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The white-Left Part 1: The two meanings of white

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Rev. Dr. William Barber II [@RevDrBarber], please remove your name from this apology for the Trump-Putin white supremacy project

Dear Rev. Dr. William Barber II,

The Nation recently published an open letter with the title Common Ground: For Secure Elections and True National Security. I was greatly saddened to see that you are a signer to it, and so, I have been prompted to write this open letter to appeal to you to remove your name, least it becomes a distraction from your legacy. Please allow me to explain why.

Vladimir Putin isn't just the head of state of the Russian Federation, he is the leader of a transnational white supremacist movement with strong roots, not only in Russia, but also in many European countries and the United States. Neo-Nazis and white supremacists all over the world see Putin as their leader, Russia as the center of their movement, and a place where they hold power. That is why Richard Spencer called Russia the “sole white power in the world,” David Duke believes Russia holds the “key to white survival,” and the touch-bearing white supremacists in Charlottesville, chanted “Russia is our friend.” Matthew Heimbach, head of the white nationalist Traditionalist Worker Party, credits Putin with turning Russia into an “axis for nationalists.” American Renaissance editor Jared Taylor and Sam Dickson, Council of Conservative Citizens member and lawyer for the Ku Klux Klan, have also made pilgrims to St. Petersburg. Steve K. Bannon is another who looks to Putin for leadership of "the Judeo-Christian West." This support is returned as Russian propaganda sources promote Breitbart and other "Alt-Right" websites.

The Soviet Union under Stalin was a Russian supremacist state, so Putin was able to build on that Soviet-era virulent Russian nationalism. Another thing Putin inherited from his KGB days was intelligence services adept at weaponizing racism. Michael Hirsh, Politico, wrote about his rise:
Putin rose to power exploiting the sense of humiliation that Moscow's proud elites felt at the hands of the West after the Soviet Union collapsed in late 1991.
Much as Adolf Hitler had done in Germany after World War I, Putin was able to rise to power by harnessing that sense of humiliation, blaming it on "the others," while igniting a sense of superiority among "his" people, and a yearning to recapture imagined lost glory (MAGA), or territory, and then using that to build a nationalist movement to propelled himself to something like absolute power.

Local variations of this new ultra-nationalist, or white supremacist, movement have been growing rapidly in Europe and the United States in recent years, and seriously contending for state power. In France, a Russian-owned bank helped to finance the far-right Le Pen campaign in 2014. In Hungary, Putin took the Nazi-like Jobbik party under his wing. Now the extreme-right governments of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and President Andrzej Duda in Poland are becoming more anti-immigrant, talking about "Europe's Christian roots," and cozying up to Putin. In the Netherlands, anti-immigration politician Geert Wilders is demanding a "Nexit" vote. He is also a Putin fan. Breitbart promoted his campaign. This challenge is serious, in December, Austria became the first European country to bring a far-right government into power; its young new chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, is also a Putin fan.

These white nationalists see themselves as part of an international movement, and the ideological father of this reaction is Kremlin ideologue Alexander Dugin. He has been called "Putin's brain," he might even be called "Putin's Bannon." Dugin, for his part, hailed Trump as "the American Putin." Richard Spencer is a US follower of Dugin; so is Steve Bannon. Trump's "Drain the Swamp" mantra is very much an Alexander Dugin-Richard Spenser thing. Newsweek described Dugin as:
a Russian ultranationalist and former adviser to Sergei Naryshkin, a key member of Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party who was appointed Russian foreign intelligence chief in 2016.
That same year, this movement played a very big role in putting one of their own, Donald Trump, into the White House, and as the Robert Mueller investigation is beginning to show, this neo-fascist movement didn't just support the Trump candidacy in ideological or spiritual terms, but also in very concrete, and often illegal, material ways. This foreign support didn't just come from Russia, but from other European "Alt-Right" forces as well, most notably in Britain. His candidacy was part of their project, but, of course, Russia is where they hold power, so it did the heavy lifting.

The reason Trump seemed so obsequious towards Putin after the summit probably has a lot more to do with their relative positions in the white supremacist hierarchy than it does with any blackmail evidence Putin may be holding over him.

Now that Trump has gained the presidency of the United States, he has wasted little time in paying it forward. He used his most recent European trip to promote their white supremacist agenda. That agenda includes tearing down NATO and the EU, to the benefit of Russia, and undermining more liberal governments, to the benefit of their most extreme right-wing contenders. These are not isolated local struggles; we are dealing with a coordinated, worldwide effort to re-assert white supremacy - and Russia is HQ. Just look at how he did this with regards Britain and Germany on his recent trip. Those interested in seeing Trump and Putin get along well, should be delighted with the unity they showed on Trump's recent European tour.

With regards to Britain: Donald Trump was most outspoken and direct about his racism when interviewed by The Sun, a British newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, as is Fox News in the US. He said:
“I think what has happened to Europe is a shame.

“Allowing the immigration to take place in Europe is a shame.

“I think it changed the fabric of Europe and, unless you act very quickly, it’s never going to be what it was and I don’t mean that in a positive way.

“So, I think allowing millions and millions of people to come into Europe is very, very sad.

“I think you are losing your culture. Look around. You go through certain areas that didn’t exist ten or 15 years ago.”
In Europe, he wasn't railing against illegal immigration, he was opposing all immigration on racial grounds. He was as much as saying it would be a shame if Europe was any less "white." He also supported Brexit, a project largely promoted by white nationalists and fueled by fear of immigrants. But it wasn't just with words that he promoted white supremacy in Britain. In that same interview he created instability for PM Theresa May's government by warning that because she failed to follow his Brexit advise, a favorable trade deal with the US is unlikely. The Sun was blunt; they called his comments, "damaging to the Prime Minister." He also attacked Sadiq Khan, the Muslim Mayor of London, and said nationalist leader and chief Brexit promoter Boris Johnson would make "a great Prime Minister"

When US President Barack Obama supported the Remain side of the Brexit vote, Johnson said the president had an "ancestral dislike of the British empire," and called his views on the EU "incoherent ... inconsistent and ... downright hypocritical." Seeming to support Trump's "birther" conspiracy theory, he called Obama a "part-Kenyan president," even though on another occasion he referred to Africa as "that country." Members of the opposition Labour Party were furious at what they called his "dog-whistle racism."

As UK Foreign Minister at the time of the Russian-backed Syrian government chemical weapons attack at Khan Sheikhoun, 6 April 2017, he was accused of failing to win G7 backing for new sanctions to penalize Syria and Russia, apparently, because he didn't push for them. In 2016, Boris Johnson earned the title of "Putin apologist" after he blamed the EU for the Ukraine war, just as last week Trump blamed bad relations with Russia on the US.

