As more Britons turn toward Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the British establishment is upping the pressure on the “radical” Corbyn to conform to U.S.-U.K. militarism and interventionism, as John Pilger explains.
By John Pilger
Delegates to the recent Labour Party conference in the English seaside town of Brighton seemed not to notice a video playing in the main entrance. The world’s third biggest arms manufacturer, BAe Systems, supplier to Saudi Arabia, was promoting its guns, bombs, missiles, naval ships and fighter aircraft.
It seemed a perfidious symbol of a party in which millions of Britons now invest their political hopes. Once the preserve of Tony Blair, it is now led by Jeremy Corbyn, whose career has been very different and is rare in British establishment politics.
Addressing the conference, the campaigner Naomi Klein described the rise of Corbyn as “part of a global phenomenon. We saw it in Bernie Sanders’ historic campaign in the US primaries, powered by millennials who know that safe centrist politics offers them no kind of safe future.”
In fact, at the end of the U.S. primary elections last year, Sanders led his followers into the arms of Hillary Clinton, a liberal warmonger from a long tradition in the Democratic Party.
As President Obama’s Secretary of State, Clinton presided over the invasion of Libya in 2011, which led to a stampede of refugees to Europe. She gloated at the gruesome murder of Libya’s president. Two years earlier, Clinton signed off on a coup that overthrew the democratically elected president of Honduras. That she has been invited to Wales on Oct. 14 to be given an honorary doctorate by the University of Swansea because she is “synonymous with human rights” is unfathomable.
Like Clinton, Sanders is a cold-warrior and “anti-communist” obsessive with a proprietorial view of the world beyond the United States. Sanders supported Bill Clinton’s and Tony Blair’s illegal assault on Yugoslavia in 1998 and the invasions of Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, as well as Barack Obama’s campaign of terrorism by drone (although he did vote against George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq). These days, Sanders backs the provocation of Russia and agrees that the whistleblower Edward Snowden should stand trial. Sanders has called the late Hugo Chavez – a social democrat who won multiple elections in Venezuela – “a dead communist dictator.”
While Sanders is a familiar American liberal politician, Corbyn may be a phenomenon, with his indefatigable support for the victims of American and British imperial adventures and for popular resistance movements.
For example, in the 1960s and 1970s, the Chagos islanders were expelled from their homeland, a British colony in the Indian Ocean, by a Labour government. An entire population was kidnapped. The aim was to make way for a U.S. military base on the main island of Diego Garcia: a secret deal for which the British were “compensated” with a discount of $14 million off the price of a Polaris nuclear submarine.
I have had much to do with the Chagos islanders and have filmed them in exile in Mauritius and the Seychelles, where they suffered and some of them “died from sadness,” as I was told. They found a political champion in a Labour Member of Parliament, Jeremy Corbyn.
So did the Palestinians. So did Iraqis terrorized by Tony Blair, a Labour prime minister’s invasion of their country in 2003. So did others struggling to break free from the web of Western power. Corbyn supported the likes of Hugo Chavez, who brought more than hope to societies subverted by the U.S. behemoth.
A Silent Foreign Policy
And yet, now although Corbyn is closer to power than he might have ever imagined, his foreign policy remains a secret. By secret, I mean there has been rhetoric and little else.
“We must put our values at the heart of our foreign policy,” he said at the Labour conference. But what are these “values”?
Since 1945, like the Tories, British Labour has been an imperial party, obsequious to Washington: a record exemplified by the crime in the Chagos islands. What has changed? Is Corbyn saying Labour will uncouple itself from the U.S. war machine, and the U.S. spying apparatus and U.S. economic blockades that scar humanity?
His shadow Foreign Secretary, Emily Thornberry, says a Corbyn government “will put human rights back at the heart of Britain’s foreign policy.” But human rights have never been at the heart of British foreign policy — only “interests,” as Lord Palmerston declared in the Nineteenth Century: the interests of those at the apex of British society.
Thornberry quoted the late Robin Cook who, as Tony Blair’s first Foreign Secretary in 1997, pledged an “ethical foreign policy” that would “make Britain once again a force for good in the world.”
History is not kind to imperial nostalgia. The recently commemorated division of India by a Labour government in 1947 – with a border hurriedly drawn up by a London barrister, Gordon Radcliffe, who had never been to India and never returned – led to blood-letting on a genocidal scale.
Shut up in a lonely mansion, with police night and day
Patrolling the gardens to keep the assassins away,
He got down to work, to the task of settling the fate
Of millions. The maps at his disposal were out of date
And the Census Returns almost certainly incorrect,
But there was no time to check them, no time to inspect
Contested areas. The weather was frightfully hot,
And a bout of dysentery kept him constantly on the trot,
But in seven weeks it was done, the frontiers decided,
A continent for better or worse divided.
W.H. Auden, ‘Partition’.
It was the same Labour government (1945-51), led by Prime Minister Clement Attlee – “radical” by today’s standards – that dispatched General Douglas Gracey’s British imperial army to Saigon with orders to re-arm the defeated Japanese in order to prevent Vietnamese nationalists from liberating their own country. Thus, the longest war of the century was ignited.
It was a Labour Foreign Secretary, Ernest Bevin, whose policy of “mutuality” and “partnership” with some of the world’s most vicious despots, especially in the Middle East, forged relationships that endure today, often sidelining and crushing the human rights of whole communities and societies. The cause was British “interests” – oil, power and wealth.
In the “radical” 1960s, Labour’s Defence Secretary, Denis Healey, set up the Defence Sales Organisation (DSO) specifically to boost the arms trade and make money from selling lethal weapons to the world. Healey told Parliament, “While we attach the highest importance to making progress in the field of arms control and disarmament, we must also take what practical steps we can to ensure that this country does not fail to secure its rightful share of this valuable market.”
The doublethink was quintessentially Labour. When I later asked Healey about this “valuable market,” he claimed his decision made no difference to the volume of military exports. In fact, it led to an almost doubling of Britain’s share of the arms market. Today, Britain is the second biggest arms dealer on earth, selling arms and fighter planes, machine guns and “riot control” vehicles, to 22 of the 30 countries on the British Government’s own list of human rights violators.
