Hymn for a Broken Empire: Republican National Security Officials for Biden — OffGuardian

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If fodder is needed for the argument that a Deep State is running wild and determined to depose President Donald J. Trump, this will surely help. In a statement by self-titled “former Republican National Security Officials”, a hand-on-heart allegiance is made to Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden.

The authors are intent on moving the incumbent out of office, “profoundly concerned about our nation’s security and standing in the world under the leadership of Donald Trump. The President has demonstrated that he is dangerously unfit to serve another term.”

These former security officials, who include former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage and former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and National Security Agency Gen. Michael Hayden, see Joe Biden as the better horse. He has “the character, experience and temperament to lead this nation.”

They might have their disagreements with him, but there would be “the time to debate those policy differences”. In the immediate future, Trump had to be ushered out of office to stop his “assault on our nation’s values and institutions.”

The message is regaled in the language of defending democracy, the very sort of fragile creature such individuals have not been averse to mutilating in the past. But it is also couched in terms of cod psychology. The term “unfit” is used four times. This lack of fitness was demonstrated by bad character, corrupt behaviour, the inability to lead “during a national crisis.”

What is particularly galling for the authors is that Trump dared interfere with the National Security Family, offices of the imperium that should run without disruption and melodrama.

This mismanagement, as they term it, involved the dismissal or replacement “often by tweet” of “the secretaries of State, Defense, and Homeland Security, the Attorney General, the Directors of National Intelligence and the FBI, three National Security Advisors, and other senior officials in critical national security positions”.

The signers also take issue with the president’s spread of “misinformation”, the undermining of public health expertise, attacking officials at state and local level “and wallowing in self-pity.” He had demonstrated greater interest in re-election “than the health of the American people.”

Misinformation is a good point. Trump has been exceedingly inventive to the point of fiction in coping with the COVID-19 pandemic. He takes of the root of conspiracy. But it is also worth noting that many of these former security officials who take issue with him were not averse to getting on the well-laden wagon of misinformation when it came to launching a war against Iraq in 2003. The administration of George W. Bush was stacked high with true believers allergic to the findings of UN weapons inspectors.

Then Secretary of State Colin Powell, who put in an appearance at the Democratic National Convention just passed, gave a show of supreme mendacity on February 5, 2003 before the United Nations. “What we’re giving you are facts and conclusions based on solid intelligence.”

What was solid was the premature adjudication of the matter: Saddam Hussein had to go, and fictional weapons of mass destruction would do nicely as a pretext […]

 

via Hymn for a Broken Empire: Republican National Security Officials for Biden — OffGuardian

Bill Gates Secretly Dictates Global Food Policy Too

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gates-foundation-monsanto

Bill Gates wields powerful influence over global food and agriculture policy through his funding of a large number of organizations involved in agricultural development and policy making

  • Eleven of just 12 people urging the UN to retain Agnes Kalibata, the president of the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), as its special envoy to the 2021 United Nations Food Systems Summit, were funded by Gates
  • This is in stark contrast to those who opposed Kalibata: 176 civil society organizations and farmer groups, plus 500 additional signatories, called for withdrawal of her appointment due to her clear conflicts of interest with corporate actors
  • Gates’ massive investments in global food production have failed to solve any real problems. The solutions he backs are “Band-Aid solutions” that only deepen the root problems
  • Examples include the funding of the development of GMOs. These crops end up replacing local diversity with just a few GE varieties that don’t take local conditions into account. By pushing GE crops, malnutrition actually deepens, as biodiversity is reduced
  • Gates is a perfect example of a philanthrocapitalist. He has “donated” tens of billions of dollars over the years, yet his net worth hasn’t dropped — it has doubled, and this is largely because his donations are treated as tax deductible investments.

[…]

via Bill Gates Secretly Dictates Global Food Policy Too

Zillionaire Americans Build End-Times Boltholes in NZ

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A property near Queenstown, New Zealand, designed by Mason & Wales Architects.

