go invading directly, country after country, as it did in Iraq. That outright aggressive invasion produced a great deal of negative publicity and lingering ill will.

So, it developed a system of using rag-tag mercenaries, giving them arms, supporting them covertly in many ways, and often ending up by demanding a “no-fly zone” from the UN, which sounds harmless but every time gets turned into an opportunity to bomb a country with no opposition and look like you are only responding to “bad guys.”

It’s all a terrible set of events allowing the CIA and Pentagon to play God in country after country, and, of course, playing God gets addictive, so we even have a faction ready to be extremely hostile to Russia.

Americans do not realize how much power these agencies of government have acquired for themselves in the process. So, the dirty works of empire also affect the homeland in many ways from an immense network of spying and limits of all kinds imposed to the distribution of military equipment to internal police agencies and the arming of outfits like Homeland Security (another one of those sunshine names for a nasty reality).

The establishment couldn’t care less about the effects on normal Americans, just as it could not care about the two million or so they have killed in the Neocon Wars over the last decade and a half. The message could not be clearer from the behavior of the national government: you do not matter. We matter, and the security agencies which support us and extend our reach matter, and our dark allies abroad are important, but you are not.

Some thought this was the one crucial area in which Trump might make a difference, but the futility of that hope is crushingly apparent.

America’s Bill of Rights has effectively been legally neutered, and you, the average American, think you still have rights which in fact you do not have anymore.

It all reminds me of science fiction scenarios about how robots – or the owners of the robots – will treat the general population of humans in the future when artificial intelligence has effectively taken control of jobs and professions and responsibilities everywhere.

Old East Germany and its Stasi seem primitive and almost comic-bookish compared to what is emerging in the US, what in fact has largely emerged.

“We the people” has become “We the herd.” The establishment – the wealthy individuals and corporate senior people, whose tools the Pentagon and the CIA are along with the corporate press – is engaged in an effort to control just about everything. Today, it effectively rules in perhaps a more intense way than the Old Order in France did before the Revolution, but it is all hidden from direct view, and even scrutiny, of the public.

Two centuries of revolutions and democratic and human-rights principles and struggles of every kind are pretty close to being wiped out in America, while America’s establishment relentlessly works to control the world.

 John Chuckman



“The British Iraq and Afghanistan war memorial celebrates those who destroyed my country”

It could not be said better than that.

This monument to acts of idiocy is actually a form of fake news, a fake historical memorial, trying to render heroic what was cowardly, trying to make significant what was shameful.

The establishment just never stops trying to tell us what kind of a world it is arranging for us without our consent, a kind of fantasy story to cover the actual nastiness we can all see for ourselves.

I have to add, too, that this particular piece of sculpture almost inadvertently reveals its poor intent.

It is just plain ugly, strongly resembling what we might have expected the Soviets to build in Hungary, 1956.

A Tony Blair vision of something inspiring, an ugly lump cast in bronze and stone and dedicated to mass murder.


The ugly monument may be seen here:


Response to another reader’s comment:

If you had an ounce of knowledge, you’d know Afghanistan really wasn’t even a country in the sense that we understand it, so religion could hardly overwhelm country.

It was a loosely organized area of tribal people living a hardscrabble life. There were even few roads. The border with Pakistan was never even formally settled.

Fighting between tribal groups went on incessantly, as the Northern Alliance versus the Taleban.

Indeed, they were, and are, all Muslims although they adhered to different factions, as Catholics fighting Lutherans in 16th century Europe.

There was no reason on earth to invade the place beyond American fury and demands for vengeance. Simply insane. The Taleban were in no way responsible for 9/11.

The US has never provided a scrap of evidence that even Osama bin Laden, a Saudi in exile in Afghanistan, was responsible either.

The Taleban government would have extradited him after 9/11 and said so, if the US had presented any credible evidence, but they refused to do what is normal procedure for extraditions.

And if you had an ounce of knowledge, you’d know for sure Saddam Hussein allowed no religious extremists or terrorist to flourish in Iraq. None. It was actually in many ways the most advanced country in the Arab world.

He was a tyrant, true, but that’s just the kind of people the US and Britain support anyway so long as they toe the American policy line -eg, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, etc., etc.

