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Updated: 1 hour 32 min ago

VIDEO: ‘Hands – The True Story of a Mother & Her Son’

15 hours 13 min ago

Every year thousands of mothers experience their healthy child slip away into an autistic abyss. It’s agonizing and heartbreaking. They know the cause, but are often ridiculed and demeaned if dare speak up.

This is the true story of my friend April and her son, Aydan.

I was inspired by her story so I wrote a poem about it. Because art can sometimes reach people in ways conversation, debate and presentations cannot.

People need to know the truth. I was lucky enough to share it at the Alternative View conference in England. Watch:


SUBSCRIBE TO BENNY’S CHANNEL AT: Benny Wills | Stand-Up Poetry


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

SUNDAY SCREENING: ‘Becoming Immortal’ (2018)

Sun, 2019-08-18 23:05

Silicon Valley is obsessed with extending human life, either on this planet, or in cyber space.

This film is about how life extension is drifting toward reality thanks to the latest technological innovations. But will it be available to the general public, or only for millionaire and billionaire elites? Who would want to become immortal, and why? Even if that means preserving your severed head in a cryogenic tank? Are Silicon Valley elites hoping to marry A.I. and transhumanism to life extension cybernetics – to make them into living gods among us? If aging is considered as a disease, then the cure is immortality. This is not a Black Mirror episode, this is what’s happening now. Watch:

Run time: 45 min



Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Episode #292 – ‘Trouble in River City’ with guests Benny Wills, Basil Valentine

Sun, 2019-08-18 22:38

Episode #292 of SUNDAY WIRE SHOW resumes on August 18, 2019 with host Patrick Henningsen, broadcasting LIVE on the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR)…


5pm-8pm UK Time | 12pm-3pm ET (US) | 9am-12pm PT (US)

This week the SUNDAY WIRE broadcasts LIVE on ACR with host Patrick Henningsen covers some of the top stories in the US, Europe and internationally. Later in the first hour we’ll connect with the Sunday Wire’s roving correspondent for culture & sport, Basil Valentine, to discuss the latest political controversy involving Trump’s apparent nemesis “The Squad”, where a cadré of Democratic US Congresswomen are attempting to raise the issue of the Israeli occupation in Washington. Basil will also review the latest salacious aspects the ongoing Jeffrey Epstein scandal and fall-out from last week’s supposed suicide in federal custody. In the second hour we’ll be joined by special guest, actor, performance artist Benny Wills, to talk about the launch of his new project and associated issues, as well as some new trends entering the alternative sphere. All this and much more. Enjoy the show…




Download Episode #291

Sunday Wire Radio Show Archives

Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Epstein’s Lawyers Oppose Official Suicide Ruling, Will Pursue ‘Independent’ Probe

Sun, 2019-08-18 17:26

Alas, the speculation will continue.

Matters have not necessarily been helped by the fact that the Epstein family has retained the services of celebrity pathologist and cul-de-sac gatekeeper, Dr. Michael Baden, to further investigate the reported suicide of billionaire and convicted sex criminal Jeffrey Epstein. We’re told that Baden had “helped investigate” the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., as well as weighing on the trials of both O.J. Simpson and Phil Specter, and the death of John Belushi and others.

Many are now demanding answers. The new reality of this story is that the untimely death of the Epstein in his federal jail cell has further muddied what was meant to be a sex-trafficking conspiracy case, potentially shifting attention instead to a ‘public indictment’ of the US federal prison system.

This week, Epstein’s legal defense team has patently rejected the official “suicide” ruling by government officials.

RT International reports…

The legal team of Jeffrey Epstein said they disagree with the medical examiner’s ruling that their client hanged himself. Promising their own investigation into his death, they have demanded CCTV footage from his prison cell.

“No one should die in jail,” the lawyers said in statement, which blasts the conditions in which Epstein was held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York as “harsh, even medieval.”

Lawyers were “not satisfied with the conclusions of the medical examiner” on the cause of death of the alleged multi-millionaire, who stood accused of sex-trafficking underage girls. The examiner said that Epstein committed suicide in his cell on August 10 by using bedsheets to make an improvised noose.

The death swiftly prompted conspiracy theories alleging that Epstein was murdered by some of his high-profile friends over fears that his testimony could expose their involvement in the pedophile ring. What fueled the theories was public disbelief that such a notorious figure could have been left unguarded, especially after a previous attempt to take his own life.

In order to find out what really happened, the lawyers said they will conduct their “own independent and complete investigation” into Epstein’s death. They promised to take legal action to gain access to the “pivotal videos” from the prison “if they exist as they should.”

Continue this story at RT International

READ MORE EPSTEIN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Epstein Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Lendman: Netanyahu Regime, Trump ‘Disgrace’ Ban Reps. Tlaib and Omar from Entering Israel

Fri, 2019-08-16 22:34

By Stephen Lendman

Congressional Representatives Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib were refused entry into the apartheid state.

Netanyahu’s action followed Trump’s hostile tweet, saying: “Rep. Omar and Tlaib…hate Israel & all Jewish people” — a bald-faced Big Lie, a longstanding DJT specialty.

He’s “a disgrace” and an embarrassment to the office he holds, not them, as he falsely claimed. 

Every rule of law supporter “hate(s)” Israel’s apartheid rule, its state-sponsored terror, its theft of Palestinian land and dispossession of its lawful residents, its barbaric practices, its partnership with US wars of aggression, along with its support for ISIS and other regional jihadists.

Following her denial of entry into Israel, Omar said the following:

“It is an affront that Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, under pressure from President Trump, would deny entry to representatives of the US government,” adding: 

“Trump’s Muslim ban is what Israel is implementing, this time against two duly elected Members of Congress.”  

“Denying entry into Israel not only limits our ability to learn from Israelis, but also to enter the Palestinian territories.”  

“Sadly, this is not a surprise given the public positions of Prime Minister Netanyahu, who has consistently resisted peace efforts, restricted the freedom of movement of Palestinians, limited public knowledge of the brutal realities of the occupation and aligned himself with Islamophobes like Donald Trump.”

“As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, it is my job to conduct oversight of foreign aid from the United States of America and to legislate on human rights practices around the world.” 

“The irony of the ‘only democracy’ in the Middle East making such a decision is that it is both an insult to democratic values and a chilling response to a visit by government officials from an allied nation.”

Tlaib called Netanyahu’s ban “a sign of weakness,” adding “the truth of what is happening to Palestinians is frightening.”

Netanyahu falsely accused both congresswomen of “intend(ing) to harm Israel.”

Israeli deputy foreign minister Tzipi Hotovely falsely accused them of “deny(ing) our right to exist…”

They’re critics of Israeli repression and support BDS activism like countless others worldwide, including many Jews.

On Thursday, Israeli reporter Barak Ravid tweeted: “I want to tell you a secret: A month ago when Netanyahu decided to allow Omar and Tlaib into the country they alreadty (sic) supported BDS and he knew it back then.” 

“There is only one reason for Netanyahu’s backtracking today — the pressure from Donald Trump.”

Last month, Israeli envoy to Washington Ron Dermer said “out of respect for the US Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel.”

He clearly referred to Omar and Tlaib, well-known Israeli critics and BDS supporters.

In mid-July, Omar introduced a House Res. 496: “Affirming that all Americans have the right to participate in boycotts in pursuit of civil and human rights at home and abroad, as protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution.”

It “opposes unconstitutional legislative efforts to limit the use of boycotts to further civil rights at home and abroad.” 

It “urges Congress, States, and civil rights leaders from all communities to endeavor to preserve the freedom of advocacy for all by opposing anti-boycott resolutions and legislation.”

The Global BDS Movement applauded the resolution, saying: “It affirms the right of all activists and people of conscience to advocate for human rights through boycotts against systems of oppression.”

“The defense of those rights is even more vital in light of the rise of far-right racism and white supremacy, including Israel’s decades-old apartheid regime.”

Separately, the BDS Movement “condemn(ed) (the) McCarthyite (Netanyahu regime’s) decision to (bar) Tlaib and Omar from visiting the Occupied Palestinian Territory over their support for Palestinian freedom.”

“(W)e call for…implement(ing) the Leahy Law which conditions US military aid to other governments on their respect for human rights by cutting US military aid to Israel.”

Surprisingly, AIPAC and other Jewish groups oppose denying Omar and Talib’s entry into Israel.

Jewish Democratic Council of America’s Halie Soifer called Netanyahu’s action “unprecedented,” adding: 

“Never before have US members of Congress been barred from entering Israel.”

“The fact that the US president would urge the Israeli prime minister to bar members of Congress really does a disservice to this bilateral relationship and is yet another attempt by (Trump) to politicize this relationship.”

An AIPAC statement said “every member of Congress should be able to visit” the Jewish state.

Jewish Voice for Peace called barring entry into Israel of Omar and Tlaib part of the Jewish state’s “racist apartheid policies in practice.”

The American Jewish Committee said “Israel did not choose wisely by reversing its original decision” to let both US lawmakers enter the country.

Even neocon hardline US Senator Marco Rubio called denying them entry “a mistake.” 

Despite strong support for Israel by nearly all its congressional members, Dems opposed the move for political reasons ahead of 2020 elections.

A Final Comment

On Friday, Israel’s interior minister Aryeh Deri reversed the ban on Tlaib’s entry into Occupied Palestine, granting her permission to enter the Territory.

She requested it by letter “to visit (her) relatives, and specifically (her) grandmother, who is in her 90s and lives in Beit Ur al-Fouqa.”

Reversal of policy amounts to an embarrassing Netanyahu regime partial climbdown — Omar still apparently barred from entering Israel.

VISIT HIS NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

Also see his newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

READ MORE ISRAEL NEWS: 21st Century Wire Israel Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Trump-Boris Trade Deal: The Brexit Endgame is Becoming Clear

Fri, 2019-08-16 03:36

The Brexit endgame is now becoming clear – the US-UK bilateral trade deal will make Britain an economic outpost for US transnational corporate interests.

To achieve this, the Trump Administration needs Boris Johnson in power, so John Bolton is not shy in openly backing Boris for the upcoming general election. The US knows that a major trade deal with UK will bolster Johnson’s chances in the general – with promises of more US automotive jobs coming to the UK, and more British defense contracts coming to America. For the US, tearing Britain away from Brussels through a hard Brexit means open and deregulated access to UK markets for US agricultural products and a highly profitable range of cheap food stuff, among other trade opportunities. Make no mistake, this is TTIP by fiat.

Radio Sputnik talked about the latest developments with 21WIRE editor Patrick Henningsen:

“The US’s National Security Adviser, John Bolton, has said that the UK will be “first in line” for a trade deal. Bolton confirmed that the US supported a no-deal Brexit and added that Washington would propose an accelerated series of trade deals triggering concern from critics that the UK would have to give in to some US demands in return for any trade agreement. With more on this story, Sputnik spoke to Patrick Henningsen a Political Analyst, in this interview.”


READ MORE BREXIT NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Brexit Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Report: Google Insider Gives 950 Pages of Documents to DOJ

Wed, 2019-08-14 17:46

Many people are not aware that back in April of 2017, tech giant Google embarked on massive effort to ‘cleanse’ their search engines of content which Google’s executives believe should not be widely seen or read by billions of viewers across the globe.

However, Google’s censorship was not limited to ‘right wing’ or ‘pro-Trump’ information as has been widely reported by numerous conservative outlets. Google’s political censorship program has also buried content and redirected internet searches away from left-wing, progressive and anti-war websites, cutting the search traffic of leading alternative news outlets by well over 50 percent since they implemented their corporate information purge in April 2017. In some instances, website traffic from Google searches dropped more than 70%.

This political lustration by the Silicon Valley conglomerate has had a devastating effect of independent media outlets worldwide, as Google continually works to control the public information space.

