Tyrannosaurus rex Trix back in Leiden museum

This 6 August 2019 Dutch video is about Tyrannosaurus rex Trix. Yesterday, she arrived back in the Naturalis museum after a two-year world tour. Today, the bones of the skeleton were put together again at the museum.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

The Tyrannosaurus rex of the Naturalis museum in Leiden is home again. Trix, as she was baptized in 2016, made a trip to European cities in the last two years during the major renovation of Naturalis.

“She is home again“, palaeontologist Anne Schulp says with a smile about the 66 million-year-old skeleton. “It is fantastic, because it means that we can almost open again.” The most famous carnivorous dinosaur is expected to become a major crowd puller in the renewed Naturalis that will open at the end of this month.

In recent years, Trix has attracted more than a million visitors on a tour of cities such as Barcelona, ​​Paris and Lisbon. She returned home yesterday with two large trucks. There, a start was made immediately on reassembling the twelve-meter long and five-meter high skeleton. Because the T. rex was taken apart before the journey.


Trix was excavated in 2013 in the American state of Montana. Scientists managed to salvage a large part of the skeleton. Trix is ​​therefore one of the most complete skeletons of a T. rex ever found.

Despite the fact that Trix has been in the possession of Naturalis for a while, all kinds of investigations are still ongoing. For example, how the tail moved. “Because that tail has been preserved so beautifully, we can do a lot of research into it”, palaeontologist Schulp told Omroep West.

“In addition, we are also investigating the chemical composition of the tooth enamel. That can tell something about body temperature. We are puzzling about that with a lab in Frankfurt.”

Puerto Rican update

This 6 August 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

The political crisis in Puerto Rico continues as its Senate has sued against the appointment of Pedro Pierluisi as the new governor following Ricardo Rosselló’s resignation last week. Pierluisi was sworn in despite not having been confirmed by the Puerto Rican Senate. But he argues that he is in the line of succession for governor after being nominated as secretary of state by Rosselló last week. San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz also sued after his swearing-in. We speak with Democracy Now! co-host Juan González for his analysis of the current political climate.

Painted turtles, male, female, new research

This 6 May 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

In this video I will show you these cute amazing baby painted turtles. These baby turtles are only 1 day old and are so tiny, some of these baby turtles are the size of quarters and smaller. I saved the baby painted turtles from birds and at the end of the video I will let these turtles go.

From Iowa State University in the USA:

How scientists view sex determination in painted turtle populations

August 6, 2019

Summary: A study that looks at how temperature influences the development of painted turtles may lead biologists to rethink the theoretical frameworks they use when analyzing the topic. The study found wide variation within local populations, suggesting temperature sensitivity of embryonic development can vary significantly from one turtle nest to another within a single population.

A new study from Iowa State University scientists could flip the established framework for how scientists believe geography influences sex determination in painted turtles on its shell.

The study, published Tuesday in the academic journal Functional Ecology, analyzed decades of data concerning painted turtles, a species widely distributed across North America that undergoes temperature-dependent sex determination. That means the temperatures experienced by an incubating painted turtle egg influence whether an embryo develops the physical characteristics biologists describe as male or female. Warmer temperatures tend to produce females, and cooler temperatures tend to produce males.

The study’s findings defied theoretical expectations for how painted turtle populations respond to environmental variation, which could lead scientists to rethink how they look at the topic, said Anna Carter, a postdoctoral research associate in ecology, evolution and organismal biology and lead author.

Painted turtles cover a vast geographical range, from New Mexico to Canada. That means populations experience wide variation in temperatures and environmental conditions. For years, scientists emphasized “pivotal temperature”, or the temperature that produces an equal number of males and females in a given population, when studying how the turtles respond to environmental variation. This framework would expect populations that live in warmer regions to have a higher pivotal temperature as well.

Previous studies found patterns related to latitude, Carter said. The closer a population was to the equator, the higher its pivotal temperature. But using a massive dataset on painted turtle populations allowed the scientists to take an unprecedented look at the relationship between latitude and pivotal temperature, and the new analysis didn’t find a convincing pattern.

Instead, the researchers found wide variation in pivotal temperature within local populations, as much as 5 degrees Celsius. The finding suggests temperature sensitivity of embryonic development can vary significantly from one turtle nest to another within a single population.

“The implication of our study is that our understanding of local adaptation in this species isn’t as good as we thought it was,” Carter said. “It might be useful to move away from pivotal temperature as a model.”