Iraq was only invaded to reduce it to a set of rump states for Israel’s benefit. The same effort has been underway in Syria for six years, only using covert operations and proxy armies instead of direct invasion.

It was only after the Bush-Blair illegal invasion of Iraq, we get the likes of ISIS and Al-Nusra.

You are, frankly, just appallingly ignorant.

John Chuckman



“CIA Stresses Loyalty to the AGENCY Over Loyalty to the Constitution”

I don’t know why this would surprise anyone.

You start a covert agency which is pretty close to unaccountable, you fund it beyond its ability even to spend sensibly, you see it hire armies of bright psychopathic personalities, you watch it play dirty tricks all over the planet, and you watch it lie at every turn about what it is doing or has done.

Clearly, a formula for disaster.

Clearly, something incompatible with democratic or human values.

And clearly why Trump can no more drain the swamp than he can lift the earth.

I think all the American Patriot-types are living in cloudcuckooland.

Nothing much is going to change.


Response to a comment about JFK being right in wanting to smash the CIA:

JFK left the right side of his head splattered across the streets of Dallas if I’m not mistaken.

John Chuckman



“Washington ‘Risks Getting Drawn Into Yet Another Ground War in Middle East’”

Donald Trump, from all evidence so far, appears to have been sucked into the same swamp bog that Obama was.

The imperial concerns of America’s unelected military/security/corporate establishment take precedence over everything else, including elected government.

It does seem Trump has been trumped.


Response to another reader’s comment; “It’s not a risk. Americans love war, they are a nation of sick individuals.”

There is truth in what you say, but there is an understandable reason for it.

America has no first-hand knowledge of serious war.

All of its wars since 1865 have been abroad, inflicting suffering on others from which its own population is pretty much secure.

Even in WWII, a war which claimed more than 50 million lives, America’s losses were small, about 300 thousand. The gigantic battles and the horrific bombing were never seen once in America.

Had Americans experienced what Russia and Europe experienced over the last century, their views might well be different.

I’ve long observed how few Americans really care about what is happening to “foreigners.”

It was that way in the Vietnam Holocaust, a ten-year exercise in extreme brutality serving little point.

Americans only got excited over the relatively small number (small, given the world’s experience of war) of Americans coming home in boxes, especially when those boxes contained draftees.

The estimated 3 million Vietnamese slaughtered in various horrible ways – napalm, early cluster bombs, carpet-bombing – literally meant almost nothing in America.

Nor did the horror America left behind matter much – land mines, cluster munitions, and a sea of Agent Orange, etc. – things which kept killing Vietnamese for many years and do still.

The death of about 60 thousand “boyz” in achieving all that was the only thing that mattered and still matters.

I remember how enraged American officials were when they lost the war. They refused to undertake any obligations like reparations or land-mine clearance.

And when they talked to the Vietnamese, which was rarely, they insisted on crazy things like having suspected crash sites for American planes dug up to find some old bones and buttons, as though the Vietnamese hadn’t huge and urgent problems with which to deal. But, no, they had to find America’s bones and buttons and ship them home. It was insane.

The entire war was utterly insane, but to this day you will not find large numbers of Americans who admit that, so indoctrinated were they on the “threat” of communism. Feelings towards Russia today still reflect that indoctrination because the Pentagon has always found it useful to have a boogeyman in pushing for still larger budgets.

The one thing that came out of Vietnam for Americans was an end to the draft. A very-well paid professional armed force also offers job opportunities in a society which increasingly has trouble generating jobs, at least for young people without good skills.

The Pentagon also determined to become as hi-tech as possible, minimizing the actual exposure of soldiers. They learned in Vietnam that the coffins coming home in even modest numbers literally created civil unrest.

These new ways of doing things enable the Pentagon to pursue America’s many colonial wars – and that’s all any of America’s wars since WWII have been, dirty little colonial wars – with a minimum of disturbance “back home.” Americans mostly now never give a thought to what is being done to “foreigners.”

And, of course, as we know well, America’s corporate news media make sure Americans never see the gruesome results of the professional army’s work. The only time broken bodies and pools of blood ever appear in America’s press is when the deaths are misattributed to the very governments America’s establishment is trying to destroy, as in Syria.