But their gross manipulation is now beginning to be exposed.

Journalist Sara Carter reports…

A former Google insider claiming the company created algorithms to hide its political bias within artificial intelligence platforms – in effect targeting particular words, phrases and contexts to promote, alter, reference or manipulate perceptions of Internet content – delivered roughly 950 pages of documents to the Department of Justice’s Antitrust division Friday.

The former Google insider, who has already spoken in to the nonprofit organization Project Veritas, met with SaraACarter.com on several occasions last week. He was interviewed in silhouette, to conceal his identity, in group’s latest film, which they say exposes bias inside the social media platform.

Several weeks prior, the insider mailed a laptop to the DOJ containing the same information delivered on Friday, they said. The former insider is choosing to remain anonymous until Project Verita’s James O’Keefe reveals his identity tomorrow (Wednesday).

He told this reporter on his recent trip to Washington D.C. that the documents he turned over to the Justice Department will provide proof that Google has been manipulating the algorithms and the evidence of how it was done, the insider said.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai told the House Judiciary Committee in December, 2018, that the search engine was not biased against conservatives. Pichai explained what algorithm’s are said Google’s algorithm was not offensive to conservatives because its artificial intelligence does not operate in that manner. He told lawmakers, “things like relevance, freshness, popularity, how other people are using it” are what drives the search results. Pichai said even if his programmers were anti-Republican, the process is so intricate that the artificial intelligence could not be manipulated and it was to complicated to train the algorithm to fit their bias.

Google did not immediately respond for comment on the insider’s claims, however, this story will be updated if comment is provided.

The insider says Google is aware most people are unaware or not knowledgeable about these advanced IT systems and therefore unable to determine who is telling the truth.

“I honestly think that a free market can fix this issue,” he told this reporter at a meeting in Washington D.C. “The issue is that the free market has been distorted and what’s happened is that the distortion is so grotesque and the engineering is so repulsive, all we need to do is just expose what’s going on. People can hear that it is bad but that can be bias. But when they see what Google has actually written with the documents, this will actually be taught in universities of what totalitarian states can do with this type of capability.”

Continue this story at Sara Carter

Watch the following Google whistleblower interview published by Project Veritas:

READ MORE GOOGLE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Google Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Feds Raid Epstein’s ‘Little St. James’ Island, Drone Footage Reveals Critical Moment

Wed, 2019-08-14 02:34

A screen grab of drone footage, as investigators cover the windows on Little St. James.

The recently deceased Jeffrey Epstein’s secret private island pleasure den, Little St. James, was the target of a Monday morning raid by FBI and other law enforcement officials, according to a report filed just hours ago by The Daily Mail:

“A large group of FBI officers were seen disembarking speedboats at the pier of Little St James on Monday morning and driving around on golf carts after the 66-year-old was found dead by suicide in his New York jail cell early on Saturday morning.”

21WIRE first reported back in January 2015 about the ‘bizarre leisure nexus’ of President Bill Clinton, attorney Alan Dershowitz, and international playboy Prince Andrew – all connected by one common thread: purveyor of pleasure and facilitator of fantasies, supposed billionaire Epstein.

In another screen grab of drone footage, a person wearing NYPD gear is seen entering the compound.

As pictures and file footage of the raid began propagating across mainstream media, it was this apparent act of citizen journalism that captured the story in near real time. The video footage below appears to have been shot from an overhead drone while evidence was being collected at the scene.

The just under five-minute video shockingly reveals the very moment that law enforcement officials realized they were being watched – and for good reason, says 21WIRE editor Patrick Henningsen:

“What are they looking for? If it’s anything that incriminates heads of state or royals, it won’t see the light of day.”

At this point, it seems almost everyone who has been photographed with Epstein, or logged flight time on his private jet, “The Lolita Express,” all deny knowing him very well. Even Clinton, according to flight manifests, has been placed on Epstein’s private jet – the same jet that shuttled other powerful elites, associates and close friends of old Jeff to hang out with him in the Caribbean.

Here’s a brief look at Little St. James and the raid that took place earlier this week. Watch:

As the Epstein fallout continues, will federal prosecutors now target Ghislaine Maxwell?

Before last weekend’s events, Maxwell was implicated as being part of a criminal conspiracy to procure underage girls for sex, as detailed in the newly released unsealed civil court documents. Many believe Maxwell played a key role in Epstein’s international sex trafficking ring, if not his main accomplice during the period in question.

READ MORE EPSTEIN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Epstein Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

‘Opposition’ or Terrorists: Who is Syria and Russia Really Bombing in Idlib?

Tue, 2019-08-13 19:00

A rebuttal to Al Qaeda’s UK-based PR boosters…

Russian Soukhoï Su-34 fighter on mission over Syria (Image Source: Wikicommons)

Tony Cartalucci
21st Century Wire

 Scott Lucas – a professor at the University of Birmingham UK – would decry with the rest of the Western media – resumed joint military operations carried out by Syria and Russia in and around the northwestern governorate of Idlib.

Reuters in their article, “Syrian army resumes military operations against rebels in northwest Syria,” would claim:

The Syrian army said on Monday it was resuming military operations in a Russian-led campaign in northwest Syria that has uprooted tens of thousands and killed hundreds, blaming Turkey for not abiding by its commitments under a truce deal.

Both Lucas and Reuters – like many other Western media fronts and personalities – are careful never to fully characterize who the “opposition” actually consists of – instead attempting to imply Syria and Russia are waging war on civilians and “moderate rebels.” 

When asked by journalist Peter Hitchens to give a run down on who the Syrian opposition actually was, Lucas in a post on social media would respond:

Hi, Peter! #Syria situation, across not only northwest but northeast, is web of local councils, local military groups, and local activist organizations to provide services. You’ll need to specify a particular area, such as a town or city in #Idlib or #Hama Province.

Yet the accompanying picture Lucas used to illustrate his point was of a meeting organized by the IHH (Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief). IHH is based in Turkey and is by no means “local.”

IHH is also linked directly to Al Qaeda, serving as a logistical support network for the terrorist organization, merely couching itself behind its humanitarian mission statement.

IHH’s ties to terrorism are not recent. A 2012 article by Israeli media outlet Ynet titled, “Report: IHH financially linked to al-Qaeda,” would report:

IHH director Bulent Yildirim is reportedly being investigated by Turkish authorities for allegedly creating a financial partnership with the infamous terror group. 

Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily reported Friday that Yildirim has allegedly been transferring funds to al-Qaeda through his organization.

The Israeli-based International Institute for Counter-Terrorism (ICT) in a much more recent report titled, “IHH: The Nonprofit Face of Jihadism. An In-Depth Review,” would admit:

IHH (The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief) is a Turkish NGO active in 135 countries and seemingly dedicated entirely to humanitarian aims. In fact, mounting evidence suggests that IHH also operates as a hidden arm of the Turkish government in the conflict zones of the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It has been designated as a terrorist organization by Israel since 2012 and has been investigated by European prosecutors as a key logistical supporter of Al Qaeda.

It is a particular irony that Israeli media and policy institutions have helped expose IHH when many elements of the current Israeli government have been involved in backing terrorist organizations in neighboring Syria alongside Turkey, the United States, other Western states, as well as several Persian Gulf autocracies since the conflict began in 2011.

That the one picture Lucas was able to find where the “opposition” wasn’t overtly exposing itself as armed terrorists still depicted a known, verified foreign terrorist organization operating within Syrian territory – masquerading as humanitarians – speaks to just how deeply rooted terrorists are in Syria’s Idlib governorate.

Strategic Patience 

Were the situation reversed and the West was faced with an entire province or state occupied by Al Qaeda and its myriad of affiliates – total war would commence and would not end until the targeted region was purged entirely of militants. Civilian causalities would either go uncounted and under-reported, or spun as a necessity in confronting an otherwise intolerable bastion of armed terrorism.

In fact – similar narratives were used during the US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan despite Washington’s objectives being geopolitical rather than counter-terrorism related.

The strategic reality is that despite how well Damascus and its allies have weathered and overcome Washington’s proxy war in Syria – the US remains a potent military, political, and economic threat. Strategic patience, multiple “truce deals,” and geopolitical concessions will be required to finally wrest Idlib back from foreign-backed terrorist forces currently entrenched there.

Terrorist forces have been concentrated in Idlib as Syrian forces pushed them out of virtually every other populated region of the country. Even the liberation of the City of Aleppo took years to achieve. Idlib is an entire governorate bordering Turkey which is still arming and protecting terrorist organizations both within Turkish territory itself and in Syrian territory occupied by Turkish forces.

While Turkey has recently shown signs of shifting objectives and moving closer to Russia geopolitically – it will be a long and agonizing process to undo the tensions this 8-year conflict has created.

If there is one point of hope amid this still dangerous and deadly conflict – it’s that the Western media and inveterate war propagandists like Scott Lucas are no longer able to conceal the true nature of terrorists they have aided and abetted since 2011.

They will continue trying nonetheless – but as Lucas just managed to do – will succeed only in exposing more of the network the US and its allies used in their proxy war against Damascus – thus further undermining regime change efforts in Syria and complicating similar attempts to target and overthrow other nations in the future.

Author Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher, writer and special contributor to 21st Century Wire. Over the last decade, his work has been published on a number of popular news and analysis websites, and also on the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”.

READ MORE SYRIA NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Syria Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Epstein Fallout: Will Federal Prosecutors Now Target Ghislaine Maxwell?

Tue, 2019-08-13 02:10

Jeffrey Epstein’s untimely death over the weekend has drawn new attention on to the woman who is credited with ‘organizing Epstein’s life.’ Who is British socialite and heiress Ghislaine Maxwell?

Many believe that she played a key role in Jeffrey Epstein’s international sex trafficking ring, if not his main accomplice during the period in question. Before the weekend, Maxwell was implicated as being part of a criminal conspiracy to procure underage girls for sex, as detailed in the newly released unsealed civil court documents.

As a result of this and Epstein’s death in custody, victims and other interested parties looking for justice are inquiring about a federal investigation and possible indictment of Ghislaine Maxwell.

According to the Washington Post, Geoff Berman, the U.S. attorney in New York, has already acknowledged the “brave young women who have already come forward and . . . the many others who have yet to do so” that “our investigation of the conduct charged in the indictment — which included a conspiracy count — remains ongoing.”

Should U.S. federal investigators seek an indictment, there is certainly a case to be made against Maxwell, but this would almost certainly be an unmitigated disaster for the establishment . Within the recent cache of unsealed documents included some incredible and lurid details of Maxwell’s role in Epstein’s notorious activities, as well as specifics about Maxwell’s relationship with British royal family member Prince Andrew the Duke of York, and the Duke’s own alleged abuse of then underage victim Virginia Giuffre.

Recent reports in the Washington Post also indicate that Maxwell has recently withdrawn from public view, and has sold her Manhattan townhouse, but she retains her homes in London and Salisbury, England. The Post cited persons ‘familiar with the investigation’ who say that authorities “have had trouble locating” her. Whether that is actually the case is still unclear. Certainly, Maxwell would want to stay away from any press and media at the moment.

The report added: “Lawyers representing Epstein’s alleged victims said they wouldn’t expect Maxwell to return to the United States anytime soon for fear of being arrested.”

The Guardian’s bureau in New York reports…

Maxwell, 57, the daughter of the late press baron Robert Maxwell, has repeatedly and vehemently denied allegations of involvement in a sex-trafficking network run by Epstein, who was awaiting trial in a New York prison when he died.

(…) A number of Epstein’s accusers have frequently identified Maxwell as playing a central role in arranging the abuse of his victims. The most recent accusations were contained in more than 2,000 pages of court documents unsealed last week in connection to a civil case that one of Epstein’s accusers, Virginia Giuffre, filed against Maxwell back in 2015.