Will this stop under a Corbyn government? The preferred model – Robin Cook’s “ethical foreign policy” – is revealing. Like Jeremy Corbyn, Cook made his name as a backbencher and critic of the arms trade.
“Wherever weapons are sold,” wrote Cook, “there is a tacit conspiracy to conceal the reality of war” and “it is a truism that every war for the past two decades has been fought by poor countries with weapons supplied by rich countries.”
Cook singled out the sale of British Hawk fighters to Indonesia as “particularly disturbing.” Indonesia “is not only repressive but actually at war on two fronts: in East Timor, where perhaps a sixth of the population has been slaughtered … and in West Papua, where it confronts an indigenous liberation movement.”
As Foreign Secretary, Cook promised “a thorough review of arms sales.” The then Nobel Peace Laureate, Bishop Carlos Belo of East Timor, appealed directly to Cook: “Please, I beg you, do not sustain any longer a conflict which without these arms sales could never have been pursued in the first place and not for so very long.”
Belo was referring to Indonesia’s bombing of East Timor with British Hawks and the slaughter of his people with British machine guns. He received no reply.
The following week Cook called journalists to the Foreign Office to announce his “mission statement” for “human rights in a new century.” This PR event included the usual private briefings for selected journalists, including the BBC, in which Foreign Office officials lied that there was “no evidence” that British Hawk aircraft were deployed in East Timor.
A few days later, the Foreign Office issued the results of Cook’s “thorough review” of arms sales policy. “It was not realistic or practical,” wrote Cook, “to revoke licences which were valid and in force at the time of Labour’s election victory.” Suharto’s Minister for Defense, Edi Sudradjat, said that talks were already under way with Britain for the purchase of 18 more Hawk fighters. “The political change in Britain will not affect our negotiations,” he said. He was right.
Today, replace Indonesia with Saudi Arabia and East Timor with Yemen. British military aircraft – sold with the approval of both Tory and Labour governments and built by the firm whose promotional video had pride of place at Labour’s 2017 party conference – are bombing the life out of Yemen, one of the most impoverished countries in the world, where half the children are malnourished and there is the greatest cholera epidemic in modern times.
Hospitals and schools, weddings and funerals have been attacked. In Riyadh, British military personnel are reported to be training the Saudis in selecting targets.
In Labour’s current manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn and his party colleagues promised that “Labour will demand a comprehensive, independent, UN-led investigation into alleged violations … in Yemen, including air strikes on civilians by the Saudi-led coalition. We will immediately suspend any further arms sales for use in the conflict until that investigation is concluded.”
But the evidence of Saudi Arabia’s crimes in Yemen is already documented by Amnesty and others, notably by the courageous reporting of the British journalist Iona Craig. The dossier is voluminous.
Labour does not promise to stop arms exports to Saudi Arabia. It does not say Britain will withdraw its support for governments responsible for the export of Islamist jihadism. There is no commitment to dismantle the arms trade.
The manifesto describes a “special relationship [with the U.S.] based on shared values … When the current Trump administration chooses to ignore them … we will not be afraid to disagree.”
As Jeremy Corbyn knows, dealing with the U.S. is not about merely “disagreeing.” The U.S. is a rapacious, rogue power that ought not to be regarded as a natural ally of any state championing human rights, irrespective of whether Trump or anyone else is President.
When shadow Foreign Secretary Emily Thornberry, in her conference speech, linked Venezuela with the Philippines as “increasingly autocratic regimes” – slogans bereft of facts and ignoring the subversive U.S. role in Venezuela — she was consciously playing to the enemy: a tactic with which Jeremy Corbyn will be familiar.
A Corbyn government will allow the Chagos islanders the right of return. But Labour says nothing about renegotiating the 50-year renewal agreement that Britain has just signed with the U.S. allowing it to use the base on Diego Garcia from which it has bombed Afghanistan and Iraq.
A Corbyn government will “immediately recognise the state of Palestine.” There is silence on whether Britain will continue to arm Israel, continue to acquiesce in the illegal trade in Israel’s illegal “settlements” and treat Israel merely as a warring party, rather than as an historic oppressor given immunity by Washington and London.
Money for Militarism
On Britain’s support for NATO’s current war preparations, Labour boasts that the “last Labour government spent above the benchmark of 2 per cent of GDP” on NATO. It says, “Conservative spending cuts have put Britain’s security at risk” and promises to boost Britain’s military “obligations.”
In fact, most of the £40 billion Britain currently spends on the military is not for territorial defense of the U.K. but for offensive purposes to enhance British “interests” as defined by those who have tried to smear Jeremy Corbyn as unpatriotic.
If the polls are reliable, most Britons are well ahead of their politicians, Tory and Labour. They would accept higher taxes to pay for public services; they want the National Health Service restored to full health. They want decent jobs and wages and housing and schools; they do not hate foreigners but resent exploitative labor. They have no fond memory of an empire on which the sun never set.
They oppose the invasion of other countries and regard Blair as a liar. The rise of Donald Trump has reminded them what a menace the United States can be, especially with their own country in tow.
The Labour Party is the beneficiary of this mood, but many of its pledges – certainly in foreign policy – are qualified and compromised, suggesting, for many Britons, more of the same.
Jeremy Corbyn is widely and properly recognized for his integrity; he opposes the renewal of Trident nuclear weapons; the Labour Party supports it. But he has given shadow cabinet positions to pro-war MPs who support Blairism, tried to get rid of him and abused him as “unelectable.”
“We are the political mainstream now,” says Corbyn. Yes, but at what price?
John Pilger is an Australian-British journalist based in London. Pilger’s Web site is: www.johnpilger.com. His new film, “The Coming War on China,” is available in the U.S. from www.bullfrogfilms.com
What a refreshing discussion.
Thank you all.
The common foreign policy on key issues proves what is generally known that the UK has no control over its foreign policy. Britain is a slave to US and it’s Dark State that rules the World through financial power. Tories or Labour you get the same because neither have limited power over issues that really matter like War, Peace and Human Rights
Quite right. What practical steps, then, should Corbyn take, given that he will need to be elected in order to take them.