Nigel Farage told Andrew Neil on his interview show This Week that Trump's rejection of Theresa May's Brexit strategy was his idea, saying “We’ve had the odd chat about it.” Farage was the leader of the racist Ukip party. He is also famous for his racist tropes, and calling for the return of legalized racial discrimination. Trump has said he would make a great UK ambassador. He campaigned for Trump in 2016 and has "deep and well-documented relationships with Russia." He also shares Trump's adulation of Putin. The AP reported:
Nigel Farage has named Vladimir Putin as the world leader he most admires, praising the Russian president's handling of the crisis in Syria.

But the Ukip leader had less kind words for Angela Merkel, describing the German chancellor as "incredibly cold."
He is also a paid pundit on Fox News, on “Fox & Friends” Monday, Farage attacked the "establishment" for "continuing to claim President Donald Trump colluded with Russia," according to the Daily Caller. He also used the need for better relations with Russia, the core argument of the Common Ground statement, to attack both the anti-Brexit and anti-Trump movements:
“Maybe we can start to have a more sensible relationship because at the moment what we’ve got is we’ve got the establishment blaming Brexit and the Trump election on Russia collusion, without an ounce of evidence, and it’s up to Trump to show the world that we don’t need to make things worse with Russia.”
In an earlier appearance on Fox News, he suggested Americans should ignore white nationalism because Islamic terror exists. Farage hopes to meet with Trump when he visits Washington, DC today. All of these people see themselves as part of an international movement.

Last November, the Electoral Commission announced an investigation into “the true source of donations” to Leave campaigners. There are indications that Russia intervened in the Brexit vote on the Leave side by using many of the same techniques it used in the 2016 US elections. Those included the use of botnets and DDOS attacks to cause the collapse of voter registration websites and social media manipulation.

The “London professor” that spied on George Papadopoulos and his Russian connections for the FBI circled in an orbit around FM Boris Johnson, and Nigel Farage carried on his relationship with Julian Assange while WikiLeaks was publishing the stolen DNC emails, slipping into the Ecuadorian embassy to meet with him. Many believe he was the conduit between Assange and Russia. So, it turns out that much of this Russian supported white nationalism has a London end.

With regards to Germany: During a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel last week, Trump bashed Germany for “being captive to Russia,” and “totally controlled by Russia.” In an interview with Tucker Carlson on Fox News Tuesday, Trump attacked Merkel's humanitarian policy towards Syrian war refugees, saying:
“Angela was a superstar until she allowed millions of people to come into Germany. That really hurt her badly, as you know. She was unbeatable in any election. She allowed millions of people to come in. . . . She has been very badly hurt by immigration.”
Merkel's center-right Christian Democratic Union party is facing a growing challenge from Alternative for Germany (AfD), which promised to ban all mosques and criminalize wearing the veil. Russia has been providing financial support to AfD leaders, they in turn, applauded Trump's victory. During a joint news conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Ellesborough, England, earlier Trump also talked about the wave of immigration caused by war and destitution:
“I think it’s a very negative thing for Europe. I think it’s very negative, and I know it’s politically not necessarily correct to say that, but I’ll say it and I’ll say it loud.”
Then he went after Angela Merkel in particular:
“I have a great relationship with Angela Merkel, but I think that’s very much hurt Germany. I think it’s very much hurt other parts of Europe.”
Rev. William Barber II, we didn't just face Russian interference in our election, we faced foreign white supremacist interference in our election. When they say Trump is "playing to his base," we should understand that to include this international audience too. As the very timing of the DNC email releases showed, that interference was never designed to help Bernie Sanders win, it was designed to help Donald Trump win. Do you think it any accident that Maria Butina, the Russian agent just arrested by the FBI, choice to build her "influence network" in the Republican Party through the NRA? She was seeking to build ties with the most racist Americans.

The Washington Post has "reported recently that Russia-backed entities spent at least $100,000 on Facebook ads designed to pit white, Trump-leaning Americans against Black Lives Matter activists and minorities in general." They have done worst in Europe. Terrell Jermaine Starr, a senior reporter at The Root, wrote in the WPost:
While the White House, whose policy of white supremacy dominates its domestic and foreign affairs, may be the Kremlin’s adversary (or, at least, theoretically), Russia and the United States are ultimately peers in their supremacist outlooks.
Rev. William Barber II, is this the sort of "unity" you seek to promote on the world stage?

Of course, the Common Ground open letter you signed speaks of none of these things. It concerns itself only with questions of war and peace, not the ultra-nationalist movements that have brought wars in the past or threatens the peace now. Its main concern is the threat of nuclear holocaust that has hung over the world for the last 60 years, nuclear war between Russia and the United States, so I will now address this:

For a number of reasons, the Soviet Union felt it had to match a growing US nuclear arsenal during the cold war period. Perhaps the enormous losses of  World War II left them wary of falling behind. But now the Soviet Union is no more. Putin and his post-Soviet cronies partialed out the major components of Soviet system among their friends, making themselves billionaires and oligarchs in the process, but they kept the Soviet nuclear missile capability for the Russian state. Now, Putin is trying to "weaponize" that awesome destructive power into political power on the world stage by using it to claim equality with the United States in the number of times over it can destroy the world, even while it has an economy about 10% of the US economy, more or less equal to that of New Jersey. That is where the core proposition of the Common Ground statement comes from, it argues the United States, as represented by Donald Trump, who has exclusive control of the US nuclear arsenal, must find an undefined "common ground" with Vladimir Putin, who presumably has a similar level of control over the Russian nuclear arsenal.

Since the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and on through the cold war, the US and Soviet governments have represented very different ideologies, capitalism and socialism. There was no question of finding common ground, and yet the world survived. The universal demand for co-existence, and no first use of nuclear weapons, proved to be enough to avoid nuclear holocaust for 70 years. In that time, millions of people have been slaughtered, disproportionately in places one prominent American racist referred to as "shithole countries." None have been killed with nuclear weapons, rather they have been slaughtered conventionally with the active support of at least one of what the letter refers to as "the world’s two nuclear superpowers" and the forbearance of the other. Today, when both Russia and the US are represented by white nationalists, the demand for greater cooperation has a very dangerous side.

Now that I have done something to establish the context that the open letter is silent on, we can begin to look at the letter itself, but before proceeding to that, I would like to read into the record what Casey Michel of the Daily Beast had to say about the letter's sponsor, and two of your fellow signers:
The Nation’s coverage of Russian affairs is a national embarrassment. RT is a website that hosts neo-Nazis as “expert” commentators. Yet that does not stop The Nation from publishing whataboutist articles in defense of the propaganda channel; articles pushing the same argument, with the exact same headlines, as those found in white-nationalist publications.

