PUERTO RICO IS THE CENTER OF IMPERIALISM IN THE CARIBBEAN

The Island, Which Has Been Continuously Colonized Since The 1490s, It Is The Linchpin Of American Imperialist Power Projection Overseas.

The archipelago of Puerto Rico is the oldest continuous colony in the world.

Ever since Columbus set foot on what’s believed to have been the northwest coastline of Borikén in November 1493, Puerto Rico has belonged to some colonial power. The Spanish called the archipelago “la llave de las Antillas,” the key to the Antilles, because of its geostrategic location. Spain set up “Fort” Puerto Rico as their first line of defense to protect their vast American dominions and fend off European competitors with the construction of two massive forts at Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal. They also used the island as a commercial pit stop for galleons before crossing the Atlantic with their loot.

Puerto Rico transferred hands from Spain to Britain back to Spain, and since 1898, the island has been a colony of the United States. Since entering the global imperial system, Puerto Rico has been leveraged as a strategic enclave against Puerto Rican sovereignty, land, and livelihood.

PUERTO RICO AS WAR BOOTY

Spanish rule in Puerto Rico lasted for 405 years. The United States intervened in the brutal Cuban war for independence in 1898 on the side of the rebels and, in the end, subverted Cuban independence and claimed Spain’s territorial possessions in America and the Pacific in what is known as the Spanish-American War. By December 1898, the Treaty of Paris ceded the territories of Puerto Rico, Guam, the Philippines, and the Mariana Islands to the United States as war booty.

The colonial experiment continued under new management. Almost immediately, the Americans occupied abandoned Spanish military garrisons throughout the Island, including the enormous fortress El Morro. An army of administrators, teachers, scientists, engineers, religious clerics, businessmen, land speculators, and agriculture corporate representatives followed to re-engineer Puerto Rican society, economy, and the landscape, and to exploit its resources. Through this system, the Americans installed a new colonial order on the Island and instilled a new colonial subject.

Many of the same strategies used to subjugate American Natives were applied to Puerto Ricans. “Kill the Indian and save the man” became “civilize” the Puerto Rican “brute.” American teachers were systemically deployed to Puerto Rico to restructure the existing education system to prioritize American values and the English language, and missionaries sought to convert Puerto Ricans from Catholicism to American Protestantism. Just as they recruited Apache natives to fight rebel Apache bands, the American Army set up an all-Puerto Rican Provisional Battalion to serve as auxiliaries to the American military and help with population control. As more battalions were created, this grew into the 65th Infantry Regiment, nicknamed the “Borinqueneers,” who fully integrated into the American Army and later served with distinction in the Korean War.

FOB PUERTO RICO

As westward expansion and subjugation of native peoples solidified American control in continental North America, American capitalists and policymakers continued the march for dominance southward and across the Pacific. Puerto Rico continued to serve as a strategic enclave— a Forward Operating Base providing a bridge to the wider region as the “Gibraltar of the Caribbean” and a choke point of control. With Puerto Rico as a garrison colony, Americans were able to project power across the Caribbean Basin and ward off potentially hostile European powers. Puerto Rico became the headquarters of the Department of Defense of the Antilles for the American Army, and the Naval Base Roosevelt Roads became the largest overseas American naval installation in the world with the longest airstrip in Latin America. This military center, along with the American naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was also tasked to defend, until the handover in 1999, the colonial enclave of the Panama Canal Zone.

American citizenship was imposed upon Puerto Ricans in 1917 under the Jones Act. That same year the United States entered the Great War in Europe, and some 236,000 Puerto Ricans were served draft notice, with 20,000 deployed. Since then, Puerto Ricans have participated in every American war and military conflict.

Militarization in Puerto Rico continues to be multipurpose. In addition to projecting American power in the Caribbean Basin, Puerto Rico has served as a training ground for the American military to influence and train foreign troops for wars and conflicts. It served as a transit point for resources and supplies sent to Africa and Europe during the Second World War. It was a lab to experiment in modern warfare with modern weapons, such as napalm, Agent Orange, and depleted uranium. And it was a stage to rehearse large-scale combined arms military exercises later applied in major theaters of war such as the D-Day invasion of Normandy, the invasion of Panama, the bombings of Yugoslavia, and the invasion of Iraq.

The American military’s footprint on the Puerto Rican landscape is vast and inescapable. The American military not only took over Spanish military posts but built four additional main military installations and many more auxiliary camps and installations, a series of connecting roads and railroads, antenna stations for telecommunication, and airstrips for cross-island movement of supplies and persons. Over 30 municipalities have had a military installation at one time or another. An island that is a little over 100 miles long and 36 miles wide has given up tens of thousands of acres of land to military installations with thousands of acres directly expropriated from small farmers. Vieques, an island municipality adjacent to the main island, had 27,000 out of 31,000 total acres of land appropriated for military use. Its people were forced to emigrate or relocate to what remained of the island. A similar fate befell Culebra, another island municipality, which together with Vieques would serve for decades as the largest range for combined arms military exercises that included large-scale bombings from naval ships, amphibious assaults, and air-to-surface target practice for fighter jets and bombers.

The militarization of Puerto Rico has had devastating ecological impacts. To expand the Spanish naval base in San Juan Bay, swamps and mangles were destroyed and filled with lumber, dirt, and minerals from a nearby quarry. Six miles south in Guaynabo, 1,515 acres were expropriated to establish Army Garrison Fort Buchanan, built with materials taken from the same quarry and forest, and which later grew to as large as 4,500 acres. To the east in Ceiba, a large swath of land from El Yunque was deforested for lumber to build Roosevelt Roads Naval Station. In Cayey, lumber from the Carite Forest built Fort Henry Barracks, the headquarters and training center for the 65th Infantry Regiment. Along the northern coast in Aguadilla, 3,796 acres of agricultural land was taken from small farmers to construct army base Camp Borinquen, which later became Remy Air Force Base and part of the Strategic Air Command, one of three major commands of the American Air Force. These are just a few of the many military installations that have littered Puerto Rico throughout 124 years of colonization by America.

MILITARY OCCUPATION WITH A FAMILIAR FACE

These military bases and installations have wreaked widespread damage in Puerto Rico in order to advance American geostrategic interests in a variety of ways.

They have been vital to projecting power abroad and also to squashing rebellions at home, such as the uprisings of 1950 that championed independence from the United States. Not to mention, they leave behind huge contaminants and unexploded ordinance. Such is the case in Vieques where the promised clean-up after the closing of the range has not manifested. With technological advancement, many of these military facilities have since become obsolete and repurposed. The land and facilities were eventually turned over to the local government for their use and development, or to house other American federal agencies like the Coast Guard, Customs and Border Patrol, FBI, and DEA.

Today, the remaining facilities are home to roughly 100,000 American military personnel and affiliates from the Puerto Rican National Guard, the Air National Guard, the Reserves of various components of the Armed Forces, some active duty service members, ROTC, Veterans Affairs, DoD civilians, and veterans, retired or otherwise – almost all being Puerto Ricans. Although overt Anglo military presence on the island has diminished, its destructive and subjugating legacy remains, and a more subtle military occupation persists.

Puerto Rico saw its peak in overt American militarization during the Second World War up until the Vietnam War. Most of these bases and facilities have been turned over to the local government for civilian use, like the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan But some bases remain military facilities. At Camp Santiago, a large training center in Salinas, on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, National Guard troops train and do their drills. It’s also a place where officers and soldiers from throughout Latin America and the Caribbean receive training from American military personnel. Fort Buchanan was temporarily the headquarters of the American Southern Command when it transitioned from Panama to Doral, Florida.