‘How New Zealand became an apocalypse escape destination for Americans’, July 16, 2020, cnn.com

“In Queenstown — a picturesque ski spot that often attracts comparisons to Aspen, Colorado — rumors about foreigners investing in apocalypse-proof bunkers have been swirling for years.

Queenstown residents are skeptical about whether the secret, underground hideaways are actually as prevalent as such allusions would suggest. Unlike in the United States or Europe, where bunkers are frequently photographed and written about, there’s scant evidence to prove that any bunkers have actually been installed.

A floor plan of one Rising S bunker

 “For years, Queenstown has been an attractive destination for elite foreigners who may have reason to seek out a metaphorical bunker, safe from major political turmoil thousands of miles away. Notable US-based homebuyers include Silicon Valley billionaire and political firebrand Peter Thiel and disgraced former NBC News anchor Matt Lauer.

Now that the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc worldwide, Queenstown is once again sparking interest as the perfect place to escape catastrophe — with or without a secret bunker.”

From forbes.com, July 3, 2008: ‘Southern Sanctuary; Want to be far from terrorism threats and have Bill Gates as a neighbor? Then New Zealand may be the place for you’

A lengthy list of elite buyers, locations, prices, and so on, but how cool is this  for the toffs?

“Unlike Australia, New Zealand does not levy transfer taxes on residential properties. New Zealand abolished death taxes in 1992. There are also no property taxes, and land sales other than by people in the real estate business are exempt from capital gains taxes.”

‘Microsoft seeks new datacenter region in New Zealand; Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern says she welcomes Microsoft’s announcement to establish a datacentre region for cloud services in New Zealand’, May 6, 2020, rnz.co.nz


“With the development of this new datacenter region, Microsoft aims to fuel new growth that will accelerate digital transformation opportunities [cashless society? contact tracing?] across New Zealand,” the statement said.

“This means job opportunities in the near term for our construction industry and, in the longer term, for our ICT industry and local innovators. This also serves as a signal to the world that New Zealand is open for business and quality investment,” he said.

“Today’s decision by Microsoft means that the government, and New Zealand businesses and people, will be able to access the scale and security of Cloud services offered by a major global provider in ways we haven’t been able to before.”

Where will the wage slaves live?  And on  the right sidebar, a few Gates and Microsoft ads:

‘Bill Gates steps down from Microsoft to focus on philanthropy’, 14 March 2020

Microsoft has pledged to remove “all of the carbon” from the environment that it has emitted since the company was founded in 1975’, Jan. 17, 2020

And Microsoft goes full amerikan kinte-cloth:

Microsoft announces it will “double the number of Black and African American people managers, senior individual contributors, and senior leaders in the United States by 2025’, June 23, 2020

Heard on the street in Aotearoa: a disgusted, but unnamed Maori male said to his friend:

‘There goes the neighborhood!’

Speaking of NZ long-beleaguered indigenous Maori’s, I thought I’d poke about a bit to see how they’re faring under Jacinda Ardern’s adminstration, and  found: er…not so well.

‘Jacinda Ardern faces Māori wrath over ‘inhumane’ treatment of families; A damning report into child removals by Oranga Tamariki sets the stage for tough Waitangi visit for New Zealand PM’, theguardian.com, Feb. 2, 2020

“There’s been unprecedented breaches of human rights,” said Naida Glavish, the head of a Māori-led inquiry into the practices of New Zealand’s child services agency, Oranga Tamariki.

The investigation, which began six months ago, is one of five being conducted into the organisation, sparked by a documentary in 2019 that depicted social workers’ repeated attempts to seize a Māori baby from its mother shortly after birth.

The report details what families describe as racial profiling, widespread fear among Māori families that their children will be taken away, and abuses of power by social workers. It details incidents in which armed police, with dogs, were sent to seize babies from their families.

It also accused the agency of not allowing extended Māori families to care for children – an established cultural practice – when relatives thought that was the best option.

