Manchester massacre, mourn, don’t abuse for racism


This video from England says about itself:

Vigil of peace after Manchester attack shows diversity makes community stronger

23 May 2017

ISIS wants to set the world on fire, and it wants Christianity to declare war on Islam. What was apparent following the attack in Manchester was quite different. It was a union of people in a peaceful vigil who were black and white and brown — Jewish, Muslim, Christian, Hindu and Sikh. Scott Pelley reports.

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

Manchester: United We’ll Stand

Wednesday 24th May 2017

– Manchester defiant in face of horrendous terror attack – 22 killed and 59 injured – Perpetrator identified as 22-year-old Salman Abedi

According to the British government, Abedi had just returned from his parents’ native Libya, now David Cameron’s ‘new’ Libya, and had possibly got help there for the Manchester attrocity.

THE people of Manchester came together last night in a show of solidarity against the terrorist bomb attack which killed 22 people, including children, at a concert in the city on Monday night.

Thousands gathered in Albert Square outside Manchester City Hall in support of the families affected by the tragedy, to grieve for the dead and in defiance of the perpetrators.

Vigils and commemorations also took place across Britain.

There was huge praise for emergency services’ response to the atrocity. Convoys of ambulances took the dead and 59 injured to eight hospitals across Greater Manchester.

The bombing took place after US singer Ariana Grande’s concert in the Manchester Arena, next door to Victoria railway station. More than 20,000 people — many of them teenagers and children — were at the sold-out concert.

The lone bomber, who authorities have named as Manchester-born Salman Abedi, exploded a device in the foyer of the arena as the concert ended, killing himself in the process.

Terror group Isis claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, in which the youngest victim announced so far is eight-year-old Saffie Rose Roussos. Another identified victim has been named as 18-year-old college student Georgina Callander from Chorley.

Many of the injured were carried into Victoria station where rail workers with first-aid training treated them. Some tore up their clothes to use as tourniquets.

Off-duty NHS staff poured into the eight hospitals dealing with the casualties, some of whom suffered life-threatening injuries and were undergoing surgery yesterday.

Cab drivers drove to the scene to give free lifts home to shocked and dazed concert-goers and nearby residents opened their homes offering shelter and safety to those who fled the horror. Hotels provided free accommodation and sent food and drink to concert-goers and emergency service workers.

Manchester blood donation centres were so inundated with volunteers yesterday that some had to be turned away. Political leaders suspended the general election campaign, uniting in their condemnation of the attack.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “I’m terribly sorry and terribly sad for you.

“There can be nothing worse than losing a child in a situation like this.”

“We have to put our arms around them and support them, not just today but in all the very difficult days to come because a trauma like this doesn’t go in a day or two — it’s there with them for the rest of their lives.”

He said communities must “not be divided by this kind of appalling, atrocious act of violence.”

Mancunian musicians also sent messages of support, with former The Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr tweeting: “Manchester stands together.”

New Order and former Joy Division star Peter Hook wrote: “My daughter made it home safe from Ariana Grande last night.

“My heart goes out to all parents and those involved. Manchester stay strong.”

Manchester-born comedian Jason Manford wrote: “Total respect for our amazing emergency services who run towards trouble and danger when every natural fibre must be telling them to go the other way.

“The stewards at the Arena who stayed and did their job and helped people out to safety.

“And to those legends who made me proud to be Mancunian by offering rooms and lifts home in people’s desperate hour of need.

“Made me realise that although they think these events make us weaker, they actually bring us together as a community and eventually make us stronger.”

Last night’s Manchester vigil was mirrored across the country. Vigils were held in George Square in Glasgow, Birmingham, Bradford-upon-Avon, Chatham and a service in Leeds Minster.

This music video from the USA says about itself:

Ariana Grande – Into You (Live At Capitals Summertime Ball 2016)

By Peter Lazenby in Britain:

Racists race to cash in on sick attack

Wednesday 24th May 2017

Paid bigot Katie Hopkins calls for ‘final solution

RACISTS jumped on the chance to cash in on the Manchester bombing yesterday but were sent packing by ordinary Mancunians.

A tiny gaggle of fascist thugs from the English Defence League turned up with flags outside the evacuated Arndale shopping centre yesterday morning to be shouted down by members of the public.

In footage obtained by Reuters one man was heard saying: “The people of Manchester don’t stand with your xenophobia and racism.

“The people of Manchester are going to stick together, no matter what religion you follow, no matter what the colour of the skin is. We’re not going to stand with people like you.

“We’re going to stick together, because together we are stronger and the people of Manchester are not going to be afraid of who is responsible for this violence.”

Meanwhile, reviled Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins called for a “final solution” — the term used by the nazis for the slaughter of six million Jews in the Holocaust.

Ms Hopkins drew a torrent of condemnation, with many demanding that she be sacked from her LBC radio show.

Her tweet was reported to Greater Manchester Police but the force said it was too early to confirm whether an investigation would be launched.

Liberal journalist Owen Jones tweeted: “LBC depends on guests to function. Until they sack Katie Hopkins we should all boycott all interview requests. Enough is enough.”