The Puerto Rican National Guard, when activated, automatically integrates into the American Army and Air Force. They were activated in the recent so-called “War on Terror” and the invasion of Iraq. The Reserves are already part of the American Armed Forces. With a population of 3.2 million and another four million in the diaspora, Puerto Ricans already make up a very large demographic in the regular armed forces. This dual consciousness, of being Puerto Rican and an American soldier, also serves to solidify American colonialism in Puerto Rico.

AMERICA HOPES TO SAVE ITSELF BY DESTROYING OTHERS

Former American Treasury Secretary Warned American Policymakers To Focus On Building The Country’s Own Economic Strengths, Rather Than Attacking Its Adversaries.

Some elites in Washington make no attempt to improve themselves when facing competition with China and dealing with domestic woes, instead, they dedicate themselves to taking China down through committing sabotage. America hopes to save itself by destroying others, rather than solving its own problems by managing and controlling crises. Ameria has created many crises in its relations with China and other nations. If they’re not properly dealt with, not only China, but also America itself will suffer, and the latter will suffer more.

Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers warned American policymakers to focus on building the country’s own economic strengths in its contest with China, rather than attacking its adversary. “If we change our focus from building ourselves up to tearing China down, I think we will be making a very risky and very unfortunate choice,” he was quoted as saying, according to Bloomberg’s report on Saturday.

The primary reason why Washington focuses on “tearing China down,” rather than concentrate on its own innovation, infrastructure, education and challenges lies in the American political system’s structural contradictions.

America is now trapped in conundrums such as the loss of manufacturing capability, the hollowing out of local industries, and the asymmetric distribution of benefits from global trade among different groups in the country. For America, the top capitalist country, the excessive expansion of financial capital will inevitably lead to the emergence of the above mentioned problems.

If America wants to improve itself as Summers suggested, it must overcome the constraints of its system and carry out domestic reforms to curb the excessive expansion of financial capital, implement a fairer tax policy, and manage the wide income distribution gap between different groups. It also needs to plan and guide national innovation through policies so as to enhance the creativity and competitiveness of the country. However, unless America becomes a socialist country, these are difficult to accomplish under its existing capitalist framework, Shen Yi, a professor at the School of International Relations and Public Affairs of Fudan University, told the Global Times.

In addition, reforms require short-term costs, but under the current American system with political parties facing pressure of winning more votes in the elections, any reforms demanding short-term costs cannot be implemented in America unless the two parties reach a consensus, said Shen.

The simpler solution, for both parties, is to “hoax” the American public that America has been running smoothly and that the main obstacle for America’s development is because of a “bad” country. Both Republicans or their Democratic counterparts claim that they can help deal with the “bad” country if elected, so as to solve their current predicament. To win the election, the two parties have been intensifying their steps to contain China.

As a matter of fact, there is nothing complicated about what is the proper solution for America, and many elites, including Summers, are fully aware of it. Shen noted that America seems to stay in a “paralysis state,” under which the brain is actually sober, but the body cannot operate according to people’s thoughts.

This is how Washington’s strategic anxiety in terms of China policy has been formulated. In this context, decision-makers have been given some absurd advice, with strong gambling and speculative mentality.

Furthermore, America’s term of office and election determine that the government has very limited time to carry out practical policies, as much time is spent on election and buck-passing. Such a nature of American political games also determines that Washington has little time to make remarkable changes.

Only when the entire country reaches a new consensus, realizing that America’s problems do not lie in China, but in America itself, can America make the fundamental changes on its China policy. Until that day comes, what Summers proposed will not take place.

WHY HAVE AMERICANS BEEN TRAINED TO HATE PUTIN?

These Are The Reasons He Is Viciously Attacked And Regarded As Washington’s Blood Enemy.

Tucker Carlson thinks he knows. Here’s what he said:

“… Democrats in Washington have told you it’s your patriotic duty to hate Vladimir Putin. It’s not a suggestion. It’s a mandate. Anything less than hatred for Putin is treason.

Many Americans have obeyed this directive. They now dutifully hate Vladimir Putin. Maybe you’re one of them. Hating Putin has become the central purpose of America’s foreign policy. It’s the main thing that we talk about. Entire cable channels are now devoted to it. Very soon, that hatred of Vladimir Putin could bring the United States into a conflict in Eastern Europe.

Before that happens, it might be worth asking yourself: What is this really about? Why do I hate Putin so much? Has Putin ever called me a racist? Has he threatened to get me fired for disagreeing with him? Has he shipped every middle-class job in my town to Russia? Did he manufacture a worldwide pandemic that wrecked my business and kept me indoors for two years? Is he teaching my children to embrace racial discrimination? Is he making fentanyl?”

Is Carlson right, do Americans hate Putin because the media and the political class in Washington have told them to do so?

Yes and no. Yes, the media and the politicians have played a big role in the demonization of Putin. But, no, they’re not the main drivers of this smear campaign. That designation belongs to the plutocrats behind-the-scenes who use the media to attack Putin in order to promote their own globalist agenda. That’s what’s really going on; the news is being shaped to advance the interests of elites.

After all, what do the American people really know about Putin? Have they ever listened to his speeches or read his statements following meetings with other world leaders? Have they ever tuned-in to his marathon 4-hour “ask-anything” Q&A sessions? Have they ever read transcripts of his interviews where he speaks candidly on critical policy issues, culture or religion?

No, of course, not. Everything Americans know about Putin they read in the media. And that’s the problem, because the media despises Putin. And they despise him for the same reason they despise Trump, because the media’s wealthy owners see him as a threat to their political agenda. That’s the whole deal in a nutshell. Putin is not hated because he is a “KGB thug” or a “new Hitler”; that’s just public relations gibberish. He’s hated because he is an obstacle to the globalists achieving their geopolitical objectives. That’s the motive that drives this smear campaign. Putin has blocked them in Chechnya, South Ossetia, Syria and now Ukraine. He has derailed their grand plan to “pivot to Asia” and to encircle China with American military bases. He has been a thorn in their side for the better part of two decades and he has thrown a wrench in their loony plan to crush emerging centers of power and rule the world for the next century. That’s why they hate him, and that’s why they use their media to make you hate him, too.

Are you surprised?

What the media fails to mention is the extent to which Putin is admired in Russia and the rest of the world. Check it out:

According to Statista Putin holds a very favorable approval rating among Russians averaging between 84% in August, 2022, to 79% approval by Russian citizens and Dual Nationals holding both Russian and United States Passports despite the Russian Invasion of Ukraine.” (Wikipedia)

84% is in the nose-bleed section! No other leader in the world today can claim 84% public approval. And what’s more incredible, is that — after 20 years in office– the overwhelming majority of Russians still support him. How does that happen? How does a modest, self-effacing bureaucrat become the most widely-admired and popular Russian leader of all time?

Observers see Putin’s high approval ratings as a consequence of the significant improvements in living standards and Russia’s reassertion of itself on the world scene that has occurred during his period of office….

A joint poll by World Public Opinion in America and Levada Center in Russia around June–July 2006 stated that “neither the Russian nor the American publics are convinced Russia is headed in an anti-democratic direction” and “Russians generally support Putin’s concentration of political power and strongly support the re-nationalization of Russia’s oil and gas industry.” Russians generally support the political course of Putin and his team. A 2005 survey showed that three times as many Russians felt the country was “more democratic” under Putin than it was during the Yeltsin or Gorbachev years, and the same proportion thought human rights were better under Putin than Yeltsin.” (Wikipedia)

So, according to the Russian people, Putin is largely responsible for Russia’s economic prosperity, the higher living standards, the sharing of oil revenues, the better human rights record and the stronger democracy. They also overwhelmingly support Putin’s military operation in Ukraine. (87%) So, how do we explain the huge disparity between the Russian peoples’ opinion of Putin (over 80% approval) and that of the American people? (92% have little or no confidence in him) Either the Russians are extremely dim-witted and gullible or the Americans are the most weak-minded, brainwashed sheeple on earth? Which is it?