From the article:
“…..the “radical” 1960s, Labour’s Defence Secretary, Denis Healey, set up the Defence Sales Organisation (DSO) specifically to boost the arms trade and make money from selling lethal weapons to the world. Healey told Parliament, “While we attach the highest importance to making progress in the field of arms control and disarmament, we must also take what practical steps we can to ensure that this country does not fail to secure its rightful share of this valuable market.”
Good luck, Jeremy Corbyn.
I think Mr. Pilger did a good job in outing our progressive Bernie as he did with all progressives who want to get re-elected and enjoy the munificence awaiting them after they retire. What is troublesome about the current election process is that no one seems to have an answer of to remove the effects of money and other perks from the process. Part of the problems, we know, is that powerful institutions don’t want the cash cows removed but that aside, no one seems to have come forward with a manual describing how to do it and how to get there.
I don’t know enough about Corbyn to give an opinion. However, the biggest
mistake many of us make is to assume that one single person would or could
turn this Titanic around. The one reason why the Vietnam war ended was the
draft or later the lottery. It took a huge anti-war movement to get Congress
to cut the funding. Now with only 1% of the US population involved in the
fighting, with drones directed from remote places wars are not influencing
the general population. This is just one example. Whether we talk about
domestic or international issues, it takes millions of people to create any
change; that does not just mean to vote for one particular person, instead
it would need steady pressure from those millions on Congress or parliaments.
I don’t see this happening. Already the excited millennials from 16 are mostly
feeling burned out and turn away from political issues.
Louise not only is the American public disconnected from all of these wars, so is our U.S. Military.
Andrew Bacevich in his book ‘Breach of Trust’ speaks to how our military enlisted and some of the younger officer core broke ranks with the upper echelon on the subject of Vietnam, as well as among the many civil rights issues of that day.
“Of course, venting, of which there was plenty, did not necessarily translate into programs of effective political action. The overwrought fears of Senate investigators notwithstanding, soldier-radicals posed no direct threat to the established political order. Even so, for those accustomed to receiving unquestioned obedience, GI dissidents represented a subversive presence, importing into the ranks values and attitudes to which their contemporaries “on the outside” had now sworn allegiance. Soldier-dissidents also mirrored their civilian counterparts in their tendency to strike angry poses and to lump their complaints into one massive undifferentiated indictment. So in the Seventh Army, the newsletter of a soldier organization called FighT bAck could announce its opposition to “imperialist wars such as Indochina,” to “racism and discrimination against women,” to the military “being used as scab labor to break strikes,” and to national security policies designed to suit “huge American corporations and banks, [but] not in the interest of the American people.” 18 How exactly FighT bAck intended to correct these injustices was not at all clear. Yet the very existence of such organizations and the defiance they expressed induced concern bordering on panic among senior military leaders. For the brass, the challenges posed by the Vietcong and the People’s Army of Vietnam paled in comparison.”
So when we take a look at what is going on now, should we take into account, that all this blind patriotism we have since 911 should be reversed to let our government leaders know beyond a doubt just how sick and tired we all are of these destructive wars? Would peace activists do better to reach out to all of these soldiers who in my estimation have been abused by their Pentagon bosses, and would this reaching out bring our military men and women into the revolution for peace? Oh, and where is that revolution for peace?
Louise, what you brought up about the discontent that was displayed from back in the sixties during the Vietnam disaster is throughly important, but so is reflecting on that discontent that reached into the very heart of the military who was at that time, like now, being totally abused. The street protester from that era certainly did a good job of showing their hate for the Vietnam war, but according to Colonel Bacevich the real peacenik win was winning over the everyday recruit.
I liked what you wrote, and I hope my input is satisfactory. Joe
You are quite right, Louise, Most people of the USA and the UK as well as other so called allies, never actually see anything of these wars that are for ever going on. When the government wants to get us on side they tell us bull shuit like, Saddam Hussein’s weapons can reach us in 4 minutes, or N,Korea nukes can already reach America etc. Even soldiers don’t really see much fighting theses days. Hardly any of them actually get killed. I think we need to see London or Washington being bombed to bits for the public to take any notice about what’s happening overseas in their name. From the public perspective, war is remote and sanitized and any gory stuff is kept out of the public domain by the MSM.
john wilson – Yes, you are right. Especially Americans have not seen War on their own soil except the Civil War, which was fought in the Southern States – it was a war between brothers. In fact, Americans like these spectacles on their TV like “shock and awe” over Baghdad or napalm bombs over there in South Vietnam.
Louise, great points. With so few of our family members dying, and so much flag waving going on, we have to rely on America’s empathy for the hundreds of thousands of victims we create. Hard to forget the light show when shock and awe occurred. The pundit who announced, we are all neocons now. Vietnam doesn’t offer much guidance. Protesters because they might be drafted, dissidence in the military because we were losing doesn’t get us very far in the world we live in today.
Thank you John Pilger for your continuing work to expose the dark underbelly of U.S./British foreign policy.
However, as one of Bernie’s supporters during the primary I’d like to point out a couple of things.
“In fact, at the end of the U.S. primary elections last year, Sanders led his followers into the arms of Hillary Clinton, a liberal warmonger from a long tradition in the Democratic Party.”
BERNIE’S TORTURED “EMBRACE” OF THE WARMONGERING SECRETARY DID NOT LEAD THIS FOLLOWER ANYWHERE. ALTHOUGH I DO NOT AGREE WITH MOST LIBERTARIAN THINKING, I WAS DELIGHTED THAT GARY JOHNSON DIDN’T KNOW WHERE ALEPPO WAS (great, I thought, he’ll leave Aleppo alone) AND I VOTED FOR GARY HERE IN TEXAS BECAUSE HE PROMISED NO MORE REGIME CHANGE WARS.