The study, however, did find patterns connecting geography to the transitional range, or the range of temperatures that produce a mix of males and females. Transitional ranges tended to be wider at lower latitudes, Carter said.

The unexpectedly wide variation in pivotal temperature within populations could suggest painted turtles are more resilient to changes in temperature than previously thought. It’s possible female painted turtles can nest successfully in a multitude of environments, they said.

The study drew on a huge dataset collected over the span of decades by Fred Janzen, a professor of ecology, evolution and organismal biology, and his colleagues. Janzen said his lab has collected data on painted turtle populations on the Mississippi River near Clinton for 32 years. The data includes nesting and temperature measurements.

“I’ve been truly fortunate to meet folks willing to put in the time and effort to do this work,” Janzen said. “It’s a big ask. We’re talking about year after year of each group putting together their own field crew to follow a turtle population.”

For the study, the researchers modeled temperature dependent sex determination in 12 geographically distinct painted turtle populations using both field data and lab incubation experiments.

German nazi murder of Lübcke, cover-up?

This 20 June 2019 video says about itself:

‘Pro-refugee’ politician’s murder raises concerns of neo-Nazi terror in Germany

The killing of a ‘pro-refugee’ politician, Walter Luebcke, in Germany has scandalized the country and raised concerns over the rise in right-wing extremism in Germany. The suspect arrested in connection with the killing reportedly had links to the neo-Nazi NPD party.

By Dietmar Gaisenkersting in Germany:

What is the German secret service concealing about the Lübcke murder?

6 August 2019

The Kassel public prosecutor has confirmed that Stephan Ernst, strongly suspected of murdering Kassel District President Walter Lübcke, may have made another murder attempt more than three years ago. This new suspicion provided grounds for the police to raid Ernst’s house again on 25 July.

In the hitherto unexplained case, a 22-year-old Iraqi asylum-seeker was attacked with a knife on 6 January 2016 near the Lohfelden refugee shelter, and was seriously injured. The unidentified culprit escaped on a bicycle.

Ernst lived just 2.5 kilometres from the refugee shelter. The facility was the site of a town hall meeting two-and-a-half months earlier at which Lübcke countered the shouts of right-wingers who attacked him for providing refugee accommodation. According to the news weekly Der Spiegel, Ernst is the man in a video of the meeting shouting at Lübcke, “I can’t believe it” and “Get lost”. This video was used to launch a hate campaign on the internet against Lübcke, which included death threats.

When Ernst was identified as a criminal suspect based on DNA evidence found at the scene of Lübcke’s murder and gave a detailed confession—since withdrawn—it was said that the right-wing extremist, who had been convicted several times before, had disappeared from the radar of the intelligence agencies 10 years ago because he was no longer politically active. The intelligence file on Ernst, which had been available in 2016 to the Committee of Inquiry of the Hesse state parliament into the neo-Nazi National Socialist Underground (NSU), has since been closed in the Intelligence Information System (NADIS) of the investigative authorities, allegedly because there has been nothing against Ernst for 10 years.

But there are increasing indications that Ernst has been active in the militant neo-Nazi scene over the last decade. His public appearance on 14 October 2015 at the town hall meeting in Lohfelden, and the suspicion that he was responsible for the attack on the Iraqi asylum-seeker, are only the latest evidence.

The claim that the security authorities knew nothing about him is not credible. The neo-Nazi scene is riddled with confidential informants (CI), and the meeting in Lohfelden that resulted in death threats against the district president was probably being observed by the secret service. This raises the question of whether Ernst dropped off the radar of the security authorities for reasons other than those officially stated.

In the 1990s, Ernst, who is now 45 years old, repeatedly faced trial for violent assaults and terrorist attacks on immigrants. In 1995 he was sentenced to six years in prison without parole. After his release, he became part of a network that had close ties to the NSU, which murdered nine migrants and a police officer between 2000 and 2007.

At the beginning of the 2000s, Ernst appeared several times at far-right German National Party (NPD) events with Mike Sawallich, who at that time was head of the Hesse Young Nationalists (JN), the NPD youth organization. Sawallich also belonged to the inner circle of the “Oidoxie Street Fighting Crew.” This group regarded itself as a German offshoot of the extreme right-wing terrorist “Combat 18” network, and maintained close ties and gave practical support to the NSU. Not three weeks after the murder of Lübcke, Sawallich posted a photo on Facebook showing him as a youth arm in arm with Ernst, his “best comrade”.