[…]

via Zillionaire USians Build End-Times Boltholes in NZ — café babylon

Don’t Forget Trump’s Deal with the CIA on the JFK Records

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By Jacob G. Hornberger | FFF | August 17, 2020

In April 2018, President Trump issued an order to the National Archives to continue keeping thousands of CIA records relating to the John Kennedy assassination secret from the American people. The new deadline, which could be extended again by either Trump or a President Biden, was set for October 2021.

Since the order was issued early in the Trump regime, no doubt he felt confident that there would be no adverse political consequences flowing from his order. But now that Trump is engaged in a heated race with Joe Biden, he ought to be called upon to explain and justify his order for continued secrecy in an assassination that took place almost six decades ago.

Given the official narrative of the Kennedy assassination, the massive secrecy in which the Pentagon and the CIA engaged after the assassination has never made any sense.

The official narrative says that a lone nut former U.S. Marine communist killed Kennedy with no apparent motive. The most that proponents of the lone-nut theory have ever come up with on a possible motive is that a little man wanted to become a big man by killing a big man. The big problem with that theory is that the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, denied that he did it and even contended that he was being framed for the crime. If a little man wanted to become a big man by killing a big man, wouldn’t he be acknowledging that he did it and even boasting about it?

IN 1991, Oliver Stone come out with his movie JFK, which posited that Kennedy had been assassinated as part of a U.S. domestic regime-change operation intended to protect “national security” from a president who had declared an end to the Cold War and an intention to establish peaceful and friendly relations with the Soviet Union and the rest of the communist world. (See FFF’s book JFK’s War with the National Security Establishment: Why Kennedy Was Assassinated by Douglas Horne, who served on the staff of the ARRB.)

At the end of JFK, Stone inserted a blurb pointing out the continued secrecy of federal agencies with respect to records relating to the Kennedy assassination some 30 years after the assassination in what had been presented as nothing more than a lone-nut murder of a president.

While the mainstream media was poo-pooing Stone’s movie, the American people were outraged over the continued secrecy. Public pressure caused Congress to enact the JFK Records Collection Act in 1992, which mandated the release of all assassination-related records of federal agencies, including the Pentagon and the CIA.

To enforce the law, Congress called into existence the Assassination Records Review Board. In its four years of operation, the ARRB secured the release of tens of thousands of records relating to the assassination, some of which pointed to the fraudulent nature of the autopsy that the U.S. military conducted on the president’s body. (See my books The Kennedy Autopsy  and The Kennedy Autopsy 2.)

There were two strange parts of the JFK Records Act:

1. The law expressly prohibited the ARRB from investigating any aspect of the JFK assassination. Doesn’t that seem to be a rather strange provision? If a matter that had intentionally been kept secret for 30 years needed to be investigated, wouldn’t you think that Congress would want it investigated? The no-investigation provision was strictly enforced on the ARRB staff by the ARRB board of trustees.

2.The law permitted federal agencies to keep their records secret for another 25 years, a provision that the CIA took advantage of. Given that this was supposedly just a lone-nut murder, why was secrecy necessary in the first place? What “national security” concern would there have been? And wouldn’t a lapse of 30 years be sufficient for any such “national security” concern? Why another 25 years, especially since continued secrecy would only serve to buttress Stone’s thesis in JFK?

Back in the 1990s, 25 years must have seemed like a long time away, long enough that the CIA and the Pentagon could rest easy. Anyway, by the time those 25 years expired, there was a good chance that no one would care anyway, especially within the mainstream press.

But when that deadline rolled around in 2018, there were people who still cared. They were demanding that Trump release the records.

That’s not what Trump did. Instead, he granted the CIA’s request for at least another 3 1/2 years of secrecy.

Back in 2018, Trump didn’t have to justify his decision, but now that he’s running for reelection, he should be made to account for what he did by being asked the following questions:

1. How could the release of the CIA’s long-secret JFK-assassination-related records possibly pose a threat to “national security”?

2. Why not order an immediate release of those long-secret records now rather than wait until October of next year?

3. If the CIA has nothing to hide, why is it still hiding it almost 60 years after the Kennedy assassination?

[…]

 

via Don’t Forget Trump’s Deal with the CIA on the JFK Records

How does vote-by-mail work and does it increase election fraud?