BERNIE RECENTLY GAVE A TALK AT WESTMINSTER COLLEGE IN FULTON MISSOURI IN WHICH HE DETAILED OUR SORDID ROLE IN THE 1950’S IRANIAN COUP AGAINST THE DEMOCRATICALLY ELECTED MOSADEGH LEADING TO THE HORRORS OF THE SHAH AND WHERE WE FIND OURSELVES TODAY PLUS HE TALKED ABOUT OTHER DANGEROUS FOREIGN POLICIES THAT WREAKED HAVOC ON INDIGENOUS PEOPLES AND OUR OWN YOUNG PEOPLE SERVING IN THE MILITARY:
“These days, Sanders backs the provocation of Russia and agrees that the whistleblower Edward Snowden should stand trial. Sanders has called the late Hugo Chavez – a social democrat who won multiple elections in Venezuela – “a dead communist dictator.” “
BERNIE SANDERS JOINED DANIEL ELLSBERG AND OTHERS WHO WANT SNOWDEN PARDONED:
“Prominent activists, lawmakers, artists, academics, and other leading voices in civil society, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), are joining the campaign to get a pardon for National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower Edward Snowden.”
AND WRT HUGO CHAVEZ, I’M NOT ENDORSING BERNIE SANDERS’ TRITE COMMENT BUT LET’S AT LEAST RECOGNIZE THAT SANDERS MADE THAT COMMENT TO PUNCH BACK DURING THE PRIMARY AT A PRO CLINTON PAC THAT WAS RED- BAITING BOTH SANDERS AND CORBYN IN THE SAME BREATH BY ATTACKING THEM BOTH FOR WHAT THEY CALLED PRO CHAVEZ PRAISE:
Jan 4 2017:
“WASHINGTON — A super PAC backing Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is going negative, circulating an email that yokes her chief rival Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to some of the more controversial remarks made by Jeremy Corbyn, the United Kingdom’s new Labour Party leader, including his praise for the late Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan leader who provided discounted fuel to Vermont in a deal supported by Sanders.”
The horrors you describe, Mr. Pilger, must be shared with young people. And foreign policy must not be kept hidden any more.
Thanks for this piece.
I agree with some of your comments , however I want to add that looking at the pictures of Bernie Sanders with Hillary Clinton at that time, it did not look like a tortured embrace. It was real embrace. Bernie Sanders schmoozing with Chuck Shumer, doing all these outreach programs for The Democorp Party, under Schumer as the head, is the real Bernie Sanders. Schumer has been with the Wall Street Oligarchy all his life.
Bernie Sanders is a mole put in there to lead astray the young and the idealists – and others who want change. And a fake too like Barak Obama. We worked hard in Obama’s first campaign. We worked hard to get Clinton and Gore elected. Those two at young age with their resumes looked like the real thing. And for Kerry too that he would discontinue the Iraq war. We know what he did as a Secretary of State.
We have been fooled too many times. Enough is enough.
Thanks, Dave P.
I watched Bernie closely when he was with Clinton and later with Tom Perez and he appeared somewhat nauseous to me….maybe I was imagining it….
He said he thought Trump was worse than Clinton…..for what that’s worth……
I thought that if Clinton won she’d just put the country back to sleep through another few wars and at the same time demoralize the young people who Bernie inspired. So I thought Trump might be a disaster but he’d continue to expose the house of cards upon which the Republicans and Neoliberal Democrats had been fabricating their dangerously failing regime change wars and dangerously destabilizing deregulation of the financial markets while ignoring Climate Change.
Yeah, I was fooled by Obama – he turned out to be someone who bought into the existing, wrongheaded power structure.
When he didn’t close Guantanamo during his first 3 months, my husband gave up on him while I continued to make excuses for him, finally seeing the light that he was a smooth talking but disappointing centrist who continued to enable the big banks and the MIC to profit while they undermined working people and the environment and tore up the ME, while abiding bad trade deals and polluting pipelines.
My equivocating now wrt Bernie’s endorsement of Hillary and working with Schumer has to do with my confusion over whether it would have been better for Bernie to turn his back on the failed Neoliberal Democratic power structure and wander in the desert perhaps losing his soap box altogether along with his seniority in the Senate or to remain an Independent in “good” standing while trying to change the Democratic Party from within…..
It’s hard for me to figure out whether he’s actually making some headway doing that – he has, after all, helped open the window for others who are trying to push through a $15.00 minimum wage, Medicare for All option, negotiated prescription drug costs, and other progressive policies. He is getting to present these ideas on CNN and other shows where millions of people are exposed to them and perhaps most importantly he has inspired millions of young people to believe that they can run for office or make a difference in other ways by speaking out. I attended an “Our Revolution” forum recently for people running for Houston and Alief school boards in Harris county.
It was expertly run in Q&A format for 9 candidates running in 5 or 6 districts by a couple of “Our Revolution” young people. I learned a lot from the energetic candidates and met several people of all ages who still supported Bernie’s vision to develop progressive platforms at the grass roots level.
So – yes I was desperately disappointed that Bernie didn’t tell Hillary at the convention that if Nina Turner doesn’t speak Clinton can forget his endorsement.
I would have done that in a heart beat.
But I still ask myself – did Bernie decide he’d be cutting off his nose to spite his face? Did he really believe that if he stood on principle telling the Democrat Party to go fuck itself he’d be leading all the people he was fighting for into a desert wasteland?
I just don’t know.
I’m heartened that people who I trust to be dedicated to the public interest like Bill McGibbon, Nina Turner, Cornel West and others who may not have followed his Clinton endorsement but remain confident in Bernie’s commitment to what they view as the public interest….
I also keep reminding myself that remarkably, during the primary, there were lifelong Republican rural voters who say that they didn’t agree with all Bernie’s policies but voted for him because they trusted him and believed he was telling them the truth unlike the other leading Republicans and Hillary Clinton. That means something about the state of our politics – so divorced from salt of the earth people in this country who work hard and are being shafted.
So, I’m rooting for Bernie to get somewhere and to inspire a lot of young people who care about this country to stand up and push for change.
Sorry, but i’m also pretty disheartened over the way things are going and after thinking about this here I always seem to default to Randy Newman’s
“A Few Words in Defense of Our Country” 2008:
A Few Words in Defense of Our Country
I’d like to say a few words
In defense of our country
Whose people aren’t bad nor are they mean
Now the leaders we have
While they’re the worst that we’ve had
Are hardly the worst this poor world has seen
Let’s turn history’s pages, shall we?
