Category Archives: US Empire

CPEC AND THE 21ST CENTURY CONVERGENCE OF CIVILIZATIONS, by Andrew Korybko

Source: Katehon

The current century presents a plethora of strategic opportunities for Pakistan, provided that Islamabad knows how to pluck the low-hanging fruit and take the initiative. The steady development of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) is making the country ever more attractive for a wide variety of international partners, some of which have traditionally been aligned with Pakistan, and others which are entirely new and unprecedented. No matter which of the two categories these states fall under, it’s evident that they’re all interested in taking advantage of this game-changing series of infrastructure projects.

Never before has China had a reliable overland trade corridor to the Indian Ocean, and this in turn opens up a wide range of options for the People’s Republic and its economic partners. Moreover, the eventual completion of CPEC will allow Russia and the landlocked states of Central Asia to more easily conduct commerce with the broader Indian Ocean Region, thereby leading to the creation of previously uncharted trade routes which will invigorate each set of partners and profit the irreplaceable transit state of Pakistan. In terms of the bigger picture, each crisscrossing network of economic connections in one way or another is expected to pass through Pakistan by means of CPEC, thereby empowering Islamabad to leverage its crucial geostrategic position in pursuit of its national interests.

The convergence of so many diverse civilizational actors – including Europeans, Russians, Turks, Arabs, Iranians, Chinese, and Africans – in one state is made possible by Beijing’s One Belt One Road vision of global connectivity as manifested through CPEC, and it accordingly allows for Pakistan to mediate over a dialogue of civilizations in the 21st century. This is a pivotal role of the utmost importance and highest responsibility, and it has the very real potential of transforming Pakistan from a regional leader to a hemispheric Great Power within the next decade. This analysis will thus explore the way in which this grand strategy can be actualized, sequentially describing the overall concept, the various civilizational-connectivity channels, and the challenges that Pakistan can expect to face.

Concept

Abstract:

The economic attractiveness of CPEC serves as an irresistible magnet for all sorts of various actors to utilize its infrastructural connectivity in facilitating their trade objectives, whether it’s enhancing bilateral trade with China such as the EU, Mideast, and African states may naturally be interested in, or in acquiring a convenient outlet to the Indian Ocean such as what Russia and the Central Asian republics desire. The convergence of so many civilizational forces in Pakistan will propel the South Asian state to worldwide importance by gifting its leaders with the impressive potential to serve as the common middle ground between each of them, both literally in terms of CPEC connectivity and figuratively as it relates to the broader dialogue of civilizations concept.

The latter objective is wholly dependent on the former, meaning that Pakistan is unlikely to bring together a wide array of hemispheric interests and actors if the CPEC project isn’t completed or is severely undermined after the fact. Conversely, the completion of CPEC will enable Pakistan to do just that, which thus propels the country’s significance to global heights. The second and largest part of this research will describe the different connectivity channels that CPEC opens up between Pakistan and the rest of Afro-Eurasia, but at this point a lot more needs to be said about the grand strategy behind this exciting endeavor.

Once CPEC becomes fully operational, Pakistan will unofficially become China’s most important gateway to the rest of the world. Although the People’s Republic currently engages in a staggering amount of trade with each of its countless partners, the vast majority of this is conducted via maritime routes which traverse the bottlenecked chokepoint of the Strait of Malacca and the contentious waters of the South China Sea, both of which are uncomfortably vulnerable to an American blockade or similar sort of interference in the event of a conflict between the two Great Powers. It’s mostly for this reason and due to the foresight of Chinese strategists that Beijing decided to pioneer an overland trade route to the Indian Ocean through CPEC, relying on its decades-long and all-weather friendship with Pakistan in order to make this a reality.

Continue reading CPEC AND THE 21ST CENTURY CONVERGENCE OF CIVILIZATIONS, by Andrew Korybko

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Does a Rogue Deep State Have Trump’s Back?, by Charles Hugh Smith

Source: Of Two Minds

Rather than being the bad guys, as per the usual Liberal world-view, the Armed Forces may well play a key role in reducing the utterly toxic influence of neocon-neoliberals within the Deep State.

Suddenly everybody is referring to the Deep State, typically without offering much of a definition.

The general definition is the unelected government that continues making and implementing policy regardless of who is in elected office.

I have been writing about this structure for 10 years and studying it from the outside for 40 years. Back in 2007, I called it the Elite Maintaining and Extending Global Dominance, which is a more concise description of the structure than Deep State. Going to War with the Political Elite You Have (May 14, 2007).