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There are two kinds of mail balloting systems. Some states have what are called universal “vote by mail” in which states mail ballots to all voters. In most states, however, vote by mail is through absentee balloting in which the voter must request an absentee ballot. In 2016, nearly one-quarter of U.S. votes (33 million) were cast by either universal mail or absentee ballots.

As shown on the map below from the National Council of State Legislatures, 34 states plus the District of Columbia now allow voters in the weeks before an election to request absentee ballots. Another 11 states have made it easier to request absentee ballots for primary elections taking place this year, in large part due to concern over the coronavirus.

 

[…]

via How does vote-by-mail work and does it increase election fraud?

CIA Behind Guccifer & Russiagate – a Plausible Scenario

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Strategic Culture Foundation | August 14, 2020

William Binney is the former technical director of the U.S. National Security Agency who worked at the agency for 30 years. He is a respected independent critic of how American intelligence services abuse their powers to illegally spy on private communications of U.S. citizens and around the globe. Given his expert inside knowledge, it is worth paying attention to what Binney says.

In a media interview this week, he dismissed the so-called Russiagate scandal as a “fabrication” orchestrated by the American Central Intelligence Agency. Many other observers have come to the same conclusion about allegations that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. elections with the objective of helping Donald Trump get elected.

But what is particularly valuable about Binney’s judgment is that he cites technical analysis disproving the Russiagate narrative. That narrative remains dominant among U.S. intelligence officials, politicians and pundits, especially those affiliated with the Democrat party, as well as large sections of Western media. The premise of the narrative is the allegation that a Russian state-backed cyber operation hacked into the database and emails of the Democrat party back in 2016. The information perceived as damaging to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton was subsequently disseminated to the Wikileaks whistleblower site and other U.S. media outlets.

A mysterious cyber persona known as “Guccifer 2.0” claimed to be the alleged hacker. U.S. intelligence and news media have attributed Guccifer as a front for Russian cyber operations.

Notably, however, the Russian government has always categorically denied any involvement in alleged hacking or other interference in the 2016 U.S. election, or elections thereafter.

William Binney and other independent former U.S. intelligence experts say they can prove the Russiagate narrative is bogus. The proof relies on their forensic analysis of the data released by Guccifer. The analysis of timestamps demonstrates that the download of voluminous data could not have been physically possible based on known standard internet speeds. These independent experts conclude that the data from the Democrat party could not have been hacked, as Guccifer and Russiagaters claim. It could only have been obtained by a leak from inside the party, perhaps by a disgruntled staffer who downloaded the information on to a disc. That is the only feasible way such a huge amount of data could have been released. That means the “Russian hacker” claims are baseless.

Wikileaks, whose founder Julian Assange is currently imprisoned in Britain pending an extradition trial to the U.S. to face espionage charges, has consistently maintained that their source of files was not a hacker, nor did they collude with Russian intelligence. As a matter of principle, Wikileaks does not disclose the identity of its sources, but the organization has indicated it was an insider leak which provided the information on senior Democrat party corruption.

William Binney says forensic analysis of the files released by Guccifer shows that the mystery hacker deliberately inserted digital “fingerprints” in order to give the impression that the files came from Russian sources. It is known from information later disclosed by former NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden that the CIA has a secretive program – Vault 7 – which is dedicated to false incrimination of cyber attacks to other actors. It seems that the purpose of Guccifer was to create the perception of a connection between Wikileaks and Russian intelligence in order to beef up the Russiagate narrative.

“So that suggested [to] us all the evidence was pointing back to CIA as the originator [of] Guccifer 2.0. And that Guccifer 2.0 was inside CIA… I’m pointing to that group as the group that was probably the originator of Guccifer 2.0 and also this fabrication of the entire story of Russiagate,” concludes Binney in his interview with Sputnik news outlet […]

 

via CIA Behind Guccifer & Russiagate – a Plausible Scenario

In the middle of a pandemic, the World Bank wants slum dwellers to lose their water supply

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Apply for World Bank’s Third International Conference on ...