Take the Caesars for example
Why within the first few of them
They were sleeping with their sister
Stashing little boys in swimming pools
And burning down the City
And one of ‘em, one of ‘em
Appointed his own horse Consul of the Empire
That’s like vice president or something
That’s not a very good example, is it?
But wait, here’s one, the Spanish Inquisition
They put people in a terrible position
I don’t even like to think about it
Well, sometimes I like to think about it
Just a few words in defense of our country
Whose time at the top
Could be coming to an end
Now we don’t want their love
And respect at this point is pretty much out of the question
But in times like these
We sure could use a friend
Men who need no introduction
King Leopold of Belgium. That’s right.
Everyone thinks he’s so great
Well he owned The Congo
He tore it up too
He took the diamonds, he took the gold
He took the silver
Know what he left them with?
A President once said,
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”
Now it seems like we’re supposed to be afraid
It’s patriotic in fact and color coded
And what are we supposed to be afraid of?
Why, of being afraid
That’s what terror means, doesn’t it?
That’s what it used to mean
[To the first eight bars of “Columbia The Gem Of The Ocean”]
You know it pisses me off a little
That this Supreme Court is gonna outlive me
A couple of young Italian fellas and a brother on the Court now too
But I defy you, anywhere in the world
To find me two Italians as tightass as the two Italians we got
And as for the brother
Well, Pluto’s not a planet anymore either
The end of an empire is messy at best
And this empire is ending
Like all the rest
Like the Spanish Armada adrift on the sea
We’re adrift in the land of the brave
And the home of the free
Goodbye. Goodbye. Goodbye.
People & Blogs
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It worked on Obama. It is working on Trump.
Corbyn may be made of sterner stuff. He didn’t give in to a lot that has gone on so far. But with that track record, of course they’ll try and have some expectation of success.
Mark Thomason, Corbyn caved in on Syria!
Since UK is the bellwether for the English-speaking Sheep Herd, and it’s governing class is the senior partner, in partnership with the governing class of USA, Canada, Australia, and NZ, staying in discreet communication with its membership via the “Five Eyes”, we can guess which way the political winds are going to blow, should Corbyn be given the PM position by the Governing Oligarchs of The City and The Street. As we get Thatcherism, we get Reaganism. As we get Blairite Labour, we Clintonian Democrats. Should we get Corbynian Labour, we shall get Sandernista Democrats. As the Tories embarrass themselves and diminish, so too will the Republicans embarrass themselves and diminish. Likewise the trend will flow through Canada, Australia and NZ, as per The Agenda pre-set in some Bilderberger meeting (the REAL Parliament of this trans-national governing class of oligarchs). Should get a Corbyn and a Sanders government, this will signal that a decision has been taken by the real government (as defined by Henry Luce [from EIR search box]), to put on more humane, more humanitarian clothes, and UKs long (imperial) quest for securing reliable supply of resources can be satisfied within the naturally more agreeable community of English-speakers, without the need for cloak&dagger, regime-change wars and such. After all, this governing class has command of two continents and two significant Island groups (North America, Australia, UK, NZ) which, when fully developed under the new governing ZeitGeist of the B&RI, shall provide plenty enough for comfortable and dignified living within this New CommonWealth of the Five, English-speaking Sisters, responsible and reliable members of the New Silk Road Era for the Planet, that we are now entering into. And the Centuries-old hatchet (of war between The American Republic and The British Empire) can finally be buried. This is what I see as what is REALLY going on, concerning the politics about a Corbyn government coming into power.
Sanders most certainly did NOT support the US invasion of Iraq, nor Libya, except that wasn’t an invasion.
Why is Pilger allowed to lie like this? I don’t know of a different term.
Is the point to destroy his credibility, Pilger’s?
“These days, Sanders backs the provocation of Russia and agrees that the whistleblower Edward Snowden should stand trial. Sanders has called the late Hugo Chavez – a social democrat who won multiple elections in Venezuela – “a dead communist dictator.””
Now this is all true, and if Pilger had stuck with these points he’d be credible.
But what he’s done is go off into the land of invention about Sanders, it’s very akin to many attacking Sanders from the left in comments sections of websites during the 2016 primary.
I’m surprised Consortium News allowed Pilger to tell such a big lie.
Jay, Pilger did NOT say Sanders supported the invasion of Iraq – re-read the relevant paragraph. As for Libya, I found this:
“Clinton shot back, ‘With all due respect, senator, you voted for regime change with respect to Libya. You joined the Senate in voting to get rid of Gaddafi, and you asked that there be a Security Council validation of that with a resolution.'”
In another article:
“I think it’s only fair to put on the record, Senator Sanders voted in the Senate for a resolution calling for ending the Gaddafi regime and asking that the UN be brought in,’ she [Hillary] said.”
Whatever the case, I’ve read what Sanders has said on the invasions, and he doesn’t tell people the truth about U.S. foreign policy, but paints a picture of the U.S. wanting to intervene for good reasons, but such an intervention might have unintended consequences, so best not to do anything right now, blah, blah, blah.
As for Libya not being invaded, then what were all those missiles doing entering Libya’s airspace – were they invited for a party of something?
Richard – good post. I agree.
Jay, here are the senators who did NOT approve the Iraq war, and Sanders is not among them.
* Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii)
* Jeff Bingaman (D-New Mexico)
* Barbara Boxer (D-California)
* Robert Byrd (D-West Virginia)
* Lincoln Chaffee (R-Rhode Island)
* Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota)
* Jon Corzine (D-New Jersey)
* Mark Dayton (D-Minnesota)
* Dick Durbin (D-Illinois)
* Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin)
* Bob Graham (D-Florida)
* Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii)
* Jim Jeffords (I-Vermont)
* Ted Kennedy (D-Massachusetts)
* Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont)
* Carl Levin (D-Michigan)
* Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland)
* Patty Murray (D-Washington)
* Jack Reed (D-Rhode Island)
* Paul Sarbanes (D-Maryland)
* Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan)
* The late Paul Wellstone (D-Minnesota)
* Ron Wyden (D-Oregon)
“I have always thought that Galloway was the great leader that Labour never had” — hear, hear.
