Conversation: The China-Xi-Putin-Russia gambit, The Saker interviews Jeff J. Brown

This is by far one of the most interesting interviews we have read in a while. Absolutely worth every minute of your time!

Jeff takes you on a whirl wind compact journey of his amazing story and tells you from the inside of the Chinese Dream what its all about!

AE

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Вице-адмиралы-Ду-Цзинчэнь-и-Александр-Федотенков
Vice-Admirals Zinchen and Fedotenkov

The Saker: Please introduce yourself and explain your connection with, and experience of, China.

Jeff J. Brown: I have learned over the last 61 years that getting de-brainwashed takes a lot of effort, humility and personal courage. I get inspired reading about others people’s journeys to discovering the truth. Please allow me to share mine.

I grew up in Oklahoma, USA, in the 50s-60s. Red scare. Commies. Nuclear bomb shelters. Teachers practicing with us, “When you see the flash of light, duck and cover”. Sputnik. The space race. Kennedy (since learned it was a coup d’état). RFK and MLK murdered (since learned done by the deep state). Vietnam. Nixon. Sex ‘n drugs ‘n rock ‘n roll. Spent half my time in the city and half on a family farm. Driving a tractor, harvesting crops, cleaning manure out of animal pens, helping ewes give birth to newborn lambs at 3am in the freezing cold, riding a horse, hunting and fishing – all this left an indelible mark on my psyche. Getting your hands dirty and living the science and art of agriculture will do that to you.

Got a BS (Oklahoma State, 1976) and MS (Purdue, 1978) in Animal Sciences, thinking I was going to go back home and farm. But the Brazilian community at Purdue adopted me and I quickly learned Portuguese, discovering that I had a knack for languages (along with all the hard work to learn). Went to Brazil to seek my fortune as a soybean farmer. Couldn’t get anybody to lend me the startup money. In retrospect, I am not disappointed. Had I done so, I would probably be impoverishing local natives, clearcutting rain forest and destroying the environment, while getting very rich, at the expense of the aforementioned. Looking back, it’s not what I want to be during my time on Planet Earth.

Brazil whet my appetite to see the world. I became a volunteer for the Peace Corps, in Tunisia, as an agriculture extension agent (1980-82), learning fluent Arabic, speaking, reading and writing. This background got me into international agricultural marketing in Africa and Middle East (1982-90). During this time, I learned French, met my Parisian wife in Algeria in 1988, whereupon, we left for China in 1990.

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Kiev’s Repression of Anti-Fascism in Odessa, by ERIC DRAITSER

There is a common misconception in the West that there is only one war in Ukraine: a war between the anti-Kiev rebels of the East, and the US-backed government in Kiev. While this conflict, with all its attendant geopolitical and strategic implications has stolen the majority of the headlines, there is another war raging in the country – a war to crush all dissent and opposition to the fascist-oligarch consensus. For while in the West many so called analysts and leftists debate whether there is really fascism in Ukraine or whether it’s all just “Russian propaganda,” a brutal war of political repression is taking place.

The authorities and their fascist thug auxiliaries have carried out everything from physical intimidation, to politically motivated arrests, kidnappings, torture, and targeted assassinations. All of this has been done under the auspices of “national unity,” the convenient pretext that every oppressive regime from time immemorial has used to justify its actions. Were one to read the Western narrative on Ukraine, one could be forgiven for believing that the country’s discontent and outrage is restricted solely to the area collectively known as Donbass – the Donetsk and Lugansk People’s Republics as they have declared themselves. Indeed, there is good reason for the media to portray such a distorted picture; it legitimizes the false claim that all Ukraine’s problems are due to Russian meddling and covert militarization.

Instead, the reality is that anger and opposition to the US-backed oligarch-fascist coalition government in Kiev is deeply rooted and permeates much of Ukraine. In politically, economically, and culturally important cities such as Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, and Kherson, ghastly forms of political persecution are ongoing. However, nowhere is this repression more apparent than in the Black Sea port city of Odessa. And this is no accident.

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BRICS trample US in South America, by Pepe Escobar

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Russia’s President Vladimir Putin (R) and Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner arrive to the official photo session for the BRICS summit (Reuters / Sergio Moraes)

It started in April with a rash of deals between Argentina and Russia during President Cristina Kirchner’s visit to Moscow.

And it continues with a $53 billion investment bang as Chinese Premier Li Keqiang visits Brazil during the first stop of yet another South American commercial offensive – complete with a sweet metaphor: Li riding on a made in China subway train that will ply a new metro line in Rio de Janeiro ahead of the 2016 Olympics.

Where is the US in all this? Nowhere; little by little, yet inexorably, BRICS members China – and in a smaller measure, Russia – have been no less than restructuring commerce and infrastructure all across Latin America.

Countless Chinese commercial missions have been plying these shores non-stop, much as the US did between World War I and II. In a key meeting in January with Latin American business leaders, President Xi Jinping promised to channel $250 billion for infrastructure projects in the next 10 years.