Ernst probably got to know NSU members Uwe Böhnhardt, Uwe Mundlos, and (according to the Bild newspaper) “probably also
Beate Zschäpe” personally in 2006. At that time, these three were said to have attended Stanley Röske’s 30th birthday party in Kassel. Röske, today a leading member of the German “Combat 18” offshoot, has known Ernst at least since 2002.

“Combat 18” has since distanced itself from Ernst for reasons that are unclear. At the end of June, a video by the group appeared on the internet in which a hooded person denied Ernst’s contact with the group. The anti-fascist research platform Exif has identified the speaker as Robin Schmiemann, a well-known right-wing extremist from Dortmund and a pen pal of Beate Zschäpe.

It should be noted that shortly after Röske’s birthday party, the ninth NSU victim, Halit Yozgat, was shot in a Kassel internet café. Present at the murder was the Hesse state secret service officer Andreas Temme. Shortly before the murder of Yozgat, Temme, a CI handler, had phoned his informant in the Kassel neo-Nazi scene, Benjamin Gärtner. In February 2016, as a witness before the Hesse state parliament Committee of Inquiry into the NSU, Gärtner had confirmed that he knew Ernst as “NPD-Stephan”.

In the Munich NSU trial and before parliamentary committees of inquiry Temme appeared as a witness, but the then-Hesse state interior minister and current state premier Volker Bouffier, a member of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and a friend of Lübcke, refused to grant him full clearance to testify.

After the murder of Yozgat, Temme was transferred from the Hesse state secret service to the district presidency of Lübcke, where he still works today.

In his initial confession to the murder of Lübcke, Ernst implicated two other people, whom the investigators arrested. Sixty-four-year-old Elmar J. from Höxter was said to have sold Ernst the murder weapon in 2016. Forty-three-year-old Markus Hartmann from Kassel was said to have been the intermediary in this deal and other arms purchases by Ernst, including an Uzi submachine gun, from 2014 onwards.

Hartmann is a long-standing right-wing extremist who is known to the authorities. He is originally from Rudolstadt, the same area in Thuringia where the NSU began, and where he was active in the right-wing extremist scene from 1990. In 2006, Hartmann was already in Kassel, where he might have been the local connection to the NSU. Questioned by the police, he said he knew the murder victim Halit Yozgat “fleetingly”. Because he provided an alibi the investigators regarded this possible lead as a dead end.

Hartmann was with Ernst and Sawallich during an attack on the 2009 May Day trade union demonstration in Dortmund, where several hundred neo-Nazis threw stones and wooden slats at the participants. Because of this attack, Hartmann and Ernst were arrested. While the Dortmund District Court sentenced Ernst to seven months in prison on probation, Hartmann walked away without any penalty.

After this sentencing Ernst allegedly remained inconspicuous, the secret services now claim. In fact, he continued to move in the same circles as before. Until at least 2011, he was a member of several extreme right-wing groups, such as the “Artgemeinschaft Germanic Faith Community”, a neo-pagan and neo-Nazi organization founded in 1951 by former SS member Wilhelm Kusserow, and the neo-Nazi group “Freier Widerstand Kassel” (Free Resistance Kassel).

In the 2016 election campaign, Ernst donated 150 euros to the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD). On the internet, he agitates against foreigners and the government under the pseudonym “Game Over”. In 2018 on YouTube he threatened, “Either this government will abdicate shortly, or there will be deaths.” Together with Hartmann, Ernst was a member of the Sandershausen shooting club.

Mehmet Daimagüler, a lawyer for NSU victims, points out that Lübcke’s cold-blooded murder has parallels with the NSU murders. The NSU victims were also shot with a pistol from close range. And Lübcke too was said to have been on the death list of the NSU when it went to ground in 2011, i.e., long before the internet witch-hunt against him in 2015.

As with the NSU, the facts available to date, despite all the supposed “glitches”, “mistakes” and “sloppiness” on the part of the authorities, provide a clear picture. A right-wing and violent neo-Nazi committed one criminal offence after another since his youth, and was eventually sentenced to several years’ imprisonment in 1995. Free again, he re-joined the neo-Nazi scene, became part of the NSU supporters circle in Kassel, and only 10 years later, in 2009, received another prison sentence. Then something happened that supposedly made him act with more restraint.