So, we live in a strange world of shadows in which most of what America’s government does abroad is never even explained to Americans, and so long as great numbers of coffins are not being shipped home, Americans just don’t care.

This is a near universal reality in America including most parts of the political spectrum. You don’t hear even a self-declared “socialist” like Bernie Sanders railing against the horrors America inflicts abroad. Never. He’ll only brag something like having voted against the Iraq invasion many years ago, and that’s it.

It is nation of affluent navel-gazers whose ruling establishment pretty much has a free hand to kill and destroy abroad on a grand scale. After all, in the years of Obama and Bush, America killed maybe 2 million people in its Neocon Wars, absolutely none of them a threat to the United States.

John Chuckman



“Donald Trump can criticise the ‘mainstream media’ all he likes, the press will continue to do its job brilliantly”

Rupert Cornwell, if that is doing things brilliantly, well, then you must be one of our great political writers.

But your record speaks for itself, actually rather shabby, a life of scribbling propaganda and calling it political analysis.

In fact, the corporate press is suffering its worst time in ages. The industry, a mature one, is plainly in economic decline. In some cases, it plainly doesn’t have the resources to do the job well, as by having numerous foreign correspondents as it once had, even if doing the job well were its aim.

At the same time, new technology and new means of advertising are driving the creation and growth of new models for the distribution of news on the Internet.

In addition, the declining corporate press has been found openly colluding with various special interests, which sure removes the shine that supposedly comes with the word journalism. And even a child can see that it has acted out of immense negative bias against Trump.

There is almost no such thing as journalism and journalistic principles anymore in America or in much of Europe – that’s clear to many, not just Trump supporters.

The days of the Cold War also gave the press a special protective and nurturing environment, an environment of the forces of darkness versus the forces of light, the press being widely regarded as part of the forces of light.

That is gone, although the United States’ establishment – always including the corporate press as an intimate part of that establishment – is trying with its every fiber to re-create it, realizing what it has lost in many spheres, from unquestioned authority and playing the role of good guy – getting the role of Jimmy Stewart opposing Yuri Andropov – to facing new forms of competition. For the power establishment, peace and peaceful competition are not always the same good things most humans being accept them to be.

Who wants, people in Washington ask themselves, people in Europe using Russian natural gas or reading RT? And, so, ipso facto, Obama’s regrettable legacy of re-kindling the Cold War with everything from a shameless coup against a democratic government in Ukraine to tanks rumbling through Europe’s villages and towns to be emplaced threateningly in entrenchments on the Russian border and charming enforcers like Victoria “Fuck Europe!” Nuland being given high posts of influence there.

Well, that wasn’t even true then, as we know from the existence of things like unreported and unquestioned dark operations by a totally unethical CIA, everything from the civilian killings in Western Europe under Operation Gladio to the relentless terror conducted against Cuba or the manipulation of elections in Europe by secret payments to leaders and parties and to the over-throw by coups of even democratic governments not to America’s liking – all went unreported and unquestioned.

And it certainly not true now, perhaps, the only big difference being that now much of the activity has been exposed to the bright light of day. On the domestic front, things like the release of the DNC e-mails provide the kind of investigative reporting we’ve never experienced before from all those self-congratulatory journalists of yesteryear. On the international front, CIA allied dirty operations, like those in Syria, are actually being exposed to the light by news sources from abroad.

The days of the heroic journalistic duo in All the President’s Men are gone, completely gone. The book today almost seems a silly story on a level with “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” yet in its day, it seemed anything but. To my mind nothing better demonstrates some of the underlying and fundamental changes that have taken place.

It wasn’t Trump’s doing, but he is sure putting a high seal of approval on the fact, and lots of people are applauding. His approach, as at press conferences where the old privileged gang is feeling discomfort, will help speed the change underway towards something new, making him a genuine agent of change.

Journalism for the corporate press is a profession in dismal decline, having in most cases reduced itself willingly to paid publicity flacks and propagandists for the state.

Something entirely fresh is emerging using the new technology and forms of advertising. Its complete form is not yet clear, but it will deal the death blow to your industry, just as surely as Amazon ended local bookstores.

I don’t know whether it will be better or not – all great changes come not without drawbacks and flaws as viewed from some perspective – but I applaud its coming because your crowd has been shown to be utterly without principle and are well gone with your false assumptions and unwarranted privileges.