Giuffre has previously accused Maxwell of recruiting her to work as Epstein’s masseuse at age 15, when the teenager was a locker-room attendant at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in south Florida. When Maxwell accused her of being a liar, Giuffre brought the defamation suit, which was settled shortly before trial in 2017.

In documents unsealed on Friday, just a few hours before Epstein was found dead in his cell, Giuffre’s lawyers accused Maxwell of “acting as a madam” for the financier, alleging that “multiple witnesses” had testified that Maxwell was responsible for “recruiting, maintaining, harbouring and trafficking girls for Epstein”. Maxwell has never been criminally charged, and has always denied wrongdoing. Maxwell’s lawyers have not been responding to requests for comment.

(…) However according to Giuffre, now 35, and other women who claim they were abused by Epstein when they were underage in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Maxwell’s responsibilities included finding and grooming girls to provide the financier – and his wealthy friends – with massages and sexual acts.

Giuffre has alleged that one of the figures she was coerced into sexual encounters with was Prince Andrew. Buckingham Palace has repeatedly denied the claims, saying “any suggestion of impropriety with underage minors is categorically untrue”.

Maxwell initially appeared to weather the accusations against her associate, following a much-criticised plea deal in 2008, in which Epstein pleaded guilty to a single count of soliciting prostitution from an underage girl under Florida state law but escaped federal charges. He served only 13 months of an 18 month jail sentence…

Read the full report at The Guardian

READ MORE EPSTEIN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Epstein Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

America’s Forgotten Nuclear Disaster: Church Rock Still Poisoning Navajo Tribe 40 Years Later

Mon, 2019-08-12 23:40

IMAGE: The imposing and stunning sight of Church Rock in the Navajo Nation, located in northwestern New Mexico.

Here is the true cost of the American empire.

In 1945, the first atomic bomb was tested at the U.S. defense facility at Alamogordo, New Mexico. Just 34 years later, the area also suffered the worst nuclear waste disaster in its history – which did not receive nearly as much media and political attention than other high-profile incidents. And there is a reason for this.

On July 16, 1979, at the Church Rock uranium mines, occurred the worst spill of radioactivity release to our environment in the history of the nuclear industry. The radiation is invisible to this day, still devastating communities living along the Puerco River in northwestern New Mexico. There you will witness the devastation wrought on residents, including high levels of cancer, as well as the impact of other toxic substances left-over from the Church Rock disaster.

In the words of Larry King, an underground surveyor at the United Nuclear Corporation’s Church Rock Uranium mine in New Mexico, “Three Mile Island had more coverage and people were compensated right away.” He added, “I always say we don’t get the same attention because we live in impoverished native community… We live in a sacrifice zone.”

After 40 years, the problem still persists, and appears to much larger than previously thought.

Writer Samuel Gilbert from Vice News reports…

Early in the summer of 1979, Larry King, an underground surveyor at the United Nuclear Corporation’s Church Rock Uranium mine in New Mexico, began noticing something unusual when looking at the south side of the tailings dam. That massive earthen wall was responsible for holding back thousands of tons of toxic water and waste produced by the mine and the nearby mill that extracted uranium from raw ore. And as King saw, there were “fist-sized cracks” developing in that wall. He measured them, reported them to his supervisors, and didn’t think anything more of it.

A few weeks later, at 5:30 a.m. on July 16, 1979, the dam failed, releasing 1,100 tons of uranium waste and 94 million gallons of radioactive water into the Rio Puerco and through Navajo lands, a toxic flood that had devastating consequences on the surrounding area.

“The water, filled with acids from the milling process, twisted a metal culvert in the Puerco,” according to Judy Pasternak’s book Yellow Dirt: A Poisoned Land and the Betrayal of the Navajos. “Sheep keeled over and died, and crops curdled along the banks. The surge of radiation was detected as far away as Sanders, Arizona, fifty miles downstream.” According to a Nuclear Regulatory Commission report, radioactivity levels in the Puerco near the breached dam were 7,000 times that of what is allowed in drinking water.

The heavily contaminated water flowed over the river banks, creating radioactive pools. “There were children up and down the river playing in those stagnant pools, and they were deadly poisonous,” Jorge Winterer, a doctor with Indian Health Service in Gallup, New Mexico, said after the spill.

Earlier this year, standing in his yard next to an old Chevy, King pointed in the direction of the now dry Rio Puerco. “It came right through there,” said King. The unleashed river of waste had flowed through his family’s land just a half-mile from his house. “I remember the terrible odor and the yellowish color of the water.” He recalls seeing an elderly woman who had burned her feet crossing the Puerco while watering her sheep that day.

King still lives on the family land, two miles downstream of the rebuilt dam in the Church Rock chapter of the Navajo Nation. His home is surrounded by a beautiful, unforgiving landscape of red rock cliffs, a scattering of Navajo residences and, if you look closely, fencelines with KEEP OUT signs marking the numerous abandoned uranium sites.

Forty years later, the Church Rock spill remains the largest single largest accidental release of radioactivity in U.S. history, worse in terms of total radiation than that of the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island and second in world history only to the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe, both of which have loomed much larger in the cultural imagination. The effects of the spill have lingered for an entire generation: In 2007, the Church Rock Uranium Mining Project found widespread contamination of drinking water sources in the Church Rock area.

Navajo residents say they have not been given the attention given to other victims of nuclear accidents, even as they remain under the catastrophe’s long shadow, dealing with poisoned livestock and ongoing health problems amid other aftereffects. “We have never been a priority,” said King. “Forty years after the spill and nothing has been done.”

“Our generation is afraid of having children,” said Faith Baldwin, who grew up on the Navajo nation surrounded by abandoned uranium mines. “Cancer runs in our family but it shouldn’t. Cancer, diabetes were nonexistent in Navajo rez.”

(…) For many residents, the spill has come to embody the broader toxic legacy of the uranium industry on the indigenous lands of the West. According to the EPA, there are over 500 abandoned uranium mines, mill sites, and waste piles on Navajo Nation land that continue to contaminate water, soil, livestock and housing.

“The Church Rock spill symbolizes the governmental and societal indifference to the impacts of uranium development on Indigenous lands,” said Jantz. “The Church Rock spill is the third largest nuclear accident after Fukushima and Chernobyl, and the largest in the US in terms of radiation released, but nobody knows about it.”

Continue this story at Vice News

READ MORE NUCLEAR NEWS: 21st Century Wire Nuclear Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Is Trump a Modern-Day Herbert Hoover?

Mon, 2019-08-12 19:40

By Stephen Lendman

Clearly, Hoover was world’s apart from Trump geopolitically, at war with no other nations, polar opposite how both extremist right wings of the US war party operate today. This article deals only with economic and financial issues.

Hoover had the misfortune of taking office eight months before the October 1929 Wall Street crash, ushering in the Great Depression of the 1930s, followed by WW II when FD Roosevelt was US president.

He failed to heed advice economist John Maynard Keynes later gave to Franklin Roosevelt. He urged “spend, spend, spend.” Supply “cheap and abundant credit.” 

Focus on “increas(ing) the national output” by stimulative fiscal policies. Boost purchasing power by “put(ting people back to work.”

Back then, the US wasn’t burdened by today’s high debt level exceeding GDP, increasing exponentially because of unsustainable military spending at time when the only US enemies are invented ones.

Trump took office at a late-cycle time similar to excesses of the 1920s, characterized by money printing madness that facilitated speculation on a grand scale.

On August 7, Wall Street on Parade’s Pam and Russ Martens reported that “central banks are in panic mode for good reason,” explaining the following:

The benchmark 10-year US Treasury plunged “a stunning…41 basis points in 8 days (to) 1.65 percent,” down from an earlier in the year yield of over 3%, perhaps heading toward exceeding its past decade low of 1.37%.

The inverted yield curve often signals recession ahead. After a decade of monetary and speculative excess, it’s likely coming, maybe matching or exceeding the October 2007 – March 2009 turmoil.

With short-term treasuries now at a range between 2 – 2.25% after a late July quarter point cut, and the Federal Reserve’s near-$4 trillion already bloated asset portfolio, it has much less ammunition to combat an economic decline than earlier — complicated by a potential perfect storm hitting the economy and financial markets ahead. 

The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency explained the following:

Five US too-big-to-fail mega-banks hold an unthinkable amount of derivatives, facilitating speculation, what Warren Buffet once called “financial weapons of mass destruction, carrying dangers that…are potentially lethal.”

Here’s what the five US mega-banks hold in these instruments:

JPMorgan Chase – $58.7 trillion 

Citigroup – $51.5 trillion

Goldman Sachs Group – $50.8 trillion

Bank of America – $37.9 trillion

Morgan Stanley – $35 trillion

Combined they hold 86% of the amount of these instruments held by 5,000 US banks.

Using them to accumulate windfall profits could dramatically backfire if the economy turns sharply south, a significant possibility ahead.

What goes up in financial gains over a prolonged period can unwind rapidly during a significant economic decline.

On August 11, economist John Williams commented on “unstable and deteriorating economic and political circumstances, foreshadow(ing) domestic financial market turmoil” in his judgment, adding:

The “flight from US stocks and the dollar into into gold should continue,” signaling a potential “major tipping point.”

What’s going on is exacerbated by chaotic geopolitical conditions, largely because of unacceptable Trump regime actions.

According to economist David Rosenberg, “(w)e are living in dangerous times…a period of history that will be written about in textbooks in years and decades to come, and the undertones are none too good.” 

Count the ways:

Financial markets are pricing in recession ahead.

“We have a bond market in which a quarter of the universe trades at a negative yield” — including in economic powerhouse Germany.

“Investment grade yields, on average, are below zero in the euro area.”

Unlike earlier economic downturns, including post-October 1929, 2001, and 2008, today’s “global debt load is infinitely larger now than it was at the peak of…prior credit-bubble cycle(s).” 

“The world is awash in debt. Years of monetary intervention among the world’s central banks created artificial asset-price inflation and exacerbated wealth inequalities at the same time.”

What’s going on “is a global phenomenon.” Mass shootings in the US nationwide are symptomatic “of a society starting to come apart at the seams.”

“(T)he world is splintering.” There’s possible Brexit in some form, “deep (EU) divisions,” months of violent Hong Kong protests, Sino/US trade and possible currency war, instability in the Middle East and Indo/Pacific, the threat of possible US war on Iran, and heightened India/Pakistan tensions over Kashmir. 

Rosenberg noted that for the first time since the 1930s, “a Federal Reserve tightening cycle got stopped out at 2.5 per cent on the federal-funds rate…(D)ebt dynamics are very unstable…interest rates (likely) to go (way) down…”

If go negative in the US, a real possibility if there’s economic and financial turmoil, “how do assets with cash-flow streams get valued,” Rosenberg asked?

“The distortions are wild…(G)old prices have broken out in recent months in all currency terms and central banks are adding bullion to their reserves.”

Trump is a geopolitical and economic know-nothing. Verbally trying to weaken the dollar “jeopardizes its status as the world’s reserve currency,” said Rosenberg. 

His protectionist tariffs war on China and other countries are destabilizing and counterproductive, especially at a time of growing global economic weakness.

There’s “no end-game in sight” on  the Sino/US trade and currency war he initiated.

“This sounds a lot like the 1930s to me,” said Rosenberg. Will major hot war follow like at the end of that decade?

Economist F. William Engdahl asked if China will trigger the “next financial tsunami.”

Will irreconcilable differences between both countries, showing no signs of resolution, “trigger (another) Lehman Crisis” like in 2008?

“Are we on the verge of a so-called ‘perfect storm’ that will transform the post-1945 global order?”

The Chinese curse about “liv(ing) in interesting times” may come home to roost in the months ahead.