For roughly 17 years, the media has been spewing the same slanderous claptrap (aimed at Putin) they settled on in 2005 and 2006. Did you know that? Did you know that– at one time– western elites and their lapdog media actually liked Putin and thought he was a leader “they could work with”? In other words, they figured Putin would be another compliant stooge like the perennially-inebriated Yeltsin who thrust the country into “shock therapy” and allowed western economists to raffle-off the nation’s most valuable assets, industries and resources to bloodsucking oligarchs who bought them for pennies-on-the-dollar. That’s what they were hoping for, another spineless toady that was willing to sell-out his country to ingratiate himself with Uncle Sam. Instead, they got Putin; a devout Christian, an unwavering conservative and a ferocious Russian patriot.

Can you see why they hated him?

And because they hated him, they ordered their media to make you hate him, too; just like they did with Saddam, and Qaddafi, and Kim Yong Un, and anyone who gets in their way. We all should know the drill by now, and it always begins with character assassination; the requisite smear campaign that is designed to persuade the public to hate the enemies of the elites.

But here’s something you probably didn’t know. You probably didn’t know that the demonizing of Putin can be traced back to a precise time and place.

Former senator John Edwards and Congressman Jack Kemp were appointed to lead a Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) task force to determine whether a “strategic partnership” with Russia was still possible in light of policies Putin had enacted that conflicted with Washington’s broader geopolitical aims. When Kemp and Edwards returned from Moscow they published an article titled “Russia’s Wrong Direction” (March 2006)

The authors decided that a “strategic partnership” with Russia was no longer possible because the government under Putin had become increasingly “authoritarian” and Russian society was growing less “open and pluralistic”. The irony of these observations was not lost on analysts who realized that America has no problem jumping-into-bed with the most authoritarian countries in the world including Saudi Arabia that conducted the mass execution of 81 men in one weekend alone (in 2022) That is an impressive achievement even by Saudi standards. And we should also note that all 81 men were beheaded which further underscores the barbarity of the leaders that Washington regards as their best friends.

The point is that ‘Putin hatred’ and character assassination can be traced back to a particular time and place when American foreign policy elites decided that Putin was not going to be the “responsible stakeholder” they had hoped for. He was not going to click his heels and fall in line like many of the other allies. In fact, Putin had shown his willingness to commit –what the globalists regard as the one unforgivable crime– that is, he put his own country’s national interests above those of the international banking cabal. That, of course, is the biggest “No-No” of all. Here’s a short clip from “Russia’s Wrong Direction”:

Fifteen years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, “U.S.-Russia relations are clearly headed in the wrong direction,” finds an Independent Task Force on American policy toward Russia sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations. “Contention is crowding out consensus. The very idea of a ‘strategic partnership’ no longer seems realistic,” it concludes…

when President Bush has made democracy a goal of American foreign policy, Russia’s political system is becoming steadily more authoritarian, the Task Force charges. “The political balance sheet of the past five years is extremely negative……

U.S.-Russia cooperation can help the United States handle some of the most difficult issues we face,” said Edwards. “Yet regrettably, cooperation is becoming the exception, not the norm. This report is a wake-up call that we need to get U.S.-Russia relations back on track to meet the challenges that face both of our countries.”

Consistent with this, the report argues, “Although President Putin is presiding over the rollback of Russian democracy, the United States should work with him to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons and to keep terrorists from attacking either his country or ours.”..

Since the end of the Cold War, successive American administrations have sought to create a relationship with Russia that they called a ‘partnership.’ This is the right long-term goal, but it is unfortunately not a realistic prospect for U.S.-Russia relations over the next several years,” says the report.

In the short run, the United States needs to see Russia for what it is now. “The real question that the United States faces in this period is not how to make a partnership with Russia work, it is how to make selective cooperation—and in some cases selective opposition—serve important international goals,” concludes the report.” (“Russia’s Wrong Direction”, Council on Foreign Relations)

The report indicates the precise time that western elites gave up on Putin and, (basically) threw him under the bus. And the reason they gave up on him, is because they could see that he was a true Russian patriot. Patriotism is the mortal enemy of globalism, because patriots can’t be “flipped” and the elites know it. They know that you cannot fundamentally change a man who loves his country. These men are not ‘for sale’ and they are incorruptible. Anyone who puts country above the globalist agenda– including MAGA Americans– is the mortal enemy of the globalists. And that is why elites always enlist foppish girlie-men like Justin Trudeau and Emmanuel Macron to do their bidding, because the job requires weak, unprincipled men who are willing to debase themselves in order to serve their masters.

But what was it in particular that convinced the elites that Putin was a lost cause who would always be a threat to their agenda?

Fortunately, we know the answer to that question because the authors listed their objections under four main headings. Here’s they are:

  1. De-democratization: The report finds that Russian political institutions are becoming “corrupt and brittle.” As a result, “Russia’s capacity to address security concerns of fundamental importance to the United States and its allies is reduced. And many kinds of cooperation—from securing nuclear materials to intelligence sharing—are undermined.” (In other words, Putin was unwilling to impose additional sanctions on Iran, would not support Kosovo independence (which never gained UN approval) and refused to support the Iraq War. Bottom line: He refused to go along with Washington’s genocidal wars and arbitrary redivision of the Middle East. That’s why he was he was dubbed an “unreliable ally.”)

  2. Energy supplies: “Russia has used energy exports as a foreign policy weapon: intervening in Ukraine’s politics, putting pressure on its foreign policy choices, and curtailing supplies to the rest of Europe. The reassertion of government control over the Russian energy sector increases the risk this weapon will be used again.” (This is true, Putin seized control of Russia’s greatest public asset –oil– and used it to raise standards of living across the board. Privatization is the Holy Grail of western capitalism so, naturally, Putin was condemned for errant behavior. He was also blasted for “curtailing supplies to the rest of Europe” which is also true. He cut off Ukraine’s gas supplies after Ukraine repeatedly siphoned gas from the pipelines and refused to pay for the gas it had already consumed. The authors seem to think that Russia should give away its gas for free but that’s not how capitalist economies work.)

  3. The war on terror: The Task Force finds “a seeming Russian effort to curtail U.S. and NATO military access to Central Asian bases,” a sign that Russia is retreating from the idea that “success in Afghanistan serves a common interest.” (Putin was extremely accommodating in allowing American troops and weaponry to pass through Russia on their way to Afghanistan. What he opposed was the CIA-backed color revolutions that Washington supported across Central Asia in order to install their own puppet governments that were openly hostile towards Russia. He also opposed Washington’s covert support for Chechen terrorists. Was that unreasonable?)

  4. Russia hosting the G8: “A country that has in the space of a single year supported massive fraud in the elections of its largest European neighbor and then punished it for voting wrong by turning off its gas supply has to be at least on informal probation at a meeting of the world’s industrial democracies.” (Russia follows a strict policy of non-intervention in the domestic affairs of other countries. None of the allegations of electoral interference have ever been proven. Quite the contrary, in the 3 year-long investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Robert Mueller was unable to find a scintilla of evidence to support the bogus claims. In contrast, Washington’s clandestine interventions, coup d’etats, targeted assassinations and full-scale military invasions have been widely documented and substantiated. No country in the world has ever interfered in the affairs of other sovereign governments more than the United States.)

These are largely the issues upon which the authors decided that Putin was headed in “the wrong direction.” He wouldn’t support their reckless military interventions, he wouldn’t hand Russia’s oil over to rapacious oligarchs, he wouldn’t look the other way while governments in his neighborhood were toppled by Washington one-by-one, and he wouldn’t snap a salute and click his heels when he got his marching orders from Washington. These are the reasons he is viciously attacked in the media and regarded as Washington’s blood enemy. He simply refused to be their lackey, which is why America spent the last 17 years trying to destroy him.