I’ve used this simplified chart to explain the basic structure of the Deep State, which is the complex network of state-funded and/or controlled institutions, agencies, foundations, university research projects, media ties, etc.

The key point here is you can’t separate these network nodes: you cannot separate DARPA, the national labs (nukes, energy, etc.), the National Science Foundation, DoD (Department of Defense), the National Security State (alphabet soup of intelligence/black budget agencies: CIA, NSA, DIA, etc.), Silicon Valley and the research universities: they are all tied together by funding, information flows, personnel and a thousand other connections.

For the past few years, I have been suggesting there is a profound split in the Deep State that is not just about power or ideology, but about the nature and future of National Security: in other words, what policies and priorities are actually weakening or threatening the long-term security of the United States?

I have proposed that there are progressive elements within the sprawling Deep State that view the dominant neocon-neoliberal agenda of the past 24 years as a disaster for the long-term security of the U.S. and its global interests (a.k.a. the Imperial Project).

There are also elements within the Deep State that view Wall Street’s dominance as a threat to America’s security and global interests. (This is not to say that American-based banks and corporations aren’t essential parts of the Imperial Project; it’s more about the question of who is controlling whom.)

So let’s dig in by noting that the warmongers in the Deep State are civilians, not military. It’s popular among so-called Liberals (the vast majority of whom did not serve nor do they have offspring in uniform–that’s fallen to the disenfranchised and the working class) to see the military as a permanent source of warmongering.

(It’s remarkably easy to send other people’s children off to war, while your own little darlings have cush jobs in Wall Street, foundations, think tanks, academia, government agencies, etc.)

These misguided souls are ignoring that it’s civilians who order the military to go into harm’s way, not the other way around. The neocons who have waged permanent war as policy are virtually all civilians, few of whom served in the U.S. armed forces and none of whom (to my knowledge) have actual combat experience.

These civilian neocons were busily sacking and/or discrediting critics of their warmongering within the U.S. military all through the Iraqi debacle. now that we got that straightened out–active-duty service personnel have borne the brunt of civilian planned, ordered and executed warmongering–let’s move on to the split between the civilian Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the DoD (Department of Defense) intelligence and special ops agencies: DIA, Army Intelligence, Navy Intelligence, etc.

Though we have to be careful not to paint a very large agency with one brush, it’s fair to say that the civilian leadership of the CIA (and of its proxies and crony agencies) has long loved to “play army”. The CIA has its own drone (a.k.a. Murder, Inc.) division, as well as its own special ops (“play army” Special Forces), and a hawkish mentality that civilians reckon is “play army special forces” (mostly from films, in which the CIA’s role is carefully managed by the CIA itself: How the CIA Hoodwinked Hollywood (The Atlantic)

Meanwhile, it’s not exactly a secret that when it comes to actual combat operations and warfighting, the CIA’s in-theater intelligence is either useless, misleading or false. This is the result of a number of institutional failings of the CIA, number one of which is the high degree of politicization within its ranks and organizational structure.

The CIA’s reliance on “analysis” rather than human agents (there’s a lot of acronyms for all these, if you find proliferating acronyms of interest), and while some from-30,000-feet analysis can be useful, it’s just as often catastrophically wrong.

We can fruitfully revisit the Bay of Pigs disaster, the result of warmongering civilians in the CIA convincing incoming President Kennedy that the planned invasion would free Cuba of Castro’s rule in short order. There are many other examples, including the failure to grasp Saddam’s willingness to invade Kuwait, given the mixed signals he was receiving from U.S. State Department personnel.

Simply put, if you are actually prosecuting a war, then you turn to the services’ own intelligence agencies to help with actual combat operations, not the CIA.This is of course a sort of gossip, and reading between the lines of public information; nobody is going to state this directly in writing.

As I have noted before:

If you want documented evidence of this split in the Deep State–sorry, it doesn’t work that way. Nobody in the higher echelons of the Deep State is going to leak anything about the low-intensity war being waged because the one thing everyone agrees on is the Deep State’s dirty laundry must be kept private.

As a result, the split is visible only by carefully reading between the lines, by examining who is being placed in positions of control in the Trump Administration, and reading the tea leaves of who is “retiring” (i.e. being fired) or quitting, which agencies are suddenly being reorganized, and the appearance of dissenting views in journals that serve as public conduits for Deep State narratives.