Writer and environmental activist George Monbiot agreed, telling LBC: “Please don’t ring me until she’s gone.”

Professional provocateur Ms Hopkins swiftly replaced the tweet with a reworded message reading: “We need a true solution.”

Campaign group Stand Up To Racism called for unity, accusing far-right groups like Britain First of attempting to use the attack to “stir up hatred and division.”

Co-convenor Sabby Dhalu said: “Our thoughts are with the loved ones of those killed and those injured in Manchester.

“It is extremely distressing that children and young people were targeted in this way.

“Our response to this tragedy must be to reject the hatred of the perpetrators and those who seek to use this tragedy to divide us and for all communities to stand together.

“As Martin Luther King said: ‘Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that’.”

By Charlotte Hughes in Britain:

Manchester will not let The Sun divide us

Wednesday 24th May 2017

On a dark day for a great city, the tabloid’s cynical sowing of hatred is to be condemned, says CHARLOTTE HUGHES

A DARK cloud covered Manchester and the surrounding areas on Monday night. But it was the following day that many people woke up to the news that there had been a terrorist attack at the Manchester Arena during a concert by Ariana Grande.

The venue was at full capacity, and most of those attending were excited children, teenagers and their parents. For many this could well have been the first concert that they had attended.

Witnesses at the scene said they heard a loud bang, not unlike a gunshot, then devastation ensued.

Twenty-two people have been confirmed dead, the youngest being eight-year-old Saffi Rose Roussos who was accompanied by her mother and aunt. Also confirmed dead was 18-year-old Georgina Callander. A further 59 people have been confirmed as injured, 12 of them children.

The horrendous agony that the parents and families of the victims must be going through is unimaginable.

Yet instead of being cowed, the people of Manchester are showing an amazing solidarity with those affected.

Immediately after the attack hundreds of people took to the internet to offer lifts, support and rooms for the night for stranded teenagers.

The Manchester community is determined that the terrorist attack will not defeat them; instead it will bond the community closer together. Everyone is united in agreement that hatred will not win.

Andy Burnham, the newly elected mayor of Greater Manchester, stated: “My heart goes out to families who have lost their loved ones, and admiration to our brave emergency services. A terrible night for our great city.”

Jeremy Corbyn said: “I am horrified by the horrendous events in Manchester. My thoughts are with the families and friends of those who have died and have been injured.”

These views are echoed throughout the Greater Manchester area. Isis has claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack and its supporters have been celebrating, stating: “This is only the beginning.”

The people of Manchester however are determined not to let this callous threat affect them.

Police officers were brought in by taxis due to the lack of available transport. The police force and the community joined together in solidarity to ensure that the victims received adequate attention.

A crowdfunding page to raise money for the victims and their families was swiftly set up by the Manchester Evening News and has already raised a total of over £189,000, showing that people from all communities across the Greater Manchester area and beyond are determined to help the families concerned. There is nothing stronger than the spirit of community of Manchester.

The city is sadly no stranger to terrorist attacks. Twenty-one years ago the Arndale Centre was attacked by the IRA. Fortunately no-one was killed, but many were injured.

Then the people of Manchester rallied round to support the community, giving a strong message to any would-be terrorist attackers that they would stand strong — much like they are now.

Upon talking to people across the Manchester area yesterday, the most common theme wasn’t anger, as many would expect.

Most people would much rather find a solution peacefully than seek revenge. They don’t like the constant bombings and attacks in places like Syria and Iraq; this upsets them also. As one person said to me: “Isn’t it about time that governments stopped bombing people? That’s what is causing this, this is the result. And it has to stop.”

But people’s desire for peaceful resolutions appears to be thwarted by newspapers such as The Sun.

Its headline yesterday stated: “Innocent people were murdered specifically because Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell sucked up to the IRA.” It went on to say that “the Labour pair were snivelling IRA fanboys as it unleashed slaughter on Britain.”

I think it is disgusting that this paper is allowed to publish such articles. Not only are its claims untrue, it was clearly a cynical attack on the leadership’s politics as part of its anti-Labour Party campaign, insulting the people of Manchester in the process.

The paper’s disrespect towards the victims and families is glaring and abhorrent.

Corbyn quite simply campaigned for peace in Northern Ireland. Instead of stirring up retaliation and violence, he sought a peaceful solution — much like the people of Manchester are requesting now.

He did, however, support the goal of a united Ireland, and quite correctly argued that without such a solution armed conflict would be inevitable.

He did not, and does not support terrorism. Instead of misconstruing Corbyn’s words and actions, his critics and the Tory Party could learn a lot from them.

The Sun has been noted for its lies many times, but most infamously the disgraceful lies about the Hillsborough victims and their families. As a result, Liverpool has boycotted The Sun since April 1989.

While the people of Manchester are joining together in solidarity against terror, The Sun is determined to sow division. I therefore call upon Burnham, as our new mayor, to help myself and others to campaign for a Manchester-wide ban of The Sun out of respect for the victims of the terrorist attack.