NO WAY OUT FOR THE AMERICA

America Is The Most Indebted Nation In World History; It’s Broke, And It Can No Longer Win A Protracted War.

On the surface, it would appear that America is in the catbird seat: Since Bretton Woods in 1944, America has been able to dictate the economy to its trading partners and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the world. Those countries that got on board the Bretton Woods Choo-Choo would be the world’s leaders in commerce, and the rest would take second shrift.

This was possible because, at the end of the war, America had been supplying the allies with most of their armaments and materiel and had insisted on being paid in gold. By 1944, they held the great majority of the world’s gold and had the most productive manufacturing facilities. They were in a position to call all the shots, and the countries that subsequently made up the First World went along for the ride.

But by the 1970s, America went off the gold standard and was paying for imports with American Treasuries. This was seen to be a boon at the time, as the Treasuries could be created from thin air, and the demands by America became boundless. America became the biggest house on the block, but it was, in fact, a house of cards, which was only as good as the currency it was built upon – not true money but debt.

To paraphrase Norm Franz, “Gold is the money of kings… debt is the money of slaves.”

America was, from 1971 on, in the business of enslaving its partners. Along the way, it became more economical to outsource manufacturing, and, over the ensuing decades, the production of most goods came from countries other than America.

But a wrinkle occurred in recent decades: some of the overseas suppliers of goods, and in particular, energy were now building up their ability for world trade to the point that America itself was no longer essential. Indeed, better business could often be created between countries without going through America, and America was becoming an obstacle to the economic advancement of other nations.

In recent decades, China and Russia have emerged as the most essential providers of goods and energy, respectively, precisely at the time that America had planned to establish globalism – dominance over the entire world by America, with the backup support of the other First World countries, most notably, Europe.

As long as the other First World countries continued to endorse American diktat to the world, American hegemony would not only continue but expand.

But then, Russia threw a rather major wrench into the works: the Nord Steam pipeline already supplied much of the natural gas to Europe, allowing it to heat its homes and run its factories. With the addition of Nord Stream II, a tipping point was reached: the great majority of Europe’s essential energy, which it was unable to produce itself, could be gotten from Russia and at a price that no other supplier could match.

What’s often overlooked in the discussion of the importance of Nord Stream II is that, from the first day that the tap was to be turned on to supply Europe, American hegemony would end. Although America had succeeded in dominating European policy over the last half-century, that situation had now reversed. In a choice between pleasing America and pleasing the eastern suppliers of goods and energy, Europe’s default position would now be with Asia, not America.

In this one seemingly minor change in supply, the hegemony of America would cease. And, more troublingly, American power had been a house of cards for decades. It was no longer a manufacturing titan; in fact, it now produced little besides debt. It had once used its manufacturing capacity to bully its trading partners, but now this power had become a mere remnant.

In recent decades, America has been operating on its past laurels and the assumption that it was the big boy on the block and must be obeyed, no matter how unreasonable its demands were.

When federal and corporate leaders realised their dilemma, they understood that they had only one last-ditch option: war.

Historically, this is always the last play of a dying empire: when you’re about to lose everything, a major war must be created as a distraction to buy time.

A small war is only a temporary respite. A major war serves to upset the world as a whole. If the world can be turned upside down, perhaps there’s a chance that the dying empire can actually survive with some of its power intact.

If not, the empire goes the way of the dodo. It slips away into insignificance or even extinction.

And this is where America now finds itself. The shift to the Asian century is well underway. Quietly, one nation after another is shifting its trade and its deference to the Asian leaders. Those countries like Saudi Arabia, that can make dramatic shifts and do so safely, will be bolder in their shift. Less powerful countries will be a bit more subtle, tiptoeing away from their former master. And that, too, is now underway.

But again, the key ally of America – the one without which it could not be an empire – has been Europe.

The EU is already on the ropes; it was a misconceived experiment from the start and has now begun to splinter. Although no major breakup has begun, the rot is already beyond any possible salvage, and the dictates of Brussels are encountering refusals by some member countries.

With the destruction of the Nord Stream pipelines, it has become quietly apparent in Germany and other EU countries that they will be facing extreme hardships as a result. They can no longer back out of their support for America push to create warfare in Ukraine. Additionally, they face the American attempt to draw all the NATO countries into war with Russia – a suicidal prospect for Europe.

America, in its desperation to escalate the war, has begun to suggest that a “limited nuclear war” might be advisable, but Europe understands that a limited nuclear war is akin to being “a little bit pregnant.”

Europe would not survive such a war.

And so, Germany has begun the pull away from America. President Olaf Scholz has personally gone to Beijing to broker peace. In doing so, he also makes a clear statement: Germany is acknowledging that it is moving over to a new master.

To be sure, the American regime will not take this lightly.

There will be collective nail-biting in the First World countries as the average man wonders and worries whether America will do the sane thing and back away from warfare. What the average man does not understand is that, whilst this may be the best choice for the average man and the world in general, it would be the end for those who rule America. America would slide inexorably into a lesser state, or even fragment, leaving the American elite with no empire to rule.

This, above all, cannot be tolerated. And, so, it’s important to understand that, to the rulers of the American empire, this is an all-or-nothing game.

And to be clear, it’s a game that cannot be won. America no longer produces much; it no longer has a meaningful balance of trade; it’s the most indebted nation in world history; it’s broke, and it can no longer win a protracted war.

And, to reiterate, America has no other option at this point. It has destroyed all its other options and has no way out of its dilemma – its modern-day Thucydides Trap. As such, it will not go quietly. Much like a cornered rat, it will make a last attempt to take down as many others as it can on its way out.

That should give us pause. Those who wish to avoid becoming collateral damage as the behemoth falls would be advised to extricate themselves, economically and even geographically, from the dying empire.

ISRAEL WILL MOVE TOWARDS IT’S PRECIPICE UNDER IT’S NEW GOVERNMENT

Any Remaining Charade Of Democracy And Legitimacy Will Disappear Under This New Regime.

Was it really a big surprise to wake up on the morning of November 2nd to find out that the Israeli government and Knesset would now be run by a dominant majority of nationalistic religious Jews, Zionists and hardline politicians who have previously advocated official ethnic-cleansing and shoot-to-kill policies against Palestinians?

One of them is likely to become public security minister, and others will hold key positions in government. This should not come as a surprise: Israel has been lurching further rightwards for the past two decades, and this coalition has nearly won previous elections, so it is not that shocking that they are now in power. And yet, one should ask: how different will Israel be after these elections?

With a clear majority in the Knesset and a firm hold on the executive branch, this old-new political elite will continue to do everything that previous governments have done over the past 74 years – but with more zeal, determination and disregard for international condemnation.

It will likely begin by expanding the Judaisation of the occupied West Bank and Greater Jerusalem, and by expanding military activity in what is already on track to be an exceptionally deadly year for Palestinians. Since the start of 2022, Israeli forces and settlers have killed more than 130 Palestinians, including more than 30 children, across the occupied West Bank.

The new government will surely intensify the provocative visits of Jewish politicians to al-Aqsa Mosque complex. We can also expect an escalation in house demolitions, arrests without trial, and a free hand being given to settler vigilantes to wreak destruction at will.

SUPPRESSING PALESTINIAN IDENTITY

It is less clear how far this new elite will go in its policy towards the Gaza Strip. Since 2008, Israel’s policy in Gaza has been so callous and inhumane that one finds it difficult to imagine what could be worse than a siege, blockade and occasional brutal air bombardments on a civil society.