“[Corbyn] has to battle on all fronts” — and particularly in virtue of the fact he is surely no Free Mason.
Corby has been in parliament for many years now (over 30 years I think) and he has always apposed wars and overseas adventures. In fact he has been a thorn in the side of the Labour party for years. He’s a bit like George Galloway, he says it as it is although Corbyn doesn’t have the command of language and great oratorical skills that Galloway has. I have always thought that Galloway was the great leader that Labour never had. If Corbyn ever does become prime minister it will be nothing short of a miracle. He has to battle on all fronts with never ending attacks on his person and ideas. It comes from the MSM and media, the Conservative party, the deep state (yes, we have one of those over here in the UK as well) other countries, but worst of all, from his own party. There are people in the Labour party (closet Tories) who would rather lose the next ten elections rather than see Corbyn win one election. Men and women with good honest ideas for the betterment of the people just don’t get elected. If they do they soon fall under the control of the deep state and other vested interest. As long as we have arms industries that form a a sizable chunk of the economy we will have wars. You can’t sell arms to countries that want to live in peace, so wars have to be fermented on any pretext.
“The Plot Against Harold Wilson, BBC 2006” – documentary
Teaser:- UK version of #Russiagate during the 1960s/1970s featuring collaboration between Angleton’s CIA and [de facto: Mountbatten’s] MI5 in a prospective UK coup d’etat intended to rout entirely notional Russia, Russia, Russia communist stooges — two of them, the socialist PM Harold Wilson and his loyal secretary Marcia Williams — with a smattering of sex, drugs, & rock’n’roll factored in as only appropriate.
The Beatles had it right….
“Living is easy with eyes closed
Misunderstanding all you see
It’s getting hard to be someone but it all works out
It doesn’t matter much to me”
Watching candidate rhetoric morph into establishment rule should not surprise any of us by now. I am becoming a firm believer that any elected president going into the Oval Office receives somekind of warning. It could be any Blackmail skeleton there is to bring out of the newly elected prez’s to it being his beer drinking brother, who knows. It could also be money at the end of the rainbow eight years as lapdog to the neoconservative strategy of world domination, or a unwillingly new president may get to serve a thousand days and get assassinated by a lone gunman.
Corbyn, like Sanders, will only be allowed to go so far. In fact Obama may in someways have already served as that model of liberal turned Drone Commander and Chief Tuesday Kill List Guy that’s what I do. Sometimes I think it’s the money and fame, and then there are times I think it’s all about scandal or blackmail. Yet, with Trump he could possibly survive all of those things….he’s Trump. That’s not an endorsement, that’s plain fact. Only I do believe Trump has now turned total military, and cop.
The question is, does all of this flipping Trump get Trump anymore liked inside the Beltway? Will the DC Corporatocracy finally come to accept President Orange? Is Pence going to look up the 25th Amendment? Or will Washington throw the Donald out in the name of Mueller? The last question I ponder is, will New York want him back?
Don’t Vote. Joe
Joe, I’m thinking that nothing has been as it appears for perhaps a generation now, but this current political/media environment “feels” different, possibly more desperate by TPTB and that is what John Pilger has always been good at presenting.
I see our current environment as kind of either/or; either some of these more popular candidates on both sides of the pond begin to deliver on their populist rhetoric, on political issues, or there will be a general collapse of the system as it is. The lies and obfuscation cannot continue forever.
Robert Parry’s honesty in reporting, and his timing on the selection of publishing this important piece remains exemplary…
It said, that all good things take time to mature, if that’s so, then let’s hope the turnover happens soon.
It’s good to see you posting Bob, because your absence is certainly missed. Joe
Yes, let’s hope that populists either begin to deliver or show themselves untrustworthy in high office despite fine progressive speeches. One wishes that their voting record could vet them, but few are elected who break ranks with the MIC/zionist/WallSt oligarchy that funds most campaigns.
Hopefully sites like CN can raise the disillusionment rate; a collapse of public confidence in the swamp may be imminent, and would be encouraging.
Corbyn is obviously walking a tightrope. It’s too early to say how much he would compromise, but it must be remembered that the press in the U.K. is controlled by neocons and neoliberals. Considering the alternatives it seems he is the best chance for the U.K to extricate itself from being the American lapdog on foreign policy.
A very good assessment on the state of Labour politics. You never mentioned the economy though. The UK is gorging on debt and expanding the money supply is the only continuing solution. It is indeed ingenious that capitalism has been able to find an alternative to hyperinflation in these circumstances – runaway asset inflation, which makes everyone who owns property think they are getting richer. All they are doing is absorbing new money which if not given a value through assets, would be worthless. Like any ponzi scheme, the early participants do of course become rich.
I usually resent the UK being referred to as GB, but it is true that Labour is not actually a UK wide party.
I think globally, things are rising above the nation state leaders.. bit coins are going to play a part. .. the middle east war theater outcome will have an input as China, Russia, Iran and others are emerging.. the people Arab, Black, Yellow, Red, White, and religion x believers have all experienced that every nation is controlled in banking, wealth, MIC, and that the social environment in which the governed are allowed to eat, breath and exist is controlled by propaganda, gate controlled access to education and permission only access to economic capital. up until now, success went only to those few authorized wealthy, everyone else was relegated to the wage financed bread line. Time and again agents of change have been elected and forced to sell out almost before the race begins. As Memoe says: probably the expected life span of a neoliberal warfare challenger is less than a few awkward months. Every non-elected, non-political everyday person now nows that.. no matter the intention just as soon as opposition candidates are elected; the elected encounters a closed door discussion about the long term future of their knees and legs with the old and neo cons.. and presto the promises become vapor. Neo liberals make history of rule breakers. How long the people of the globe will allow this to go on is the real question?
I think that is a very good summation of the problem. Once anyone with good intentions is elected, the forces of evil give them a “trip to the woodshed”, and their “promises become vapor”. The problems we face are so huge that it will take a massive uprising of the populace to bring any real change. As Jimi Hendrix said “when the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace”.