Thomas Haldenwang, the president of the federal Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution), as Germany’s national secret service is called, has emphasized that Ernst was not a confidential informant. He moved in an environment of CIs, who are currently being questioned, but since 2010 the Verfassungsschutz no longer had a personal file on him, Haldenwang claims. He was no longer classified as a right-wing extremist, and, according to information from the security authorities, neither the police nor the secret service had placed him under surveillance.

In contrast, the Hesse state secret service regarded Ernst and Hartmann in 2015 as violent right-wing extremists. The latter was also recorded as being a supporter of the right-wing group “Freier Widerstand Kassel”.

Just as with the NSU, here also the secret service is stonewalling. The Hesse state government, led by former Interior Minister Volker Bouffier, has decided to keep the NSU files of the Hesse secret service under lock and key until 2044.

These files also contain the record of the questioning of the CI Benjamin Gärtner in 2016 on his knowledge of Ernst and his contacts. Gärtner refused to talk to Spiegel TV because he had been “muzzled”. He said, “I got a muzzle back then and I do not know what would happen to me if I dropped my muzzle. I do not know how long I’ll be sitting here at home.” Asked what he was afraid of, Gärtner replied, “The government”.

In an earlier article, we raised the question of whether Walter Lübcke had been murdered, not for his refugee-friendly attitude, but for some other reason, and whether it could be that “Lübcke knew too much and had become an obstacle to the far-right cliques?”

Regardless of what Lübcke knew or did not know, however, his murder is a warning to anyone coming too close to the right-wing cliques within the state apparatus. It would have been expected that the murder of a high-ranking state official and CDU politician by a neo-Nazi would have triggered an intense investigation, using all the intelligence available to the secret services to uncover those responsible. Nothing like that has happened.

Relevant secret service files, which could clarify the background to the murder, will remain closed for decades. Nobody is to dare to seek to uncover the intertwining of the intelligence services, security apparatus, AfD and right-wing terrorism. This is accepted by the political establishment, which says a great deal about the extent of the right-wing conspiracy within the state apparatus.

Impressive bird nests, video

This 4 August 2019 video says about itself:

7 Nests That Will Change How You Think of Birds

There are estimated to be over 18,000 different bird species with a wide variety of nest shapes and sizes. From teeny, adorable cups to massive compost mounds, the diversity of birds’ nests is definitely impressive.

German football bureaucrats indicted, World Cup fraud

This March 2016 video says about itself:

FIFA watchdog opens formal proceedings over 2006 German World Cup

FIFA‘s ethics watchdog announced on Tuesday that it had began formal proceedings against six individuals, including German football legend Franz Beckenbauer, over the awarding of hosting rights to Germany for the World Cup tournament in 2006. Other individuals included in the investigation are former German soccer officials Wolfgang Niersbach, Helmut Sandrock, Theo Zwanziger, Horst Schmidt and Stefan Hans. Earlier this month, Beckenbauer denied any wrongdoing in an affair involving the 2006 World Cup in Germany and said he knew nothing of a multi-million payment to a disgraced former FIFA official in Qatar.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Former top executives of German Football Association charged with fraud at World Cup 2006

The Swiss public prosecutor is going to prosecute three former executives of the German football association DFB for complicity in fraud at the 2006 World Cup. These are Horst Schmidt, Theo Zwanziger and Wolfgang Niersbach. Former FIFA CEO Urs Linsi is also being prosecuted in this case.

The men are suspected of having misled the German association about a payment of 6.7 million euros. After investigation, the Swiss judiciary dropped a money laundering complaint. The four previously denied all accusations.

Franz Beckenbauer

Germany, which hosted the World Cup in 2006, has long been suspected of bribing to get the World Cup to Germany. The Swiss public prosecutor started an investigation into the case after publications in the German magazine Der Spiegel.

Franz Beckenbauer, then chairman of the committee to bring the World Cup to Germany, is also suspected of fraud and money laundering. He is not charged due to his poor health. According to doctors, any excitement would be life-threatening for Beckenbauer.

El Paso, USA racist massacre not unique

This 5 August 2019 video from the USA says about itself:

White Nationalist Terror Attack in El Paso Was Not an Isolated Incident

Gerald Horn and Arun Gupta outline the history of white terror in America and what its modern manifestation means for our future.