Many so-called Liberals are alarmed by the number of military officers Trump has appointed. Once you realize it’s the neocon civilians who have promoted and led one disastrous military intervention (either with U.S. Armed Forces or proxies managed by the CIA) after another, then you understand Trump’s appointments appear to be a decisive break from the civilian warmongers who’ve run the nation into the ground.

If you doubt this analysis, please consider the unprecedentedly politicized (and pathetically childish) comments by outgoing CIA director Brennan against an incoming president. Even if you can’t stand Trump, please document another instance in which the CIA director went off on an incoming president– and this after the CIA spewed a blatant misinformation campaign claiming a hacked Democratic Party email account constituted a successful Russian effort to influence the U.S. election–a surreal absurdity.

Let me translate for you: our chosen Insider lost the election; how dare you!

A number of observers are wondering if the CIA and its Deep State allies and cronies will work out a way to evict Trump from office or perhaps arrange a “lone gunman” or other “accident” to befall him. The roots of such speculations stretch back to Dallas, November 1963, when a “long gunman” with ties to the CIA and various CIA proxies assassinated President Kennedy, an avowed foe of the CIA.

Setting aside the shelfloads of books on the topic, both those defending the “lone gunman” thesis and those contesting it, the unprecedented extremes of institutionally organized and executed anti-Trump campaigns is worthy of our attention.

Given my thesis of a profound disunity in the Deep State, and the emergence of a progressive element hostile to neocons and neoliberalism (including Wall Street), then it’s not much of a stretch to speculate that this rogue Deep State opposed to neocon-neoliberalism has Trump’s back, as a new administration is pretty much the only hope to rid the nation’s top echelons of the neocon-neoliberal policies that have driven the U.S. into the ground.

Rather than being the bad guys, as per the usual Liberal world-view, the Armed Forces may well play a key role in reducing the utterly toxic influence of neocon-neoliberals within the Deep State.

If you have wondered why academics like Paul Krugman and the CIA are on the same page, it’s because they are simply facets of the same structure. Krugman is a vocal neoliberal, the CIA is vocally neocon: two sides of the same coin. I invite you to study the chart above with an open mind, and ponder the possibility that the Deep State is not monolithic, but deeply divided along the fault lines of Wall-Street-Neocons-Neoliberals and the progressive elements that rightly view the dominant neocon-neoliberals as a threat to U.S. national security, U.S. global interests and world peace.

We can speculate that some of these progressive elements view Trump with disdain for all the same reasons those outside the Deep State disdain him, but their decision tree is simple: if you want to rid America’s Deep State of toxic neocon-neoliberalism before it destroys the nation, you hold your nose and go with Trump because he’s the only hope you have.

Charles Hugh Smith

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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Why Ridiculous Official Propaganda Still Works, CJ Hopkins

Source: ZeroHedge

For students of official propaganda, manipulation of public opinion, psychological conditioning, and emotional coercion, it doesn’t get much better than this. As Trump and his army of Goldman Sachs guys, corporate CEOs, and Christian zealots slouch toward inauguration day, we are being treated to a master class in coordinated media manipulation that is making Goebbels look like an amateur. This may not be immediately apparent, given the seemingly risible nature of most of the garbage we are being barraged with, but once one understands the actual purpose of such official propaganda, everything starts to make more sense.

Chief among the common misconceptions about the way official propaganda works is the notion that its goal is to deceive the public into believing things that are not “the truth” (that Trump is a Russian agent, for example, or that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction, or that the terrorists hate us for our freedom, et cetera). However, while official propagandists are definitely pleased if anyone actually believes whatever lies they are selling, deception is not their primary aim.

The primary aim of official propaganda is to generate an “official narrative” that can be mindlessly repeated by the ruling classes and those who support and identify with them. This official narrative does not have to make sense, or to stand up to any sort of serious scrutiny. Its factualness is not the point. The point is to draw a Maginot line, a defensive ideological boundary, between “the truth” as defined by the ruling classes and any other “truth” that contradicts their narrative.

Imagine this Maginot line as a circular wall surrounded by inhospitable territory. Inside the wall is “normal” society, gainful employment, career advancement, and all the other considerable benefits of cooperating with the ruling classes. Outside the wall is poverty, anxiety, social and professional stigmatization, and various other forms of suffering. Which side of the wall do you want to be on? Every day, in countless ways, each of us are asked and have to answer this question. Conform, and there’s a place for you inside. Refuse, and … well, good luck out there.