Similarly, it is difficult to predict the new government’s policies towards Palestinians inside Israel. Under the 2018 nation-state law, Israel formalised its status as an apartheid state. One suspects that, as in the occupied West Bank, much of the same and worse can be expected. We will probably see a continued disregard for the rise of criminal activity, along with stricter policies on house expansions in Palestinian rural areas.

We can also expect a continued suppression of any Palestinian collective attempts to express the minority’s national identity – whether through waving Palestinian flags on campuses, commemorating the Nakba, or in other ways expressing the rich cultural heritage of this community.

In short, any remaining charade of democracy will disappear under this new regime.

Yet, despite the massive shift in global perceptions towards Israel in recent years – manifested in its depiction as an apartheid state by major international human rights groups, such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, and the willingness of the International Court of Justice to discuss the decolonisation of the occupied West Bank – there seems to be a general reluctance to acknowledge the possibility that there is Jewish racism, as much as there is Christian, Muslim or Buddhist racism.

DANGEROUS IDEOLOGY

Suddenly, UN General Assembly Resolution 3379 (passed in 1975 and later revoked), which equates Zionism with racism, no longer seems to be a declaration detached from the realities and complexities in Israel and Palestine. The African and Arab member states that pushed the resolution showed foresight in pinpointing racism as the main danger that Zionism as a state ideology carries with it – not only for Palestinians, but for the region as a whole.

The disappearance in this election of the Zionist left can also be easily understood if one appreciates the depth and breadth of racism within Israeli society, particularly among youth. A son of German Jews who escaped German racism in the early 1930s, and now studying it as an adult, was deeply disturbed at this picture of a society mesmerised by racism and bequeathing it to the next generation.

Will Jewish communities recognise this reality or continue to ignore it? Will governments in the West, and particularly the American administration, acknowledge or disregard this trend? Will the Arab world, which has embarked on a process of normalisation with Israel, treat this as irrelevant, as it does not undermine their regimes’ fundamental interests?

We have no answers to these questions. From an activist point of view, it is actually not necessary to answer these questions, but rather to do everything possible so that one day, they will be answered in a way that saves both Palestinians and Jews from a disastrous fate – and stops Israel from leading us all towards a precipice whose edge is now more visible than ever.

JOE BIDEN SUPPORTS PRINCE MOHAMMED BIN SALMAN’S IMMUNITY FOR KHASHOGGI’S MURDER

Biden Will Not Hold Him Accountable For The Slaying And Dismemberment Of An American Resident.

The Biden administration has moved to grant Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) sovereign immunity for his role in ordering the 2018 murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul.

The government’s determination is nonbinding and remains to be reviewed by the judge overseeing the lawsuit brought against MBS by Khashoggi’s fiancee, Hatice Cengiz, and the organization Democracy for the Arab World Now, or DAWN. However, it represents the latest signal that the Biden administration will not hold MBS accountable for the slaying and dismemberment of an American resident.

In September, Saudi Arabia announced that the crown prince would take on the role of Prime Minister of Saudi Arabia, a post ordinarily held by the king. The decision appears to have been primarily motivated by the pending American lawsuit, because, as prime minister and thus head of government, MBS is shielded from prosecution.

The crown prince’s new status as prime minister arguably grants him sovereign immunity automatically. But the announcement is disappointing in that it reflects a pattern of the American government failing to hold MBS accountable in any way.

President Trump actively thwarted Congressional efforts to try to punish Saudi Arabia. The global outcry provoked by Khashoggi’s brutal murder amplified existing concerns about the American role in supporting the violence and starvation wreaked by the war on Yemen that MBS launched as defense minister in 2015. Congress did successfully end mid-air refueling for Saudi and Emirati warplanes dropping bombs on Yemen. But Trump vetoed a Congressional War Powers Resolution that would have ended all American involvement in the Saudi-led war.

Initially, it seemed that Biden would finally rethink the American-Saudi relationship. Biden had campaigned on making MBS a “pariah” for his human rights abuses. Yet since taking office, Biden has consistently prioritized continuity in the American-Saudi relationship.

In February 2021, soon after taking office, the Biden administration declined to hold MBS accountable for Khashoggi’s murder, despite releasing the intelligence report that concluded that the MBS was indeed responsible.

More recently, Biden reversed his stated commitment not to meet with the crown prince when he flew to Jeddah in July and fist-bumped the royal in hopes of encouraging the kingdom to pump more oil to offset high prices caused by sanctions on Russia. Instead, OPEC+, the oil cartel dominated by Riyadh, announced a production cut of 2 million barrels per day in October. This sparked outrage in Washington, especially among Democrats, who feared for their Congressional majorities with midterms looming.

Although the administration initially promised “consequences” for Saudi Arabia, Biden’s national security advisor later stated that the relationship would be re-evaluated in a “methodical, strategic, effective” way. Meanwhile, the initial outrage from Congress appears to have dissipated, especially after the Democrats performed better than expected in the midterms.

Is MBS fully rehabilitated? Theoretically, MBS could return to the United States, if he chose, whereas previously there remained a question of whether doing so would put him in legal jeopardy. MBS has yet to return to the UK, even missing the funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, an event that drew monarchs and crown princes from all the other Arab kingdoms.

It seems much of the world has decided to overlook MBS’ responsibility for the gruesome murder, not to mention his many other human rights abuses. Although the administration’s latest move is hardly surprising, it does beg the question: what would it take for Washington to finally rethink its relationship with Riyadh?

AMERICAN OFFICIALS RANT ABOUT WORLD PRESS FREEDOMS WHILE ASSAULTING THEM

You Should Never Accept Living In A World Where Our Rulers Will Openly Imprison A Journalist For Telling The Truth, Like They Have Done To Julian Assange.

Then watch them self-righteously pontificate about the need to stop authoritarian regimes from persecuting journalists.

Just today the American State Department spokesman and CIA veteran Ned Price tweeted disapprovingly about the Kyrgyz Republic’s decision to deport investigative journalist Bolot Temirov to Russia, where press freedom groups are concerned that the Russian citizen could face conscription to fight in Ukraine.

Dismayed by the decision to deport journalist Bolot Temirov from the Kyrgyz Republic,” said Price. “Journalists should never be punished for doing their job. The Kyrgyz Republic has been known for its vibrant civil society — attempts to stifle freedom of expression stain that reputation.”

This would be an entirely reasonable statement for anyone else to make. If you said it or we said it, it would be completely legitimate. But when Ned says it, it is illegitimate.

This is after all the same government that is working to extradite an Australian journalist from the United Kingdom with the goal of imprisoning him for up to 175 years for exposing American war crimes. Price says “Journalists should never be punished for doing their job,” but that is precisely what the government he represents is doing to Julian Assange, who has already spent three and a half years in Belmarsh Prison awaiting America’s extradition shenanigans. This is in top of the seven years he spent fighting extradition from the Ecuadorian embassy in London under what a UN panel ruled was arbitrary detention.

A UN special rapporteur on torture determined that Assange has been subjected to psychological torture by the allied governments which have conspired to imprison him. Scores of doctors have determined that his persecution is resulting in dangerous medical neglect. Yet he is being pulled toward the notoriously draconian prison systems of the most powerful government in the world, where he will face a rigged trial where a defense of publishing in the public interest will not be permitted.

All to establish a legal precedent that will allow the most powerful empire that has ever existed to extradite journalists from anywhere in the world for exposing inconvenient truths about it. But sure, Ned, “Journalists should never be punished for doing their job.”

Earlier this month secretary of state Antony Blinken posted a tweet of his own commemorating the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists, without the slightest trace of self-awareness.

No member of the press should be threatened, harassed, attacked, arrested, or killed for doing their job,” Blinken said. “On the International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists, we vow to continue protecting and promoting the rights of a free press and the safety of journalists.”