 

from  Norbert Häring

Developing countries are trying to contain the corona pandemic under the most adverse conditions. In the middle of this, the World Bank is proposing that the water supply of slum dwellers be cut off, if their landlords do not pay the water bill. It is an inhumane philosophy of development that is behind such monstrosities.

For about two decades, the World Bank’s philosophy has been “sustainable development”; “sustainable” in the sense of profitable in the long run. Wherever possible, development work should be carried out in partnership with private companies and their foundations, because only if some corporation can earn money sustainably from development policy will enough money flow in to make a lasting difference. The derivation from this is to privatize and commodify as much as possible, i.e. to make it a tradable commodity.

Thus, it is quite straightforward that in July 2020, in the middle of the corona pandemic, the World Bank would publish a scientific paper entitled “Enforcing Payment for Water and Sanitation Services in Nairobi’s Slums“.

The four authors, among them a World Bank economist, a former Argentinean Vice Minister of Finance, and the well-known experimental economist Paul Gertler from the University of California, ran one of the notorious Randomized Controlled Trials on poor Kenyan slum dwellers.

Strict enforcement through disconnections increases payment and the financial position of the utility without incurring political costs.

In the slums of Nairobi, most people live as tenants on plots of land with a common water supply for all. The landowners are responsible for the water bill. Through subsidies, the government has managed to connect most households at least to such collection points for running water. However, many landlords do not pay the bill and – partly because of this – the water is often strictly rationed.

In line with the World Bank philosophy focusing on commercial aspects, the four authors have tested, in cooperation with the water company, what happens when landowners are credibly threatened with water cut-offs. The direct victims of this are the tenants who are no longer getting water if the landlord still does not pay. Almost 30 percent of the plots in the “treated” group have had their water cut off. After nine months, in autumn 2019, shortly before the outbreak of the Corona crisis, “many” of the affected households had water again, the paper says, and further in the World Bank’s chilly  jargon: “There is a balance between ensuring that the disconnection is credible and economically meaningful to the customer, while also being flexible enough to allow for reasonable opportunities for remedial action.”

The result of the experimental intervention was that the payment morale of the “treated” landlords was increased, while at the same time the dreaded revolt of the slum dwellers did not take place. The authors’ conclusion: “Strict enforcement through disconnections increases payment and the financial position of the utility without incurring political costs” […]

via In the middle of a pandemic, the World Bank wants slum dwellers to lose their water supply — Real-World Economics Review Blog

CIA-Sponsored Propaganda Has Been Around for 75 Years

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By Wayne Madsen | Strategic Culture

The release of a report by the U.S. Department of State’s Global Engagement Center (GEC), billed as the Donald Trump administration’s “dedicated center for countering foreign disinformation and propaganda, cites the Strategic Culture Foundation in Russia, Canada’s Global Research Center, and other on-line publications as “proxy sites” for Russian intelligence and the Russian Foreign Ministry. The State Department’s report is titled, “Pillars of Russia’s Disinformation and Propaganda Ecosystem” and it is not much different than the series of reports issued by the State Department’s “International Information Program” in the mid-2000s that were used to debase U.S. journalists and authors critical of the George W. Bush-Dick Cheney neo-conservative wars of choice. Those diatribes, like the recent one masquerading as a “special report,” were written on the U.S. taxpayers’ dime and represent a squandering of money.

Diagrams in the recent State Department report depict various on-line publications and Internet sites as coronavirus microbes. The Mike Pompeo-led State Department, which has, along with the Trump White House, issued a daily dose of pabulum that can only be described as conspiracy theory-based rantings from congenital liars and reality-challenged fabulists and fanatical right-wingers, have no ethical or political grounds to proclaim virtuousness when it comes to spewing forth propaganda and outright lies.