My thoughts and prayers go out to all the victims and their families at this terrible time.

Charlotte Hughes is an anti-poverty community activist from Ashton-Under-Lyne, Greater Manchester.

From daily The Morning Star in Britain:

No place for hate merchants

Wednesday 24th May 2017

GREATER Manchester Metro Mayor Andy Burnham’s announcement of last night’s Albert Square vigil for the city’s people after Monday’s terrorist attack encapsulates a resistance spirit telling Islamic State (Isis) that it won’t win.

The response of Mancunians of all backgrounds to the atrocity that hit their city was exemplary.

Accounts continue to emerge of heroic behaviour by emergency services, medical staff listed off but coming to work, taxi drivers not charging, places of worship opening to offer food and friendship and, above all, people emphasising their unity and determination to work together.

The Isis death cult is obsessed with what it calls a clash of civilisations.

It parades itself as representing the world’s Muslim communities, despite those communities overwhelmingly rejecting its inhuman creed, and projects an ongoing global conflict that will culminate in its sovereignty over the entire world.

Its very name is a festering insult to tens of millions of Muslims across the globe who proclaim their commitment to a religion of peace and who understand slaughter and maiming of innocent civilians as a perversion of their faith.

Hundreds of mosques involved themselves recently in registering people to vote before Monday’s cut-off date, knowing that this puts them at odds with Isis which rejects the concept of democracy.

The majority of Isis victims have been Muslims, especially in Iraq and Syria, where the cult, along with its al-Qaida partners in crime, has occupied swathes of territory, imposed its obscurantist and repressive ideology and slaughtered those it designates non-believers.

Our media reacts angrily when Isis followers in Britain, Belgium, France, Germany and other European states perpetrate acts of barbarism such as that directed at children and young people attending the Ariana Grande concert in Manchester.

While it is natural to empathise with the populations of countries our citizens visit regularly, there is no excuse for an almost offhand attitude to ongoing slaughter inflicted on people in the Middle East and Africa.

Nor should the role of invading Western nations or their collaborators in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey and elsewhere who have justified, armed and supported the Isis and al-Qaida hate merchants be ignored.

Incitement to hatred and division is not the sole preserve of Isis. Their “clash of civilisations” claptrap has been mirrored in some of Britain’s media.

Daily Mail online columnist Katie Hopkins takes delight in being provocative, but her latest tweet, “22 dead — number rising,” which carried the punchline, “We need a final solution,” must have consequences.

Hopkins’s subsequent amendment of “final solution” to “true solution,” claiming a typo, is unconvincing. No-one can be in the dark about the meaning or significance of her demand for a “final solution.”

Just as The Sun was driven by public opinion to sack Kelvin McKenzie — serial defamer of Liverpool and its people who made racist comments about Everton footballer Ross Barkley — so the Mail should ditch Hopkins.

The paper needs no reminder of its 1930s backing for Oswald Mosley’s Blackshirts when they were terrorising Jewish communities in mimicry of their nazi heroes in Germany.

The media has a responsibility to the society it purports to serve.

Editors cannot pass off their journalists’ racism, Islamophobia, anti-semitism or any other hate-crime speech as freedom of expression to be accepted or ignored by their audience.

Lives are at stake, as is the future of a free and open society in which our people’s infinite variety is welcomed and celebrated rather than feared and despised.

LEADERS of Britain’s biggest Muslim organisation condemned the Manchester bombing yesterday: here.

By Chris Marsden in Britain:

UK government deploys military following Manchester suicide bombing

24 May 2017

Last night, Britain’s terror threat level was raised to “critical,” its highest level. Prime Minister Theresa May declared that further attacks could be imminent in the aftermath of the suicide bombing Monday night of the Ariana Grande concert at the Manchester Arena.

Up to 5,000 military personnel are being deployed to police key locations. May has triggered “Operation Temperer,” devised in secret in 2015 under Prime Minister David Cameron, when May was home secretary. The plan was subsequently leaked to the press.

The June 8 general election will now proceed under the barrel of a gun.

The Manchester bombing is a horrific crime. The bomber, 22-year-old Salman Ramadan Abedi, packed his device with nails, nuts and bolts to inflict the maximum carnage on his victims, taking 22 lives and injuring almost 120, some gravely. The fact that Grande has a predominantly youthful audience meant that 12 of the dead were children, including the youngest named so far, Saffie Rose Roussos, who was only eight years old.

But the grief and anger this barbaric act engenders make it all the more necessary to maintain one’s critical faculties in the face of the unprecedented moves undertaken by the government. As so often before, the latest terror bombing is being used to advance a right-wing political agenda, giving rise to questions as to the degree of foreknowledge and even active involvement of the state.

Abedi’s name was made public Tuesday evening after raids by armed police, evacuations and a controlled explosion in his Fallowfield south Manchester neighbourhood. It has already been confirmed that he was known to the security services, but was supposedly not considered to be a threat.