The Nation’s crop of Russia watchers have lately busied themselves by lending credence to the autonomy referendums in eastern Ukraine, thus legitimizing illegal and neo-imperialist land-grabs, or notions that the entire Ukrainian crisis was “instigated by the West’s attempt… to smuggle [Ukraine] into NATO.”

That these views bizarrely mesh with those of Trump and his Breitbart-friendly advisers is perhaps another oddity of an age of ideological psychosis. Stephen Cohen, The Nation’s lead Russia analyst (and husband of the magazine’s editor in chief and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel), has even been endorsed by David Duke and the wife of white-nationalist Richard Spencer {his wife, Nina Byzantina, translates Dugin's works into English - Clay}, the intellectual godfather of the pro-Trump “alt-right,” as a rare voice of sanity when it comes to U.S.-Russian relations.
I would also note that Stephen F. Cohen was on Fox News Monday, after Trump's summit with Putin. He told Tucker Carlson that Russia should be closer to the US because it "has more in common with the United States, it's a Christian country..." 

On Tuesday, Katrina vanden Heuvel was on Democracy Now, asking "How do we resolve Ukraine?" She sounded like those asking, "How do we resolve Vietnam?" at a time when others were demanding that the US simply "Get Out of Vietnam!" She discussed the summit and pitched the open letter. She and host Amy Goodman talked about "isolationists roots" and "authoritarian" leaders, but they mentioned none of the above, not the racism, not the white nationalism, or any nationalism, not the white supremacy that ties it all together. They didn't even mention immigration, the issue at the forefront of fascist base-building worldwide currently. Later, Amy did a segment on Boots Riley.

Now to the Open Letter, line-by-line:
Many Americans remain deeply concerned about reports of Russian interference with the 2016 election.
Any common ground must be based on facts. Unfortunately, fascist-minded rulers like Trump and Putin have little regard for them. We can't allow their denials to cloud our vision. Russian election interference has been happening, not only in the United States, but also in Europe, and everywhere it has been to install white supremacist regimes. We will not insure peace by accepting Putin's denials.
Meanwhile, relations between the United States and Russia are at their lowest and most dangerous point in several decades.
This simply isn't true, although this is what Putin would like us to believe because it means we focus on the threat of nuclear war, which means we focus on the power of two men above all else. The truth is, apart from a few "shows of force" in Syria, the two nuke commanders have never been closer.
For the sake of democracy at home and true national security, we must reach common ground to safeguard common interests—
It remains unclear as to who is supposed to be sharing this common ground. Only the United States and Russia are mentioned. Is it because both Trump and Putin each control nuclear arsenals that can destroy the world many times over? Is it common ground between these two white nationalist leaders that you are petitioning for?
taking steps to protect the nation’s elections
How is this a common interest with Russia? Russia doesn't hold free and fair elections, and interferes with those in many other countries, including the US.
and to prevent war between the world’s two nuclear superpowers.
This is the core fear this open letter hopes will drive our activities. Putin brandishes the threat of nuclear holocaust because it is only in the area of nuclear weapons, and only because of their destructive power, that Russia can be called a superpower. Economically, it is less significant than Italy.
Whatever the truth of varied charges that Russia interfered with the election,
Once again, there is undeniable evidence that the Russian Federation has interfered in the elections in the United States, and 26 other countries since 2004. No just and lasting peace can be built on the acceptance of this type of interference in the free elections of any country by any imperialist power.
there should be no doubt that America’s digital-age infrastructure for the electoral process is in urgent need of protection.
There is every reason to doubt this throw-away line. America's network security is the best in the world. Even so, it can always get better and it can always be hacked, particularly by state actors with unlimited resources, but much of the current electoral process is still paper-based and impervious to Internet hacking.

On the other hand, Putin's attack on our 2016 elections had many elements, and while it remains unclear what is meant by "America’s digital-age infrastructure for the electoral process," it must be remembered that the Russian assault on our election involved many other elements including creating fake social media accounts, posting phony political ads, creating phony organizations, calling phony rallies, directly colluding with the Trump campaign, and throwing a lot of support behind the Jill Stein campaign to help Trump win.
The overarching fact remains that the system is vulnerable to would-be hackers based anywhere.
This statement is either always true, or it is nonsense. Would-be hackers, by definition, can't hack anything anywhere until they become hackers. Overarching is hyperbole, I thought the danger of nuclear war was overarching. Only those with little real understanding of hacking think that what was done by a state organization with unlimited resources could have also been done by "somebody sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds." That kind of thinking is based on imagination, not real world experience.
Solutions will require a much higher level of security for everything from voter-registration records to tabulation of ballots with verifiable paper trails.
The main thrust of the attacks Putin launched against our electoral system in 2016 were much the same as those he has carried out in Europe. They were not against voter-registration and voting systems so much as about fake ads, stealing private data and weaponizing it, creating false organizations, publications, social media accounts, financial contributions to 3rd party diversionary campaigns, etc.
As a nation, we must fortify our election system against unlawful intrusions as well as official policies of voter suppression.
This purposely confuses two very different things tied together only by a focus on "our election system." Given the level of cybercrime, state initiated and otherwise, we must fortify all our "digital-age infrastructure" against unlawful intrusion, not just electoral systems. A breach of the security of a nuclear site could be disastrous, but no worries, ours is the best in the world and great people are working on it.

Voter suppress is something else, and includes many issues like redistricting, felony voter exclusion, voter ID requirements, etc., areas far afield from cyber security.
At the same time, the US and Russian governments show numerous signs of being on a collision course.
Where is this coming from? Our president just called the EU "a foe," and Russia a foe "in some respects." Russia has been carrying out an aggressive foreign policy that has put it on a collusion course with many countries. It has propped up the murderous Assad regime in Syria, even while it has been the combined forces under Russian military control that have been responsible for most of the half million dead. Russia annexed Crimea, and is trying to wipe out Crimea's Tatars, and invaded Ukraine and has been carrying out an imperialist war of aggression there. It shot down a passenger jet [MH-7] and killed another 298 civilians while carrying out this war. It has used prohibited poisons to kill its enemies outside of Russia, and as documented earlier, it has interfered in the internal politics of many countries.

We should also address two recent cases where the US and Russian governments may have appeared to be on a collision course. The first was Trump's cruise missile barrage of 6 April 2017 after the Assad regime chemical weapons attack on Khan Sheikhoun. This was widely trumpeted as a bold strike, but later analysis showed that it was carried out with Russian cooperation to look like a credible response without doing much damage. Two days after the attack, Bill Palmer wrote "Syria gas attack and Donald Trump’s military response don’t add up – unless Putin orchestrated it."