Two weeks later, the Biden administration shockingly granted Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman immunity from lawsuits regarding the gruesome assassination of Amerian-based journalist Jamal Khashoggi, thereby slamming the final door on all attempts to hold the tyrannical ruler responsible for his brazen assault on the press.

No member of the press should be threatened, harassed, attacked, arrested, or killed for doing their job.”

We are ruled by tyrannical, hypocritical freaks who do not care about truth and freedom; they care only about power and what they can use to obtain it. The only press they support are those whose persecution can be politically leveraged, and those who can be used to peddle propaganda like the notorious AP editor who recently said she “can’t imagine” an American intelligence official being wrong.

Pointing out hypocrisy is important not because hypocrisy is an especially terrible thing in and of itself, but because it draws attention to the fact that the hypocrite does not really stand where they claim to stand and value what they purport to value. The rulers of the western empire care about press freedoms only exactly insofar as they can use them to concern troll foreign governments they don’t like to advance their global power agendas. And not one molecule further.

AMERICA NEEDS TO STOP INVADING HAITI

A New Intervention By America Or It’s Puppet Regimes Would Be Just As Disastrous As The Previous Ones.

What to do about Haiti?

Its government barely exists, lacking both legitimacy and authority. Gangs have taken over the streets. Food and fuel are in short supply: gas stations only just reopened, two months after criminals seized a critical fuel terminal. The country is suffering from a cholera epidemic. A desperate driver told ABC News: “You don’t have anyone to turn to.”

Once the richest colony in the Western Hemisphere, the brutally oppressed slave population won both freedom and independence in 1804, just a couple decades after the American colonies became a nation. The United States, embarrassed by former slaves ruling themselves, recognized Haiti only in 1862, when slavery was literally under fire in America.

The only other country where slavery was overthrown violently, Haiti found neither peace nor stability. America didn’t help. In 1914 American troops arrived to empty the national bank and returned a year later after the Haitian president was assassinated. American troops finally left in 1934, after having “dissolved Haiti’s parliament at gunpoint, killed thousands of people, controlled its finances for more than 30 years, shipped a big portion of its earnings to bankers in New York and left behind a country so poor that the farmers who helped generate the profits often lived on a diet ‘close to starvation level’.”

In 1994 the Clinton administration went retro, again playing colonial hegemon. America invaded, ousting the ruling junta and reinstating the demagogic president, who had encouraged his followers to “necklace” opponents with flaming tires filled with gasoline. Such was the restoration of “democracy,” with American control giving way to the United Nations, which ended its peacekeeping mission in 2000. Under Amerian and French pressure to step down, President Jean-Bertrand Aristide was ousted in another coup in 2004, which a former French ambassador indicated was effectively orchestrated by Washington and Paris. (The new government conveniently dropped Aristide’s claims for reparations from France.)

A U.N. mission was established, which ran until 2017. Interrupted by a terrible earthquake in 2010, the occupation was supposed to establish law and order, but instead the outside forces added to the Haitians’ hardships. The occupiers caused a cholera epidemic that killed more than 10,000 people. Sexual abuse, including that of children, also was pervasive.

In July 2021 Haitian President Jovenel Moise was assassinated. The country was left almost leaderless, with four claimants to his job, including two competing prime ministers, two different constitutions, a largely empty legislature for which elections were long overdue, and a supreme court whose head had recently died.

The interim (and wholly illegitimate) government is pushing for allied intervention in some form. U.N. Secretary General António Guterres advocated an international force to back the Haitian National Police. In October America’s U.N. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield announced American support for a U.N. resolution proposing “a limited, carefully scoped, non-UN mission led by a partner country.” The administration, she added, “will work with partners and other Council members to set defined and specific parameters for the mission, and the United States will consider the most effective means to directly support, enable, and resource it.”

Apparently, it would be an unofficial project of the willing, authorized but not managed by the U.N. Who would contribute? America’s role in developing such a resolution suggests the willingness to back it with force. The usual foreign policy suspects in Washington want to send in the American military. In an editorial published the day of Moise’s murder, the Washington Post insisted: “Swift and muscular intervention is needed.”

The editorialists admitted that the previous peacekeeping mission “was a far cry from perfect.” But at least the U.N. brought “a modicum of stability to Haiti…. At this perilous moment, a modicum of stability would be preferable to most other plausible scenarios.”

Only hinted at by the safely P.C. publication was the requirement that such a mission be staffed by…well, you know…people from, uh, countries…whose troops could be trusted. The earlier mission “involved forces from Brazil, Uruguay and other nations,” including the Nepalese, the Post curiously specified, and we know how that turned out. So just make sure the next mission is made up of Americans, French, and Canadians, whom the Post named as obligated to push for such a force. Indeed, the Biden administration reportedly wants Ottawa to take the lead; Canada’s prime minister declared that intervention is necessary “in one way or another.”

Recognizing there is likely to be little public support for the idea, the Post offered an argument of last resort. Sending U.N. troops to Haiti would be worrying, admitted the paper, “But does anyone have a better idea?” A profound and persuasive argument for forcibly occupying another nation, whether its people like it or not.

Other than government officials and commercial elites, most Haitians are skeptical of the proposal. NPR’s Eyder Peralta wrote that “many Haitians express deep distrust of an international troop presence after a history of troubled foreign intervention.” In contrast to the enthusiasm of Post editorial writers, leading Haitians oppose another foreign intervention. Writer and blogger Daniel Larison pointed to an “umbrella coalition of Haitian organizations, The Commission for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis, also known as the Montana Accord, [which] rejected the government’s call for outside military assistance.”

Haitian writer Monique Clesca said, “We do not want U.S. troops, U.S. boots, U.S. uniforms, none of that.” This view is shared by many Haitians who lived through the last foreign deployment and have less than fond memories of the experience. Two Post reporters concluded that the proposal for another foreign intervention “is a divisive and delicate subject here, where the shadow of a long history of destabilizing foreign interventions, including the U.N. mission that introduced cholera, looms large.”

A new peacekeeping mission would not likely be peaceful. Conditions in Port-au-Prince, especially, are shocking. For instance, Max Boot of the Council on Foreign Relations labeled Haiti “a Hobbesian state of nature—Somalia in the Caribbean.” Even as it advocated military intervention, the Post acknowledged: “With gun battles raging in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and cutting off main roads to provincial towns, relief groups have often been stymied in their distribution efforts. Meanwhile, thousands of people, terrified by the gang warfare and an epidemic of kidnappings for ransom, have fled their homes to the countryside.”

Violent but irregular resistance from criminal gangs and other disaffected groups would be likely. Several analysts from Just Security warned: “The gangs are heavily armed and have been fighting street battles in Port-au-Prince neighborhoods regularly for four years. If they decide to engage, they will be doing so on terrain they know, and while they almost certainly will be outgunned in the long run, they can inflict tremendous damage on intervening forces and civilians.”

Indeed, the previous U.N. force engaged gang members, causing substantial civilian casualties. Former human rights lawyer Pooja Bhatia, who investigated the U.N. mission, observed: “We concluded that rather than promoting peace and justice, UN troops helped the police terrorize the poorest quartiers of the capital Port-au-Prince, bastions of support for Aristide. Many civilians alleged that [UN] troops, many of them Brazilian soldiers with experience in ‘cleaning operations’ in Rio de Janeiro’s favelas, perpetrated the atrocities themselves.”

Another occupation looks good only compared to the country’s current chaos. Haitians judge proposals by the results of past interventions, though. Last time the U.N. stayed for 13 years, yet four years later public order had entirely dissolved.