In openly despotic societies, the stakes involved in making this choice (to conform or dissent) are often life and death. In our relatively liberal Western societies (for those of us who are not militant guerillas), the consequences of not conforming to the official narrative are usually subtler. Despite that, the pressure is still intense. Conforming to the consensus “reality” generated by these official narratives is price of admission to the inner sanctum, where the jobs, money, professional prestige, and the other rewards of Capitalism are. Conforming does not require belief. It requires allegiance and rote obedience. What one actually believes is completely irrelevant, as long as one parrots the official narrative.

In short, official propaganda is not designed to deceive the public (no more than the speeches in an actor’s script are intended to deceive the actor who speaks them). It is designed to be absorbed and repeated, no matter how implausible or preposterous it might be. Actually, it is often most effective when those who are forced to robotically repeat it know that it is utter nonsense, as the humiliation of having to do so cements their allegiance to the ruling classes (this phenomenon being a standard feature of the classic Stockholm Syndrome model, and authoritarian conditioning generally).

The current “Russian hacking” hysteria is a perfect example of how this works. No one aside from total morons actually believes this official narrative (the substance of which is beyond ridiculous), not even the stooges selling it to us. This, however, is not a problem, because it isn’t intended to be believed … it is intended to be accepted and repeated, more or less like religious dogma. (It doesn’t matter what actually happened, i.e., whether the “hack” was a hack or a leak, or who the hackers or leakers were, or who they may have been working for, or what whoever’s motives may have been. What matters is that the ruling classes have issued a new official narrative and are demanding that every “normal” American stand up and swear allegiance to it.)

The ruling classes are not exactly making it easy for their followers this time. Their new official narrative (let’s go ahead and call it “The Putinist Putsch to Destroy Democracy”) is so completely fatuous that it’s beyond embarrassing. The plot is more or less what you’d expect from a mediocre young adult novel or a Game of Thrones-type fantasy series. And if that wasn’t already humiliating enough for the liberals being asked to pretend to believe it, the PR folks in charge couldn’t even be bothered to assemble a new collection of liars to market their childish fairy tale for them. Not only are they insisting that liberals take the word of the “Intelligence Community” and the mainstream media that sold the world the “Saddam Has Secret WMDs” hoax, they actually dispatched James R. Clapper to sit there, in more or less the same spot he sat in the last time he lied to Congress, and do his dog and pony show again.

Meanwhile, the ruling classes’ papers of record, which cosmopolitan liberals rely on to provide a simulation of “serious journalism,” highbrow “arts and culture,” and so on, have descended to the level of the National Enquirer. Among the recent highlights was The Washington Post‘s “Russians Hacked the Vermont Power Grid” story, which it turned out involved neither Russians nor hackers, nor the Vermont power grid’s actual computers, and was basically just another made-up story, like the one about Putin’s Fake News Army. The New York Times, which has also been dutifully rolling out the new official narrative, has taken the leash off Charles M. Blow (aka “The Withering Gaze”), who is accusing Trump of being Russia’s appointment” and proclaiming his election “an act of war.” And now, as I was writing this piece, they hit us with the “Golden Showers” story, in which Trump paid a bunch of Russian hookers to pee on the bed where Obama slept. Any day now we are going to be told that Elvis is secretly working with Putin to deploy a Zhirinovskian gravitational weapon in a UFO disguised as Jesus that Assange and Snowden will personally pilot across the Atlantic to sink America. It’s like some kind of loyalty test in which the ruling classes are trying to determine just how far they can go with this crap before liberals refuse to salute any more of it.

The point of all this propaganda is to delegitimize Donald Trump, and to prophylactically reassert the neoliberal ruling classes’ monopoly on power, “reality,” and “truth.” In case this wasn’t already abundantly clear, the neoliberal ruling classes have no intention of giving up control of the global capitalist pseudo-empire they’ve been working to establish these last sixty years. They’re going to delegitimize and stigmatize Trump (and any other symbol of nationalist backlash or resistance to transnational Capitalism), bide their time for the next four years, and then install another of their loyal servants … after which life will go back to “normal,” and liberals will do their best to forget this unfortunate period where they pretended to believe this insipid neo-McCarthyite nonsense.