I hope Corbyn has a really tight personal security working for him. We all know what happened to leaders of his kind who challenged the neoliberal warfaring globalist agenda.
I agree. From such a distance and knowing so little about the situation in Britain, all I can do is examine headlines, and here is one such:
“As battle rages in UK Labour Party, Moshe Machover expelled after asserting ‘Anti-Zionism does not equal anti-Semitism'”
Even an 81-year-old Jewish guy can’t state the obvious. The UK Labor Party may be like the Democrats here – rotten to the core, and under the complete control of Israel.
British government – a nest of Evil. Arch-criminal abusers of humanity.
Maybe it’s “The System?”
ALL wars are about resources. Resources are need to feed the perpetual growth (on a finite planet) monster. It’s all coded in our DNA.
Thanks to Mr. Pilger for his depiction of the warmonger agenda of Sanders, and the moral reversal of Robin Cook on British arms sales involved in the genocide of East Timor, after a career of criticism of arms sales. Let us hope that Corbyn has more than platitudes as reasons to bring warmongers into his shadow cabinet.
Sanders has written a piece at CounterPunch in the last few days, attacking Russia (without evidence) and promoting Israel’s Mideast agenda (without mentioning Israel). His verbiage on the principles of liberalism is impeccable, but it is a lie. He is clearly another zionist warmonger we narrowly avoided, riding the coattails of domestic policy liberalism to make wars for his sectarian agenda. It is very much worth reading.
“Zionist warmonger”. And I take it that non-Zionist Jews don’t like them because they feel some sort of guilt by association thing? You all seem so adamant in your selective condemnation. Between the lines you are saying without these bastards we’d have a shot at a better world. This is narrow thinking at best, as history has clearly shown another group of bastards will quickly replace the ones you got rid of. So, maybe better the devil know. NO! NO! I hear from the idealists through the doors of the Church of the Perfect World, because this time around it’s different! We’ve made such great strides and progress in our humanity, etc., etc.! Meanwhile the History of the Twentieth Century looms up in the background as the most murderous 100 years in human history and only ended 16 years ago. Progress?
This is not to say I am advocating giving up hope. I am simply saying stop dreaming and come up with a viable plan that is not pie-in-the-sky. You can only sell that kind of fanciful philosophy during a good-times economy when most are feeling secure in their safe space. It won’t sell when the economy turns down and desperate people are looking for real answers. If liberal idealists – AND a healthy number of so-called moderate conservatives – don’t get their shit together, come the next Big Crunch the hardcore right wing will cut through you like a hot knife through butter. :)
The plan could actually be quite simple. Two things have historically never been realized, at least not in human societies based on division of labor: democracy and free markets.
Democracy has never even been intended to really be “rule of the people”. In ancient Greek, the demos consisted of male, rich people. Women, slaves, workers, peasants had no right to vote. Real-existing democracy, and especially this annoying horseplay called representative democracy, has been and is nothing but an extremely efficient form of plutocracy. With the advent of capitalism and industrialization they needed more skilled workers, yet with educated people a simple feudal “God-given” structure didn’t work anymore. Therefore, they granted us a few “rights”, “political parties” and “elections” combined with a massive mind manipulation machine (google: Tavistock, Edward L. Bernays, Walter Lippman) to continue their business as usual.
A real democracy can only work in small groups, like tribes of up to 150 people. Our human social intelligence, the result of the Stone Age, cannot handle more complex societies, we always end up with some sort of hierarchy, authority, elite, and thus exploitation and wars. We will need to have tools to let us overcome our lack of ability here. A real democracy in a modern world would thus not have a parliarment or congress, let alone political parties and representatives. All legislative procedure would come from the people on different local, regional, national, and even supranational levels. One citizen, one voice, regardless of his wealth. This just couldn’t be realized so far, because we didn’t have the technology to do so. With IT and AI we could achieve that. I’m still working on the concept, but I hope you get the idea.
And free markets? Well, that’s impossible in a debt money system. What we need is a full or free money system. The ideas for it have been laid out already by German and Austrian economists. Silvio Gesell was the first, methinks. The debt money system, in which money is created out of nothing by private banks, and in which the debt of many (including especially public debt) is always the wealth of a few, can never be free, because money supply is always artificially a tad too low. Hence the rat race, hence the perpetual competition, spirit crushing materialism and consumerism based on advertisement and mind manipulation, hence wars, hence surveillance, and all this greed, which is all nothing but the result of fear of poverty, the Lutheran and Calvinist core of debt money. That is why capitalism cannot work, and to overcome kaputalism should be our next evolutionary step. The concepts are already there, personally my favorite comes from Franz Hörmann, an economist from Vienna (I doubt his lectures are available in English though).
As long as private banking (fraud) is legal, as long as we have a debt money system, everything else doesn’t matter, things will remain the same, for money is like God: non-existent outside our silly imagination, yet it manifests itself in our actions. Nothing drives human action as much as money does, it’s even stronger than our drive for sex, love, or reproduction. Money/capital is an algorithm. So far, it is programmed to never be enough and with the necessity of perpetual growth. It’s cancer. But algorithms can be changed, and if we manage to change it (and along with it the whole philosophical, psychological, sociological, and even spiritual concept of money – down from “God” to a mere measure of abstract human interaction) and create the necessary software and infrastructure for both a new monetary system and a real democracy, humanity will be able to progress. If we don’t, we will either end up as the Borg (Silicon Valley’s wet dream), be replaced by robots (capitalism doesn’t need humans, only trade, and in the age of AI machines could do it alone), or enjoy our extinction moment in a quick nuclear blitz or a painful, long suffering under a crushing climate.
Sounds like pie in the sky? It isn’t, it’s actually quite simple and doable. We just need some savvy people, especially IT guys and the input from neurology and consciousness research, philosophy, sociology, psychology, law, etc. The problem is, only very few people are capable of thinking outside of the box. The current system, however, has absolutely nothing to offer for anything even remotely close to a solution. We need entirely new ideas. I have plenty, but I am not done drafting them properly.