Observed Larison:

The long history of failed and destructive outside interference in Haitian affairs shows that neither the United States nor the UN has the solution to Haiti’s political problems. Each time that outside forces have meddled in the name of helping Haiti, they have reliably made things worse.” In September 2021 the Biden administration’s Special Envoy for Haiti, Daniel Foote, resigned in frustration. His critique of U.S. policy was devastating, contending that “our Haitian friends” need “the opportunity to chart their own course, without international puppeteering and favored candidates.”

Indeed, outside intervention bears much of the blame for current circumstances. Explained Larison: “The current crisis is itself the product of ongoing interference on the part of the U.S. government, which backed former President Jovenel Moïse when he was alive and has been instrumental in keeping Henry in power despite his lack of democratic legitimacy and the broad coalition of Haitians opposed to his continued rule.”

Bhatia related that Henry “has never had any sort of constitutional authority and indeed is implicated in Moïse’s assassination. The people he claims to speak for revile him. His only constituency is outside the country. Over the past 15 months, America has insisted that the opposition, a remarkably broad-based coalition of civil society leaders, activists and popular organizations, negotiate with him.”

The civic group coalition wrote the Biden administration earlier this month:

We encourage your administration to reflect on the long history of international interventions in Haiti, and how those actions have served to undermine state institutions, democratic norms, and the rule of law. Previous interventions have had a costly human toll, including through rape, sexual exploitation, and extrajudicial killings. As Doctors Without Borders has warned, such an intervention would mean “more bullets, more injuries and more patients”.

Journalist Jonathan M. Katz also highlighted the “vacuum that a century of U.S. invasions, occupations, and interference has left in its wake. Sending an armed force to do battle with one Haitian gang and its sponsors…will do nothing to make Haiti a safer or more stable place for its people to live in the medium or long term.”

Foote concluded: “The hubris that makes us believe we should pick the winner—again—is impressive. This cycle of international political interventions in Haiti has consistently produced catastrophic results. More negative impacts to Haiti will have calamitous consequences not only in Haiti, but in the U.S. and our neighbors in the hemisphere.”

Of course, failing to act comes with a cost. The focus of American foreign policy, however, is not just whether Haiti would be better off. It is whether Americans would be better off. The solution for neither is another occupation, even if motivated by the best of intentions. In fact, Haiti’s civil society organizations offered the administration a list of measures to “support peacebuilding and equitable development.” That would be a much better approach than continuing to treat Haiti as another social engineering experiment for the American military.

ZERO-CLICK AND THE FBI

The FBI Ordered Its Own Version Of Pegasus, Which The Israelis Tailor-Made For Hacking American Mobile Devices. If You Think Your Rights Are Protected By The Constitution – Think Again.

During the Trump administration, the FBI paid $5 million to an Israeli software company for a license to use its “zero-click” surveillance software called Pegasus. Zero-click refers to software that can download the contents of a target’s computer or mobile device without the need for tricking the target into clicking on it. The FBI operated the software from a warehouse in New Jersey.

Before revealing any of this to the two congressional intelligence committees to which the FBI reports, it experimented with the software. The experiments apparently consisted of testing Pegasus by spying — illegally and unconstitutionally since no judicially issued search warrant had authorized the use of Pegasus — on unwitting Americans by downloading data from their devices.

When congressional investigators got wind of these experiments, the Senate Intelligence Committee summoned FBI Director Christopher Wray to testify in secret about the acquisition and use of Pegasus, and he did so in December 2021. He told the mostly pliant senators that the FBI only purchased Pegasus “to be able to figure out how bad guys could use it.” Is that even believable?

In follow-up testimony in March 2022, Wray elaborated that Pegasus was used “as part of our routine responsibilities to evaluate technologies that are out there, not just from a perspective of could they be used someday legally, but also, more important, what are the security concerns raised by those products.” More FBI gibberish.

Last week, dozens of internal FBI memos and court records told a different story — a story that has caused Sen. Ron Wyden, Democrat of Oregon and a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to question the veracity of Wray’s testimony. Wyden’s healthy skepticism caused the FBI reluctantly to reveal that it had ordered its own version of Pegasus, called Phantom, which the Israelis tailor-made for hacking American mobile devices.

Here is the backstory.

The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution was written to preserve the natural right to privacy and to cause law enforcement to focus on crimes, not surveillance. The instrument of these purposes is the requirement of a judicially issued search warrant before the government can engage in any surveillance.

A search warrant can only be issued based on probable cause of crime demonstrated under oath to the issuing judge and a showing that the place to be searched or person or thing to be seized is more likely than not to reveal evidence of crime. As well, the warrant must specifically describe the place to be searched and things to be seized. Warrants can only be issued for investigations of actual crimes that have already occurred, not for experiments.

The Fourth Amendment contains some of the most precise language in the Constitution, as it was written intentionally to thwart the rapacious appetite of governments to snoop, which the British did to the colonists using general warrants.

General warrants were not based on probable cause of crime and lacked all specificity. Rather, they were based on government need — a totalitarian standard because whatever the government wants it will claim it needs — and they authorized the bearer to search wherever he wished and seize whatever he found.

The Fourth Amendment was intended to put a stop to general warrants. As we know from the wildly unconstitutional FISA court and the NSA’s secret criminal spying on all Americans, that amendment, like much of the Constitution, has failed abysmally to restrain the government.

Now back to the FBI and Phantom.

In July 2021, President Joseph Biden personally put a stop to the FBI’s use of Phantom, and the congressional intelligence committees assumed that that was the end of it.

Yet, last week, when reporters revealed the results of Freedom of Information Act requests for memos and court documents pertaining to Phantom, a different story emerged. The documents that the FBI furnished show a vast determination by FBI management to showcase and deploy Phantom to FBI agents and other federal law enforcement personnel.

The procedures under which the House and Senate Intelligence Committees operate require that secrets be kept secret. Thus, when the FBI director testifies before those committees, the representatives and senators who hear the testimony may not reveal what they heard to the press or even to their congressional colleagues. Wyden has apparently had enough of law enforcement deception and secrecy. Hence his complaints in letters to Wray — letters that more or less tell us what’s going on.

All of this leaves us with an FBI out of control and run by a director who has been credibly accused of misleading Congress while under oath — a felony — and whose agents have been credibly accused of conspiracy to engage in computer hacking — also a felony. Who knows what other liberty-assaulting widgets the FBI has in its unconstitutional toolbox about which Wyden and his investigators have yet to learn?

When Daniel Ellsberg courageously removed the Pentagon Papers from his office and gave them to reporters from The New York Times and The Washington Post, he was charged with espionage. The papers revealed that Pentagon generals were lying to President Lyndon B. Johnson and Johnson was lying to the public about the Vietnam war.

During Ellsberg’s trial, FBI agents broke into the office of his psychiatrist and stole his medical records so as to use them at the trial. The federal judge presiding at the trial was so outraged at the FBI’s misconduct that he dismissed the indictment against Ellsberg, and the government did not appeal the dismissal.

The Ellsberg break-in took the FBI a few hours and was destructive and dangerous.

Today’s FBI could have done the Ellsberg heist remotely in a few minutes. Today’s FBI has agents who are the bad guys they have warned us about. Today’s FBI has morphed from crime fighting to crime anticipating. Today’s FBI is effectively a domestic spying operation nowhere sanctioned in the Constitution. It should be defunded and disbanded.

THE QUAD THAT REALLY MATTERS IS RUSSIA, INDIA, CHINA AND IRAN

Lavrov Has Stressed How America, Europe And NATO “Want To Militarize The Region In Order To Contain Russia And China”.

Southeast Asia is right at the center of international relations for a whole week viz a viz three consecutive summits: Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Phnom Penh, the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Bali, and the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Bangkok.