If I wasn’t worried that Trump is going to launch an all-out War on Islam, or that one of “our boys” in the tanks Obama has theatrically ordered to the Russian border was going to go bonkers and try to “git some” for Clinton, I’d be looking forward to seeing just how batshit crazy it’s going to get.

C. J. Hopkins is an award-winning American playwright and satirist based in Berlin. His plays are published by Bloomsbury Publishing (UK) and Broadway Play Publishing (US). He can reached at his website, cjhopkins.com, or at consentfactory.org.

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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Shadow play: the New Great Game in Eurasia, by Pepe Escobar

Source: Asia Times

Wayang kulit puppets in Java, Indonesia. Photo: Collection Jean François Hubert

On his return to the Asia Times fold, veteran columnist and author Pepe Escobar writes that the West’s Divide and Rule approach to global rivals may no longer cut the ice in an age of New Silk Roads

So, right in the heart of Bali, spellbound after a serious conversation with a dukun — a spiritual master — it struck me: this should be the new Yalta, the perfect setting for a Trump-Xi-Putin summit setting the parameters ahead for the ever-evolving New Great Game in Eurasia.

Balinese culture makes no distinction between the secular and the supernatural — sekala and niskala. Sekala is what our senses may discern. Niskala is what cannot be sensed directly and can only be “suggested”. Massive geopolitical shifts ahead could not be more shrouded in niskala.

Captive to the vertiginous velocity of the here and now, the West still has much to learn from a highly evolved culture that prospered 5,000 years ago along the banks or the river Sindhu — now Indus — in what is currently Pakistan, and then migrated from the Majapahit empire in Java to Bali in the 14th century under the pressure of advancing Islam.

In the Hindu-Balinese conception of cosmic structure, Man is a kind of scale model of the universe. Order is personified by Gods, disorder personified by earth demons. It’s all about dharma and adharma. As for the West, adharma rules, unchecked.

In Hindu-Balinese religious philosophy, for every positive force there is a counterbalance, a destructive force. The two are inseparable — coexisting in dynamic equilibrium. Western dualism is so unsophisticated compared to it.

In the Suthasoma — a great Mahayana Buddhist epic poem composed in central Java at the time when Buddhism was merrily mixing up with Shivaist Hinduism — we find an outstanding verse: Bhineka tunggal ika (“it is different but it is one”).

That also happens to be the motto of Indonesia, emblazoned in its coat of arms, below the golden Garuda mythical bird. It’s a message of unity, like the American e pluribus unum. Now it looks more like a message presaging Eurasian integration via the New Silk Roads; it’s not by accident that Xi Jinping officially launched the Maritime Silk Road in 2013 in Indonesia.

A passerby casts a shadow over a map illustrating China’s “One Belt, One Road” megaproject at the Asian Financial Forum in Hong Kong, China, on January 18, 2016. Photo: Reuters/Bobby Yip

With the Trump era about to begin, our current geopolitical juncture looks and feels like a massive Wayang kulit — a Balinese shadow play.

The historical origin of the shadow play lies most possibly in India, although it has been performed all across Asia. Good and evil coexist in shadow play — but Hinduism seeks to depict the clash as a sort of quirky partnership.

Continue reading Shadow play: the New Great Game in Eurasia, by Pepe Escobar

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The Entire World Is “Fake News” , by Andre Vltchek

Source: New Eastern Outlook

Indonesia Rohingya Boat

Imperialist demagogues, as well as religious fanatics, are known to live in their grotesque realities. They erect huge sand castles, invent mascots, and bombard the public relentlessly with self-promoting messages.

Those who refuse to listen and believe, those who dare to doubt and resist, are sidelined, starved to death, humiliated or simply liquidated.

Western religions and European/North American brutal colonialist practices are intertwined culturally. Hand in hand, for centuries, they have been destroying our Planet, from corner to corner, on all continents and even on the high seas.

All conquests, all genocides, all plunders have been eternally rationalized, painstakingly justified. Grand bogus concepts of charity, of ‘altruism’ have been erected. Subjugated nations have always been ruined in the name of some higher principles, in order to save them from themselves. For centuries, the West has portrayed itself as a sacrificial lamb, as a hand chosen by some divine power, as the greatest civilization that is continuously and altruistically liberating the world.

In the West, scribblers and ‘scholars’ have been paid to soften every barbarity committed by the rulers, soldiers and even common citizens.