Another notable clash came in February of this year when US forces near Deir Ezzor killed as many as 200 Russian mercenaries from the Wagner Group. Putin uses private Russian military contractors for their deniability. There are many mysterious things about this incident, and some have wondered if the US military wasn't being used to discipline the Wagner Group. Maxim Borodin, a Russian investigative journalist who was investigating this story died after falling from the balcony of his apartment in western Siberia just a few weeks after publishing an exposé about the Wagner group and this incident. Putin's government declared there was no foul play. Russia is a very difficult place to be a journalist in. I hope the need to find common ground doesn't mean a need to curtain our criticism of the suppression of free press in Russia.
Diplomacy has given way to hostility and reciprocal consular expulsions, along with dozens of near-miss military encounters in Syria
I find it sad that this statement shows no concern for what is being done to Syrians on the ground by all the air forces bombing them. It's only apparent concern is what an accident between the competing killers might mean for us.
and in skies above Europe.
Is this a reference MH17 to the airliner Russia shot down? Have there been any others?
Both sides are plunging ahead with major new weapons-development programs. In contrast to prior eras, there is now an alarming lack of standard procedures to keep the armed forces of both countries in sufficient communication to prevent an escalation that could lead to conventional or even nuclear attack. These tensions are festering between two nations with large quantities of nuclear weapons on virtual hair-trigger alert; yet the current partisan fixations in Washington are ignoring the dangers to global stability and, ultimately, human survival.
It's pretty clear that "current partisan fixations" is code for the Russian probe and fight against the Trump cabal, in other words, the fight against the takeover of our country by a transnational white supremacist gang. The argument seems to be that those waging this struggle need to be mindful of the reality that precisely those who they are struggling against, Trump and Putin, control 90% of the world's nuclear weapons and are building more all the time.
The United States should implement a pronounced shift in approach toward Russia.
It would appear that Trump is already doing that. It is a pronounced shift to the right, in the direction of white supremacy. That is the "common ground" Trump and Putin are developing. Rev. William Barber II, is that the common ground you want to see developed?
No political advantage, real or imagined, could possibly compensate for the consequences if even a fraction of US and Russian arsenals were to be utilized in a thermonuclear exchange. The tacit pretense that the worsening of US-Russian relations does not worsen the odds of survival for the next generations is profoundly false. Concrete steps can and must be taken to ease tensions between the nuclear superpowers.
A cynic might conclude that the real object of this "Common Ground" campaign is to build left-wing support for the lifting of US sanctions, something Putin and his pals want very badly, and Trump has promised.

Finally, the position championed by this open letter is that no freedoms, real or imagined, could possibly compensate for the damage that could be done by the two masters of nukes. I, for one, reject that capitulation. I will continue to fight this fascist and white supremacist trend, even though it be on the rise, even if some of its leaders have nuclear arms. I believe to do otherwise will truly be the death of humanity.

Therefore, Rev. Dr. William Barber II, I beg you to join me by removing your name from this apology for the Trump-Putin white supremacy project.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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Redirect to: Rev. Dr. William Barber II, please remove your name from this apology for the Trump-Putin white supremacy project

I apologize for the inconvenience, but please read the post here:

Rev. Dr. William Barber II, please remove your name from this apology for the Trump-Putin white supremacy project

Monday, July 16, 2018

Glenn Greenwald, Do you want to see white supremacists rule the world?

Clearly, Putin has made Trump an offer he can't refuse.
On Democracy Now today, Glenn Greenwald said:
Yes, it’d be great if we had better leaders, but the leaders of the countries that have 90 percent of the nuclear stockpile happen to be Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. That’s not going to change. So the question is not “Do we wish we had better leaders?” The question is “Do we want these two countries trying to talk and resolve their differences peacefully, or do we want them isolating one another and feeling besieged and belligerent and attacked, which heightens all the tensions that Joe has devoted his career to combating?” 
This guy is really slick!

No Glenn Greenwald, the question is: Do we want these two white supremacists with nuclear weapons collaborating to dominate the world?

He calls them leaders! I would advise all to follow neither of Greenwald's "leaders"

Joe Cirincione missed the point when he responded:
Glenn is right: Russia alone is a small country, economy about the size of Italy, less organized than Italy’s economy. It’s strong on a periphery. It’s not a global threat. But this stuff? This cyberwarfare? This is a threat to us, and it’s only going to get worse, unless we fight back, unless we take the kinds of steps we need to protect our country. President Trump is not only not doing that, he’s actively cooperating with Putin to promote these kinds of attacks on democracies all over the world.
Its not just cyberwarfare that is the problem, it is cyberwarfare and every other type of warfare now being mobilized in support of a worldwide white nationalist project that sees Vladimir Putin as its leader, and now has Donald Trump in control of the United States executive branch.

Notice how Democracy Now artfully side-stepped this crucial aspect of the question? The closest pass was Greenwald's mention of something he called "a resurgent “alt-right” throughout Europe." Can we say racism? Can we say white supremacy? What is "alt-right" anyway? Merriam-Webster gives us the conservative definition:
: a right-wing, primarily online political movement or grouping based in the U.S. whose members reject mainstream conservative politics and espouse extremist beliefs and policies typically centered on ideas of white nationalism
Even Merriam-Webster has to finally concede the point that Wikipedia gets to straight away:
The alt-right, or alternative right, is a loosely-connected and somewhat ill-defined[1] grouping of white supremacists/white nationalists, neo-Nazis, neo-fascists, neo-Confederates and other far-right[2][3][4] fringe hate groups.[5][6]
Where did Greenwald's term come from? Wikipedia is helpful there to:
White supremacist[29] Richard B. Spencer initially promoted the term in 2010 in reference to a movement centered on white nationalism and according to the Associated Press did so to disguise overt racism, white supremacism, neo-fascism and neo-Nazism.[30][31][32]
I highly recommend you be very distrustful of any who uses the term "alt-right" to hide the true nature of this virulent Euro-US white supremacists power grab that is the real clear and present danger to the peace and security of the planet.

My post "summit" comment:
Clearly, Putin has made Trump an offer he can't refuse. We just don't know what it is yet.
And BTW, a handler debriefing his joe (which always happens in a private meeting) is not a summit.

See also: Glenn Greenwald finds a tree missing, declares no forest exists!

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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Click here for a list of our other blogs on Syria
Click here for a list of our other blogs on Libya

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Mueller indictment backs July 2016 post on DNC "WikiLeaks" email dumps

On the heels of the 2016 Democratic National Convention, I posted a blog that raised a number of suspicions about what was then being called "the WikiLeaks DNC email dump." In a blog post titled Timing is everything - Why were WikiLeaks DNC emails released now?, 31 July 2016, I wrote:
While there has been a lot of speculation as to the source of the WikiLeaks DNC email dump, with mounting evidence that state-sponsored Russian hackers did it with an eye toward helping Donald Trump getting into the White House, less attention has been paid to the question of when this hack was done.