Eighteen nations accounting for roughly half of the global economy represented at the first in-person ASEAN summit since the Covid-19 pandemic in Cambodia: the ASEAN 10, Japan, South Korea, China, India, America, Russia, Australia, and New Zealand.

With characteristic Asian politeness, the summit chair, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen (or “Colombian”, according to the so-called “leader of the free world”), said the plenary meeting was somewhat heated, but the atmosphere was not tense: “Leaders talked in a mature way, no one left.”

It was up to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to express what was really significant at the end of the summit.

While praising the “inclusive, open, equal structure of security and cooperation at ASEAN”, Lavrov stressed how Europe and NATO “want to militarize the region in order to contain Russia and China’s interests in the Indo-Pacific.”

A manifestation of this policy is how “AUKUS is openly aiming at confrontation in the South China Sea,” he said.

Lavrov also stressed how the West, via the NATO military alliance, is accepting ASEAN “only nominally” while promoting a completely “unclear” agenda.

What’s clear though is how NATO “has moved towards Russian borders several times and now declared at the Madrid summit that they have taken global responsibility.”

This leads us to the clincher: “NATO is moving their line of defense to the South China Sea.” And, Lavrov added, Beijing holds the same assessment.

Here, concisely, is the open “secret” of our current geopolitical incandescence. Washington’s number one priority is the containment of China. That implies blocking the EU from getting closer to the key Eurasia drivers – China, Russia, and Iran – engaged in building the world’s largest free trade/connectivity environment.

Adding to the decades-long hybrid war against Iran, the infinite weaponizing of the Ukrainian black hole fits into the initial stages of the battle.

For the Empire, Iran cannot profit from becoming a provider of cheap, quality energy to the EU. And in parallel, Russia must be cut off from the EU. The next step is to force the EU to cut itself off from China.

All that fits into the wildest, warped Straussian/neo-con wet dreams: to attack China, by emboldening Taiwan, first Russia must be weakened, via the instrumentalization (and destruction) of Ukraine.

And all along the scenario, Europe simply has no agency.

PUTIN, RAEISI AND THE ERDOGAN TRACK

Real life across key Eurasia nodes reveals a completely different picture. Take the relaxed get-together in Tehran between Russia’s top security official Nikolai Patrushev and his Iranian counterpart Ali Shamkhani last week.

They discussed not only security matters but also serious business – as in turbo-charged trade.

The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) will sign a $40 billion deal next month with Gazprom, bypassing American sanctions, and encompassing the development of two gas fields and six oilfields, swaps in natural gas and oil products, LNG projects, and the construction of gas pipelines.

Immediately after the Patrushev-Shamkhani meeting, President Putin called President Ebrahim Raeisi to keep up the “interaction in politics, trade and the economy, including transport and logistics,” according to the Kremlin. Iranian president reportedly more than “welcomed” the “strengthening” of Moscow-Tehran ties.

Patrushev unequivocally supported Tehran over the latest color revolution adventure perpetrated under the framework of the Empire’s endless hybrid war.

Iran and the EAEU are negotiating a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in parallel to the swap deals with Russian oil. Soon, SWIFT may be completely bypassed. The whole Global South is watching.

Simultaneous to Putin’s phone call, Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdogan – conducting his own diplomatic overdrive, and just back from a summit of Turkic nations in Samarkand – stressed that America and the collective West are attacking Russia “almost without limits”.

Erdogan made it clear that Russia is a “powerful” state and commended its “great resistance”.

The response came exactly 24 hours later. Turkish intelligence cut to the chase, pointing out that the terrorist bombing in the perpetually busy Istiklal pedestrian street in Istanbul was designed in Kobane in northern Syria, which essentially responds to America.

That constitutes a de-facto act of war and may unleash serious consequences, including a profound revision of Turkey’s presence inside NATO.

IRAN’S MULTI-TRACK STRATEGY

A Russia-Iran strategic alliance manifests itself practically as a historical inevitability. It recalls the time when the erstwhile USSR helped Iran militarily via North Korea, after an enforced American/Europe blockade.

Putin and Raeisi are taking it to the next level. Moscow and Tehran are developing a joint strategy to defeat the weaponization of sanctions by the collective West.

Iran, after all, has an absolutely stellar record of smashing variants of “maximum pressure” to bits. Also, it is now linked to a strategic nuclear umbrella offered by the “RICs” in BRICS (Russia, India, China).

So, Tehran may now plan to develop its massive economic potential within the framework of BRI, SCO, INSTC, the Eurasia Economic Union (EAEU), and the Russian-led Greater Eurasia Partnership.

Moscow’s game is pure sophistication: engaging in a high-level strategic oil alliance with Saudi Arabia while deepening its strategic partnership with Iran.

Immediately after Patrushev’s visit, Tehran announced the development of an indigenously built hypersonic ballistic missile, quite similar to the Russian KH-47 M2 Khinzal.

And the other significant news was connectivity-wise: the completion of part of a railway from strategic Chabahar Port to the border with Turkmenistan. That means imminent direct rail connectivity to the Central Asian, Russian and Chinese spheres.

Add to it the predominant role of OPEC+, the development of BRICS+, and the pan-Eurasian drive to pricing trade, insurance, security, investments in the ruble, yuan, rial, etc.

There’s also the fact that Tehran could not care less about the endless collective West procrastination on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as Iran nuclear deal: what really matters now is the deepening relationship with the “RICs” in BRICS.

Tehran refused to sign a tampered-with EU draft nuclear deal in Vienna. Brussels was enraged; no Iranian oil will “save” Europe, replacing Russian oil under a nonsensical cap to be imposed next month.

And Washington was enraged because it was betting on internal tensions to split OPEC.

Considering all of the above, no wonder US ‘Think Tankland’ is behaving like a bunch of headless chickens.

THE QUEUE TO JOIN BRICS

During the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit in Samarkand last September, it was already tacit to all players how the Empire is cannibalizing its closest allies.

And how, simultaneously, the shrinking NATO-sphere is turning inwards, with a focus on The Enemy Within, relentlessly corralling average citizens to march in lockstep behind total compliance with a two-pronged war – hybrid and otherwise – against imperial peer competitors Russia and China.

Now compare it with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Samarkand presenting China and Russia, together, as the top “responsible global powers” bent on securing the emergence of multipolarity.

Samarkand also reaffirmed the strategic political partnership between Russia and India (Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called it an unbreakable friendship).

That was corroborated by the meeting between Lavrov and his Indian counterpart Subrahmanyam Jaishankar last week in Moscow.

Lavrov praised the strategic partnership in every crucial area – politics, trade and economics, investment, and technology, as well as “closely coordinated actions” at the UN Security Council, BRICS, SCO and the G20.

On BRICS, crucially, Lavrov confirmed that “over a dozen countries” are lining up for membership, including Iran: “We expect the work on coordinating the criteria and principles that should underlie BRICS expansion to not take much time”.

But first, the five members need to analyze the ground-breaking repercussions of an expanded BRICS+.

Once again: contrast. What is the EU’s “response” to these developments? Coming up with yet another sanctions package against Iran, targeting officials and entities “connected with security affairs” as well as companies, for their alleged “violence and repressions”.

Diplomacy”, collective West-style, barely registers as bullying.

Back to the real economy – as in the gas front – the national interests of Russia, Iran and Turkiye are increasingly intertwined; and that is bound to influence developments in Syria, Iraq, and Libya, and will be a key factor to facilitate Erdogan’s re-election next year.

As it stands, Riyadh for all practical purposes has performed a stunning 180-degree maneuver against Washington via OPEC+. That may signify, even in a twisted way, the onset of a process of unification of Arab interests, guided by Moscow.

Stranger things have happened in modern history. Now appears to be the time for the Arab world to be finally ready to join the Quad that really matters: Russia, India, China, and Iran.