The cults of formal learning, of facts and information have been erected. Holed in innumerable officially recognized institutions, the scholars, certified demagogues, researchers and media people have been ‘studying’ each other, recycling and quoting each other, filling millions of books with essentially the same narrative.

‘New’ and ‘revolutionary’ academic discoveries mostly lead to the same old conclusions, to stale intellectual and moral passivity, cowardice and spinelessness.

Endless libraries have been filled with useless volumes, first arriving in print, then later in electronic form. Tens of millions of young and not too young men and women are busy wasting their lives, chasing diplomas, those colorful pieces of paper with the seal of approval, certifying people as fit to serve the Empire and the victorious civilization.

At some point, all major philosophical and existential topics ceased to be discussed, in official academia, in mainstream media, in the film houses, libraries and best selling books.

Continue reading The Entire World Is “Fake News” , by Andre Vltchek

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PRESIDENT DUTERTE OF THE PHILIPPINES FOR DUMMIES, by Andre Vltchek

From Manila and Davao.

Local Press

When Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez ascended to power in 1999, almost no one in the West, in Asia and even in most of the Latin American countries knew much about his new militant revolutionary anti-imperialism. From the mass media outlets like CNN and the BBC, to local televisions and newspapers (influenced or directly sponsored by Western sources), the ‘information’ that was flowing was clearly biased, extremely critical, and even derogatory.

A few months into his rule, I came to Caracas and was told repeatedly by several local journalists: “Almost all of us are supporting President Chavez, but we’d be fired if we’d dare to write one single article in his support.”

In New York City and Paris, in Buenos Aires and Hong Kong, the then consensus was almost unanimous: “Chavez was a vulgar populist, a demagogue, a military strongman, and potentially a ‘dangerous dictator’”.

In South Korea and the UK, in Qatar and Turkey, people who could hardly place Venezuela on the world map, were expressing their ‘strong opinions’, mocking and smearing the man who would later be revered as a Latin American hero. Even many of those who would usually ‘distrust’ mainstream media were then clearly convinced about the sinister nature of the Process and the ‘Bolivarian Revolution’.

History repeats itself.

Now President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines is demonized and ‘mistrusted’, ridiculed and dismissed as a demagogue, condemned as a rough element, mocked as a buffoon.

In his own country he is enjoying the highest popularity rating of any president in its history: at least well over 70 percent, but often even over 80 percent.

“Show me one woman or man who hates Duterte in this city”, smiles a city hall employee of Davao (located on the restive Mindanao Island) where Duterte served as a Mayor for 22 years. “I will buy that person an exquisite dinner, from my own pocket … that is how confident I am”.

“People of the Philippines are totally free now to express their opinions, to criticize the government”, explains Eduardo Tadem, a leading academic, Professorial Lecturer of Asian Studies (UP). “He says: ‘they want to protest? Good!’ People can rally or riot without any permit from the authorities.”

Like in the days of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, in the Philippines, the press, which is mainly owned by right-wing business interests and by pro-Western collaborators, is now reaching a crescendo, barking and insulting the President, inventing stories and spreading unconfirmed rumors, something unimaginable even in a place like the U.K. with its draconian ‘defamation’ laws.

So it is not fear that is securing the great support of the people for Duterte in his own country. It is definitely not fear!

I visited some of the toughest slums of the nation; I worked in the middle of deadly cemeteries, just recently battered by crime and drugs, where people had been literally rotting alive, crying for help and mercy in absolute desperation. I also spoke to the top academics and historians of the country, to former colleagues of Duterte and to overseas workers in the U.A.E. and elsewhere.

The louder was the hate speech from abroad and from local mass media outlets, the stronger Duterte’s nation stood by its leader.

Men and women who were just one year ago living in total desperation and anger were now looking forward with hope, straight towards the future. Suddenly, everything seemed to be possible!

In my first report this month I wrote: “There is a sense of change in those narrow and desperate alleys of the Baseco slum in the Philippines’ capital Manila. For the first time in many years a beautiful, noble lady visited; against all odds she decided to stay. Her name is Hope.”

I stand by my words, now more than ever.

Continue reading PRESIDENT DUTERTE OF THE PHILIPPINES FOR DUMMIES, by Andre Vltchek

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VIETNAM IS WELL, BUT THAT ANGERS WESTERN IMPERIALISM, by Andre Vltchek

Hanoi skyline

Some fifteen years ago, when I lived in Hanoi, I used to come very often to the rooftop bar at the Meritus Hotel for an evening drink, just to feel the gentle breeze and to spot ancient cargo boats majestically sailing on the surface of the Red River. Sometimes the river could be clearly visible, but often it was covered by fog, like in an old Vietnamese painting.