Obviously, the release, coming only 48 hrs before the start of the convention has had a major disruptive influence. As WikiLeaks leader and founder Julian Assange put it in an interview with Richard Engels of NBC News, this email dump is "now up-ending the DNC as we speak." He noted that because of what they call 'Hilary Leaks', “the very top of the Democratic party, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, is now being forced to resign.” There is no question that the release of these documents after a long nominating process has been completed, but days before it is to be consummated, has disturbed the Democratic National Convention and given an advantage to Donald Trump.
I then asked the question, that has now been answered with a high degree of specificity by the Mueller indictment of twelve Russian GRU operatives:
So when did this hack take place and why is it being released only now?
To show when the hack was most likely done, I listed the seven accounts known to be hacked, and my conclusions based on an analysis of the hacked material:
An examination of the dump shows that the last email from each of the seven accounts was dated May 24th or May 25th:

AccountEmail ID#Time/Date
Communications Director Luis Miranda (10770 emails)30142016-05-25 00:42:48
National Finance Director Jordon Kaplan (3797 emails)32562016-05-25 12:03:21
Finance Chief of Staff Scott Comer (3095 emails)197812016-05-25 12:48:34
Finanace Director of Data Daniel Parrish (1472 emails)209632016-05-25 12:10:00
Finance Director Allen Zachary (1611 emails)30142016-05-25 00:42:48
Senior Advisor Andrew Wright (938 emails)161502016-05-24 18:55:10
N. CA Finance Dir. Robert (Erik) Stowe (751 emails)174152016-05-24 14:02:51
So there is no question that this data was captured on or after May 25th, and since these are people who use these email accounts every day, it is hard not to conclude that this hack was done before emails on or after May 26th could be captured. It would appear that this data capture, whether by leak or hack, took place on or about May 25th.
Now we have learned from the Mueller indictment:
Between on or about May 25, 2016 and June 1, 2016, the Conspirators hacked the DNC Microsoft Exchange Server and stole thousands of emails from the work accounts of DNC employees. During that time, ERMAKOV researched PowerShell commands related to accessing and managing the Microsoft Exchange Server. 30. On or about May 30, 2016, MALYSHEV accessed the AMS panel in order to upgrade custom AMS software on the server. That day, the AMS panel received updates from approximately thirteen different X-Agent malware implants on DCCC and DNC computers.
The indictment also includes this table of eight DNC victims of email hacking:

If the dates in this table indicate the date of first offense, or the day they were first hacked, six of these eight may be in my list above. It might be interesting to find more about that.

I speculated the the emails were released almost two months after they were hacked because they were meant to help Trump against Clinton, not Bernie Sanders against Clinton:
Imagine the difference it could have made had these hacked emails had been released within a week after the last ones stolen? That would have been before the primaries in California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Dakota and South Dakota were held. Bernie Sanders won two of those and Hillary Clinton won four including California. Would she have done as well if these emails were public knowledge then? What if Debbie Wasserman Schultz has been dismissed as DNC chair at the beginning of June instead of now? We very likely would be experiencing a very different Democratic National Convention now. The very timing of the WikiLeaks release shows it was not done to defend democracy but only to further manipulate the process. This release certainly wasn't timed to help Bernie Sanders, it was timed to help Donald Trump.

Julian Assange hasn't just been silent as to the source of these emails. He also hasn't said when WikiLeaks got hold of them.
The Mueller report also filled in some of the blanks with regards to how these emails went from the Russian GRU to WikiLeaks [Organization 1], and why they took so long to be released:
47. In order to expand their interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, the Conspirators transferred many of the documents they stole from the DNC and the chairman of the Clinton Campaign to Organization 1. The Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, discussed the release of the stolen documents and the timing of those releases with Organization 1 to heighten their impact on the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
a. On or about June 22, 2016, Organization 1 sent a private message to Guccifer 2.0 to “[s]end any new material [stolen from the DNC] here for us to review and it will have a much higher impact than what you are doing.” On or about July 6, 2016, Organization 1 added, “if you have anything hillary related we want it in the next tweo [sic] days prefable [sic] because the DNC [Democratic National Convention] is approaching and she will solidify bernie supporters behind her after.” The Conspirators responded, “ok . . . i see.” Organization 1 explained, “we think trump has only a 25% chance of winning against hillary . . . so conflict between bernie and hillary is interesting.”

b. After failed attempts to transfer the stolen documents starting in late June 2016, on or about July 14, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, sent Organization 1 an email with an attachment titled “wk dnc link1.txt.gpg.” The Conspirators explained to Organization 1 that the encrypted file contained instructions on how to access an online archive of stolen DNC documents. On or about July 18, 2016, Organization 1 confirmed it had “the 1Gb or so archive” and would make a release of the stolen documents “this week.” 48.
On or about July 22, 2016, Organization 1 released over 20,000 emails and other documents stolen from the DNC network by the Conspirators. This release occurred approximately three days before the start of the Democratic National Convention. Organization 1 did not disclose Guccifer 2.0’s role in providing them. The latest-in-time email released through Organization 1 was dated on or about May 25, 2016, approximately the same day the Conspirators hacked the DNC Microsoft Exchange Server.
Like I said, the DNC Microsoft Exchange Server was hacked on 25 May 2016! I could have told you that almost two years ago. Oh, I did!

The final point I made in that blog post was that Julian Assange and Wikileaks had some cuplability even if everything they said about their role was true:
There is another aspect of the WikiLeaks DNC email dump that is very likely to have partisan results that favor Donald Trump. In the past WikiLeaks has been careful to redact identifying information about those not their targets. Not so in this case. This data dump contains not just the email addresses of its seven targets but the undisguised email addresses of everyone they corresponded with. So in addition to making public the inter-workings of the DNC, WikiLeaks has also made public the private email addresses of hundreds, if not thousands of DNC employees and supporters. This is an open invitation to mischief. The disruptive possibilities of this list of email addresses is enormous. Even if Russian hackers had nothing to do with this email dump, as Assange claims, they will have a lot of fun with this list.
In October 2016, I published another blog about the curious timing of 7 October the "WikiLeaks" Podesta email dumps in a post titled: Was Wikileaks dump a diversion from Trump Super Predator revelations?, 13 October 2016, in that post I note:
There's an old cop saying: Never believe in coincidence. For example, it is almost certainly no accident that this tape got leaked days before the second debate. A little after 20:00 UTC on Friday 7 October 2016, the Washington Post released a lewd Trump tape that threatens to rock the Republican campaign to its core.