This type of evasive response, meant to explain why nothing could have been done to prevent the tragedy, has no credibility. The same excuse was offered in so many previous incidents—most infamously in the November 2015 Islamist attack on the Bataclan concert hall and other sites across Paris, which killed 130 people. The press later revealed connections between the Paris bombers and the perpetrators of the March 2016 suicide attacks on the Brussels airport and subway, and the fact that the police were familiar with many of those involved.

Only this week, the informant Claude Hermant implicated the French state in the January 2015 attack on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine. The perpetrators of what remains Britain’s most deadly terror attack, in London on July 7, 2005, were also known to the police and clearly protected by the security services.

Even after such revelations, things always remain “murky” and are never properly investigated. Little wonder, given that the groups involved are invariably the political creation of the major imperialist powers—used to further their predatory interests abroad and legitimise the repressive measures imposed at home in the name of the “war on terror.”

The growth of Islamist terror groups is the by-product of the endless series of imperialist wars waged since the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991 and escalated since the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and now Syria have provided the breeding ground for the bitter resentments on which the Islamists feed and then channel in such a deeply reactionary direction.

These groups are often considered allies before later being deemed to be enemies. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has claimed responsibility for the suicide nail bombing. Its origins lie in the 2003 US-British invasion and occupation of Iraq. ISIS began life as Al Qaeda in Iraq, the product of the Sunni insurgency that emerged after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. It shifted to Syria in 201[1] thanks to the US-led efforts to destabilise and overthrow the regime of Bashar-Al Assad through the arming and funding of Islamist militias.

Abedi’s parents were Libyan refugees opposed to the Gaddafi regime and have reportedly returned to Libya following Gaddafi’s overthrow and brutal murder. Regime change there was again orchestrated through an alliance of the imperialist powers with Islamist groups, including Al Qaeda.

In the course of these wars, the MI5 and MI6 security services have built up extensive knowledge of and connections with the followers in the UK of Islamist terror organizations.

Faced with this record of state criminality, nothing should be accepted at face value regarding the official narrative of events of May 22. However, it is not necessary to prove direct state involvement to understand the ends for which the attack is being used.

On Monday, May and her despised government were in political crisis. She has tried to centre the June 8 snap general election on her claim to be a “strong and stable” leader compared with Labour’s Jeremy Corbyn, who is denounced as a threat to national security. But this was derailed by popular disgust at her plans to force pensioners to sell their homes to pay for social care.

In the aftermath of the suicide bombing, all election campaigning was called off and remains suspended today, while May is left to speak unchallenged as the supposed guardian of the nation’s safety. Rupert Murdoch’s the Sun wrote baldly that the bombing “has put terror front and centre of this election campaign. It will shine a light on the character of those seeking to lead this country.” The newspaper described May as an “ex-Home Secretary [who] has the experience and authority to respond.” It called Corbyn a “sniveling IRA fanboy.”

The dangers posed by these developments were underscored by Daily Mail columnist Katie Hopkins’ call for a “final solution” to the problem of terrorism—a term infamously used by the Nazis to describe the Holocaust. Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson tweeted, “We need a State of Emergency as France has. We need internment of thousands of terror suspects now to protect our children.”

Events in Britain are indeed following the pattern set in France, where a state of emergency has been in force since 2015. It is just one month since the presidential elections there took place at gunpoint, with over 50,000 police and soldiers stationed at polling booths. The reason given was the murder of a police officer by Karim Cheurfi, a career criminal supposedly acting on behalf of ISIS. Cheurfi was well known to security and intelligence agencies, yet was left free to carry out his deadly assault.

The parallels are striking. That assault took place under conditions where rising anti-war sentiment, following the April 7 US air strike on Syria, had benefited “left” candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon. The political hysteria whipped up … was used to refocus official debate on “antiterrorism”—helping to ensure that right-wing candidate Emmanuel Macron and neo-fascist Marine Le Pen went through to the final round.

The escalating turn to domestic repression in the UK is bound up with the preparation of new and even bloodier imperialist crimes. The Manchester attack provided US President Donald Trump with an opportunity to deliver a thuggish speech from Israel demanding that “terrorists and extremists and those who give them aid and comfort” be “driven out from our society forever.”

What this means in practice is the pursuit of war in Syria in an alliance with Saudi Arabia, Qatar and other sponsors of Sunni terrorist movements. May is up to her neck in these plans, promising that the first act of a newly elected Conservative government will be to put a vote before parliament in support of military action against Assad.

On Thursday, May travels to a NATO summit in Brussels to be addressed by Trump in his first NATO appearance. The US president was already demanding US-led action on terror and increased military spending from the European powers. He will now be presented with a golden opportunity to urge support for a regional Sunni alliance, led by the US and Israel, against Shiite Iran.

PUBLIC-SECTOR unions praised the work of the emergency services yesterday after Monday night’s blast: here.

The victims of the horrific bomb attack were in the “minds and hearts” of the Manchester United squad that flew to Stockholm for the Europa League final, Jose Mourinho said yesterday: here.

A socialist government and a socialist foreign policy needed to defeat terrorism: here.