One could easily issue a multi-volume report that deals with America’s propaganda factory both during the Cold War and in its aftermath. A major focus of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency from its very inception was the penetration of the news media, including the assignment of CIA agents to the newsrooms and editorial offices of America’s largest media operations, including The Washington Post, The New York Times, Hearst Newspaper, NBC News, ABC News, CBS News, and other major newspapers and broadcast networks. The CIA also thoroughly infiltrated America’s political polling companies, including Gallup, Harris, and Roper. Details concerning the CIA’s Operation MOCKINGBIRD and “The Mighty Wurlitzer” propaganda and news influencing operations can easily be found in the annals of America’s post-World War II history. These are activities that the U.S. corporate media, as well as the CIA and State Department would prefer to have global consumers of news ignore […]

 

via CIA-Sponsored Propaganda Has Been Around for 75 Years — The Mad Truther

Syrian tribe declares popular war against US occupation

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SDF

A member of the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) stands guard in the countryside of the Hasakah province, on June 27, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

A Syrian tribe in the eastern province of Dayr al-Zawr has launched a popular resistance force against US troops and their allies, accusing the so-called Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) of stealing the country’s resources.

The US-based Rai al-Youm newspaper said on its website on Monday that the tribe of Akidat announced in a statement the formation of a military council and launching popular resistance against the US forces and their allied militants in an apparent direct accusation of the American troops of being behind the assassination of Matshar al-Hafl, a senior member of the tribe.

The statement also accused the SDF of stealing the country’s resources and killing its prominent figures.

According to the statement, the elders and notable members of the tribe had held a meeting to take action against the “American occupiers” and the US-backed mercenaries, and to liberate the Syrian territory.

The statement said they agreed to form a political council and a tribal army – to serve as its military wing – to manage the tribe’s affairs in cooperation with the relevant authorities.

It added that the council has begun the practical steps towards the formation of the Akidat army to liberate Syrian territory in coordination with the Syrian army.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes and operations against what are said to be Daesh targets inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a United Nations mandate. Damascus has repeatedly condemned the airstrikes.

The military alliance has repeatedly been accused of targeting and killing civilians.

The US has dispatched new deployments to the Syrian provinces of Hasakah and Dayr al-Zawr following President Donald Trump’s October decision to keep hundreds of US troops in Syria to “secure” the country’s oilfields which Syrian troops have yet to retake from militants.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov reiterated that US attempts to control Syria’s oilfields were “illegal” and amounted to “robbery.”

Damascus is in great need of its major oil deposits in order to address its energy needs and rebuild the country amid crippling Western sanctions.

The Arab country has been gripped by foreign-backed militancy since March 2011. The Syrian government says the Israeli regime and its Western and regional allies are aiding Takfiri terrorist groups that are wreaking havoc in the country.

The Arab country is currently extracting oil at only 10 percent of its pre-war capacity […]

 

via Syrian tribe declares popular war against US forces, SDF

This member of the banana tree family could help us cut COVID-19 plastic waste

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(Volodymyr Hryshchenko, Unsplash)

This article is brought to you thanks to the collaboration of The European Sting with the World Economic Forum.

Author: Harry Kretchmer, Senior Writer, Formative Content


  • The abaca tree, a relative of the banana, produces fibre that’s being made into COVID-19 PPE products, including facemasks.
  • Conservationists say single-use plastic PPE is adding to marine pollution.
  • Abaca fibres – used in banknotes, teabags and Mercedes Benz cars – are as tough as polyester but break down organically.
  • Philippines is leading producer of abaca fibre, delivering 85% of global supply.

In the Philippines, long golden fibres from the abaca tree hang drying in the sun. They could be part of your next face mask.

According to Bloomberg, the Philippine government expects demand for biodegradable abaca to grow exponentially in 2020, with 10% of all production being diverted to medical uses. Factories are doubling output.

It comes as the consequences of single-use plastic PPE are becoming clear. There are reports of plastic face masks washing up on beaches, adding to the estimated 8 million metric tons of plastic that enter the ocean each year.

 

Plastic Ocean

[…]

via This member of the banana tree family could help us cut COVID-19 plastic waste — The European Sting – Critical News & Insights on European Politics, Economy, Foreign Affairs, Business & Technology – europeansting.com