Less than an hour later, at 20:32 UTC Wikileaks released the first 2050 of well over 50000 emails from Clinton Campaign Chairman John Podesta.
View image on Twitter

This tweet was followed it quick succession by 20 others detailing revelations about the Clinton campaign from the released emails. Obviously this release had to have been planned well in advance. There is no question that it was a lucky break for the Trump campaign that this story broke just when they badly need a distraction from the lewd tape story.

Was it just fortuitous?
I also made note of RT's [Russia Today] quick line-up pattern on this story. They were the first media outlet to report on it, just 13 minutes after the dump. This latest Mueller indictment also alleges that these emails came from a Russian GRU hack:
49. On or about October 7, 2016, Organization 1 released the first set of emails from the chairman of the Clinton Campaign that had been stolen by LUKASHEV and his co-conspirators.
This treachery coming from WikiLeaks and Julian Assange is a little bit personal. I have had my own links to the Wikileaks organization in the past. I was a Wikileak associate journalist-researcher on the Strafor GIF and the Syria Files. I also was a staff writer for WL Central (An endorsed WikiLeaks resource). You can still see my WL Central posts from the beginnings of the Arab Spring on through the Occupy Wall St. Movement (Which WLC helped to spawn), here, although they have let its SSL certificate expire.

UPDATE ALREADY! While going over this post one last time for spelling and grammar errors, I became distracted by something else I caught wind of: In the Mueller narrative leading up to the pre-DNC convention email release, I think a tension between WikiLeaks [Julian Assange] and the Russian GRU [Vladimir Putin] is revealed.

In the 31 July 2016 blog post, I said I thought the email release was delayed to help Trump against Clinton, whereas a release soon after the 25 May 2016 hack would have helped Sanders against Clinton. In the Mueller indictment WikiLeaks [Organization 1] seems to favor an early release precisely to help Sanders against Clinton because it thinks Trump's chances of beating Clinton are 1 in 4. The problem for Assange was that the GRU had the emails, so they ultimately controlled the timing of the release.

When the Mueller indictment reports:
b. After failed attempts to transfer the stolen documents starting in late June 2016, on or about July 14, 2016, the Conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, sent Organization 1 an email with an attachment titled “wk dnc link1.txt.gpg.” The Conspirators explained to Organization 1 that the encrypted file contained instructions on how to access an online archive of stolen DNC documents. On or about July 18, 2016, Organization 1 confirmed it had “the 1Gb or so archive” and would make a release of the stolen documents “this week.” 48.
I smell a rat. I know WikiLeaks knows a lot about securely transferring files. I suspect the Russian GRU is pretty good at it too. I just finished another 10 hr shift as a Linux Systems Administrator. We also do a lot of file transfers, and nowhere in the IT world would it be found acceptable for "failed attempts" to run almost three weeks to transfer a gigabyte of data. Important IT operation, major websites even, don't simply grind to a halt for weeks on end because of "failed attempts" at data transfer. To give just one particularly relevant example: When I licensed Vietnam: American Holocaust to Russia Today, [now available on Amazon Prime BTW] we had to coordinate the transfer of an 11GB file from Los Angeles to Moscow. It took a far-too-long three days, largely because of technical issues and low bandwidth on my end, but it was important to both parties so, like any other important IT operation, we stayed on it until we got it done. 1GB data transfers only take weeks if the task is put on hold, and take up later.

Somebody was stalling! And we know who. Julian Assange was being played. He may have favored an early release, but WikiLeaks gave up that kind of independence long ago, by July 2016 he was no more than Putin's puppet.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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Friday, July 13, 2018

Glenn Greenwald finds a tree missing, declares no forest exists!

Glenn Greenwald made it quite clear in The Intercept, Sunday, 8 July 2018, that he is very upset that Malcolm Nance told MSNBC viewers: “Jill Stein has a show on Russia Today.” If Nance had told viewers it seemed like Jill Stein had a show on Russia Today during the 2016 campaign season, Greenwald would have had nothing to complain about. Greenwald's complaint was:
On August 20, 2016, weekend host Joy Reid asked Nance about the supposed “affinity” for Russia harbored by Jill Stein supporters. In response, Nance told MSNBC viewers: “Jill Stein has a show on Russia Today.” You can still watch the video of this claim here on MSNBC’s own website or see it here.
Greenwald went on to say:
Whatever your views might be about Stein and her third-party candidacy, there is no disputing the fact that Nance’s statement was a falsehood, a fabrication, a lie. Stein did not have a show on RT, nor did she ever host a show on RT. What Nance said was made up out of whole cloth — fabricated —
He appears to have caught Nance in a technical detail that depends on how "show" and "host" is defined, all while Greenwald ignores the organizational differences between Russia Today and RT. If Nance had instead put it the way the Moscow Project described the relationship, Greenwald's complaint would have been muted. It said [my bold]:
Stein regularly appeared on Russia's state-run television network RT, including as counterprogramming to mainstream network coverage of important events such as the general-election debates and election night itself.
Greenward is silent about the very real support and exposure this US presidential campaign did receive from RT, even though the candidate herself has said:
"We look to RT for access to the American public."
While Jill Stein, as a US presidential candidate, technically may not have had her own show on RT, she was a frequent guest on so many RT shows, and Jill Stein campaign events covered so regularly, that a casual observer might think that it was as if she had her own show.

For example, by early August 2016, about the same time as Greenwald's original complaint, US Green Party supporter Louis Proyect claimed RT.com "has published 105 articles in praise of Jill Stein." In June 2017, I wrote:
A search on YouTube for "rt america jill stein" turns up "About 5,570 results," 2,750 in the past year, and RT/America averages more than 5,700,000 views a month on YouTube alone! RT/America is just 1 of the 88 members of RussiaToday [note the parent YouTube organization has not changed its name], which in total get an average of more than 133 million monthly views on YouTube. RT is another member of this family with mostly English content, and favorable to Jill Stein, that has an average monthly viewership of more than 28 million, Ruptly TV is a third Jill Stein fan brand with more than 14 million monthly viewers.

These are all professionally produced videos, and they aren't cheap to produce, so even though YouTube pays Russia Today as much as $274,000 a year for those views on RT/America alone, sustaining the channel has to be costing the Kremlin millions, but since RT has an annual budget of over $300 million, it is still small potatoes to them.