Donald Trump, United States media and wars


Saudi money to ISIS, cartoon

This cartoon is about Saudi money to ISIS, aka Daesh, in Syria and Iraq.

By Bill Van Auken in the USA:

Trump’s speech in Riyadh signals US escalation against Iran

22 May 2017

Riddled with hypocrisy, clichés and absurdities, President Donald Trump’s speech Sunday before an assembly of monarchs and despots in Saudi Arabia spelled out an agenda of escalating US militarism throughout the Middle East and a buildup in particular toward war with Iran.

Hailed by a fawning American media as “presidential”–supposedly eclipsing for the moment the crises and factional struggles engulfing the administration–the speech was reportedly drafted by Stephen Miller, the extreme right-wing ideologue credited with being the chief architect of Trump’s abortive executive order banning people from seven predominantly Muslim nations from entering the US.

Much in Trump’s half-hour address echoed the speech delivered by Barack Obama in Cairo eight years earlier. Both presidents declared their desire to reset US relations with the Middle East, while absurdly posturing as leaders of a pacifist nation seeking only good for the region and offering to head up a united struggle against “violent extremism.”

Like Obama before him, Trump had no interest in dealing with who brought Al Qaeda and similar forces in, as the historical trail leads directly to the CIA in Afghanistan and US imperialism’s longstanding support for right-wing Islamist organizations and terrorist groups as a counterweight to left nationalist and socialist influence in the Arab and Islamic world. Jointly, the US and Saudi Arabia continue to fund and arm such forces in their drive for regime change in Syria.

Both speeches were laced with flowery tributes to Islamic culture. Trump noted in particular how impressed he was with the “splendor” of Saudi Arabia and the “grandeur” of the palace in which the so-called Arab Islamic American Summit had been convened.

What separated the two addresses were the different shifts in strategy by Washington. While Obama sought to repair the damage done by the Bush administration’s criminal war in Iraq by offering a new face for US imperialism, Trump traveled to Saudi Arabia to make clear his administration’s break with his predecessor’s policy of seeking a rapprochement with Iran based on the 2015 nuclear deal. He adopted an openly confrontational stance toward Tehran.

“Above all, America seeks peace–not war,” Trump proclaimed, in what stood out as the most blatant of the many lies in his brief address. The reality is that US wars in the region have killed millions over the past decade-and-a-half. And the thrust of the US president’s visit to Saudi Arabia, his first stop in a nine-day foreign tour, is the preparation for new and even bloodier conflicts.

This was made plain by the principal agreements forged between Trump and the Saudi monarchy, which included a $110 billion arms deal that incorporates the option to purchase $350 billion worth of weapons over the next 10 years.

The arms agreement “supports the long-term security of Saudi Arabia and the entire Gulf region,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former ExxonMobil CEO, told reporters in Riyadh, “in particular in the face of the malign Iranian influence and Iranian-related threats which exist on Saudi Arabia’s borders on all sides.”

In his speech, Trump painted Iran as the principal state sponsor of terrorism, accusing Tehran of providing terrorists with “safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment,” and fueling “the fires of sectarian conflict and terror,” all charges that could be leveled, with justification, against his Saudi hosts.

He portrayed the US cruise missile attack on Syria last month–followed just last week by the US bombing of a pro-government militia in the southeastern part of the country–as part of a wider struggle against Iranian influence. He went on to call upon “all nations of conscience” to “isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.” That he was speaking in Saudi Arabia, a brutally repressive absolute monarchy, just two days after more than 70 percent of Iranian voters participated in a sharply contested election, did nothing to blunt Trump’s call for regime-change.

He specifically praised Saudi Arabia and its allies for having “taken strong action against Houthi militants in Yemen”. The near-genocidal Saudi war has killed some 12,000 Yemenis, while destroying basic infrastructure in the Arab world’s poorest country, leaving over 7 million people on the brink of starvation and unleashing a cholera epidemic that threatens a massive death toll.

In March, US Defense Secretary James “Mad Dog” Mattis issued a memo calling for stepped-up US support for this criminal war, in which the Pentagon is already supplying intelligence and logistical backing to the Saudi bombing campaign.

Part of the weapons deal signed by Trump involves the shipment of precision-guided munitions that had been cut off in a highly limited gesture of disapproval of Saudi tactics in Yemen by the Obama administration, which itself concluded over $100 billion worth of weapons deals with Riyadh. Also included in the new deal are tanks, artillery, helicopters and other weaponry that can be directly funneled into the slaughter in Yemen.

In addition to his speech and the signing of arms and investment deals, Trump participated in a meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, the Saudi-led coalition of Gulf oil sheikdoms. Trump administration officials have raised the objective of using the GCC as the foundation of a Sunni Arab version of NATO directed at military confrontation with Iran.

Beyond the drive to militarily confront Iran, a principal regional rival of US imperialism in the Middle East, and the huge profits that Saudi arms purchases reap for the US military industrial complex, there are broader strategic considerations in the US turn toward a closer alliance with Riyadh.