Potential economic, financial, geopolitical, and military crisis conditions may be triggered by wrongheaded Trump policies — making a looming bad situation worse by his chaotic actions.

As always during times of crisis, ordinary people get hurt most. 

Highly-indebted households and individuals on fixed incomes with minimal savings are most vulnerable to be harmed by protracted instability and economic weakness that may lie ahead.

VISIT HIS NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 Also, his newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

READ MORE FINANCIAL NEWS: 21st Century Wire Financial Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

The Trilateral Commission: Helping Driving America’s Bankers Coup d’Etat

Mon, 2019-08-12 18:23

US President Jimmy Carter in the Oval Office with British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (Image Source: Wikicommons)

Matthew Ehret
Strategic Culture

Until recently I had believed like many that Jimmy Carter is not your typical politician. Standing out from the vast array of sellouts and establishment hacks, the ex-President has often appeared as the lone voice of reason in America’s establishment calling out the injustices of American military, the wrongs of the Zionist lobby and the self-destructive nature of the American oligarchy. Surely a man who speaks so candidly cannot be bad.

While I believe Carter probably has good intentions, I also believe that the man is likely just as clueless today as he was when he was used as a puppet by those forces now identified as the international Deep State which took over American foreign and internal policy during his 1977-1981 presidency.

Under Carter’s reign, an organization which grew out of the combined influence of the Council on Foreign Relations and Bilderberg Group took over America under the name of the Trilateral Commission which overturned the last remnants of anti-imperial impulses left over from the vision provided by Presidents Franklin Roosevelt and John Kennedy, converting America into the self-destructive basket case we have come to know it as today.

Since those Trilateral reforms were so all-encompassing and touch on issues of economic policy, the creation of foreign debt slavery, terrorist financing and green energy, it is worth conducting a brief assessment of how this happened while also looking at some of the key players that made it happen.

The Trilateral Commission takes over

While James Carter became America’s 39th president in 1977, the Trilateral Commission was actually created in 1973 under the nominal head of David Rockefeller III (president of Chase Manhattan Bank) and a coterie of international financiers and imperialistically-minded ideologues who believed religiously in the utopian doctrine of global governance under a master-slave ethic. The idea of consolidating three global zones of power (North America, Western Europe and Japan) during the height of the Cold War under a unified command structure was the motive behind the creation of this think tank at that time.

A leading figure in the Trilateral Commission who later became Carter’s National Security Advisor was named Zbigniew Brzezinski who referred to this agenda as the “Technetronic era” which he described in 1970 as an age involving “the gradual appearance of a more controlled society. Such a society would be dominated by an elite, unrestrained by traditional values.” Who would these specialists represent? In his Between Two Ages, Brzezinski made it very clear: “The nation-state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multi-national corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state”.

Senator Barry Goldwater called out this foreign beast transforming America in his 1979 autobiography With No Apologies by saying “The Trilateralist Commission is international…(and)…is intended to be the vehicle for multinational consolidation of the commercial and banking interests by seizing control of the political government of the United States. The Trilateralist Commission represents a skillful, coordinated effort to seize control and consolidate the four centers of power – political, monetary, intellectual, and ecclesiastical.”

Another American political figure then combating this foreign virus was Presidential candidate Lyndon LaRouche who prophetically wrote The Trilateral Commission’s Rapid End to Democracy on August 4, 1981 stating: “The plan is to combine the collapse of the financial system of the United States and most of Western Europe with other countries to create a ‘global crisis management’ scenario on the largest and most catastrophic scales… the financial crisis is to be used to subject the United States, among other nations so treated to a dictatorship by decree of the IMF.”

Under Brzezinski’s leadership one third of the Trilateral Commission’s members were appointed to top cabinet posts under Carter. Notable members here worth mentioning include Walter Mondale (Vice President), Harold Brown (Defense Secretary), Cyrus Vance (Secretary of State), Michael Blumenthal (Treasury Secretary), James Schlesinger (Energy Czar), Paul Volcker (Fed Chairman). Just to get across the British pedigree of this group, Brzezinski and Blumenthal were not only Bilderberg members, but 2 of the 9 directors of the Council on Foreign Relations Project for the 1980s. The CFR is the Cecil Rhodes/Roundtable Group that set up in America in 1921 to advance Rhodes’ mandate to recapture America as the lost colony and re-establish a new British Empire.

The Crisis of Democracy                      

In 1975, Brzezinski’s assistant Samuel P. Huntington authored a book called Crisis of Democracy as part of the Council on Foreign Relations 1980s Project that published 33 books by 10 Task Forces in order to usher in the Technetronic era. Huntington said “we have come to recognize that there are potentially desirable limits to economic growth. There are also potentially desirable limits to the indefinite extension of democracy… a government which lacks authority will have little ability to impose on its people the sacrifices which will be necessary.”

Huntington and Brzezinski conducted a foreign affairs reform that began funding radical Islamic schools and political movements beginning with the USAID-led overthrow of the Shah of Iran and the installation of the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1979. The US funding of Al Qaeda and the Mujahedeen was nominally done for the pragmatic reason of countering the Soviets in Afghanistan, however the real reason was to justify a “Clash of Civilizations” thesis that Huntington later published under the presumption that the major religions could have no peace unless a global Leviathan were created to impose order from above. This was a clear cut case of the Pygmalion effect to the extreme.

It is here noteworthy that the Shah, along with many leaders of the Non-Aligned movement were then engaged in a major struggle to break free of the neo-colonial debt-slavery structure under Anglo-American control by using their inalienable sovereign powers to cancel the unpayable debts while unleashing investments into scientific and technological progress using the post WWII “Japan-model”. Japan’s inspiring post-WWII leap from feudalism to an advanced scientific-industrial economy made its membership in the Trilateral Commission that much more important in the minds of the new Olympian gods who feared other developing nations would follow suite.

The Controlled Disintegration of the West

Two months after being appointed Federal Reserve Chairman, Paul Volcker gave a lecture in Warwick University London proclaiming “a controlled disintegration in the world economy is a legitimate object for the 1980s”.

Volcker managed this controlled disintegration by raising interest rates to 20-21.5% beginning in 1979- leaving them there until 1982 while also raising reserve requirements for Commercial banks. The effect forever crippled America’s economy with agricultural production collapsing vastly, metal-cutting machine tools collapsed by 45.5%, automobile production collapsed by 44.3% and steel production collapsed by 49.4%. During this traumatic period, small and medium enterprises were intentionally bankrupted across all sectors of the North American and European economies leaving only multinational corporations in a position to afford such interest rates. Volcker’s program paved the way for the 1981 Kemp-Roth Tax Act that opened up real estate speculation and the 1982 Garn- St. Germaine Act which de-regulated U.S. Banks and advanced the creation of universal/too-big-to-fail banking.

In that same period, third world debtors having to pay 20% interest saw their debts skyrocket by 40-70%. Leaders who resisted this program such as Pakistan’s Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, India’s Indira Gandhi, Burkina Faso’s Thomas Sankara, and Mexico’s Lopez Portillo et al. were systematically killed or overthrown.

When it became evident that an incoming President Ronald Reagan was not favorable to the Trilateral Commission/CFR agenda- pushing for bilateral meetings with Gandhi and Mexico’s Portillo in 1981 in order to assist their industrial growth policies and threatening to fire Volcker, his elimination was quickly orchestrated. After CFR/Trilateral Commission member George Bush was placed as Reagan’s VP (ousting Reagan’s friend Sen. Paul Laxalt during a Rockefeller-run media scandal), John Hinckley- an MK Ultra psych job deeply tied into the Bush family, was deployed to carry out an assassination shooting Reagan in the chest on March 30, 1981.

Reagan never recovered from this attempt and the well-intentioned but highly malleable Hollywood star became increasingly moulded by CFR-Trilateral Commission agents in spite of his tendency to allow himself to be influenced by pro-nation state figures exemplified by his endorsement of the Joint US-Soviet plan for the Strategic Defense Initiative in 1983 (later corrupted into a unilateral doctrine by Bush Sr.)

Green Depopulation

It should not be ignored that the transformation of the American economy from a pro-industrial growth open system model into a closed system Malthusian model was also an initiative of forces controlling the Trilateral Commission.

In 1974, David Rockefeller III keynoted the Club of Rome/UN World Population Conference in Bucharest stating “There is a need to revise the concept of economic growth. Particularly in recent years, the limits of growth have come into our consciousness. The depletion of resources, pollution, and the energy crisis have made all that very clear. The character and purpose of growth must be changed.”

The agenda for a “post-industrial society” driven by a green infrastructure revolution was laid out in the July 24, 1980 Global 2000 Report that called for energy conservation, population control and environmentalism as the foundation for the new economy. Later that year, the World Wildlife Fund’s Global Conservation Strategy is published paralleling the Global 2000 thesis. The WWF was headed by Prince Philip and Prince Bernhardt during this time and its vice presidents during Carter’s administration included Louis Mortimer Bloomfield whose Permindex Bureau was caught coordinating JFK’s assassination and Trilateral Commission member Maurice Strong who called for a destruction of industrial civilization in a 1990 interview.

This was not just a history lesson

What you have just read may appear on the surface to be a history report but it is much more than that. It is a future report.

It is a future report since your future is being shaped by historical forces that you need to understand if you are going to be able to choose to influence your reality in accord with those historical trajectories that are actually in harmony with the real self-interests of mankind.

The forces of progress and anti-colonialism that the Trilateral Commission sought to snuff out 40 years ago have been revived under the renewed leadership of Russia, China and a growing array of nations who want to have a future. Increasingly, nationalist forces (as confused as they may be) have arisen as an anti-technocratic movement across North America and Europe which offers nations once believed lost to the New World Order, a chance to revive their lost renaissance heritage.

The only thing standing in the way from western nations joining the Belt and Road Initiative, re-organizing the bankrupt financial system and unleashing productive credit to revive the real economy is 1) a lack of understanding of history and 2) a confused sense of the true nature of humanity, as a species above other beasts of the ecosystem- capable of constant perfectibility and creative discovery.

Anything that denies this concept humanity and natural law such as the Green New Deal should be treated as the noxious wet dream of the Volckers, Rockefellers, Brzezinskis and other Trilateral Commission zombies who had a long way to go before qualifying themselves as human.

READ MORE NWO NEWS: 21st Century Wire NWO Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Episode #291 – ‘We Need to Talk About Jeff’ with guests Basil Valentine

Sun, 2019-08-11 21:45

Episode #291 of SUNDAY WIRE SHOW resumes on August 11, 2019 with host Patrick Henningsen, broadcasting LIVE on the Alternate Current Radio Network (ACR)…


5pm-8pm UK Time | 12pm-3pm ET (US) | 9am-12pm PT (US)

This week the SUNDAY WIRE broadcasts LIVE on ACR with host Patrick Henningsen covers some of the top stories in the US, Europe and internationally. Later in the first hour we’ll connect with the Sunday Wire’s roving correspondent for culture & sport, Basil Valentine, to discuss this weekend’s biggest story – where convicted billionaire sex abuser Jeffrey Epstein reportedly died in custody from an apparent suicide after supposedly hanged himself in his cell in New York City. We’ll look at the incident, who benefits from his untimely death, and what to espect going forward – as well as a review of the scale and scope of Epstein’s international sex trafficking and blackmail network . All this and much more. Enjoy the show…




Download Episode #291

Sunday Wire Radio Show Archives

Categories: Foreign Policy, World

BREAKING: Epstein Found Dead in Jail After Apparent Hanging Suicide

Sat, 2019-08-10 22:20

Today, accused billionaire financier and convicted sex offender, Jeffrey Epstein, 66, is reported to have hanged himself in his cell in New York City’s Metropolitan Correctional Center.