We need to let go of hedonism and consumerism and replace it with what Nietzsche called the Übermensch, each one of us. Unfortunately I can only observe how people get dragged deeper and deeper into mainstream digital dementia.
While the idea of direct representation via internet is interesting, the claims against representative democracy have insufficient argument:
1. That historical limitation of representation to white males is inherent, despite the fact that it is no longer so limited;
2. That representation is inherently unworkable, merely noting that it is not now working due to economic influence;
3. That democracy only works in small groups without representatives, although it works in its clumsy way in many contexts and size ranges;
4. That representative democracy is necessarily a form of plutocracy, although it was not so before economic concentrations predominated after the US Civil War.
The reason for a Congress of representatives is to debate and resolve policy, which cannot be done by a meeting of more than a few hundred, and direct representation by internet does not resolve that problem.
The corruption problem, which has allowed Congress to become an instrument of plutocracy, does not arise necessarily from representation, but from corruption by bribes, and control of mass media by oligarchy. This can be prevented with constitutional amendments to restrict funding of elections and mass media to limited individual donations, and providing for monitoring of public officials and their relatives and associates throughout their lives. How we get those amendments is the problem.
Debate has seldom worked reasonably well in Congress for reasons other than size. Generally representatives are mere regional or factional demagogues, who would lead their factions similarly in a pure democracy, and they merely make speeches, manipulate, and fight, rather than thinking, sharing ideas, and resolving issues fairly.
Debate requires a separate institution, which I call a College of Policy Debate/Analysis, to textually debate among university experts of each major discipline, the status and policy options in each policy area and world region, producing debate summaries commented by all sides. Every viewpoint must be protected, heard, challenged, and the responses known. No consensus is forced or even sought. The debate summaries are to be made available via internet with mini-courses and separate public comment by those who pass a quiz.
In this manner the demagogue is readily kept within bounds, the issues cannot be obscured from the public, and the unpopular viewpoints which later prove true cannot be unheard.
Most citizens will not read debates or consider alternative views, no matter how accessible, inoffensive, and comprehensible. A dramatized in-person debate process based upon the textual debates, can educate many, but a small fraction will understand or care about alternative views.
Also, debate does not resolve policy among groups that disagree, based upon their interests, prejudices, and misunderstandings. A further process of bringing groups toward consensus is necessary, and this too must have a dramatized public-audience layer.
With public debate so organized, among representatives who cannot be bribed, Congress may be able to resolve policies that the people understand and approve.
Sergio, Very creative ideas! I’ve read Sam F’s as well, and It’s obvious that we need all the thinkers and variety of views we can get, all aimed at discovering a solution to the extraordinary difficulties we face today. Keep at it, and keep contributing here at CN.
Thank you Sergio for rising to the challenge of offering up solutions vs just finger pointing (of which there is far too much of going on on this site). And due credit should go to Sam F for adding his views to Sergio’s points. If all the commentors on this site follow suit, maybe you actually can come up with a plan that is not pie-in-the-sky. :)
As for the Zionists, if the detractors really believe Zionists are the major destabilizing influence in this world and not just another cog in the wheel vying for their own interests, I take issue with that sort of singular view of the problems we all face. In my opinion the dynamics of this world, along with the complexities of human nature, make for a far more muddied picture. If that makes me Zionist apologist, so be it. :)
Sergio,…thanks for you positive perspective and constructive reasoning. Some of the proposals you put forward are already in practice on a modest scale which can be observed in the Mondragon cooperatives in Spain’s Basque region.
Last year(May,2016) I had occasion to attend the Mondragon Seminar which I would recommend to everyone here who is interested in investigating an alternative to free market capitalism and doctrinaire socialism. The system has its own bank, 90% of the profits are reinvested in the local economy, executive compensation is regulated and displaced workers from a failing cooperative most often find jobs in other cooperatives. I described my visit in a post last year. It was combined with a visit to family and friends nearby so some of the details may not interest readers but I’ll put the link here for those that wish to know more.
There is the minor problem of those with entrenched “interests”, who would move heaven and earth… or perhaps raise hell might be more appropriate… to prevent genuine democracy and honest production and trade.
At this stage I suggest raising awareness among as many people as possible is a big but important step. There are too many people out there more interested in the results of the products and media they consume, or their house price – all controlled by the entrenched “interests” – than the abstract slavery they have accepted. Until there is a greater resistance to the mind control exerted by those with entrenched “interests” nothing will change. They get what they’ve got with our consent whether we realise it or not.
Saying “No” more often would be very effective. A very small but powerful word “No”!
thank you serjio. great comment and i enjoyed reading it.
Your criticisms are so irrational that they may be dismissed as propaganda. In particular you claim:
1. That one may not mention zionist warmongers because there may be something worse. Non sequitur.
2. That can be no progress in government because the twentieth century showed little. Non sequitur.
3. That one must not mention causes but instead present a plan. Non sequitur.
Clearly your intent was not to argue any point, but to fool someone. No one would be fooled by that nonsense. Others have noted that you are a zionist troll, as further evidenced by your comment. Here you must be rational.
The same response I wished to make. The internet is cutting into the zionist monopoly on societal perception management. Now society sees the zionist project in Palestine for what it is, and the zionist apologist keeps popping up again and again in this insidious game of whack a mole.
Sam F –
Excellent. Yes, I agree with all the ideas in your comments – on the representative democracy. It seems to me though that in the modern digital age, some of the ideas in Sergio Weigel’s comments can be added to your summary for policy making – in certain areas only.
Yes, Sergio’s suggestion of a direct-vote might be part of a polling process, incorporated into the policy consensus resolution process, to serve as a check upon other forces at work in consensus building.
A very valid assessment vis a vis today’s current events. The human spirit is almost forgotten in today’s consumer driven world and the proles are happy to dodge real life and the majority are self absorbed in keeping themselves “happy”. As for hope, well I am not an optimist and we all just may bear witness to this civilization’s vaporization.
Sam F – I completely agree with you on Sanders. He may – he will – turn out to be even much more dangerous than Barak Obama.