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The Ethical Demise of the American Psychological Association, by GEOFF GRAY

The conscience of the American Psychological Association (APA) is slowly dying as it facilitates torture, cheats its own members, and hussles junk science boondoggles to the defense industry. But the APA wasn’t always this way. Founded in the late 19th century by the intellectual giant William James and others, it had a proud history of advancing the science of psychology, defending the rights of those served by psychology, and promoting the interests of its members.

In 2005 the leadership of the APA violated its governance rules to allow psychologists to support the Bush era torture program. This was critical because the Justice Department had ruled that a health professional needed to be present during “enhanced interrogations” and because other professional organizations such as the America Medical Association and the America Psychiatric Association had unequivocally declared these programs unethical and out of bounds for their members. A national panel of human rights experts investigated a newly released cache of emails showing the APA, with the collaboration of the White House and CIA personnel, secretly modified its ethics policy to keep psychologists involved in torture. The New York Times reported on the panel’s findings on its front page late last month.

In its official response, the APA characterized the report as “recirculated allegations” and maintained that “last October we released a statement refuting these allegations.” But this response is a lie. The human rights experts presented new evidence of APA support of torture and refuted earlier APA denials. One email from Kirk Hubbard, the CIA agent overseeing the torture program, gives a shout out to former APA president Martin Seligman, saying he “had helped a lot over the last 4 years.” [2] Seligman had earlier denied involvement.

The APA describes the whole issue as a “public misunderstanding” and it has reluctantly hired an attorney to investigate the matter. It intends to publish its own report after which it plans “an aggressive communications program” to set the record straight. Sounds like they’ve already decided what their investigators will find.

Deceit is baked into the APA. Over the last several decades the compensation for APA leadership and staff has become increasingly generous and secure as the ability of the members to earn a living has become more precarious. During this time the organization’s relationship to its members became increasingly exploitative.

The APA recently settled a class action lawsuit. For 24 years APA members practicing as clinicians thought they had to pay a substantial special assessment that was not charged to academic psychologists. Why did clinicians think that they had to pay the extra assessment? Because the APA called the special assessment “mandatory” and said clinicians “must pay.” The APA leadership perpetrated this deception until 2011 when a disgruntled clinician learned that the mandatory assessment had never been approved.

Last month after four years and undisclosed legal expenses the APA proposed a settlement of 9.02 million dollars and agreed to change its Orwellian member communications practices. But the organization is not apologizing. According to its president, one Barry Anton, Ph.D., “we do not concede that there was any wrongdoing on our part.”

A professional organization should be guided by its membership. If the members want to pay lower dues for scaled back services that should be the end of the story. A professional organization struggling in a legal battle with its membership, as if it represents something other than its membership, has clearly lost its way.

So what about the integrity of psychological science and services? More spin, deception, and bullshit as the APA shills behavioral programs to the military-security state. Building on relationships developed while crafting torture policies, APA and APA connected psychologists have spun off a series of ventures noteworthy for their pseudoscientific underpinnings, lack of real world effectiveness and high cost. Some of the programs the APA has sponsored, abetted or profited from include:

Comprehensive Soldier Resiliency Program (237 million dollars) was developed by Martin Seligman and is now deployed throughout the military . This program aims to prevent stress-related mental health problems by teaching soldiers to be more resilient and optimistic. The APA enthusiastically promoted the program in a slew of puff pieces in its peer reviewed flagship journal, the American Psychologist. But independent evaluations show the program doesn’t work. An Institute of Medicine scientific panel noted that the program was never vetted for effectiveness and could, in fact be harmful. USA Today article cites “startling negative results.”(6) When USA Today confronted the Army, military psychologists went back and lowered the threshold for optimism to make the results look less bad.

Enhanced Interrogation Techniques (81 million). Two psychologists, James Elmer Mitchell and Bruce Jessen, created interrogation techniques using principals developed by the same Martin Seligman. However, this program has not only failed to elicit useful information via torture, it has blackened America’s name around the world and contributed to Middle East instability and blowback.

Screening Passengers by Observation Techniques, SPOT (900 million dollars). Developed by psychologist Paul Ekman, the program trains“behavior detection officers” to identify potential threats at US airports based on personal characteristics, behavior and facial expressions. To date there has not been one verified case of a successful terrorist detection using the program.

The American Psychological Association poses as a professional organization. In truth it is a racket benefiting a few insiders. It reflects the larger society where the accumulation of money and power is the measure of success and the public good an afterthought; a society in which our president lauds bankers who impoverish millions of ordinary workers as “savvy businessmen.” The APA’s failure to fulfill its broad social mission impoverishes us all.

Geoff Gray has a Ph.D. in psychology.

Source: Counterpunch

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Victory Day is a Russian Day, by HMM

The 70th Victory Day parade was truly a sight to see, the feeling was electric even when watching the RT feed. We can only imagine how amazing it must have been for the people present.

Today we will share an experience of someone who traveled to Moscow in solidarity.

AE

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Victory day pic

I’ve always been fascinated by Russia. Imperial Russia, Soviet Russia, the Russian Federation. As a child I read Russian fairy tales, children’s books and then graduated to the greats – Turgenev, Lermontov, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky. I often feel I must have Russian blood somewhere in the distant past of my ancestors.