There have been over 190,000 views in the top 10 of those 2,750 RT/America videos supporting Jill Stein's candidacy. The view totals for all those videos is likely to range into the tens of millions. Taking just this one example of RT videos for Jill Stein and extrapolating that across all RT platforms, which in the US include cable, satellite, and broadcast TV, radio and all social media, not just YouTube, but facebook, Instagram, and Twitter as well, it's easy to conclude that since the Jill Stein campaign only raised $3,713,170, Putin probably spent more on the Jill Stein campaign than the campaign spent on itself. If this is true, it means that votes for a US presidential candidate supported largely by Russian resources put Donald Trump in the White House.
So while Jill Stein may not have had a regularly scheduled "show" on RT, clearly the network was spending a lot of money and "airtime" on regularly giving her a platform. Casey Michel, Daily Beast, had this to say about the cozy relationship between RT and Jill Stein:
In December 2015, the Kremlin feted Stein by inviting her to the gala celebrating the 10-year anniversary of Kremlin-funded propaganda network RT. Over a year later, it remains unclear who paid for Stein’s trip to Moscow and her accommodations there. {The Steele Dossier says the Kremlin did.~Clay}  Her campaign ignored multiple questions on this score. We do know, however, that Stein sat at the same table as both Putin and Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, Trump’s soon-to-be national security adviser. She further spoke at an RT-sponsored panel, using her presence to criticize the U.S.’s “disastrous militarism.” Afterward, straddling Moscow’s Red Square, Stein described the panel as “inspiring,” going on to claim that Putin, whom she painted as a political novice, told her he “agree[d]” with her “on many issues.”
And Michel added,
For her efforts in burnishing Kremlin conspiracy theories for American audiences, Stein was awarded not simply with an invitation to the 2015 RT gala, but RT even hosted her party’s 2016 presidential debate {so they hosted her show even if she never hosted a show for them.~Clay}—a move Stein hailed as a “step towards real democracy.” RT also covered “live updates” from Stein’s reactions to the debates between Clinton and Trump, a decision Stein further praised. This mutual affection is, naturally, of a piece with RT’s broader modus operandi in the U.S.
This broader modus operandi involved getting Donald Trump elected president of the United States. Those on the US white-Left who belittled Trump's racism to declare him the lesser of two evils, and this includes Glenn Greenwald, were the witting, or unwitting, tools of this successful Putin operation. Their promotion of Jill Stein to progressives, and others likely to otherwise vote for Hillary Clinton, was an indispensable part of Putin's overall strategy to get Trump elected. To accomplish that, Russia Today gave Jill Stein much more that a weekly "show" of support; it gave her more-or-less continuous coverage across all media platforms.

In return, she pushed the Putin line in her US presidential campaign. She had no chance of winning, but she could certainly do that for him. As Casey Michel pointed out in a piece for the Intersection Project:
Not only has Stein, on multiple instances, pushed links to - and her own appearances on - RT, but she has further taken the platform to espousing some of the most blinkered views on Washington-Moscow relations. To wit, in April, Stein asked: “Who exactly is NATO fighting? ...Other than enemies we invent to give the weapons industry a reason to sell more stuff.” A few weeks prior, she derisively referred to Ukraine’s EuroMaidan revolution as regime change.” Then, for good measure, she took to Twitter in July to note that “if Bill Clinton hadn't had Larry Summers destroy Russia's economy & turn democracy to oligarchy, US-Russia relations would be better.”

But it’s not simply Stein’s Twitter feed that’s allowed her to hew closely to the Kremlin’s talking points. In myriad interviews, Stein has pushed views that could have been lifted from Russian state media - and often are. For instance, in an interview with OnTheIssues, Stein claimed that the US “foment[ed] a coup” in Ukraine, allowing “ultra-nationalists and ex-Nazis [to come] to power.” Stein further insisted that the US “should encourage Ukraine to be neutral,” and that “NATO has pursued a policy of basically encircling Russia,” as if Russia remains the lone post-Soviet state with any agency. She has additionally described Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s “saber-rattling against Russia” as an “existential threat to human survival,” and that Clinton will - not may, but will - “take [the US] into an air war with Russia[.]”
Now instead we have Donald Trump demanding that NATO countries more than double their military spending. He has already started a trade war and is aching to start a nuclear war somewhere. So much for the white-Left's "Peace Candidate."

The website RT.com also played a big role in promoting the Jill Stein campaign. The eight images below represent just a tiny sample of the "About 416 results" Google finds for a search for "Jill Stein" on RT.com:

Glenn Greenwald is so full of righteous indignation because he accepts RT's contractual definition of what it means to have a "show" on RT, and he thinks that because of that he can call out Malcolm Nance and Joy Reid as lairs and MSNBC as "fake news." At the same time, anyone reading one of his diatribes on this gripe in The Intercept would have no clue just how regularly Jill Stein appeared on, or was promoted by, RT. It is entirely possible, indeed preferable, to defend a technical fact while perpetrating a gross falsification. That is what Glenn Greenwald is doing in this case.

my other posts correcting Glenn Greenwald:
07/17/17 Attorney Glenn Greenwald @ggreenwald joins Trump defense team
01/06/17 Glenn Greenwald runs off at the mouth about Breitbart without ever mentioning racism
02/16/15 Libya: Hailed as a Model Journalist Glenn Greenwald Proves to be the Exact Opposite
10/03/14 Why did Glenn Greenwald moderated this comment off The Intercept?

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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VIDEO: My defense of Peter Strzok and Lisa Page echos in Congress & Media

On 1 July 2018 I asked a simple question with regards to the non-stop accusations from Trump supporters that FBI agent Peter Strzok and FBI lawyer Lisa Page were at the heart of some "deep state" conspiracy to "insure" Donald Trump never became president. I put it in the form of a short blog post, and tweeted it out, because, while I've watched a lot of news - like all the time, I hadn't heard anyone in the cable news or political world make this simple argument in their defense. The title of the post was Why didn't Strzok-Page leak the FBI's Trump campaign investigation?

On 12 July, this line of reasoning emerged as one of the main defences against the Republican rampage during the 11 hr long public Peter Strzok congressional hearings. It was echoed by Rep. Zoe Lofgren Rep. Luis V. Gutierrez, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, and Rep. Watson Coleman, among others. Later, on the opinion shows, Chris Hayes on MSNBC marshaled it, Laura Ingraham on Fox News tried to fight it, and Rachel Maddow on MSNBC gave it a great treatment.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2018

They should have died in Libya

On Tuesday, 26 June 2018 Amy Goodman ran this headline on Democracy Now:
AP: Algeria Has Expelled 13,000 Migrants into Sahara Desert

[This is the picture DN ran with the story. It looks like 3 well-dress Africans strolling in the desert. It's not from the AP story. Its not credited or captioned. It looks like it was Photoshopped. - Clay]
In more news on migration and deportation, the Associated Press reports Algeria has expelled more than 13,000 migrants into the Sahara Desert over the last 14 months. Survivors interviewed by the Associated Press say they were rounded up, crammed into trucks, driven into the desert and then dropped off and forced at gunpoint to walk into neighboring Niger. They say an unknown number of their fellow migrants died during the journey.
Democracy Now has had nothing else to say about these ongoing mass murders filed under the heading "migration and deportation," before or since. Since many on the US Left are still mourning the lost of Gaddafi, this story would have gotten a lot better coverage if they had died in Libya. DN coughed up this paragraph of three sentences only because of the AP story made silence untenable. Fortunately, the Associated Press story tells us a little more, beginning with its lead photo:

From this isolated frontier post deep in the sands of the Sahara, the expelled migrants can be seen coming over the horizon by the hundreds. They look like specks in the distance, trudging miserably across some of the world's most unforgiving terrain in the blistering sun.