Some of these issues were outlined on the eve of Trump’s trip in a piece published by the influential Washington think tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies and authored by Anthony Cordesman, a longtime Pentagon adviser. First among them is, according to Cordesman, “the continued level of US dependence on Saudi help in securing the stable flow of Gulf oil.”

While US imports from the Gulf have fallen sharply over the past quarter-century, Cordesman cites “indirect dependence” in terms of the impact a disruption in oil exports would have on global energy prices and the world capitalist economy. In particular, he points to the dependence of Asian economies on Gulf petroleum exports.

If the United States failed in “providing power projection forces and arms” to the region, he writes, its principal global rival, China, might fill the void. “China may not yet be ready to try to assume the role, but the entire South China Sea crisis would pale to near insignificance if China became the de facto guarantor of Gulf stability.”

Cordesman continues: “The real-world nature of US influence and power in the Pacific would be cut massively, China’s leverage over other major Asian economies like Japan and South Korea would be sharply increased, and the potential rise in tension between China and India–and cut in India’s relative position–would have a massive impact on the balance of power in South Asia and the Indian Ocean.”

In other words, the turn toward closer relations with Saudi Arabia and the related Gulf oil sheikdoms is bound up with US imperialism’s mounting conflict with China, which it has identified as the principal challenge to the drive for American global hegemony. Washington is determined to dominate Asia, including China, by maintaining the military power to choke off the region’s energy imports.

The fact that the sclerotic House of Saud, one of the world’s last absolute monarchies, has become a lynchpin of Washington’s imperialist strategy, not only in the Middle East but globally, is a measure of the crisis of American and world capitalism.

Oil revenues, which account for fully 90 percent of the kingdom’s export earnings, have been cut nearly in half since 2014. Last month, the government was forced to reverse itself on austerity measures that hit the military and public employees over fear that declining living standards and rising unemployment are creating the conditions for social revolt.

In the predominantly Shia Eastern Province, the center of the kingdom’s oil production, security forces laid siege to the town of Awamiyah, a center of resistance to the regime, during the week preceding Trump’s visit. Combined with the failure of the Saudi bid to topple the Assad regime in Syria by supporting Al Qaeda-linked militias and the regime’s inability to retake Yemen from the Houthi rebels, the deepening domestic crisis is creating the conditions for revolutionary upheavals against Washington’s principal ally in the Arab world.

Will Trump agree to the Pentagon’s permanent war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria? Here.

This video from the USA says about itself:

Warfare State at War with Trump Over Russia, as Trump Plans Warfare Against Iran in Saudi Arabia

22 May 2017

Norman Solomon joins Paul Jay on Reality Asserts Itself discussing the Trump/Russia affair and plans to isolate and perhaps attack Iran.

By Patrick Martin in the USA:

Washington Post and New York Times urge pullback on calls for Trump impeachment
22 May 2017

In editorials published simultaneously for their Sunday editions, the New York Times and the Washington Post called for caution in the anti-Trump campaign they have been spearheading with claims of nefarious connections between the Trump presidential campaign and the Russian government.

The Times editorial, headlined “Watergate? We’re Not There Yet,” cites comparisons between the crisis of the Trump administration and the scandal that brought down President Richard Nixon 43 years ago, only to suggest that impeachment or forced resignation is not yet the order of the day.

After repeatedly slamming Trump as a stooge of Russian President Vladimir Putin and a threat to US national security, including the publication last week of an editorial with comparisons to Watergate, the Times now counsels the Democrats to proceed cautiously and avoid “distraction.” It advises leveraging the official investigations into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia, along with the continuing decline in Trump’s poll numbers, to “win back a majority next year in at least one house of Congress” in the 2018 mid-term elections.

The Washington Post editorial similarly suggests that the anti-Trump campaign “will require time,” both for newly appointed special counsel Robert Mueller, the former FBI director, and for the various House and Senate committees investigating alleged Russian intervention into the 2016 election.

The Post editorial, under the headline “It’s time to focus—finally—on running the country,” demands that the Democrats “talk about something other than impeachment in the coming weeks,” and that Republicans “face the task at which they have so far failed: governing responsibly.”

The Post is more explicit about the social and class policies underlying the campaign over alleged Trump-Russia connections. It demands action on health care to reduce “uncertainty among the insurers upon which the system relies.” In other words, the two big-business parties must contain their mutual mudslinging and get on with the pro-corporate austerity measures demanded by the financial elite.

Similarly, Congress must “pass a new budget and raise the debt ceiling.” It must carry through “tax reform,” which means cutting taxes for the wealthy and for corporations, while making sure that such actions “cannot result in higher deficits.” In other words, tax cuts for the rich must be paid for by slashing social programs for working people.

Last but by no means least, the editorial cites concerns about Trump’s foreign policy in relation to North Korea, Syria, the Islamic State [ISIS], Iran, Russia and “other hostile powers.”

Neither newspaper attempts to square the intensity of their onslaught against the Trump administration, particularly over the past two weeks, with their current declarations in favor of caution and biding one’s time.