A statement from the Federal Bureau of Prisons reads:

Exclusive photos have been released by the New York Post showing paramedics transporting Epstein from the MCC to a local hospital unit:

POST EXCLUSIVE: Photos show Jeffrey Epstein as he’s wheeled into Downtown Hospitalhttps://t.co/uAAoHJTSKf pic.twitter.com/vJqz7p25VR

— Jon Levine (@LevineJonathan) August 10, 2019

Epstein’s story broke back into the headlines in July, after Manhattan federal prosecutors indicted Mr. Epstein with a raft of new charges, including the trafficking of girls as young as 14. He had pleaded not guilty, and a federal judge had denied request for bail or to be released under house arrest.

However, today’s latest shocking development comes immediately on the heels of something much more crucial: only in the last 48 hours, a large trove of unsealed documents released regarding Epstein’s sex trafficking case – documents which name names, many famous and powerful names. Documents pertain to the deposition of victim Virginia Giuffre, which tells the story of how Epstein and close associate Ghislaine Maxwell kept Roberts as a sex slave for two years, pimping her out for “massages” and sex with powerful men. As a result, additional excruciating details came into public view regarding victims’ accusations claiming to involve a number of Epstein’s close elite associates including of New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, Prince Andrew the Duke of York, former US Senator George Mitchell, financier Glenn Dubin, French modeling agent Jean-Luc Brunel, and the deceased MIT and leading A.I. scientist Marvin Minsky.

Back in 2008, he conveniently avoided any federal criminal charges after prosecutors brokered a controversial “sweetheart” deal which allowed Epstein to plea bargain and serve only 13 months in jail, and more importantly – which granted immunity to any co-conspirators named in the case. Other high-profile persons named in the course that investigation, as well as the subsequent release of Epstein’s flight logs to his private Caribbean Island, included former US President Bill Clinton, former Israeli PM Ehud Barak, and celebrity lawyer Alan Dershowitz.

The SDNY can charge Jeffrey Epstein's co-conspirators – Ghislaine Maxwell, etc.

This leaves a big question moving forward:

Does the DOJ let the case die with Epstein?

— Techno Fog (@Techno_Fog) August 10, 2019

As yet, it is unknown just how Epstein’s death will affect the overall legal prosecution going forward, and with so many high-profile persons now attached to this scandal, it’s obvious that there are many powerful and well-connected individuals and institutions who would like nothing more than to see this case buried. Epstein’s untimely death today will certainly help the cause of the rich and powerful, as there is no chance Epstein will give any witness statements or cut another deal to inform on any of other implicated parties.

Questions still remain about the timeline of today’s event. According to the New York Times, the Federal Bureau of Prisons would not immediately respond to their requests for comment. However, initial reports by ABC News indicate that the exact time of death is still unclear.

Details of his reported death are still emerging. A previous suicide attempt was reported two weeks ago in July, but media reports were ambiguous, with CNBC and others reporting that officials were not certain whether Epstein tried to hang himself – or if he was assaulted. At the same time, critics accused him of orchestrating a ‘stunt’ to gain sympathy in order to win release under house arrest. However,It is surprising then that today’s incident should occur – if indeed Epstein was assumed to have been on ‘suicide watch’ since the earlier incident.

UPDATE: Washington Post has just reported: Attorney General William P. Barr said Saturday in a statement that he was “appalled” to learn of Epstein’s death while in federal custody and that the incident “raises serious questions that must be answered.”


READ MORE EPSTEIN NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Epstein Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

South Korea Officials Laugh at Trump’s Demand for $5 Billion to Keep US Army There

Fri, 2019-08-09 21:04

AS THE WORLD TURNS: More and more, Trump is looking like the odd man out, as Kim and Moon get on with the business of peace.

Recently, US President Donald Trump made history by becoming the first sitting US President to physically step foot inside of North Korea over the DMZ line. Despite diplomatic progress though, there is still some ways to go before Washington can boast achieving full de-nuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. Because the bottom line is that Trump’s peace overtures have already re-routed the course of events on the Korean Peninsula, and there’s very little, if any chance that hostilities will resume between these two neighbors.

Of course, it would be unfair to give all of the credit to Trump – South Korea’s Moon Jae-in and his counterpart in Pyongyang, Kim Jung-un, are the two men who have made this détente possible. Or maybe it’s just a reality whose time has come. Either way, the old US gambit in the Pacific looks destined for the policy museum.

What this also signals is that the old idea that South Korea ‘must pay’ the Don in a US protect racket – to protect South Koreans from their supposed ideological adversaries in China and North Korea – will no longer fly with the Korean people. How long until a peace treaty is actually signed may depend on the well-timed theatrics which Team Trump plans to unveil during the 2020 US Election.

Writer Benjamin Young at the Nikkei Asian Review reports…

According to a report on July 30 from a South Korean newspaper, Washington has requested that the government in Seoul pay $5 billion next year for the continued presence of its armed forces on South Korean soil. This would be more than a fivefold increase from 2019, when Seoul paid $879 million.

During my recent visit to Seoul, numerous high-ranking South Korean officials and academics actually laughed at this request, amused by the absurdity of such a high number.

However, it should not be laughed at. The unreasonableness of $5 billion is the entire point: the Trump administration understands that Seoul will not pay, especially after it funded the $10.7 billion upgrade of the U.S. garrison, Camp Humphreys. Washington wants to use it as leverage to curb and eventually pull U.S. troops out of South Korea.

This would not only be a massive boon for North Korea, China and Russia — all South Korea’s rivals — but would also signal to U.S. allies around the world that its military presence abroad is based on tit-for-tat economic exchange, not mutual security…

Continue this story at Nikkei Asian Review

READ MORE NORTH KOREA NEWS: 21st Century Wire North Korea Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Official Secrets: Priti Patel’s Early War on Whistleblowers

Fri, 2019-08-09 01:05

Nina Cross
21st Century Wire

As British ambassador to the US Kim Darroch tended his wounds of humiliation last month, following the leak of a cache of diplomatic cables and documents, including emails describing President Trump as ‘inept’ and ‘uniquely dysfunctional,’  an outraged UK government descended into panic over how to handle such an apparently sensitive and damaging betrayal of confidential information.  A police investigation was launched to find the leaker. 

Is this dubious leak now being used to mount an attack on whistleblowers – with the help of Boris Johnson’s new Home Secretary, Priti Patel?

A leak useful for mobilising outrage

The leak, which led to Trump’s refusal to work with Darroch, and consequently Darroch’s resignation, is a useful type of leak for a government set on tightening the Official Secrets Act (OSA).  After all, it has not exposed evidence of any government crime, so cannot really be applauded as a courageous stand against abuse of power as in the case for example of the leaks released by Chelsea Manning and published by Wikileaks, exposing US war crimes.

…handled. I told @theresa_may how to do that deal, but she went her own foolish way-was unable to get it done. A disaster! I don’t know the Ambassador but have been told he is a pompous fool. Tell him the USA now has the best Economy & Military anywhere in the World, by far…

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 9, 2019

The Darroch leak was clearly one of a political nature. In this way, the artificial hype being whipped-up around it actually downplays the essential and heroic role of the whistleblower.  Certainly from a purely political perspective, it could be argued that it does not serve public interest to know that a British diplomat might have a very low opinion of the US president (a fairly common view point held by many diplomats globally), which could serve certain political aims, or be motivated by spite. But that’s hardly a matter of national security.

It is for this reason that a chance leak such as this could be extremely useful for individuals and institutions with an axe to grind against whistleblowers.  It could also be used to mobilise public outrage against a foreign leader, unpopular with many, who thinks he can dictate to Britain what to do with our ambassadors.  Spin doctors in Westminster will make the seemingly impassioned argument that this leak somehow damages the hallowed ‘special relationship’ between Britain and the US. With enough arm-twisting, some of us might even be tempted to give our consent to new authoritarian laws that punish and silence those who would dare leak such information.

In this case, the Metropolitan Police took things a few dangerous steps further. On July 12th, Assistant Commissioner for the Metropolitan Police, Neil Basu, made this statement:

“Given the widely reported consequences of that leak, I am satisfied that there has been damage caused to UK international relations, and there would be clear public interest in bringing the person or people responsible to justice.”

Now the police are weighing in on something as politically subjective as “international relations.” What’s much worse though is when Basu announced that the Met would also consider it a crime for anyone, including members of the press or media, to publish these leaked cables. He stated:

“The publication of leaked communications, knowing the damage they have caused or are likely to cause, may also be a criminal matter.”

“I would advise all owners, editors and publishers of social and mainstream media not to publish leaked government documents that may already be in their possession, or which may be offered to them, and to turn them over to the police or give them back to their rightful owner, Her Majesty’s government.”

The public backlash was swift however, as many public figures rebuked the Met’s shot across the press bow.

What a mess the Met Police have got themselves into attacking press freedom. No prosecution would have a chance of succeeding anyway. I predict a u-turn today by Commissioner overruling Mr Basu; if they stick with his threats to the media then there will be calls for resignations

— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) July 13, 2019

The following day Basu was then forced to walk-back the Met’s threat to the press, issuing a type of retraction some 24 hours after.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn added:

Freedom of the press is vital, of course. There are rules around that and there are considerable protections for journalists who do reveal things and that, of course, is the right thing to do.”

From this exchange we learned that there was much more going on behind the scenes with this story than previously thought.

The ground was now set for a disturbing authoritarian legislative drive, quietly unleashed through the Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC), which included the soon-to-be-Home Secretary, Priti Patel;  it submitted  recommendations to the government at the end of July following its own inquiry, described as “An urgent look at tackling a culture of leaks” 

“The unauthorised disclosure of material sent by Sir Kim Darroch makes one thing very clear: those who leak are reckless and dangerous. In this case they have caused the resignation of a dedicated and skilled public servant, undermined the influence of the United Kingdom around the world and, potentially, caused a damaging rift with our most important ally.”

“The leak of Sir Kim’s communications is an egregious act by the leaker and the Committee urges the Government to use all its resources to identify and apprehend the leaker and apply the toughest of sanctions at its disposal. The Committee believes however that the sanctions available under the Official Secrets Act are not necessarily sufficient for penalising breaches of the gravity of this most recent leak. In any event, it is evident that those penalties did not act as a sufficient deterrent.”

The wording focuses on the specifics of the Darroch case and forces us to narrow our view of leaks (and those who leak) to that of self-serving individuals undeserving of any public support or legal protections.  Meanwhile, as we focus on the mischief-makers who leak, this same report proceeds to attack whistleblowers and truth tellers who make personal sacrifices to stop state-sponsored abuse:

” … integrity must be preserved when dealing with leaks by an unambiguous response that conveys clearly that any leak will not be tolerated.”

What the FAC and Patel are attempting to do here is to somehow justify harsher sanctions and extend prison sentences under the Official Secrets Act – all on the basis of a murky Darroch case. It would be very easy to translate this as political opportunism by an increasingly authoritarian government and political class.

Should we consent to risk harsher penalties for those who expose  state-sponsored crime and corruption, at their own personal risk, based on leaks we might not care for or disapprove of?

Throughout the report there is no distinction between leaks or references to whistleblowing for matters of public interest.   The term ‘whistleblower’ is used once in the report but is given no time, importance or explanation.  It is left hanging like some abstract ideal used only to highlight the ill-intent of the Darroch leak.

Whistleblowers are eminent human rights defenders. They deserve our gratitude as well as effective protection and international solidarity #JulianAssange

— Alfred de Zayas (@Alfreddezayas) December 13, 2018

Yet, while the committee calls on the government to review and ‘strengthen’ the Official Secrets Act to impose harsher sentences, it makes no reference to the fact this has been ongoing for the last few years and the Law Commission is due to publish its final recommendations this year.  Its 2017 initial recommendations led to an outcry from politicians and journalists, who condemned its authoritarian suggestions for increasing prison sentences from 2 to 14 years. Using the Darroch case as a platform, the FAC, with Patel now at the helm of the Home Office, has laid the groundwork so that the Law Commission’s full frontal attack on whistle blowers – should its 2017 recommendations remain in place- might be more palatable.