John Chuckman



“Recent events make it likely that Labour will win both seats in the by-elections next week, meaning Jeremy Corbyn will remain leader – a disaster for the Labour Party”

How does John Rentoul manage to keep employed as a columnist?

Somehow in Rentouland – just a hop, skip, and a jump down the road from Cloudcuckooland – winning by-elections is bad for a party, a party which should instead be working to rid itself of its present leadership.

Well, I do know the answer to my own question.

Because The Independent just salivates about bringing the disgusting Tony Blair – in the form of one of his acolytes if not himself in the flesh – back to power, and writers like John Rentoul do the yeoman’s work of writing-up pages of lame arguments in favor of it.

That moral pigmy and complete sell-out to special interests, Blair, gets almost daily coverage in the paper, as do some of his cult followers.

Blair’s recent insane speech about the public rising-up against Brexit and stopping it – such words from the very man who ignored the greatest peace demonstrations in British history to charge ahead in his secret partnership with Bush to destroy Iraq – was given embarrassing over-exposure by the paper with many images on the same page as links to the same dreary stuff, as though it were statesmanlike material of the greatest possible importance being featured.

And why does anyone in the least wonder that Trump attacks the corporate press?

John Chuckman



“Bernie Sanders says Donald Trump administration is ‘totalitarian'”

And, please, what has he done that can possibly be so characterized?

Bernie, each time you open your mouth anymore, you prove only how unfit you were for the presidency.

But the corporate press likes featuring you as part of its attacks on Trump.

Why? Because you have an appealing public personality with a sympathetic, avuncular presence.

Have you forgotten Hillary stole her nomination from you?

Wasn’t that theft a blow at the very roots of democratic government? How can you say otherwise?

Trump was elected under the rules, and he is only using the authorities granted him by lifetime politicians like you and like Hillary and like Obama and like Bill Clinton.

You guys could have re-written the rules long ago, but you chose not to because the Democratic Party benefitted from them.

John Chuckman



‘Trump Declares CNN, NYT, CBS, ABC And NBC Are “The Enemy of The American People”’

Well, of course, it is an exaggeration.

But not such an exaggeration as to be untrue.

Constantly misinforming people about important matters is a very pernicious practice.

It certainly does not support democracy or respect for rights or good government. It does support secrecy, bad government decisions, and a sense of privilege in a class of people.

However, the corporate press only does what it does because of a long history of encouragement and cooperation with government. There have even been demands by government at times.

And there has always been a filthy underground relationship between the press and security services like CIA. Trump has just been stung by that very thing.

America has a fundamental lack of honesty in all of its national institutions. Not too much can change unless that underlying reality is changed.

The reason for that is that every government, no matter which party, is doing things for which the people never voted. Indeed, it is often doing things that hurt or disadvantage ordinary people, including wars, coups, dark operations, and supporting tyrants and monarchs of every description.

Since WWII the United States has been almost continuously at war. None of it was about defense. None of it was in the interests of the American people as a whole. None of it brought any benefits to ordinary Americans. All of it wasted immense wealth and plenty of lives. And all of it was about the insider ruling establishment enjoying the game of pushing people around all over the planet.

We all know the clichéd stories of Europe’s privileged classes in the 17th or 18th century. A peasant who was in the road in front of a Duke’s carriage became “roadkill.” What too many Americans do not in the least understand is that that is exactly how their government behaves abroad. Exactly. That’s why the same flag many Americans honor at home is literally hated abroad as a symbol of violence and oppression.

What the press has done has helped this all to happen, but it didn’t happen because of the press. It happened because of government after government serving the narrow interests of the power establishment. But that is the environment which helped “grow” the terrible press that America has.

And that utterly bent press has treated Donald Trump with that same attitude carried over. He has been viewed as a threat to the power establishment and its dirty little insider games of re-ordering the planet for its benefit and to its liking.

You cannot have it both ways, be a world empire and a decent country at home. The two realities are utterly incompatible, and I’m not sure that most Americans truly understand that.

It will be an immense task to change enough in America’s government to even begin to undoing the behavior of the press and other institutions.

I wish the President well in the effort, but it is a task for the gods.