NYT NIGHTMARE HEADLINE The alleged gunman in Texas who killed at least 22 people Saturday reportedly shared a manifesto online that used similar language to Trump’s, and used the phrase: “Send them back.” But the first edition of the New York Times suggested that the president was attempting to unify the country with the front page headline: “Trump Urges Unity vs. Racism.” [HuffPost]

TRUMP BLAMES EVERYTHING BUT GUNS AND HIMSELF President Trump spoke Monday in response to the mass shootings over the weekend, calling them a “crime against all of humanity.” The president blamed white supremacy, the internet, video games and mental illness for the massacres. He did not blame guns or himself. [HuffPost]

TEXAS GUN LAWS ABOUT TO GET EVEN LOOSER Under the current laws in Texas, legal gun owners don’t require an additional permit to carry long guns, such as the one the El Paso gunman used last weekend, in unrestricted public areas. From Sept. 1, it will be even easier to carry guns in Texas churches, schools, apartment buildings and disaster zones. [HuffPost]

COUNTRIES WARN CITIZENS AGAINST U.S. TRAVEL Venezuela’s government issued a warning Monday telling Venezuelans to postpone planned trips to the U.S. or take precautions due to the “proliferation of violent acts and indiscriminate hate crimes.” The Uruguayan government also warned against hate-based violence in the U.S. [HuffPost]

THESE SHOOTERS ARE NOT LONE WOLVES Authorities say the shooter who killed 22 people and wounded dozens in El Paso, Texas, Saturday acted alone. In a narrow sense that may be true, but experts warn that it’s important to recognize his actions were rooted in a wider movement of white nationalism and violent extremism that is behind a growing number of mass murders.  [HuffPost]

TEXAS GOV. WALKS BACK ANTI-IMMIGRANT RHETORIC Texas Republican Gov. Greg Abbott acknowledged “mistakes were made” in a fundraising letter calling to “defend Texas” from illegal immigration just a day before the mass shooting in El Paso. [HuffPost]

HANNITY PROPOSES ARMED FORCE TO SURROUND SCHOOLS Fox News host Sean Hannity is calling for a virtual police state of armed ex-cops and military to “surround” schools and shopping malls to prevent mass shootings. [HuffPost]

Gay son of “Straight Pride” organizer says event “dog whistles” white supremacy.

TUCKER CARLSON: WHITE SUPREMACY IS A ‘HOAX’ Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Tuesday claimed there is no white supremacy problem in the United States and that the very notion of one is a hoax created by the media and the left. He has routinely given airtime to white nationalist conspiracy theories and talking points, yet claimed “the whole thing is a lie.” [HuffPost]

NEBRASKA GOP SLAMS SENATOR FOR CONDEMNING WHITE SUPREMACY The Nebraska Republican Party called on state Sen. John McCollister to quit the party after he accused his fellow Republicans of “enabling white supremacy” by staying silent on President Donald Trump’s hateful rhetoric. [HuffPost]

CONGRESS CALLS ON 8CHAN OWNER TO TESTIFY Lawmakers have called on Jim Watkins, who owns 8chan, an online forum that amplifies the voices of violent extremists, to testify before Congress after the shooter in one of the weekend’s two massacres was believed to have posted on the website. [HuffPost]

CALI GOV: MAKE GENDER PART OF GUN VIOLENCE CONVERSATION California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) on Monday urged leaders to discuss the role of misogyny and toxic masculinity in gun violence, pointing out that mass shooters “overwhelmingly, almost exclusively, are males, boys, men.” [HuffPost]

‘Leftist’ Achcar advising British neo-colonial warriors

This 9 July 2018 video says about itself:

France’s Macron Tells Africans to Just ‘Move on’ After a Century of Murderous Colonialism (Pt. 1/3)

France’s neoliberal President Emmanuel Macron has repeatedly told people in Nigeria, Algeria, and beyond to just “move on” after a century of murderous colonialism. Activist Baba Aye speaks with TRNN’s Ben Norton about the ongoing harms of imperialism and neo-colonialism in Africa.

This 9 July 2018 video says about itself:

Neo-Colonialism Still Binds and Exploits Africa for Corporate Profits (Pt. 2/3)

Activist Baba Aye continues his discussion with TRNN’s Ben Norton about French President Emmanuel Macron and the ongoing harms of colonialism and imperialism in Africa and the Global South.