The inquiry appears to have been planned prior to Darroch’s resignation given that the first witness session was held within hours of his decision to resign,  the day after Trump’s tweet.  It was then wrapped up inside of two weeks.  Was the hurry through panic or opportunism?

The lavish British embassy in Washington DC

The advice given by the expert witnesses in the rushed inquiry actually challenges several of the FAC’s recommendations. These include its recommendations around re-classifying information, disabling the forward button on its systems, and empowering the FAC to screen all ambassadorial candidates prior to their appointment by government.  Even the former UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, known for his approval for regime changes, did not see the purpose of lengthy prison sentences for those who leak information.  All agreed the ‘culture of loyalty’ to be the best protection against leaks.  The FAC seems to have its own agenda whatever.  Most clearly, beneath its desperate reflexive maneuvering to stop leaks… is the attack on whistleblowers.

Pockets of the leaks inquiry reveal how whistleblowers are really viewed by British diplomats, as shown in this comment offered by Adam Thomson, former UK permanent representative to NATO:

“There are other leaks that can be massively more damaging, such as cases where lives are lost because sources and methods have been disclosed, or things on the scale of what Chelsea Manning and Edward Snowden were responsible for, which, I assume, have had large-scale consequences for how the US system operates.”

Thomson does not explain the things Manning and Snowden ‘were responsible for’  but we get the message that their whistleblowing of state-sponsored abuses are never to be mentioned by government officials;  state-sponsored murders and human rights violations are airbrushed.  As is always the case, any statements about “loss of lives because sources and methods have been disclosed” is kept intentionally vague and unqualified.  Surely an inquiry into why leaks should be stopped would be the ideal place to provide evidence of deaths they have caused?

During the inquiry whistleblowers were smeared as being ‘useful idiots’ or individuals working for governments intent on malevolent leaking.  It is within the description of malevolent and useful idiot that former UK ambassador to the US Peter Westmacott places Wikileaks and whistleblowers:

“If you are, say, a Government that is into malevolent leaking of another Government’s communications, you might quite like to use a cut-out, or if you are the Russians you might use Wikileaks, for example. You might use either a useful idiot or somebody who shares that interest in getting that material into the public domain.

Here we have the ‘malign Russian influence’ narrative regularly used to attack Wikileaks, and to smear whistleblowers, or any other political dissent for that matter.  But as John Pilger points out, the numbers do not add up if we are to believe Wikileaks conspires with the Kremlin:

John Pilger speaking at today's #FreeAssangeRally. "@wikileaks has also published more than 800,000 files from Russia, including from inside the Kremlin, telling us more about the machinations of power in Russia than all the specious hysterics in Washington known as #Russiagate." pic.twitter.com/EekTzfZtrH

— Lissa Johnson (@LissaKJohnson) March 3, 2019

That Wikileaks is seen as the enemy during the inquiry is clear:  the fear of having the impunity of its diplomatic and political class challenged is an unacceptable red line for the British elite. That the UK government has spent almost a decade assisting the US in its persecution of Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, is the evidence.

Bob Seely Tory MP for the Isle of White, who sits on the FAC, has aggressively promulgated the ‘malign influence of the Putin government’ narrative. The political agenda of Seely and the FAC around Russia has led to the formation of the UK’s Magnitsky sanctions.  These originated from the politically-driven US Magnitsky Act based on the dubious claims against the Russian government made by Bill Browder, and used to target individuals.  Although the sanctions are in theory applicable to any individual, not just Russians, the agenda of the FAC and individuals like Seely appears to be to drive a ‘new cold war’ narrative between Russia and the West.

Following Assange’s arrest on 11th April, after being unconstitutionally stripped of his asylum and Ecuadorian citizenship rights inside the Ecuadorian embassy, he was charged by the US government for what amounts to a bogus conspiracy to hack a US government computer charge. It relates to Manning’s 2010 release of documents exposing US war crimes published by Wikileaks,  and was accompanied with a request for Assange’s extradition to the US.  That day, Seely made the following comment in Parliament:

“I understand that the potential extradition to the United States relates to the half a million leaked documents in the Chelsea Manning case. Does my right hon. Friend agree that there is potentially a more serious and disturbing case against Julian Assange in relation to his and WikiLeaks’ role in the Kremlin’s 2016 attempts to interfere with and manipulate the United States presidential elections, when WikiLeaks was used by Russian military intelligence—the GRU—as the primary vehicle to disseminate the stolen documents, hacked by the GRU from the Democratic party? While some see him as an information war hero, others see him as a useful stooge of an authoritarian state.”

Seely continued pushing the Russia government hacking conspiracy narrative, one that has been shown by numerous intelligence analysts to be false and also rebuked by a recent US court ruling.  The same day, in an article in the Telegraph,  he called Assange a ‘useful idiot and left-wing dupe‘.  The article drives the narrative that Assange is somehow implicated in a Russian intelligence conspiracy designed to undermine American democracy by interfering in the 2016 elections, and describes Assange’s role, crucially, as disseminating documents.  Seely then goes on to suggest that only by being forced by a court, could Assange answer questions of what happened.  In his article Seely recognises documents were leaked to  Wikileaks and Assange by whoever accessed them in order for them to be published:  a practice in journalism. This did not stop a member of the FAC and government from effectively suggesting prosecution for exactly that.

Isn’t Seely suggesting here that disseminators of information, otherwise known as journalists and publishers, should be forced into court to answer questions on their sources? It seems so.

New US Court Ruling Vindicates for Assange, WikiLeaks

Seely’s authoritarian stance was exposed last week as a federal judge in New York,  Judge John Koeltl, dismissed a lawsuit by the Democratic National Committee (DNC) over WikiLeaks’ publication of DNC documents in 2016.  The judge ruled that:

Journalists are allowed to request documents that have been stolen and to publish those documents.”

A person is entitled [to] publish stolen documents that the publisher requested from a source so long as the publisher did not participate in the theft.

This ruling by a US judge is significant as it upholds the ability of journalists to report matters of public concern without being criminalised, a protection for free speech:

“If WikiLeaks could be held liable for publishing documents concerning the DNC’s political financial and voter-engagement strategies simply because the DNC labels them ‘secret’ and trade secrets, then so could any newspaper or other media outlet. But that would impermissibly elevate a purely private privacy interest to override the First Amendment interest in the publication of matters of the highest public concern. The DNC’s published internal communications allowed the American electorate to look behind the curtain of one of the two major political parties in the United States during a presidential election. This type of information is plainly of the type entitled to the strongest protection that the First Amendment offers.”

It is also vindication that Assange, now facing trumped-up charges of espionage in the US, is a journalist who has published information on matters of great public interest and importance through Wikileaks.

The future of press freedom in the UK is of great concern.  In its 2017 recommendations, the Law Commission, in addition to suggesting higher prison sentences for whistleblowers, proposed prosecuting those who receive and disseminate information covered under the Official Secrets Act. Those who receive and disseminate information are journalists. Seely’s article on Assange indicates how within the corridors of power there is desire to place journalists in the dock simply for doing their job.  What’s more, the statement released by the Metropolitan police following the publication of the Darroch emails, that media outlets should not publish leaked government documents should perhaps not be swept aside as some random error.

Given the mounted attack on press freedom by the UK government through its support of Assange’s extradition to the US, effectively for doing journalism, combined with the potential attack on whistleblowers and journalists under the Official Secrets Act – which the new Home Secretary appears to be cheerleading already – the public should remain more vigilant than ever and treat any comment about prosecuting journalists as suspicious.

Author Nina Cross is an independent writer and researcher, and contributor to 21WIRE. To see more of her work, visit  Nina’s archive.

READ MORE ASSANGE NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Assange/Wikileaks Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Extra Time: Who’s Agitating for an American Civil War?

Fri, 2019-08-09 00:40

Powerful forces lurk behind both the political Right and Left – amping up the rhetoric and driving America society towards more frequent violent clashes. In the end, the authoritarian state and its burgeoning elite technocracy is the only true beneficiary of this new system of engineered polarization.  

Pat and Mike break down this sociopolitical phenomenon as America heads into the 2020 election cycle. Watch:

UKC Extra Time: Off-Air Discussion with Patrick & Mike


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

A New Turkey for the 21st Century: Tayyip Erdoğan’s Career and Deniz Baykal’s Role

Thu, 2019-08-08 23:29

From Kemal to Caliph: Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan together with Deniz Baykal (pictured together in 2009).

Dr Can Eriman
21st Century Wire

Recep Tayyip  Erdoğan (aka the Prez) has been occupying the limelight in Turkey for many decades now – ever since his Justice and Development Party (or AKP) was founded in the early years of this century, this political organisation has all but replaced Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (1881-1938)’s Republican People’s Party (or CHP).

The recent return of the CHP to İstanbul’s corridors of power has awakened feelings long suppressed amongst a great many people – at home as well as abroad. Some people have now started dreaming aloud that the return of Atatürk (or rather values supposedly espoused and advocated by the nation’s founder) is imminent. As if the chimera that was ‘Turkish Secularism’ is suddenly about to return to the nation’s largest and most important city. Alas, as I have outlined earlier, İstanbul’s new Mayor is far removed from espousing a secular value system, being personally steeped in the traditions of Islam and personally observant of the Prophet’s example. Whereas the 2017 testimony of the now-imprisoned rather prominent CHP member Canan Kaftancıoğlu seems to suggest that Atatürk’s party does clearly not shy away from employing the Islamic concept of “taqiyya in order to gain votes from the right.” The party leaders Kılıçdaroğlu (2010-) and Baykal (1995-2010) have after all actively commenced and continued recruiting members of the country’s pious population groups into the ranks of the Republican People’s Party. In fact, Deniz Baykal played an even far greater role in securing Tayyip Erdogan’s ascendancy to his current lofty position at the head of Turkey’s state and government. As a lawyer who then went on to complete his doctorate at the Ankara University Faculty of Political Science, Baykal went on to be an academic with a keen intererst in the country’s political fortunes. He joined the CHP in 1968 and was elected to public office five years later. For nearly twenty years, Baykal was part and parcel of Turkey’s volatile political establishment, having served as Finance Minister under Bülent Ecevit (1925-2006)’s coaltion government in 1974, and subsequently as Energy and Natural Resources Minister in Ecevit’s third government (1978). Baykal was thus a card-carrying member of the Kemalist camp, arguably espousing a modern and secular value system. But his role in aiding and abetting  Erdogan’s meteoric rise to power casts a serious shadow on his legacy and reputation now that he is in hiw twilight years.

Baykal and Erdoğan’s Special Relationship

Kingmaker: Deniz Baykal

Though, quite advanced in age, severy ill and bound to a wheelchair, Baykal is at present an active member of the New Turkey’s all but powerless parliament (TBMM). On 21 February 2019, while sitting in his wheelchair, the erstwhile leader of the main opposition CHP, Deniz Baykal, took his oath as a newly-re-elected member of TBMM. Baykal had not been in parliament for the past sixteen months. This seemingly simple and mundane event really came as a shocking surprise, as Deniz Baykal, had been taken to hospital over a blood clot in a major artery going to his brain on 16 October 2017. Somewhat surprisingly, at that time, “President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan reportedly visited the hospital” on the same day. Even “meeting Baykal’s son Ataç Baykal and his daughter Aslı Baykal Ataman,” as reported in the Turkish press. Baykal was subsequently in a critical condition, and following three operations was being kept in a medically induced coma. But why did the Prez himself visit the veteran politician, even instructing prominent brain surgeon Uğur Türe to personally look after the patient?!??  In fact, following his 51-day treatment in Turkey, Baykal was flown to Germany where he entered an Emergency Hospital in the vicinity of the Bavarian city of Munich (Unfallklinik Murnau). And, even more amazing, on 2 January 2018, the Prez made a telephone call to talk to the erstwhile opposition leader to convey his well-wishes. This telephonic interference was even reported on Turkish television. Is there a special link between these two men, between Tayyip Erdoğan and Baykal?!??  A special relationship the general public does not seem to know about?!??