The situation could shift quickly, but the editorials from the Times and the Post reflect a broader pullback from immediate calls for impeachment and references to Watergate from within the media and political establishment. In recent days, prominent congressional Democrats such as Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, and Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, have called talk of impeachment premature.

These developments underscore the fact that there is no democratic or progressive content to the opposition to Trump from within the political establishment and the capitalist state. The Democratic Party and the media are not concerned with having a fascistic-minded president and an administration packed with corporate CEOs and generals dedicated to waging war, tearing up social programs and organizing a further redistribution of wealth to the rich. On such matters, there is far more that unites the ruling class than divides it.

What are the considerations driving the warnings about proceeding too rashly on the question of impeachment?

First, the central concern of Trump’s opponents within the ruling class since his inauguration has always been to force a shift in policy, particularly foreign policy. On the US war in Syria, the maintenance of the NATO alliance and, above all, aggression toward Russia, Trump was deemed to be not on message by the dominant factions of the military and intelligence apparatus.

The president has already sought to appease such concerns by ordering a missile strike on Syria, followed last week by a US bombing raid on a pro-Syrian government militia and approval of a Pentagon plan to escalate the US intervention in Syria, Iraq and northern Africa.

There are related concerns that a perpetual crisis at the center of the American state and a protracted impeachment process pose a threat to the international standing of the United States and the overall interests of American imperialism.

Second, there are the concerns outlined by the Post that a full-scale impeachment crisis will derail the administration’s program of corporate tax cuts, deregulation and the gutting of social programs upon which Wall Street has been banking and is determined to see pushed through. This was the message sent by the financial markets in last week’s huge one-day selloff. That the message was received was indicated by the announcement the same day of the appointment of a special counsel to take the political faction fight in hand.

Third, there are fears that a full-scale constitutional crisis and fratricidal struggle within the ruling class can create an opening for an independent intervention by the working class. Under conditions of mass disaffection from both political parties, rising social anger and a general discrediting of all official institutions of power, the destabilization of the political system has potentially revolutionary implications.

The appointment of Mueller, who headed the FBI for 12 years, under both Bush and Obama, puts the Trump administration under the effective receivership of the intelligence agencies, with the constant threat that if he steps too far out of line, he could quickly be faced with criminal charges. References to the formation of some sort of caretaker regime have begun appearing in the press. A Post op-ed column by Dana Millbank devoted to celebrating the anti-Russian campaign as a heroic journalistic exploit, while acknowledging that it was made possible by systematic leaking from the military-intelligence apparatus, concludes by describing Mueller as “a regent, if you will, to protect against future abuses.”

All of this underscores the completely reactionary character of both factions of the ruling class, whatever turn the crisis might take in the days and weeks to come. It demonstrates the political dead end of subordinating the struggle against the Trump administration to the Democrats, whose opposition to Trump is entirely different from and hostile to the concerns and interests of millions of workers. They must intervene on the basis of their own, socialist, program and perspective.

This 20 May 2016 video from the USA is called The US Is Waging A ‘Massive Shadow War’ In Afríca.

A report in Sunday’s edition of the Washington Post accuses the Pentagon of operating a multi-billion dollar slush fund which it has accrued over the past seven years by overcharging the armed forces for the cost of fuel purchases. The $5.9 billion it has built up since 2010 has been used to fund military operations in Syria and Afghanistan, effectively avoiding any of the budgetary oversight requirements necessary to obtain additional funding from Congress: here.

WHAT TRUMP’S BUDGET MEANS FOR MEDICAID “President Donald Trump’s budget proposal, set to be unveiled on Tuesday, will include cuts to Medicaid and propose changes to other assistance programs for low-income citizens.” [Reuters]

Turkish regime threatens torture of British journalist


This video says about itself:

25 October 2016

After the botched coup attempt in Turkey, human rights groups quickly reported the ill-treatment of prisoners. The ruling AK party, however, blocked an independent investigation. DW portrays people whose accounts support those allegations of torture.

By James Tweedie in Britain:

Star reporter held by armed Turkish police

Thursday 11th May 2017

Sweeney cornered over anti-Erdogan articles

MORNING STAR reporter Steve Sweeney was detained for eight hours in Turkey on Tuesday after travelling there to interview victims of the army crackdown on majority-Kurdish cities.

Mr Sweeney and his companion were stopped at a police road checkpoint near the south-eastern city of Cizre on Tuesday.

He told the Star that when police realised they were journalists, they called in the army and anti-terrorist officers.

They were grilled by the roadside for five hours, surrounded by 16 heavily armed men and armoured vehicles.

Officers emptied their bags and photographed their notepads and books on Syria’s Kurdish north.

“They treated us like we were criminals or terrorists,” Mr Sweeney said.

Pointing to the headline on a Morning Star website article by Mr Sweeney — calling President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a “tyrant” — their interrogator said: “If you wrote something like that in Turkey you’d be arrested and tortured.”

The officer focused on Cambridge-born Mr Sweeney’s surname, asking him if he was from the north or south of Ireland and suggested he was a supporter of the IRA and the banned Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

And he demanded to know why the reporter had changed his Twitter account to the “protected” setting half an hour earlier, saying he “was too late anyway.”