This 9 July 2018 video says about itself:

How the Capitalist System Survives on Neo-Colonial and Imperial Exploitation (Pt. 3/3)

Activist Baba Aye concludes his interview with TRNN’s Ben Norton, discussing the ongoing harms of colonialism and imperialism in Africa and the Global South, and how they are an integral part of the capitalist system.

By Thomas Scripps in Britain:

Leading Pabloite Gilbert Achcar provided counter-insurgency advice to British Army

6 August 2019

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has paid London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at least £400,000 since 2016 to provide “cultural advice” for its operations abroad. Lectures were delivered by eleven members of SOAS staff, including Gilbert Achcar, a leading representative of the Pabloite United Secretariat.

One of many organisations claiming to base themselves on Russian Leon Trotsky.

According to Freedom of Information requests obtained by SOAS students, the university designed Regional Study Weeks on Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, and Sub-Saharan Africa. Sessions were attended by members of the military’s Defence Cultural Specialist Unit (DCSU).

See also here.

See also, more extensively, here.

The DCSU is a secretive formation, established in 2010 “in the spirit of counter-insurgency operations”, to provide support for British military deployments internationally. A 2013 Doctrine Note issued by the MoD explained the “need to develop and exploit specialists … who have a deep understanding of the language, customs, values and narratives of that culture” in order “to plan and execute military operations” and “identify threats and opportunities.”

By 2016, the DCSU had deployed 90 regular and reserve Cultural Advisors in at least 22 countries, including Chad, Nigeria, Somalia, Uganda, Kenya, Mali, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Libya, Algeria, Latvia, Estonia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Cyprus, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Chile. The unit’s trained advisors are described as having a “unique position” with a “central contribution” to Britain’s military footprint.

The topic of one of the sessions delivered at SOAS this February was “the war in the Sahel”, the region of Africa just south of the Sahara Desert. In 2018, Sir Richard Ottaway, former chair of the Parliamentary Foreign Affairs Select Committee, wrote that he had warned in 2014 of “a ‘worrying pattern of unsightedness’ on the part of the UK in relation to events in the Sahel region, and called for the urgent expansion of our presence and knowledge about the whole region.” He continued, “Most pressing in Africa, the UK must increase its diplomatic and security footprint on the ground …”

Last July, the British military deployed three helicopters and 120 soldiers to Northern Mali as part of a “pivot to the Sahel” strategic shift in Africa. This February, another 250 troops were deployed to the region.

SOAS’s deal with the MoD is further proof of the integration of the armed forces and the academy underway in the world’s major imperialist powers. Significant resources in higher education are being put at the service of the military and security apparatus. Above all, this process relies upon the co-option of a layer of academics into direct service to the state. Representatives of the various pseudo-left groups in this privileged petty-bourgeois milieu play a crucial role.

Achcar’s response to his exposure is unapologetic. He has defended his actions in an open letter, claiming that the SOAS lectures “are essentially about the history, politics and socio-economics of the region, provided by critical scholars to lower-ranking military personnel.” He continues, “it is important to let critical voices be heard, even among the military … Should we prefer that the military and security personnel of this country be solely exposed to right-wing education?”

References to “lower-ranking military personnel” and letting “critical voices be heard” are a transparent fraud. Achcar and his fellows are not giving insurgent lectures to privates in the infantry. They are offering advice to a highly specialised unit offering unique support to military operations in crucial geo-strategic theatres. DSCU training includes a course for one- and two-star

According to Wikipedia:

An officer of two-star rank is a senior commander in many of the armed services holding a rank described by the NATO code of OF-7. The term is also used by some armed forces which are not NATO members. Typically, two-star officers hold the rank of rear admiral, counter admiral, major general, or in the case of those air forces with a separate rank structure, air vice-marshal.

The Thomas Scripps article continues:

and brigade headquarters staff. The unit’s cultural advisors consult with senior military commanders. The DCSU is identical in all essentials to the US Army’s Human Terrain System (2007-2014), criticised by the American Anthropological Association for being an “unacceptable application of anthropological expertise.”

The true explanation for Achcar’s intimate relationship with the state is rooted in his political tendency’s history. …

The anti-socialist politics of the Pabloites, coupled with extensive state infiltration, paved the way to ever-closer integration into the political structures of imperialist rule—including the state apparatus. This process finds consummate expression in Achcar, whose writings on the Middle East and Africa dovetail perfectly with the strategy of British and US imperialism and who has now been exposed as a paid adviser.