Turkey’s political life has been dominated by Recep Tayyip Erdoğan throughout most of the 21st century . . . Before stepping on the national stage in 2003, his political career had been stopped short due to his imprisonment between 26 March and 24 June 1999. By law, this criminal record would have been the end of his public life . . . but as we know, from being Mayor of Istanbul (27 March 1994–6 November 1998), Erdoğan went on to found the Justice and Development Party (or AKP, on 14 August 2001) to subsequently lead the country first as Prime Minister (14 March 2003-28 August 2014) and then, as President (28 August 2014-) . . . and over the years, he has radically altered the country and its people in such a way that today’s Turkey hardly resembles the nation state founded by Mustafa Kemal Atatürk in 1923. The link between being a mayor and becoming prime minister and president was created by one man, and one man only, Deniz Baykal.

Necmettin Erbakan’s Protégé

The Prez: Tayyip Erdoğan

Tayyip Erdoğan entered Turkey’s national consciousness with a bang on 27 March 1994, when Necmettin Erbakan’s Refah Partisi (or RP, erroneously translated as Welfare Party) somewhat unexpectedly made major gains in nationwide local elections – even sweeping the mayoral seats of Ankara and Istanbul along. Erdoğan, as the Istanbul-born son of parents hailing from Turkey’s Black Sea town of Rize, became the incumbent of the latter as Erbakan’s chosen candidate. The RP was founded in 1983, and Tayyip Erdoğan had been a member of the party’s Istanbul establishment since 1984, when he became the  chairman of the Beyoğlu district party organisation and in the following year, even rising to the chairmanship of the RP’s Istanbul provincial department. In order to strengthen his personal ties with the legendary figure of Erbakan, Erdoğan organised a meeting with the Afghani Mujahid and ‘politician’ Gulbuddin Hekmatyar on 30 November 1985. As such, Erbakan had been actively trying to revive the power of Islam in Turkey since 1969 when he penned a manifesto entitled Millî Görüş (or ‘The National Vision’). And he subsequently also set up a number of political parties, beginning with the MNP (National Order Party, founded on 26 January 1970) – numerous political vehicles of which the RP (1983-97) was to be the most successful incarnation (even allowing him to become PM in the period 28 June 1996-30 June 1997). Erbakan was known internationally as an ally of the Muslim Brotherhood. Hekmatyar, then, had been an important warlord fighting against the Soviets in the 1980s, receiving liberal support from Pakistan, the UK and the United States. In the 1990s he even received the gruesome sobriquet “Butcher of Kabul,” on account of the widespread destruction and the many deaths he caused in Afghanistan’s capital. Ideologically, he is also known ot have been influenced by the Muslim Brotherhood and  by Sayyid Qutub (1906-66)’s writings in particular. The meeting between these two Islamic champions (in Turkey, Erbakan’s followers used to refer to their leader as Mücahit or Mujahid) organised by Erdoğan was a great success and no doubt raised his standing in  party circles as well as the eyes of the RP leader himself. In 1989, Erdoğan unsuccessfully participated in the mayoral contest for the Beyoğlu district of Istanbul. But, five years later, upon receiving Erbakan’s approval he ran for the position of metropolitan mayor of Istanbul. Erdoğan ran a savvy campaign, managed by Nabi Avcı, who was to serve as Education Minister (2013-6) and Culture Minister (2016-7) in two separate AKP governments, which ensured his victory with a handsome 25.1% share of the vote. In 2003, Deborah Sontag gave this assessment of his stint at the mayoral offices in Istanbul’s Saraçhane district: “[a]s mayor, Erdogan adopted modern management practices and proved singularly adept at delivering services, installing new water lines, cleaning up the streets, planting trees and improving transportation. He opened up City Hall to the people, gave out his e-mail address, established municipal hot lines. He was considered ethical and evenhanded,” as a devout Muslim who made no bones about publicly proclaiming his faith.

The Imam of Istanbul

Though his record might very well appear largely positive in hindsight, Sontag adds that an anonymous “building-trade professional, however, told [her] that the corruption endemic to Istanbul City Hall persisted under Erdogan and that donations of equipment and vehicles were still solicited in exchange for building permits.” After all, politics is a dirty business, but rather than deal with Erdoğan’s failings to keep his personal avarice in check, which is a most deserving topic in is own right, for present purposes it seems more at hand to deal with the then-mayor’s faith. Even though the period we are dealing with is not even 25 years removed, at that stage in Turkey’s history, Tayyip Erdoğan was a “pious man in a country where secularism [wa]s worshiped,” as worded by Sontag. As a result, at the time, many inhabitants of Istanbul were highly upset and visibly worried by the fact that a man hailing from the district of Kasımpaşa and visibly attached to his religion and at the same time, clearly opposed to the modernzing reforms introduced by Atatürk (known as İnkılap, in Turkish) headed the biggest city in the country that was and continues to be the cultural and economic heart of the nation. In fact, about eight months after his electoral victory, Erdoğan made this pronouncement: “I am the Imam of Istanbul” (reported in the daily Hürriyet, on 8 January 1995). Islam has no priesthood, as there is not supposed to be an intermediary between the Creator (or Allah) and his creature (or man). As a result, in Sunni Islam, the honorific Imam is given to prayer leaders of a mosque, a person that is morally outstanding and therefore able to lead fellow-believers in prayer. And by proclaiming himself to be the city’s prayer leader, Erdoğan at that stage attempted to transform his elected post into a quasi-religious office. At that stage, the notion of ‘Turkish Secularism’ was still very much alive, and “proponents of secularism in Turkey” attached a “lot of importance to certain symbolic issues [, such as] the availability of alcoholic beverages . . . as well as the thorny headscarf issue,” to quote an earlier piece of mine that has since been censored on the internet (but now still available here). And on both counts, Tayyip Erdoğan did not disappoint his detractors, for he “banned alcohol from municipal establishments,” but proved unable to expand that ban to either restaurants or bars. Two years into his term, he even made the pronouncement that “[a]lcoholic drinks must be banned” (reported in the daily Hürriyet, 1 May 1996). As for the then-still thorny and volatile headscarf issue (nowadays probably better known by the Arabic term hijab), following his inauguration as mayor, Erdoğan proclaimed that he would make the (Islamic) headscarf fashionable in years to come.

Reading a Poem: Going to Jail and Returning to Politics

In December 1997, the RP leadership dispatched the Mayor of Istanbul to a political rally in the southeastern city of Siirt, the hometown of his wife’s family (known as her memleket, in ordinary Turkish parlance). On that day, Tayyip Erdoğan, as he had done several times previously, recited a quatrain written by Ziya Gokalp (1876-1924), the primary ideologue of Turkish nationalism: “The minarets are our bayonets. The faithful are our soldiers. God is great. God is great.” In 2002, TIME magazine evaluated this so-called “flight of fancy” as tantamount to political suicide. The Atlantic‘s Uri Friedman states that the timing had been off, as Gokalp’s lines spoken by Erdoğan “provoked Turkey’s secular military leaders and civilian elite, who had just forced the country’s first Islamist prime minister from power and who viewed Istanbul’s popular, Islamist-leaning mayor as a threat.” Earlier that year, Turkey’s secular elite had namely belatedly undertaken a serious counter-measure against what they saw as the growing threat of Islamic fundamentalism, at that stage still known in Turkey as İrtica or ‘reactionary atavism’ or simply ‘religious reaction.’ The politcal scientist Şaban Tanıyıcı explains: “[i]n a regular monthly National Security Council (NSC) meeting on 28 February 1997, the military leadership demanded from the leader of the [RP] and prime minister at the time, [Necemetin] Erbakan, that his government implement a number of measures that would prevent [the] Islamization of Turkey. After that meeting, the military elite closely followed the implementation of these decisions and started a campaign that included some societal organizations, the media and the opposition parties, and led to the removal of the government. This process of de-Islamization continued after Erbakan was ousted from power. It became known as the ‘28 February Process’, which included . . [a total] ban on the party [RP] and a total campaign against religious social forces.” And in this climate, reciting Gokalp’s lines during an election rally had been a most imprudent thing to do, it had been nothing but a provocation really.

At that stage in Republican history, the Turkish Penal Code’s Article 312 was notorious and its original wording meant to stifle even the smallest hint of İrtica (or ‘religious reaction’): “Anyone who openly incites the public to hatred and enmity with regard to class, race, religion, religious sect or regional differences shall be punished” by means of a jail term between 1 and 3 years. With regard to the reciting of one of Gokalp’s poems by Istanbul’s Mayor, Human Rights Watch had this to say: “Turkish courts show an eccentric understanding of what constitutes ‘incitement’. The former mayor of Istanbul Recep Tayyip Erdogan was stripped of political rights and sentenced to a year’s imprisonment for reading lines from a poem that not only contained no advocacy of violence or hatred, but was written by a celebrated republican poet and had actually been approved by the Ministry of Education for use in schools. In fact, in common with some other prosecutions under Article 312, the conviction of Recep Tayyip Erdogan appeared to be no more than straightforward political manipulation.” On 6 February 2002 a so-called “mini-democracy package” altered the wording of the infamous article. At the time, the country was led by the veteran politician Bülent Ecevit (then leading the DSP or  Democratic Left Party, founded by his wife Rahşan in 1985), whose coalition government was supported from the outside by Deniz Baykal’s CHP.

Friedman relates in 2016 that in “1999, thousands of supporters escorted him to jail, where his popularity only grew. Erdogan seemingly emerged from prison a changed man, committed more to Western-style democracy than Islamism.” But his prison sentence meant that he was barred from political office. “Erdoğan’s political career is over,” the Turkish press wrote at the time. Unperturbed, in the summer of 2001, though, he set up the AKP as his chosen political vehicle. In those very summer months, as related by the British Dr Haitham Al-Haddad, (variously described as a ‘Sunni Muslim scholar and television presenter of Palestinian origin,’) in true hadith stye: a “brother that I know, Dr Saleh al-Ayid, present in Istanbul “in the summer of the year 1421 AH, 2001 CE,“ paid a visit to the “great scholar Mohammed Ameen Siraaj at his home“ – a man otherwise known as Mehmet Emin Saraç, a graduate of Cairo’s Al-Azhar and renowned in Turkey as the last Ottoman âlim [scholar of Islam] who has been teaching Islamic sciences since 1958. At that time in 2001, the Turkish scholar was entertaining none other than the ambitious former mayor of Istanbul. In the course of the social call, it is reported that Saraç stated that “[i]t is neither our Ambition nor Recep Tayyip Erdogan‘s to succeed in leading a province even if it is the size of Istanbul, instead we are training him to be a successful President, and you will see him soon become the President of Turkey by the will of Allāh.”