For me, the 70th anniversary of the victory over fascism was an event I wanted to celebrate in Moscow, not London. Having studied Russian history at university and recently revisited my studies, I wanted to pay homage to the nation that truly defeated the Nazi hordes and paid such a great sacrifice. There are plenty of people in the UK who believe the Americans won the war, who diminish the Soviet contribution by citing the rape of German and Austrian women or claiming that the 25 million plus who died were victims of Stalin, not fascism.

I arrived in Moscow on the 8th as the finishing touches were being put on the preparations. Many areas were cordoned off, but I saw flowers being laid at the equestrian statue of Georgy Zhukov at the Manege Square just outside the entrance to Red Square.

The streets were lined with outdoor photo displays – joyous pictures of liberation and national celebration. Zhukov on his white charger, starting the first Victory Day celebration in 1945. A young soldier, grinning from ear to ear as he walks through the rubble of Berlin, a bust of Hitler tucked under his arm. Muzhiks greeting Red Army soldiers with gifts of bread and salt.

Military equipment, including rocket launchers, tanks and other vehicles were also on display near Manege Square. People lined up to have their photographs taken in front of the vehicles.

The mood during the whole weekend was joyous: there was no military triumphalism here, just a spirit of celebration. On the 9th, after the parade had ended, people gathered in parks and tourist centres to mingle and soak up the atmosphere. On the Arbat, people sang and danced. Veterans shuffled along, weighed down by their medals and supported by proud family members. Those who had taken part in the ‘march of the immortals’ could be seen walking the streets, still clutching on to the placards displaying pictures of their loved ones. Others carried flowers – red carnations typically – to place on statues.

Those thronging the streets were a mix of locals and tourists – from within Russia but also without. There were many Chinese visitors, following their Premier to Russia to pay homage. There were also Westerners like myself. I wore the St George ribbon with great pride, feeling extremely fortunate that I was lucky enough to be in Moscow on such an historic occasion.

What did I see through my rose tinted glasses? I saw a city of great bustle and activity – building works under way, clean streets and the bursting forth of spring renewal. There were only a handful of homeless or beggars on the street (I travelled throughout the city and further afield and saw only five beggars). Some would argue the homeless were driven from the streets, but in my day to day strolls around my home city I see many more homeless people than I saw in Moscow. I saw many children and young families. In fact Moscow seemed a very young city, counter to the theory that Russia has a catastrophic demography problem.

I asked someone if the sanctions had caused problems. He said no, not yet but maybe in a year. What they had done, he added, was rallied people around President Putin. In Soviet times the approval rating of Americans in the Soviet Union was above 80%; now in Russia it is 20%. It clearly demonstrated the folly of American actions, he said.

I also asked if people were disappointed that the US President had not attended the ceremonies. No, he said, Victory Day is a Russian Day and just as the Russians don’t attend the 4th of July, it is of no consequence that Obama or others didn’t attend Victory Day.

HMM

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of Oceania Saker.

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Myanmar: Meet Aung San Suu Kyi’s Saffron Mobs, by Tony Cartalucci

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Not unlike other US-backed “color revolutions” around the world, Myanmar’s “Saffron Revolution” is sold as an ultra-liberal pro-democracy, progressive movement, with one of the West’s most successful neo-colonial creations to date, Aung San Suu Kyi, portrayed and revered as a modern day, secular “saint” of neo-liberalism and Western democratic values. 

Underneath the pageantry and spin, however, is harbored ultra-right racism, bigotry, misogyny, and unhinged violence that if ever truthfully reported on, would end the “Saffron” wave, and spell the absolute end of both Suu Kyi’s political career and her legacy. 

Most recently Suu Kyi’s “Saffron” movement took to the streets, not to call for greater “freedom” or to defend “human rights,” but to condemn the government’s move toward giving hundreds of thousands of stateless Rohingya refugees citizenship.

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The German question, by Pepe Escobar

Seventy years after the end of World War II, and twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Germany is once again under the grip of ‘sturm und drang’, but this time barely registered in either East or West.

Without a serious attempt at myth busting, it’s impossible to discern what could be interpreted as a new, discreet German attempt at hegemony.

Contrary to a myth currently propagated by US ‘Think Tankland’, political Berlin under Chancellor Merkel is not a mediator between a still hegemonic US and an “aggressive” Russia.

The reality is Berlin, at least for the moment, would rather give the impression of singing Washington’s tune – with minor variations – while chastising Russia. That’s the case even when we consider the solid energy/trade/business ties with Moscow, as in Germany importing a third of its natural gas, and German industry/companies/corporations hugely invested in Russia.

Contrary to a second myth, political Berlin does not seek “stability” in Europe’s eastern borderlands, but rather outright vassalage. The relentless Eastern European integration to the EU, led by Berlin, was as much a strategy to open new markets for German exports as to erect a buffer between Germany and Russia. As for the Baltic States, they are already vassals; Germany is the largest trading partner for all three.

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