Ominously, the troops invited the pair for a “picnic” in the mountains across the border from PKK positions in Iraq.

The detainees were released after Mr Sweeney’s colleague contacted the British embassy in Turkey.

They were told it was “not safe” in the area and sent to Cizre to stay the night.

But the only open hotel in the devastated town was full so they drove on to nearby Silopi — where they were held for an other three hours at the police station and told to leave town early in the morning.

Journalists’ union NUJ president Tim Dawson welcomed the release of Mr Sweeney and his colleague. He said: “Sadly, Steve’s experience mirrors that of many in the media who are under attack daily by this regime which has jailed 150 journalists and closed down more than 150 media organisations since last year’s failed coup.

Mr Dawson said he was in Istanbul last week “and heard directly from members of the Turkish journalists’ union, Turkiye Gazeteciler Sendikasi, about the attacks on journalists and a free press, as well as meetings [with] journalists who had served long prison sentences for trying to report fairly.”

Murdoch minion incites murder of British Labour leader


This 2016 video from Britain is called The Sun Newspaper Is Racist With Rupert Murdoch At The Helm

By Lamiat Sabin in Britain:

MacKenzie could face police quiz over Corbyn knife ‘joke’

Thursday 4th May 2017

SUSPENDED columnist and former editor of the Sun newspaper Kelvin MacKenzie could be reported to the police for inciting hatred and violence towards Jeremy Corbyn, Labour sources said yesterday.

The hack “joked” about the idea of the Labour leader being “knifed to death” in an interview with the New York Times.

He then contacted writer Katrin Bennhold in an attempt to change the quote and referred to the murder of Labour MP Jo Cox last June as the reason for his sudden change of mind.

Mr MacKenzie was quoted as having said: “I think the fake news headline that would give this country the most joy would be: ‘Jeremy Corbyn knifed to death by an asylum-seeker’.”

Ms Bennhold wrote: “The next morning, I got a text message from Mr MacKenzie: ‘Hi Katrin, Can you change that perfect headline from ‘Jeremy Corbyn knifed to death by asylum-seeker’ to ‘Jeremy Corbyn defrauded by asylum-seeker.’ In the light of Jo Cox murder mine is in tol [sic] poor taste.”

The Sun suspended Mr MacKenzie — who was in charge when the Sun published front-page lies about the 96 Liverpool fans killed at Hillsborough — for comparing mixed-race Everton footballer Ross Barkley with a gorilla last month.

He is also known for criticising Channel 4 for delegating the job of reporting the Nice truck attack last year to Muslim newsreader Fatima Manji, who wears a headscarf.

A Labour source confirmed to the Star that Mr MacKenzie could be reported to the police.

They said: “This sort of disgusting language should not be tolerated by anyone in the media, politics or any walk of life.

“We saw last year how overheated language in politics led to the murder of Jo Cox.”

I suspect that police may not treat MacKenzie as harshly as they might theat some hypothetical Muslim who hypothetically made some sick joke about knifing, eg, Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May to death.

‘US, Turkish, Polish governments against free press’


This video from the USA says about itself:

UK: Journalism Helps Terrorism

20 August 2013

“David Miranda, the partner of Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, has threatened legal action against the British government after he was detained and searched at Heathrow airport over the weekend, his lawyers said Tuesday.

Miranda argues it was illegal for police to seize data from him and wants to ensure that they do not do anything with the material until a judge has heard his claim…But Britain’s Home Office on Tuesday defended Miranda’s detention, saying the government and police “have a duty to protect the public and our national security.” “If the police believe that an individual is in possession of highly sensitive stolen information that would help terrorism, then they should act and the law provides them with a framework to do that,” it said…”.* The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur breaks it down.

*Read more here from Laura Smith-Spark / CNN.com.

Freedom House is a pro-Establishment organisation in the USA, financed by the United States government. They usually attack governments which have conflicts with the United States government for real or imaginary violations of human rights. While rarely mentioning such violations in the USA itself, or by governments allied to it.

Now, however, reality has become so blatant that even Freedom House cannot completely neglect it any more.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV:

‘Worldwide creeping war against journalism

Today, 00:01

Press freedom is under pressure worldwide, research organizations Freedom House and Free Press Unlimited say. In a report, they write that journalists and media organizations have not had such a difficult time since 2003.

The two organizations each year map all kinds of forms of freedom. The researchers conclude that in 2016 press freedom in many countries has deteriorated. As examples, they name Poland, Turkey and the United States.

Governments in the NATO military alliance, all three of them. Like the British government.

“There has never been a president who has shown so much disdain for the press as Trump,” says the report. According to the organizations it is dangerous that the US in the field of press freedom no longer represents a model for other countries.

The USA was already no ‘model for other countries’ when journalists reporting on the protests against the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri were arrested and persecuted for journalism. Long before Trump became president, documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras was already harassed and arrested for making films.

In Poland, the situation has worsened most: that country dropped six places in the ranking.

See also here.