Baykal or Turkey’s Von Papen

By the time the next election cycle came along in 2002, the newly-founded AKP literally swept to power, gaining “34.2 percent of the vote, winning 363 of the 550 seats in the Turkish parliament [or TBMM].” All together eighteen parties had participated in the electoral contest on 3 November, but only the AKP and the Republical People’s Party (or CHP) were able to breach the 10% threshold – the latter receiving 19.4%. As a result, the AKP was able to form a government on its own, but given that the party’s founder and leader was banned from political life, the post of Prime Minister went to Abdullah Gül, a close personal friend and ally of  Erdoğan’s. Gül had also been active in the RP during the 1990s, even uttering quite shocking words at the time. In the run-up to the December 1995 elections, when he was acting as the RP’s deputy leader, he told the Guardian‘s Jonathan Rugman that “[t]his is the end of the Republican period.“ At this stage, the now-gravely ill Baykal made his intervention. In fact, even before the elections, the CHP leader had been vocal in his support for Tayyip Erdoğan. Both party leaders participated in a televised debate chaired by the well-known Turkish journalist Uğur Dündar. And right from the start, Baykal expressed his concern with the situation, saying that the ban imposed on his rival was proof that Turkish democracy had still not matured properly. As a long-time-and-particularly-ineffective chairman of the CHP (1995-200), Baykal’s erstwhile defense of democratic values appears virtuous and brave, albeit utterly counter-productive, in hindsight. According to politician (and musician) Zülfü Livaneli, Baykal was the one to have  secured Erdoğan’s return to the political fold. About a month and a half following the election, a number of CHP MP’s (Livaneli included) held a meeting at fellow MP Mehmet Sevigen’s Ankara house (19 December 2002). At the meeting Baykal vehemently insisted that “Tayyip Erdoğan will become prime minister!“ In spite of serious objections, Livaneli adds, Baykal persisted, even saying “you will see, [Erdoğan] won’t even last two months.“ In response, Livaneli claims to have stated that “Erdoğan is not just anybody, he is the politician chosen to replace Erbakan by all [religious] brotherhoods [or tarikat, in Turkish] combined; he has America’s, Europe’s support behind him, his programme is to turn Turkey into a moderate Muslim republic. He won’t go in just two months, like you’ve said, quite to the contrary, he will end the political lives of everybody [gathered] in this room.“ In due time, then-President Ahmet Necdet Sezer (2000-7) eventually confirmed the lifting of the ban and approved Erdoğan’s election as MP, an election which enabled him to become PM on 14 March 2003. A few days later, on 17 March, then-CHP Chairman Deniz Baykal, while addressing a crowd in the central Anatolian town of Tokat, apparently proudly declared that “we made Erdoğan PM!“

And now, approximately fourteen and a half years later, Livaneli’s words appear to have come all but true, and, rather than improving Turkish democracy Baykal appears to have  been the one who drove the decisive nail into its coffin: Deniz Baykal was “the key figure in steering the course of events toward the disastrous outcome, the person who more than anyone else caused what happened,” as written by the historian Henry Ashby Turner (1932-2008) in 1996. Turner’s words actually deal with the figure of Franz von Papen and his role in securing Adolf Hilter’s rise to power, but seem extraordinarily apt in characterising the part played by Baykal in Tayyip Erdoğan’s ascent to his current lofty spot in his palatial residence in Ankara.

A Pseudo-Ottoman Sultanate of Kitsch: Executive Rule and Establishing an Islamic State

At this stage in Turkey’s history, it stands to reason that Baykal’s intervention was of historic and historical import and importance. Tayyip Erdoğan has dominated Turkish life and politics throughout the 21st century. He has changed the country and its people, from being the odd duckling in the Muslm world, Turkey has now become a land where Islamic piety and religious observance have become a matter of national pride and duty. The mere idea of ‘Turkish Secularism,’ once a very attracive and even seductive proposition, now seems totally outdated and completely out of step with society and history. The memory and example of Atatürk are quite dead and gone at the moment. On a purely political level, Erdoğan has also overseen a complete systemic overhaul, abolishing the parliamentary system (which could be seen as a relic of the last  Ottoman days when the Empire was trying hard to become a slimmed-down nation-state along European lines, 1908-1918) only to replace it with a presidential one. As a result, he is now the Prez, ruling the land with an iron fist (like his Ottoman role-model Abdülhamid II, 1876-1909, who famously cut short the Ottomans’ first attempt at a parliamentary system, 1876-78) aided by more than willing accessories carrying ministerial portfolios – accessories who are quite literally at his beck and call. The idea of a presidential system was first floated in AKP-led Turkey in the course of the year 2010. And, early last month, the newspaper Millî Gazete, well-known for its links with the Islamist Saadet Partisi, the true successor of Erbakan’s erstwhile RP, came out with an amazing claim. Erbakan’s successors namely declared quite openly that the U.S. management consulting company McKinsey had “designed” Turkey’s presidential “system.” As a source, the paper cited an unnamed AKP official talking off the record and preferring to remain anonymous.

Though thes claims may very well be true, the real reason why Tayyip Erdoğan was so keen to do away with Turkey’s parliament arguably has a lot more to do with his desire of establishing a truly Islamic state in Anatolia. Surprisingly, none other than Iran’s Khomeini (1941-1980) seems to offer a plausible answer in this respect. While living in exile in the Iraqi city of Najaf during the year 1970, Khomeini gave a number of lectures in the months of January and February. These lectures have subsequently been published under the heading ‘The Islamic State.’ As such, Khomeini posits that a mere collection of laws (such as the Sharia) is not suficient to improve society, but that there has to be a strong executive in place to implement the rule of the law and function as society’s guiding light. As a result, though ideologically quite opposed to the Shi’a school of Islam, it seems that Erdoğan has been acting with this goal in mind, as apparently also underlined by Mehmet Emin Saraç’s statement made in the summer of 2001. Saraç after all did say that Erdoğan was being groomed “to be a successful President, and you will see him soon become the President of Turkey by the will of Allāh.” The current presidential system in Turkey is the prime example of a centralised executive authority, and, I would argue that his longterm goal for the New Turkey is to establish an Islamic state in Anatolia and Eastern Thrace, as I have pointed out al long ago as 2013.

It would seem to me that the Prez is now planning to “transform the nation state Turkey into an Anatolian federation of Muslim ethnicities, possibly linked to a revived caliphate” and beholden to the Sharia and the Prophet’s example. And the centenary of the Republic’s foundation in 2023 seems like the ideal symbolic date to undertake such a revolutionary act.

At the moment, the New Turkey is an Islamic state in all but name, and it remains to be seen whether Tayyip Erdoğan will succeed in his ultimate goal. Still, one should not forget that this veritable revolution is the outcome of a yearning for greater democracy and adherence to the rule of law. And in this context, the nefarious part played by the CHP politician Deniz Baykal should never be forgotten . . .

21WIRE special contributor Dr. Can Erimtan is an independent historian and geo-political analyst who used to live in Istanbul. At present, he is in self-imposed exile from Turkey. He has  a wide interest in the politics, history and culture of the Balkans, the greater Middle East, and the world beyond. He attended the VUB in Brussels and did his graduate work at the universities of Essex and Oxford. In Oxford, Erimtan was a member of Lady Margaret Hall and he obtained his doctorate in Modern History in 2002. His publications include the revisionist monograph “Ottomans Looking West?” as well as numerous scholarly articles. In Istanbul, Erimtan started publishing in Today’s Zaman and in Hürriyet Daily News. In the next instance, he became the Turkey Editor of the İstanbul Gazette. Subsequently, he commenced writing for RT Op-Edge, NEO, and finally, the 21st Century Wire. You can find him on Twitter at @theerimtanangle

READ MORE TURKEY NEWS AT: 21st Century Wire Turkey Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World

Neocon Nightmare: Trump’s Plan to Starve Venezuelans Into Submission

Thu, 2019-08-08 22:53

By Stephen Lendman

Under both extremist right wings of the US war party, the incremental Nazification of America may become full-blown in our lifetimes if not strongly challenged by the world community.

The Trump regime exceeds the worst of its predecessors. Based on the trend since the 1980s, whatever leadership succeeds it is likely to be even more contemptuous of world peace, equity and justice.

Abandoning the JCPOA and INF Treaty, waging war on China, Russia, North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and other nations by other means, entirely discarding the rule of law, fostering destabilization worldwide, substituting brute force for diplomacy, along with its rage for global dominance ups the stakes for possible nuclear war against one or more nations.

In 1992, future secretary of state Madeleine Albright, relatively less hardline than her successors, once asked Joint Chief’s chairman General Colin Powell “(w)hat’s the point of having this superb military you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

Perhaps she meant including its super-weapons to accomplish  geopolitical objectives unable to be achieved another way.

Trump regime hardliners are waging all-out war by other means on Iran and Venezuela, heading toward a similar policy against China.

Their latest shoe to drop against the Bolivarian Republic occurred Wednesday. A vessel carrying 25,000 tons of soy cake for Venezuelan food production was illegally seized when passing through the Panama Canal, according Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez. The ship is “being kept in the Panama Canal due to the criminal blockade imposed by” the Trump regime, she explained, adding:

“Venezuela calls on the UN to stop this serious aggression by Donald Trump’s govt against our country, which constitutes a massive violation of the human rights of the entire Venezuelan people, by attempting to impede their right to food.”

US Security Council veto power prevents the body from censuring the Trump regime’s crime against humanity.

US establishment media are either largely or entirely silent about what happened, supporting Trump regime high crimes against sovereign Venezuela and its population based on Big Lies.

Its unlawful seizure (a maritime piracy act) followed Trump’s Tuesday executive order, illegally imposing an embargo on Venezuela, his hostile action constituting a crime against humanity.

Under Article 7 of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, “inhumane acts…intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health” constitute crimes against humanity.

The US is guilty of these high crimes repeatedly, its criminal class considered hostis humani generis – enemies of mankind. Their high crimes against peace violate the jus gentium – the law of nations.

Time and again with no letup, its actions breach fundamental UN Charter principles, other international laws, and the US Constitution.

The Nuremberg Tribunal established fundamental Principles, holding that “(a)ny person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment…

“Crimes against international law are committed by men, not by abstract entities, and only by punishing individuals who commit (them) can the provisions of international law be enforced.”

The Rome Statute’s Article 25 of the International Criminal Court (ICC) codified this principle, affirming the culpability of persons committing crimes of war and against humanity.

Commanders and their superiors are specifically culpable if they “either knew or, owing to the circumstances at the time, should have known that the forces were committing or about to commit such crimes, (and) failed to take all necessary and reasonable measures within his or her power to prevent or repress their commission or to submit the matter to the competent authorities for investigation and prosecutions.”

Nuremberg established that immunity is null and void, including for heads of state, other top officials, and top commanders. 

Genocide, crimes of war and against humanity are so grave that statute of limitation provisions don’t apply.

On Wednesday, China’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying denounced the Trump regime’s illegal embargo on Venezuela, calling it “gross interference,” a major breach of international law.

Beijing will continue to maintain cooperative relations with the Bolivarian Republic “no matter how the situation changes,” she stressed.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called Trump regime actions against Venezuela “economic terror…in its customary cowboy manner.”

“These steps have no legal justification from the standpoint of international law and domestic Venezuelan law,” she stressed, adding:

“Clearly, the Trump regime “ miscalculated the level of popular support for the legitimate President and his readiness to defend the genuine independence of his country.” 

Its hardliners are enforcing “efforts to aggravate the socioeconomic situation, (including by) brutal indiscriminate restrictions (against) senior citizens, unwell people and children.”

Separately, Moscow vowed to continue “military-technical,” political and economic relations with the Bolivarian Republic, including oil deals regardless of US threats.

The Trump regime is waging war on the Venezuelan economy and people. Blocking a vessel with food for the country shows it wants them starved into submission.

The human toll is of no consequence to US policymakers in pursuit of their aims. Their endless war on humanity at home and abroad threatens everyone everywhere.

VISIT HIS NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 Also, see his newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.” www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

READ MORE VENEZUELA NEWS: 21st Century Wire Venezuela Files


Categories: Foreign Policy, World