They are the ones who made it out alive.

Here in the desert, Algeria has abandoned more than 13,000 people in the past 14 months, including pregnant women and children, stranding them without food or water and forcing them to walk, sometimes at gunpoint, under temperatures of up to 48 degrees Celsius (118 degrees Fahrenheit).
“Women were lying dead, men..... Other people got missing in the desert because they didn’t know the way,” said Janet Kamara, who was pregnant at the time. "Everybody was just on their own."

Her body still aches from the dead baby she gave birth to during the trek and left behind in the Sahara, buried in a shallow grave in the molten sand. Blood streaked her legs for days afterward, and weeks later, her ankles are still swollen.
Algeria’s mass expulsions have picked up since October 2017, as the European Union renewed pressure on North African countries to head off migrants going north to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea or the barrier fences with Spain.
A European Union spokesperson said the EU was aware of what Algeria was doing, but that “sovereign countries” can expel migrants as long as they comply with international law.
The migrants the AP talked to described being rounded up hundreds at a time, crammed into open trucks headed southward for six to eight hours to what is known as Point Zero, then dropped in the desert and pointed in the direction of Niger. They are told to walk, sometimes at gunpoint. In early June, 217 men, women and children were dropped well before reaching Point Zero, fully 30 kilometers (18 miles) from the nearest source of water, according to the IOM.
Kande said the Algerian police stole everything he had earned when he was first detained _ 40,000 dinars ($340) and a Samsung cell phone.

“They tossed us into the desert, without our telephones, without money. I couldn’t even describe it to you,” he said, still livid at the memory.
Two migrants told the AP gendarmes fired on the groups to force them to walk, and multiple videos seen by the AP showed armed, uniformed men standing guard near the trucks.
Algeria has denied criticism from the IOM and other organizations that it is committing human rights abuses by abandoning migrants in the desert, calling the allegations a “malicious campaign” intended to inflame neighboring countries.
The number of migrants going to Algeria is increasing as an unintended side effect of Europe’s successful blocking of the Libyan crossing, said Camille Le Coz, an analyst at the Migration Policy Institute in Brussels.
But people die going both ways; the Sahara is a swift killer that leaves little evidence behind. The arid heat shrivels bodies, and blowing sand envelops the remains. The IOM has estimated that for every migrant known to have died crossing the Mediterranean, as many as two are lost in the desert _ potentially upwards of 30,000 people since 2014. More ...
Obviously, taking people out to the desert, and leaving them without food, water, shelter, or transport is nothing short of murder, and these are ongoing mass murders. They haven't stopped. The government of Abdelaziz Bouteflika, president of Algeria since 1999, and now potentially for life, denies the mistreatment of migrants in Algeria, just as Muammar Gaddafi did in Libya until he was overthrown in 2011, so it has not promised to stop what it denies doing in the first place.

The practices this AP report exposed are nothing new, even if the recent EU pressure has caused an acceleration. They have been going on in Algeria, and Libya, at least under Gaddafi, for decades, with western encouragement and silence.

There was an uprising in Algeria about the same time as the one in Libya. The day before the celebrated start of the 17th February revolution in Libya, 16 February 2011, Democracy Now ran this story: “The Regime is Running Scared:” Algerian Forces Crack Down on Pro-Democracy Protests, but never followed up.

In Algeria, unlike Libya, the "Arab Spring" uprising was quickly put down by government efforts, and its murderous migrant practices continue to this day. Similarly, the dumping of migrants in the desert was a regular practice of the Libyan regime of Muammar Gaddafi. While he remained in power, the EU was happy to pay him billions of Euros, and look the other way, so long as he stranded migrants in the desert rather than allow them to reach Mediterranean shores.

There are many in Europe that have no problem with using the desert's sun to kill off African migrants and refugees headed for their shores, just as the US Border Patrol quite consciously uses the desert as a 'weapon' to kill thousands of migrants, according to this Guardian report. So, while the practice is noted in the occasional news article, little is done to stop the dying. The month that ended with the big AP story began with a report by BBC News of over 40 people who died of thirst in the Sahara of northern Niger. They were trying to get to Libya which is still a murderous route for migrants, but at least the government is no longer complicit in it. It's wonderful that we could save children stuck 3 miles back in a partially submerged cave shaft. One day we may even learn how to save them from dying of thirst in the deserts.

Since the AP report spoke of thousands, many media outlets gave it coverage, even Democracy Now had to pay it lip service, but the story soon faded. This story was a particularly tricky one for US Left outlets like Democracy Now to handle because the Algerian dictatorship of Bouteflika is seen as something of a bulwark against western imperialism and Israel, much as the Libyan dictatorship of Muammar Gaddafi was.

The mythology promoted by the white-Left on Libya is now so pervasive that James Thindwa, an In These Times board member born in Zimbabwe, felt he could proclaim in a Portside, 4th of July piece that "During Qaddafi’s rule, there was no migrant crisis." What a shameful, European centric position to take! As long as fewer reached Europe because they were dying in the desert, it was not seen as a crisis by most Europeans, and others who identify with "white" values. The Gaddafi regime didn't recognize any refugee status, and regularly disposed of African migrants in the desert, sometimes hundreds of thousands in one operation. For those comfortably positioned in the West, Gaddafi's methods of controlling the migrant flow may not have constituted a crisis, but as I reported in Extreme racism & slave auctions 3 times a week in Gaddafi's Libya it definitely was for the migrants themselves, and anyone else who cares about humanity.

Since dying in Algeria didn't serve any Western political agenda, it was a one-shot story. They should have died in Libya, where the people overthrew the dictator, and are struggling to remake their country free of such tyranny. Then these migrant deaths could have served the forces of counter-revolution as another cautionary tale of how badly things can go when a dictator is overthrown. If they had died in Libya, the media would have really played up the news, and Democracy Now would have done a whole series of stories about their plight.

Syria is the Paris Commune of the 21st Century!

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