There were villages on the horizon, consisting mainly of simple ‘tunnel’ houses, and I could also see a few skyscrapers in the center of the city. Far below, the buildings on the shores of the ‘Little Lake’ were colorful, nostalgic and picturesque.

Hanoi was melancholic and poor, but it was what it was, and one could love it or hate it, but never be indifferent to it.

It was also the capital of a socialist country, a proud country, which defeated both French and US imperialists. It was a symbol of resistance, a beacon of hope for many poor and struggling countries, and like Cuba, a living proof that a determined and proud nation could dare to stand up and even win against the mightiest and the most venomous enemies.

At some point, Meritus changed its name and its owner. It became Sofitel and just recently was converted again, this time to Pan Pacific. The rooftop bar survived. The skyscrapers grew all around the city. They now cover almost the entire horizon; suddenly Hanoi has a real skyline. You look into the distance, and what you see could be anywhere else: in Shanghai or Dallas, Bangkok or Johannesburg… but only with half-closed eyes.

Enthusiastic Communist posters have survived, or at least some of them. Others mutated and migrated to new huge modern digital billboards. They are shining into the night, and the images are constantly changing: Uncle ‘Ho’, pioneer children, workers and soldiers ready to defend their country.

“Is Vietnam still a Communist country?” I keep asking wherever I go, for years. I ask the same question in deep villages and major cities. It is because the answer seems to be essential to me. It is because so many millions of Vietnamese people died, fighting for their country and then trying to fulfill their dream of a social homeland.

The answers I receive are often evasive. For some reason, the eyes of many are downcast.

“What happened, Vietnam?” I want to ask, but Vietnam is one great and long stretch of land following the seashore; it does not speak, it does not reply to rhetorical questions. Most of its people are free to speak, they are able to reply, but for some reason they don’t. Are they confused as much as I am?

Continue reading VIETNAM IS WELL, BUT THAT ANGERS WESTERN IMPERIALISM, by Andre Vltchek

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US unleashes all demons against Venezuela, by Vicky Peláez

source: Saker Latin America

Translation by Saker Latin America

We are satisfied to present this analysis of the most recent developments in Venezuela. Within it is however implicit that the Venezuelan Government abides to the exchange duality with Colombia. In reality the root of this parity is a resolution Art 8 of the Colombian Government about which not only official delegations but also different sectors of the Venezuelan society have reacted. Here one of them.

Comunidad Saker Latinamerica

By Vicky Peláez

The US State Department is not wasting time coordinating a global attack on Venezuela. All local and external reactionary forces have come together in a frontal, economic, financial, psychological, ideological offensive against the Bolivarian revolution and all that it means.

“Any nation that decides that the only way to achieve peace is through peaceful methods, will soon be part of another nation.” (Richard Nixon, 1913-1994)

Its purpose is to punish the country with the greatest force, precisely on the eve of Christmas and the New Year, so as not to give people a respite by increasing the shortage of food, hygiene products, remedies and encouraging looting. Washington’s ‘enlightened globalizers’ have been using the same strategy against Venezuela as Henry Kissinger’s sinister Richard Nixon advised to end Salvador Allende’s socialist government in Chile in 1973: ‘let the economy scream.’ To encourage sabotage, boycott and aggression against the Venezuelan economy, Washington, with the authorization of Congress, sends the opposition no less than $ 10 million a year through numerous Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) operating in the country .

Coup failed in Venezuela despite massive support from the USA (Photo: Reuters)

Despite the 15 years of the Bolivarian revolution, the country’s economy remains highly dependent on the US, which is the main economic partner in key sectors such as hydrocarbons, and its main supplier for US currency. The State Department recently stated that “diplomatic tensions between the Venezuelan government and the current US administration do not affect or have anything to do with the fruitful relations and trade between the two countries”. The economic sanctions imposed by Washington on Caracas, the permanent political pressures to which the Bolivarian Government is subjected, the globalized media war, all of these assessed from the extremely cynical point of view of the White House has nothing to do with the business. As USAmericans say ‘business is business’, as if business were not a substantial part of politics.

Continue reading US unleashes all demons against Venezuela, by Vicky Peláez

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