In 2011, Achcar supported UN Security Council Resolution 1973 authorising an imperialist war of plunder against Libya, writing, “Here is a case where a population is truly in danger, and where there is no plausible alternative that could protect it … You can’t in the name of anti-imperialist principles oppose an action that will prevent the massacre of civilians.”

He went on to chide the imperialist powers for not dropping enough bombs on the Libyan population, describing airstrikes which killed tens of thousands as “low-key.” He demanded that more weapons be funneled to the anti-Gaddafi opposition, as “consistently and insistently requested” by them. This US-backed opposition, to which the United Secretariat extended “full solidarity,” was led by a reactionary collection of former government officials and Islamic fundamentalist tribal leaders.

Achcar was equally hawkish in support of imperialist intervention in Syria, participating in a 2011 meeting of the Syrian National Council, a collection of US and French intelligence assets. He advised the Syrian opposition to Bashar al-Assad—led by a collection of CIA-linked Islamic fundamentalist militias—to seek indirect assistance rather than direct intervention from Washington.

In 2013, he described analyses of imperialist interests and involvement in the region as a “kind of conspiracy theory among those that call themselves anti-imperialist and tend to see the hand of imperialism behind everything.” He lyingly claimed that America “refuses to deliver weapons to the insurgency despite insistent requests.”

In March 2018, with the regime-change operation failing, he joined demands for full-scale military intervention by the US and other imperialist powers via an open letter in the New York Review of Books, “Why the World Must Act Now on Syria.”

Over the bodies of hundreds of thousands of dead and two destroyed societies, Achcar continues his relentless advocating for imperialist wars. In July 2018, he hosted an “Inconsistent Anti-Imperialism and Selective Solidarity” event at SOAS to launch Rohini Hensman’s, Indefensible: Democracy, Counterrevolution, and the Rhetoric of Anti-Imperialism. Hensman’s book supports virtually every war or overseas operation launched by the Democratic Party since the Stalinist dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. It is a vitriolic attack on all serious opponents of imperialism, denouncing journalists John Pilger and Seymour Hersh, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and the World Socialist Web Site.

How closely Achcar’s writings align with the strategy of world imperialism is indicated by his recent prescriptions for Sudan, where he advocates a policy of orientation to the military for protesting workers and youth.

Achcar has claimed, “The main strength of the Sudanese revolutionaries is their great influence over the soldiers and the officials, some of which even used their weapons to defend the demonstrators … This factor will determine the fate of the Sudanese revolution.”

In an article for Jacobin magazine, he writes that the military has been “dissuaded” from “attempting to drown the revolution in blood.” And further, “The troops’ sympathizing with the popular movement was determining in leading the generals to get rid of Bashir. The most important thing now is for the movement to consolidate its support among the rank and file and lower-ranking officers of the armed forces.”

This is a thoroughly anti-Marxist position which seeks to replace the organisation of the working class into an independent revolutionary party with moral appeals to the armed guardians of the capitalist state. Given the experience of workers in Egypt in 2013, it is criminal advice. The same line was advanced by the Revolutionary Socialists (RS) in that country, to whose “Socialist Days” conference in 2011 Achcar was invited. RS helped to hand power to the butcher of the Egyptian revolution, General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, even as he massacred protestors in the streets. Backed by the world’s imperialist powers, General el-Sisi established a bloody dictatorship which routinely executes political opponents.

Britain’s “pivot to the Sahel” will no doubt be accompanied by discussions on an equally bloody military crackdown in Sudan. The greatest obstacle to the predatory ambitions of the UK and the rest of the world’s imperialist powers is Africa’s increasingly militant working class. But as Egypt demonstrated in the negative, this immense social force can only triumph if it acquires and acts upon an international socialist perspective. Achcar works publicly against such a perspective to politically disarm the working class, while discussing with the forces of military repression in closed-door meetings organised by SOAS.

Any genuine socialist or even progressive organisation would have expelled Achcar immediately upon hearing of his dealings with the MoD. But the United Secretariat will not bat an eyelid at his giving paid advice to the military, which simply formalises a longstanding political relationship. … They have for years provided Achcar with a platform to strategise on behalf of the US government.

SOAS was founded in 1916 to promote the long-term interests of British imperialism in Africa and Asia by training a cadre of colonial administrators. Alumni include countless heads of state, diplomats and civil servants in the former colonial countries. Today, the same training is provided by leaders of the pseudo-left tendencies who are mortal enemies of the international working class.